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Quake in Taiwan Cripples Internet 171

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the scott-you-really-should-move dept.
judebx writes "Powerful quakes measuring 7 on the Richter scale have struck southern Taiwan and caused damage to undersea communication cables, disrupting telephone and internet services in several parts of Asia. The quake comes on the second anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and triggered tsunami warnings. Human casualties, however, have been low so far."
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Quake in Taiwan Cripples Internet

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  • Let's wait and see (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xenna (37238) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:35AM (#17376156)
    what the effect on the incoming spam will be...
    • by solitas (916005)
      Does anyone know of an online 'map' that summarises the extent of the 'blackout'? (i.e. how much traffic passes through Taiwan?)
      • by hkg168 (1044150) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:05PM (#17379600)
        it is very hard to tell, according to the news, only 1 or 2 cables are actually working among the 7 cables in the sea. first of all, not all the cable systems have the same bandwidth. most of the submarine cable systems are segmented, and traffic is routed to the "landing station". different cable systems have different landing stations in the country. the cable systems in HKG have 4 or 5 different landing station. as for taiwan, the map that i am referring to - 3 in northern taiwan, and 1 in southern taiwan. then, traffic will get re-routed to an alternate path within a cable system if it's designed as non-linear system. otherwise, if the cable system is linear, the traffic will actually need to get to another peering (interconnection point) and hop to another cable system for re-routing. consider the path from asia to US, those re-routing can easily cost application timeout. also, not all the cable systems have the same amount remaining capacity. since each submarine cable system is not likely owned by one individual provider (usually it's 2 or more and it works like consortium), so a wide range of customers will be impacted. and it's a ripple effect ... the only 2 cables that are available are simply being OVERLOADED with unexpected traffic. in a nut shell, it's impossible to tell the impact for a isolated region(in this case, taiwan). however, if a company has purchased a totally diverse path and have their traffic re-route to an alternate path, they will be okay if they re-routed the traffic to Japan, or Australia, and then go to US. damn it! who would think that 7 cable systems (EAC, FLAG, APCN, APCN2, SMW3, C2C, etc) are all having landing station/cables in taiwan. now we are talking about diversity in the sea ... it's a physical layer issue (layer 1) ... www.telegraphy.com has nice cable maps, but you need to subscribe to see the map.
  • by CreatorOfSmallTruths (579560) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:35AM (#17376168)
    I hope all is well with them over there..

    am I the only one who read this and thought "wow, these id games are really hitting it off in taiwan" ?
    • HAHAHA I thought the exact same thing. I was like "wow I didn't know Quake online was such a hit overthere!"
    • by Cctoide (923843)
      No, no you weren't.
    • Not at all, I didn't even bother reading the story right away, because I thought it was just an exaggeration, or someone finding something else to blame games on.

      It wasn't until I read an e-mail from work that the Hong Kong office was experience connectivity problems due to the earthquake in Taiwan that I was like, "Why the hell wasn't that on Slashdot?"

      Then I went back to my RSS feed to check, and saw that the story was there. I read the story, started reading the comments, and then saw your comment and re
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by elgatozorbas (783538)

      am I the only one who read this and thought "wow, these id games are really hitting it off in taiwan" ?

      No. Actually everyone here immediately tought of it. Except maybe those too young to know Quake.

    • "Woah. Quake must be to Taiwan what Starcraft is to Korea..."
    • I noticed that quake 4 reintroduced the nail gun. In the original quake, the nail gun was able to bring down whole subnets. (The game would generate a packet for each round fired.)
      • by rbarreira (836272)
        That reminds me that when I tried to play Quake 2 with a friend using a serial null-modem cable, the ping time went wild when we fired the railgun... It's a bit surprising that they didn't catch that during game testing...
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Actually, my first thought was "quad-damage" accompanied by a heavily distorted electric guitar chord.
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:38AM (#17376200)
    Oh, right! I've got almost everything that might come down that pipe null-routed anyway. I feel for the cable repair guys, but...
    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:55AM (#17376412)
      Oh, right! I've got almost everything that might come down that pipe null-routed anyway.

      I speak for everyone in Hong Kong, and say, fuck off and die.

      95% of the world's spam is paid for by American spammers. (See the ROKSO list.) I get flooded by American spam and then get blocked by racist assholes like you.

