Rebooting the Internet

I was just talking to an old friend of mine.  He lives in DC – he’s a General in the Army.  I’ve know him since he was a young Captain, so about 24 years.

While we were catching up he complained that he lost his Internet connection.  As I walked him through the steps to determine if it was the Wireless LAN, or his cable modem he asked me if I wanted him to “reboot the Internet”.

I found that to be pretty funny because although he really meant reboot the cable modem, I know what he does for a living.  I am sure he could reboot the Internet if he wanted to!


  1. scaring ME!

  2. You don’t need to physically unplug or reboot anything… you just need to disrupt DNS.  Do that, and the Internet no longer works (well, it doesn’t work or any practical purposes).  Believe me, disrupting DNS globally isn’t only possible, it is a global warfare contingency plan.


  3. I thought about that for a second, but I don’t think it’s possible anymore, for a single person, to ‘reboot’ the entire internet (without destroying the entire planet). The closest you can get to crippling it, is probably by taking out the 13 root name servers, but nowadays, with 6 of them no longer being actual one-machine servers, but geographically (continentally) dispersed anycast networks, I think even Al Gore himself couldn’t pull it of.What would be more cripling? Taking out all the root servers or a particularly nasty worm/virus (in terms of ‘getting it fixed and back up again’). What do you think?