Does The Internet Have An Emergency Off Switch?

46 replies
This forum is all about making money. Most of our incomes are based one way or another around online business of some sort.

So my question is really how hard would it be for an entity to shut down the internet? Not an outage here or there but take it all the way down. I'm not sure if I'm talking minutes, hours, days, weeks, or permantly, but what kind of risk is there that our mainstay for making money won't be there someday?

Realistically, I know it probably won't happen unless nukes are falling everywhere around the globe, but this is a "what if" question.

Lets get a bit weird and say somebody (NSA, CIA, Al Queda, or some other group with initials we don''t even know about) comes up with some kind of brainwave binaural type of file or cookie that after several logins could actually influence our behavior. (Now I'm taking creative license here and this is just a bit of science fiction on my part, but what if?)

So the U.N-United Nations and NATO and OPEC and all the other powerful world groups with fancy initials, get together and say the Internet must die!

That scenario kinda leaves all of us out on a limb. Nobody including Allen will be making any money on the WSO forum or anywhere else.

I know I'm being extreme here, and only part of it is tongue in cheek, because what happens when some day someday someone decides to pull the switch to off on the Internet?

Some of you will say impossible. Some of you will say probable. But more importantly what DO YOU SAY? Time for warrior forum lurkers to come out and post too.

Most of us probalby take the internet and the Warrior Forum for granted most of the time. Something that is always there and accessible. The day will finally come unfortunately when neither exist. A bummer thought but true.

Back to my original question. Who ultimately can flip the switch on the internet and turn it off? Because whoever can we need to be watching carefully, because it will be hard to do internet marketing without an internet.

Food for thought..

George
#emergency #internet #switch
  • Profile picture of the author howinfo
    I think The Illuminates have the button.
    While not quite impossible it is very improbable. The chance of a virus spreading so fast is very slim. Because there are so many servers it almost is impossible.
    I think you need something like seen in movie 2012 and they still had internet running on the ships, of course not for marketing purposes though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Elle Holder
      I'm suddenly having a Y2K flashback, a decade after the fact!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mattk
    A closer reality would be internet censorship. Just wait until the governments of the world all have their hands in it. Like China does now...
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    • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
      Originally Posted by Mattk View Post

      A closer reality would be internet censorship. Just wait until the governments of the world all have their hands in it. Like China does now...
      Exactly what the Australian Government is trying to do RIGHT NOW.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mattk
        Originally Posted by whateverpedia View Post

        Exactly what the Australian Government is trying to do RIGHT NOW.
        You're right. I forgot about that one.

        I read a thread about that just last week right here on WF.

        I hate to say it, but it's just a matter of time...
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  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    Actually someone I have a lot of respect for mentioned that the internet came around quickly, and things that do that tend to leave quickly too. He wasn't predicting that, just saying it is a possibility, and I really do think it is. About all it would take is for it not to be cool anymore.

    And I'm starting to loose interest myself. (!)
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    • Profile picture of the author JR Rich
      My brother is of this mindset - the government (notice the lower case 'g'?) having the ability to shut down the Internet if and when they perceive too much threat from "unapproved" ideas.

      Maybe, but I kinda doubt it. Such an overt move against information interchange would be seen as a totalitarian attack against free peoples' everywhere and would be construed (certainly by me) as a "Live Free or Die" kind of moment.

      Remember that the Internet is not a single entity - it's not something like a building in Richmond, Virginia that you can send heavily-armed "Ninja" troops into to take over. If it were, there are plenty of Congress Critters who would have been happy to pull the plug long before now!

      But that doesn't mean that there won't be laws passed to try and stifle any free exchange of ideas from time-to-time. Lawmakers just can't seem to keep their collective hands off freedom - it's just too unstructured, too unregulated, too messy.

      "The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance" -- Thomas Jefferson (and if he didn't actually say it, he should have!)

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  • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
    I have experienced 2 instances when most of the Internet was essentially shut off for hours to days in Hong Kong.

    1. sql virus attack
    2. Some underwater cables were cut off Taiwan in Dec 2005 which led to many days of disruption.
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  • Profile picture of the author StaffPartyTrivia
    US of A dept of science and energy forced all the private satellite providers to offset their send return by several hundred ms during so that they would have military advantage.

    If there was a significant electromagnetic interruption, there would be no internet.
    There would also be no other electrical function of any device, including but not limited to lightbulbs.

