Better late that never … 🙂

For decades, we have prized efficiency in our economy. We strive for it. We reward it. In normal times, that’s a good thing. Running just at the margins is efficient. A single just-in-time global supply chain is efficient. Consolidation is efficient. And that’s all profitable. Inefficiency, on the other hand, is waste. Extra inventory is inefficient. Overcapacity is inefficient. Using many small suppliers is inefficient. Inefficiency is unprofitable. —Bruce Schneier

In this post, we describe the challenges associated with measuring anycast services and propose a tool called the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Tuner. By using our open-source tool, operators can see in advance how changes in their BGP policies may impact the traffic load distribution over the anycast sites. This post is a short description of our technical report available here. —Joao M. Ceron

There are increasing calls to break up, tax, regulate or [other intervention here] Big Tech. What I’m curious about is what for. —Matt Webb

Hence I made a self-experiment in which I generated two certificates with random names, monitoring the authoritative DNS servers as well as the IPv6 addresses of those names in order to check who is resolving/connecting to otherwise unknown hostnames. —Johannes Weber

This is not OK. When a home becomes an office, it remains a home. Workers should not be subject to nonconsensual surveillance or feel pressured to be scrutinized in their own homes to keep their jobs. —Bennet Cyphers and Karen Gullo

In the first quarter of 2020, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks jumped more than 542% compared with the last quarter of 2019 and more than 278% year-over-year. NexusGuard researchers suggest the spike may be linked to a parallel increase in malicious cyber activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. —Dark Reading

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued an alert on vulnerabilities in Netgear routers that remote attackers can exploit to take control of them. These routers are typically used in home networks. The agency acknowledges the coronavirus-related rise in working from home has elevated this consumer problem to an issue for many enterprises. —Dark Reading

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for banks to trace the source of payment card data stolen from smaller, hacked online merchants. On the plus side, months of quarantine have massively decreased demand for account information that thieves buy and use to create physical counterfeit credit cards. But fraud experts say recent developments suggest both trends are about to change — and likely for the worse. —Krebs on Security

Here’s my little article about (almost) everything I know about Apple Lightning and related technologies: Tristar, Hydra, HiFive, SDQ, IDBUS and etc. But first a tiny warning…

DNS Response Policy Zones (RPZ) provide a cost-effective security method similar to a firewall. It allows a nameserver administrator to apply custom policies on top of the global DNS and set alternative routes for queries, in particular, bad domains. —Swapneel Patnekar

Think about it: When we picture the great seagoing voyages of discovery, there were cooks, chandlers, medics, and all sorts of other support staff. But that’s not the case in space. And the reasons why have critical echoes for professionals in cybersecurity. —Curtis Franklin Jr.

There is a general misunderstanding about what makes a vulnerability dangerous. Hype and publicity tend to be focused on the most advanced threats and tactics. In response to this, security teams focus more on controlling these advanced attacks rather than the more mundane ones, largely because the business supports these sensational cases more easily — at least until the memory has faded. —Douglas Ferguson

As we approach four months since the WHO declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, and with lockdowns and other restrictions continuing in much of the world, it is worth reflecting on how the Internet has coped with the changes in its use, and on what lessons we can learn from these for the future of the network. —Jari Arkko

What makes Thiel (think PayPal, Facebook, Palantir, Airbnb, Lyft, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX) unique is that he so much contradicts the Valley stereotype and is certainly not afraid to tell the Valley its faults. In fact, he moved down to Los Angeles in 2018, fed up with the Valley as a one-party state. He suggested in 2019 that Google be investigated for treason for refusing to work with the Pentagon but helping the Chinese military.

Can you really trust what a routing protocol tells you about how to reach a given destination? Ivan Pepelnjak joins Nick Russo and Russ White to provide a longer version of the tempting one-word answer: no! Join us as we discuss a wide range of issues including third-party next-hops, BGP communities, and the RPKI.

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While the pandemic circling the globe has undermined many critical systems and institutions of our society, I believe it also has the potential to strengthen the resolve of the Internet community to embrace the vision Berners-Lee had more than 50 years ago. We have the opportunity to enter the next major phase of the Internet — the era of trust. —Byron Holland

Driven by growth in the JavaScript, Java, and Python ecosystems, the number of open source software packages more than doubled in 2019, but the number of vulnerabilities fell by 20%, suggesting that developers are weeding out simple vulnerabilities, a new report shows. —Robert Lemos

MANRS began as a collaboration among network operators and internet exchange providers, with Verisign formally becoming a participant in its Network Operator Program in 2017. Since then, with the help of Verisign and other MANRS participants, the initiative has grown to also include content delivery networks (CDN) and cloud providers. —Yong Kim

Insider threats can be accidental or intentional, but the impact of insider breaches remain the same. Negligence at the organization regarding data privacy requirements and compliance can cause catastrophic data loss. To implement effective mitigation measures, employees must be aware of their responsibility towards the usage and sharing of data. With recent changes in data protection and privacy laws, various companies have seen a significant impact on their current security practices and controls. —Ikjot Saini

Security researchers came across a new ransomware family called “CryCryptor” that masqueraded as a Canadian COVID-19 tracing app. —David Bisson

There have been many workshops and training sessions and much in the way of counting the generation of RPKI certificates and Route Origin Attestations in recent months. The data published by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in its RPKI monitor is a good example (https://rpki-monitor.antd.nist.gov). Around 20% of the announced prefix / origin AS pairs have an associated valid ROA. —Geoff Huston, Jaoa Damas

