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The Internet

What Happens When 99% of the Net Crashes? 167

Sara Chan writes "The Internet remains connected on a global scale even if a randomly chosen 99% of its connection points break down. It is, however, in danger if its most highly connected points are selectively knocked out. Recent computer simulations have shown that the Internet is fairly resilient because it is scale free. The latest work, published in Physical Review Letters strengthens this conclusion. Two independent groups of researchers applied percolation theory. Percolation theory deals with systems containing points ("sites") and connections between them, and it analyzes the behavior of the system when some of the sites or connections are removed (it was developed by geophysicists for estimating how much oil could be extracted from reservoirs in a porous medium). Abstracts of the papers are available here and here."
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What Happens When 99% Of the Net Crashes?

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  • 99% knocked out? hurm... i wonder what would happen...

    what happens when people kill 99% of your body?
    or 99% of your car?

    i guess the only thing that doesn't fit this scenerio is killing 99% of the human race...
    unless there's only like 100 people living here... but that would suck anyway

    of course the internet will die...
    most of the hubs/backbones won't be there, so there will be like an isp here, and there, for people connected to that isp will be able to communicated with others, only on that isp...
    it's taking a spider web and cutting it into neat lil pieces...

    this was a great work of literature... took some real genius to predict that
  • Is it (back)bone-less too? I like my Internet experience nice and squishy.

  • Hey, cool, our paper made in onto slashdot. Here are some vague answers to the many excellent questions.

    First, our work deals with resilience of many kinds of networks, not just the Internet, and may be a better model of some of the others than it is of the Internet. As several people have pointed out, preserving connectivity in the Internet is kind of pointless if the performance is appalling, as it would be if you destroyed most of it. (We did actually make this point in an earlier version of the PRL paper, but it got cut out to make way for other things.)

    The whole paper is available here [arxiv.org], and if you look at it you'll see that we also talk about applications to things like the power grid, and contact networks which result in disease transmission. There are also many other important networks which one could apply it to. Distribution networks, like UPS or regular mail; transportation networks, like airline routes or highways; food webs; neural nets. One of the most interesting, perhaps, is not the Internet, but the Web, which is also a network (of pages linked together by links). This has also been shown to have a scale-free degree distribution (A. Broder et al., Computer Networks 33, 309 (2000)) and so should be highly robust in the sense that you can still surf from one place to another even if most of the pages in the Web disappeared overnight.

    To answer the question about non-random failures, yes, things are very different there, and this is also discussed in the article. If you attack only the most highly connected domains/web sites/people/airline hubs, etc. you can destroy the operation of the network in no time at all. These networks are very vulnerable to directed attack. This could be very bad, but it some cases it is good. For instance, it means that a focused attack on a disease-causing contact network, for example through vaccination of the people with the highest number of contacts (the so-called "core group"), could prevent an epidemic with comparitively little effort. (Of course, identifying the core group may not be trivial.)

    The guy who made the point about the Australian fiber dying last week is onto the right idea. This is the same effect - if you take out the right connection (or wrong, depending on your point of view), then you can do a lot of damage. It's only if you take out a random one that the network is robust.

    All the best,
    Mark.

  • C'mon. Stop and think about it for a second. The amount of resources to take out 99% of the net would be astronomical. Also, the associated collateral damage would likely mean that NOBODY'd give a damn about the nodes being destroyed because it'd be almost like Armageddon (the event, not the movie).

    For the 1% that DID remain online, they'd notice that lots of major sites were dead. And if they looked out their windows, they'd probably be seeing mushroom clouds off in the distance.

    Also, think of this. If 99% of the nodes ARE offline, that means that approximately 99% of the user-base is offline too. So these mental gymnastics about funnelling 99% of the net's traffic through 1% of the hardware/bandwidth are about as useful as doing multiplication tables in your head.

    Anyhoo. Wasn't this covered on Slashdot like MONTHS ago already?


    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • I can connect to a site at work, but not at home, and yet I can connect to home from work and work from home.

    This is a constant thing on the internet, the routing tables are constantly screwed.

    It dont work and I would say several percent of the internet is down every moment.
  • Anyone else think that if 99% of the net crashes, chances are we have more important things to worry about than how to get our daily fixes of SlashDot, IRC, and p0rn?

    "Oh no! They nuked both coasts and now I can't find my warez!"

    Do the really important things which require communication in the face of global catastrophe make use of the net? I guess that's how it started, but honestly, I hope they have good alternate means of communication as well.
  • pdf:
    http://ojps.aip.org/journal_cgi/getpdf?KEY=PRLTA O& cvips=PRLTAO000085000021004626000001
  • As it happens, I'm staring out my office window at both the Needle and EMP as I'm reading this, and you've got me thinking about it. It looks to me like if it were to come down, it probably wouldn't hit EMP. One of the three support legs is aimed almost right at the monstrosity. It looks to me like if it just tipped over without the support legs buckling, it would be likely to either drop aimed straight up Queen Anne, or toward Elliot Bay, or right on top of the KOMO building. On the plus side, that means it probably won't come down on top of me, either. Bonus!
  • As I understand it, the Internet wasn't "designed" to deal with nuke aftermath. It's a wives' tale with a grain of truth deep inside to make it sound good.