    Usually that comes in the form of nuke - but there are ways to fabricate it artificially
    without the destruction. However I am not sure if there would be continued intermittent EM pulses afterward, which are the cause of the long term interrupt after a nuke event. However, if you can intentionally create one EM pulse, you can do more.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    I think if things got to that point, we'd have a lot more to worry about than the Internet.
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  • Profile picture of the author WealthWithin
    If the worldwide internet goes down, I think there will be more issues to worry about 'how I make money'.

    Such as emergency services, flights etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony Dean
      Isn't the internet like the cellular phone system where if a tower goes down, all the traffic goes around it?

      I sympathize with our friend in Hong Kong with the outage for several days because a submarine cable got cut accidently. It just means there should be several cables from all directions to take care of that eventually.
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    • Profile picture of the author Artem
      Originally Posted by WealthWithin View Post

      If the worldwide internet goes down, I think there will be more issues to worry about 'how I make money'.

      Such as emergency services, flights etc.
      I agree...
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      • Profile picture of the author Forest_Parks
        I was just talking about this yesterday. A client and I were discussing conspiracy and I mentioned about the fact that they may have a way to turn the whole darn thing off...

        I know (like Hong Kong) New Zealand and a fair few other places are served by just one pipe that could easily be cut off but I doubt the whole thing could ever be properly shut down.

        Great forum thread , made me chuckle.
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  • Profile picture of the author juzanobo
    internet will be shutdown when all the interlinking lines will be cut off. Sounds like calamities...earth's fury...
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  • Profile picture of the author King Shiloh
    Banned
    More people will become poor.
    More people will become lunatic.
    We will go back to 1776.
    The world will ALMOST come to an end.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
    Originally Posted by George Sepich View Post

    (NSA, CIA, Al Queda, or some other group with initials we don''t even know about)
    You left out KAOS, and my money's on them.
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  • Profile picture of the author TelegramSam
    If it happens then it's time to get out my fishing rods, pack a lunch, a few beers and go and do something for me for once :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Is there a contingency plan for such an episode????
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  • Profile picture of the author greenovni
    I just quickly googled and came up with this.

    Internet Takedown Links | Southern Virginia Security

    It seems like our president is holding the switch as a "security" measure.
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  • Profile picture of the author LetsGoViral
    No, you can't just "switch off" the internet. Internet is here to stay. Also, I am skeptical against "net neutrality" related conspiracies.
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  • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
    The Internet's backbone is based upon TCP/IP, which is a protocol designed to circumvent outages by rerouting traffic if a route is down. It's not one big network, it's an interconnection of several smaller networks - in fact that's exactly what the term "Internet" means.

    You would literally have to take down every small network that comprises the Internet. There is no one organization or governing body that controls all of these small networks. Even communication satellites, microwave links and undersea cables are not controlled by one central body.

    Other than a situation such as a full scale atomic war or a dinosaur-exterminating class of comet there is no conceivable method of taking down the entire Internet. And in those extreme situations we would just have to do without Twitter, the Warrior Forum and Facebook and instead concentrate on the survival of the human race.

    Bill
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      If an event large enough to take down the internet occurs, working online is probably the last thing that would be on our collective minds at that point.

      If it just overloaded and shut itself down (j/k), I'm sure there's a bright red reset somewhere along the line. If it were just a "net" that might happen, but it's the "internet".
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean Kelly
    One massive EM pulse should do the trick.

    After that not even your good 'ole digital watch will work.. the windey ones should be ok though :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      The backlash from such actions would make the Boston Tea Party look like a preschool play date.

      It wouldn't only affect people making a living via the internet. It would also affect anyone who utilizes online bill pay, online investment management, etc.

      The internet is here to stay. Perhaps the future holds more stringent regulation, but the web isn't going anywhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikemac1
    Funny...Reading this reminds me of Y2K (which was 10 years ago now...WOW).

    Like others have said, IM is the last thing people would worry about, financial records, security systems, etc...think of all the essential things that are run online.
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  • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
    2012 is around the corner!
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  • Profile picture of the author Taylor French
    There was an episode of the British television show Spooks that dealt with something like this. They were talking about shutting down the internet in Britain because of a security issue. Makes me wonder if they really have the power to do that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      If the Internet gets turned off permanently, people will go back to what
      they were doing before there was an Internet.

      All it will take is some adjusting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Riddle
    I would say a partial shut down is not only possible I would say it is likely to happen at least twice over the next decade.

