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A New Internet?

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There is a growing belief among engineers and security experts that the only way to fix Internet security is to recreate the Internet from scratch. What a new Internet might look like is being discussed, but one possible solution would create a "gated community" in which users would relinquish their anonymity and certain freedoms in return for safety, which is already the case for many corporate and government Internet users.

As more secure networks are created, the current Internet will continue to become an increasingly dangerous area that legitimate users will want to avoid. "Unless we're willing to rethink today's Internet," says Nick McKeown, a Stanford University engineer working on building a new Internet, "we're just waiting for a series of public catastrophes."

Last year, a malicious software program believed to have been released by a criminal organization in Eastern Europe infected more than 12 million computers after bypassing the world's best cyberdefenses. Internet security continues to deteriorate globally and even the most heavily protected military networks have proved vulnerable.

"In many respects, we are probably worse off than we were 20 years ago, because all of the money has been devoted to patching the current problem rather than investing in the redesign of our infrastructure," says Purdue University professor Eugene Spafford, the executive director of Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security. The Stanford Clean Slate project is developing a system that will allow a more advanced network to be established underneath the current Internet. The new network will be running on eight campus networks around the United States by the end of the summer.

From The New York Times
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