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Everything You Need to Know about Network Time Security

This article was first published on NetNod’s Blog. It is reposted here with permission of the author.

A lot of the Internet’s most important security tools are dependent on accurate time. But until recently there was no way to ensure that the time you were getting came from a trusted source. The new Network Time Security (NTS) standard has been designed to fix that. In this post, we will summarise the most important NTS developments and link to a range of recent Netnod articles providing more information on the background, the NTS standard and the latest implementations.

What is NTS and why is it important?

NTS is an essential development of the Network Time Protocol (NTP). It has been developed within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and adds a much needed layer of security to a protocol that is more than 30 years old and is vulnerable to certain types of attack. Netnod has played an important role in the development of Network Time Security (NTS) from the standardization effort in the IETF to the development of several implementations and the launch of one of the first NTS-enabled NTP services in the world.

NTS consists of two protocols, Continue reading

IPv6 Buzz Podcast Dives into Open Standards Everywhere

Logo of IPv6 Buzz podcast

What are the challenges with applications supporting IPv6? What do people, particularly those working in enterprises, need to know about how servers and applications work with IPv6? What is the Internet Society’s Open Standards Everywhere project doing to help? How can people get more involved?

To answer all these questions and more, I recently joined Scott Hogg and Tom Coffeen on their IPv6 Buzz Podcast episode 53. You can listen here:

It was a very enjoyable conversation! Thanks to Scott and Tom for having me on their show. I also want to thank Ed Horley, who first contacted me about joining the show but with schedule conflicts was not able to join the recording. I would also encourage you to listen to other IPv6 Buzz episodes to learn more about IPv6.

If you would like to help in the work to get open standards deployed everywhere, please:

The post IPv6 Buzz Podcast Dives into Open Standards Everywhere appeared first on Internet Society.

The Week in Internet News: U.S. Lawmakers Skewer Big Tech Firms

Attacking the big guys: During an antitrust hearing, U.S. lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – heaped criticism on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google about their market power, the Washington Post reports. “Our founders would not bow before a king. Nor should we bow before the emperors of the online economy,” said Representative David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat. Republicans complained about alleged anti-conservative bias in online services, while many Democrats talked about how the companies’ market power was being used against competitors, NPR says.

Encryption laws vs. the economy: Laws in Australia creating law enforcement access to encrypted communications are hurting the tech sector in the country, tech giant Atlassian told lawmakers there, the Guardian reports. The anti-encryption laws have discouraged talent from working in Australia and may limit economic growth during the post-COVID-19 recovery, the company said.

Paying for news: Also in Australia, the government there has released the world’s first draft law to force Google and Facebook to pay traditional news media to publish their material, Al Jazeera reports. Under the plan, the tech companies would have to negotiate with Australian media companies to use their content.

Jailed for TikToking: An Egyptian court has ordered two-year Continue reading

Tribal Priority Window extended to September 2 – but it’s still not enough time to connect Indigenous communities to a critical lifeline

Four men with tools building a community network in Hawaii

While Indigenous communities across the US battle some of the most brutal COVID-19 mortality rates in the country, they’ve simultaneously raced against the clock to take advantage of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to access and manage their own broadband.

The Tribal Priority Window is an unprecedented opportunity for eligible US Tribes to apply for 2.5GHz spectrum leases ahead of the federal auction. Targeted at the most digitally underserved communities in the US— where only half of housing units have access to broadband— the Window is intended to enable rural Tribes access to Internet service and the development of services to narrow the digital divide. The application process posed significant challenges to Tribes who already struggle with poor connectivity. The digital format, coupled with COVID-19 realities, has hampered their ability to file applications within the deadline.

Due to the insurmountable obstacles posed by the pandemic, Tribes and nearly 100 organizations have called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress to extend the Tribal Priority Window by 180 days.

