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Book Review: The Death of the Internet

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Books 102

benrothke writes "When I first heard about the book The Death of the Internet, it had all the trappings of a second-rate book; a histrionic title and the fact that it had nearly 50 contributors. I have seen far too many books that are pasted together by myriad disparate authors, creating a jerry-rigged book with an ISBN, but little value or substance. The only negative thing about the book is the over the top title, which I think detracts from the important message that is pervasive in it. Other than that, the book is a fascinating read. Editor Markus Jakobsson (Principal Scientist for Consumer Security at PayPal) was able to take the collected wisdom from a large cross-section of expert researchers and engineers, from different countries and nationalities, academic and corporate environments, and create an invaluable and unique reference." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.The premise of the book is that the Internet is a cesspool of inefficient management and vulnerabilities that threaten to undermine its use.

In the preface, Jakobsson asks the obvious question: is the title a joke? He writes that ultimately, if the Internet can't be secured, and that the underlying amount of crime and fraud make the Internet useless and dangerous, then it indeed will lead to the tipping point where the result would be the death of the Internet. Where is that point? Nobody knows.

Chapter 1 observes that if a hostile country or organization wants to hurt us, they may find that the easiest way of doing so is by attacking the Internet, and our very dependence on the Internet invites attacks. We are more vulnerable to these attacks as our dependence on the Internet grows.

Chapter 3 provides an in-depth look at how criminals profit off the Internet and provides an intriguing overview of how click fraud works. While the click fraud rate at one point was as high as 30%, it is still in the range of 20%. The book notes that while the overall click fraud rate has been on the decline, there is the emergence of new schemes and those that focus on display ads. The click fraud schemes are so effective that the fraudsters are operating large scale automated attacks in a way that is difficult for the ad networks to distinguish between fraudulent and real clicks, thus producing high revenue for the fraudsters.

The chapter also provides an interesting look at the malware industry. It notes that malware development and distribution is highly organized and controlled by criminal groups that have formalized and implemented business models to automate cybercrime. The authors detail the interaction between the various components in a typical cybercrime business model, in which individual groups of criminals coordinate their efforts. The outcome is a product known as CaaS – crimeware as a service.

Many have often called the Internet the Wild West. Chapter 4 details the Internet infrastructure and cloud, in which the amorphous cloud images may help fuel the false perception that the Internet is a lawless and unaccountable entity that exists beyond policy. The book notes that what is breaking the Internet is not lack of policy, but lack of enforcement and accountability. Internet criminals appears to exists outside the policy structure when the reality is that they are embedded in it and their livelihood in fact depends on the Internet functioning regularly, quickly and efficiently.

While much of the book is focused on cybercrime and fraud, the book also points fingers at ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) for in some ways facilitating this Internet crime wave. ICANN is the organization that coordinates the Domain Name System (DNS), Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. Their premise is that ICANN is more interested in generating revenue and profits than in security.

Due to systemic failures, cybercriminals often hide behind false WHOIS information held by Registrars who do not perform adequate due diligence or enforcement. This is primarily due to the fact that the more domain names that are sold create more revenue for the Registrars. Chapter 4 notes that this weak oversight by ICANN is also one of the biggest threats to the stability of the Internet. The chapter quotes a Godaddy executive who stated that proactive measures to make Internet registries more accurate would not be affordable or useful.

The book provides an analysis of social spam, which has become more pervasive with the emergence of Web 2.0. People are sharing vast amounts of personal data that opens them to these spam attacks. Since the defining characteristic of Web 2.0 is its social nature, it encourages people to share information, collaborate and form social links. These features of social media have the implication that they create a large network of connections between users and content that is controlled almost entirely by the users. This places great power in the hands of well-intentioned users to engage with others and express themselves. But it also provides an opportunity for spammers to exploit the social web for their own interests. As a result, social web applications have become tempting targets for spam and other forms of Internet pollution.

Another fascinating observation around Web 2.0 is that the authors were able to perform use analysis, in which they were able to identify pieces of information about the users which are not necessarily shared directly by their profiles. Items such as sleeping patterns, daily routines, physical locations, and much more are able to be extracted via metadata and other external analysis.

By the time one gets to chapter 5, they have read 200 pages detailing the problems with security and privacy around the Internet core. Exacerbating this is the role of the end user where the chapter notes that if people are offered the choice of convenience or security, then security will lose. The average Internet user is more lazy than security aware; not at all an encouraging observation.

Chapter 7 details one of the banes that have plagued information security; poor user interfaces. It details the four sins of security application user interfaces: popup assault, security by verbosity, walls of checkboxes and all or nothing switches. The book is worth purchasing just for this section.

The book ends with some thoughts for the future, but there is no magic wand or quick happy endings that Jakobsson and his band of ultra-smart contributors offer. Throughout the book, the contributors do though write how there are ways to secure the Internet, but those take thorough and comprehensive strategies and design. There are countermeasures for most of the threats and vulnerabilities detailed and the book provides an unparalleled view of the current state of Internet security.

Situational awarenessis defined as the perception of environmental elements with respect to time and/or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed. For those looking for a book to gain situation awareness about the dangers of the Internet, one is hard pressed to find a better title than The Death of the Internet.

Reviewed by Ben Rothke.

