30 May, 2008

How fragile is the Internet?

Update June 3, 2008
Jim Louderback, Revision3 CEO, joined the TWiT podcast on Sunday (posted June 2nd) and talked about the DoS attach quite extensively. Jim's a real class guy; check out what he had to say about the DoS attach, BitTorrent, and MediaDefender.


Over the Memorial Day weekend, Internet TV company Revision3 suffered Denial of Service (DoS) attacks from MediaDefender. What specifically did MediaDefender do to Revision3 servers? MediaDefender flooded the Revision3 servers with 8,000 requests per second. With that type of volume, the Revision3 servers couldn't keep of with those requests, let alone legitimate requests for Revision3 content. Revision3 has posted an article with the details.

From the MediaDefender website,
MediaDefender, Inc. is the leading provider of anti-piracy solutions in the emerging Internet-Piracy-Prevention (IPP) industry. We provide services that stop the spread of illegally traded copyrighted material over the Internet and Peer-to-Peer networks.
MediaDefender clients include industry giants such as Sony and Universal Music. MediaDefender disguises themselves as a legitimate company stopping illegal distribution of media through brute-force techniques. But in this case, whether purposeful or accidentally, MediaDefender attacked a very legitimate media distribution business.

Revision3 was started and operated by long-time computer and Internet geeks and reports such as Kevin Rose, Jay Adelson, and David Prager that are very well respected in the industry. Revision3 uses peer-to-peer (P2P) media distribution to help manage costs of distributing their free media products.

Companies and groups trying to shut down illegal file distribution often attack P2P networks. This is the same protocol that Comcast was caught blocking a few months back (see SavetheInternet.com). In my opinion, this is just another example of companies and groups thinking they're above the law by hiding behind the guise that all P2P activity is illegal. This is just one more example of companies trying to hang-on to old business, cash cows, instead of adjusting to the opportunities of new technology.

To conclude, this is an example of how fragile the Internet can be when a company or group thinks their purpose is more important than the impact it causes to legitimate and lawful people and businesses.

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