On October 21 the Internet suffered a severe Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. In fact, reports say nearly half the Internet was incapacitated with sites like Twitter, Reddit, Netflix and more temporarily shut down. Although the state of the web looks grim, the rise of blockchain technology may be able to deter DDoS assaults significantly.
Nearly Half The Internet Temporarily Incapacitated
When unknown attackers targeted the Internet, it caused trouble for millions of users trying to access parts of the world wide web. They aimed the attack at a Domain Name Services company called Dyn. The assault first affected the U.S. east coast and then the rest of the country.
The DDoS continued to spread for a period of time and affected a small portion of users in Europe and other nations as well. However, the attack primarily affected the United States.
There isn’t a fully-confirmed culprit, aside from some theories. Yet many believe IoT botnets are behind these massive assaults. Conventional botnets are made up of a series of computers that remotely access data and push forward communication across the web.
However, the protocol is not all positive as researchers have found malicious attacks across security gateways. According to network security companies and cyber security expert Brian Krebs, malware botnets are definitely partly responsible for the outage on the 21st.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies May Be the Answer
Since the advent of protocols such as BitTorrent and Bitcoin, plus many advances in encryption, there’s still hope for the Internet. Many developers, entrepreneurs and startups are building platforms that will disrupt the web’s current centralization. Here are just a few of the many projects developing applications that remove the need for third party monopolies.
One startup using the Bitcoin blockchain to thwart these internet issues is Blockstack. Formally Onename, the company is a decentralized Domain Name System (DNS) working towards a decentralized web. Blockstack wants to remove third parties from managing web servers, databases, and ID systems. Blockstack’s engineer Jude Nelson explained how their DNS platform could’ve prevented the October 21st attack.
“By using the Bitcoin blockchain to bind the name to a public key and DNS information, Blockstack allows anyone to register a name while simultaneously ensuring that only the name’s owner can control it,” says Nelson. “If the Dyn attackers wanted to knock websites offline in Blockstack, they would have to attack either the individual sites or attack the Bitcoin network itself. Even then, all the Dyn attackers could do is slow down name updates,” he added.
Another project similar to the Blockstack vision is a platform called Nebulis, which uses Ethereum under the hood. Creator Philip Saunders initiated the project on EtherCamp — Nebulis is also a decentralized domain name system. The difference is, this platform uses IPFS as a replacement for HTTP and utilizes the Ethereum blockchain for DNS capabilities. Saunders hopes to release the project into the “core Ethereum system in Q4 of 2016.” After the initial foundations, Saunders will follow with a protocol called “Gravity” that will provide a link between Nebulis and browsers.
UK-based Maidsafe is another project that wants to decentralize the web. The project came to fruition after a decade of research and development. Maidsafe focuses on removing centralized servers and creates an encrypted distributed framework across a peer-to-peer network.
The Maidsafe startup has recently released its Alpha network and hopes users will popularize the service, looking for an alternative to today’s Internet. The Safe Network removes centralized data centers from the equation and replaces it with a crowdsourced internet that relies on peer-to-peer activity.
DDoS Attacks and Centralization Will Soon Fall by the Wayside as These Projects Gain Momentum
Most people believe a decentralized internet is the wave of the future. Decentralization is inherently a strong foundation and is also the web’s original purpose. The goal is to continuously improve upon a neutral system that allows anyone to participate. Current centralized methods only bolster monopolistic corporate activities and increase barriers to entry. This means not everyone receives the Internet’s entire benefits.
A web 2.0 protocol and decentralized Internet is creating a buzz among freedom fighters and online activists. The emerging trend aims to build a peer-to-peer environment, built upon significant consensus and incentives. Some of these web projects will reward users who contribute content.
Because concepts like Bitcoin, BitTorrent swarms and powerful cryptography exist, the Internet is due for a change. Hopefully, these ideas are adopted in great number before more DDoS attacks, centralized monopolies, and censorship continues.
What do you think about blockchain technology and decentralized applications fixing the problems with the Internet? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Blockstack, Nebulis, and Maidsafe websites.
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