In response, the FCC has granted them just 30 additional days to file their applications. In its order, the FCC says that this extension is due to the unusual Continue reading

Member News: Teaching Computer Science in Rural Nigeria

Computing for the people: The San Francisco Chapter has an article by a software developer using open source software and open standards hardware to teach computer science skills to students in rural Nigeria. Chioma Ezedi Chukwu, founder of the STEMTeers mentorship program, writes that open source is more than free tools, software, or hardware. “It was a great opportunity to learn, learn by building and create with innovation.”

Coding for kids: Meanwhile, the Pacific Islands Chapter highlights a hackathon for kids event at a childcare center in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The goal of the event, focused on design thinking, was to equip the students with lifelong skills in the digital age.

Supporting e-learning: In other education-related news, the Uganda Chapter is focused on helping teachers and students improve their digital skills as the country embraces e-learning following the COVID-19 pandemic. “Educators need to adjust their teaching methods to cope with the new changes,” an article says. “Educators should be able to cause change or affect the learner beyond the chalk and blackboard while learners need to be taken through an adaptability process as they transition to digital education.”

Tracking the virus: The Chapter in the Continue reading

A Partnership to Improve Africa’s Internet Infrastructure Resilience and Reliability

Last week, we announced an expanded partnership with AFRINIC, the Regional Internet Registry for the African region. On Friday, 24 July, Eddy Kayihura, Chief Executive Officer at AFRINIC, and I, on behalf of the Internet Society, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations to work on several projects including Internet measurements, routing security, and infrastructure and community development. 

Right after the virtual signing ceremony, we described the first collaborative activity under the new MoU – the Africa Internet Measurements. Part of our Measuring the Internet project, the effort aims to tackle the problem of Internet resilience and reliability in the continent.

Although Africa has significantly increased Internet penetration in the last decade, the continent must improve the resilience and the reliability of its Internet infrastructure to pave the way for future innovations and technological advancements as expressed in the African Union’s 2063 agenda. Without proper measurements and data, we don’t know where the problem is, what we need to improve, or if our solutions work. Much of the available Internet measurement data relating to Africa measures only specific types of Internet traffic and not overall Internet resilience, which is the ability of the network to Continue reading

How Community Networks Are Helping during COVID-19

In July 2020, the Internet Society organized the webinar “How Community Networks are helping during COVID-19.”

We are halfway through this unprecedented year in which COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions and confusion in many areas of our lives. What is clear though, is the recognition of the Internet as a lifeline for us – for communicating with family members and health workers, accessing essential services, and participating in online learning and remote work.

But what about those who don’t have it?

The panel was an opportunity to show that there are solutions out there. To get to them will take strong communities driven by the understanding that everyone can make a difference.

The discussions of July’s webinar got to the heart of this.

The panelists shared stories and videos of the community networks they have helped to build in remote villages where underserved Indigenous tribes live. We heard the story of one Indigenous tribe located in the southern part of West Java in Indonesia, who set up a wireless network for their community. It helped them find jobs and increase their income, as well as access health information, learning resources, and government services.

In India, an Continue reading

The Week in Internet News: Looking for a Broadband Miracle in Rural Canada

Creating a miracle: Residents of rural British Columbia, Canada, are pushing for better Internet access, with one resident saying getting access to good connectivity is like “hoping for a miracle,” the CBC reports. Local government leaders are working with community leaders and businesses to improve Internet services. Local leaders are researching options to establish a broadband Internet service in Clearwater, British Columbia, including the possibility of building new mobile towers.

Building their own: Meanwhile, a few hundred miles south in Klamath, California, Yurok tribal officials have announced a new project that they hope will significantly boost Internet speeds and expand coverage on their reservation, KRCR News reports. The$2.1 million project is funded by the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. One of the goals is to better allow students to participate in distance learning.

No distance learning for you: In a related story, a study from Future Ready Schools finds that 16.9 million U.S. students lack home Internet access, Education Dive says. In addition, 3.6 million U.S. households lack a computer, impacting 7.3 million students, according to the study. About a third of Native American, Latino, and African-American students in the Continue reading

A (Fairly) Non-Technical Guide to Routing Security Basics

On the MANRS website, we write about routing security. We dig into the details of technical problems, research the origins of route leaks and hijacks, analyze trends and statistics related to networks around the globe via the MANRS Observatory, and generally get pretty nerdy about how to improve the routing system that underpins the Internet. Last week, we took a step back and published a series of posts regarding Routing Security Basics.

