Akamai Buys Prolexic, Joins Denial-of-Service Fight

Akamai Technologies' $370 million acquisition of cybersecurity vendor Prolexic [brings] the content management giant full circle. Co-founded in 1998 by a young math genius named Danny Lewin, and his MIT professor, Tom Leighton, Akamai pioneered a way to deliver Web pages at very high speed. The company was instrumental in enabling marquee companies -- such as Apple, Facebook and USA TODAY -- to display Web pages that could absorb massive amounts of Web traffic in near real time, and thus grow their Internet businesses.

Prolexic, meanwhile, is known for helping companies defend against denial-of-service attacks, in which bad guys deploy infected computers to bombard a Web site with nuisance queries, making the site inaccessible.

Iranian hackers in the past year have launched huge waves of denial-of-service attacks to punish U.S. banks, knocking them off line for days at a time and causing huge losses. Syrian protestors last August temporarily knocked The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and Time off line.

It's the kind of thing that would have gotten Lewin's juices flowing. However, Danny Lewin was a passenger on board American Flight 11, one of the jetliners that slammed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

In her book 'No Better Time: The Brief Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, The Genius Who Transformed the Internet,' Molly Knight Raskin recounts Lewin's pivotal role launching Akamai -- and the heroism he is credited with demonstrating on 9/11.

Transcripts of the flight attendant relaying what was unfolding in the jet cabin describe a passenger in Lewin's seat resisting the terrorists and getting killed before the plane slams into one of the twin towers.

"Danny was fluent in Arabic, he was a captain in the Israeli forces who specialized in anti-terrorism, so it makes perfect sense, knowing Danny, that he would have done exactly that," says Leighton, Akamai's...

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