We were there when it happened… then again so were you and you probably don’t remember. I point to an article from March of 2013 on this very blog, titled “Slow internet? It’s not just you.” It was the day of the largest cyber attack in internet history, even to this day. It was the day a group of spammers decided to fight back against European countries that had taken a stand against them. They used the time-tested “DDoS” attack method, which basically sends so much traffic through one point that no one else can get in.
The internet itself actually performed very well that day, proving that its very design made it very resistant to attacks. Unlike some countries which have only one or two physical connections between themselves and the rest of the world, European countries are so strongly connected that the traffic just went through other portals. It slowed everyone down, but not for long.
In three years there has not been another cyber attack this large (that we know of) but there have been cases where whole countries have been cut off because their single line to the rest of the world was cut. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but we’ve become so connected as a planet that it’s more important that internet lines stay up sometimes than phone lines, mail service, or any other forms of communication. It’s just who we are in 2016.