speculations on the technical implications

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ NEW STUFF ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by carmin on January 27, 1998 at 15:42:16:

In Reply to: CALL FOR VIRTUAL SIT-INS AT FIVE MEXICO FINANCIAL WEB SITES posted by rdom on January 20, 1998 at 10:02:03:

Network Engineers are people who spend their days figuring out optimum Internet data routes. They worry about balancing the traffic to keep data moving as quickly as possible for the rest of us. I forwarded the Virtual Sit-in post to a Network Engineering expert who made a few points worth posting.

Who is most likely to be damaged by this move? The Mexican target banks or the Internet Service Providers, ISPs, who route data to these banks?

We would hope the greatest impact hits the banks. However that is unlikely. Here's why:

Data has to travel many, many shared lines to get from you to a remote destination. Many of the lines along the way are relatively small, so they can be easily saturated. To impact the banks more than the ISPs who route data to the banks, we need to ensure that the saturation point occurs at, or near, these Mexican Banks. Otherwise, lines are saturated well before they get to the banks, maybe even before the data ever gets to Mexico.

In all likelyhood, there are a small number of medium speed lines that lead from the US to Mexico. Those lines could easily become saturated if we start pinging bank servers or constantly reloading bank webpages. So the damage happens well before our strike gets to the target banks.

Perhaps this is the goal. In saturating the lines traveling to Mexico, we essentially block all traffic using the US lines to Mexico. (It's also likely that non-US traffic makes use of US lines to Mexico.) However, that won't impact the bank's Internet affairs initiated within Mexico. These banks, most likely, hang off of even slower speed lines in Mexico. If our strike does make it into Mexico, it will probably saturate these smaller lines for sure. Either way, the banks may never know that non-regional data is failing to reach them.

So what is the goal? If the goal is to disrupt the traffic going to Mexico and make problems for ISP's who route data to these banks, then the pinging and reloading plan will meet its goal. If the goal is to target these banks specifically, then we should consider tactics that impact those Banks' I-net activities directly. Here are 3 examples that impact the banks, more than the Internet.

1) The most efficient and effective way is to find out who provides Internet service to these banks -- An easy task for any techie who knows anything about networks. Then the hard part, contact someone who works at the bank's ISP & convince them to "interrupt" the bank's service for an hour. -- An easy "fake problem" for the willing network engineer. However the 'good netizen' approach would be to contact the bank's provider(s) and convince them stop doing business with the bank. I admit that's a long shot! But both of these tactics only impact the target banks.

2) Flood the banks with e-mail. The ISP's who route the banks email, will eventually tire of their lines being saturated with the bank's traffic. In such cases, ISPs typically block the traffic from using their lines. The email just sits in cyberspace, as undeliverable. (Which could lead to other problems. Email also bounces and will queue locally. So your own ISP will wonder "Why is 'your name here' loading our server down with 1000 email's destined for Mexico?")

3) Take advantage of the bank's security paranoia. Without creating a true threat or committing a crime, the savvy techie could make them think there's a possible security problem. The bank would have to close their own I-net access, just to be safe while they figure out what's going on. My friend wouldn't tell me how to do this… But where there's a will, there's a way.

What you're still reading this post? Then consider this:

The Internet is a collaborative cooperative environment. It's based on sharing data transfer lines. The greater the traffic, the larger the lines. We have a data 'superhighway' running coast-to-coast in the US. But there are data 'dirt roads' in Mexico, and most other places.

For example: just to post what you're reading right now, my message traveled over a
tiny data 'foot path' -- thru my PC's modem @ 28.8,
to a data 'dirt road' -- over my phone line,
to a data 'side road' -- at Xensei, my small local ISP with T1 or shared T1 connection,
to a data 'highway', at Xensei's big local ISP with multiple T1s or better connections,
(maybe to a data 'superhighway', some major backbone,)
to a data 'highway' -- at The Thing's big ISP's with multiple T1s or better connections,
to The Thing, a small ISP with T1 connection.

This is only half way to you being able to read this post. You connected to The Thing to read this, so the data had to travel over a similar route from The Thing to get to your screen. Problems anywhere along that route could impact your ability to read this post.

The impact of Internet tactics needs to be understood to be most effective. I hope this post helps us understand the technology better, so that we can work the web to our advantage.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ NEW STUFF ] [ FAQ ]