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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik