MyDoom Slows Web Performance

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.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about reaction to MyDooms SCO attack plans.

/zimages/4/28571.gifA 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.