Story behind: “half the Internet shut down today”

By The Mortals of Questa Volta in Uncategorized on

Last week ended with a bang, headlines read “…half the Internet shut down today”, and so forth, while major websites used by millions are inaccessible, eCommerce business halts for many and non technical users first wonder what is wrong with their devices/network/etc and then read the reports with some bewilderment.

For many users and business so-called cloud services are necessary and even essential to every day communications and/or livelihood.

When a single event can bring down such a big list of companies and services, suddenly relationships that were not noticeable stand out like a sore thumb indeed. This list was a biggie!

As reported by gizmodo.com it included (and was not necessarily limited to):

ActBlue
Basecamp
Big cartel
Box
Business Insider
CNN
Cleveland.com
Etsy
Github
Grubhub
Guardian.co.uk
HBO Now
Iheart.com (iHeartRadio)
Imgur
Intercom
Intercom.com
Okta
PayPal
People.com
Pinterest
Playstation Network
Recode
Reddit
Seamless
Spotify
Squarespace Customer Sites
Starbucks rewards/gift cards
Storify.com
The Verge
Twillo
Twitter
Urbandictionary.com (lol)
Weebly
Wired.com
Wix Customer Sites
Yammer
Yelp
Zendesk.com
Zoho CRM
Credit Karma
Eventbrite
Netflix
NHL.com
Fox News
Disqus
Shopify
Soundcloud
Atom.io
Ancersty.com
ConstantContact
Indeed.com
New York Times
Weather.com
WSJ.com
time.com
xbox.com
dailynews.com
Wikia
donorschoose.org
Wufoo.com
Genonebiology.com
BBC
Elder Scrolls Online
Eve Online
PagerDuty
Kayak
youneedabudget.com
Speed Test
Freshbooks
Braintree
Blue Host
Qualtrics
SBNation
Salsify.com
Zillow.com
nimbleschedule.com
Vox.com
Livestream.com
IndieGoGo
Fortune
CNBC.com
FT.com
Survey Monkey
Paragon Game
Runescape

Who knew all the above (and untold others less well known) were all sharing essential technology services that could take them all out if hit?

A non technical but savvy businessman might wonder, why on Earth would all these guys have their eggs in one basket? Can’t they afford their own infrastructure/solutions/etc? Were they aware of the weakness in their chain of technology that could bring everything to a halt in one swell foop?

It is rather fascinating that these well known large, professional outfits could have very easily distributed their usage of the company that was hit and avoided being wiped out. Of course this was much harder to do when the attack was in progress, but it is relevant to mention that the attack last Friday was only aimed at one of the most easily distributed and backed-up service on the Internet – DNS. (DNS = Domain Name System, the system that “makes web addresses work” by translating names like mycompany.com to numerical addresses that computers use to route online traffic.)

Well on that note it is interesting to note that there are reports that at least some of these large outfits have begun review of this practice and changing things already – no surprise there. But that begs the question – how many other “single baskets” are there behind the curtain that could get hit next week?

Interestingly enough, none of the above companies were directly attacked and yet their web presences were affected dramatically and in many cases totally inaccessible for a significant period of time for many users due to their singular reliance on another provider for an essential service.

The point is a good one. There are endless columns of copy written about the pros and cons of outsourced/cloud services and the care and balance with which service and solution selection should be approached by companies especially.

There are nearly (or maybe more!) opinions on this topic as there are those engaging in the discourse.

Here at QuestaVolta we live and breathe eCommerce. The reality is in this day and age a variety of technology services are needed for nearly any business or even any individual that works in today’s world on most any basis.

Our take is that there is a balance to be struck, while some outsourced/cloud services are often necessary, we don’t think giving up all one’s control over data and process is the right fit for many companies, and certainly not for those of any scale.

If your eCommerce is bigger in inventory than say an artisan making one of a kind pieces on order, we would say:

  • · Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket
  • · Ensure to retain at least some control over your processes and data
  • · Make a backup every now and then, or have your web development team or other technology provider do it and keep a copy
  • · Have a look at what contingency plans are possible, or alternatives if a single “basket” tips over

And actually even if you are the artisan, it’s probably a good idea to look at the above points anyway!

Interestingly enough, the above recommendations also are a great idea for the average user interacting with personal data, email, devices, documents and the vast numbers of other digital assets we all use every day.

Maybe you have a business that utilizes eCommerce.

If so, give us a call, at 866.703.6399, we’ve been doing it a long time and we can help you navigate the balancing act that doing eCommerce business has become in 2016.

We can help you retain more control and help keep your company off of lists like the one above!

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