    The communications system of DARPA may have maximized the advantages of routing, so that .mil sites would have enough redundancy to still talk if a node or a few went down. Computers were just as unreliable then as they are now. Some stay up for months, others bluescreen or blow tubes weekly.

    However, DARPA is the Internet . As the name implies, the Internet is an amalgam of many smaller networks. Thus, the whole Internet may not share the fault tolerance that DARPA enjoyed. It's not even clear that the .mil network even still has such traits.

    Big business is building most of the Internet infrastructure now. While it costs lots and lots of money if a cable gets cut, corporations still don't have the long-term vision attitude it would take to put in enough redundancy. Dig two transcontinental trench projects with two cables, when you could just dig one? That's a cost.

    There's relatively few undersea cables. If there's maybe fifty crossing the North American continent, there's only ten crossing the Pacific. Satellites offer long slow alternatives, but if a deep cable is cut, it's BAD.

  • I remember working for USWest, and large sections of MPLS (as we called it) going out for no known reason quite frequently, although our guess at the time was because whoever was in charge of 204.147.80.1 had taken off the internet software so they could play Frogger.

  • I think you need to get an update on what *routing* actually does. It self stabilizes. If a node goes down it reroutes. If Boston disappears routers eventually delete it from their routing tables. Yes, traffic is reduced, becomes lossy, has longer latencies, but it doesn't necessarily stop. Well, so long as that pipe isn't your only outgoing backbone. At least that's what I've been taught and see from my own limited experience. When I worked at an ISP our router to UUNet decided to go futzy - yes, service sucked, massive packet loss, but traffic still went out and came through on our other backbones. You don't make any consideration of the dynamic nature of routing.

    And ironically, cities like Boston, San Francisco, etc... are much more prone to be wiped out than Texas. For one, they're on the shore and since the Earth is 70% covered by water statistically any comet or meteor is much more likely to wipe out a seaside city (Hmm, I suppose that includes Houston). For another, large population centers are decent second or thrid wave targets for things like nuclear strikes.

  • Something similar happens to alt.* newsgroups when they are not propagated properly, due to the groups not being discussed at all. Some sites create the group, most of the rest don't, then the sites which have created the group are not connected at all, due to the sites in the middle who refuse to forward postings from the group.
    The result: a similar situation to what is mentioned here. Perhaps worse, as many don't have a clue of what has happened. An example of this is alt.tv.sliders.creative. On some ISP's you can read some messages, but on other ISP's on the other side of the world, you can only read OTHER messages, and never the two shall mix!
  • What's to stop users from applying a high-priority to their web traffic?

    Users hell. MicroShaft uses the Type of Service bits in the IP packets to indicate all their packets are interactive. This of course makes it look like MicroShaft has a better TCP/IP stack, when in reality they're cheating.


  • Take out the root.a (etc...) NS. then watch 99% of the population not know what to do!

    Main sites would go down in min because their ttl's are set so low.. someone does a look up.. oops not cached anymore.. nowhere to get the authorative ns from.. no ip resolution..
    this would stop the web dead in a matter of hours.. and since 99% of people don't use anything other than their AOL browser. gameover.
  • I read the article. It deals with randomly connected networks and random breakdowns. I do no think that the internet is randomly connected. For instance ask an aussie...
  • Well, if it's exactly 1%, then there's still a lot left if you go by how many actual servers there are, I mean, come on, there's how man millions of sites out there? 1% of a million is still 10,000. I'm sure you could find *something* to do with 10k - 30k sites... Though I guess the effectiveness of DDoS attacks would be significantly reduced...
  • If 99% of the backbone to the 'net is down (due to nuclear war, supervirus, whatever) don't you think it's reasonable to assume that 99% of the PC's connected to the 'net would be down as well. I highly doubt that Joe AOL's computer would still be around after a disaster major enough to crash 99% of the Internet's bandwidth. Seems to me it's a moot point to begin with.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @05:53PM (#594833)
    Then, by my calculations, we'd all party like it's 1989...
  • Thats really nice for you, but would you mind sharing some of your findings?
  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @05:54PM (#594835) Homepage
    I've got a remington 870, a sig P220, a colt AR-15, some body armor and a whole lot of ammo. If I can't get through to my favorite site [footfetish.com] somebody will pay.
    I am not fucking joking about this.
    --Shoeboy
  • What if 99% of the net reads slashdot with a karma of +50?

  • by ca1v1n ( 135902 ) <snook@guaGINSBERGnotronic.com minus poet> on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @05:56PM (#594837)
    Slashdot would post stories like "Ping returned in West-Coast dial-up pool, human involvement suspected." and then everyone on Slashdot would try to ping that IP, and the router would go down, and the story would be updated with "False Alarm, probably just an automated hourly windows update."

    Lather, rinse, repeat...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    As an Australian, all I have to say is "bullshit". One wire is knocked out and the country (or at least, one major ISP of such) goes haywire with lost packets and overwhelmed routers.

    Fault tolerance, yay!

  • You never know... I hear in AOL 7.0 they're adding Global Disaster Recovery...

