Friday, December 11, 2009

Could the whole Internet really crash in a digital 2012?


MSN featured an article Thursday “What if the Internet broke?” The link was here ("What if the Internet breaks" by Katherine Reynolds Lewis). We see this kind of digital-2012 scenario once in while in scaremongering articles or sci-fi scenarios.

Because the Internet is decentralized and has many redundancies, it sounds unlikely. But hackers could undermine the integrity of the DNS system (resulting in emergency meetings in July 2008, covered on my ID theft blog in August 2008), or the dozen or so companies that host big DNS servers.

Banks and hospitals do have manual and paper records and could process locally on mainframes as they had in the past. Electric power would stay up but power companies could not send signals.

It’s common for big regional routers to fail, which usually results in a user’s being able to visit some websites but being unable to connect to others for a couple of hours. Sometimes a cable company loses connection to one of these routers, resulting in partial but not complete disruption of broadband Internet service.

As the article explains, the original Internet was around in limited fashion for DOD and certain universities back in 1969, when I was tucked away in the Army.

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