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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Using the problem creator in problem resolution

Blockchain platforms are being used to strengthen cyber security and to block security breaches even as the Dark Net strengthens its Internet presence

Living in today’s world, it is almost impossible to think of regular life without the Internet. American business magnate and philanthropist, Bill Gates, was so right when he said, “The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.

As familiar and comfortable as the Internet is, there are hidden depths that users discover every now and then. For instance, to American entrepreneur, Marc Andreessen, “The internet has always been, and always will be, a magic box.”

According to a Dutch researcher, the indexed World Wide Web is about 4.44 billion pages, which has been calculated according to the numbers of pages indexed by Google, Bing, Yahoo Search.

However, this number, as vast as it sounds, appears to be just what is apparent on the surface, may be not even that. What remains is known as “the Deep Web,” and is found on dynamically generated sites, and is, therefore, missed by standard search engines. The current Deep Web is said to be about 400-550 times larger than the surface Internet. What makes the Deep Net different to the surface net is that the Deep Net is unavailable to search engines, and is covered by a layer of secrecy and needs information filled out by the user to access the site. This very fact makes it available for people with nefarious purposes and furtive designs. And so, the Deep Net creates the opportunity for the existence of a sub-set called the Dark Web.

The Dark Web consists of encrypted sites and is almost completely anonymous. The Dark Web has no DNS or IP addresses that form the backbone of the public internet routing infrastructure. And it can only be reached through decentralized and anonymous nodes across a number of anonymous networks working in unison. This decentralized network makes it very hard to track traffic and where it originates. What all the secrecy and being in the shadows amounts to is that people who use the Dark Net wish to remain unrecognized as people using the Dark Net. For instance, it is said that the most notorious web site on the Dark Net was the  black market  – Silk Road, which was a Tor-and Bitcoin-enabled digital drug marketplace. Recently, a man in Pennsylvania in the US was accused by federal prosecutors of running a backup server for Silk Road. The founder of this Dark Net drug marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015, after being convicted of running Silk Road. According to Carnegie Mellon computer security professor Nicolas Christin, Silk Road would have done about $30 million-45 million in sales at the height of its activities, most of it from drugs. It has been said, “When you jump into the dark web, one click can put your life at stake.” As American actor, Scott Eastwood, said, “I think some of the most interesting stuff was seeing how the Dark Web works, and seeing how easy it is for hackers to break into your computer or bank account or your private information.” And Fred Durst, said. “I don’t hate technology, I don’t hate hackers, because that’s just what comes with it. Without those hackers we wouldn’t solve the problems we need to solve, especially security.”

As it happens, there is a great deal of security orchestration today and companies spend millions of dollars on firewalls and secure access devices. American computer security researcher, Dan Farmer, says, “People are so motivated by fear,” and, “They just don’t want to talk about computer security.” Expert in new tech, Ahmed Banafa, says, In 2018, we will see the ‘zero trust’ security model re-emerging which means that, enterprise systems will vigorously authenticate whether users are indeed entitled to access specific sets of data, before making them available.” This first line of cyber security is to keep cyber criminals at bay. Banafa says, the second line of defense is blockchain. Banafa says the estimated global figure for cyber breaches is around $200 billion annually.

New blockchain platforms appear to be coming forward to address security concerns in the face of recent breaches, says Banafa.  After all, as American politician, Jodi Rell, said, ‘At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.”

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