Tag: Internet

China to Get Keys to the Internet

The US Dept. of Commerce will be handing off the final parts of US control, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), over the Internet to international authorities on 1 October. IANA is responsible for interpreting numerical addresses on the Web to a readable language. This will soon be under the control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN). The ICANN is a multi-stakeholder based in LA & includes countries like China and Russia. The move is heavily criticized as the move can be used by totalitarian governments to shut down the Web around the world, completely or in part. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says that the move will significantly increase the power of foreign nations over the internet and “embolden its leadership to act without any real accountability.” ICANN’s 🏙Beijing office is located in the same building as China’s notorious censor board & it’s possible that the ICANN can be influenced by it

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How DDoS Attack Works?

DDoS-attack-Infographic

DDoS attack is one of the favorite tools used by hackers to disrupt an online service. Here, we are going to tell you more about the attack using an easy-to-understand infographic.

Most of us are aware of the fact that DDoS attack- Distributed Denial of Service- is one of the most common attacks faced- and the recent times have seen a tremendous growth in such attacks. Recently, the New York Magazine’s website was down due to an alleged DDoS attack for more than 12 hours. For those who are new to this term, in simple works, a DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service/website unavailable by flooding it with tons of traffic from different sources.DDoS attack is one of the favorite tools used by hacktivists and other online groups to fulfill their motives by hiding behind a storm of HTTP request. The attacker makes a network of infected systems (botnets) by spreading malicious emails and software. After being infected, these systems could be controlled remotely and thus used to deploy a DDoS attack.

The infographic shared below is created by Ireland-based security firm Barricade and it gives a visual picture of a DDoS attack and other factors related to it. The good guys at Barricade have used various industry data to show that DDoS attacks affect more than 45% of organizations.

With an exponential growth in the internet usage, cyber vandalism and hacktivism have become more prominent and organizations face such DDoS attacks regularly. The security firm notes that launching a DDoS attack costs just $150, while its impacts could be quite expensive.

The infographic shows that China and India, followed by the U.S, are the biggest nurseries of DDoS attacks.

Take a look at this visual depiction of a DDoS attack and protect yourself and your site better:

DDoS-attack-Infographic

Share the article if you found the information about DDoS attack helpful.

What is DNS (Domain Name System) and How it Works ?

dns-domain-name-system

DNS stands for Domain Name System is used to as the medium to translate domain names to their respective IP addresses when a client initiates a request query. DNS stores the database of all the domain names and their IP addresses which are registered on the network.

Most of us are quite familiar with the term DNS or Domain Name System. DNS can be thought of as an attendance register for various websites present over the internet. In the case of DNS, it maintains the database of all the websites Domain Names and their IP (Internet Protocol) addresses that are operational all over the world.

Historical Notes

The origins of DNS date back to the time of ARPANET, when there were only a few computers to get an entry in the database. A HOSTS.TXT file was maintained by Stanford Research Institute, which constituted the data of all the machines, and was copied by all the host machines to remain updated.

Jon Postel from the Information Sciences Institute requested Paul Mockapetris to design the very first implementation of DNS, at the University of California, Irvine, in 1983. Then in 1984, BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) was created by four students, Douglas Terry, Mark Painter, David Riggle, Songnian Zhou, for Unix machines. After some revisions made in 1985 by Kevin Dunlap, it was later ported to Windows machines, and is still the most widely used DNS on the planet.

Working Mechanism

To understand the basic working of DNS, let me guide you with an example of a hotel. Let us assume, you need to visit your friend at some hotel. Now, what will you do? You’ll reach the hotel reception and ask the receptionist for room number of your friend. In order to do so, you’ll need to tell the name of your friend to the receptionist, who’ll check the same in her database and satisfy you with the room number of your friend. She’ll also call your friend to confirm whether he is available or not.

Now, try to relate the example to working of DNS. In this case, you’re the client sending a request to a DNS server, the receptionist, and your friend’s name is the domain name and his room number is his IP address.

The receptionist will type your friend’s name in her computer containing the database of all the guests, called the Domain Name Space, if your friend is staying in the hotel she’ll tell you the room number, otherwise not. Similar thing happens, when you type the website name in your browser, the browser sends a request to the DNS server, if the website domain name is registered in the database with the DNS, then it’ll reply you with the IP address of the website you are trying to access, which is something like 117.234.214.14

Understanding the Domain Name and IP Address

Take the domain name, http://www.google.com. The naming convention moves from right to left and vice-versa for IP address. In the domain name for Google, first the DNS will check for com which stands for commercial domain, and is a top-level domain. Proceeding further, google.com, is a sub-domain to com and subsequently www, is a sub-domain to com domain. The dot (.) is used to separate the domains from their sub-domains. The full domain name can only consist of 253 characters.

