The Internet is More Fragile Than You May Think

The internet may be a packet-switching network, but certain paths are in fact critical as they rely on fragile cables. Which break.

Today it's a major Mediterranean cable that's broken.

Egypt, it seems, has pretty much fallen off the Internet, and service to several other countries including Pakistan and India is impacted.

It's an important reminder that while many routes between A and B may be possible, sometimes there are not so many; and sometimes there's only one big pipe.

Which makes wiretaps — and full network monitoring — a lot easier.

I recall setting up a panel at CFP years ago on how one would destroy the internet. One guy described evil worms. Another had a nefarious DNS-killer. And then one fellow just said, “give me a backhoe…”.

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2 Responses to The Internet is More Fragile Than You May Think

  1. Scott says:

    It really IS just a tad disconcerting how fragile the network is. But the statement “give me a backhoe…” Funny. Scary. But funny.

  2. Melinda says:

    A bunch of years ago I knew someone who was doing security consulting and penetration testing for a supercomputer center, and one of the first things he did was stick a brick in a briefcase, tape a sign with the word “BOMB” on it, and heave it through the machine room window (most large supercomputer facilities have big glass windows in front so visitors can admire the equipment without having to enter).

    But more on the infrastructure side, one of the big research supercomputer centers is connected to the power grid through two substations, for reliability/failover. Both substations are connected to the same power station.

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