Do You Think Is That Possible That The Internet Could Be Destroyed?
Remember the threat of anonym to destroy the Internet? Where does the hacker threaten to “put down” 13 root DNS servers on the Internet and make it impossible to obtain information through a query using a domain name? As a result, anyone who enters “http://www.google.com” or any other URL will receive a
page with an error, which would cause most users to think that the Internet is not working.
- In the notion of a modern person, weakly connected with IT, the Internet is Wi-Fi, and few people think that most of the Internet is under water and in general about how much data is transmitted through this submarine network of main channels, which, albeit redundant, but quite vulnerable, and can be destroyed at one point physically.
First of all, we want to clarify that we do not call on anyone to take any destructive actions, but only consider the possibility of a network failure in consequence of the destruction of any of its components.
Destruction of underwater highways
On the website TeleGeography, all information about submarine cables is publicly available. Also, as well as the major incidents associated with their damage. So, in addition to the troubles described in the article above, there were several major incidents related to earthquakes and tsunamis, when a significant part of the roads was damaged immediately. Nevertheless, even when Japan was subjected to a tsunami and most of the roads were damaged, the connection did not completely stop because there were satellite channels that provided accessibility for the region, although there was a noticeable deterioration in speed and quality due to congestion in the network.
The Internet is not only virtual, but also the physical space, and the cables that transmit the signal – play a crucial role and are, in fact, one of the vulnerabilities. Perhaps it was described well by Andrew Bloom in one of his videos when he told that the squirrel that destroyed the Internet for him made him think about the network as a whole and about the problem deeper.
And Andrew, perhaps, noted one of the most important vulnerabilities of the Internet – the concentration of reference communication nodes. As you can see from the map – there are several main points of concentration, in particular, submarine highways. And serious damage, most likely, can cause not so much a natural cataclysm that damaged the mains at the bottom of the ocean, as the destruction of the network in the reference points.
If the cables lie under water, then it’s not difficult to imagine that there are entry and exit points on the shores of the oceans. And although many private companies try to keep the coordinates of these points in secret, very often nature has a different opinion and underwater highways are found over time simply lying on the sand:
Of course, they were once disguised and partially buried, but, apparently, not well enough and deeply, especially in uninhabited regions. But even when the cable is well hidden there is an opportunity to find it – it is enough to use a minesweeper and search for it at depths of 50-200 meters along the coast. By the way, it is not necessary to seek, and sometimes, as a result of uncontrolled navigation in the areas of cable laying, minesweepers are causing serious damage to underwater mains.
- So the question of finding a cable is actually not as complex as it seems, like the question of its damage. Despite the fact that the cable consists of many protective layers, it is easy to saw with a hacksaw. The most difficult part of the cable is likely to be a polycarbonate sleeve, everything else, I think, will easily succumb to even the ax.
Although the exact location of many cables and their terrestrial reference stations is kept secret by private corporate owners, many of them, in fact, is on the popular beaches of bustling cities. There are several cable “spots” on the map, which, according to TeleGeography, would be most destructive if these items were destroyed. The defeat of such nodes will not only lead to slower access to the network, but also to the inaccessibility of many websites. Some of the sites on the opposite side of the ocean would be inaccessible, and many others would work very slowly, which would make them unusable. Damage would be substantial.
And the coordinates of these points are in the public domain! For example, switching points between America and Western Europe. One of them is laid through the beach of Mastix, in the residential area of Long Island in Brookhaven:
Also on the beach in Manahawkin, New Jersey, you can find the coordinates of the exit point of one of the cables:
And here’s another cable in Tuckerton, NJ:
Such facilities are the most important points of the network infrastructure of the world. Of course, there are also inclusions in the direction of South America, which is linked to Western Europe by a direct link, as well as through the west and satellite connection. Nevertheless, instantly redirect large amounts of traffic through these links will be somewhat problematic, since the backbones belong to different providers and need to have agreements. That’s why the situation when for some time it will be impossible to communicate via Skype through the ocean or send an email when tweets from the Middle East and get stuck there – is quite real.
Other strong points of the Internet network are located in the following locations:
- Egypt (both the Middle East and the Red Sea)
- The United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
- South Florida
- The Internet will not be the Internet, but rather a collection of Intranets, as there will not be a global connection between different segments of the network. Of course, one should not forget about the network’s ability to restore, it is enormous. Therefore, if the nodes will have a problem, in turn, it is likely that while all are disabled, the initial nodes will be back in work and a big problem can only be if they are not available at the same time.
And such an event is quite real. And it does not go about intervening a man. Here we are talking about the Sun – the star that gave us life and from which we are extremely dependent.
The physics of the Sun is quite complex, but it is not difficult to understand the essence of the influence of a solar storm. A solar flare sometimes results in a so-called solar storm, where the ejection of the coronal mass from the surface of the sun follows the same path from the surface of the sun as the preceding flash. First, let’s look at the Sun in the H-alpha filter and Earth’s magnetosphere model:
Solar activity is cyclic, the full cycle is 22 years (the Hale cycle) when the state of the solar magnetic field returns to the original state. Correspondingly, global coronal mass ejections and the most powerful solar flares can be observed towards the end of the 11-year growth cycle, at moments of maximum solar activity. It is noteworthy that the substance is distributed along the lines of force of the magnetic field, which is clearly visible in the H-alpha filter.
