recommended reading


Email Traffic of UK Atomic Weapons Organization Hijacked, Rerouted through Ukraine

Misplaced data; Man-in-the-middle attack

It’s unclear how the Internet traffic for many British Telecom customers—including a defense contractor that helps make nuclear warheads —was diverted to servers in Ukraine before being passed along to its intended recipients.

The snag may have allowed adversaries to intercept or tamper with communications sent and received by the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment, one of the affected clients. Other organizations with redirected traffic include Lockheed Martin, Toronto Dominion Bank, Anglo-Italian helicopter company AgustaWestland, and the UK Department for Environment, according to a blog post by researchers at Dyn, an online infrastructure consultancy.

The affected traffic appears to include email and virtual private network connections. The circuitous path caused the data “to travel thousands of miles to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev before turning around, retracing that route, and being delivered to its normal hub in London,” Ars Technica reports.

Sending the data to Kiev may have made it possible for employees with network access to Ukrainian telecom provider Vega to eavesdrop or manipulate data that wasn't encrypted.

The traffic misbehavior occurred over a 90-minute period on March12, with a handful of clients experiencing diverted traffic for five days beginning March 7.

“Does this list represent some curious mistake or something more? Either way, it redirected a portion of Internet traffic bound for networks, at a minimum resulting in poor performance for some customers,” Dyn Director of Internet analysis Doug Madory wrote.

This sort of rerouting – called a man-in-the-middle attack -- is the result of the implicit trust placed in the border gateway protocol used to exchange data between large service providers and their customers, which include banks, governments, network service providers, aerospace companies, and other sensitive organizations.




March 13, 2015

reported by

Ars Technica

number affected

167 British Telecom customers

location of breach




location of perpetrators


date breach occurred

March 07, 2015

date breach detected

March 12, 2015

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.