YouTube's woes? You could be next

Elections aren't the only things in chaos in Pakistan these days

Elections aren't the only things in chaos in Pakistan these days. The country recently decided to censor YouTube. Unfortunately, Pakistan botched the technology: It issued BGP routes that leaked, causing a worldwide reroute of all YouTube requests to a black hole in Pakistan -- taking YouTube off the global Internet for a couple of hours.

It gets worse. As global traffic to one of the world's busiest sites started hammering Pakistan, the country's Internet connectivity was saturated. So Pakistan's upstream providers cut Pakistan off the Internet to stop the flood. Eventually, YouTube republished granular routes to override the poisoned routes.

The first moral of the story: If you're a government agent seeking to shut down "offensive" sites, plan to take a few basic courses in routing first -- or be prepared to look like a moron.

For those who aren't government agents, check out moral No. 2: Your Internet presence, or that of your major suppliers, partners and customers, may be effectively denied intentionally or accidentally. Someone could take offense to your product lines or investment strategy, or simply screw up.

To protect yourself, you need to take two steps. First, make contingency plans for denial-of-service (DOS) attacks. That's above and beyond protecting yourself against Layer-1 issues like the cable cuts that recently plagued connectivity to the Middle East. The best DOS protection comes from service providers, which embed protection in the network -- so consider subscribing to such services. Additionally, your overall risk-mitigation strategy should incorporate plans to handle connectivity failures to your suppliers, partners and customers.

Second, for public or semipublic business activities, be aware that commercial sites (such as YouTube) often have higher availability than private sites. Why? Aside from the fact that they're massively scaled, outages are immediately visible -- and because they directly threaten the site provider's livelihood, provoke rapid responses. As my colleague (and fellow Network World columnist) Andreas Antonopoulos puts it, "Advertiser dollars are better motivators than SLAs. Consumer-class services with billions of eyeballs may be more reliable (or recover faster) than business-class services with strict SLAs."

IT executives often complain that users expect them to maintain Web servers to the reliability and responsiveness of a Google or -- on a tiny fraction of Google's or Amazon's budget. It may be time to consider using the real Google, YouTube or Amazon for certain types of services -- for example, one large telecom equipment vendor recently began posting marketing videos to YouTube.

Just think: extra reliability, massive responsiveness -- and cat videos on the Internet. What's not to love?

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Johna Till Johnson

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?