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In the most recent installment of tech website Gizmodo’s series “Giz Asks,” McIntire’s C. Coleman McGehee Professor of Commerce Ryan Wright joined a panel of fellow cybersecurity experts weighing in on how it would be possible to shut down the entire internet.
Contemplating the “what if” scenario concerning what it would take to cause the internet to cease functioning, Wright insisted that a universal shutdown remains highly unlikely due to its infrastructure and “several redundant connections that make it near impossible to bring down the entire internet unintentionally or accidentally.”
The Associate Director for McIntire’s Center for the Management of Information Technology explained that “bad actors”—cybercriminals, hackers, and others seeking to create chaos for various reasons—would be the most probable cause for any such disaster. Wright contends that by attacking border gateway protocol and domain name systems, those attempting to “break” the internet could conceivably reach their goals, but as these are systems are rigorously monitored, it would be no small feat and an improbable occurrence.