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The geek's bane

One of the more common approaches hackers take in attacking a large web site is known as DOS, or denial of service. The method is to attack and exploit personal computers using a variety of Trojan Horse methods (enticing emails, official looking or otherwise enticing websites with "poison apples", enticing downloads loaded with computer viruses, etc.) to install automatic programs that can be directed by instructions from a remote computer. These PCs, once appropriated in this way, are directed to attack the target site with a level of "traffic" the site is not equipped to handle. The result is the target site is effectively frozen in its attempt to deal with overwhelming traffic, and is effectively unable to respond to legitimate transactions from "customers."

Such DOS attacks are virtually impossible (or, at any rate, increasingly unworkable) when the site in question is Google.com, or even Amazon.com, since these sites rely on an enormous network of servers which are designed to scale services up to enormous traffic levels coming from all over the world. At most a comprehensive DOS attack may be able to degrade their service response times a tad.

The world of blogging is different, of course. Few blogs have the sort of importance that would motivate a DOS attack. Most hackers would rather attack more tempting targets with economic muscle. There is, however, an alternative scheme that I have personally witnessed, namely what might be called a denial of dialog attack (or, ironically, DOD). Such an attack proceeds by using BOTs that attempt to flood the registration mechanism of the site. If the site cannot effectively block BOTs, it may be forced to shut down user registratons altogether. Sound familiar?

In a world with Facebook, Twitter, a variety of blogging "collectives" (such as Blogger, Tumblr and Wordpress) and other social media, independent blogging sites with "members" are becomming increasingly rare.

While this site has no "members" as such (other than me, that is), it continues to enjoy a significant readership. For that I am grateful, of course. Even if you are unable to dialog with me (through no fault on my part), you evidently still consider my thoughts worth considering even when you disagree with them.

Even so, it is a great pity that so few people in the world today consider actual dialog to be necessary to civilization.

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