‘Dire’ Predictions About the State of the Network in 2004

A regular poster to the North American Network Operators Group (Nanog) mailing list going by the moniker of “batz” (a surname? a nickname? a comment on mental stability?) has posted some fairly dire predications about attacks on the network in 2004. All but two of them seem all-too-plausible to me. In weighing the reliability of these predications, consider the fairly good scorecard for Batz's predictions for 2003. In the extended entry, I've reformatted the original and added my comments in italics.

Of course, despite all this, the Internet will be even more bound into the fabric of daily life a year ago than it is today, and on the whole we'll be better off for it..

Nanog, incidentally, is having its 10th anniversary meeting in Miami in February!

2004 network predictions.

  • From: batz
  • Date: Tue Dec 30 06:46:17 2003

Here are some dire predictions for 2004. With Froomkin's comments added.

While it would be easy to say that the world will end, I think these are all things that reasonably could happen, and we could act pre-emptively to mitigate their effects.

– Virus infections of handhelds and mobile phones causing widespread problems for cell networks similar to worms that flood out IP networks.
I'd rate this likely
– Bonus points for a bluetooth infection vector.
– Extra bonus points if it floods newly minted VoIP telecom networks. Grim.
But I'll say no extra points due to limited size of installation base (VOIP will show very high percent gains from its tiny base).

– E-mail whitelist technology gains mainstream acceptance as spam hits critical mass. Spam recieved by astronauts in space.
Yes and no.

ISP's search for new business models realizing that wireless providers are making a mint charging by the kilobyte, and more users just surf at work.
Yes, but the ISPs won't find it. And, users will rebel on the fees for wireless, unless they come down. ISPs will also increase their efforts to kick off heavy users from home broadband. Whether they succeed, and wether we see the start of 'by-the-kilobyte' instead of 'all-you-can-eat' home broadband will depend on the extent to which regulation ensures we have competition at the last mile.

– Wireless network “terrorism” or “porn” incident galvanizes legislators to force hotspot operators to get ID or credit card numbers from customers.
Too plausible for comfort.

– Really Bad instant-messenger worm that we can't do anything about because it doesn't use consistant tcp/udp ports.

ISP's use managed anti-virus/security to sell new managed services to users. Birth of the fully provider managed home PC?
Apparently, this is already happening.

– Affinity networks/six-degrees site privacy boondoggle. One is caught selling access data to airlines or transport security or something. Everyone feels sick as Friendster acquired by Equifax?
Also darned plausible.

– Private crypted networks used for P2P. Call them blacknets, darknets, or in true arrr-pirate fashion, booty-nets. yo-ho-ho.
I bet this is already happening.

– Successful virtual worm network forged after a worm spreads its second phase and installs an onion routed virtual network. Maybe a new P2P network?
Actually, I think this prediction is premature — just a little too complex for now.

– Linux kernel made illegal, somewhere, for a minute. Presidential candidate may admit to using it once, but didn't look at the source. RIAA/MPAA/DMCA a surprise US election issue.
It's a nice one-liner, but I don't think that Linux will be made illegal anywhere this year. On the contrary, Linux will get critical mass. I also don't think that RIAA/DMCA will be much of an election issue, much as I wish it would be.

LEA access to ISP's formalized, spearheaded by Cisco and its “lawful interception” capability. Court gag order placed on participating ISP's, disgruntled admin leaks details to Cryptome or Phrack.

– More end-to-end control connections that identify/validate/authenticate end users. Eg, VPN's, SSL, PPP. An assault on anonymity and stateless protocols, or technologies that interrupt the statefulness of the connection between user and their primary providers. (eg, WiFi, P2P, UDP, VoIP).
Double yup.

P2P on the road to obsolescence caused by higher metered bandwidth charges to home cable users in line with wireless costs. While there is a glut of bandwidth capacity available for transit, this is not the case for end-user consumption. Cable providers will lower bandwidth caps under the auspices of combating piracy, enabling them to actually make money.
Yes, as noted above.

Given these sort of predictions, I don't mind being wrong. Have a good year, I'll post again then. 😉

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