If you happened to be in China on Tuesday and were trying to access any U.S. websites (those ending in .com, .org or .net) you saw an error message. The page failed to load.
Amazingly, in a strange story of cyber-intrigue, that’s because nearly all the internet traffic in China trying to access American sites got routed to some random guy’s house in Wyoming on Tuesday. 2710 Thomes Avenue in Cheyenne, to be exact.
According to the New York Times, the story goes like this:
The address at Thomes Avenue is the listing address for an extremely shady-sounding company called Sophidea, Inc. Sophidea seems to be a holding company that collects nefarious businesses and houses them in the U.S. Reuters conducted an investigative piece on Sophidea’s business in 2011, and found that among the 2,000 businesses registered at 2710 Thomes Ave were “a shell company controlled by a jailed former Ukraine prime minister; the owner of a company charged with helping online poker operators evade an Internet gambling ban; and one entity that was banned from government contracts after selling counterfeit truck parts to the Pentagon.”
The state-run China Internet Network Information Center said that the problem originated from its domain name system, and that servers sent three quarters of all China’s internet traffic to a block of addresses registered with Sophidea.
Wyoming Corporate services, the registered agent for Sophidea, moved locations last year, but for some reason nearly all of China’s incoming traffic still went to the house on Thomes Avenue Tuesday.
The latest theory, according to the Times, is that it was a colossal goof on the part of China’s state internet censors, who meant to block traffic to addresses registered with Sophidea and instead sent all of China’s traffic there instead, overwhelming the servers and rendering the sites inaccessible.
Whoops! Same effect, I guess.
It seems like the more pressing question here is not what’s going on inside China’s direction of internet, traffic, but what the hell is going on inside 2710 Thomes Avenue Cheyenne, WO? Can we get Anonymous on the case, please?
Source/ Image: New York Times