Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will the Internet be there when you need it?

I have an article appearing in TechNewsWorld about the reliability of Internet web services. The Twitter outage in August shocked a lot of people and called into question the dependability of Internet-based services. In this article I look back on other notable outages -- eBay, MySpace, and Yahoo have all had their bad days -- and look into the root causes of the failures.

While researching the article I read "Mafiaboy: How I Cracked the Internet and Why It's Still Broken." This is the story of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that took down Yahoo, CNN and other websites in February of 2000. The perpetrator was a 15-year-old high school student from Montreal who had built up his DDoS capabilities by hacking university and corporate servers for many months. If a high school student with no budget can take down top websites, it's clear that politically-motivated adults with even modest funding can do the same or worse.

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