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Akamai called in to rescue World Economic Forum site

Mike Simons
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has called in infrastructure outsourcer Akamai after the Forum's Web site was off-line for two days.

The WEF had planned to broadcast highlights and live sessions of a meeting last week of the world's most powerful leaders but the site fell over on the first day in response to heavy traffic.

A group called the Electronic Disturbance Theatre had been trying to arrange a denial of service attack on the WEF site, encouraging visitors to its own Web site to download a "virtual sit-in tool" to flood the WEF site with traffic.

After 24 hours offline WEF director of communications Charles McLean said getting the site operation was "not exactly a top priority. We're putting on a very complex and huge meeting here in New York and our focus is not the Web site. We want to get it up again, but we only have so much in the way of human resources".

WEF organisers then turned to Akamai which took over site management with its EdgeSuite business continuity service.

Akamai is protecting the WEForum site with its EdgeSuite Site Shield. This acts as a barrier between an enterprise's origin server and the public Internet. 

Several Akamai servers that only accept traffic from neighbouring Akamai servers protect the origin server.

"
The World Economic Forum site had been compromised," said an Akamai representative. "They needed a solution that offered a global platform, that could be implemented immediately, that shielded their origin server from further denial of service and that was cost-effective."

Akamai claims that EdgeSuite is the world's largest distributed computing platform with more than 13,500 servers operating on more than 1,000 networks in 66 countries.

The WEF has been the victim of computer attacks before. Credit card numbers and other personal information on thousands of WEF participants were stolen from the WEF Web site in February 2001.

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