    Yes it probably is a moot point as there are far more reliable methods of communication. If it were a supervirus I'd imagine most people would be turning their machines off as fast as possible rather than hunting the 'net for the latest news. As for Nuclear war, well, who would give a damn anymore anyway?

    (har har)
  • network administrators would become rock star-like in status and salary because of the highly demanded skills to keep net traffic flowing. i wonder if they would get all of the chicks too? probably not because they would be locked in the network / server room. i guess they wouldn't get to spend any of their money either.
  • Then divide by twenty to account for all of the domain squatters...
  • Yeah, but how many geeks go outside...
  • I am amazed at the political stupidity and ignorance of so many slashdot posters.
  • theres 99% less people who can compete against me getting the first post!

  • You can effectively make the internet unusable by attacking and taking down less than 0.01% of the machines on it, and you can do this with a shoe-string budget, and you only need a few months worth of time.

    How to destroy the Internet:

    1. Acquire dialup account. Stolen if possible so that they have less contact information for you on file. For best results, see if you can find an ISP that does not record remote calling IDs.

    2. Acquire a shell account or preferably run Linux (free) on your own computer.

    3. Read bugtraq. Learn the skills of the skr1pt k1dd1e. IRC can help too.

    4. Start 0wning servers. Preferably servers with foreign domains. The language barrier helps and less mainstream countries have a much harder time dealing with internet problems. Also, it helps to own one server and then own other servers from that owned server. If a sharp admin tracks you down, you simply need rm -rf / the owner server to cut off all associations with you.

    5. Start sweeping for broadcast addresses. netscan.org also publishes a handy list.

    6. Take advantage of all of the distributed denial of service tools out there. Start outfitting your shell accounts with said tools.

    7. Set up for the big day. Also have a backup plan ready and tell no one about what you're going to do. Your friends will easily betray you for the glory of bringing the internet killer to justice. The thrill may be overwhelming but a lot of people will be mad at you if they find out. If you can't keep a secret, don't do this.

    8. Pick the big day. New Years Eve would be conveniant because people will be drunk and confused and think of the Millenium Bug.

    9. When the big day arrives, your goal is to hit the root servers. Hit them with everything you possibly can. X.root-servers.net. Preferably send a barrage of spoofed, fake DNS requests. Spoofed so that they have no hope of hunting down the machines you're doing it from (or at least all of them, in any timely fashion) and fake DNS requests because they cannot function if they filter DNS.

    10. Never connect to these machines again. Destroy your own machine with fire.
    The internet should now be unusable to about 99.99% of it's users.

    My research is just as valid as theirs, and mine is much more plausible. So pfft.

  • While for many people the net may be an integral part of daily life, it is something that we all could continue to live without. Sure the day traders at the online stockbrokers would have a holy fit because they could not dump in mass their Cisco stock due to portion of the Internet being down in Atlanta Georgia. The kids would be upset because they could not play their games or DDOS their friends on IRC. I would be upset because I would be answering 999 telephone calls per hour each one asking why is the Internet down. Forget the fact that it would be on a 15-minute alert cycle on all the news channels that would make the feeding frenzy after the close Florida election look like child's play.

    The Internet as we all well know was designed to survive a nuclear strike by the military and DARPA. However, that was before the corporate world got a hold of it. Universities with mega-million dollar government grants can afford multiple connections to the main stream Internet and lets not forget their elite Internet2 hookups. The corporate world takes the bottom dollar and decides if the cost is worth the remote possibility that 99% of the Internet should fail.

    Face it the redundancy which was a major feature of the first generation Internet has gotten to the point where as many posters have stated two or three t3's being knocked offline could indeed take out major portions of the United States from the internet. As for Europe we all know most of you are probably, accessing US sites ala Slashdot :P

    Now the press would have a field day and chortle over the fact that the e-newsrooms were dead while the broadcast ones were running fine and gloating that they wouldn't be put out of business by this fad called an online news room.

    Would I have a fit if the Internet went down to 1-% capability for an extended period? I think not. Sure I would have to find another job eventually and who knows it might even be outdoors. *hisses as the sunlight hits his lily white skin* I have actually on the rough days been thinking of taking up truck driving. The LA freeways would be a vacation compared to what we would be dealing with if the Internet dies that badly.

    Do I actually think the situation described in the initial article could happen? Damn right I do. Just imagine a mid-continental plate earthquake say on the New Madrid Fault. Do not believe me? Just check out Uncovering Hidden Hazards in the Mississippi Valley [usgs.gov].

  • ...there'd be no more slashdot?

    *whimper*
  • I fail to see the relevant usefulness of this to anyone....?

    A lot of the replies seem to assume that they're part of the 1% and on top of that, that the remaining 1% of the net also contains all the sites they normally visit.

    * If it does happen, the reason behind it happening (catastrophe of some sort or other) will be much more of a concern, so basically, who cares?

    * If 99% of the 'Net goes down, on average it loses 99% of its value - It depends on what 1% of info. is left. (ie. is the 1% entirely pr0n, or something vaguely useful like global climate statistics?)

    * If it goes down to a major exploit or bug / 'feature' it will be fixed in a reasonably timely manner. (Even if you have to use the phone to book your airline tickets to reach an unaffected part of the 'net, solve the problem and then begin a mass sneakernet / replication strategy to get everyone else back up).

    About the only useful thing is in theory the Eskimo's and Greenlanders will be able to talk to the Tasmanian's & New Zealanders about a solution to the alien invasion / meteor hit / whatever.

    Chances are us remaining 99% have other things to worry about.

  • by Prof_Dagoski ( 142697 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2000 @08:21AM (#594849) Homepage

    I have access to the full article and gave it a read. Its a perfect example of why physicists shouldn't write articles about the real world. They are assumed that all nodes of the network are equal. This is most definitely not the case with the Internet. There nodes upon which others depend. And, as if that wasn't enough, there are also choke points in the real Internet. I liked the LA Freeway analogy that another poster gave. Let me elaborate on this analogy. Half the traffic, maybe more, takes the Harbor Freeway to the Hollywood Freeway to get out to the SF Valley. The other half or so use the 405 to the West. The geography breaks down so that if you live SE, you take the Harbor, Hollywood. If you live SW you take 405. Now, the interchange from Harbor to Hollywood is a narrow two lane affair left over from the fifties. If that goes down from an accident, no one on the east can get to the valley. The same thing can, but is less likely, to happen on the Internet. Take out Downer's Grove and one or two other spots, and whammo, the Internet is segmented and cut off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @05:33PM (#594850)
    In crisis cases, it would help immensely if packet prioritization/QoS were applied. If a pipe is so full that it is losing packets, the ones to kill off are the expendable ones -- web traffic, random high-port stuff, etc. If the gigaswitches are able to make apropriate sacrifices under duress, leaving routing messages, ICMP, etc, to survive where port-80 does not, the ability to be self-repairing is likely much improved.
  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @10:22PM (#594851) Homepage Journal
    Actually, in L.A., where it really IS UnAmerican to do anything except drive, the busiest freeway in the world (I-10, the Santa Monica Freeway) was shut down after the Northridge quake. We routed around it. Traffic was even slower than usual, but it got through.
  • Hey dude, the junk character post which did succeed was pretty junky. So maybe we don't care that you are never going to post again. Bye.

  • Doing my Doctorial Thesis on this very thing
  • Are they speaking just about backbone links? Or are links out on the edges considered as well? If one of the 99% of links taken out is the T1 that connects our gateway router to our ISP, then I have lost access to all of the Internet (not counting our intranet).

    If you take out 99% of the backbone links, things get really ugly but may still work. If you take out 99% of the "access" links, most of the end users see the Internet as being completely gone, not just ugly.

  • Oh god, could that have made that thing any uglier? What a fucking eyesore.
  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @05:35PM (#594856)
    ...after all, that *is* what it's designed for!

    That way, if nuclear war breaks out in the US, you can still send a message to the other side of the country that says "NE1 HERE??? A/S/L???" on IRC...
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • ... my latency on Counter-Strike [counter-strike.net] is awesome!

    I'll teach them razzafrazzit LPBs...

    Jay (=
  • This is a theoretical breakdown of the internet assuming that every node on the network has a physical link to more than one node. In practical terms this is bullshit. The internet is a collection of everyone on the network (including us folk dialing into a server hooked into a a larger portion of the network). If someone EMP's the local dialup and you don't have any backups, you've lost a bunch of nodes. If you EMP a MAE you've just disconnected another shitload of nodes off the network proper and for the most part split that severed part of the network into a bunch of small networks. Over the distribution of the internet there comes a series of physical locations a good portion of your data is routed through. Turn even a handful of these puppied off and you fragment the internet into a bunch of littlenets. So technically this still counts as "internet" theoretically but in practical terms you're shit out of luck. Speaking practically, all you need to do is cut a bunch of trunks or fibre lines and suddenly a bunch of networks die, not to disconnection but the fact that for many reasons they set their packet TTL really low. When these packets end up routing through a couple of bottlenets they will end up dying. If you want to demonstrate this go to your company's network room. Start yanking plugs out of the sockets. If you can yank the ones out that belong to the file and print servers or just dump a can of coke on the router/switch/hub itself. About 30 seconds before you're fired after an intense bout of screaming by your boss, explain to him you were testing out a theory. You just created an experiment sample, and disconnected 99% of your network. That one plug you didn't unplug is still going strong though! Your pr0n download will finish and you can pack you Zip disk with the rest of your stuff. At least the theory applied well to the real world.
  • two guys knocked down a coupla OC-48s and we lost half the net (at least in the US). another time someone misconfigured a router at a small ISP and boom - connectivity down. the nets a lot more fragile than any simulations or papers make it out to be.
  • the load on the few remaining servers if most of the /. community was included in the 1% that remained standing?

    I've thought about this a few times and wondered what effect the portalization of various markets would have on the stability of the 'net as a whole.

    Some companies pay $$ to have traffic routed across their networks, what happens if their network gets toasted by some super-malicious script kiddy or some super-malicious asteroid? How redundant is the 'net now-a-days? A lot of traffic routers through LA and San-Fran (I ran a tracert on my home connection from work, [I live in Washington State] and it seems my packets route through california... You'd think there'd be a shorter way to travel 20 miles...). What happens when Cali slides into the ocean after a 9.99 quake? Then again I think there'd be more important concerns if that happened, but still, in the aftermath I'm sure some of us would be jonesin' for our 'net connection.
  • Very slow then, what would be the point of surfing the net if you and 100% of the world was on 1% of the routers, wires etc...
  • Nah. The place that's gonna go to Hell in a handbasket is St. Louis. That city is sitting on top of an 8 point fault that hasn't been heard from in about 150 years... The last time it cut loose, it rang church bells in New England.

