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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Vint Cerf on Internet Challenges

Phil Windley blogs about Vint Cerf's views on internet challenges. Excerpts with edits:

Networking is one area that Vint Cerf picks on as not having significant underlying theory. There are important principals, like layering, but much of the theory is shallow. Protocol design, as an example, doesn’t have much theory. We know almost nothing about making programming more efficient and systems more secure and scalable. He characterizes our progress in programming efficiency as a "joke" compared to hardware. Security (identity) works well in hierarchical organizations, but not elsewhere. The cost of authenticating individual users is one of the key factors. Hierarchical organizations can more efficiently issue IDs and perform authentications. He mentions virtual machines as an intriguing notion because theoretically they can create safe execution environments for various applications. JVMs do this, as an example. One of the reasons that people went to single application servers (for example, a DNS server, a mail server, etc.) in the 90’s was to get safe execution environments and process independence. The falling cost of hardware made this possible. VMs allow the cost of creating a machine to fall more dramatically still.
Here are some potential trouble spots:
Penetrable operating systems.
•Insecure networks
•Buggy servers
•Broken models of perimeter security
•Worms, virus, Trojan horses, keyboard and web page monitors
•Bluetooth security in mobiles
•Phishing and Pharming
•IDN ambiguities and DNS hijacking
•Intellectual property problems
•Routing attacks with BGP routing
•Distributed denial of service
•Insecure servers, laptops, desktops, mobiles, etc.

Worms have the potential to create resilient processes that run across multiple machines for business continuity. Business processes could be broken up and run as worm-like agents on multiple machines. Key challenges ahead:
Identity theft
•Personal privacy
•Search algorithms
•Semantic networks (related to last point)
•Database sharing (genome and space data are examples)
•IPv6 deployment
•Layers of details such as the network management systems, DNS refactoring, provisioning
•Allocation policy development
•Networked scientific instruments (tele-operation)

Some policy challenges in the Internet environment:
•WSIS/WGIG - Internet governance
He calls out Creative Commons and iTunes and new, innovative models of solving content management challenges. He notes that the regulatory system we have today is broken because it’s based on the modality of the communication and the Internet is subsuming them all. Excellent Views - thanks phil for your detailed coverage.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"