- When there are a solar flare and a large ejection of the coronal mass, the magnetic field around the Sun cannot hold it and some of the matter rushes away, filling the stream of the solar wind and increasing the concentration of particles, including particles with much greater mass and energy. Every second the Sun loses more than a million tons of substance, and in the moments of coronal emissions – tens of billions of tons.
The speed of the solar wind is 300-1300 km / s, depending on the mass of particles and energy, and therefore the Earth has a significant concentration of ionized plasma within 2-3 days. At the same time, light from the Sun passes 149,597,870 km (the average distance from the Earth to the Sun) in just 8 minutes 17 seconds, which can give time for preparation, as now the Sun is carefully monitored. Including, with the help of space solar observatories, including SOHO (Solare and Heliospheric Observatory), launched in 1995 and which already cost over 1 billion euros. It is interesting that initially the mission was planned for 2-3 years, but it has been going on for more than 20 years and was extended 2 years ago until December 2018, as it is now very important to predict coronal mass ejections and build forecasts of their achievement of the Earth.
When the Earth is unlucky and it is in the way of the flow of this ionized substance, it hits the lines of force of the Earth’s magnetosphere and magnetic storms are created. The nature of the magnetic storm lies in the interaction of particles from the ejection stream with the radiation belts of the Earth in which they accumulate, being held by a magnetic field, forming currents, which in turn lead to the appearance of magnetic fields in the places of particle accumulation, causing perturbations in the Earth’s magnetosphere.
- These disturbances can last several days and at a sufficient flux intensity, the magnetic “shield” of the planet can be destroyed by so many that induction currents can arise in all metals that are being conducted, first of all, this can affect communication satellites and even a technique on the surface of the Earth.
The threat is so real that Lloyds from London publishes risk assessment reports for North America. So in 1859, there was a storm, known as the Carrington event. It was so powerful that it could destroy the whole energy system of the Earth as a whole if such a system existed then. The currents arose in the wires of telegraph communication, as a result of which telegraph communication was completely disabled, both in Europe and in the USA. During this outbreak, energy was released 20 times more than with the fall of the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs – about 10 to 25 degrees Joules (10 iota joule), and the matter reached the Earth’s magnetosphere within a record 18 hours. The ejection moved so fast, as the previous emissions, observed from August 28 to September 1, cleared the way for him. The northern lights were then observed all over the Earth, even in the Caribbean, and the gold diggers at the Rockies began to prepare breakfast in the middle of the night, thinking that it was morning. Similar events in statistics occur every half thousand years.
Recently, evidence was found that in 774 AD another 20 times more powerful flash occurred, which could lead nowadays not only to completely destroy the power grid and data on the current-carrying accumulators but also to reduce the ozone layer by 20 %. The probability of such an outbreak is estimated at 1 event for 1250 years.
Nowadays, the solar storm on orders of lesser intensity in 1989 led to a big problem in Canada’s power networks, causing currents inexpensive transformers, which, after requiring an early replacement. And in 2012, the substance ejected as a result of the outbreak could cause serious problems when interacting with the Earth’s magnetosphere, but fortunately, it passed in 9 days of the Earth’s path in orbit, which is quite close, by space standards.
Conclusion – need to make a backup. And tape libraries and other magnetic media, as well as storage devices containing conductive elements and functioning on the basis of conductivity, are unlikely to be suitable without special equipment. protection. Optical discs, perhaps, are still the most durable and reliable form of storage.
Data centers, network participants, and communications
Of course, the Internet is not only communication on the network, but also the participants of this network. Most of the data is stored not on personal gadgets, but in data centers. There are not so many of them. Total 4253 pieces in 121 countries of the world: the data here. Some of them are the most important nodes of the network, as there are points of traffic exchange, communication management systems. The same 13 root DNS servers, numbered from A to M and located in 13 data centers, have about 200 mirrors, that is, they are located on 200 sites, which the hackers actually threatened to put the network on. But there are much fewer control points for communications. Some of the traffic exchange points and control points of the main channels are located only within one or two objects.
We all know the famous AMS-IX, the traffic exchange point in Amsterdam, one of the largest Internet hubs in Europe, it lives in the EvoSwitch data center, in which are provided Dell R730xd servers for rent for not very corporate and very corporate clients. But few people remember that Amsterdam is below sea level and although EvoSwitch data center is more than a meter raised above the surface of the Earth, flooding is possible, and in this case – global Internet problems in Europe.
Nevertheless, the chance of damaging switching equipment as a result of the global virus is much higher, which can lead to more significant network problems and inaccessibility in general. But we must admit that only nature can destroy the Internet completely.
- Although, many who seriously fear censorship. Nevertheless, all attempts to ban have never been crowned with success, except perhaps that of North Korea. Where embassies began to distribute Wi-Fi to the population, after which Wi-Fi was even banned on the territory of embassies.
From the Internet, there will be ruins without cables and data centers. Intra-networks, survivors of the cataclysm and orphaned around the world, will not be able to exchange data among themselves.