You can purchase The Death of the Internet from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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fraud has always been there (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43454559)

bad checks
fraudulent PO's to fortune 500 companies in the 80's and 90's

there has never been a 100% fool proof or secure system any time in history

Re:fraud has always been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455495)

I dont think anyone is suggesting that securtiy can be 100% secure...or even close.

No (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43454577)

From the summary, it looks like the most serious threat to the internet is click fraud. Which frankly, in the absolute worst case, would mean that advertisers would all leave the internet.

And really, how bad would that be? I remember the internet before advertisers.

Re:No (3, Interesting)

Ionized (170001) | about a year and a half ago | (#43454715)

do you like free content? i do. if all the advertisers go away, expect everything to be paywalled or have donation buttons.

Re:No (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43454907)

half the so called content seems to be linking to stories written by real journalists and adding some comments

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454911)

and the problem with having donation requests instead of ugly distracting ads is?

Re:No (4, Insightful)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455619)

I love free content. In fact, I love it so much that I have created some myself and put it online. You should try it; it feels good!

Besides, what's wrong with donation buttons? I very much prefer them against an obnoxious flash commercial.

Re:No (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43466005)

goatse doesn't count

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455647)

And that is bad? We had plenty of content before we had every single link go through outbrain, inbrain, clicktrack, doubleclick, and so on.

Were the advertising bubble burst, it might make some people leave... but there would be a vacuum created that someone would take over, even if it is state propaganda machines.

What free content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455977)

If your time and attention are worth money, then ads are a form of payment, one that is extracted from you automatically without any kind of negotiation or agreement before the payment is made.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456513)

do you like free content? i do. if all the advertisers go away, expect everything to be paywalled or have donation buttons.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

I have no problem seeing "donate" buttons. And if content is truly worth the money, I will pay for it.

Never, ever, underestimate the quality of the very best of the volunteer-generated content on the Internet.

The elimination of advertising will change the Internet, but it will not necessarily reduce the overall quality or usefulness of its content.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456685)

except for all the content that comes from people who WANT to publish it, like wikipedia or any commercial site
nice try, though

Re:No (1)

Ionized (170001) | about a year and a half ago | (#43457835)

you're right, it would be super weird if wikipedia were to have a donation button or something on it~

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460153)

Wikipedia specifcially does not do that.

There was an article in business insider about 2 years ago.

made it seem like Wikipedia could easily make $1+ billion a year if they would have paid articles.

Re:No (1)

Ionized (170001) | about a year and a half ago | (#43462105)

have you ever BEEN to wikipedia? ever see that donation bar up top with jimmy wales' face on it? what about this page [wikimedia.org] , ever been to it?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43457083)

What I like is free content that's worth looking at, for that I'll pay. As for the worthwhile content I look at now, it's free because its creators want it that way. I don't see them changing their minds in the future; if they do I'll decide then.

Re:No (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459505)

Oh do fuck off, some of us remember the internet before the dotcom boom, where there were thousands of sites without an advert in sight and tons of really interesting content and the word or concept of paywall didn't even really exist.

The web was built as a tool for easy and open information sharing, and grew on that premise for a decade before people started believing it was all about the ad revenue and paywalls.

In fact, I still believe the internet was better back then, there was no corporate interference in what you can and can't do on the internet.

If the advertisers go away the web will be far better, because people will be putting content up because they're passionate about that topic, rather than because they're trying to make a quick buck, which is exactly how it used to be.

Re:No (1)

Ionized (170001) | about a year and a half ago | (#43462375)

oh, those rose-colored glasses you wear.

yes, advertising has its own set of problems. but let's not pretend that it is only harmful. since you want to take a black-and-white view of the world, here are some specific examples.

do you like slashdot? funded by advertising.

do you like penny arcade? funded by advertising. (or basically any other webcomic getting a modest amount of traffic)

how about google? gmail? let me tell you, bandwidth doesn't pay for itself. your awesome free webmail is paid for by... advertising.

i could go on, but hopefully you are starting to grasp the situation a little better now.

sure, some of those things could survive with a paywall or donation model, especially now that they are already established. but the barrier to entry all of a sudden becomes much greater.

amusingly, advertising HELPS a free and open internet, in that it's very easy for anyone to start a site up and have it naturally fund itself. You don't need a big pile of startup cash or a devout following that will make the commitment of subscribing or donating. Without ads, how are you going to pay your hosting costs for anything more than a trivial amount of traffic?

you can make an awesome site, and make it freely available, but you will become a victim of your own success - if your site actually DOES become huge, so will your hosting bill, and you'd better have some plan in place to pay for it.

Re:No (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43462701)

"do you like slashdot? funded by advertising."

Didn't used to be, and still isn't for me.

"do you like penny arcade?"

Not really.

"funded by advertising. (or basically any other webcomic getting a modest amount of traffic)"

Funny, never noticed any on XKCD.

"how about google? gmail?"

No thanks, I'm quite content with rich clients that better let me managed my e-mail and keep it under my control.

"let me tell you, bandwidth doesn't pay for itself."

No shit. That doesn't mean it has to be paid for by advertising or paywalls though.

"sure, some of those things could survive with a paywall or donation model, especially now that they are already established. but the barrier to entry all of a sudden becomes much greater."

Which again is why the web didn't exist before adverts became the norm at the dawn of the millenium. Oh wait, no, that's wrong. The web was thriving way before that.

"Without ads, how are you going to pay your hosting costs for anything more than a trivial amount of traffic?"

