The Internet is broken and there is no solution

by Frank 23. November 2011 13:17

We all know that the current Internet is an ‘open’ system and that it is plagued with spam, phishing attacks, denial of service attacks and major security issues allowing for example, foreign government sponsored attacks of our defense sites and infrastructure sites.

We (private individuals, local government, state government, federal government, defense, small, medium and large business, etc., etc.) spend billions of dollars every year trying to protect ourselves and it doesn’t work because the bad guys are just as creative as the good guys and sometimes I suspect they are even on the same revenue-generating team.

However, the real problem is that we are all spending billions of dollars trying to ‘fix’ the symptoms, not the core problem. Fixing the symptoms has never worked, doesn’t work and will never work for the aforementioned reasons, namely that the bad guys are as creative (if not more creative) than the good guys and the basic system is Swiss cheese.

So, do we continue standing over the toilet tearing up hundred dollars bills or do we acknowledge that the current Internet is broken and can’t be fixed and look for a new way to communicate, run our businesses and promote our businesses?

The Internet is old and it is based on very old technology, a bit like the late space shuttle that was finally killed off about twenty years after its real use by date but not without wasting hundreds of billions of dollars recycling and refreshing and patching up old technology. “Mutton dressed up as lamb” as my dear departed mother used to say (often when referring to aging film actresses, she was a little before the Internet and space shuttles).

Our governments have no choice, especially in the face of co-ordinated attacks on vital infrastructure by ‘unfriendly’ governments, but to move sensitive sites off the Internet and on to private networks. Plans for this are already in place in various major countries around the world and are most certainly in formation in the USA. Our governments are well aware that the next major conflict (I hesitate to call it a world war) will be over before it begins unless key government and infrastructure sites are one-hundred percent protected and they cannot be one-hundred percent protected with open connections to the current Internet.

How do you fight a war without water and electricity? How do you transport troops and vital supplies if all airports and roads are shut down? How do you care for your citizens if all hospitals are shut down? How do you feed everyone if there is no transport of food or refrigeration capabilities? How do you work farms with no electricity or fuel? How long do you think a country could survive under these conditions? The aggressor wouldn’t even have to launch a single missile, all ‘weapons’ will already have been delivered by the Internet.

As private individuals we have seen enough of identity theft to be at least aware of the dangers of the Internet as a means of commerce. Is there a month that goes by without yet another leak about stolen credit card data from banks and affiliates and stolen personal information from social networking sites or yet another Nigerian scam? It is not a case of will you be a victim, but when?

My contention is that the current Internet, because of its technology, architecture and politics, cannot be fixed. Just like the space shuttle, it is already way past its real use by date. But, because companies all over the world have invested so much in the Internet they are reluctant to deliver the last rites. It is vested interests, certainly not concern for your security, which is keeping the current Internet alive and not well.

The Internet needs to be replaced with something better, not continually patched up and played with. However, just like those ugly big banks, those in power think it is “too big to fail” and they are wrong, just as they were wrong about those big banks that have now consumed hundreds of billions more of your hard-earned tax dollars.

Saying it is too important or too big to be allowed to fail (as the EU is doing with the PIG countries) is no more than a way of avoiding a real and lasting solution; it is a delay, a stall or “kicking the can down the road” and hoping something will happen in the future to magically solve the problem.

In the next Blog on this topic I will talk about what I think the replacements (plural) should be.

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