Internet Divide And Conquer

Cut Cable

Remember in the old Western’s when the Indians were about to attack the town, and before they rode in with knives and flaming arrows–what would they do?  


The Indians would cut the telegraph lines–no calls for help out, and no communications in–the town and its people were completely cut off.


The very next scene would be the slaughter of everyone in the town including a bunch getting scalped. 


How have things changed in the 21st century?


Not so much so, as the New York Times reports today on the constant threats to our underground Internet lines being cut–with 16 cuts to the lines in the San Francisco Bay area alone in the last year. 


Similarly just a couple of weeks ago, the media was reporting about the U.S. being worried about Russian subs cutting the undersea Internet cables.


But isn’t the Internet built like a spiders’s web (i.e. the World Wide Web) with redundant routes so that it can withstand even a nuclear attack?


Apparently, if you take out key Internet Exchange Points (IXP) or major international cable lines then the Internet can be seriously disrupted. 


Similar to the impact of an EMP weapon that fries our electronic circuits…poof no more communications. 


If you can cut off our core communications ability–then it’s a simple strategy of divide and conquer.  


Divided we are weak and can’t communicate and organize ourselves to either know what’s going on or to effectively respond. 


Like sitting ducks in the Old West surrounded and cut off–it was a slaughter. 


This is why it is so critical that we not only build redundancy in the cable lines, but that we create alternatives like satellite Internet or Google’s Project Loon for balloon Internet access.


It’s not just the military, law enforcement, and emergency management not that needs to be able to communicate–we all do!


With excellent communications, we can unify ourselves and we are strong–but if we are left in the dark, then divided we fall. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Star Wars Internet

I just love the creativity of this Star Wars-like animation video to explain how we communicate over the Internet (using the guidelines of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, TCP/IP).From the initiation of the data packets to the transport over the LAN, WAN, and Internet, and through the routers, switches, proxy servers, and firewalls.

The data is packed, addressed, transmitted, routed, inspected, and ultimately received.

This 13 minutes video explains Internet communications in a simple, user-centric approach. It helps anyone to understand the many actors and roles involved in ensuring that our communication get to where it’s going accurately, timely, and hopefully safely.

I guess to make this really like Star Wars, we need the evil Darth Vader to (cyber) attack and see how this system all holds up. Where is Luke Skywalker when we need him? 😉

Great job by Medialab!