So, the word is out. Now that many of the old spooks-only tricks to eavesdrop on unsuspecting banks, governments and consumers are out of the bag it might be time to have a moment of panic.
The border gateway protocol (BGP) which routes traffic between telco's and ISP's is somewhat flawed. This has been known about since the inception of the internet, but until now it remained fairly 'secret'. Not any more. The information was released at a
recent conference and of course that has opened the floodgates on similar weaknesses inherent in the internet.The guys who blabbed can't be blamed because the Pakisatani's inadvertently exploited it recently when they tried to block You-tube and sent everyone
to a black hole in Pakistan.
It is clear that the internet is not safe, it's not secure and it's never going to be private at this rate. The BGP protocol isn't 'broken', it was just never fixed. The fundamental building blocks of the internet cannot perform what we require.
Along with the DNS flaw, knowledge of the BGP system can give anyone with the knowhow access to all your internet traffic. This might mean it's ok if your traffic is encrypted, but what do you encrypt it with? Many governments make ISP's block encrypted
traffic so that users are forced to use low quality encryption or none at all so that they can eavesdrop on them.
The BGP issue lets you eavesdrop on anything you wish, and only if the encryption scheme used does not rely on communication with a third party and it is very strong, is your communication likely to be private. If you add the DNS and the BGP together then
probably nothing is really secure.
The internet is proving to be less than ideal as a transport medium for anyone wanting security or privacy.
There is no quick fix. There will be a 'quick fix' like the DNS fix-that-wasn't, but basically the whole architecture is not up to what we expect it to do.
Stand by to see some serious hacking.
China has recently been on the receiving end. Perhaps we'll see social activist hackers diverting whole countries to their own little website to get the message that country might not want put out there. Don't for a minute assume that there won't be some
serious exploitation of what was once only exploited by the spooks and a few 'black/grey/white' hackers.
An old Chinese curse was 'May you live in interesting times'.
We certainly do.