Dependency goes against the Internet’s original idea

I read recently how many thousands of web applications stopped working, when a small piece of code was deleted by its owner. The story relates to the person who had developed a JavaScript routine called ‘left-pad’ which did exactly what you might think, and padded out a text string to a predefined length. This 11 line piece of code became part of a number of open-source libraries.

Following a dispute over the name of the library, the author removed this function from GitHub and suddenly thousands of applications, which relied on it, stopped working.

This is a good illustration of how dependency can have very negative effects.

I called this to mind, when recently hearing about the problems with a very large e-mail service provider following a ransomware attack. When the Internet was designed, one of the key parameters was that it should be fail-safe, and packets of data would be automatically routed in the event of single or multiple points of failure. Clearly we have moved well away from that, where large providers host services, and I do wonder if there’s anyway of mitigating the dependency?

If not, perhaps it should be part of our continuity planning, and if you would like more information, you can contact us in the normal ways, use the contact form at or book a free 20-minute insight call at