    In a major earthquake, the best place to be is (obviously) somewhere else. But if you have to be caught in one, the best place to be is L.A. The building code takes quakes into account. The idea is that the building is still standing. It may not be safe, but it's not supposed to pancake on you.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    my dick has quills it is a porcupenis
  • awsome you going to post it here at slashdot when your done?
    ___________________________________________
  • According to my Guiness Book of World Records (1998) edition, much of the Net was down sometime in April 1997, making it the longest Internet blackout in history. Does anyone remember this?
  • You're forgetting another problem that may occur to cause 99% of the Internet down. Hey, if I was a malicious criminal and I wanted to impact 300 million people relatively easily, I just cut some wires that carry data. Since most of the Internet traffic goes through the US (even if you're accessing a server in your own country (a country besides the US of course)), if you strategically cut maybe six or seven wires (I'm simplifying the cutting process, I'm sure the wires would need a chainsaw :P ) majority of Internet traffic would be cut off.

    I don't mean to give terrorists any ideas...
    ------------
  • Ok, let's just say that the possibility of 99% of connectivity points are broken down is practically nothing. Even if that many did break down, then even a Floridian could figure out that the net would be virtually useless.

    If 50% went down, yes it would still work, but it might take a few hours probably for convergence. Depending on which routing protocol they use they usually send updates to connected routers every 90 seconds (the default IGRP interval) and even after that a downed router isnt removed from an active routers routing table after I believe 3 or 5 update periods. Depending on if hold down timer, split horizons, or poison reverse updates are in use, I think that there would probably be routing loops created that could last a while making convergence even take a day or more.

  • When you get to point of having 99% of the internet down, don't you think that whatever caused it (bombs etc.) will have messed with the power supply?

    Don't be shocked, fellow reader, but i'm afraid that your average joe doesn't even know what a UPS is, so i'm guessing there may be a shortage of web users at that point. Not too many people are going to experience a nuclear war, and then ask "I wonder if slashdot is still up?".

  • I remember someone did a ghetto fire under some trunk connection near a bridge, and Minnesota was out of Internet connectivity for a whole day. Whoo hoo!
  • by Valdez ( 125966 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @06:03PM (#594870)
    To give any weight to the statement "if 99% of the node go down", you'd have to assume that internet traffic is evenly spread across all nodes at all times. Of course this isn't the case... the node for an ISP which provides access to about 200 ppl in a rural Texas town isn't going to carry the same traffic as one of Qwest's core routers

    An anogolgy: You could probably destroy lots of surface streets in a large city without affecting the entire city much, but if you knock out a freeway you're fucked. Same with the internet.

    Besides, if 99% of the nodes go down, surfing out to read slashdot probably isn't going to be at the top of my priority list... I'll most likely have my hands full fighting off alien invaders or trying to find shelter from the massive meteor storms that are destroying the world...

  • And that would be tragic, indeed.

    However, in the vein of Chicken Little...

    When the Martians land, all hell will break loose. Until then, I have work to do.
    --The Sage

    --

  • The full article is available without subscription to PRL ... you can get it from the lanl archive here [lanl.gov].

  • How about the '88 Internet worm?
  • For a real interesting experiment, turn off the power in MAE-East [mae.net] and watch what happens...

  • I keep hearing about how wonderful online voting will be and more accurate than the Florida election. I can see a DOS ruining an election. Keep that in mind when your politicians want to use online voting. How do you recount 3/4 of the nation could not connect!
  • You mean like the root nameservers? What are there, 12 nowadays? Hmm...

    We all seem to forget that the whole commercial internet would come to a screeching halt if those twelve servers--including any backups that might be in place--all decided to crash at about the same time. Minimal chances, I suppose, but the number of root nameservers is a very tiny fraction of the number of hosts on the Internet.

    Granted, the connectivity wouldn't be there, but I'm have no idea what the IP address for the Slashdot web server is, and I'm not going to look it up. If the nameservers went down tomorrow, I'd have connectivity to my school and my ISP, but that's about it. Most of the web would be absolutely useless to me.

    Do we solve this by distributing DNS? I have no idea. I can't believe that distributed DNS works. This danger of putting all our Internet eggs into twelve root nameserver baskets may be a danger we just have to risk.

    The only policy I would implement if I were ICANN has nothing to do with risk, but opening up TLDs to everybody. Why can't they sell TLDs like they sell subdomains now? I'd love to own the .commandant TLD. Plus you could be a lot more creative and natural in the naming of websites. For instance, you could go to staroffice.sun instead of sun.com/staroffice, or netscape.navigator to check the latest netscape browser.

    That's my $0.02 about TLDs and root nameservers crashing.

    I do not belong in the spam.redirect.de domain.

  • Google [google.com]has 1,326,920,000 pages indexed. I'm sure there's more than that.
  • yes, you guessed it... 99% of all text == "99% this or that" :)
  • Maybe an idea is to have a `slow-but-sure' setting that routers don't
    have to deliver quickly, but try to ensure that they aren't dropped.
    This would be a bad setting for urgent content delivery, but it might
    be a good setting for spreading information about traffic spikes, etc.
  • by rew ( 6140 )
    Maybe "on a global scale, the internet will remain connected", however, as a user, my ISP has one or a few connections "to THE INTERNET". If that node breaks down (here in the netherlands: "the amsterdam Internet Exchange") I'm cut off from the net.

    So, what use is a "globally connected net" if 99% of the users are cut off, as well as 99% of the web servers?

    There is a 99% chance that google is cut off, so that you can't search the net with google anymore. If you're lucky, google still works, but returns 99% broken links.

    Maybe from a theoretical viewpoint there will still be a link from Europe to America, however, "the net" will be completely useless.

    (argument: but many ISPs have more links to the internet than one. Sure, ok, but there are more nodes than one involved before you get a useful link through a secondary link. In the end I estimate that still chances are less than 1% that you'll be connected, even if you have an ISP that has multiple redundant links....)

    Roger.
  • by enneff ( 135842 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2000 @12:53AM (#594900) Homepage
    I guess we should make amends to the old saying:

    "After a nuclear war, there's only three things that will surive: Cockroaches, Lawyers, and Spammers."

  • The only person who would enjoy 99% of the net going down would be Lars from Metallica. Money good. Napster Bad.

  • They proved they could do it in less than 30 minutes.
  • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @06:59PM (#594906)
    >What happens when Cali slides into the
    >ocean after a 9.99 quake?

    A few months ago there was an article, an "Ask Slashdot" I beleive, that asked the question: "what would happen to the net if the US dissappeared?".

    The results were somewhat supprising (once you got past a lot of the crap)....

    Now, by and large, we got a lot of the standard, "good riddance to the lazy fucking arrogant "USians"" trolls. But SOME people had enough clairity of mind, and desire to contribute to actually post trace routes. And I found the results quite astounding.

    Austrailian packets tracerouted through San Jose to get to New Zealand. Packets from London were going througn Boston to get to France (!!!). Vancouver packets went through San Francisco and Boston to get to Toronto. Hell, one Australian, IIRC, had a traceroute go through San Jose just to get his packets from one Sydney ISP to another!!!

    So to answer your question, if California crumbles into the Pacific, I think that much of the rest of the world goes into the shitter with us.

    Now, much of the REST of the US, I doubt would be missed, or, indeed, it's absence noticed. (I, for one, am still hoping for a bigass comet to take out texas... (before January 20, please)). But the Bay Area and New England ARE rathar critical.

    So, as long as San Francisco, Boston, and the appendage cities that surround each, survive whatever apocolypse that wipes out 99% of the world, I think we'll be just fine. Take out either or both, and the results will NOT be pretty.

    john
    Resistance is NOT futile!!!

    Haiku:
    I am not a drone.
    Remove the collective if

  • With my ISP? I might not even notice for a few days. Dang, I gotta get DSL.

    ---
  • Isn't sudden reversal a matter of a couple decades where we go without magnetic poles?

    If we have no magnetic poles, not only does our electronics fail but so do humans due to radiation.

    Keep in mind its the magnetic attraction at the poles that drag the various radiative particles from the sun away from the human populus. Can you say deep fry in 2 minutes when outside?
  • You know if you want avoid earthquakes move to Minnesota. The last one we had rated a 1, occured 20 years ago and was the reactivation of a 1.5 billion year old fault. Granted Minnesota has evidence of a fault system that would dwarf the stuff on the West Coast, but the last time it was doing anything was 1.5 billion years ago.
  • by kinkie ( 15482 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2000 @01:33AM (#594918) Homepage
    It would work, but not with the current pricing schemes.

    The point is, to avoid the scenario you're suggesting, there needs to be a deterrent against marking all traffic as high-priority. It could be done as placing network limitations, as it is done with IPv4-TCP out-of-band data (out-of-band data is a mechanism to send "urgent" packets overriding TCP's congestion-control mechanisms; said limit consists in only allowing one packet of OOB data to be alive in the network at a given moment), but it would probably be quite expensive to enforce. Or it can be done (much more effectively) using billing: "you can mark your packets high-priority. We charge by the byte, and high-priority packets cost twice than 'bulk' packets".

    This is not, as you can see, a technical issue, but a marketing one. Unfortunately the current dominant pricing scheme is flat, which offers no such deterrent, indeed it's quite the opposite.
  • Try xxx.lanl.gov for the preprints.
  • Austrailian packets tracerouted through San Jose to get to New Zealand. Packets from London were going througn Boston to get to France (!!!) [...] So to answer your question, if California crumbles into the Pacific, I think that much of the rest of the world goes into the shitter with us.

