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Communications of the ACM


Fixing the Internet

lock in electronic pattern, illustration

Credit: Diyajyoti / Shutterstock

Few people pay much attention to how the electrical grid works until there is an outage. The same is often true for the Internet.

Yet unlike the electrical grid, where direct attacks are infrequent, vulnerabilities and security issues with the Internet's routing protocol have led to numerous, frequent malicious attacks that have resulted in widespread service outages, intercepted and stolen personal data, and the use of seemingly legitimate Web sites to launch massive spam campaigns.


Neil Swartz

Although this article is informative and conveys the essence of the issue surrounding the Internet trust models, there are some significant errors in the first few paragraphs.
Although Hulu and Netflix do deliver content to their customers, they are not Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). A CDN is a caching mechanism provided by some companies (Amazon, Google, Akamai, Fastly) to duplicate data closer to end users so that network latency is reduced.
Each Autonomous System (AS) has a number that is not an IP address. That number is not a Network Interface (NI). An NI is a real or virtual connection to a network for a server or routing point. Neither the AS number nor the IP Address provide the location of a host within the network.
Note that the biggest Cloud Computing company is Amazon and it was not mentioned.

I would ask that the author and editors have a person familiar with IP protocols review articles that discuss such.

Keith Kirkpatrick

Thank you for your comment. To clarify, Netflix and Hulu utilize content delivery networks to feed their content to ISPs.

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