      I've been offline all day and while my email (hosted by Yahoo) is still dead somehow I can access Slashdot.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by ScentCone (795499)
        I speak for everyone in Hong Kong

        Please do me a favor, since you speak for everyone in Hong Kong, and see about the other little problem (aside from the ocean of spam that does come from your neighborhood). The vast majority of the more sophisticated crack attempts that I see pounding on all sorts of systems that I touch come from Asia, and most of that from China and Korea. There are plenty from Romania, Russia, and elsewhere, too, but because of the types of systems that I work with (and the businesses
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by 1u3hr (530656)
          Please do me a favor, since you speak for everyone in Hong Kong, and see about the other little problem (aside from the ocean of spam that does come from your neighborhood). The vast majority of the more sophisticated crack attempts that I see pounding on all sorts of systems that I touch come from Asia, and most of that from China and Korea.

          Look at a map. I'm as responsible for what happens in Korea as you are for Brazil. And China is still in most ways a separate country. Telecom companies in particula

          • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:42AM (#17376922)
            And even worse, having white skin, I get blamed for what you idiots do.

            Look, I don't care what color you, or anyone else is. I care what they do. The systems I deal with have nothing whatsoever to do with your daily life (especially since you use a Yahoo account). I'm just telling you facts: there are large IP blocks serving Hong Kong, much of China, Taiwan, Korea, etc., that are, for me and my users, a source of essentially nothing but spam and endless cracking attempts. So until that ratio changes to something more like what I see out of, say, Brazil or Germany, it pretty much all just gets stopped. I'm injecting network geography, not race into this. You're the one that's got race stuck in your head. Packets have no color to me, they just carry the intent of the person sending them, or the carelessness of the person using an unpatched, pirated O/S that's being a slave to the person sending them.

            You are the one that said you speak for everyone in Hong Kong, and I replied in a way to point out how ridiculous that sounds. You can't have it both ways.
            • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

              by 1u3hr (530656)
              You are the one that said you speak for everyone in Hong Kong, and I replied in a way to point out how ridiculous that sounds.

              Yet still missing how prejudinced you are in your blaming the whole of Asia for the actions of some spammers msotly IN THE PAY OF AMERICANS.

              • by Tesen (858022)
                You are the one that said you speak for everyone in Hong Kong, and I replied in a way to point out how ridiculous that sounds.

                Yet still missing how prejudinced you are in your blaming the whole of Asia for the actions of some spammers msotly IN THE PAY OF AMERICANS.


                WOW! Easy there, I think what he is saying is that he has seen lots of crack attempts, lots of spam (from his observations) coming from those IP groups for those countries. He decided to use a brute force method of simply just nullifying any
                • by ScentCone (795499)
                  So one admin decides to black list entire address blocks in order to protect their network, BIG DEAL! Their right and THEIR loss.

                  Hey, I've got users that DO need their little part of the world exposed to those other trans-Pacific chunks of the 'net, and we deal with different problems (and audiences) in different ways. Things like web-services machines that are only there to serve domestic business partners, etc., don't mind the null route one little bit. Quick and simple. E-mail is touchier, but if you'
              • by ScentCone (795499)
                Yet still missing how prejudinced you are in your blaming the whole of Asia for the actions of some spammers msotly IN THE PAY OF AMERICANS.

                You are completely missing the point. There are spammers in Germany, too. Same story. Just like in South America, India, Australia, and Canada. But from those other places, more of the traffic is legitimate. If virtually none of the traffic from a particular class C (or B) address block is legitimate, then I'm often inclined to block it. I get spam and crack attempts
                • by 1u3hr (530656)
                  mers in Germany, too. Same story. Just like in South America, India, Australia, and Canada. But from those other places, more of the traffic is legitimate. If virtually none of the traffic from a particular class C (or B) address block is legitimate, then I'm often inclined to block it.

                  If it's your own personal mail, fine. If you're doing it for an ISP or a large company without gettng the users to sign off on you preventing them communicating with half the world's population, not fine. I know for insta

                  • by ScentCone (795499)
                    I can hardly ever send messages to anyone on AOL because of broad-brushed blocking

                    You know why, right? Because millions of people who use AOL keep clicking the "this is spam" button on the junk in their mailboxes, and the system starts picking up on patterns. And one of those patterns includes the huge number of Asian IP addresses that are sending it out. AOL doesn't block because they like to, they block because otherwise certain sources completely overwhelm them and their customers with spam.

                    There i
            • I'm just telling you facts: there are large IP blocks serving Hong Kong, much of China, Taiwan, Korea, etc., that are, for me and my users, a source of essentially nothing but spam and endless cracking attempts. So until that ratio changes to something more like what I see out of, say, Brazil or Germany, it pretty much all just gets stopped.

