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Internet is almost full says expert: what now?

The internet is running out of space and requires government action to ensure it continues to operate efficiently, according to an online security expert.

Neil Anderson will address the issue at a conference in Edinburgh tomorrow (20th), the first of its kind, which will consider the challenges facing the global internet.

Anderson, security director at FarrPoint, says the current addressing technology used by the Internet (Internet Protocol v4), which helps direct traffic and land users at the right address, has reached its capacity.

 With 2.4 billion users of the Internet using an average of five devices, the number of addresses now needed is anything up to 8 billion.  The new technology, IPv6, has an address space large enough to assign an address to every atom on the surface of the Earth, but the UK is falling behind in adoption of this new system, he says.

Anderson believes that action is needed to encourage businesses to take up IPv6, to ensure smooth and efficient Internet services continue.

“Most firms will not switch to IPv6 until it becomes necessary, principally due to cost.  However, we need to ensure the Internet is fit for purpose as it’s an absolutely essential service,” he said in a pre-conference statement.

“The Government could act in the way it did when regulating the car manufacturing industry – we’ve made great progress with energy efficient cars because the Government stepped in to enforce change.  We need the same kind of intervention for the Internet.”

He will also raise security concerns around adoption of IPv6.  “Most new PCs and Macs will connect to IPv6 by default but currently, few people are taking IPv6 security seriously, despite the fact people are already attacking it.  We need to secure the IPv6 network, raise awareness, and put controls in place – including next generation security products – as hackers find novel ways of attacking this new technology.  This is not just a technology issue; the Internet is crucial to businesses so we need to take action now.”

The ‘IPv6: Future Enabler 2014’ conference takes place at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

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