    For those who were un-aware during Hurricane Katrina the big boys abandoned the southern route back bone (basically parallels I-10). Private citizens were the ones maintaining the link by bringing in diesel generators that were going through a semi-tanker truck load of diesel every day. (remember diesel was $4 a gallon at the time)

    The Banking system depended on the network, and it was a total fail.

    The central switch for cell service for both AT&T and Verizon were underwater by the overflow of Lake Pontchartrain.

    When the citizens of New Orleans were relocated to Baton Rouge the local networks couldn't handle the load.

    It was approximately 3 weeks before restoration was taking effect to telecommunications systems and the back bone of the internet.

    It was impossible to call across town, but the system still could accept out of the area calls.

    Luckily for us (I was a Catastrophic Insurance Adjuster at the time) I was able to call in using my Dial Pad Service using the low speed air card from T Mobile on the laptop.

    I was there for 5 months and the services still weren't 100%.

    Mark Riddle
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
    YES

    I heard that the day Paul M takes off his stetson the resulting dandruff storm will wipe out life as we know it...including the internet
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  • Profile picture of the author JackPowers
    This is like the rumor that the CIA had a secret backdoor into every machine running Windows. Who knows? I doubt the internet would have received federal funding if the government knew how it would forever change the exchange of knowledge.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    I am more worried about the time when the Internet gains SENTIENCE, and decides to turn against its creators.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      The Internet was (initially) designed for redundancy. It was a military project, and they wanted to make sure that if one point of access was wiped out, the whole system would not go down.

      So, at the core, the Internet is designed to not be taken down easily.

      Of course, now we've got more commercial interests involved and more limited access to the Internet. Ten years ago, there were a number of ISPs I could sign up with. Dozens, probably. Now, my options are more limited.

      Your mileage may vary.

      The point is that there seem to be fewer points of access, plus there are a limited number of major backbones, so all those can make a takedown more possible.

      Still, it would be hard to completely shut it down. Even if you took down the major backbones, you could still have local networks running, and people could share information across networks by phone and other means. Maybe even the old fashioned SneakerNet.

      I would think that anything that could take down the entire Internet (EMP, multiple nuclear attacks, major sabotage, major loss of power, government decree, etc.) would be significant enough that Internet access would likely be among the least of your concerns.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
    Leave it up to george to spark a thread discussion such as this ...lol

    George, if the internet went down tomorrow I would be able to pay my bills, course I would be bored to tears with nothing to do ...lol

    Some of the responses are very interesting on this thread though ...

    James
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  • Profile picture of the author Colin Palfrey
    I know this is going to sound like a conspiracy theory but.....LOL Here we go anyway

    I saw this thread and thought it was going to be regarding "The Grid" as proposed by Tim Berners Lee (Inventor of the internet.)

    I was watching TV a few months ago and he was proposing a new system that would make current download speeds seem pathetic, via this weird interlinking of personal computers using chaos theory...yes I know!!

    Sounded brilliant though, right up until he said everything can be controlled right down to the individual computer level, from a main control.

    Haven't seen anything more about this since but as it was him on there saying it I took note. He was proposing whole film downloads would be possible in under a second, and I wonder whether people would switch from the internet to the grid for speeds like that.

    If they did we would of course be forced to follow.

    Lets hope its a crock of crap, and if we're lucky Tim just needs therapy LOL

    Anyway I thought I'd throw this in the mix - Just for the hell of it

    Colin
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  • Profile picture of the author George Sepich
    Lots of great comments and feedback so far.

    Now as a few of you have posted, if the world gets so bad that the internet goes down, we probably have more to worry about than ecommerce, I will give you that.

    However, I still find it fascinating and hopefully productive to keep this discussion going about how really vulnerable our online businessess are. If a government, disaster, invaders from alpha centauri can mess with our business at the root level, the very sources of the internet, I think its good to at least have a bit of knowledge about how all the pieces fit together.

    I think some of the puzzle pieces have already been put together in this thread. Lets see where the gradual picture developing takes us...

    George
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  • Profile picture of the author Dave777
    You just Never know these days on what Endless Niche possibilities and ideas can bring you with a little Creativity...
    on off switch on the internet - Google Search

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  • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
    Bill and Mark have come closest to hitting the nail on the head George.

    First what you described can't happen except in a global meltdown (nukes, asteroid, Kevin Riley wearing another suit etc).

