I happened to catch Public Radio’s On the Media yesterday. They had a whole show on Internet Security. I do not spend a whole lot of time thinking about Internet security – and when I do it’s at a very local level. How do I keep my computer safe? This show talked about the security of the Internet on a much higher level. It made me think back to some of the Ultra High-Speed Broadband meetings; Gopal Khanna Commissioner of OET always seemed to mention security as one of his priorities for a broadband policy. Other didn’t necessarily jump on that – but I was glad to hear that someone – especially he was thinking about it.
On the Media took a look at what would be needed to either redesign a whole new Internet or Internets and what would be needed to brace up the one we have. Building a new Internet would be too difficult – because the environment is so different. The Internet we have was built while no one was looking. There weren’t any regulations or even much vendor input. That wouldn’t happen today.
They also talked a little bit about efforts to secure at least the networks used by top military professionals. Apparently they had secured the network but ran into troubles when users used a jump drive to move items from unsecured locations to the secured servers. The Soviet Union had developed a virus that would look for jump drives, infect them and then gain access to the secured network.
The military fixed the problems and cemented up all of the USB ports on their computers to prevent it from happening in the future. I think it demonstrated one of the biggest challenges to security – it affects usability. On a day to day basis, I think most users will choose ease of use – so we need some folks considering the security for us. Just imagine if the Internet quit working today – we’d be in trouble.