This 5-part series covers the following topics:

While it’s difficult to explain routing security without assuming some baseline knowledge, our intent is for these posts to be as non-technical as possible to help non-experts understand this sometimes-complicated topic.

It all started with a Twitter thread on a Friday afternoon, comparing routing security to online dating. We then expanded this silly analogy into a series of blog posts. Follow along as Juan, Maria, and Bad Guy Chad help us explain the types of routing incidents that happen and how the simple, concrete MANRS actions can help.

We hope you’ll read the Routing Security Basics posts, and if you’re Continue reading

A Narrow Window of Opportunity for Rural Connectivity in the U.S.

As COVID-19 continues to shine a spotlight on the vital role the Internet plays, a short window of opportunity has opened for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to do their part in connecting rural Indigenous communities in the United States.

The Tribal Priority Window is currently open for federally-recognized tribes, Alaska Native Villages, and Hawaiian Homelands to apply for Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum, but it closes on August 3rd. Access to the EBS spectrum would enable Indigenous communities to build their own Internet networks.

The FCC set this deadline before the pandemic, but Tribal governments are now overwhelmed by handling the Coronavirus with limited resources. The FCC must give them more time to apply to the priority window. COVID-19 will not simply disappear from tribal lands in time for tribal governments to pull together applications.

The need for reliable, affordable Internet access is more pressing than ever.

Need proof? One only has to look at the fact that Indigenous communities in the US face the lowest rate of broadband access and the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 infections. The need for access to accurate information and telehealth is at an all-time high. Tribal communities are at serious risk Continue reading

Meet the MANRS Ambassadors

We’ve appointed four MANRS ambassadors in the areas of training, research, and policy. We’re excited to welcome Anirban Datta, Flavio Luciani, Boris Mimeur, and Sanjeev Gupta to the program, and can’t wait to benefit from their input and expertise.

Ambassadors are representatives from current MANRS participant organizations who provide mentorship, guidance, and feedback to others in the routing security community. With their wealth of experience and knowledge – and their passion and commitment – they help make the global routing infrastructure more robust and secure.

The MANRS Ambassadors Selection Committee, consisting of six representatives from the MANRS Advisory Group, assessed the applications and appointed four exceptional individuals.

They’ll receive a monthly stipend of US$1,500 for up to six months and together they’ll train people on good routing practices, analyze routing incidents, research ways to secure routing, and survey the global policy landscape. Ambassadors will also provide mentorship to the MANRS Fellows in their respective categories to help the Fellows to fulfill their obligations.

Four Amazing Ambassadors

Anirban Datta, training ambassador

Anirban works for [email protected] Global Ltd in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His role is to establish international links and points of presence in different parts of the world. He’s also involved with Continue reading

U.S. Tribes Have until August 3rd to Apply to Help Bring Internet to Their Communities

See how the Makah Tribe launched an emergency network on EBS spectrum during COVID-19

The Makah Tribe has lived around Neah Bay at the northwest tip of what is now Washington State since time immemorial. It is a breathtaking landscape of dense rainforest and steep hills, far removed from any major urban center.

But for all its beauty, the hills, forests, and remoteness have made it difficult for the community to access quality high-speed Internet – and even cell and radio service.

In some areas, cell service was so poor that only certain spots worked: one community member had to go outside and stand beside a rhododendron bush to make a call or send a text. While Facebook is the main way people stay connected, many couldn’t access it. The local clinic struggled to use electronic records – it sometimes took upwards of 40 minutes just to get into the system. Even emergency responders, such as police and the fire department, couldn’t rely on the dispatch system that required Internet connectivity to operate.

And then the coronavirus began to sweep the world. The Makah closed the reservation to outsiders to protect the community. And its connectivity challenges became even more problematic. Continue reading

The Week in Internet News: Hackers Target COVID-19 Research

Hacking the research: Intelligence agencies from the U.S., U.K., and Canada have accused a Russian hacking group of targeting organizations conducting COVID-19 research, the Washington Post reports. The so-called Cozy Bear hacking group is trying to steal vaccine research specifically, the intelligence groups say.

Hacking the tweets: Meanwhile, 130 of Twitter’s most high-profile accounts were targeted by hackers recently, with a few of them compromised, in an apparent bitcoin scam, the New York Post writes. Among the accounts targeted were Kanye West, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, and Warren Buffett. The hackers reportedly paid a Twitter employee to help them with the attack.

No data collection, please: The government of China is cracking down on apps that collect what it considers too much personal data, the South China Morning Post says. The government has ordered several tech companies, including Alibaba Group and Tencent, to remove non-compliant apps as soon as possible.

Broadband is fundamental: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has called broadband a “fundamental right” in an interview with CNN. Many rural areas in the U.S. still lack broadband, and that needs to change, he said. “If you think about the rural community today, they are going to Continue reading

Building a diverse and strong Internet Society Board of Trustees

[Published on behalf of the Internet Society Board of Trustees.]

The Internet Society’s 2020 AGM (Annual General Meeting) is going to be held on the first weekend of August. While the meeting had originally been planned as a face-to-face meeting, the Board decided to turn it into an online meeting instead given the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The AGM is the meeting where we say goodbye to the outgoing trustees. We want to thank them for all their efforts during their terms and wish them good luck in their future endeavours. We are confident they will continue supporting the Internet Society down the road.

The AGM is also the meeting where we welcome the incoming trustees. This year is special because we will be welcoming five new trustees. This represents a significant Board turnover for a Board of twelve voting trustees. Therefore, we are currently running a comprehensive onboarding process to get our new trustees up to speed as efficiently as possible.

As you know, the Board is selected and elected by our community, with the IETF, Organizational Members, and Chapters each independently choosing a third of the Trustees. Next year, at the 2021 AGM, three trustees will be reaching Continue reading

In Africa, An Open Internet Standards Course for Universities

Seventy university students from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana gained insights into open Internet standards

Many of the Internet standards that make the Internet work today are developed using open processes. Early exposure to these processes could significantly help future engineers play a role in the evolution of the Internet.

Next Generation of Open Internet Standards Experts in Africa

To expose the next generation of African experts to open Internet standards, the Internet Society put together a short pilot course on Internet Protocol Security (IPSec). IPSec is a technology used to improve communication security between devices on the Internet.

To promote the teaching of open Internet standards in African Universities, the one-month course brought together 70 students from 4 African universities from DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana. The pilot course was designed to provide university lecturers with additional training material to support existing courses at universities.

Facilitators

Technology experts Dr. Daniel Migault, Professor Nabil Benamar, and Loganaden Velvindron facilitated the learning experience. Between March and April 2020, they delivered online lectures for three weeks before opening up a week for student assignments.

The Internet Society’s Regional Vice President for Africa Dawit Bekele said the course Continue reading

Are Your Virtual Meetings Accessible for People with Disabilities? Start with This Checklist

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way humans interact with one another. With an emphasis on less physical interaction and more social distancing, institutions and organizations are moving their work and meetings online.

People with disabilities form about 15 percent of world population, so it is all the more important these online meetings are made accessible.

The Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (Accessibility SIG) aims to make the Internet and its attendant technologies accessible to the largest audience possible, regardless of disabilities. The digital divide is not just about having the access to digital technology, it could also be about having the access to technology and not being able to use it. Our digital products must be usable by all. Many laws and the Internet Society’s vision – the Internet is for everyone – demand that we provide everyone with an equal experience.

The Accessibility SIG is planning a series of seven webinars discussing this very topic. Our first one was titled When Rhetoric Meets Reality: Digital Accessibility, Persons With Disabilities and COVID-19 and was held on May 28.

