I guess that I’m not the only person in the world who needs to improve their BGP skills. :-)
YouTube outage underscores big Internet problem
Sunday’s inadvertent disruption of Google’s YouTube video service underscores a flaw in the Internet’s design that could some day lead to a serious security problem, according to networking experts.
The issue lies in the way ISPs share Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing information. BGP is the standard protocol used by routers to find computers on the Internet, but there is a lot of BGP routing data available. To simplify things, ISPs share this kind of information among each other.
And that can cause problems when one ISP shares bad data with the rest of the Internet.
That’s what happened with YouTube this weekend, according to sources familiar with the situation. BGP data intended to block access to YouTube within Pakistan was accidentally broadcast to other service providers, causing a widespread YouTube outage.
The chain of events that led to YouTube’s partial black-out was kicked off Friday when the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) ordered the country’s ISPs to block access to YouTube because of an alleged anti-Islamic video that was hosted on the site.
According to published reports, the clip was from a film made by Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who has been critical of Islam. Wilders is hoping to air a 15 minute anti-Islam film, called Fitna on Dutch television in March.
ISPs in Pakistan were able to block YouTube by creating BGP data that redirected routers looking for YouTube.com’s servers to nonexistent network destinations. But that data was accidentally shared with Hong Kong’s PCCW, who in turn shared it with other ISPs throughout the Internet.
Here’s the best line in the whole article:
In San Francisco, David Ulevitch first noticed the problem Saturday morning. “I was trying to watch cats falling off roofs… and I couldn’t get to YouTube,” he said.