Unlike previous outages that have made headlines for eBay and other companies, the current wave of failures does not involve technical problems at the individual sites. Instead it exposes a long-standing vulnerability in the way the Internet is constructed, where the open architecture of the network means that computers can be overwhelmed with phony requests for information.
We said it yesterday morning: If smurf-hackers can take down Yahoo, they can take down anyone. And later in the day they did. Name-brand victims included eBay, Amazon.com, Buy.com and CNN.com. The megasites each suffered crippling "denial of service" attacks that rendered them useless for hours at a time. The assault on Buy.com was particularly cruel, taking the site down on a day that should have been cause for a coming-out celebration — its initial public offering.