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Thursday, 28 February 2013 11:29

Internet early pioneer calls for Plan B

Written by Nick Farrell



More disasters likely

The bloke who registered the third Internet domain name is a little worried about where things on the net are headed.

Danny Hillis registered Think.com and told the crowd at TED 2013 on that in those days internet registry was a paper file. It had your name, address and phone number. A person was listed twice, because it was also indexed by internet address. Making a similar file today would mean a file 25 miles tall.

However Hillis thinks that the net is getting vulnerable and wants a Plan B drawn up for it. He said that early net was essentially built on trust, and it has been expanded it way beyond its limits. Hillis pointed to a series of recent disasters or near-disasters and malware like Stuxnet which proved his point.

What worries him is that it could be possible to make an effective denial of service attack on the internet and if there is no Plan B then there is no method of how humanity will communicate when the internet is in trouble. Plan B would be a second network that could come online in case of emergency. It would use different protocols from the existing internet, and would be kept separate as much as possible. This means that when the internet goes down, police stations, hospitals and airports could still function.

He thinks it would cost a few hundred million dollars to set up and would not be too hard to pull off technically. However he said it was difficult to get people to focus on Plan B when Plan A was working so well.

Nick Farrell

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