Discombobulated Google server halted Internet traffic for 22 minutes

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The search giant’s public Domain Name System service, a free tool that translates human-readable Web addresses into machine-readable IP addresses, was hijacked for Internet users in Brazil and Venezuela.

“The problem with this master yellow pages directory to the Internet is that DNS records themselves can be corrupted or your communications with the DNS servers interrupted by a man-in-the-middle (MiM) attack,” ZDNet reports.

During the interlude, anyone seeking a site, email server or the like was redirected to a site belonging to British Telecom’s Latin America division.

“Public DNS services, such as those offered by Google and OpenDNS, are used by savvy Internet users who want the fastest possible look-up speeds for their Web browsing,” ZDNet explains.

Google offers the most popular free public DNS service in the world.

While the episode kept users from surfing the Internet, it did not seem to be evil in nature.  

“Given that the ‘attack’ didn't direct users to a rogue DNS server pointing users to malware-loaded sites,” ZDNet suspects that “the real problem was that someone briefly misconfigured a router. This would not be the first, or 101st time this kind of incident happened. Just a typo in a configuration file is enough to send users to a wrong address for their DNS queries.”

ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves.