Category Archives: Online Security

What if the internet just stops?

Undersea Cables - http://www.flickr.com/photos/angusf/423828944/

A few weeks ago a conversation floated back and forth around my office about how reliant we all are on our technology and what would the reprecussions be if anything would ever happen to affect our symbiotic relationships.

Then, last week, undersea cables carrying massive amounts of Internet bandwidth (as well as telephone service) started getting severed.

The first cables to go, off the coast of Egypt, caused huge outages from Egypt to India. Then later in the week, another cable was severed off the coast of Dubai. And yet another was damaged between the UAE and Qatar over the weekend.

And no one knows how or why this is happening but apparently there were no ships in the area.

And while there are some great theories spreading this week around why this happened or who could have done it, it really sheds a different colour light on that office meme I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

What would you do if you were suddenly disconnected?

Picture the poor sap on the Rogers commercials who’s always dropping cell connection everywhere he goes. Now picture that being you. Now picture that being you ALL THE TIME.

The thought probably sucks. And if you’re someone like me… the thought REALLY sucks :)

I can’t live in an unconnected world for very long anymore. As much as I don’t want the Internet to morph into a cloud, I’m submitting to the concept more and more all the time. I twitter and upload photos from my phone. I use Google docs so I can easily share, collaborate, and access my work. My address book, years worth of email communications and blog posts are all online. I have ultimate trust in the internet to protect my data for me.

So what happens if it just stops one day?

There are people who claim the Internet is reaching it’s maximum capacity or even an end of life and we shouldn’t rely on it. There are others who claim the Internet is one of the more reliable of modern ammenities. I think (fortunately) this event proves the latter. Despite losing more than half of it’s internet capacity initially, India had managed to rerout its bandwidth and had regained most of its capacity within 3 or 4 days.

But what if the infrastructure is aging… and what if the bad guys fly their planes into a couple of major datacenters next time? What if an act of nature takes it all out?

Earthquake takes out internet - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshaw/351306634/

I don’t know, but I think I’m going to go export my Google spreadsheets. ;)

Testing out Comment Captcha

I really need some extra help filtering out comment spam on some of my sites.   The 1ShoppingCart blog is particularly bad for Spam receiving floods of it everyday, and while Akismet is a life saver, there is still a ton of crap that gets through and eats into my time when I have to go and delete it.

So I am testing out ReCaptcha.net’s solution here.  I think it looks great, I’ve seen it around more and more lately and most importantly, I’ve never had an issue reading the text it requires you to rewrite.

I also prefer Captcha software that requires you to retype an actual word.  It doesn’t make a difference to a bot whether the image is a word or just a random jumble of characters, but it certainly does to your human visitors.

So, while I run this little experiment, tell me what you think:

  • Do you hate having to retype those squiggly letters?
  • Do you have any idea why these types of images are appearing all over the place in the last couple of years?
  • Do you have a preferred solution that you use?

Anything else?

let me know!