Hackers today targeted three of the thirteen key servers of the Internet with a distributed denial-of-service attack.
The so-called root servers involved in the attack act as a kind of global address book for the internet by translating website name information into IP addresses to enable computers to visit particular sites.
The servers involved were each operated by a separate body - the US Defense Department, the net's oversight body ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and UltraDNS, which manages traffic for websites ending in "org" and some other suffixes.
The most interesting element of this concerted attack is that the system demonstrated the benefits of being dispersed and interoperable. There was no one point of failure,
"Last night we were seeing attacks which lasted for a couple of hours. There were probably hundreds of root server operators co-operating around the globe to make sure that the average user wouldn't notice," said Paul Levins, executive officer of Icann.
The fact that the attack remained invisible to users is being hailed as a success.