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Issue paper: Can the Internet be broken?

November 27, 2017

Afnic explores the possibility of a general outage of the Internet and the solutions to improve its resistance.

After exploring in previous publications the security issues related to the DNS protocol and the risks of hijacking domain names, Afnic has addressed a thorny question: is it possible to break the Internet? Can its operation be interrupted for a longer or shorter period, following a deliberate attack, or an accidental breakdown?

This issue paper attempts to answer the vast question, in particular by redefining what the Internet is, what are its most crucial elements, those potentially subject to attacks via the routers and the DNS protocol. It also reviews recent examples of spectacular incidents and their consequences.

Lastly, rather than categorically answering a purely theoretical question, this issue paper proposes pointers for consideration and action to improve the resistance (to cope with an attack) and the resilience (to restart after an attack) of the Internet.

 

Afnic Issue Paper cover Can the Internet be brokenDownload Afnic Issue Paper "Can the Internet be broken?"

 

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About AFNIC

Afnic (the French acronym for "Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération" i.e. the French Network Information Centre), is a non-profit association created in 1997. Appointed by the French State to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain (TLD) it promotes use of .fr by entrepreneurs and individuals. As the historic manager with more than 3 million domain names in .fr to date, it is also positioned as a provider of technical solutions and registry services: it currently manages 14 projects for new gTLDs, including .paris and .bzh. Afnic is located in Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, where its staff of 80 works for the common good of the French Internet.