Anonymous Is Supposed to Attack the Internet Today

Today's the big day, Anonymous: Operation Global Blackout. Hackers have been advised to attack the Domain Name System, which is responsible for taking a domain name like "gawker.com" and turning it into a series of numbers that makes sense to computers. Anonymous plans to bombard the system with junk traffic, thereby slowing just about everything on the internet down.

But the thing about calling in a threat so far in advance — Anonymous first posted about the attack in mid-February — is that it gives engineers time to prepare.

Those preparations turned into a fast-track, multimillion-dollar global effort to beef up the Domain Name System. They offer a glimpse into the largely unknown forces that keep the Internet running in the face of unpredictable, potentially devastating threats.

So relax, fellow internet addicts: we're ready for an attack, if it does in fact occur. And as some experts have noted, Anonymous' threat is actually a positive — exposing a weakness and forcing us to prepare for potentially larger attacks in the future.

The theoretical Operation Global Blackout wouldn't affect many today regardless.

On Saturday, if an attack takes place, it is likely to be imperceptible, at least initially, to the bulk of the world's Internet users, though service could slow down in places that have narrow bandwidth to begin with — much of sub-Saharan Africa, for instance. In the improbable event of a huge attack that goes unabated for several days, the ability to connect to Web sites could be impaired.

And it won't get to that point. The New York Times article compares the threat to the Y2K bug, which as we all remember, passed largely without incident. But hey, if you feel like panicking for nostalgia's sake, today's as good a day as any.

[Image via AP]