The way I always did, out of my own pocket enjoying the fruits of my labour in terms of the wage I've gained by getting a decent job having been spotted giving useful content free online, via donations, whatever. Wikipedia is one of the highest traffic sites on the net and it runs entirely without ads.

"you can make an awesome site, and make it freely available, but you will become a victim of your own success - if your site actually DOES become huge, so will your hosting bill, and you'd better have some plan in place to pay for it."

Again, because of course no site has ever got large without ads.

Re:No (2)

Ionized (170001) | about a year and a half ago | (#43463673)

my original post said paywalls OR donation buttons. funny that you mention wikipedia, poster child for the donation model. thanks for helping me make my point, i guess?

slashdot got by without advertising when it was much smaller. i promise you that its operating expenses have gotten much higher. could it survive on premium accounts and donations alone? maybe. maybe not. if it were my company, i certainly wouldn't want to roll the dice to see if it survived.

yes, XKCD gets by without ads. congratulations, you have found one of the outliers.

also, congrats on being so leet that you don't see ads on slashdot and don't use gmail. you are also an outlier. and you come off sounding like an elitist asshole. 'man the internet's first albums were the best. now it's mainstream crap.' well, yeah, it is. welcome to the world. just because you were here first doesn't mean you get to dictate how everyone else has to use it. people want free content, and advertising is how they get it, whether YOU like it or not.

you are welcome to restrict your web traffic to sites that don't use ads. the people that were putting stuff out 13 years ago without ads, they are still around. and the ones that aren't? advertising didn't kill them.

Re:No (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43464495)

"slashdot got by without advertising when it was much smaller."

This isn't really true, the ads really came into play as Slashdot peaked/started to see somewhat of a decline.

In this respect, I think you're missing one of the most important methods of site survival that's been key in shaping the web along the way, and that's that many people who have built successful sites along the way, managed to sell them, get bought out, or were given corporate sponsorship without ads because it benefits an agenda. Slashdot was seen as a useful site for driving awareness of the FOSS community for a long time and was bought for precisely that purpose.

"people want free content, and advertising is how they get it, whether YOU like it or not."

You're still assuming free content is only possible with advertising, again, that's blatantly and demonstrably false.

"the people that were putting stuff out 13 years ago without ads, they are still around. and the ones that aren't? advertising didn't kill them."

On the contrary, look at sites like Gamedev.net, it started adding more and more ads and suffered massive decline in the process, the ad model has killed as many sites as it has saved.

Once more, this assumption that ads are essential and necessary shows little more than ignorance of how the web used to be, and you can say I sound like an elitist asshole all you want, that's fine, if that's how you express yourself when you get angry that someone has provided a counterpoint with examples then that's your choice, but it's not going to change the fact that for the best part of a decade the majority of the internet ran ad free, and did so successfully without financial ruin. The real fundamental problem now is that people believe they have a right to make money from every web site, and so less do it simply for the enjoyment of running a site and building a community or whatever, and that's okay in itself, but it doesn't have to be that way - that way is a choice, and that's simply my point.

As an aside, I work for a firm that has just released a web based product completely free and ad free that's already in the millions of users territory, we do this because the data we get from the site is extremely useful for our core business - again, even in terms of the commercial world the idea that you need ads for a site to offer free services is simply not true. It's a short sighted and simplistic view of the web.

I think you mistake my comments for the idea that I'm somehow a "It should all be free man" type of hippy, that's simply not true, what I do believe though is that the need for ads is completely overstated and frankly I think the online ad industry is going to see decline at some point to the degree that the contribution to many site's operations will be worthless - already a number of companies have started to realise that often online advertising can cost a lot and net you nothing. I think when this happens and the decline in ad money occurs, people are going to have to find other models and for some, that may include looking to the past to see how it used to be done before ads were thrown around left and right as if they're some kind of essential life support machine for a site.

Re:No (1)

Ionized (170001) | about a year and a half ago | (#43464887)

i don't doubt that the internet could survive without any ads. but it would be a very different place than it is today. It would ALSO be a very different place than it was before advertising. the cat is already out of the bag, so to speak.

you seem pretty confident that the outcome would be entirely positive. i am a bit more skeptical of that conclusion, and feel that the end result would be more in the neutral zone, probably tending toward the negative. we could both be right, as a lot of it would be a matter of personal opinion.

to each their own.

Re:No (2)

Xeranar (2029624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43467267)

The internet is less an issue of paid adverts vs. Free content. What the pre-2000s internet was was a series of largely university and privates pages where academia was the top of the heap. It was social by the late 90s but the commercial internet really didn't quite exist. Post-2000s the rise of better HTML and protocols allowed the internet to grow into a full virtual world democratically dominated by corporations and uneducated masses alike. The world of academia lost the war and there is no shame in that.

What were seeing is the internet fully democratized with all social elements. As it stands until criminal activity becomes so disruptive as to make the internet unusable it will remain and even then the firat response will be to better secure it rather than kill it.

We mostly need to worry about the internet breaking into corporate intranets more than anything. Secures fifedoms where MS, Apple, Google, and Amazon reign. Apple is already starting down this path with stricter protocols and allowances with both physical devices, proprietary OS/mOS, and stifling competition where it can. Amazon is starting to follow suit. It's the most likely scenario. Not one I wish either.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43468891)

>>>>fact, I still believe the internet was better back then,

you mean when bandwith was measured in baud rate?

No way!

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454743)

The internet was designed to be used ontop of a rigged together system. It was meant to be flexible and actually takes into account things going crazy.

The problem though is the 'rigged together' is leaking in respect to security. That means the protocols we use are not taking into account the 'gentleman agreements' that hold the whole thing together.

It is not designed ground up to be secure. It is designed ground up to be reliable. You can literally have one rouge player take out google or intel or MIT with a few misplaced keystrokes (it has happened). You can have people cause indirect attacks on others thru use of DoS (see recent DNS attack, which was bad/nonexistant filters). These things are not really fixed. Just a bandaid over the real issue.

There is no 'easy' fix. No 'we do this one thing it is fixed'. There are hundreds of little things that build ontop of each other. Then on top of that we have handed over this crazy thing to people who expect a toaster. Then understandably have 0 clue what to do when it gets in the weeds.

I do not talk about these to my family. It would just scare the bejusus out of them.

Re:No (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43454789)

It is not designed ground up to be secure. It is designed ground up to be reliable

In fact, security is level 5 of the OSI seven layer model. It is definitely designed with security in mind.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454997)

  1. The OSI reference model was really conceived as part of a competing set of standards, which lost out to the Internet standards we now use. The reference model is sort of a weird archaic remnant.
  2. The Internet protocol stack was designed before the OSI model was adopted
  3. The Internet stack has never really fit very comfortably into the OSI model at all. For example, OSI is really cast in terms of guaranteed delivery at link and network layers.
  4. The OSI session layer is not a "security" layer, although it may (or may not) support a session authentication service.
  5. TCP/IP doesn't define a session layer, and in fact it's hard to find real "session layers" in much of what's layered over TCP/IP.
  6. Security is pervasive, and you can't have it at just one layer.

Re:No (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455101)

TCP is level 4 of the OSI model. IP is level 3. Level 5 is often done with SSL. I am currently adding to a project (in fact, I am taking a break from that project to write this message), that implements all 7 levels. It's very nice, not like some of the crap produced by programmers who don't understand the OSI model.

Re:No (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455895)

I am afraid of custom built OSI implementations. I prefer to use well tested frameworks and make sure I'm using them correctly.

Re:No (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43457095)

What do you normally use for the top three levels?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460467)

i think i just wnet 2 years without someone mentioning the osi reference model...and u jsut did...u had to ruin my streak :)

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455763)

In fact, security is level 5 of the OSI seven layer model. It is definitely designed with security in mind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_model#Layer_5:_session_layer

Interesting, no security there... That is part of the session (layer 6). It is up to that layer to do security such as SSL/TTL/SSH/ROT13 etc... layer 5 is about interfaces such netbios, SMB, etc... not the payload or how that payload is encrypted.

Layers 1-5 are not designed with security in mind. Many protocols have 0 concept of it other than maybe a password stored in the state machine.

The whole thing is jurry rigged badly in many places. You can not sit there with a straight face and tell me that our routing protocols are secure or DNS (which is slowly being replaced by a secure version).

Security is an afterthought in our network. They were glad it worked at all early on...

It is possible to build a secure network out of our insecure one. That is not even close to what exists out there which is a mishmash of security and non security. Side channel attacks are the common way for people to crack things. Then on top of that you have 0 idea that it happened. The problem is bigger than adding SSH onto everything.

Like I said I do not discuss this with my family. They would freek out if they understood it at all.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460397)

Jury-rigged. Not jerry-rigged or jurry-rigged, though I think in the AC's post above it might have just been a typo.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454783)

" I remember the internet before advertisers." AH the good old days.. if only we could ban advertisers....

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43468937)

we can ban them.....

but what has been PROVEN...people want free content.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454963)

From the summary, it looks like the most serious threat to the internet is click fraud. Which frankly, in the absolute worst case, would mean that advertisers would all leave the internet.

And really, how bad would that be? I remember the internet before advertisers. You kids get off of my lawn!

FTFY

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455751)

The most serious threat to the internet is DNS

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456243)

i think it said that in the section with the problem about ICANN.

Re:No (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43456079)

From the summary, it looks like the most serious threat to the internet is click fraud.

The idea that I should sell space on my website on a per-click basis makes no real sense. Think about it:

* The amount of money I make is tied to the quality of the ad, which I don't control.
* If people see the ad and decide to buy a product without clicking it, that means I'm giving away ads for free.

The problem isn't click fraud, it's that clicks aren't an appropriate way to get paid for advertising in the first place. CPC schemes might make Google a ton of money, but it's not very good for anyone else.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456377)

i think that is 1 of the many frauds...

not the ONLY frauds.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459969)

you know what they say about people who only read summaries :)

Principal Scientist for Consumer Security @ PayPal (5, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year and a half ago | (#43454579)

Principal Scientist for Consumer Security at PayPal

How many oxymorons can you find in that title?

Re:Principal Scientist for Consumer Security @ Pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454693)

This is FLAG in Florida...

Re:Principal Scientist for Consumer Security @ Pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455513)

what is the oxymoron?

Paypal moves billions of $$$ a day, i would think they really take security seriously

Re:Principal Scientist for Consumer Security @ Pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460937)

Security isn't a science, it's applied science at best.
Paypal might have security, but they certainly don't have "Consumer Security". Your money is gone, deal with it.

