Is A Worldwide Internet Outage Possible?

INTERNETImagine, for a moment, that the Internet were to suddenly disappear.

No email. No social media. No online banking or payments. No news. No teleconferencing or IP-based phone calls.

If this sounds like a 21st Century version of doomsday, it is: There is little doubt that even a relatively short mass Internet outage would inflict major economic damage worldwide as well as undermine people’s overall confidence levels for quite some time.

But, is such an outage truly just far-fetched plot fodder for a science-fiction film, or could we actually experience such a technological calamity somewhere down the line?

When I spoke with information-security pioneer, Eugene Kaspersky, several months ago in New York, he mentioned that he believes that terrorists?who have seen the great successes of cyber crooks at exploiting the capabilities of the Internet?are likely to attempt to carry out a mass cyber attack in the not-so-distant future. I have also heard similar sentiments expressed by a senior member of the AT&T security team.

Will such an attack take the form of an attempt to disrupt Internet communications?

It is certainly possible?and the surveillance and intelligence gathering phase may have already begun. Just a few weeks ago it was reported that the FBI is investigating multiple recent incidents of people cutting high-capacity Internet cables not far from Silicon Valley. These attacks are by no means the first?or even the first in 2015; tens of thousands of Arizona residents lost Internet service earlier this year when someone severed underground cables. Nobody has claimed responsibility for these attacks?and nobody has been arrested either.

Which brings us to the question?what actually holds the Internet together, what does it take to break it, and how do we protect it from attack?

People and business connect to the Internet via Internet Service Providers (ISPs). An attack at an ISP could knock out service for many people and temporarily lead to flooding of other ISPs with bogus traffic slowing down service for others, but because many people use more than one provider for Internet connectivity (for example, one provider for smartphone-based Internet access and another for broadband at home) the impact would likely be far short of devastating.

Read more at?WIRED