Six scenarios of collapse Internet




If you’re reading this, you are on the internet, and we have a question: you become a little bit scary? Or will you understand by the collapse of the Internet only exemption from this relationship, and in the case of total failure go sit on a bench with friends, and breathe in the fresh air?

In the weeks largest online structures like Google, Twitter, The New York Times and even the NASDAQ stock exchange were hit and put out of action for quite a long time, which raised disturbing ripples in cyberspace. Violations were entrusted to technical failures, the possible activities of hackers and even cyber-terrorists acting in defense of Syria.

Everyone who is prone to paranoia, thinking about the gloomy scenarios: is this a glimmer of light in the house, which occurs before the land drops pitch darkness and electricity throughout the city will be turned off? Can a large-scale disaster or war to disable the WAN? Whether this will lead to the collapse of the World Wide Web? Let’s look at the options .
Backups do not work


According to Paul Levinson, professor of communication and media research at Fordham University, nothing is impossible. While it is true that the Internet is based on decentralization and full of back-up, disaster connected with it is almost impossible to predict or prevent.

“Remember the story of electricity,” – says Levinson. – “Ever since it was introduced in 1880, there have been a lot of work on the installation of redundant back-up systems and technologies have significantly improved over the years. But as is known, once a few years there are huge power system failures. Catastrophe – part of life and technology. ”

What can put the Internet?

Без Интернета

Even if we just limited to the disaster scenario in the continental U.S., it is unlikely that any of the natural disasters just take and put out of action all providers to ensure network performance – because they are scattered across the country. Geographically speaking, there is a natural disaster that could break all the NSP in the United States. “Well, if you leave the country in its place” – Levinson says with a grin.

Thus, the main concern may be the cyber-terrorism or deliberate introduction of malware that will take down the system from within the NSP.

“The terrorist virus can certainly cause for concern,” – said Levinson. – “The vectors really point to a painful situation. That’s why the word “virus” is a good fit. Whether it’s digital or biological, as soon as it enters the system, it spreads very quickly and moves from one system to another. ”

Be careful not evil geniuses

Злой гений

Given the size of the areas dedicated to cyber security issues, is it possible at all that the virus will be able to limit access to the Internet across the country?

“It is very difficult, but possible,” – said Stephen Haag, a professor of the department of business information and intelligence at the University of Denver. – “Because of the distributed nature of the Internet and the amount of redundant backup systems, the event should be directed to the network service providers. They support the infrastructure of the Internet. If one fail, internet traffic will go a hundred other ways to get to your destination. Thus, the event must divide the set of service providers at the same time. ”

And again, there is always a sign of surprise.

“You build a firewall against things that are familiar, you know how they work and attack” – says Levinson. – “And all of this works as long as there is an evil genius who knows how to get around this protection.”

What will happen the day after?


Let’s happened irreparable: Internet died at midnight. On what will be like tomorrow?

“A giant failure on the Internet completely stop almost every electronic activity,” – said Haag. – “No planes flying in the air or the stock market or electronic payments – it will not work. Just imagine how many systems based on the Internet. The average person relies on the success of the 250 computers a day. And most of them are connected to the Internet and need it to work correctly. ”

This is not from the area of ​​biological warfare, where people suddenly become ill and die, says Levinson. But if we are not ready, we can say without exaggeration that disabling Internet harm civilization as we know it.
Related systems are vulnerable


Even if the weight off the Internet will not affect the rigid system infrastructure – utilities, transportation, water resources management, – indirectly it will be harmful to them. Computers running the electrical network can be protected or isolated, but the people who click on these buttons, you will need to communicate over long distances.

In many cases, no one knows to what extent the violation of the Network will affect other systems.

“We depend on many things that are not even aware of,” – says Levinson. – “The fact that we do not get movie tickets online, it’s not a problem. However, medical records, financial transactions seriously affect the life and economy of the country. It is difficult to say to what extent each of the systems attached to the Internet. But we can predict chaos in the case of total destruction of the Network. ”

We do not know what we do not know


Skeptics who do not believe in the complete collapse of the Internet, there are a lot of ammunition in their favor. In the end, what we call the Internet, a network that brings together millions of other networks , is redundant, complex matrices in the history of communication technology. There is no way to bring down them, is not it?

Levinson is well aware of the issue.

“When someone asks me, well, what is it, in your opinion, will, and my answer is” I do not know for sure “- we do not know for sure – it will undoubtedly lead to problems. Systems theory – a complicated thing, and it states that in any system can not eliminate all possible problems. If circumstances develop successful, you will receive a catastrophe. ”

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