Vint Cerf on Internet Authentication, Pseudonymity and Resilience
With Vint Cerf, Chief Evangelist, Google; hosted by Larry Smarr, Director, Calit2, a UC San Diego/Irvine Partnership (HQ Qualcomm Institute), UCSD
“They’ve run out of prizes to give Vint, so Queen Elizabeth actually had to invent a prize to give Vint,” quips Larry Smarr.
- Vint Cerf sees several Internet trends:
- Mobile and email reinforce each other and
- Bandwidth has increased, which means video demand is going up.
- Commerce is increasing
- On security: Mistakes can happen and they can appear to be attacks
- If you decide to adopt a posture of response, you come up against questions like, “Where do you respond? How do you respond?”
- Responses can escalate: Country A decides to attack Country B posing as Country C. “Attribution is absolutely critical and it’s really hard.”
- “Anonymity or pseudonymity is a very important part of democratic society. On the other hand, I don’t think that people should be free to cause harm.”
- Big fan of strong authentication as desired and appropriate.
- We don’t have a cyber fire department and that’s something we should be exploring. For eg. A box that analyzes which IP addresses your computer is communicating with to ID known botnets or malware IPs.
- Internet hygiene?
- Vint says we need more hardware Internet security. “We should be designing hardware and software systems that mutually reinforce each other.”
- Our social conventions around technology have not kept up with technology itself: One reporter recorded Cerf’s rant about net neutrality and threw it online, without telling him.
- We are going to be immersed in a sea of information
- One side will keep us healthier
- The other side will make society increasingly transparent
If you were to design the Internet all over again, what would you do differently?
- Actually did work with NSA on building a secure Internet, but it was classified information, so couldn’t share the technology at the time. Today though, it’s widely used.
- Quantum computing is breathing down our back. Factorization as a work factor may turn out not to be adequate.