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Blackout and virus cannot knockout Internet

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August 18, 2003

Last week’s blackout not only tested the nation’s power grids and Wall Street, but also put a big test on the Internet. Could the Internet and mass communication survive a major blackout that took out the US North East and Canada?

It seems that during the fearful countdown of the destructive MSBlaster virus, that the blackout may have the power to shut down the World Wide Web and eMarketing as we know it. Major US servers, offices, customer service centers, cellular phones, and communications giants were confronted with the nightmare of “what to do if there is no power?”

Here’s a news rundown of how they fought the blackout:

BBC Reports: Net Survived Power Outage
"The net has survived the US power outage largely unscathed. Firms monitoring the internet's core cables said the blackout had not slowed traffic or caused any significant delays.

Experts said the net's structure helped it cope with the shutdown of networks in the affected areas."

Washington Post Reports: Cell phones worked... if you kept redialing (!)
E-mail went through, if your computer had power or you had a BlackBerry. Old-fashioned telephones worked, too, but cordless ones didn't. And pay phones were fine, if you could stand the long lines.

The power outage stressed the communications networks in the Northeast yesterday, but officials at telecommunications companies said most people were able to find a way to get their messages out -- if they were just persistent and patient."

San Francisco Gate Reports: Business backup systems survive outage
"The backbone of business bent, but did not break, under the weight of a monstrous blackout that knocked out power to a wide swath of the eastern United States and Canada.

The blackout hit right after the close of trading on Wall Street, but markets reported a successful closing session and are expected to open this morning without incident -- even if generators are needed to power the trading."

Baltimore Sun Reports: Back to the Grind after the Power Outage
"Electrically powered commuter trains ran on time and traffic lights kept street traffic running smoothly today as millions of people headed back to work for the first time since the big blackout.

Power plants knocked out by the outage were coming back on line, increasing the electricity flow in time for the high power demand of the start of the work week."

Between the MSBlaster Virus and the Blackout, looks like the Internet survived two of the biggest consecutive scares we have faced in the information age.

Source: Washington

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