Google, Level 3 DNS services hijacked by TurkTelekom

Turkey's campaign to restrict access to sites such as YouTube and Twitter are continuing

Google said its free DNS (Domain Name System) service is being intercepted by most Turkish ISPs as the country battles users trying to circumvent censorship efforts by the government.

Also, an Internet monitoring firm said Sunday the DNS service from major communications company Level 3 had also been hijacked.

Turkey's government, embroiled in a corruption scandal, began clamping down on the Internet on March 21 by blocking access to Twitter. The government claimed Twitter violated the country's privacy laws.

YouTube was then blocked last Thursday for national security reasons. A conversation was published allegedly between Turkey's foreign minister, intelligence chief and a senior member of the armed forces concerning militants in neighboring Syria.

Both actions were taken just ahead of nationwide municipal elections held on Sunday.

Turkish ISPs have set up servers that "masquerade" as Google's DNS service, wrote Steven Carstensen, a Google software engineer.

"We have received several credible reports and confirmed with our own research that Google's Domain Name System (DNS) service has been intercepted by most Turkish ISPs," Carstensen wrote.

Internet users who don't want to rely on their ISP's DNS services can use Google's Public DNS. DNS servers translate domain names into IP addresses that can be called into a Web browser. Turkish Internet users turned to Google's Public DNS after the government imposed restrictions on the country's ISPs.

Internet monitoring firm Renesys said Sunday major internet provider Level 3's DNS service was also hijacked.

Turkish's national telecom provider, TurkTelekom, hijacked the DNS servers of both companies using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). Organizations and companies that run networks "announce" BGP routing, which is public information used in networking equipment to route traffic.

Occasionally, an organization will mistake and broadcast incorrect BGP information, inadvertently hijacking the traffic belonging to another network. But as in the cases of Google and Level 3, BGP changes can also be malicious.

People who try to use Google or Level 3 DNS services are "surreptitiously" redirected to alternate providers within TurkTelekom, wrote Earl Zmijewski, a vice president and general manager for Renesys, on a company blog.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlesecurity

More about GatewayGatewayGoogle

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place