    Remember that these routes are just the most preferable routes at any one given time. It doesn't mean that they are the *only* routes. If San Jose died, ymight find Australian packets going via Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, then Norway to get to New Zealand. Just because the best route is geographically a long way, it doesn't mean it's the only route.
  • by Sara Chan ( 138144 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2000 @02:44AM (#594924)
    The research shows that the Internet can survive random failures extremely well. But the Internet is very vulnerable to targeted attacks. The research might help to show how to best alleviate that vulnerability. To quote from the American Institute of Physics [aip.org] Bulletin of Physics News summary:

    " ... the powerful percolation-based approach may help Internet architects to maximize resistance against Internet attacks, by controlling the distribution of nodes having certain numbers of connections."

  • Rip storms. It happened to MCI back in 95 and brought down their whole network.
  • by cybercuzco ( 100904 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @06:29PM (#594930) Homepage Journal
    How many people would survive nuclear winter?

    You and that hot chick from high school, she still wont go out with you.

    How many nukes would a missile defence umbrella stop and at what efficiency?

    0, the defense department has no nuclear missle defense umrella. Give it 500 billion dollars and it will be happy to build you one with 100% efficiency right away.

    If I was cleanly severed in half and survived, how long before my body dies from being unable to relieve itself?

    About a week

    What quantity of LSD (insert any other drug) would be needed to get an elephant high?

    It is unknown wether elephants experience highs the same way humans do, but if they do, a dose of approximately 10 times the normal human dose would do it

    If Microsoft finally developed the perfect OS, what would it's next killer app be?

    .NET

  • I would not be so sure it's gonan be Cali hurting fromt hat 9.99 quake. Look off your coast Mr. Washington state, ever wonder where that magma to feed those Cascade mountains comes from? You got a plate off of there called the Juan de Fuca plate, uits getting sucked under the north american plate as we speak, well mostly getting sucked under. There are probably a few miles of backup and when that sucker slips your brick buildings will come crashing down (not to mention the space needle!)

    People ask me if I'm afraid of earthquakes here in CA, I'm not too afraid but chances are they should be.

    :)

    Tony

  • by Clownburner ( 257523 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @07:26PM (#594934)
    The problem with prioritization is that it works great in theory, then you put the scheme in user-space and it falls apart. What's to stop users from applying a high-priority to their web traffic?

    If the users control it, the best you can hope for is "Geeks who know how to set IP Precedence fields get to go first!"

    On second thought, maybe that's not a bad thing, after all. :)

    Seriously though, unless you're policing the priorities, it's impossible to make this work in the real world; and if you *ARE* policing the priorities, you're more likely to introduce latency that will degrade performance when there isn't a crisis.

    *sigh*
    _________________________________
  • But if the whole pipe is filled with routing messages, ICMP, ect. Then what is the point of being able to route a packet when every major connection is refusing it? Why do I care if the internet still works when when I try to connect to /. the packets are dropped in favor of determining how to get the packet to /.

  • by fjordboy ( 169716 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @05:38PM (#594938) Homepage
    What happens is 99% of the net crashes?

    It makes me really happy that I am part of the 1% that does Not use AOL.

  • If two men in a boat can sail up to the side of a miltary vessel and blow a fucking great hole in it, I'm sure that if anyone that dedicated wanted to, they could make a real mess of the Internet. But physical damage is going to be reasonably easy to fix as most major net nodes should have disaster recovery plans in place.

    To really make a mess, why not write a nice virus or worm [hackernews.com] that would be much harder to react to and recover from.

    Of course the ultimate would be to combine a few pieces into one large puzzle :- mass client infections, Root DNS DDOS attacks, email hijinks, and take out a few key cables/bottlenecks with backhoes. The trick is to create cascading failures that individually could be fixed, but the presentation of all problems at the same time makes the response and recovery that much more difficult.

    Best Practice dictacts that anti-virus and firewall vendors get hit as well, just to highlight the point.

  • by Lonesmurf ( 88531 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2000 @04:25AM (#594945) Homepage
    Dude, that's nothing.

    A few weeks ago, a friend of mine and I were sharing some pictures (ahem) and we were getting pretty bloody slow upload/download speeds. So a quick traceroute later showed that I was sending my packets to new york and they were coming back across the atlantic to him.

    Not so bad until I tell you that I live in Israel, and he lives four houses down the street.

    Yikes.

    Rami
    --
  • Actually, Scientists now believe that everything East of the San Andreas fault will slide into the Atlantic Ocean.

  • PhysRev is Slashdotted!!!! Yay!!!!!!!
  • by ByteHog ( 247706 ) <chris@[ ]ehog.com ['byt' in gap]> on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @05:42PM (#594960) Homepage
    Yeah.. with my luck, I would be one of the last two people alive in the world, with the other one being male too... sigh. :)
  • Uum, proof?

    Do you have any reliable links to back that statement of yours up with.

    It seems a little strange to me that a communications system that was designed to allow remote users to communicate in the aftermath of a nuclear war would be so fallable.

