Unscrewing Security

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Alec Muffett is a veteran security geek who believes strongly in common sense, full disclosure, defence in depth, privacy, integrity, simplicity and open source. He is an independent consultant, writer, and speaker specialising in security education.

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Why should there be only one DNS?

In dead-tree-space we have Yellow Pages, Thompson Directory and more; why should we have only one DNS?

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Maybe my infrequency of posting has been due to the chaos of overhauling my kitchen for the past eight weeks; or perhaps it's the quantum barrier imposed by trying to write a bit like a journalist when in actuality this is meant to be a security blog.

Let's see if we can't get back to basics with a quickie, then?

Last week's DNSSEC posting was the most contentious thing I've posted on this site to date; it was also the first time a whole bunch of people had ever read anything even potentially critical of DNSSEC - and remember please that I think DNSSEC is a great idea.

So it's intensely timely that Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay in the last few days posted:

Hello all #isp of the world. We're going to add a new competing root-server since we're tired of #ICANN. Please contact me to help.

Sunde is not the instigator of the idea but his tweet has added weight to the Dot-P2P initiative, creating much media coverage of varying accuracy: 1 2 3 4

I support this idea; DNS is one of the few aspects of Internet technology that is still vulnerable to central control and the economics of scarcity. Removal of DNS's (distributed) monopoly and a gradual slackening of "You gotta have a .COM domain" aesthetic demand would be good for the future of the Net in its role as a robust, bidirectional, decentralised, "anyone can publish" medium.

If the resulting peer-to-peer technology is both proof against central control and reasonably invulnerable to denial of service, it should inhibit the sort of stupidity which prevents us getting at data when we most want to access it...

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