Dang, if it dies can we blame Al Gore? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454617)

Hey, he did invent it.

(And no, Snopes' attempt to whitewash Gore's attempt to claim credit for the internet is clumsier than the attempt itself)

Re:Dang, if it dies can we blame Al Gore? (3, Informative)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455601)

The net was working before Al Gore. What he did was the high-level politics necessary to open it up to the ordinary man in the street, creating a very different beast upon the same protocols. That very different beast is the modern internet.

Re:Dang, if it dies can we blame Al Gore? (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#43456879)

It's kinda like giving JFK credit for landing men on the Moon. JFK didn't do it by any means, but without him or some other politicians, it never would have happened. The Apollo program scientists, engineers, technicians, astronauts, etc. actually made it all happen, but without funding provided and policy created by the Federal government (and JFK at the head of one of its branches) at the time, all those people would not have been able to work on that project and land people on the Moon.

Al Gore didn't invent the internet by any means, but he played an important part in turning it into what it is now, and he deserves some credit for that. It's not often that politicians do things that are far-sighted and really useful to the country and society, and the internet is one of the most useful infrastructural things created in a long time. Now maybe if Gore hadn't done it, someone else would have, but who knows how long that might have taken.

Re:Dang, if it dies can we blame Al Gore? (3, Informative)

able1234au (995975) | about a year and a half ago | (#43457427)

...and of course Al Gore never said he invented it. So why try to put words in his mouth.

Oh help us! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454657)

... if people are offered the choice of convenience or security, then security will lose.

I think we all knew that!

I have mixed feeling on this one...

Due to systemic failures, cybercriminals often hide behind false WHOIS information held by Registrars who do not perform adequate due diligence or enforcement.

I have had a few websites in the past and due to the policies of the hosting company, my real name was used. There's nothing more annoying than some schmuck who knows how to use 'whois' to blast your name and everything on message boards - it's a long story and I'll spare all of you.

As far as the rest of the Internet is concerned, I only visit certain sites now. I may google for information and avoid WOT red sites and even orange sites. I've gotten my habits for sites I visit and as far as I'm concerned, the rest of the Internet is just one big marketing-Troll-spam-BS-nothiness that is not worth my time.

The Internet is alive and well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454803)

I am not so sure about this book, though.

The Internet can be secured. Much of it already is.

Click fraud - who cares, really? Certainly not a problem for "The Internet". It merely means that "pay per click" is a flawed model that invites abuse. Someone found that easy to implement, someone else found clicks easy to fake. But the net does not depend on "pay per click" - or even on advertising in general. If that market dies completely, there will still be webshops and informational sites around. Anyway, advertising works. You just don't know how many really see the ad, that's all.

Spam? Mostly a e-mail problem. The net is so much more than e-mail. And there are nice countermeasures against spam anyway. Social spam? Guess what, the internet is so much more than social networking too! It is a part I don't use - and still I use the net a lot.

The internet is nowhere near dying. It has perhaps evolved in ways the book authors don't like very much. That has nothing to do with dying, though. Now, if we saw a marked decline in use - then we could talk about dying. But it is not happening. The net grows and grows, new uses are popping up all the time. New services.

Popup assaults? Sure, if you use second-rate software that actually obey such constructs! I don't get popups - not even on the shadiest of sites. Real browsers can turn that stuff off. Simple add-ons also removes privacy invading trackers and a lot of ads. Tough luck for those who tought they could depend on such things.

I could go on refuting, but what is the point? The internet is alive, proven by ever-increasing traffic. A new arena brings new thugs, and new countermeasures a little later.

An anonymous Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43454861)

A man can dream. IP addresses might be a mechanical necessity but we ought to be able to go beyond them.

How about the death of cities? (4, Insightful)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43454867)

When people were in small tribes and villages, crime was low. You knew everyone. You needed to work together to survive, and if you committed a crime, you were very likely killed or driven out. However, the rise of cities helped criminals hide among millions of anonymous people.

The truth is, the internet is almost indispensable now. Security will be addressed, as it has always been addressed, after the fact. People will learn to be careful (just as, you know, you don't walk around in certain neighborhoods in the middle of the night wearing jewelry). The reason the internet has so many problems is because it became too popular too fast. It was an attractive target before anyone thought of the security flaws. But they can and will be addressed - there is no alternative.

What you should be worried about is the crippling of the internet. Legislators will try to pass laws based on physical-world-analogies (and corporate interests). That is a far bigger problem than crime on the internet. E-crime won't make things unusable, but stupid laws will.

Re:How about the death of cities? (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43458315)

"When people were in small tribes and villages, crime was low."

That's the 'noble primitive' myth. It's only a myth.

Re:How about the death of cities? (1)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43458451)

That's the 'noble primitive' myth. It's only a myth.

I wasn't talking about the idea that people in smaller tribes were inherently more moral people (which is what the noble primitive myth deals with), but that crime is low because of social pressures in small groups (where everyone knows everyone, and it is harder to get away with crime) or for other reasons. My point was that crime rate is smaller in a smaller social group, but more and more people prefer to live in/around cities.

Re:How about the death of cities? (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459181)

Social pressure, that's what makes small sects feel so safe compared to the modern world.

Re:How about the death of cities? (1)

Fusselwurm (1033286) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460063)

That's the 'noble primitive' myth. It's only a myth.

