Google bug with bgp protocol led to internet problems for many Japanese

In large parts of Japan, people were briefly without internet access before the weekend or suffered from a bad connection. It turned out that the error was caused by Google, which sent out a wrong bgp advertisement.

A Google spokesperson apologized on behalf of the company to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. The company is said to have “sent wrong information on the network”, causing the problems. According to the newspaper, these occurred on Friday night and lasted a maximum of 40 minutes. As a result, customers of Japan’s largest ISP, OCN, were unable to connect to the Internet. The company has approximately seven million customers.

The Japanese government has launched an investigation into the incident, another local newspaper reported. It further states that the cause may have been human error or a hardware defect. The site Bgpmon published a more extensive analysis and writes that Google had sent out a wrong bgp announcement, which meant that internet traffic intended for other networks ran through Google’s network. Google said it corrected its mistake after eight minutes.

BGP, or the border gateway protocol, is used to facilitate internet traffic between different providers. To enable traffic between so-called autonomous systems, of which Google is one, a table is kept with so-called prefixes. According to Bgpmon, things went wrong when Google reported 135,000 prefixes to Verizon. Japan was the hardest hit as a result, but the effects were also felt in the rest of the world, the site said.