Unauthenticated User: Knock, Knock.
Your network: Who’s there?
Unauthenticated User: It’s TCP/IP
Your network: Oh, it’s you again. Come on in …
Sadly, the preceding short conversation is fairly typical of what occurs when unknown users from devices around the world attempt to access your network. Once a spoofable IP address is given, access is granted and serious damage can ensue throughout your network if that user has malicious intent. Didn’t your mother ever teach you about Stranger Danger?
This fairly typical exchange of information between devices is the result of the Network Everything mentality of the current networking paradigm that is the modern Internet or Internet 2.0. It’s a microcosm of the flaws we base all of our electronic communication on, which, of course, is TCP/IP. That imperfect standard was officially adopted by ARPANET in 1982 and remains the engine that powers today’s Internet activity decades later. Unfortunately, all the problems associated with that flawed engine design remain as well.
The idea of networking everything back in the late 1970s must have seemed like a pretty good idea at the time. At least that’s what people like Vint Cerf, who co-founded the revolutionary architecture thought. Far too little, if any, consideration was given to authentication when he co-founded TCP/IP. In fact, Cerf has gone on record many times citing this lack of secure connectivity as something he would change if he could do it all over again. Mobility is another issue he would address, and that’s precisely where Internet 3.0 needs to take us—ironclad security and increased mobility.
If the mantra of Internet 2.0 is Network Everything, then Internet 3.0 is Network Only Cryptographic Identities. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue for purposes of mantra-based meditation, but the concept is nonetheless crucial to what needs to be implemented as technology moves forward in 2017 and beyond.
By addressing the core weakness of networking, which is TCP/IP, the next step in the evolution of the Internet will accomplish what Mr. Cerf wished he had the chance to do all over again. Host Identity Protocol (HIP) is the key to establishing ironclad authentication and more efficient connectivity by eliminating the security loopholes and mobility limitations of the decades old technology.
HIP connects only fully authenticated, authorized and whitelisted users to cryptographic identities within your network—not IP addresses. This technological breakthrough in system architecture provides unprecedented security and virtually eliminates attacks stemming from DoS, DDoS, and IP spoofing through true cloaking of your network.
Beyond providing optimal security, HIP also allows for increased mobility by eliminating IP addressing issues and conflicts. HIP also enables you to effortlessly move a device within and between networks freely without having to change policy.
TCP/IP served us well for over 30 years, but as the Internet has expanded exponentially over the last several years, so have its vulnerabilities. My word to all the IT thought leaders and pundits who continue to ponder the evolution of modern networking, security and mobility are the critical issues that must be addressed. In 2017, I encourage you to learn about HIP and Identity-Defined Networking, which addresses these issues and paves a strong, secure and reliable road to Internet 3.0. Once you do, I think you’ll agree, the next time a cyber-stranger comes knocking HIP should answer your network’s door.