One of the reasons that web sites go down is that they're targeted by hackers in something called a DDoS attack. A plain DoS attack stands for "denial of service", which basically means bombarding a web site with so many requests that it falls over with the pressure. The extra "D" makes the attack Distributed. Here, instead of all those requests coming from a single computer, they are launched from hundreds of thousands of machines all over the world, all of which have been the victim of a particular "botnet" virus and can now be controlled by their new owner into launching a co-ordinated attack on demand.
Technology company Norse owns thousands of data centres and key internet hardware around the world. By monitoring the attacks that come into its own hardware, it can work out the location and severity of all the major DDoS attacks that are taking place at any time. As a chart of numbers, such data isn't particularly interesting. But turn it into animated coloured shooting arrows that fire across an on-screen map of the world, and you really get a feel for how much DDoS traffic is in circulation at any one time.
It really is amazing to watch. Check out http://map.ipviking.com/ to see it for yourself.
Please rate this article: