General

Hackers Overwhelm Internet Traffic Computers

February 7, 2007

Three of the 13 computers that monitor global Internet traffic were successfully attacked in an attempt to disrupt the Internet or to show off or something. No one is really sure yet and, for that matter, the average Internet user did not really even noticed the attack.

The only ones that really noticed were computer scientists all over the world. These are the girls and guys that really keep track of Internet traffic and manage traffic spikes as they arise and they were scrambling to re-route traffic and compensate.

Back in 2002, a similar attack was carried out and that one was a little more disruptive. This time, the technology was ready and the attack was a little more than a “bump”. That tells us that the World Wide Web is pretty robust!

I am posting about this for two reasons:

First

    It shows that hackers are not just content with trying to get your personal information by sending malicious email, for example. Modern hackers are increasingly more malicious and savvy. They are very organized because of the worldwide reach of the Internet.

Second

    It should make us think about what we would do if the Internet “was down”, especially if you are a business. Imagine if you could not go online. Many of us start our day checking the weather or news and sports scores. Now, we could probably manage to do without that for a while. But what about those that run a business online, maybe an Ebay store? No way to check your auctions, receive payments, answer questions.

    What if you ran an e-commerce web site? No way to see who ordered what, schedule items for shipment, receive credit card payments. What if you do business with companies in other countries and you could not send or receive email? You would probably still have the telephone, but what about sending and receiving information? There is the fax machine, of course. But if all the data normally transmitted via email was suddenly transmitted via fax, don’t you think the phone lines would be overwhelmed? There is FedEx and UPS, but sometimes that is not fast enough and it would be cost-prohibitive for many.

As an owner of a small business, it made me think about what we would do if we could not access the Internet for an extended period of time. We rely on email to communicate with our clients. We have to be able to upload their new web site designs to the web host’s server, never mind the fact that the client has to be able to access the Internet to actually view their design.

This is not a “doom-and-gloom” post. It is more like me just thinking out loud. Maybe now is the time to be working on that contingency plan. This attack was unsuccessful, but rest assured that hackers will keep trying. If they were able to somehow succeed, that would not be good for anyone.

What would we do if the Internet “was down”? What would you do?

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