Tobi Metz asked What is a Technologists? in a recent blog post. Tobi joins Tom and Russ on this episode of the Hedge to expand on his answer, and get our thoughts on the question.
Scott Bradner was given his first email address in the 1970’s, and his workstation was the gateway for all Internet connectivity at Harvard for some time. Join Donald Sharp and Russ White as Scott recounts the early days of networking at Harvard, including the installation of the first Cisco router, the origins of comparative performance testing and Interop, and the origins of the SHOULD, MUST, and MAY as they are used in IETF standards today.
Even before it announced that it would seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Frontier had a well-deserved reputation for mismanagement and abusive conduct. In an industry that routinely enrages its customers, Frontier was the literal poster-child for underinvestment and neglect, an industry leader in outages and poor quality of service, and the inventor of the industry’s most outrageous and absurd billing practices. —EFF
Observability matters. You should care about it. And vendors need to stop trying to confuse people into buying the same old bullshit tools by smooshing them together and slapping on a new label. Exactly how long do they expect to fool people for, anyway? —Charity
As we all know, RPKI is getting a lot of attention and traction nowadays. At the RIPE NCC, we operate one of the five Trust Anchors, a hosted RPKI service, and one of the Validator software packages. A big responsibility that we don’t take lightly. We’re constantly improving code and procedures to ensure we’re following the latest RFC and best practices. Also, security is of key(!) importance. —Nathalie Trenama
Technology always evolves and I’ve been reading about where scientists envision the evolution of 5G. The first generation of 5G, which will be rolled out over the next 3-5 years, is mostly aimed at increasing the throughput of cellular networks. According to Cisco, North American cellular data volumes are growing at a torrid 36% per year, and even faster than that in some urban markets where the volumes of data are doubling every two years. The main goal of first-generation 5G is to increase network capacity to handle that growth. —Doug Dawson
The MITRE ATT&CK framework, launched in 2015, has become the de facto method for cataloging attacks and understanding an organization’s defensive capabilities. This information is also useful to risk professionals, who are charged with aiding organizations in understanding which attacks are the most damaging and how often they might happen. —Jack Freund
Instead of being prescriptive, since one setup may not fit all, I asked our Community Trainers and my APNIC infrastructure colleagues to share their setups and common practices to manage the needs of their networks and staff from the confines of their home. I’ve summarized this below. —Tashi Phuntsho
By the beginning of 2019, it had become obvious that we needed to reassess our technical infrastructure, operational procedures and engineering capacity, as the original design and infrastructure had not taken these emerging requirements into account. Our priority was then set to increase the resilience and security of the RPKI Trust Anchor and Certificate Authority, in order to have a system that can be fully trusted and relied upon by network operators. —Felipe Victolla Silveira
The software development industry’s increasing reliance on open source components has led to a rise in awareness of open source security vulnerabilities, resulting in a drastic increase in the number of discovered open source vulnerabilities, as WhiteSource’s annual report, “The State of Open Source Security Vulnerabilities,” shows. —Jeffrey Martin
…as always, I’ve saved potentially controversial articles for the end…
The scientific revolution that has improved our lives in so many wonderful ways is based on the fundamental principle that theories about the world we live in should be tested rigorously. For example, centuries ago, more than 2 million sailors died from scurvy, a ghastly disease that is now known to be caused by a prolonged vitamin C deficiency. —Gary Smith
The coronavirus crisis has, once more, reminded us all of how much we live in an interdependent world in which what happens in one part of the globe has serious impacts in many other places, and how each of our own actions potentially have implications and importance for the well-being of multitudes of others around us, both near and far. —Richard Ebeling
There is an urgent-care doctor in Bakersfield, California, by the name of Dan Erickson, and he and his business partner Artin Massahi posted a video on YouTube a few days ago making the case for herd immunity and an end to the economic shutdowns. The video was widely shared across the internet, but only for a short time. —Scott McCay
Dispatch helps us effectively manage security incidents by deeply integrating with existing tools used throughout an organization (Slack, GSuite, Jira, etc.,) Dispatch leverages the existing familiarity of these tools to provide orchestration instead of introducing another tool. —Kevin Glisson, Marc Vilanova, Forest Monsen
No ideal hash function exists, of course, but each aims to operate as close to the ideal as possible. Given that (most) hash functions return fixed-length values and the range of values is therefore constrained, that constraint can practically be ignored. —Jeff M Lowery
Now we can all appreciate at a fundamental level what it feels like in the datacenter most days, and why Ethernet switch ASIC makers are all trying to push the bandwidth envelope. —Timothy Prickett Morgan
Extending the Internet of Things (IoT) everywhere on the planet comes down to two essential factors, network availability and cost. Over 20 new companies promise to lower IoT satellite equipment and monthly service pricing by leveraging mass market production and using constellations of low-cost low-flying “nanosatellites” (the size of a wine bottle box or smaller) to collect data from devices in the remotest part of the world – or at least outside of cell phone tower range. —Doug Mohney
The last few weeks have reinforced the importance of modern communication networks to societies. Health care providers, schools, governments, and businesses all rely on networks that enable us to connect and collaborate remotely. Had we encountered a similar pandemic ten years ago, we would not have been able to continue our activities on the level that is possible today. —Juha Holkkola
