A Few Minutes of Technological Downtime

As [natural] science majors, we tend to look over the “-TEM” fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) when choosing blog topics each week. To fill that gap, I decided to research and write this week’s blog on technology. Interestingly, I came across news that WordPress, one of world’s largest blog hosting sites, struggled to maintain normal function past Thursday, the 4th of March, as it was suffering a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. As the Mass Academy of Sciences utilizes WordPress as its official blogging website and for the reason that you’re reading this blog through it, I saw it fit that I report on this assault. (CNN article)

If DDoS doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s okay! I don’t much understand what a DDoS attach entails. Wikipedia defines it as “saturating the target machine with external communications requests, such that it cannot respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly as to be rendered effectively unavailable.” By making the computer resource unavailable to its intended users for a period of time, a DDoS often intends to send a message of retaliation to the host and discourage user faith and confidence in the website.

Similar attacks were endured by Visa and Mastercard.com from the notorious hacker group called “Anonymous,” which is recently making the headlines in association with WikiLeaks. While WordPress doesn’t have much to lose [relatively speaking] in terms of money from “downtime,” Amazon.com (why Amazon won’t go down) and Google.com, in addition to Visa and Mastercard, by contrast could lose millions in even a few minutes. These companies need programmers to design ways to effectively make the DDoS and similar attacks inert in order to keep the internet flowing smoothly.

The point of this blog isn’t to praise the internet assaults but instead to show how important the internet has come to become and how it has been, and will continue to be, in an even bigger fashion, an important contributor to employment in the future. There are careers in the Technology part of STEM, and I have a feeling that internet is only the beginning of it all.

Written by: Jaymin Patel


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