How will you read the news when the Internet crashes?

Still think the Internet will be the new economic centre, replacing traditional brick-and-mortar business?

I ask this after the major DDoS attack by hackers on Friday, which crippled the online sites of multiple corporations and made it impossible for millions of Internet users to conduct business on such sites as PayPal, Amazon.com, etc.

Who did it?

It could have been a foreign country. It could have been a certain well-known Robin Hood-type group of hacktivists. It could have been a bored teenager messing around in his or her parent’s basement.

Does it really matter who did it? The fact that hackers can cause such disruptions with relative ease speaks for itself: the virtual Internet’s foundation is as shaky as a house supported by stilts in quick sand.

But if houses on stilts fall down in heavy winds, the damage is limited to a small number of buildings. When the Internet goes down, millions of houses are affected.

Then, there are natural occurrences like solar flares, which can negatively affect the Internet. It is only a matter of time, according to a report I saw on TV recently, for the Earth to be unfortunately aligned with a massive sun solar flare, resulting in major, long-term telecommunications and power grid disruptions in North America and around the world.

Yes, how fragile our Internet system is, how fragile we are . . . as a species.

Still, we march blindly on, as in blind faith. Thousands if not millions of jobs are being wiped out as corporations turn away from traditional brick-and-mortar operations.

True, jobs have wiped out by technological advances many times before. But it is different this time. No Internet and no brick-and-mortar business equals . . . nothing.

Take the newspaper industry, for example. Print editions are being phased out, printing presses are being sold to scrap metal dealers. Publishers are turning to digital-only operations, desperately (and unsuccessfully) trying to earn enough revenues there to stay alive. Take away the Internet for any length of time, and those newspapers no longer exist. Period. End of story.

You get my point. Society is dismantling much of its traditional economic foundation and rebuilding on the quick sand of the Internet. Smart companies, of course, are using the Internet to complement their brick-and-mortar operations. But too many companies are putting all of their eggs in the Internet basket.

— Jillian

P.S. Yes, I know it seems contradictory to be referring to “newspapers” when there is no actual paper involved. I guess that word will soon be filed in the Old English folder.

Photo: From Jpulickeel, Wikimedia Commons.

7 thoughts on “How will you read the news when the Internet crashes?

  1. Through your Bank card. It’s called RDIF. Of course, when they fail buy gold!! %P PS. Make sure your purse or wallet is lined with tin foil

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  2. “according to a report I saw on TV recently….”

    Please stop watching the loony right-wing “news”. The story was describing a Coronal Mass Ejection, which is a random solar event. There’s no “lining up” unless you are selling gold coins for 300% markup.

    We have had many CME’s hit the earth in modern times and yes, some power grids are shut down, some satellites have been damaged, and at least once a major telephone central office was damaged. We will have more CME’s but most people are largely ignorant of the occurrence due to the “hardening” of the delicate equipment. (Chip makers like Intel analyze damaged components and add protection circuitry to prevent a recurrence.)

    So, like floods, we will never not have floods, but we learn to cope with them.

    The recent DDOS *may* have been, and I stress MAY have been a retaliation in a cyber war that we really don’t know about. Anyone, including you or me, could pull off a short term DDOS to a specific website. That’s literally child’s play. To hit a Domain Name Server (DNS) from many places around the planet takes a lot of strategic planning that your average kiddie hacker simply is not capable of performing. Possible involving servers at the highest level of the internet hierarchy (servers that connect directly to an internet backbone).

    But most service providers (ISP’s) have developed strategies to confound a DDOS, so they don’t last very long. Usually by switching to a backup DNS as soon as the attack is discovered.

    So, no, the Internet is not going to go down catastrophically. Painful disruptions, maybe, but no long-term shutdowns.

    By the way, most government servers and all military servers are connected through a private, extremely secure network of their own. No hacker can get into those systems because they are not connected to the public internet.

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    1. Well, the host of the TV program was saying that it was all about positioning: if the Earth was in a certain position when there is a coronal ejection of a certain magnitude, our telecommunications and power grids would be disrupted. In the case of a major ejection, the repairs could take months.

      I know that some government services are on separate networks, but some aren’t, not that it matters all that much if you can’t file your income tax return online or pay for your driver’s licence online. But the bank system relies heavily on the Internet, and there are fewer and fewer tellers these days. So, banking could be a problem if the Internet goes down for a long period of time,

      For other businesses, especially those that are struggling like newspapers, being offline for long periods of time could result in big financial losses, and even wipe them out.

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    2. Drone – You may be focusing too closely. That was just one example of many that could disable our communications.

      Last week 250K people around here lost their internet and TV for hours due to an underground cable being severed 15 miles away, at midnight! What it phones were out too? Communication breakdown.

      Can’t find out what’s happening, can’t call the police, no fire department, no pizza delivery!

      Jillian is pointing out how dependent we are on something very tenuous, and the disaster that could follow should it be totally disabled for a long period of time.

      Think of how many grandkid pics would be lost! OMG!

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  3. Given the quality of editorial and content on newspapers today why would I be concerned? And no, that is not a provocative question. I am really serious. Most, if not all newspapers, have become trash, irrespective of their history and irrespective of how mainstream they are regarded as being. They have become bare-bone operations driven by advertising revenue and click-bait.

    You can lecture me if you want about taking a cavalier attitude to an important aspect of public scrutiny of authority, etc but I don’t think it really matters whether I care or not, it has already happened and there is no way that particular genie is going back into the bottle. The quality and reliability of information I can access will not change as a result. The absolute irony is that even if I could rely on it, I won’t, simply because the status quo assumed about the media has become so poisoned.

    Just one example. The BBC used to considered by many as the last word on unbiased thorough new reporting due to having no corporate master to answer to. Now, it is constantly being accused of political and social bias, ironically equally by both the left and the right of politics, and accused of being interfered with by the government of the day on political grounds, due to being held hostage over the annual licensing fee.

    Increasingly, via social media, more and more people are making their own news, their own facts, their own evidence, to create their own version of the news to share in their own isolated bubble, their own version of reality, and the actual truth, such as it may be, has become a total irrelevance to them. Of course, to a certain extent, that has always been the case, it just seems as if the means now available has just increased the frequency and intensity of it exponentially. I don’t need to give you practical examples of that, daily examples of it are being constantly fed into your RSS, Facebook, Twitter or Reddit accounts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Bare-bones operations” for sure, but very little advertising revenue these days, hence the “bare-bones” factor. It’s a vicious circle.

      In Canada, newspapers are struggling for survival, but the tax-payer-funded CBC keeps rolling along, complete with print website, radio and TV news. But do we really want government-funded news agencies to be our main source of mainstream news?

      The irony is that news aggregators like Google will suffer if mainstream newspapers go under, because your google newsfeed won’t have a lot of news. And that will in turn cause an implosion within google.

      Of course, that’s assuming some teenage hacker hasn’t brought down google and the rest of the Internet.

      As Alice Cooper once sang, “we are the department of youth, we got the power.” Never has that been more true . . .?

      Liked by 1 person

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