At the beginning of March 2020, Fifth Domain reported that Colorado-based aerospace, automotive and industrial parts manufacturer Visser Precision LLC had suffered a DoppelPaymer ransomware infection. Those behind this attack ultimately published information stolen from some of Visser’s customers. Those organizations included defense contractors Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing and SpaceX. —David Bisson
As of this writing, the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain. But one possible consequence is an acceleration of the end of the megacity era. In its place, we may now be witnessing the outlines of a new, and necessary, dispersion of population, not only in the wide open spaces of North America and Australia, but even in the megacities of the developing world. —Joel Kotkin
Many network operators have a regulatory requirement to incorporate Lawful Interception (LI) capabilities into their networks, so that Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) can perform authorized electronic surveillance of specific target individuals. —Shane Alcock
Yet for many businesses, managing an entirely remote workforce is completely new, which means they may lack the processes, policies, and technologies that enable employees to work from home safely and securely. In addition, many employees may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the idea of working from home. As a result, organizations are scrambling to quickly roll out security awareness initiatives that enable their workforce to work from home safely and securely. —Lance Spitzner
The 5G story is everywhere in the American press these days, and not just the American press. You can barely turn around to scratch some needy body part without encountering another article about the wireless telecommunications technology. But the stovepiping in this coverage—the narrowing of the questions asked or answered—is acute. —Adam Garfinkle
First observed in 2009, Slow Drip attacks hit the world stage in a dramatic fashion in early-2014, wreaking havoc on the important middle-level infrastructure of the DNS, particularly on ISPs. Japanese service provider QTNet described the disruption not just of caching resolvers, but of load balancers too. —Renée Burton
A system is more than its central processor, and perhaps at no time in history has this ever been true than right now. Except, perhaps, in the future spanning out beyond the next decade until CMOS technologies finally reach their limits. Looking ahead, all computing will be hybrid, using a mix of CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and other forms of ASICs that run or accelerate certain functions in applications. —Timothy Prickett Morgan
Late last year saw the re-emergence of a nasty phishing tactic that allows the attacker to gain full access to a user’s data stored in the cloud without actually stealing the account password. The phishing lure starts with a link that leads to the real login page for a cloud email and/or file storage service. Anyone who takes the bait will inadvertently forward a digital token to the attackers that gives them indefinite access to the victim’s email, files and contacts — even after the victim has changed their password. —Brian Krebs
But what if, instead of focusing on Big Tech’s sins of commission, we paid equal attention to its sins of omission—the failures, the busts, the promises unfulfilled? The past year has offered several lurid examples. WeWork, the office-sharing company that claimed it would reinvent the workplace, imploded on the brink of a public offering. —Derek Thomspon
In the past half decade, a tremendous amount of effort has been put into securing Internet communications. TLS has evolved to version 1.3 and various parts of the Web platform have been conditioned to require a secure context. Let’s Encrypt was established to lower the barrier to getting a certificate, and work continues to make secure communication easy to deploy, easy to use, and eventually the only option. —Mark Nottingham
There has never been a more critical time when experienced infosec professionals are needed. From targeted intrusions, ransomware outbreaks, and relentless cyber-crime attacks, every industry is racing to build infosec muscle. It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to make an expert. —John Lambert
When acquiring big-ticket cybersecurity solutions, especially those that have hardware attached, buyers must remember that these solutions require a lot of coordination and advanced skills to utilize them correctly. Deploying a sophisticated cybersecurity solution doesn’t take place in a matter of days. You must build out advanced use cases, baseline the technology in your environment, then update and configure it to the risks your business is most likely to face. It’s a process that takes several weeks or even months. —Chris Schueler
Unfortunately, email is unprepared for today’s threats, because it was designed nearly 40 years ago when its eventual global reach and security challenges were unimaginable. Decades of work by the email industry has largely contained spam, but phishing and email-based malware remain enormous threats, with email involved in over 90% of all cyberattacks, according to various estimates. —Seth Blank
Service provider problems are not your problems. You should not be trying to solve your problems the same way service providers do.
This seems intuitively true—after all, just about everything about a train or a large over-the-road truck (or lorry) is different from a passenger car. If the train is the service provider network and the car is the “enterprise” network, it seems to be obvious the two have very little in common.
Or is it?
What this gets right is that if an operator sells access to their network, or a single application, their network is likely to be built differently than the more general-purpose designs used in organizations that must support a wide range of applications and purposes. These differences are likely to show up in the choice of hardware, how the network is operated, and the kinds of services offered (or not).
What this gets right is operators who sell access to their networks, or support a single application, always seem to build at a scale far beyond what more general-purpose networks ever reach. Microsoft and Facebook number their servers in the millions, and single purchase orders include thousands of routers. eBay and LinkedIn number their servers in the hundreds of thousands, and their routers and switches in the tens of thousands. How can a small enterprise network of a few hundred servers be anything like these larger networks?
