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Word Count: 1,483
Although neither man knew it yet the Webs most popular portal was being bombarded with enough confusing information to cause the digital equivalent of a nervous breakdown Normally Yahoo absorbs a couple hundred million bits of data each second meaning it can handle millions of Yahoo users asking simultaneously for say the lowdown on Ricky Martin without breaking much of a sweat But now Yahoos Internet service provider Global Crossing--Hannans company--was clogging up with as many as 1 billion bits a second But it was the type of information that did the most damage This was no Ricky Martin request It was millions of phantom users suddenly screaming Yes I heard you--which was very unusual since Yahoo hadnt said anything Worse the phantoms had all given Yahoo fake return addresses Yahoo got so hung up trying to get back to them all it couldnt get around to dishing up those Ricky links to regular users Service in other words was denied Visitors to Yahoo saw an empty screen Hannan and his team zipped back to Global Crossings HQ In an hour they figured out they were under a DOS attack It took another couple hours of monitoring their 500000 routing machines to figure out which one was being attacked and to install the kind of filters that would scare the phantoms away It wasnt brain surgery Kids make DOS attacks all the time But when the engineers saw the size of the barrage--10 times as large as anything ever recorded--they gasped We all agreed says Hannan that we had a very formidable opponent The next three days were marked by serial slowdowns at some of the biggest sites on the Web Amazoncom eBay httpCNNcom owned by Time Warner parent company of TIME ZDNet ETrade Excite Like so many virtual vandals before him the phantom foe clearly craved attention He got it in the shape of a front-page media frenzy a full-scale FBI
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