Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hackers Bring Holiday Headaches to Amazon, Wal-Mart

GrinchBah, humbug! Hackers spent part of Wednesday attacking Neustar, the DNS provider that helps link some of the Web’s biggest Web sites to consumers, and ended up disrupting big retailers like Amazon (AMZN) and Wal-Mart (WMT) for more an hour.

In addition to the obvious pain this brings to last-minute Christmas shoppers and the e-commerce sites that rely on them, the attack had a larger effect: Many Web 2.0 companies that rely on Amazon’s cloud computing services to power their sites were also disrupted during the attack.

That said, the incident seems resolved now, and assuming we don’t see any catastrophes in the last few hours before Christmas, e-commerce companies are going to end up doing pretty well during this holiday season. ComScore (SCOR) estimates that sales are up four percent this year.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work