Now, if some wants to know the domain name registered against an IP address, he will request the DNS server with the IP address of the website. Say, the IP address sent is  31.13.79.246, the DNS will first check the 31 then 13 then 79 and finally 246, concluding that the IP address belongs to http://www.fb.com. The DNS resembles the hierarchy structure of a tree, not the biological one, there is a different tree in computer data structures, in which the address 31 belongs to the top position of the tree and is the primary domain in the hierarchy, addresses 13, 79, 246 are consecutive sub-domains. The number 246 refers to the server machine hosting the website http://www.fb.com. All this domain and sub-domain thing is not that much complicated as you think, but it’ll take some time for you to get it correctly if you’re new to this concept.

Evolution of DNS

In earlier days, a master file was maintained by one main server which was updated manually with the entry of every new website and then it was copied by other servers. But, as the count of websites proliferated with time, it was hard to maintain the domain name database manually. So, the need of an automated system was felt and then the ability to automatically update the database all around the world was introduced in the newer generations of DNS.

So, if you register your website name with a Domain Name Registrar, it will take around 24 hours for your website to be present in the DNS databases all around the world.

The Master-Slave server relations were introduced in which a master server maintained the database and Slave server only had to copy the database to remain updated. In order to facilitate the dynamic updates to DNS database, the mechanisms NOTIFY and IXFR were introduced.

In NOTIFY, when the master server updates the database, it sends a notification to the slave servers about the update, which then copies the database. IXFR (Incremental Zone Transfer) eliminates the need to copy the whole database every time a single entry has been made, it allows the slave servers to only add the updated entry in their database, thus reducing the efforts and making the dynamic update process faster.

Resolving IP Address

It refers to the process of translation of a domain name to its respective IP address. The DNS resolver is the client PC, you in that hotel example, which sends the query to the DNS server, the receptionist. There are two methods used for resolution:

Recursive: Now continuing with the hotel example, assume the hotel has more than one branch in the city, and the receptionist was unable to find your friend’s room number. Then she’ll check if your friend has been staying in the other branch by contacting the receptionist present there. So, if the DNS server in unable to find any IP associated to the domain name sent in the query then it’ll ask the other servers connected to resolve the IP address for the requested domain. It’ll gather the information from those servers and reply to you with the appropriate IP address.

Iterative: Suppose you also want to know the floor on which the friend’s room is situated, in order to do so, you’ll again ask the receptionist. Similarly, if the DNS resolver wants more information about a domain, it’ll initiate a new query for the same DNS server.

DNS Cache

The DNS server temporarily stores the request queries in the form of Cache, so as to reduce the response time if any other DNS resolver requests the same query. The time for which the Cache information remains valid is called TTL (Time To Live), is set by the administrator for each query record stored in the cache.

DNS Applications

The first and foremost application of DNS is nslookup, in which a DNS server replies with the IP address of the domain name requested in the query. DNS is used by different Mail Transfer Agents (MTA) like Microsoft Exchange Server and IBM Domino, so that they can deliver the e-mails more efficiently.

DNS proves to be very helpful in identifying black-listed IP addresses over the internet and barring the users from accessing them. This helps in protecting the users from spam e-mails and potential hacking attacks.

The data for each domain name and its IP address is kept on more than one DNS server, so as to retrieve the data in case any problem occurs on one server.

DNS Vulnerabilities

Cache Poisoning: Also called DNS Spoofing, is the technique used by malevolent people, in which they alter the data in resolver cache of the DNS server, rendering incorrect IP address to DNS resolver, may be to divert the user to a hacker’s machine.

DNS responses are not encrypted thus allowing the possibilities of potential attacks. However, Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) are used to render cryptographically signed DNS responses.

Phishing attacks can be planned due to visual resemblance of some characters on the user’s screen, like the letter l and 1 appear the same on some screens, thus redirecting users to different IP addresses by displaying the same look and feel as of the original website.

Use custom DNS

What if the that hotel receptionist is very slow and many people are asking for room numbers at same time, then she’ll not be able to provide you with correct room number quickly. So, you may ask some other person at the reception counter to attend your concern. Similarly, when we connect to the internet, we generally use the DNS Server provided by our ISPs. But what if the default DNS server is irresponsive or if it can’t handle a large number of queries at a given moment, such instances will only degrade your browsing experience. But don’t worry, there is another way out. You can configure your system to use a different DNS server for resolving IP addresses.

