Distributed Denial Of Service & Grandma’s Facebook

In the last thrilling episode of the secret email society, your handsome hero was talking about IP addresses and why they suck.

You were on the edge of your seat.

Now we continue the adventure.

Since IP addresses are nearly infinite, you have jerks who can get thousands of computers to bombard your computer with requests to talk. Ten’s of thousands, in fact.

SO many that your computer shuts down because it can’t handle it.

This is called a sybil attack or a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack.

That’s just one angle of why the internet is busted.

Another is centered around the issue of verifying identity which is what I touched on yesterday.

(if you skipped it because it had the subject line “who am I” and you didn’t want to deal with my identity crisis, I’m gonna let you in on a secret: you missed out.)

It’s like meeting twins for the first time in your life.

You don’t know who is who; how do you keep track?!

That’s a tough problem online.

It’s so tough that it takes thousands of computer engineers to defend their servers from DDOS attacks AND to make sure that you are who you say you are.

The best way they’ve figured out is to have a single database, and then let you put information on it after you create a username & password. That’s called your profile.

If someone doesn’t have the password, they don’t get in.

Pretty simple. Works pretty well. Grandma figured it out. Cool.

But it causes all the problems you have with the internet & social media.

Those problems are the result of these really hard technology problems.

I promise this all has a point that you can use in your own life.

It’s that this issue is SO big that it can’t be contained in 240 characters on Twitter.

But it’s worth it.

Until tomorrow.

Best thoughts,
~Jonathan

Secret Email Society

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