Andrew brings up a very interesting scenario to consider. It can be entertaining to read “big brother” and cyber warfare plots in sci-fi novels, but it leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth when we’re entering the age of these scenarios being very real in today’s technological world.
I apologize for going a bit “dark” with this post, but in the context of increasing cyber warfare resources and NSA spying, this scenario has been rattling around in my mind recently:
Imagine it’s WWII, but with today’s information architecture and data dependencies.
The US is at war and is…
The Internet Census 2012 is a report on how all the IPv4 addresses are being used on the Internet. It’s also a botnet of epic scale.
The methodology is actually far more interesting than the conclusions of the paper: the author (who did not identify himself beyond his public PGP key… which makes sense because his methodology is absolutely illegal) didn’t have access to equipment that could port scan the entire internet himself, so he “borrowed” the tools he needed.
The author wrote software (to some, a virus) that would start port scanning a pre-defined subset of IP addresses with 128 simultaneous connections at a time. With each scan, the software would do its research (stuff like a Reverse DNS, ICMP Ping, Traceroute, etc…) but then it would also try to “recruit” the destination address to its benevolent research botnet by trying common passwords like root/root or admin/admin. If the software could break into the destination address, then the software would copy itself on to the destination machine and the destination machine would now become a part of the researching botnet and the system would continue to self-perpetuate until the whole IPv4 Internet had been scanned.
As a result of his white hat hacking, the author was able to port scan the entire Internet in a single night. I’m amazed by the scale and resourcefulness of their approach.
The methodology of this Internet study is the very similar to the Morris worm, written by Robert Tappan Morris (RTM) back in 1988. RTM wanted to determine the size of the internet at that time (just like the 2012 Census), but unfortunately RTM’s self-propagation code had a small bug. It failed to check to see if the destination computer it was addressing had already been captured and counted. The result was a web-wide DDoS attack. Fun side note, RTM is one of the founding partners at YCombinator.
The purpose of this post is to shine light on the amazing methodology in this study. But, for context on the image at the top of this post, it is a picture of one of the conclusions: IP address space is under-utilized. All that black space is reserved addresses that are going unused and for the most part cannot be reclaimed. Hence the push to IPv6.
Given that the purpose of this study was to determine how big is the Internet, I’ll leave you with the author’s closing answer to that question:
So, how big is the Internet?
That depends on how you count. 420 Million pingable IPs + 36 Million more that had one or more ports open, making 450 Million that were definitely in use and reachable from the rest of the Internet. 141 Million IPs were firewalled, so they could count as “in use”. Together this would be 591 Million used IPs. 729 Million more IPs just had reverse DNS records. If you added those, it would make for a total of 1.3 Billion used IP addresses. The other 2.3 Billion addresses showed no sign of usage.
(hat tip to O’Reilly Radar on my source)
So, I went to Torres del Paine thinking i’ll do the “W” and maybe, just maybe i’ll do the “circuito”, which normally takes 8 days. I ended up finishing the full circuito + w in 5 days (including today) and feel fantastic, going through the 2nd liter of chocolate milk now, thus granting myself this permission to brag. Averaged about 30km/18miles per day of hiking. Some in flats, some in hard mountain terrain, especially the John Gardner Pass, which rewarded me with beautiful view of the glacier. Heard incredible cracks and breaking of glaciers in Valle de Francese, swam in Lago Nordenskjold near Los Cuernos Campo. This morning woke up to a moon hanging over “the horns” Los Cuernos and camped in some truly incredibly beautiful places. Torres del Paine is great, but i would say that Fitz Roy in Argentina is really no worse. — at Parque Nacional Torres del Paine.
Yesterday arrived in time to Villa O’Higgins’ Fiesta Costumbrista - a village festival where gauchos were chasing and taming horses. Kind of a strange tradition. Then had some delicious goat meat. At night we danced with the locals.
This is the end of Carretera Austral. Tomorrow I am taking a ferry across Lago O’Higgins to Candelaria Mancilla, passing by some glaciers, and then will hike for a couple of days, crossing into Argentina by foot. Following that, trekking in the Fitz Roy area and then El Chalten.
Cold here, but I love Patagonia’s massive landscapes, remoteness and ruggedness. My thin 45F (7c) rated sleeping bag is definitely making me tougher - the nights here are about 2-4c. (38F).
Life in Cagalandia