85% of the Internet Could be Destroyed

The chains of dependencies are, in fact, vulnerabilities

By on April 28th, 2006 17:37 GMT
The Internet is extremely vulnerable because of the chain of dependencies between the computers that hold different parts of net addresses. As a result, this main characteristic of the so called web could lead to several hacker attacks, it is said in a study of the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University.

It seems that all simple attacks combined could lead to the take-over of 85% of the Internet, because of the huge number of computers that have to be consulted in order to trace the exact location of a web site.

"The growth of the Internet has caused these dependencies to emerge", Professor Emin Gun Sirer, one of the researchers involved in the study, told BBC. "Instead of having to compromise one, you can compromise any one of the three dozen."

The researchers analyzed numerous servers that host Internet address books and information taken from almost 600,000 computers. The results showed that more than 17% of the servers tested are vulnerable, the only feasible solution being recreating the entire Internet system.

"Because of these dependencies, about one-third of the net's names are trivially compromisable by script kiddies", he said.

The analysis also showed that the most vulnerable net domain is the one of the Roman Catholic Church in the Ukraine, and that the traffic of renowned sites might be re-directed, in order to access users' personal information. This act could lead to an Internet disaster.

"They could already be doing it and we would hardly ever know", Sirer added.

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