Crucial Point founder and CTO Bob Gourley provided context for a NY Magazine Intelligencer article titled “Russia DNS Alternative Internet Could Yield Cyberattack”
Russia has nearly completed an alternative to the Domain Name System — the common “phone book” of the internet that translates numerical IP addresses to readable text like “Amazon.com” and “NYMag.com.” When implemented, the DNS alternative could separate Russia and its allies from the rest of the connected internet — a possibility that, however remote, has experts worried about a “balkanization” of a global network.
Last November, the Russian Security Council announced its ambition to create an independent internet infrastructure for Russia and the other members of BRICS (Brazil, India, China, and South Africa). According to reports, the Russian government sought to create the alternative internet to protect itself from American and Western manipulation of internet services and avoid “possible external influence.” (Sound familiar?)
A fully implemented DNS alternative could also impede experts’ ability to trace online trolls and misinformation spreaders. “Right now, forensic analysts have a lot of access into DNS records,” Bob Gourley, CTOvision publisher and former chief technology officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Select All. “Russia would have the ability to reduce the forensic evidence that investigators have access to.”
In the event of misinformation attacks, like the ones conducted during the 2016 elections, this alternative DNS would make it easier for a nation state to cover its tracks. “The use of these Russian internet troll farms and these social-media campaigns, even figuring that out is going to be harder if Russia controls all the DNS information,” added Gourley.
While experts would still likely be able to trace a troll farm back to its nation origin, this DNS alternative would make it difficult to pinpoint the exact address of origin. In the Russia example, Gourley said, this would make it easy for the government to deny responsibility.
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