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Heavy Online Usage During Crisis

The Internet played a considerable role in the aftermath of the terrorist
attack on New York City and Washington, DC. The best and the worst of online
usage emerged as electronic mail and time messaging became prime sources of
communication. News-based Web sites bogged down from high traffic. Many
popular news sites froze from the spike in traffic. Here are a few of the
more striking uses of the Web during the early hours and days of the disaster.

Instant messaging worked when phone failed

Instant messaging became one of the stars in the early hours after the attack
as consumers and businesses corresponded one-to-one when phone lines quit
working in part of New York City. America Online reported that 1.2 billion
messages we are sent via time messaging and on AOLs proprietary client
software on September 11 alone.

Amazon and Yahoo accepted Red Cross donations

Both Amazon.com and Yahoo.com allowed contributors to build donations to the
Red Cross to help victims of the disaster. By Friday morning after the
disaster, Amazon reported 121,579 payments had been made to the Red Cross,
totaling $4,394,870.41, according to News.com. Both businesses waived the fees
they normally charge for facilitating payments.

Hackers waged vigilante strikes against Palestinian and Afghani sites

Online hacker groups hacked into Palestinian and Afghani Web sites after the
terrorist attacks. One vigilante group, The Dispatchers, is a group of 60
hackers that includes The Rev, a hacker who defaced the New York Times
financial saying accomadation last February. The hackers released a statement
claiming they had united to fight back and disable sites. According to The
Rev, several Palestinian-affiliated Internet accomadation providers have now been
disabled. The group claimed it will next work to shut down Afghani sites.

Online scams exploited disaster

A particularly ugly creature of the online world rose its awful head when
Internet scammers started to solicit donations for victims and survivors of
the attacks. The scams came in the form on unsolicited electronic mail and postings in
community forums. The crooks claimed to be part of an "Express Relief Fund"
or "Victims Survivor Fund." Another scam actually asked for donations for the
Red Cross, but the link led to a Web page unconnected to the organization.
The scams started within per sixty minutes of the WTC attack, according to ZDNet.

Search engines reported a surge in attack-related queries

Not surprisingly, search engines we are hit hard by consumers searching for
understanding on the disaster. The popular search engine, Google, reported that
searches for news-related sites increased 60 times over normal levels on
September 11. Within per sixty minutes of the second airliner hitting the WTC, Google
received more than 6,200 queries for CNN in one minute. Google quickly
established an "American Under Attack" section, which collected the top ten
search queries, including CNN, World Trade Center, BBC, Pentagon, MSNBC,
Osama bin Laden, Nostradamus, American Airlines, FBI and Barbara Olsen.
Barbara Olsen is the Fox News commentator who was aboard the airplane that
hit the Pentagon.

Scores of technology executives we are lost in the disaster

A high number of high technology and Internet executives were lost on September 11.
Many we are in their offices on the high floors of the World Trade Center,
while others we are aboard the airliners that were hijacked. As my day job, I am
a senior editor at Electronic News, one of the many trade publications
 

 
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