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Testing, Testing, Testing for a More Secure (Internet) World

Reading up on COVID-19 and Zoom/Boris Johnson outcry yesterday, an analogy struck me between the two: the lack of testing. In both cases, to truly know how safe and secure we are, testing needs to be stepped up considerably. This post focuses on cybersecurity. Over the past days and weeks, more and more organisations have switched to digital products and services to sustain working from home, to keep productivity up and to be connected. more

Societies Running on Quicksand: A Critical Look at Today's Networks

The last few weeks have reinforced the importance of modern communication networks to societies. Health care providers, schools, governments, and businesses all rely on networks that enable us to connect and collaborate remotely. Had we encountered a similar pandemic ten years ago, we would not have been able to continue our activities on the level that is possible today. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part IX: Retrospective Thoughts

Usenet is 40 years old. Did we get it right, way back when? What could/should we have done differently, with the technology of the time and with what we should have known or could feasibly have learned? And what are the lessons for today? A few things were obviously right, even in retrospect. For the expected volume of communications and expected connectivity, a flooding algorithm was the only real choice. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part VIII: The Great Renaming

The Great Renaming was a significant event in Usenet history since it involved issues of technology, money, and governance. From a personal perspective -- and remember that this series of blog posts is purely my recollections – it also marked the end of my "official" involvement in "running" Usenet. I put "running" in quotation marks in the previous sentence because of the difficulty of actually controlling a non-hierarchical, distributed system with no built-in, authenticated control mechanisms. more

What's Behind the Secure DNS Controversy and What Should You Do About It?

Anyone that has attended a meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will know that the somewhat dry topic of internet protocols is often the source of passionate disagreement. But rarely does that debate extend beyond the confines of internet engineers. That has not been the case with a new protocol which aims to make the Internet's underlying domain name system more secure by default. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part VII: Usenet Growth and B-News

For quite a while, it looked like my prediction – one to two articles per day – was overly optimistic. By summer, there were only four new sites: Reed College, University of Oklahoma (at least, I think that that's what uucp node uok is), vax135, another Bell Labs machine – and, cruciallyy, U.C. Berkeley, which had a uucp connection to Bell Labs Research and was on the ARPANET. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part VI: The Public Announcement

Our goal was to announce Usenet at the January, 1980 Usenix meeting. In those days, Usenix met at universities; it was a small, comaparatively informal organization, and didn't require hotel meeting rooms and the like. (I don't know just when Usenix started being a formal academic-style conference; I do know that it was no later than 1984, since I was on the program committee that year for what would later be called the Annual Technical Conference.) more

The Early History of Usenet, Part V: Authentication and Norms

We knew that Usenet needed some sort of management system, and we knew that that would require some sort of authentication, for users, sites, and perhaps posts. We didn't add any, though -- and why we didn't is an interesting story. The obvious solution was something involving public key cryptography, which we (the original developers of the protocol: Tom Truscott, the late Jim Ellis, and myself) knew about: all good geeks at the time had seen Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" column... more

The Early History of Usenet, Part IV: Implementation and User Experience

To understand some of our implementation choices, it's important to remember two things. First, the computers of that era were slow. The Unix machine at UNC's CS department was slower than most timesharing machines even for 1979 – we had a small, slow disk, a slow CPU, and – most critically – not nearly enough RAM. Duke CS had a faster computer – they had an 11/70; we had an 11/45 -- but since I was doing the first implementation, I had to use what UNC had. (Log in remotely? more

The Early History of Usenet, Part III: File Format

When we set out to design the over-the-wire file format, we were certain of one thing: we wouldn't get it perfectly right. That led to our first decision: the very first character of the transmitted file would be the letter "A" for the version. Why not a number on the first line, including perhaps a decimal point? If we ever considered that, I have no recollection of it. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part II: Hardware and Economics

There was a planning meeting for what became Usenet at Duke CS. We knew three things, and three things only: we wanted something that could be used locally for administrative messages, we wanted a networked system, and we would use uucp for intersite communication. This last decision was more or less by default: there were no other possibilities available to us or to most other sites that ran standard Unix. Furthermore, all you needed to run uucp was a single dial-up modem port. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part I: The Technological Setting

Usenet -- Netnews -- was conceived almost exactly 40 years ago this month. To understand where it came from and why certain decisions were made the way they were, it's important to understand the technological constraints of the time. Metanote: this is a personal history as I remember it. None of us were taking notes at the time; it's entirely possible that errors have crept in, especially since my brain cells do not even have parity checking, let alone ECC. Please send any corrections. more

Unpublished Autobiographical Essay of Steve Lukasik on His Accomplishments at ARPA

Around 2014, as Stephen (Steve) J. Lukasik proceeded well into his 80s, he began to consider ways to capture the enormous sweep of activities and history in which he was a key figure. Indeed, that sweep was so broad and often compartmentalized, and his output so prolific, that even his closest associates only knew of slices of his accomplishments. So he began sorting through his career and produced this autobiographical essay on his accomplishments at ARPA that is being made posthumously available now. more

The Director

On Thursday, Stephen J. Lukasik passed away peacefully at the age of 88. He was the legend in a field with no peer. For nearly half a century, he shaped the development of national security and network technology developments at a level and extent that is unlikely ever to be matched. For a great many of us in that arena from the 1960s past the Millennium, he was the demanding visionary leader who set the policies and directions, framed the challenges, approved and funded the projects, and questioned the results. more

Watch Live Tonight – 2019 Internet Hall of Fame Ceremony

Tonight (27 Sep 2019) you can watch the 2019 Internet Hall of Fame induction ceremony streaming live out of Costa Rica. Eleven individuals from six countries will be inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame (IHOF) today. The 2019 class of inductees have expanded the Internet's reach into new regions and communities, helped foster a greater understanding of the way the Internet works, and enhanced security to increase user trust in the network. more

News Briefs

Vint Cerf Has Tested Positive for Coronavirus

"lo" and Behold

IETF Appoints Its First Executive Director

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee Is Investigating Google's Plans to Implement DNS Over HTTPS

Mozilla Named "Internet Villain" for Supporting DNS-Over-HTTPS by a UK ISP Association

Internet RFC Series Turn 50

IETF Releases the New and Improved Internet Security Protocol, TLS 1.3

Significant Changes Underway for Core Internet Protocols

European Court Declares Dynamic IP Addresses are Subject to Privacy Protection Rules

IETF Turns 30

IAB Urges Developers to Encrypt by Default

Researcher Propose Faster, Safer Internet by Abandoning TCP/IP Protocol

IETF Reaches Broad Consensus to Upgrade Internet Security Protocols Amid Pervasive Surveillance

IETF Looking at Technical Changes to Raise the Bar for Monitoring

IETF Working on HTTP 2.0, Will be Based on Google's SPDY Protocol

Internet Society Releases Paper on "What Really Matters About the Internet"

Leading Global Standards Organizations Endorse 'OpenStand' Principles

Prof. Dave Farber on Where the Internet is Headed

Making the Web Faster: Google Working on Enhancing Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

Packet Latency Big Issue in Internet-Based Applications,

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