16-Year Old Breaks Vine
Rickrolling: “an Internet meme involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.'
Today, a 16-year old by the name of Will Smidlein created one of the best Rickrolls ever – unfortunately, he also made Vine crash.
Vine has a six-second upload limitation that's in place to prevent the site from crashing. But people like Smidlein (and by “people,” I mean “brilliant people”) exist. Smidlein (an Android expert) messed around with the newly released Vine Android app just enough to bypass that six-second limitation. He put the Astley hit on loop…and it went viral.
The result? As Smidlein tweeted: “I think I broke Vine.”
Preparing For A Dead Halt
Limitations are put in place to prevent sites from crashing. Imagine if twenty Smidlein's existed. Sites like Vine would be crashing constantly. But, Smidlein has also created a good example for anyone considering setting up a video or streaming-type site. Even sites that have limitations in place (and expect a number of users each day) can crash. Server overload happens to the best of sites.
Currently, the Vine team is working on figuring out how Smidlein got past the limitation, and trying to prevent similar instances from happening in the future. Vine was clearly prepared for this kind of accident, though, and preparation is half the battle.
Setting Up a Game Plan
Your site may never go down. Someone may never figure out how to get past your limitations or mess with your site, but it is a possibility. Once something like this happens, the only thing that you can do is try to fix it – and fixing it becomes a lot easier when you have a game plan.
Assign someone (or a team of someones) the task of handling a problem when it happens. Make sure that everyone in your company knows the protocol. Go over your game plan a million times. Create imaginary scenarios. When breaks and hacks happen, you will be prepared (and equipped) to handle them. What's Vine doing about the issue?
How Vine Handled It
Things seem to be up and running at Vine now. The company has handled Smidlein's hack relatively well. Asking him nicely to take down the video, Smidlein complied and all is well now. However, you can bet that Vine will be testing its limits now…and the company may even consider hiring Smidlein when all is said and done.
If you're just setting up a site with a cheap hosting company, make sure that you have accounted for a number of hits on your site. Additionally, find out what that cheap hosting company can (and will) do to help you if one page on your site finally gets a million hits – or if your site's limitations become hacked.
Got questions about arranging a game plan or trying to figure out how to prevent hacks from happening? Ask away!