Fox-IT’s Chief Security Expert Frank Groenewegen talked to PC-Active about how dependent we are on the internet, and the risks that come with it. If all internet traffic worldwide were to come to a standstill, this would have disastrous consequences. Could this actually happen, a worldwide internet shutdown?
We live under the assumption that a complete shutdown of the worldwide internet won’t happen. The major nodes on which the Internet depends are well secured, right? In the event of a DDoS attack, a site or part of the Internet can be shut down without you realising that your devices are being used for this purpose. Especially smart cameras, refrigerators, toys and all kinds of other Internet or Things equipment are often poorly protected against this. According to Frank Groenewegen shutting down the internet globally is not necessarily impossible, but there must be a goal. If the internet fails, nobody can use it anymore, not even the person who caused it.
In any case, we shouldn’t be naïve, and we should ensure that we can prevent the worst harm. For example, data centres are currently not on the list of critical infrastructure. It is very unclear what happens when, for example, a large data centre is hacked, or equipment is destroyed. Moreover, there are many providers in the chain. If the internet shuts down, which parties do you need to be up and running again? Besides security, companies and government institutions also need make sure everything is up-to-date research possible vulnerabilities.