Akamai Staggered: Is It a Distributed Single Point of Failure?

Network News Break: Akamai, the content distribution outfit of choice, took one on the chin this morning slowing or knocking out some of the Web's biggest sites. Is it the single point of failure IP was designed to avoid? Also: Juniper rolls into Cisco country, the FTC agrees that giving spammers a mailing list is a bad idea, Microsoft releases XP SP2 RC1, and a Bluetooth worm wriggles onto smartphones.

By Michael Hall | Posted Jun 15, 2004
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If you noticed that Yahoo! or any of a collection of other big sites on the Web weren't too responsive this morning, it seems an attack suffered by Akamai, which provides content distribution for many major Web presences, was to blame. Netcraft reports that this is the second disruption to the company's services in a month.

Another report, filed by the AP, quoted Akamai spokesman Jeff Young as saying the problem was the result of a "large scale, international attack on Internet infrastructure." Except, as the AP report goes on to note, it appears to have really been a large scale, international attack on Akamai and not much of anyone else.

Moral of the story for networkers: Consider the wisdom of single points of failure, even when they're distributed single points of failure. Now take the pebble from our hand.

Elsewhere:

» Late yesterday Juniper announced the J-Series Services Router line, a collection of gear aimed at moving Juniper into the enterprise space dominated by Cisco and providing VoIP or similar low-latency services. The line includes:

  • the J2300 Services Router, a fixed platform with one primary and one expansion slot that supports an 8 Mbps uplink
  • the J4300 Services Router, a modular platform with six open slots supporting a 16 Mbps uplink
  • the J6300 Services Router, a modular platform with six open slots and an option for a redundant power supply, supporting a 90 Mbps uplink

All the products run a subset of Juniper's JUNOS.

» Who knew? The Federal Trade Commission says an e-mail version of the Federal Do-Not-Call registry would be a disaster. Tasked by the CAN-SPAM Act with studying the feasability of such a list, the FTC came back today with a report that says the main value would be in providing spammers with a list of live addresses to abuse. Instead, the FTC says server authentication is our way out of the spam wasteland, and it will be sponsoring a summit to address such solutions.

» SmartPhoneToday has a report on the first smartphone worm, named Cabir, which propagates via Symbian-based phones (Lenovo, Siemens, Samsung, Panasonic, Sendo and Nokia among others). Here are the symptoms:

When launched, the worm makes the smartphone's screen display the inscription "Caribe". The worm then penetrates the system and will then be activated each time the phone is started. Cabir also scans for all accessible phones using Bluetooth technology, and sends a copy of itself to the first one found.

The primary means of prevention seems to be not opening attachments you don't recognize followed up by the eminently sensible measure of setting your device to recognize only other Bluetooth devices you tell it to recognize.

» Microsoft has released Windows XP SP2 Release Candidate 1. Sounds like a whopper:

Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox said the RC download betas are double the size of normal service pack upgrades from Microsoft. (Jupiter Research and this publication are owned by the same parent company.) Because of that, Wilcox, who recently heard a Microsoft XP product manager refer to SP2 as a service pack upgrade, scoffed at that notion that SP2 is anything less than a new OS.

"She said that they had to recompile part of the code," Wilcox told internetnews.com. "My point is this: Is there a point where remodeling a house is so massive it should be called a new home? If the answer is yes, it's a new version. If the answer is no, then it's not. Either way, the changes are significant."

The Week in Network News

» Monday: Comcast Blocks Port 25: Why Was it Ever Open?

ISP Comcast has taken to blocking port 25 when it detects spam-like traffic levels. It's a good move the company says has reduced spam coming out of its net by 20 percent. Why isn't the block default behavior? Also: MIMO pushes WLANs further, HP spruces up its network management tools, and just in time for VoWLAN, we get a crash course in question-asking.

The Week in CrossNodes

» VoWLAN: The Wireless Voice Future is Here ... Almost

VoWLAN might be the chocolate and peanut butter of networking, but the convergence of VoIP and wireless freedom has its share of snags. Here's what you need to know.

» Squid Puts the Squeeze on Net Wrongdoers (Part 2)

Between online deathmatches, hearts tournaments, and sports bookies, your network might be looking more like a playground than a place to get work done. Here's how to use Squid to button down the traffic and make sure your more slippery users don't slide out of its grasp.

» Three LDAP Browsers for the Asking

Getting your information in a directory is just half the battle: The other half is finding it. Here are three LDAP browsers, free of charge and up to the task of digging through your data.

» FaceTime Makes IM as Safe as Talking Face-to-Face

With IM use at critical mass and growing, security and privacy challenges abound. FaceTime's enterprise-grade server suite monitors, archives, and analyzes IM traffic for thousands of users without requiring thousands of admin hours.

Network News Break is CrossNodes' daily summary of networking news and opinion, served up fresh daily. Please send your comments and suggestions to the editor.

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