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DNSSEC: Once More, With Feeling!

After looking at the state of DNSSEC in some detail a little over a year ago in 2006, I've been intending to come back to DNSSEC to see if anything has changed, for better or worse, in the intervening period... To recap, DNSSEC is an approach to adding some "security" into the DNS. The underlying motivation here is that the DNS represents a rather obvious gaping hole in the overall security picture of the Internet, although it is by no means the only rather significant vulnerability in the entire system. One of the more effective methods of a convert attack in this space is to attack at the level of the DNS by inserting fake responses in place of the actual DNS response. more

Defending Networks Against DNS Rebinding Attacks

DNS rebinding attacks are real and can be carried out in the real world. They can penetrate through browsers, Java, Flash, Adobe and can have serious implications for Web 2.0-type applications that pack more code and action onto the client. Such an attack can convert browsers into open network proxies and get around firewalls to access internal documents and services. It requires less than $100 to temporarily hijack 100,000 IP addresses for sending spam and defrauding pay-per-click advertisers. Everyone is at risk and relying on network firewalls is simply not enough. In a paper released by Stanford Security Lab, "Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks," authors Collin Jackson, Adam Barth, Andrew Bortz, Weidong Shao, and Dan Boneh provide ample detail about the nature of this attack as well as strong defenses that can be put in place in order to help protect modern browsers. more

Comments on an IP Address Trading Market

With IPv4 addresses becoming scarcer, there has been talk that a trading market will develop. The idea is that those holding addresses they do not really need will sell them for a profit. More alarming is that there have been a few articles about how the Regional Internet Registries (RIR) are contemplating creating such a market so that they can regulate it, conceding that it will happen anyway and taking the "if you can't be 'em, join 'em" attitude. This is all a bit disturbing. Maybe I'm naïve, but it's a little unclear to me how an unsanctioned trading market could really operate without the RIRs at least being aware... more

Whither DNS?

The Domain Name System is often though of as an integral part of the Internet. Without it, how can you ever locate anything? Well, quite easily, thank you very much. DNS is used implicitly for many services, such as web browsing. It also includes explicit extensions for a few applications such as e-mail. (I'm talking here about DNS the system, not DNS the technology that can be re-purposed to things like ENUM.) But the most notable thing about DNS is its receding importance... more

IP Address Exhaustion In 12 Easy Questions

It seems that there is an increasing level of interest in the topic of IPv4 address exhaustion, so I thought I'll share a set of answers to the most common questions I've been asked on this topic in recent times. ... If there is a common factor in many of these challenges, it is scaling the network to meet an ever expanding agenda of more users, more devices, more traffic, more services and more policies. more

Moving Target: Spammer Using Over 1000 Home Computers as DNS

Some individual appears to have hijacked more than a 1,000 home computers starting in late June or early July and has been installing a new Trojan Horse program on them. The Trojan allows this person to run a number of small websites on the hijacked home computers. These websites consists of only a few web pages and apparently produce income by directing sign-ups to for-pay porn websites through affiliate programs. Spam emails messages get visitors to come to the small websites.

To make it more difficult for these websites to be shut down, a single home computer is used for only 10 minutes to host a site. After 10 minutes, the IP address of the website is changed to a different home computer... more

Twenty Myths and Truths About IPv6 and the US IPv6 Transition

After hearing over 350 presentations on IPv6 from IPv6-related events in the US (seven of them), China, Spain, Japan, and Australia, and having had over 3,000 discussions about IPv6 with over a thousand well-informed people in the IPv6 community, I have come to the conclusion that all parties, particularly the press, have done a terrible job of informing people about the bigger picture of IPv6, over the last decade, and that we need to achieve a new consensus that doesn't include so much common wisdom that is simply mythical. There are many others in a position to do this exercise better than I can, and I invite them to make a better list than mine, which follows. more

IP Addressing in the New Age of Scarcity

This is the prepared opening statement given on behalf of Depository, Inc. at the panel discussion "IP addressing in the new age of scarcity" in the context of Internet governance and public policy at the Global Internet Governance: Research and Public Policy Challenges for the Next Decade Regional Conference held at the American University School of International Service on Thursday, May 5th, 2011 between 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. with Prof. Milton Mueller moderating and on the panel as well was John Curran, President and CEO of ARIN and Michael Froomkin, Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law. more

