I was reading about a recent Gmail hack from China and they actually showed the IP used to access the account. Since I was fairly curious, I decided to take a look into the IP – 18.104.22.168 – and I was surprised with the result.
inetnum: 22.214.171.124 - 126.96.36.199
descr: China Unicom Henan province network
descr: China Unicom
status: ALLOCATED PORTABLE
remarks: This object can only be updated by APNIC hostmasters.
remarks: To update this object, please contact APNIC
remarks: hostmasters and include your organisation's account
remarks: name in the subject line.
changed: firstname.lastname@example.org 20051011
changed: email@example.com 20051020
changed: firstname.lastname@example.org 20090507
changed: email@example.com 20090508
Nothing surprising here since the IP reports itself as being allocated to a Chinese ISP – China Unicom in Henan.
; <> DiG 9.7.0-P1 <> -x 188.8.131.52
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 60982
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0
;; QUESTION SECTION:
;184.108.40.206.in-addr.arpa. IN PTR
;; ANSWER SECTION:
220.127.116.11.in-addr.arpa. 85865 IN PTR hn.kd.ny.adsl.
;; Query time: 23 msec
Now, this totally caught my eye. Notice the PTR record shows that the name for that IP is hn.kd.ny.adsl – an uncommon TLD. So, I checked Wikipedia for a list of available TLDs and fair enough, the ADSL TLD does not seem to exist. If I were to try to ping hn.kd.ny.adsl, the address would not even resolve through the normal DNS system.
ping: unknown host hn.kd.ny.adsl
Now, this indicates to me that China is running its own root-servers, which does not surprise me one bit as it uses it to implement the Great Firewall of China. Since it does this, it is free to implement its own list of TLDs that nobody else uses in the rest of the world. This is all fine and dandy until ICANN decides to approve the use of an ADSL TLD in the future.
With the recent WikiLeaks fiasco, people are already talking about fragmenting the Internet. This is proof that the Internet is already fragmented – we just need to take it to the next level. Zero-One-Infinity, anyone?