Behind The Hack Attack

How the Web's top sites were clogged by devilishly simple programs, cleverly deployed

While the biggest hacker attack in Web history loomed like a tsunami on the virtual horizon last Monday, Alan Hannan was looking for nothing more dangerous than soda and cookies in a San Jose, Calif., hotel lobby. Like hundreds of techies who help keep the backbone of the Internet properly aligned, Hannan had spent the morning at the North American Network Operators' Group conference listening to a talk on something called denial-of-service (DOS) attacks. "I thought I knew about them well enough," says Hannan. "I didn't pay much attention. I wish I had."

Before he could finish his Coke, Hannan's cell...

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