Addressing the Future Internet

What economic and social factors are shaping our future needs and expectations for communications systems? This question was the theme of a joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and Organisation for Economic Co Operation and Development (OECD) workshop, held on the 31st January of this year. The approach taken for this workshop was to assemble a group of technologists, economists, industry, regulatory and political actors and ask each of them to consider a small set of specific questions related to a future Internet. Thankfully, this exercise was not just another search for the next "Killer App", nor a design exercise for IP version 7. It was a valuable opportunity to pause and reflect on some of the sins of omission in today's Internet and ask why, and reflect on some of the unintended consequences of the Internet and ask if they were truly unavoidable consequences... more

IPv6 Subnetting - The Paradigm Shift

Almost every conversation I have with folks just learning about IPv6 goes about the same way; once I'm finally able to convince them that IPv6 is not going away and is needed in their network, the questions start. One of the most practical and essential early questions that needs to be asked (but often isn't) is "how do I lay out my IPv6 subnets?" The reason this is such an important question is that it's very easy to get IPv6 subnetting wrong by doing it like you do in IPv4. more

How Did IPv6 Come About, Anyway?

This is a special two-part series article providing a distinct and critical perspective on Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) and the underlying realities of its deployment. The first part gives a closer look at how IPv6 came about and the second part exposes the myths.

In January 1983, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) experienced a "flag day," and the Network Control Protocol, NCP, was turned off, and TCP/IP was turned on. Although there are, no doubt, some who would like to see a similar flag day where the world turns off its use of IPv4 and switches over to IPv6, such a scenario is a wild-eyed fantasy. Obviously, the Internet is now way too big for coordinated flag days. The transition of IPv6 into a mainstream deployed technology for the global Internet will take some years, and for many there is still a lingering doubt that it will happen at all. more

Could IP Addressing Benefit from the Introduction of Competitive Suppliers?

An article written by Paul Wilson, Director General of Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), and Geoff Huston, Senior Internet Research Scientist at APNIC. "In recent months proposals have been made for the introduction of competition into the system of allocation of IP addresses. In particular, calls have been made for new IP address registries to be established which would compete with the existing Regional Internet address Registries (RIRs). Specific proposals have been made by Houlin Zhao of the ITU-T and by Milton Mueller of the Internet Governance Project, both of which propose that the ITU itself could establish such a registry group, operating as a collection of national registries." ...It would appear that part of the rationale for these proposals lies in the expectation that the introduction of competition would naturally lead to outcomes of "better" or "more efficient" services the address distribution function. This article is a commentary on this expectation, looking at the relationship between a competitive supply framework and the role of address distribution, and offering some perspective on the potential outcomes that may be associated with such a scenario for IP addresses, or indeed for network addresses in general. more

Search Engine Optimization: Static IP vs. Dynamic IP Addresses

This is a hotly debated topic. Some Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs) claim that sites with a static IP address rank higher while other SEOs claim that shared hosting is just fine... that it would be stupid for search engines to penalize shared hosting since we are running out of IP addresses and so many sites are currently using name based hosting. ...I decided to run it through our statistical analysis engine to get the facts. Here is the methodology I used to answer this question. more

Why Do We Care About Names and Numbers?

An article based on the most recent study for the European Commission on the Policy Implications of Convergence in the Field of Naming, Numbering and Addressing written by Joe McNamee and Tiina Satuli of Political Intelligence.

"With relation to the Internet and also IP addresses, the "scarcity" is more complicated: there are not only intellectual property issues with regards to domain names, but there is also an issue of managing the integrity of the system. For any naming or numbering system to work, it is essential that the names and addresses used cannot be confused with any other -- in other words, no one system can have two end-points with the same fully qualified number or name..." more

The Geography of Internet Addressing

The ITU-T has proposed a new system of country-based IP address allocations which aims to satisfy a natural demand for self-determination by countries; however, the proposal also stands to realign the Internet's frontiers onto national boundaries, with consequences which are explored here. ...we do indeed see the Internet as a single entity, and we even speak of the Internet's architecture as if there was one designer who laid out a plan and supervised its construction. But despite all appearances, the Internet landscape is indeed made up of many separate networks... This article will explore these issues, particularly in light of recent proposals to introduce new mechanisms for IP address management, a prospect which could, over time, substantially alter both the geography of the Internet, and its essential characteristics as a single cohesive network. more