Scott Penrose

No Internet

Scott is an expert software developer with over 30 years experience, specialising in education, automation and remote data.

Everyone seems scared this week of the loss of the internet:

We really need to start getting writers for the news papers that actually understand technology and don't just write sensationalist articles.

The articles use words like: Internet is Fragile; System can totally fail etc.

Some comments complained how they couldn't cope when internet was down at their home. True, the home doesn't have necessarily a reliable connection. But compared to what? I for one spent a whole day with no power on Monday - now I still had internet, because I have a backup mobile system. For me, internet is more reliable than power. But not for most people. We are only looking at the individuals here.

I have seen our city completely shut down from a fire in a factory; a failure in a bridge; an accident; and of course people - either accident, illegal activity, or even a demonstration.

Then there is natural and man made disasters - explosions, earth quakes, fires, more.

We can go on with examples of fragile systems - but lets look at the arguments against the examples. Mainly that only one area - e.g. one city is hit, while the other cities keep going. Maybe a larger area is effected, but not likely to be effected across the world.

And this is the point ! The internet is the same.

What is the internet? I have a set of computers connected together on my property. In the past I then had a set of routers connected networks together. This had two separate internet connections. Each computer, each node, each group of computers together forms a part of the internet. Bringing down the internet is not possible !

There are some weak points. And of course, the individual is weak. And by individual this could be a company. But this will not effect other areas.

Lets look at the big ones. What if a DNS issues is propagated to the .com area. OK Granted, this is pretty serious, and could take out normal access in part for quite some time. It won't however effect local organisations. And there are solutions. Gut feel is that solutions would be done within hours.

DoS attacks are in the real world as much as the virtual. And also easy to protect. The comments in the articles create panic about hospitals, power stations, or water supplies being down. Like a factory, internally you can protect against a DoS attack (walls / fences etc). A real world DoS attack (a protect maybe) can only happen outside these walls. Same for virtual. I am not saying systems can't be hacked into - that is possible, but the internal running systems of a hospital can be built to run without public internet.

So to say that the internet could go down, or is fragile, is as silly as saying that because roads are fragile, that all the roads in the world could fail at once.