Juniper Hit by Router Flaw

 Flaws in Juniper's routing software triggered Internet outages in parts of the world this week

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Nov 9, 2011
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Juniper has enjoy strong success in the service provider market over the years. That success has resulted in a global footprint for Juniper routers. This week, that global footprint was affected by a software error that caused Internet slowdowns and outages.

"This morning, Juniper learned of a Border Gateway Protocol edge router issue that affected a small percentage of customers," Mark Bauhaus EVP, Services, Support and Operations said in a statement sent to InternetNews.com on Tuesday. "A software fix is available, and we've been working with our customers to immediately deploy the fix."

While Juniper said that the flaw only affected a small percentage of customers, one of those customers was Level3.

"Shortly after 9 a.m. ET today, our network experienced temporary service interruptions across North America and Europe apparently due to a router software issue," Level 3 said in a statement. "It has been reported that a similar issue may have affected other carriers as well."

In a Juniper bulletin leaked online, the company provides additional details on what happened.

"MPCs (Modular Port Concentrators) installed in an MX Series router may crash upon receipt of very specific and unlikely route prefix install/delete actions, such as a BGP routing update," the bulletin states. "The trigger for the MPC crash was determined to be a valid BGP UPDATE received from a registered network service provider, although this one UPDATE was determined to not be solely responsible for the crashes."

In Juniper's view, there is no indication according their information that flaw execution was the result of a hacking attack.

"There is no indication that this issue was triggered maliciously," the bulletin states. "Given the complexity of conditions required to trigger this issue, the probability of exploiting this defect is extremely low."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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