              I think it's worth considering the reasons for this.

              While there's a lot of bandwidth over here in Asia, there are a lot of people who prefer Asian-language content. S

              • by ScentCone (795499)
                Now, I understand that this discussion doesn't change the fact that you find blackholing Asian IP ranges to be effective in a certain way. But it's always useful to think of the big picture - it may even provide the basis for real solutions.

                As I mentioned to the annoyed guy from Hong Kong (who speaks for everyone in Hong Kong, but can't get them to patch their machines!), I think that unpatched pirated desktops really are the main problem. The pervasive notion, in that part of the world, that only chumps
                • The culture of computing needs to change throughout Asia

                  As long as a copy of Windows costs more than someone earns in a month (6 months in some countries), piracy is not going away.

                  Microsoft have stood their ground and refused to employ market-sensitive pricing, and I think this will remain the sticking point. I understand concerns about arbitrage... at least for countries like Malaysia where they'd be selling an English-language version; I wouldn't expect a Thai version of XP to be a big grey market imp

          • by El Torico (732160)
            And even worse, having white skin, I get blamed for what you idiots do.

            Like maintaining a significant military presence in the region to deter mainland China from invading Taiwan? Like keeping the lunatic Kim Jong Il from attacking South Korea, Japan, and others? Yeah, that is idiotic, protecting ingrates at great expense, which is why we probably aren't going to do it much longer.

            I know that you are pissed off because you can't have all of your Internet today, but you really need to calm down. Scent

      • by FyRE666 (263011)
        I can see why you might be a little irritated, but I routinely block all asian address ranges - or as many as possible - on servers I admin for customers (all services, not just email). As the parent pointed out, I've also noticed the only traffic coming from there is spam or automated cracking attempts. It's nothing personal, just an obvious and effective way to prevent intrusion and at least some of the spam - it's like capping an open sewer outlet.
      • It sounds like you are the racist. Only a racist would make the implication that nationality necessarily implies genetic ancestry. The guy you are replying to did not do that. You did.
  • by THESuperShawn (764971) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:41AM (#17376234)
    Seriously- I am just curious. Is it possible that they were damaged by magma flow? I just find it hard to "fathom" (ba dum dum) that undersea cables could get damaged by an earthquake.

    I would think that any kind of rock-slide or similar would be slowed by the friction of the water, making cable damage difficult. And I would not think that plate movement would be enough to bend or stretch the cable to the point of breaking. So how does the cable get damaged?

    Surely someone here knows more about the hazards to these cables...
    • by dpaton.net (199423) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:47AM (#17376296) Homepage Journal
      Unfortunately, all it takes is a large rock weighing a few tons with a sharp edge to fall and cleave a cable that's laying against a flat rock on the bottom. I don't know precisely how the transcontinental cables are built, but the smaller ones I've dealt with for river and lake crossings are quite vulnerable. They're stiff as hell (don't react well to bending), somewhat brittle (don't react well to bending or crushing), and designed to be laid and buried, and never move again (don't react well to general movement). A sharp vertical motion could crack them, or a rolling motion could set them up to be crushed by flying debris (quakes can be very fast, even underwater, hence tsunami generation). There's lots of ways for a cable to die.
    • by MustardMan (52102) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:50AM (#17376354)
      Well, the tubes are often made of glass, and vigorous shaking will crack them. Then, water rushes into the tubes and the poker chips float up while the racing horses drown, clogging up the internets. It's pandemonium, I tell ya. If only the internet was a big truck...
      • by owlnation (858981) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:30AM (#17376776)
        Well, the tubes are often made of glass, and vigorous shaking will crack them. Then, water rushes into the tubes and the poker chips float up while the racing horses drown, clogging up the internets. It's pandemonium, I tell ya. If only the internet was a big truck...
        Should we also perhaps be worried about the affect on marine and seabird life from the resulting v1@gr4 slick? Maybe good for the whale populations to help them recover from Japanese "scientific" whaling? I, for one, welcome our new potent and satisfied cetacean overlords.
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:59AM (#17376452)
      I would think that any kind of rock-slide or similar would be slowed by the friction of the water

      Yeah, but there's still a lot of energy there, and a several hundred pound rock is still plenty able to crush the coaxial cladding of a cable draped over the sea bed. There's also all sorts of other metalic debris that can get shifted around.