I wasn't talking about the idea that people in smaller tribes were inherently more moral people (which is what the noble primitive myth deals with), but that crime is low because of social pressures in small groups (where everyone knows everyone, and it is harder to get away with crime) or for other reasons. My point was that crime rate is smaller in a smaller social group, but more and more people prefer to live in/around cities.

depends on the type of crime, i guess.

i know that at least homicide is much lower in today's "western" society (about one in a hundred thousand per year [wikipedia.org] ) in comparison to contemporary hunter-gatherer tribes (one in a hundred to one in three thousand [johnhawks.net] ).

Re:How about the death of cities? (2)

Xeranar (2029624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43467357)

It's called the noble savage, dolt. It's specifically a reference to literary works where a person from a 'lesser' civilization is viewed as more in tune with nature and inherently more moral due to the lack of greed, money, or other social ill. It was generally used as a juxtaposition to industrialized man who saw himself as a social elite.

There is plenty of proof from anthropologists proving that small societies tended to have less social ills because there is a more interconnectivity within the group so that any faux pas or crime would cause ostracism. In other words: The OP was right and you're misusing a term you couldn't even spell right.

looks like backhoes to me (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455045)

it ain't hoes, it's backhoes.

The web will die for different reasons (3, Insightful)

jd659 (2730387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455143)

The summary of the book seems to focus too much on the “criminals” and claims that the end of the internet is in the “unregulation” of the internet. While it is a factor, let’s not forget that the growth of the internet was also attributed mainly to the same factors. Internet gave power to ordinary citizens and it’s not possible to have that power and not to have anonymity. But with anonymity comes the criminal side as well.

The web is changing now. With every day we have less and less privacy. Large companies got to be very good at tracking everyone’s move on the web. Practically nothing remains anonymous on the web any longer. Getting an internet service in the US requires presenting a government-issued ID and SSN (wasn’t the case a few years ago). The ISP now start the deep packet inspection where everything becomes monitored and certain undesired connections are dropped. Welcome to the world of censorship where no lists will be provided of what exactly is censored. And that, not the “wild west,” will be one of the causes for the death of the internet.

There was an interesting article in Wired magazine on the topic: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/08/ff_webrip/all/ [wired.com] It provides insights about how we, as users, choose the closed platforms (e.g. google, facebook). And the more we turn away from the true open and anonymous internet, the more irrelevant the internet becomes.

Re:The web will die for different reasons (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#43457143)

There was an interesting article in Wired magazine on the topic: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/08/ff_webrip/all/ [wired.com] [wired.com] It provides insights about how we, as users, choose the closed platforms (e.g. google, facebook). And the more we turn away from the true open and anonymous internet, the more irrelevant the internet becomes.

This doesn't make any sense at all. This is like saying that cars are becoming irrelevant because people frequently use toll roads, or that roads are becoming irrelevant because people choose to buy cars which they (supposedly) can't work on themselves, or because they choose to rent or lease cars.

Google and Facebook don't work without the internet. It may not be the open and anonymous internet you and I like, but it is still the internet: a global data communications network. Google and Facebook don't even require any special software to work: they work on many different browsers, most of which are open-source and Free/free. Yes, they have problems (and yes, Facebook is a completely worthless waste of time, which is why I don't use it), but they aren't making the internet "irrelevant". You don't need Google to go to other sites; you can just type in their URL manually, or use a competing search engine like Bing or DuckDuckGo. You don't need Facebook to talk to your friends, in fact you don't need Facebook for squat. Email is still the preferred method of communications for business, as much as stupid teenagers and 20-somethings might refuse to admit it.

Yes, getting iSP service in the US isn't anonymous; I'm not sure it ever was to be honest. I've had ISP service or other internet access since 1991, and it was either tied to my college admission, or I had to sign up for it with an ISP company, which was impossible without giving them some details about myself so they knew how to bill me for it. Regardless, there's still options for anonymity, namely with VPNs. Your ISP can do all the deep-packet inspection it likes, it can't crack a VPN session, and they can't forbid VPN use since so many people rely on VPNs to access their work systems from home. Lots of people now ever use VPNs for ALL their internet use; many VPN services even provide optional software which disables your internet connection unless the VPN is running, so you can be sure nothing you do is trackable by your ISP or anyone in the US (as the VPN's exit node is in another country like Sweden or Romania).

Re:The web will die for different reasons (0)

deimtee (762122) | about a year and a half ago | (#43458323)

I think it is more like driving becoming irrelevent as driverless cars bocome more common.
The main cause of accidents is people and eventually there will be sufficient pressure to actually ban manual driving.
Then you can only go where the car will let you, and you will be tracked all the way.

Re:The web will die for different reasons (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#43462843)

I think it is more like driving becoming irrelevent as driverless cars bocome more common.
The main cause of accidents is people and eventually there will be sufficient pressure to actually ban manual driving.
Then you can only go where the car will let you, and you will be tracked all the way.

Perhaps, but this doesn't apply very well as an analogy to the internet, Google, or Facebook. You could make a valid argument that human-driven cars should be phased out because 1) humans are more dangerous/accident-prone than computers, and 2) mixing human- and computer-driven cars could have various problems, at the least that without any humans, computer-driven cars could team up into high-speed caravans and not need the slow speeds and wide spacing that human-driven cars need, thus packing a lot more cars onto a given road and decreasing travel times significantly. I'm not going to say I'm a proponent of this move at this time, for various reasons, but I believe this is the argument that could be made and that it's a valid argument.