  • Granted the net has changed since I last did Netop work, but there's still some practical concerns that I dunno if the article addressed. Yeah, globally the net is up with 1% of the routers going, but locally you're screwed. Here's a couple of cases in point. Several years ago there was a fire at Downer's Grove in Illinois. Downer's Grove besides being a suburb of Chicago is home to a large portion of the telecommunications interconnections in the country. From my view, it seemed as if Downer's Grove connected every thing east of the Missippi to the western part of the country. Sorta like the corpus callosum--I know I mispelled it-- in the brain. So the fire took out a couple of MCI's backbone routers--more than that. From my point of view it looked a whole lot like the country had been split. The west was fine. The east was fine, but when the two tried to talk there was nothin going through. It was a mess. No one knew why, what or where. I dunno if it is still possible to have this kind of break, but I have to wonder if the article takes into account the phsical topography of the net vs the network topography. The fact is that if the net still runs the way it did, and I'm pretty sure it does, the distributed nature of the net is misleading. Truth is that the major infrastructure is piecemeal centralized in physical locations. I'm talking about places like Downer's Grove, Arlington, and Denver--I think. These cities support a lot of the net's critical backbone routers. What's more an awful lot of them are centralized in single POPs. That means they're in a single building a lot of the time. So, when we say there's connectivity with 1% of the routers, I have to ask what if we still have connectivity with 99% of the routers. It all boils down to which ones. This incident was Octoberish '94 for those who wanna go digging through trouble ticket archives. Another incident happened in like 92. There was a bug in Gated that caused a routing problem in Boulder to propagate all across the NSFNet backbone. Everything went down. A few of the more robust machines came back up on their own and the net lurched forward, but for practical intents, unless you had a big 'ol cisco connecting your lan, you were off the net. Anyway, I should actually read the article before shooting my mouth off. Besides I'm sure a lot of people can find other cautionary tales by digging through their trouble tickets.

  • What was I thinking? Add two to the years cited. Damn not enough caffeine.
  • If 99% of the net went down, we'd all learn to appreciate the 1% of pr0n that's left.
  • Forget Ted Kaczynski, you can become a much more effective terrorist.

    1. Build a EMP "bomb" that consists of several farads worth of capacitors and a big solenoid. Have it activated by a timer, remote control, or (if you're particlarly fancy, put an embedded controller like a uLinux simm in there and wire it to ethernet).

    2. Mount the bomb in a rack-mount server case.

    3. Mount the rack-mount server case in a full-size rack full of "real" networking equipment; servers, dialup servers, and a router.

    4. Colocate this rack at MAE-East.

    5. Repeat 1-4 for MAE-West, Atlanta, Chicago, etc.

    6. Have them all generate massive EMPs at the same time, preferably during a usage spike (Monday at 9AM EST, weekday evenings around 10PM EST, etc).

    Extra Credit:
    If you're charging the EMP bomb using 220V (which isn't entirely uncommon in colo sites), you might even be able to get a couple blasts off before it melts itself.

    -Chris
    ...More Powerful than Otto Preminger...
  • Go outside maybe?
  • Yeah, the lawyers and spammers would probably compete them out of existence.
  • This was stupid. Do you know anything about pharmacology? I would imagine you do not. And taking this to be the case whouldn't you atleast guess that lethal doses would have something to do with body mass (as a result of levels in blood)? I think elephants way more than 2,000 pounds. Now if you did a little research which you didn't you would know that elephants weigh:
    From:
    http://zoo.pgh.pa.us/wildlife_search_animal.asp? ca tegoryname=Mammals&animal=15

    Females, or cows, will reach a height of 9-10 feet tall at the shoulder; males, or bulls, will grow to 10-12 feet tall at the shoulder. The cows are smaller, weighing 8,000-10,000 lbs., and bulls will weigh between 10,000 and 12,000 lbs. when full grown.

    So ughhh that would be a closer to maybe 40 times the LD for humans.
    BTW i forgot what the dose was but in my pharmacology class we found out that the lethal dose is some outrageous amount like thousands of times greater than the dose needed to get off. There have only been a very few deaths due to lsd toxication. The ld is so hiigh that on the way to that dose the user usually does something like jump off a roof.
  • If 99% of the net was taken down, you would most likely be talking a major, global catastrophe, like world-wide blackout by Magneto or something ;) I find it unlikely that even the most organized of terrorists could accomplish such a feat, but I suppose anythings possible. Regardless, it's a major catastrophe.

    So if 99% of the web is taken out, what's left to view? If fate has a sense of humor, a bunch of Geocity pages I suppose. But really, most sites are going to be down, so it's improbable that you could get any work or business done over the Internet under such conditions.

    I couldn't get to the provided links (Slashdotted already?), so maybe I'm missing the point of the study. My question is, it's nice to know the Net will still function with 99% of it gone, but if it ever came to that, what would be the point of it being up at all?
  • Just so long as the spam-meisters do not use this to find a way to make sure that spam gets through...

    [shudder]

  • It's also been said [astro.oma.be] that the earth's magentic field is capable of sudden reversal.

    I dread to think of the assumptions that have been made in electrical and electronic equipment that would be affected by this!

  • As the story presentation states, the net is still very vulnerable if a few highly-connected nodes are selectively taken out of commission. Keep in mind that random attacks mostly get leaf nodes, which have no effect at all on network connectivity, and the rest usually have enough redundancy that there is at least one good path from point a to point b. It may be congested, but then again, if 99% of the net is down, there's a good chance that most people are hiding in their bomb shelters, so you should have it mostly to yourself, just as the original DoD/DARPA designs assumed.

C for yourself.

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