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When the Internet breaks, who ya gonna call? |

At this point, it’s hard to imagine life without the Internet, at least in the developed world. But buried underneath the breathtaking Web applications and streaming media that we use on a daily basis, the actual software that makes the Internet work is starting to show its age.

As recent events have demonstrated all too clearly, the Internet is especially vulnerable to deliberate attacks. Massive networks of hijacked computers, known as “botnets,” can be used to deluge target websites with enough traffic to essentially shut them down, much as a radio station running a call-in contest will have a constantly busy phone number. These attacks succeed, at least partially, because they are able to exploit weaknesses in the existing Internet protocols.