The way we design and build can make it hard – and sometimes impossible – for people with disabilities to access Continue reading

MANRS Welcomes Three New CDN and Cloud Participants

The MANRS Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Cloud Program continues to grow in numbers and in strength with three new participants.

Hostmein, Verisign, and Vultr have deepened their commitment to strengthening the security and resilience of the Internet’s global routing system. Participants of this program, which launched in March 2020, implement important practices for mitigating common routing security threats.

Joining means committing to taking five mandatory, and one optional, security-strengthening actions. These include preventing propagation of incorrect routing information and traffic with illegitimate source IP addresses, and facilitating global operational communication and coordination. Read the full list of actions.

“MANRS is more an idea than a framework, and it is a tremendous idea,” said Hostmein CTO Alexander Stamatis. “It raises awareness, it raises new checks to be implemented in the industry, and it keeps us more in line with the primary mission: keeping the network clean, keeping it safe.

“[MANRS] is better because it was built by engineers for engineers. We discovered issues no other initiatives could detect.”

“MANRS is the best implementation that we have done to date. We have found it to be more effective than other specialised IT certifications. And it is better because it Continue reading

Holding Steady: How CDNs, IXPs, and Network Providers Help Keep us Online

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is, unfortunately, far from over, the Internet continues to be resilient, supporting the additional demands that we have placed on it, including the rapid growth in online learning, work videoconferences, e-commerce, streaming video entertainment, and more.

Because the Internet exists as a network of networks, this resilience is largely due to the planning, actions, and cooperation of all of the interconnected participants. These participants include, but are certainly not limited to, network providers, Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).

Expanding Infrastructure

On the network side, major providers such as Comcast have invested billions of dollars over the last several years in expanding fiber infrastructure and growing network capacity. In contrast, community network provider NYC Mesh is leveraging DIY customer installations to grow its own infrastructure during the pandemic. While there is still much work to be done, these efforts by both large and small network operators as well as similar operators all over the world, are making reliable broadband connectivity more widely available. Infrastructure expansion is vital as the current pandemic has shown that access to reliable Internet is now more important than ever before.

Fast and Reliable Content Delivery

CDN providers are also doing their Continue reading

The Week in Internet News: Balloon-Based Internet Comes to Kenya

Up, up and away: Google’s Project Loon, focused on providing Internet access with balloons floating in the stratosphere, has begun providing service in Kenya, CNN reports. The project will use about 35 balloons floating 20 kilometers above the ground to provide 4G LTE service covering 50,000 square kilometers in central and western Kenya.

Reach the sky: A broadband cooperative in rural Pennsylvania has built its own wireless network to provider faster Internet service, The Philadelphia Inquirer says. The Rural Broadband Cooperative, made up mostly of retirees, uses a 120-foot, former HAM radio tower that they erected on Stone Mountain. The service, with about 40 paying customers, offers speeds of up to 25 megabits per second.

The great divide: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the seriousness of the digital divide in Pakistan, The Diplomat says. While the country has moved to online school, many areas lack broadband service, and in some areas, mobile services are shut down by the government because of security concerns. “Students across the country, from the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas to Balochistan, have been protesting against online classes, not only on social media but in front of various press clubs, universities, and on roads. They have Continue reading

Chapter Training Program 2020: The Power of Us!

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
—Brené Brown

Three months ago, the Internet Society decided to face a new challenge. We took ourselves out of our comfort zone to move our community to the next level: empowerment through education. We began the Chapter Training Program, born to satisfy the increasing need of our Chapter leaders to engage their members in an impactful and informed way. The purpose was to identify and help form new leaders to work together to create local awareness, as part of our 2020 Action Plan .

This journey was not easy. However, our community embraced vulnerability and we overcame many obstacles, like change and uncertainty. In the end, we succeeded – because together our strength is bigger than our challenges. It’s part of our community’s DNA: having the conviction to build an Internet that enriches people’s lives and enables opportunities to all.We demonstrated that when we work together, we accomplish great things. Challenge becomes just a word… To be brave, first we need to be vulnerable and once we are brave, the sky is the limit!

I want to share the results of our work – and I hope we can Continue reading

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