Friday, January 20, 2012

Apparently, I Can Predict the Future

On Wednesday, I posted about Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attacks are a means of "taking down" a targeted website by overwhelming the servers with more content requests (that's essentially what happens when you surf to a website) than can be handled.

The discussion at that point was largely historical, technical and theoretical.
Not so much anymore. Yesterday the loose federation of "hacktivists" known as Anonymous launched simultaneous, coordinated DDoS attacks on a few well known websites in retaliation for the Federal closure of the pirated content site Megaupload. How well known you ask? Well, to name a few:
  • US Department of Justice;
  • Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA);
  • Universal Music Group;
  • US Copyright Office;
  • EMI Records;
  • HADOPI (French copyright authority); and
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation.

That's right. The FBI. A bunch of angry geeks with laptops took down the Eff-Bee-Flippin'-Eye. And there's not a darn thing that the Feds can do about it. Sure, they'll eventually arrest SOMEONE. But the point of DDoS attacks is that first "D"...they're DISTRIBUTED. There is no central node, no leader, no single point of failure. Take down one link, and there dozens, hundreds or thousands more who can easily fill that role. It's the Hydra, only more resilient.

Are Anonymous the vessels of righteous, populist anger, or are they electronic terrorists? That's for you to decide. What's not open for debate is that the powerful interconnectedness that ties us together empowers both creative and destructive force.

If I was Hindu, I might just see the hand of Shiva in the Internet - creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer.

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