Each of the FANGAM stocks are investments in incredible companies (germ of truth), and they function better in this virus-infested world (another germ of truth). But at the core, their existence is grounded in the real, not virtual, world. —Vitaliy Katsenelson

AMD this week announced it had exceeded its goal to increase energy efficiency 25-fold by 2020. Called the 25×20 goal, it has been a driving force for the company for most of the last decade and explains why cloud providers like Google have begun to favor AMD processors. —Rob Enderle

Deception tools basically use misdirection, false responses, and other tricks to lure attackers away from legitimate targets and point them to honeypots and other decoy systems designed to trap or distract them from their missions. Deception tools — many of which leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) — can help organizations detect intrusions early and provide them with an opportunity to observe an attacker’s tools and tactics. —Jai Vijayan

Foundational controls are basic measures that should ideally form the basis of any organization’s IT security posture. As such, they should constitute the foundation on which an organization bases the rest of its IT security strategy. —Dean Ferrando

A couple of weeks ago Scott Morris, Ethan Banks, and I sat down to talk about a project I’ve been working on for a while—a different way of looking at reaching for and showing your skills as a network engineer.

Today’s Heavy Networking explores ideas for designing a new networking certification program. The concept is built around a network design challenge that focuses on broad, systems-oriented knowledge.

You can listen over at Packet Pushers, or download the show directly here.

The security of the global routing table is foundational to the security of the overall Internet as an ecosystem—if routing cannot be trusted, then everything that relies on routing is suspect, as well. Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) is a project of the Internet Society designed to draw network operators of all kinds into thinking about, and doing something about, the security of the global routing table by using common-sense filtering and observation. Andrei Robachevsky joins Russ White and Tom Ammon to talk about MANRS.

More information about MANRS can be found on the project web site, including how to join and how to support global routing security.

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Latency is a big deal for many modern applications, particularly in the realm of machine learning applied to problems like determining if someone standing at your door is a delivery person or a … robber out to grab all your smart toasters and big screen television. The problem is networks, particularly in the last mile don’t deal with latency very well. In fact, most of the network speeds and feeds available in anything outside urban areas kindof stinks. The example given by Bagchi et al. is this—

A fixed video sensor may generate 6Mbps of video 24/7, thus producing nearly 2TB of data per month—an amount unsustainable according to business practices for consumer connections, for example, Comcast’s data cap is at 1TB/month and Verizon Wireless throttles traffic over 26GB/month. For example, with DOCSIS 3.0, a widely deployed cable Internet technology, most U.S.-based cable systems deployed today support a maximum of 81Mbps aggregated over 500 home—just 0.16Mbps per home.

Bagchi, Saurabh, Muhammad-Bilal Siddiqui, Paul Wood, and Heng Zhang. “Dependability in Edge Computing.” Communications of the ACM 63, no. 1 (December 2019): 58–66. https://doi.org/10.1145/3362068.

The authors claim a lot of the problem here is just that edge networks have not been built out, but there is a reason these edge networks aren’t built out large enough to support pulling this kind of data load into a centrally located data center: the network isn’t free.

This is something so obvious to network engineers that it almost slips under our line of thinking unnoticed—except, of course, for the constant drive to make the network cost less money. For application developers, however, the network is just a virtual circuit data rides over… All the complexity of pulling fiber out to buildings or curbs, all the work of physically connecting things to the fiber, all the work of figuring out how to make routing scale, it’s all just abstracted away in a single QUIC or TCP session.

If you can’t bring the data to the compute, which is typically contained in some large-scale data center, then you have to bring the computing power to the data. The complexity of bringing the computing power to the data is applications, especially modern micro-services based applications optimized for large-scale, low latency data center fabrics, just aren’t written to be broken into components and spread all over the world.

Let’s consider the case of the smart toaster—the case used in the paper in hand. Imagine a toaster with little cameras to sense the toastiness of the bread, electronically controlled heating elements, an electronically controlled toast lifter, and some sort of really nice “bread storage and moving” system that can pull bread out of a reservoir, load them into the toaster, and make it all work. Imagine being able to get up in the morning to a fresh cup of coffee and a nice bagel fresh and hot just as you hit the kitchen…

But now let’s look at the complexity required to do such a thing. We must have local processing power and storage, along with some communication protocol that periodically uploads and downloads data to improve the toasting process. You have to have some sort of handling system that can learn about new kinds of bread and adapt to them automatically—this is going to require data, as well. You have to have a bread reservoir that will keep the bread fresh for a few days so you don’t have refill it constantly.

Will you save maybe five minutes every morning? Maybe.

Will you spend a lot of time getting this whole thing up and running? Definitely.

What will the MTBF be, precisely? What about the MTTR?

All to save five minutes in the morning? Of course the authors chose a trivial—perhaps even silly—example to use, just to illustrate the kinds of problems IoT devices combined with edge computing are going to encounter. But still … in five years you’re going to see advertisements for this smart toaster out there. There are toasters that already have a few of these features, and refrigerators that go far beyond this.

Sometimes we have to remember the cost of the network is telling us something—just because we can do a thing doesn’t mean we should. If the cost of the network forces us to consider the tradeoffs, that’s a good thing.

And remember that if your toaster makes your bread at the same time every morning, you have to adjust to the machine’s schedule, rather than the machine adjusting to yours…