FryUp: Click Here: Earth (doesn't quite) move

Top Stories: - A good reason to click here - Did the earth move for you?

Top Stories:

- A good reason to click here

- Did the earth move for you?

- A good reason to click here

It's a simple use of existing technology that isn't revolutionary, and yet makes a whole world of difference.

Following the bomb blast in Bali the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was flooded with frantic calls from family and friends of Kiwis travelling in the region. Over 1000 names were logged and checking to see if they were in Bali or had moved on started out as a mammoth task.

Enter the internet. Actually, and oddly, enter the banner ad. MFAT contacted a bunch of the largest New Zealand news sites to see if they would run a banner ad asking these folk to get in touch with either their nearest embassy, MFAT itself, or just phone their mums so we could all sleep easier.

XtraMSN said "why don't we put an ad on the Hotmail log in account as well?" and a great idea was born.

If you've been travelling you probably organised an free web-based email account for yourself and you probably used Hotmail. It's the perfect place to drop a "phone home" ad and make contact with those travellers out in the wild.

The ads were served only to those logging on from a non-New Zealand IP address so that helped cull those just browsing to see what the ad was all about.

In 48 hours the ad had around 500 click-throughs and was served up nearly half a million times.

Of the 1000-plus names, only 27 remained on the unaccounted-for list when MFAT wrapped up its operation and handed it over to the police.

The next step would be to encourage travellers to lodge their email addresses with MFAT when they travel to the yellow-alert countries for easier contact/confirmation.

MFAT now has a plan in place for any future use and hopes to talk to all the sites that Kiwis check on regularly when they're travelling.

Finally a reason to click on a banner ad.

Web ads help ministry find Kiwis after Bali blast - IDGNet

- Did the earth move for you?

Did you notice? The internet almost ended. How cool is that?

Apparently a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) on the domain name registry servers in the US came this close to knocking out the internet.

Well, that's the short version. The long version is that it didn't, of course, and that the safeguards worked, but that's hardly a news story is it?

As you probably know a DDoS attack is the electronic equivalent of ringing a doorbell and running away.

The receiving server is tied up checking to see if there is anyone there and that takes time. Multiply that by several thousand attempts a minute and you're in big trouble.

Several major sites have been hit with DDoS attacks in the past - Yahoo and CNN among them - but this one was slightly more cunning. Rather than attack a single site or series of sites, the attack was launched against the DRS, the road signs/map book of the internet.

Without the DRS in place your browser won't know where your favourite sites (idg.net.nz, for example) really are and you end up cooling your heels watching everyone's favourite hourglass turn over and over and over.

The FBI is all over it like a rash, apparently, but the perpetrators are presumably well hidden behind all those zombie machines.

Still, it's nice for the mainstream media to have something other than credit card fraud and porn to write about when they write about the internet.

Kudos must go to Jay Garden at the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CCIP) who warned of the dangers of coordinated DDoS attacks back in February.

Net backbone withstands major attack - IDGNet

Kiwi at centre of net security - IDGNet

Feds planning early_warning system for internet - IDGNet

Spy boss fears DDoS - IDGNet

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