What this gets wrong is assuming none of the technologies, tools, or attitudes from these larger-scale networks is every applicable to the smaller networks many engineers encounter on a day-to-day basis.
All those networks with BGP deployed in their data center fabrics are using technology designed primarily for interconnecting intermediate systems on the default-free zone—in other words, for connecting the networks of transit service providers. All those networks with OSPF deployed are using a link state protocol originally designed to provide edge-to-edge reachability in transit service provider networks. All those networks with IS-IS deployed are using a link state protocol originally designed to provide connectivity to large-scale telephony-style networks.
What about transport technologies? The only transport technologies originally designed specifically for “enterprise use” have long since been replaced by optical technologies designed for large-scale provider or “hyperscale” use. Token Ring and ARCnet are long gone, as is the original shared medium Ethernet, replaced by switched Ethernet largely over optical transport. Even current general WiFi is primarily designed for public operator use cases—look at 5G and WiFi 6 and note how public operator requirements have influenced these technologies.
The truth is there is no “pure” enterprise technology; following the dictum that you should not use “service-provider technologies” in your network would leave you with … no network at all.
There is a second realm where this line of argument falls flat, and its more important than the question of which technologies to use: the techniques and attitudes learned in the operation of truly large-scale networks hold valuable lessons for all network engineers. Should you use a spine and leaf topology in your data center, rather than a more traditional hierarchical design? The answer has nothing to do with scale, and everything to do with flexibility in design and operational agility. Should you automate your network, even if its only ten routers? The answer has nothing to do with what Amazon is doing, and everything to do with how much time you want to spend on configuring and troubleshooting versus responding to real business needs.
Think of it this way: the driver who drives the large over-the-road truck is still going to learn lessons and instincts about driving that will make them a better driver in a minivan.
Come join me at NXTWORK in November to continue the conversation in my master class on building and operating data center fabrics, as I explore how you can apply lessons from the hyperscale world to your network.
The idea of object-oriented software originated in the 1960s and rose to dominance in the 1990s. In 2019, most main-stream languages are at least somewhat object-oriented. Despite this obvious success, the paradigm is still somewhat nebulous if you think about it in detail. —Felix
Unlike previous side-channel vulnerabilities disclosed in Intel CPUs, researchers have discovered a new flaw that can be exploited remotely over the network without requiring an attacker to have physical access or any malware installed on a targeted computer. —Swati Khandelwal
The International Society of Automation (ISA) 99 standards development committee brings together industrial cyber security experts from across the globe to develop ISA standards on industrial automation and control systems security that are applicable to all industry sectors and critical infrastructure. —Anastasios Arampatzis
If you feel as if there’s a new data breach in the news every day, it’s not just you. Breaches announced recently at Capital One, MoviePass, StockX, and others have exposed a variety of personal data across more than 100 million consumers. This has spurred lawsuits and generated thousands of headlines. —Shuman Ghosemajumder
Recently, Google’s Project Zero published a report describing a newly-discovered campaign of surveillance using chains of zero day iOS exploits to spy on iPhones. This campaign employed multiple compromised websites in what is known as a “watering hole” attack. —Cooper Quentin
Pandora Flexible Monitoring Solution (FMS) is all-purpose monitoring software, which means it can control network equipment, servers (Linux and Windows), virtual environments, applications, databases, and a lot more. It can do both remote monitoring and monitoring based on agents installed on the servers. You can get collected data in reports and graphs and raise alerts if something goes wrong. —Sancho Lerena
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new computer virus associated with the Stealth Falcon state-sponsored cyber espionage group that abuses a built-in component of the Microsoft Windows operating system to stealthily exfiltrate stolen data to attacker-controlled server. —Mohit Kumar
I recently volunteered as an AV tech at a science communication conference in Portland, OR. There, I handled the computers of a large number of presenters, all scientists and communicators who were passionate about their topic and occasionally laissez-faire about their system security. —Rtia Nygren
Organizations that that do things in the world beyond just releasing code or running services — as much as companies like Uber try to pretend they’re software companies — often find themselves subject to regulation or pressure on those AFK-centric activities. Life has, relatively speaking and with the exception of a few minor intellectual property kerfuffles, been pretty easy for pure software folks. —Eleanor Saitta
The horse-race between AMD and Intel is fun to follow, but when it comes to security, there’s far more at stake than framerates in games. There looms a ghostly apparition that’s easy to forget. Speculative execution exploits like Spectre and its variants, as well as ZombieLoad and a number of other side-channel attacks, are still as scary as ever. —Luke Larsen
Airlines and the airport industry in general are highly lucrative targets for APT groups; they are rife with information that other countries would find useful. NETSCOUT data from 2019 shows airport and airline targeting remains strong and steady, with Russian, Chinese, and Iranian APT groups attempting access. —ASSERT