MyDoom Slows Web Performance

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-01-27 Print this article Print

While home page downloads slow by as much as 50 percent, the e-mail worm's worst effects may be yet to come. Experts say the planned DOS attack on SCO's Web site could hurt Internet backbone traffic as well.

As the fastest-moving e-mail worm continues to haunt inboxes, it is creating some hiccups in response times on the Internet. But the real danger could lie in MyDooms "time bomb" set to trigger a denial of service attack next month against the SCO Group Inc.s Web site, experts say. Response times from major Web sites home pages have fallen by about 50 percent since MyDooms outbreak began on Monday, according to companies that monitor Web performance. So far, the Internet backbone itself has been largely unaffected, running about 8 percent to 10 percent slower on Tuesday than on an average day, said Lloyd Taylor, vice president of technology at Web performance monitoring vendor Keynote Systems Inc. "The performance degradation were seeing is due to congestion on corporate firewalls and filters, but the [Internet] backbone itself is running fine," Taylor said.
Keynote, of San Mateo, Calif., noticed that response times from the 40 large Web sites it monitors slowed down once MyDoom began spreading on Monday. Home page downloads rose to about 4 seconds, compared to the typical response time of between 2 seconds and 3 seconds, Keynote said.
Another Web performance monitoring vendor, AlertSite Inc., of Boca Raton, Fla., noticed a similar trend. The company found that U.S. home page response times slowed about 52 percent on Monday compared to a week earlier. "These numbers do not indicate that large Web sites are having problems with their Web servers but that the road between customers and the Web sites likely are more congested," said Ken Godskind, AlertSites vice president of marketing. More alarming than the minor delays are the possible interruptions yet to come, Taylor said. Because MyDoom currently is an e-mail worm that requires a user to open an attachment in order for it to propagate, its overall effect on Internet performance has been limited. But the worms next planned attack—to harness the multitude of computers it has infected to trigger a DOS attack on SCOs Web site starting on Feb. 1—could hit the Internets overall performance because of the massive amount of traffic it could generate, Taylor said. Read more here about reaction to MyDooms SCO attack plans. A denial-of-service attack in December knocked SCOs Web site off the Internet for a while. Click here to read more. "Depending on how far it spreads and the time given to clean up things…we may see effects, especially to carriers that are close to delivering bandwidth to the SCO Web site," Taylor said.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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