If the Internet today reverts back to speeds of the dial-up days, there might be an explanation: Last month, Anonymous threatened to go after its backbone, the Domain Name System, on March 31, reports the New York Times. It's probably a safe bet that nothing much will happen, but the people who guard against such things have spent the last several weeks shoring up the network—mainly by increasing the capacity of "root servers"—just in case.
The maintenance provides "a glimpse into the largely unknown forces that keep the Internet running in the face of unpredictable, potentially devastating threats," writes Somini Sengupta. The engineers interviewed generally give the sense that this work needed to be done anyway, and the threat simply provided an extra impetus to get it done now. Still, today is "not going to be another day at the office,” says one expert at the nonprofit Internet Systems Consortium in California. (It operates one of the web's crucial root servers.) “We are going to be on alert.”