    The Internet is a collection of networks over the globe. No single entity controls all aspects. The core DNS servers are here in the US and could do a lot to impact things. Its one of the issues other countries have with them being in US control. Take out those root name servers and things get serious, but not immediately and DNS can be fixed rather quickly.

    There are also only a core of around 40,000 BGP routes that the edge routers use, but except for commercial contracts there are no YOU MUST Route this traffic at the edge routers. If Level 3 or ATT or someone else gets PO at another provider they can just drop their routes. Your packets then have to find another way to their destination - which may add delay or even stop them cold.

    In fact its this fear that drives a lot of the heavy hitting responses to spam complaints etc. No one really wants to lose these peering relationships at the edges.

    Its at these edges between networks where the various sniffers, proxies, and other traffic limiting devices (can we say China? or NSA?) sit. Take out the edges and that segment of the Internet goes down. Just like in New Orleans etc.

    You'll also see this happen during major train accidents since many carriers have fiber running along side the tracks - in the 19th century the US gave those companies what is now some prime real estate and many providers run fiber down those tracks. You should also never underestimate a fiber seeking backhoe....

    But many of the protocols used - like TCP/IP - can route around these outages if there's another path to the end point.

    Many of these edges are located in NAPs around the country. Large ones like Mae East and West handle a huge chunk. Its been several years since I've been actively involved with stuff like this - but gotta tell ya Mae East before 9-11 didn't look all that secure.

    Hypothetically to take down the internet you'd need to disrupt these NAPs/Edge routers. Or find some other way to saturate and shut it down. Its happened before but the Net was a lot smaller then (who else remember Robert Morris and his worm?) It was a pain to me since we couldn't down load our um "experimental files" from Sweden that day....

    Plenty of companies get hit with DOS attacks still to this day - but with the right infrastructure you can survive.

    Can it be done - probably - but to the point of impacting our IM lives I agree with others - we would probably have lots of other problems to worry about. Take what's currently happening in Iran as an example.

    cheers!

    --Jack

    ps - with my new computer I hope to be back on the Friday night chats as well! keep the lights one for us ;-)
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    • Profile picture of the author George Sepich
      Originally Posted by jacktackett View Post

      Bill and Mark have come closest to hitting the nail on the head George.

      First what you described can't happen except in a global meltdown (nukes, asteroid, Kevin Riley wearing another suit etc).

      The Internet is a collection of networks over the globe. No single entity controls all aspects. The core DNS servers are here in the US and could do a lot to impact things. Its one of the issues other countries have with them being in US control. Take out those root name servers and things get serious, but not immediately and DNS can be fixed rather quickly.

      There are also only a core of around 40,000 BGP routes that the edge routers use, but except for commercial contracts there are no YOU MUST Route this traffic at the edge routers. If Level 3 or ATT or someone else gets PO at another provider they can just drop their routes. Your packets then have to find another way to their destination - which may add delay or even stop them cold.

      In fact its this fear that drives a lot of the heavy hitting responses to spam complaints etc. No one really wants to lose these peering relationships at the edges.

      Its at these edges between networks where the various sniffers, proxies, and other traffic limiting devices (can we say China? or NSA?) sit. Take out the edges and that segment of the Internet goes down. Just like in New Orleans etc.

      You'll also see this happen during major train accidents since many carriers have fiber running along side the tracks - in the 19th century the US gave those companies what is now some prime real estate and many providers run fiber down those tracks. You should also never underestimate a fiber seeking backhoe....

      But many of the protocols used - like TCP/IP - can route around these outages if there's another path to the end point.

      Many of these edges are located in NAPs around the country. Large ones like Mae East and West handle a huge chunk. Its been several years since I've been actively involved with stuff like this - but gotta tell ya Mae East before 9-11 didn't look all that secure.

      Hypothetically to take down the internet you'd need to disrupt these NAPs/Edge routers. Or find some other way to saturate and shut it down. Its happened before but the Net was a lot smaller then (who else remember Robert Morris and his worm?) It was a pain to me since we couldn't down load our um "experimental files" from Sweden that day....

      Plenty of companies get hit with DOS attacks still to this day - but with the right infrastructure you can survive.

      Can it be done - probably - but to the point of impacting our IM lives I agree with others - we would probably have lots of other problems to worry about. Take what's currently happening in Iran as an example.

      cheers!

