The achillesferse of the internet

Experts argue about the consequences of a wanton attack on major hubs

The internet – an indembable network of superlative, who defies atomic attacks after planning his inventors in the US Department of Defense itself? This busy idea is probably an illusion. Last week, thousands of websites in Germany were unavailable for hours because it came to technical problems in the central German network node DE-CIX (German Commercial Internet Exchange) in Frankfurt. "If the DE-CIX has dropped, it will take hours for all traffic to be redirected to other nodes", Already some time ago Andy Muller Maghn, press spokesman of the CCC and European director at the ICANN. For companies that exchange comprehensive data volumes in real time with foreign countries, this time delay can be very expensive.

The stormy development of the Internet required the expansion of the DE-CIX. Around 85 percent of data traffic in Germany – and thus 35 percent in Europe – become the headquarters "Datalterkreuz" in Frankfurt. His location is in the telecommunications and Internet center of the company InterXion. The DE-CIX is connected to the internet through several static line providers in the urban area.

A study, the three US researchers last year in the science magazine "Nature" had at the conclusion that the Internet was far more vulnerable to its main hubs in targeted attacks than before (the Achillesferse of the Internet). The US researchers put on the theory that already a terrorist attack on four percent of the largest internet nodes "Network of networks" lamely or split into several parts. They amed that the connections on the Internet are by no means substead as decentralized and arbitrarily replaceable as generally accepted. A whiver part of the traffic, for example between Europe and America, is handled over central lines and nodes. Around 140 main hubs are distributed over the continents.

The advantage of this system is that the nodes accelerate communication on the Internet. Data packets are no longer time consuming and costly via international wires around the globe, but transported a short way. The principle of traditional mailpost, whose mailbox have a throw-in for inner stadtical and for national broadcasts. The post certificate can expect to receive a letter faster within a city than from the coarse sorting systems.

Experts are the consequences of a failure of the hub DE-CIX shared view

Node Operator: Hackers are no danger for DE-CIX

The manager of the operating company of the DE-CIX, the Electronic Commerce Forum (ECO), Harald Summa, stop the conclusions of the US study plain for "Blodge". 72 providers are connected to the DE-CIX. With the exception of T-Online, the most important German access providers are obedient. "When their customers sent e-mails, they run over the DE-CIX. But they can also be guided via alternative routes." Other important nodes give it for example in London, Paris and Stockholm.

Summa pointed to the strong securing of the plant with emergency power supply and fireplace systems. He closed an attack by programmer from Auben: "There is nothing to chop. The DE-CIX is a stucco cable with 70 connected routers (computers involved in building a connection on the Internet)." Even as an excavator during construction work a cable of the Frankfurt data exchange node had disconnected, the hourly failure of the DE-CIX had not been lackable. Summa: "The policy is worried about the network security, where you do not need to do. Anyway, that does not bring me to sleep."

Chaos Computer Club: Failure of a node can temporarily paralyze the Internet

Less optimistic is in the CCC. Speaker Muller Magubn: "The DE-CIX has important transatlantic connections. If the hours will fail, it comes to impregnations for demanding Internet uses." The incident with the Baubagger had quite a lane effect. The DE-CIX is an attractive target for wantons in Germany as a concentration point of Internet connections in Germany. If several of these central nodes were turned off by a terrorist attack, the Internet could fall into several parts at least for a while, as claimed in the study.

"If a bomb falls on the DE-CIX, that’s very bad for the internet", The CCC speaker said FlapSig. "However", So he scan, "is a physical attack on these points much more difficult and more complicated than a normal cracker attack with programs. You have to have accurate knowledge of firewalls (calculators who protect local networks from unauthorized accesses). In this respect, it is questionable who could have interested in such an effort to turn off the nodes for a while."

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