      I talked once to a guy that was in the business of knowing how to sabotage these things (well, not Taiwanese cables, but of course Soviet ones, spanning their Naval port areas... for a really interesting look at risky underwater espionage adventures, pick up the non-fiction "Blind Man's Bluff" for a quick read - fascinating). Whether older-style telco copper or newer fiber, the cables can be easily crimped, pinched, etc. Apparently it was fashionable to make it look like a damaged, rusty old trauler derrick (used for pulling in huge fishing nets) had been dropped over the side of a ship and just happened to land on a comms cable... all so that they could gauge how quickly and in what way strategic opponents would shift to other communication methods and go about repairs.
    • by THESuperShawn (764971) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:08AM (#17376508)
      So I went about researching this myself (thanks for the input so far) and found a few good links...

      Although the layout of this page is awful (and they beg for click-fraud abuse), it does show a few really good maps of the current undersea cable infrastructure. Pretty neat stuff.

      http://eyeball-series.org/cable-eyeball.htm [eyeball-series.org]
      • by AlHunt (982887)
        >Although the layout of this page is awful (and they beg for click-fraud abuse), it does show a few really good maps of
        > the current undersea cable infrastructure. Pretty neat stuff.

        I'm surprised this much information is available in the information restriction age.

  • Version? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrgrey (319015) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:41AM (#17376236) Homepage Journal
    Quake 1, 2 ,3 or 4?
    • This pretty much reveals our cultural bias, but I also initially understood the headline as describing rampant multiplayer matches crippling internet access. Now *that's* what I would call a heated deathmatch. Electrifying, even.

      Given /.er's general tendencies towards being gamers, "earthquake" would have been a better word to describe the occurance.
    • Yeah, this was my first thought, too. I'm suprised that they're still so actively playing a game that was released over ten years ago (hurrr!).
    • Re:Version? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:44PM (#17377742)
      Quake 1, 2 ,3 or 4?

      Quake 7 according to one Mr Richter.
    • by tedgyz (515156) *
      Damn! You beat me to the punch line.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    did always have inefficient network code, it was only a matter of time...
  • "Human casualties, however, have been low so far." Wait until all those gold farmers can't get into World of Warcraft... we'll see some human casualties then.
  • Priorities (Score:3, Funny)

    by mattwarden (699984) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:54AM (#17376400) Homepage

    So, wait.

    People were injured and died in this quake, and the headline is Quake in Taiwan Cripples Internet ? You insensitive clods.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      People were injured and died in this quake

            Get off your moral high-horse and stop trying to tell us that you actually give a shit. No one believes you.
      • Insightful? No, actually I was reading that and assuming that no one was hurt until I got to the very end. Before then, I thought "good, just infrastructure."

        People die every day. But I don't think that means that we should mention when a telephone wire goes down 5 sentences before we mention "oh yeah, someone got hurt, too."
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
      Right. Because broken infrastructure doesn't matter in an emergency situation. Tell that to the people trying to phone their family.
  • My Spam levels just dropped in half! SpamAssassin is not working near as hard as it was before Christmas. I feel for the guys out there fixing all the broken fiber.
  • I don't think why I should care. Power systems break down all the time. Telephone systems less often. A decentral net is the best of all worlds. So the solution is to identify national strategic dependencies and seek alternatives.
  • Hmmm... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Enoxice (993945)
    Title and summary contradict one another: "Quake in Taiwan Cripples Internet" and "Human casualties, however, have been low so far."?

    You'd think with so many people running around with Rail Guns and Rocket Launchers in DM3, there'd be plenty of dead space marines...
  • where will I get my cia1i5 now?
  • "Powerful quakes measuring 7 on the Richter scale have struck southern Taiwan and caused damage to undersea communication cables, disrupting telephone and internet services in several parts of Asia.... Human casualties, however, have been low so far."

    when.... the disruption of the internet trumps the part about human casualties!
    • Considering over 200 000 died a couple of years ago and 7 years ago here in Taiwan 2000 died - it's not that big a deal so I guess the author had to spice it up. In central Taiwan I haven't noticed any drop in service, so maybe it's local to connections from the South.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by rumplet (1034332)
      RAM prices, Won't somebody think of the RAM prices!
    • by Colin Smith (2679)

      when.... the disruption of the internet trumps the part about human casualties!
      It pretty much happens every christmas. Anyone else noticed that? It's just god smiting the heretics.

       
  • Their Internet was crippled by Quake? What the hell is gonna happen when they start playing Q3A?
  • by martyb (196687) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:59AM (#17377098)

    On the Internet Traffic Report website [internettr...report.com] you can click on Asia [internettr...report.com] and see where the current congestion and outages are. Scroll down to the bottom and you can see these graphs, too:

    These plots give a 24-hour window on the situation. It it's easy to see when things started getting shaken up (bad pun intended).