However, these points don't map to the internet at all in any kind of analogy. Restricting us to Google and Facebook isn't going to improve the performance of the internet, as that's not how the internet works. And as I've already pointed out, there's tons of alternatives to both Google and Facebook. No one is forcing you to use either. Yes, there is a lot of tracking going on behind the scenes, largely by Google, but it's not universal, it only happens when a website you visit uses Google Analytics for tracking. Not all websites do this (I seriously doubt Bing or anything else Microsoft-owned does, nor anything owned by Yahoo), and besides, these tracking mechanisms still don't know who you are unless you visit Google on your own, with a Google login, so that they can associate your IP address with their other information on you. Otherwise, you're just an anonymous IP address, and don't forget, we don't have static IPs these days from ISPs, so your IP address could get reassigned to a different ISP customer at any time. And finally, I really don't understand what all the fear-mongering about Facebook is about. There's no reason at all to use Facebook unless you choose to do so, and more and more people have been abandoning Facebook in recent years.

Re:The web will die for different reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43463789)

Is it the web that's dying or the Internet? The Internet was doing fine for anonymous users and was growing for years, until the web came along and then the growth was exponential. And anonymity still thrived at the start.

Equating the loss of privacy with the death of the web (or the Internet?) doesn't make sense to me. The web still seems to be gaining more users, even though a lot of those users are going straight to the privacy-reducing straighjackets that you think are killing off the web.

Last time I set up an account with an ISP, they didn't ask me for ID or SSN and they've not called me back and asked for those since either.

What makes an open and anonymous Internet more true than one that has a login for everyone?

If you want to blame something, blame the commercialization.

Erm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455213)

Did he not read Chapter 2??

some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (3, Insightful)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455593)

If usenet was still around, I can post question like, "I'm having difficulties of getting audio to stream on my video via ustream.tv. Video stream is ok but I cannot get my Win7 to show audio from the Dazzler video-to-usb." and "Anyone have issues of choppy video when streaming on ustream.tv?" "Anyone know how to deal with this 'dinosaur' part of error message when attempting to stream on justin.tv?"

Right now all there is this are bankrupted sites like fixya or forums of people with same problems but no answers.

I miss usenet, had lots of fun reading/posting on rec.arts.dance, sci.space.policy, and rec.skydiving (which some called it wreck.skywhining)

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455747)

I dont think that is the'death' the book referes to.

those are old services...which died a natural death.

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (2)

jgrahn (181062) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455757)

If usenet was still around, I can post question like, "I'm having difficulties [...] I miss usenet, [...]

Who told you Usenet is not around? I was there an hour ago. Some groups are still pretty decent.

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43455933)

is usenet around? yes.

is it on lifesupport? YES!

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456043)

You may be witnessing the death of your connectivity-fu, not really the internet. But I can understand how from your perspective, they are the same.

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (3, Insightful)

arbulus (1095967) | about a year and a half ago | (#43456211)

The worst one of all that is the forum sites that seem to do nothing but mirror other forums sites. Out of one page of google resutls, all of them are completely different forums that have the exact same thread. It makes no sense. Or bullshit sites like Experts Exchange or others where you see the exact question you are searching for, but have to pay to view the thread. My assumption is that they're just repeating back your question to you to make it look like the have the answer to get your money. Forums have become a mess. And now that so few people actually use forums, it's impossible to get any answers. I'm with you. I miss usenet.

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43458751)

Really?!? How many people who knew Usenet don't know that you can just turn off JavaScript and scroll down to see the answers on Expert Sexchange?

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (0)

Burz (138833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43457937)

From my experience being a system polyglot, the phenomenon you speak of is specific to Windows, IMO. Because of the opacity of the underlying system, I notice people on these sites trying to troubleshoot odd problems tend to quickly hit a brick wall whereas this is less likely to happen to people on OSX and Linux-based systems. Although in OSX's case it has more to do with being tightly integrated to the hardware and each model of Mac having a greater critical mass than their many Windows-based counterparts.

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (1)

Burz (138833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43462859)

From my experience being a system polyglot, the phenomenon you speak of is specific to Windows, IMO. Because of the opacity of the underlying system, I notice people on these sites trying to troubleshoot odd problems tend to quickly hit a brick wall whereas this is less likely to happen to people on OSX and Linux-based systems. Although in OSX's case it has more to do with being tightly integrated to the hardware and each model of Mac having a greater critical mass than their many Windows-based counterparts.

Re:some of internet died years ago i.e. usenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459273)

Ah. Rec.arts.dance. Prime example of tragedy of the commons. I protested 10 years ago (15?) when a certain pro from the bay area started announcing every single class she was teaching. Right now there is no discussion left, and it's all california pros announcing their classes and dances.

Death of the Internet predicted... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43456161)

...film at eleven.

Re:Death of the Internet predicted... (2)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year and a half ago | (#43458025)

Was it confirmed by Netcraft?

Missed the point (0)

alexo (9335) | about a year and a half ago | (#43456189)

He writes that ultimately, if the Internet can't be secured, and that the underlying amount of crime and fraud make the Internet useless and dangerous, then it indeed will lead to the tipping point where the result would be the death of the Internet.

