Internet Hardening Fund
The internet is probably the single largest man-made structure ever, and it plays an important role in modern daily life. Unlike other critical infrastructures, however, the users best interests were not always at the heart of its design. Already in the seventies, pioneers developing the internets core protocols (that today still underpin our current internet) were instructed not to share their knowledge of major security shortcomings of their design with their peers. Better technology was developed for internal use, but only the broken version of the internet was intentionaly shared - and exploited.
The world marvelled at the new technology that came at its disposal, and embraced it - unaware of the true nature of the network it was given. The underlying assumption of good faith and its seemingly grass roots origin was what empowered the trust behind the explosive growth of the internet. In Europe, NLnet and the EUnet, having come from the UNIX community, played an active and important role in the subsequent growth of the internet. To be sure, many benefits of the technology have in fact materialised for its users - as witnessed by everyday usage of the internet by billions of people. Its success made the internet into the largest trojan horse of all time. The problem with bad security at internet scale is that it really cannot be contained well: anyone that finds the backdoor can equally abuse it.
We believe that the future of the internet can be rewritten - chapter by chapter, standard by standard - by its decentralised owners and users. It is the 'fixed' internet of tomorrow people want and deserve, not the internet of today. The internet may itself have gotten a false start, but it is a network of networks. It is vital to revisit the security and privacy properties of the underpinning standards, and after that we need to make sure that those standards are actually deployed.
Together with you we are up for the challenge. As the IETF has put it: "the internet is under technical attack". The Internet Hardening Fund is aimed at funding its defense - its security, reliability, scalability and real-time behaviour. We invite you to contribute - we look forward to your technical proposals, or donate if you can.
Current projects and activities within this theme
- ARPA2 is a comprehensive project addressing many aspects of internet hardening
- RPKI-RTRlib, improving the security of routing
- NLnet Labs, is a world renowned internet research lab adressing fundamental issue
- CeroWRT is an experimental firmware pushing forward the state of the art of edge networks and routers
- NOMA explores the possibility of developing operator-driven network health measurements
- SWIRL is helping establish mature P2P standards based on IETF's PPSPP
- the DNSSEC Fund