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December 29, 1999

Y2K Virus Fear May Clog Linx

By CBR Staff Writer

On the eve of the new millennium, it is not the bug itself that is worrying the London Internet Exchange (LINX), but the peripheral effects of it, many of which have been created by the hype surrounding the date change. Companies’ cautious reaction to the bug may end up causing more problems than it solves.

Keith Mitchell, executive chairman of the non-profit organization, told ComputerWire that although all LINX staff will be working over New Year’s Eve, most of the problems are not expected to come from date problems locally. We may find some power grid failures in less developed countries, or failures of their telecommunications networks, which may affect us, he said, pointing to LINX peer France Telecom SA’s recent weather-related network downtime as an example of what could happen elsewhere.

Hackers may also try to use Y2K as a smokescreen, Mitchell said. This problem is well known, and one that has reportedly caused many multinational corporations to freeze incoming email over the weekend, for fear of millennium viruses. This concerns Mitchell: if companies merely store incoming emails on their own servers without activating them until they have been checked, there should be little problem to the network.

If however, they just unplug these servers, emails will be bounced back. If the sender server is set to retry the send at regular intervals until it is accepted, then this increased network congestion could cause additional problems. We’re more concerned with this bounced mail than with the Bug, said Mitchell.

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