Risk of internet collapse rising

By Derek Sooman on November 27, 2002, 9:14 AM
In experiments designed to simulate how effective an organised attack on the Internet's infrastructure would be, scientists from Ohio State University led by Tony Grubesic, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Cincinnati found that the network of the Internet would quickly begin to unravel and collapse if the Internet's key hubs were targetted, reported the BBC earlier this week.

"The virtual attacks showed that the net would keep going in major cities, but outlying areas and smaller towns would gradually be cut off.

The researchers warn that the net has become more vulnerable as it has become more commercialised and key net cables are concentrated in the hands of fewer organisations.
"

The Internet is no doubt often seen by many terrorist groups as one of the main personifications of capitalism in the West, and would make a tempting target for terror groups like those responsible for the September 11 attacks last year. The effect of such an attack would be devastating both socially and economically in a world that's becomming increasingly dependant on the Internet for communication and trade.

More here at the BBC News Web Site.




User Comments: 3

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StormBringer said:
Didn't someone else do one of these simulations, and were proved wrong just a few weeks later when a large scale attack failed to bring the net to its knees.
Per Hansson said:
That wasn't a test, it was an attack on the 13 ROOT internet DNS servers, according to sources 9 of the 13 servers where brought down, though it might just been the attacker calling off the attack...However this would not kill the internet itself, only the DNS (Domain Name System) name resolving process.Which is the process that converts web site's adresses into IP Adresses (i.e. [url]www.google.com=216.239.51.101,[/url] try and paste that adress in your browser, you will come to google, and somewhat faster becuase the DNS servers don't have to reslove the adress...And this is why taking down those servers would not affect the internet in itself, i.e. you would still be able to use IP Adresses (if you knew what the site you visit use for an IP Adress that is...)However what is being discussed in this article is an attack on the hubs on the internet, or more specifically, to the routers on the internet which route traffic between places.Say you are contacting a site in the US from Europe, you will then need to go through several of these Routers to reach your destination.However Routers are continually failing on the internet (just the way hardware works...) but this isn't a problem because of the redundancy on the net, i.e. one router goes down but there are still X alternate routes to send (route) the traffic...But should many routers get attacked at the same time the whole net could be brought down, although that would be an extremley difficult objective to achive because there are extremley many routers on the net...Just my 0,02$...
StormBringer said:
No Per, the test was done previous to those attacks, a week before I think. The Register had a story about the simulation right after the actual attacks took place. they were kind of throwing the failed doomsday in the face of the people who did the simulation because their forcast was way off.And from what I read, it wasn't the attacker calling it off, it was a bunch of Network personnel at the locations, working their A**** off to restore the systems as soon as possible and thwarting further efforts of the attackers.
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