  • In Soviet America Quake 4 cripples Internet 2
  • Was I the only one who that it the title was referring to the id game "Quake", not an earthquake?
  • by rumplet (1034332) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:41PM (#17377700) Homepage
    I got up today and the net was borked. My first and immediate assumption was that some students had gone out protesting again and got massacred, and the Chinese gov. tried to shut down the internet completely to try and suppress the news.

    Internet access was practically dead, but I spotted "7.1 Taiwan earthquake" in an RSS feed from Google. Google was the only thing that I use, that worked since the server was inside China.
    Chinese sites were not affected and load at full speed, but anything outside mostly times out.

    I doubt the strategy to route everything though a few key points for censorship purposes helps much with making the net robust against just this sorts of disaster.

    Also for the poster near the top talking about spam, Taiwan isn't a major source of spam, but China is, and China was just as badly affected by the damage to the undersea cables.
  • by Turmoyl (958221) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:43PM (#17377726)
    This outage has been labeled the largest ever in the Pacific Rim region (as relayed to us by a Sprint rep).

    The company I am currently employed by has a lot of affected circuits in the APAC region (a colo in Honk Kong and many offices in China, India, Singapore and Australia). The circuits belong to Sprint and OnReach, and they have both been able to determine that the earthquake itself and at least 2 of the aftershocks each created undersea landslides, and it is the detritus from the landslides that actually damaged the cables.

    There's been a lot of ups and downs on the affected circuits as latent capacity is brought on-line, various peering agreements are created and/or reworked, etc. It's not going to get much better anytime soon, either, due to there being at least 7 affected undersea cables and only 2 repair ships available to perform the repairs (which, of course, requires digging the cables out from underneath all of the detritus before the repairs and redeployments can even begin).

    In the immortal words of the writers of Full Metal Jacket, "It's a giant shit sandwich and we've all got to take a bite."
  • A communications disruption can mean only one thing: Invasion!
  • by rivetgeek (977479) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:21PM (#17379052)
    I work for a MAJOR telecom provider and this wont be fixed anytime soon. I have inside information that cable ships have been dispatched to fix the fiber cut but there is no ETA. Last time this sort of thing happened was when the sea-me-we cable was cut a couple years ago during an earthquake and effectively isolated greece for 3 1/2 weeks. Due to a lack of non sea cable bandwidth, there is no re-route possible. Affected routes are: Tokyo/Hong Kong Seoul/Hong Kong Taipei/Hong Kong Singapore/Osaka Kuala Lumpur/Tokyo Los Angeles/Hong Kong
  • by aldebaraan (656310)
    A word to the wise... The Richter scale of Magnitude is not frequently used any longer in today's geological sciences. It is outdated, primarily because it has an inherent saturation point around 8.5. This scale was replaced in the scientific community by a much more meaningful Moment Magnitude scale, which is the number that is generally given to the media by scientists (and is referred to simply as magnitude; e.g. the quake was a magnitude 7.1). Other measurements are also meaningful for those doing t
  • Sensationalist News (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dak RIT (556128) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @06:03PM (#17381686) Homepage
    The quakes disrupted cables primarily dedicated to business use, such as for currency exchange with banks. I am currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, () which is the 2nd biggest city in Taiwan on the southern side of the island (less than 50 miles from the quakes), and I was online during both quakes and never experienced any interruption in service or slowdown. In fact I was using it at the time to chat with friends here and to e-mail home that I was fine.

    There were actually 2 distinct quakes, one magnitude 7.1, one 7.0, that occurred about 7 minutes apart, and so far have been 3 aftershocks measuring from 5.4 to 5.6 (the 5.6 being just yesterday morning). All of the quakes were very shallow (7 miles deep and less).

    You can get specific information on the quakes from the USGS: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Ma ps/10/120_25.php [usgs.gov]

  • Downloading a movie from Israel is going at 19kB/sec. Amazing how an earthquake in Silicon Valley affects Silicon Valley but an earthquake in Taiwan affects everyone.

  • i'm from the philippines and the connection right now is horrible. it is spotty and i am able to access slashdot right now albeit very slow.

    i am concerned about what happened here's why.

    the earthquake happened dec. 26, 8:26pm local time (same time zone with taiwan.) during that time, the internet connectivity was still working ok (i accessed the net at around 10pm and surprised to see at tsunami alerts in my country.) there was no increased latency or packet loss. it was only until the morning of the fo

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