Internet Pioneer Vint Cerf Calls for Rapid Web Security Enhancements

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-05-05 Print this article Print
Vint Cerf

Cerf said that better security needs to be widely available in the Internet's infrastructure as well. He called for DNSSEC (security extensions to the domain name service) to be implemented widely. This allows digital signatures for DNS servers that in turn eliminate spoofing of the domain name system, he said.

Cerf also called for the ubiquitous deployment of BCP-38 (Best Current Practices for ingress filtering), which helps certify that the source address in a data packet is real, and among other things helps thwart Denial of Service attacks as well as certain forms of spoofing.

In response to several questions about the FCC's recent decision to put ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act, Cerf said it was probably necessary. "Wheeler didn't have a lot of choice," he said. But he also said that using Title II as a way to ensure net neutrality was a short term solution at best.

The problem with Title II, he said, was the fact that it depends on forbearances as a way to regulate access to the Internet. He pointed out (as have many others) that a new Commission could change that whenever it wished. "At some point Title II has to be readdressed," he said.

Despite his significant role in how the Internet has developed (for which he is justifiably proud), it's clear that Cerf isn't totally thrilled at some of what's become of his project from long ago. He's disappointed at some obvious things, such as the amount of spam that's showing up. But it would appear that he's also disappointed at the government's lack of vision in how it interacts with the Internet.

During his discussion of the Internet he listed several points that he thought needed improvement, including some way to ensure freedom of expression everywhere on the Internet, equal access to everything on the Internet that's legal, including performance features. Furthermore, he said he thinks that everyone, everywhere should have equal access to the Internet.

Cerf issued a warning to nations that attempt to stand in the way of free access, saying "The countries seeking authoritarian control over the Internet are shooting themselves in the foot. They are cutting off creativity and their access to global markets."

If there is any person with the clout to say these things to the U.S. Congress and the presidential administration it is Cerf. The Father of the Internet is deeply respected and his thoughts carry great weight, but it's a powerful voice only if someone listens.


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