A UK startup, working with the British government, has created what's believed to be the largest simulation of the internet ever made.
London startup Improbable's customers include computer gaming companies, financial services firms, governments and academic researchers, but this time an unnamed department of the British governmen approached the team for this ambitious project.
Their goal was to build a realistic simulation of the complete structure of the internet and the vast number of connections and networks that make up the World Wide Web, in order to see its weak spots and understand how to protect this crucial infrastructure from failure and attack.
Large-scale internet disruptions are far from rare, and often affect large portions of the world and causing widespread disruption.
In 2008, an ISP in Pakistan accidently blocked YouTube for a large portion of the world by misconfiguring a central server after it tried to block its citizens' access to anti-Islamic content. And this January Telstra, Australia’s largest telecoms provider, suffered a country wide outage that affected 16.7 million subcribers, costing the company millions in compensation and causing massive disruption for businesses.
Underwater cables can be accidently damaged and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can wreak havok on ordinary internet uses, as in the case of the 2013 attack against non-profit company Spamhaus, which cut off internet for millions of people.
Improbable's simulation allows you to create and delete ISPs, configure links between them, or load in data from the real world.