The attempts at "securing" the Internet are what's killing it.

Re:Missed the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456771)

:::The attempts at "securing" the Internet are what's killing it.

Can you please explain what you mean?

I don't get it.

Re:Missed the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43457393)

Long story short: The Internet is for transmitting information -> governments and corporations decide that some information is dangerous (mostly to their own orwellian interests) -> governments and corporations try to stop information from being transmitted over the Internet -> Internet ends up being blocked from serving its own primary function -> Internet dies.

Multipolar Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456373)

The internet is a union of smaller networks. LANs were conjoined because sharing had benefits.

However it also has costs. Even now you see various organizations firewalling ports, blocking spam, airgapping their LANs from the internet and otherwise intentionally reducing connectedness. They do this because in their specific cases sharing would be bad.

If the cost of sharing exceed the benefits then the internet will undergo a network topology regime change from unipolar to multipolar.
That is to say, there will be no internet. In the grim darkness of the far future there will be only LANs.

Right title, wrong premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456419)

The premise of the book is that the Internet is a cesspool of inefficient management and vulnerabilities that threaten to undermine its use.

Boy, if I was writing a book with that title, my premise would be how governments and corporations are working together to limit or eliminate the very freedoms that made the Internet possible in the first place.

It's certainly unfortunate that the Internet suffers from inefficient management and vulnerabilities. But those problems pale in comparison to the damage inflicted by corrupt institutions trying desperately to make the Internet well-controlled, "safe", and "secure" to satisfy their desires for power or profit.

Re:Right title, wrong premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43456719)

Good point...no great point.

But that is a topic for another book.

Re:Right title, wrong premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43458667)

"A cesspool of inefficient management" is just what Slashdotters and other communists think of a free economy and society. So much room for "progress", if only totalitarian control could be achieved.

You can say whatever you want, but . . . (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about a year and a half ago | (#43456805)

The Internet will always be the greatest cookbook that ever existed!

Stalinist kant (1, Troll)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year and a half ago | (#43457347)


"Many have often called the Internet the Wild West. Chapter 4 details the Internet infrastructure and cloud, in which the amorphous cloud images may help fuel the false perception that the Internet is a lawless and unaccountable entity that exists beyond policy. The book notes that what is breaking the Internet is not lack of policy, but lack of enforcement and accountability. Internet criminals appears to exists outside the policy structure when the reality is that they are embedded in it and their livelihood in fact depends on the Internet functioning regularly, quickly and efficiently."

Only a (modern) cosmopolitan Stalinist believes **lawless** = unjust.  Or that rights precede behaviour. That view  truly  reflects the historic Semite prejudice (see various early Mesopotamian literature/Bible etcetcetc ) that social rules reasonably and preferably precede living culture. While such **legal tyranny** motifs supersede the  personal rule of a tribal STRONGMAN , they were wisely rejected in  the 18-th century for  democratic, limited gub'mnt **republican** forms. Societies justly conceived bootstrap their own rules unique to their own ecology ... say that of the WWW! Phrased metaphorically, Germanic cannibals  properly eat both Goliath & David.

     

Re:Stalinist kant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43457995)

Let me know if I am the only one who understands zero of what you wrote.

pure FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43457577)

From TFS it sounds like the book is arguing for more regulation on the internet. That of course means removing anonymity (Universal/'Real' ID), more DRM, and further restrictions of rights & freedoms online. This kind of FUD calling for regulation has the very real potential to be the death of the internet, on the order of "We had to destroy the village to save it."

Re:pure FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43458047)

:::sounds like the book is arguing for more regulation on the internet

What in the world gives you that idea?

This applies to many other things too (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43457929)

What about electricity? We are now highly dependent on that too and electric sources could be a potential target. So can water lines, gas lines, cell and LAN line phones (though LAN lines are now used less), radio and television, etc... Why does the book mainly focus on the Internet and doesn't focus on other things that we are also highly dependent on as being potential targets. Sure, the Internet may in some ways be more vulnerable but still. At one time, while electricity lines or television were relatively new, someone could have written a book about that.

Re:This applies to many other things too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43458143)

we are dependant on electricy.

we are very dependant on the internet.

Re:This applies to many other things too (1)

Turminder Xuss (2726733) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459381)

Roads too. Do you know how many criminals use roads ?

The internet is far from dead. (1, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year and a half ago | (#43458331)

The Web however, is fucking toast. As a portion of web traffic the WWW is a shrinking percentage. The web no longer has your interests at heart. It is now just a conduit, like the phone lines used to be. It's mostly filled with video data and stupid "phone home" bullshit, where a jillion smartphones report their position every few seconds, etc. So, no, the internet is far from dead. The Web however is a dying beast.

Re:The internet is far from dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43458547)

Citation on smartphones?

Re:The internet is far from dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459651)

you mean the net = netflix....

the author works at paypal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459759)

That's enough not to buy it right there. Paypal is run by horrible people. Not supporting any of them

Re:the author works at paypal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43461287)

::Paypal is run by horrible people.

what the heck does that mean?

Re:the author works at paypal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43470825)

horrible people as in anonymous cowards?

Jury-built? (1)

MatrixCubed (583402) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460101)

You must mean jury-rigged [wikipedia.org] , or jerry-built [wikipedia.org] . Pick one!

Re:Jury-built? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43470797)

what does your comment mean? who is referring to that? or what?

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