Security

The security of the Internet as we know it is a paradoxical thing to consider. On the one hand, the physical infrastructure of the internet is very vulnerable. There are fiber optic cables and copper wiring that actually carry data from one place to another and can be physically cut off.

On the other hand, however, take what we learned in the history section about packet switching. If any one node suffers damage, then the data can simply take another path to get from host to client.

Here is interview with VeriSign chief technology officer Ken Silva discussing the weak points in the internet.

For an example of the kind of place that houses internet infrastructure that could be vulnerable to a terrorist attack I present the Los Angeles 'Hotel' for Internet Carriers.

Bruce Schneier had this to say about the vulnerability of the internet:

"The thing we learned from the Taiwanese earthquake is that the Internet actually works," says Schneier. "With all of the security problems we have, the one thing the Internet was designed to survive was physical failure of nodes. The loss of nodes was supposed to not affect the Net, or at least affect it in a graceful way. And that's exactly what happened."

For a (very dry) explanation of how internal defenses like firewalls work together, here is an informative video from Microsoft expert Michael Storm:

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