Bringing Down The Internet

Adams, Jonathan; Guterl, Fred; Sennott, Sarah; Itoi, Kay; Kepp, Mike; Lee, B. J.
November 2003
Bulletin with Newsweek;11/4/2003, Vol. 121 Issue 6397, p50
Computer experts, having ill intentions, release a fast-spreading computer virus that in a matter of minutes gives him control of millions of personal computers and servers throughout the world. They launch a silent and sustained attack on computers that are crucial for sending around the billions of packets of data that keep e-mail, the Web and other, more basic necessities of modern life humming. At first the attack seems to be an inconvenience — e-mail traffic grinds to a halt, Web browsing is impossible. But then the problems spread to services only tangentially related to the Internet: automated-teller machines freeze up, calls to emergency numbers fail to get routed to police stations and ambulance services, airport-and train-reservation systems come down. Like much Internet technology, root servers and exchange points are protected as much by ignorance as by barbed wire, and some experts worry that they're potential targets for those who would try to bring the Internet down with some combination of viruses and bombs. Internet service was maintained through the remaining four servers.


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