It’s entirely clear why, but a large portion of Internet traffic in China on Tuesday was redirected to a block of Internet addresses registered to a mystery company housed on a residential street in Cheyenne, Wyo.
The company, Sophidea Incorporated, is operated out of a small, 1,700-square-foot house.
According to the China Internet Network Information Center, many of China’s 500 million Internet users couldn’t load websites ending in .com, .net or .org so they were re-routed to Sophidea Incorporated’s addresses.
Details about the company are sparse, but it appears that it may be in the business of redirecting traffic from one address to another to hide a person’s whereabouts or to evade the type of firewall used by China’s Internet censoring system.
"Either it was an intentional DNS [domain name system] hack or the unintentional result of the Great Firewall, but I haven't seen any technical analysis of what was more likely," Adam Segal, a cybersecurity expert at the Council on Foreign Relations told The Washington Post.
The traffic redirection problem was fixed after about eight hours.
[New York Times] [Washington Post]