NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Something going on thousands of miles away could be affecting your Internet — from slower connections to service disruptions.

As CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reported Monday, it is all the result of a cyber war, with millions of ordinary Internet users like you getting caught in the middle.

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It typically takes just a few seconds for Shannon Lee to access Netflix. But recently, she said minute after minute went by and her laptop’s screen stayed frozen and blank.

“It takes away my time,” Lee said, “and it’s really, really frustrating.”

It would be frustrating under any circumstances, but lately it has been worse because, in this case, it all stems from a dispute thousands of miles away in a cyber war.

“Average Internet users just want to view their mail or play a game; they’re being caught in the crossfire,” CNET editor Declan McCullagh said.

It is being caused by a crossfire of two competing companies in Europe, and the end result has been widespread congestion and a slowdown of all service everywhere.

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One can think of it as a massive traffic jam, with cars at a standstill, and nothing moving in either direction.

“You can find systems slowing down; may not get to certain sites when you want,” McCullagh said. “It’s especially bad for real-time streaming sites.”

Some worry the unprecedented attack could affect email and banking systems next. Security experts said it is a sober reminder that the Internet was not designed to withstand the damage and fallout from a cyber war.

“The long-term solution is to fix the system from the ground up so it doesn’t happen again,” McCullagh said. “But that’s not going to happen this week. The longer-term fix will take two to three years.”

Five international cyber-police forces are said to be investigating the attacks. Unfortunately, experts said, there isn’t much Internet users can do to speed up service until this cyber war has been resolved.

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Have you noticed any connectivity problems lately? Please leave your comments below…