Popular DNS servers:

Google’s Public DNS: The search giant has set-up some serious high-grade DNS servers capable of handling millions of requests at any given moment. And they’re absolutely free to use like Google’s other services. You can configure your machine to use the following DNS addresses:

8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

OpenDNS: This is a private company which provides safe and reliable DNS server for free. Just configure the following addresses on your machine:

208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220

For those readers who don’t know how to configure DNS on your machine, please refer the link below:

How to configure DNS server?

Winding Up

DNS has been a topic of utmost importance since its advent as a systematic way to maintain such a huge database of millions of websites and servers around the world. Without DNS, it would’ve instigated a whole lot of mess of all the domain names and IP addresses, and it would’ve taken ages just to locate google.com from a haphazard collection of all the domain names. DNS has streamlined the process of IP resolution and seriously, if DNS wasn’t there, I know you would’ve burnt your brain circuits in order to remember all those IP addresses. And let me ask you, do you remember Facebook’s IP address I mentioned above. And don’t scroll up now, even I don’t remember it, because DNS is there to remember it for us. We only need to express our gratitude for the noble work DNS has been doing since the last three decades, and it has become faster, smarter and more reliable.

Watch this video about DNS: https://youtu.be/72snZctFFtA

Read further: How DDoS Attack Works?

Write your thoughts about DNS in the comments section below, and do try to configure the DNS server using the link in the article.

How to Get Faster Internet Speed Using DNS Hack.

dns-hack-faster-internet

There are many ways to get a faster internet speed in Microsoft Windows. Today, I am going to show you a simple DNS hack that can speed up your Web Browsing  dramatically. First, I need to remind you an obvious thing that happens with most of us when we are using a slow internet connection. The only thing we blame is our Internet Service Provider (ISP) for slow internet connection, but this isn’t the only case all the time. Sometimes, the problem lie with our DNS (Domain Name System). So, first let me explain you something about DNS before telling you the method to get a faster internet speed.

What is DNS?

DNS – Domain Name System (Service/Server) – is something that converts your domain names into IP addresses.

The domain names are usually alphabetic for us to remember easily, but in actuality the Internet works on IP addresses. The DNS converts the domain name into its corresponding IP address, each time it is used as such. The DNS has a network of its own i.e. one DNS server can ask other DNS servers about translating a specific domain name to its corresponding IP address till it gets the correct result.

Computers and other devices make use of IP address to route the traffic and it is very much similar to dialing a phone number. DNS acts as an intelligent operator that bypasses the infinite address book of IP addresses. Your DNS manages this huge task.

How an Alternative DNS Service Will Speed Up Your Browsing?

As I mentioned earlier, your tortoise internet speed isn’t always your Internet Service Provider’s fault, instead it may be your DNS’s fault. So why not use an alternative DNS service? As the present web pages continue to become more and more complex by inculcating innumerable things, so clients go for multiple DNS lookups for rendering one single web page. With the continuous growth in web, the existing DNS infrastructure is under more load each day.

Now I’ll tell you to use a free public DNS service that will tell your computer to use that service instead of using your ISP prescribed service and will help you to get a faster internet speed

How To Speed Up Web Browsing Using DNS Hack?

To get a faster internet speed, I’ll tell you about free OpenDNS service. You can also use Google DNS for speeding up your internet. OpenDNS is one of the most popular free DNS services that was started to provide an alternative method to those who were discontented with their existing DNS. Ahead I’m mentioning about OpenDNS; find Google DNS after that.

By following these simple steps, you can tell your computer to use OpenDNS’s DNS servers instead of the ones your service provider automatically uses:

Open DNS:

Step 1:

To get a faster internet speed using OpenDNS, first open Control panel.

Step 2:

Go to Network and Internet options.

Step 3:

Now click on Network and Sharing Center.

Step 4:

Click on your Internet Connection and then click on Properties.

Step 5:

Highlight the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties.

Step 6:

Now choose the following DNS server addresses to get a faster internet speed:

  • Preferred DNS server: 208.67.222.222
  • Alternate DNS server: 208.67.220.220

You are using OpenDNS’s servers now which helps you to to get a faster internet speed.

To Configure IPv6:

Highlight the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and click on Properties, and choose the following DNS server addresses:

  • Preferred DNS server: 2620:0:ccc::2
  • Alternate DNS server: 2620:0:ccd::2

Google DNS:

Replace those addresses with the IP addresses of the Google DNS servers in step 6.

For IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4.

For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844

Conclusion:

There are more benefits of OpenDNS and Google DNS other than getting a faster internet speed. Usually if the DNS server of your service provider goes down you become unable to use the internet, but with OpenDNS and Google DNS method, even if the service providers DNS server is down, you can surf the internet normally.

Both Google DNS and OpenDNS work just fine but people prefer Google DNS these days. You can choose to go for any of these and see if your internet speeds up.

Did you like this method to get a faster internet speed using simple DNS hack? Tell us in comments!

What Actually Is The Internet of Things (IoT) – The Beginner’s Guide.

iot-internet-of-things

IoT or Internet of Things is a modern-day buzzword that points to the technological advancement that we have had in recent years. Connectivity in all spheres of life through regular devices is what IoTs are trying to achieve. But do you know what IoT or Internet of Things is?

Coined by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton in 1999, IoT or Internet of Things is one of the most interesting subjects which usually overwhelms the discussions on the advancement in the science and technology.IoT is rapidly becoming a big part of human lives, but many are still ignorant of what Internet of Things or IoT actually is!

What Actually Is The Internet of Things (IOT)?

Now, as confusing as the name Internet of Things already is, we will keep it simple and avoid any jargons.

“The Internet of Things is a web of physical objects or “things”, that are connected to each other allowing them to collect and exchange information with the help of embedded electronics, sensors, software or AI. Here, the Internet or any other network infrastructure acts as the medium of data transfer.”

In the network of these connected objects, each device has a unique identity which work in harmony and it is reported that the IoT will expand to 50 billion devices by 2020 inching in all spheres of our life.

What is the current state of the Internet of Things?

Unlike the other game changer technologies such as Quantum computing, the Internet of Things is already affecting human lives. It has multitudes of uses which are being exploited by both security experts as well as the black hats.

IoT offers advanced connectivity and is heralding the revolution in the machine to machine communication. The “things” in the Internet of Things account for the devices ranging from connected automobiles and surveillance cameras to the heart monitoring implants.

Many tech giants and startups have entered the race of delivering the best and most secure connected devices to the consumers. The technology which was in the nascent stage a few years back has drastically picked up the pace and here we are listening to reports such as car hack and CCTV botnet attacks. These expose the loose security issues, but at least the direction is right.

What is the future of the Internet of Things?

In near future, majority of our electronic or quantum ( hopefully) devices will be connected to the Internet via unique IP address (IPv6, since IPv4 will soon be filled up) and thus could be controlled by the owner from any place at any time.

Developing countries such as India envisaging the flagship projects of Smart Cities will pin their hopes to smart infrastructure combined with the huge influx of IoT technology. As for individuals, wearable connected devices and smart homes would be a key to a smart and sustainable future.

The IoTs will also help the governments and big enterprises in monitoring, collecting, analyzing and then providing solutions for any situation in a short time.

However, while constant upgradation of the technology will mean more electronic waste, the environment issue and green development should be kept in mind as well. Overall, the Internet Of Things has the capacity to build a futuristic society.

Watch Dr. John Barrett explaining the Internet of Things in this video: https://youtu.be/QaTIt1C5R-M

Hope you found this useful. Have anything to add on the subject? Tell us in comments below.

Get started with IOT development using Ardunio kit and Raspberry pi kit.

How Much Does the Entire Internet Weigh?

internet

How much does the internet weigh? No more spoiler here. Read more and find out.

The data we upload on the web, the information we share, the chats we do with our friends and every other key typed and every mouse click – everything makes the internet a more vast and complex place.

And, they also continue to make our internet a “heavier” place. So, how much does the internet weigh? How much would all the data on the internet at any one moment weigh?

I was watching random videos on YouTube and I came across this amazing video on Vsauce, a YouTube channel. The video describes and calculates the weight of the internet, after taking the inspiration from reports that indicate that each book loaded onto Amazon Kindle e-reader makes the tablet slightly heavier.

There are lots of theories on the internet that calculate the weight to be as small as a fat strawberry- and some claim it to be as light as a teeny grain of salt.

Using Einstein’s formula e=mc², Professor John Kubiatowicz, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, calculated that filling a 4GB Kindle would increase by 0.000000000000000001 gram.

Also read: https: Scientists code the first complete tree of life with 2-3 million species

The Internet runs on electrons and that’s how data is stored. These electrons weigh very less. To make an ordinary email of 50 kb, it takes about 8 billion electrons. This sounds like a big number but it weighs just “two ten-thousandths of a quadrillionth of an ounce.”

In the video below, Vsauce explains how the entire internet weighs about 50 grams. These calculations are based on a decade-old data but it gives us a rough idea. Every year more and more servers are added, the internet gets a few grams heavier.

Watch Video here: https://youtu.be/WaUzu-iksi8

Did you like this video? Have something to add? Tell us in the comments below.