Practical Technology

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How to crash the Internet


We know you can take down Web sites with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. We know that a country, like Egypt, can knock down a country’s entire Internet infrastructure. And, we thought we knew that you couldn’t take down the entire Internet. It turns out we could be wrong.

In a report from New Scientist, Max Schuchard a computer science graduate student and his buddies claim they’ve found a way to launch DDoS attacks on Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) network routers that could crash the Internet.

BGP is an essential Internet protocol. It’s the routing protocol used to exchange routing information across the Internet. Without it ISPs couldn’t connect to each other and you couldn’t connect Web sites and services outside of your local intranet. Because network connections and routers are constantly changing, BGP routers and switches are constantly working to keep current route maps of the Internet. In short, you don’t want to mess it.

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