The internet, a giant with fragile feet

According to a study conducted by AN yankee university, roughly 25% of web users sleep in countries wherever the net infrastructure is vulnerable to breakdowns or cyberattacks.

Contrary to an idea, there’s not an internet, however a group of networks that are connected to every alternative like pipes, which prevents any risk of saturation because the media had evoked, wrongly, throughout the primary confinement .

But, the structure of internet property differs significantly per the regions of the world. this is often the conclusion of an outsized study (75 countries) conducted by pc scientists from the University of American state at urban center (UCSD).

to determine this topology of the internet, they relied on data from the Border entrance protocol. It makes it doable to follow the exchanges of data of routing ANd accessibility between the autonomous systems of the Internet. a lot of simply, it indicates the trail to succeed in the information processing address of a site.

albeit these data don’t give an thoroughgoing read of the situation, they show that the earth is split into 2 massive blocks. On the one hand, the bulk of developed countries where many web Service suppliers (ISPs) compete.

The second block includes the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa ANd Oceania. within the world South, most users depend upon a few of providers to access the internet. And in the majority of cases, an ISP serves an awesome majority of users.

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“There are so several countries that have very little connection, each in terms of the amount of subsurface telecommunications cables conjointly the} number of ISPs. this case is explained for money reasons, as a result of a cable is extremely expensive, however also by a can of management of bound countries. There also are politics reasons. Thus, African country solely has connections with European countries, however not with Morocco or African nation ,” explains Stéphane Bortzmeyer, network specialist.

The Submarine Cable Map (TeleGeography) web site offers a map with an interactive read of those interconnections (
“Conversely, there are countries wherever the net has big organically with several ISPs and connections. this is often the case of France, but also of Russia where, contrary to what national leader claims, it’s terribly tough to manage the Internet” , adds Stéphane Bortzmeyer.

More decentralization and peer-to-peer

“Additionally, these providers rely on a limited number of companies called autonomous transit systems to access the global internet and traffic from other countries. Researchers have found that these transit autonomous system providers are often state-owned ,” note the authors of this report.

“In the worst case, a single autonomous transit system serves all users. Cuba and Sierra Leone are close to this fact. In contrast, Bangladesh grew from just two to more than 30 system providers, after the government opened up this sector of the economy to private enterprise,” the study reads.

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Another observation, “a large part of the Internet does not work with peering agreements for network connectivity” , underlined Alexander Gamero-Garrido, one of the researchers of this team.

Peering ( direct exchange of traffic between operators, ISPs, hosts, etc.) is generally free between large operators, because it is in the general interest. On the other hand, a small operator that does not have a global footprint must pay by connecting to a super ISP like NTT.

This situation makes the Internet infrastructure of certain countries particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, sabotage or failure of the main ISP. For example, in Colombia, there is no connection between local operators. So all Colombian communications go through the United States.

A preposterous and risky situation: high connection times, risk of cuts or cyber surveillance. To limit these risks, Bolivia is one of the rare countries to have legislated in favor of local peering; communications between two ISPs of this country necessarily remain in Bolivia.

“The solution is to have more diversity; no more cables, no more peer-to-peer connections like PeerTube and not YouTube, no more decentralization and servers ,” says Stéphane Bortzmeyer.

The California team announced that they would complete their study by examining how critical facilities, such as hospitals, are connected to the internet to determine their degree of vulnerability .

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