      --Jack

      ps - with my new computer I hope to be back on the Friday night chats as well! keep the lights one for us ;-)
      Thanks Jack (and all other posters),
      That was a great overview of how the system works. It was a bit over my head technically, but I'm now seeing how the dots are all connected a little better now.

      George
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    Am I the only one who read the bill that would give the President of the US the power to actually shut down the entire net in the US incase of a federal "emergency"?

    It wouldnt be that hard since all traffic is routed through the major backbones.
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    • Profile picture of the author HeySal
      Does The Internet Have An Emergency Off Switch?
      Gee, George - the guy behind the curtain spankin' ya again?


      Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

      Am I the only one who read the bill that would give the President of the US the power to actually shut down the entire net in the US incase of a federal "emergency"?

      It wouldnt be that hard since all traffic is routed through the major backbones.
      No you are not the only one who read it. Whenever you have some a**hole that has power, they will use it, and Internet is going to be the up and coming target.

      Iran is a good example of what's going on with this question. The PTB (powers that be) over there tried to shut it off - but had to leave portions of it up because if you shut the whole thing down in this day and age your economy likewise collapses. Ever tried to do your banking when their computers are down?

      Of course this meant leaving some channels open - and the revolutionaries were able to cut into those channels and get proxies from people offering on twitter so they were able to keep communications going without detection and capture.

      As has been mentioned before - there were countries cut off when cables were lanced at one point of time, so there is capability of complete shutdown - but it's not real advisable even if an evil dictator decides it's how he wants to go to gain control unless he's looking to also do a quick crumble of a states total economic structure, too.

      Environmentally enough solar disturbance could shut it down and do some hellacious damage to the works, too. Those kind of solar disturbances could literally kill astronauts right through their space capsules. Stuff like that could go on any time and may cause a temporary mess, but solar flares big enough to cause this kind of a mess don't happen often and they don't last any too long so what you are looking at is temporary outage. Not sure if the new fiber optic systems they are working on will be susceptible to the same disturbances or not.

      Also - we are undergoing a magnetic pole shift right now, too, and if we start to swing into a reversal magnetism will shift to several poles and local anomolies for awhile until it snaps back to one pole. There was no internet the last time we had a pole shift (about 170 years ago) so who knows what the magnetic disturbance will do and to what. I know some birds will get lost.

      As far as a previous comment about the CIA or somebody being able to get into private computers --- got windows? Got your dcom turned off? I'm sorry but it seems to be a real futile waste of conspiracy theories, not to mention nerve endings and time, to worry about people accessing your computer remotely if you have a program actually running that is designed SPECIFICALLY to allow someone to access your computer remotely.

      There may or may not be others built - sure there is the capability to build more -- but remember, there are a million people out there (at least) that are wickedly technology savvy who aren't going to take a liking to someone coming in remotely and monitoring or shutting down their computer so any time they find the program that can do it, there will be those who build defenses against it. I myself run a whole gambit of defense equipment against remote entry and ms spy capability.

      Nope - I agree with many of the others - barring some very severe events, it's not likely that the net's going to get shut down. Even if it did, my business can operate brick and mortar, so I'd just have to get addresses and phone numbers for all the friends I've made worldwide and do my communications pre-internet fashion.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyler Pratt
    I thought the Internet was setup to communicate in the event of a nuclear war.
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Originally Posted by Tyler Pratt View Post

      I thought the Internet was setup to communicate in the event of a nuclear war.
      Yes. Government systems.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyler Pratt
    If anyone wants a very good book that talks about how we are moving into the Information Age and out of the Industrial Age, check out "The Sovereign Individual" by James Dale Davidson

    Its a great history lesson.
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
    The greatest danger to the internet is innovation. What comes next?

    From a technical standpoint, taking down the entire internet would be quite difficult. The most effective means would be to target DNS servers, specifically the root servers.

    But can you imagine the world outcry if a government agency attempted to take down the internet. Seriously, it would almost be a guaranteed reason for a rebellion or uprising in almost every modern country at this time.

    As of this moment, I'm not sure which is the most prevalent form of communication, the internet or telephones. Telephones are owned by more people, but commonly you communicate with a wider range of people via the internet.

    If you attempted to remove the ability to communicate, you would not only shut down the internet, but almost every brick and mortar business. The logistical nightmares this would create would make our recent "financial crisis" seem like a minor bump in the road.

    If this happens, I wouldn't worry about your lost income, I'd be worried about getting to your fully stocked shelter in the mountains. (You do have one, right?)
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