The headlines have been apocalyptic:
"Global internet slows after biggest attack in history"; "Biggest ever cyberattack slows internet for millions"; "The attack that nearly broke the internet"; "Cyber attack jams crucial infrastructure around the world".
So how was it for you?
According to a company called CloudFlare, which specialises in helping websites minimise the impact of online junk data attacks by effectively creating more targets and thus spreading the burden between them, this particular assault – by a Dutch hosting company, Cyberbunker, on a not-for-profit anti-spam organisation called Spamhaus – eventually escalated to cause "congestion across several major [top-level, backbone internet networks], primarily in Europe, that would have affected hundreds of millions of people ... "
Hence, presumably, the armageddon headlines. Except, as the tech website Gizmodo points out, not many people seem to have noticed: few have complained that the internet was more than usually sluggish; movie-streaming services such as Netflix did not go down; mega net-enterprises such as Amazon reported nothing unusual; organisations that monitor the health of the web "showed zero evidence of this Dutch conflict spilling over into our online backyards". Specialists contacted by the site reported that the attack, major as it was, had "a severe impact" on the websites it was directed at, but it certainly did not shake the internet to its core.
Gizmodo concludes the whole story was essentially a cynical bid by CloudFlare to drum up more business. James Blessing of the UK Internet Service Providers Association council won't go quite that far, saying the attack "did have an impact. Some sites will be affected." But while the global internet, or parts of it, may potentially be vulnerable to a truly massive attack using the kind of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) techniques Cyberbunker has allegedly deployed, this one is probably not it. Yet. If you really want to slow down the internet, the best way may still be the simplest: cut a cable.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010