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24/09/2015

A plan for a stable and secure internet in the LAC region

The Internet’s importance and impact on people’s daily lives and national economies continue to grow. The network has become a critical tool — it is no longer possible to imagine a world without connectivity. This is why it is increasingly important to ensure the correct operation of the Internet and to avoid the exposure of communications to attacks or privacy violations.

In 2012, LACNIC created its Internet Security and Stability Program, which implements actions aimed at ensuring Internet security and stability throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Guillermo Cicileo —Security, Stability and Resilience Coordinator at LACNIC— noted that these actions are coordinated with other regional registries and seek to strengthen critical Internet infrastructure.

In an interview with LACNIC News, Cicileo detailed the main threats to Internet stability in the region, a topic on which he will be presenting during the upcoming LACNIC 24 – LACNOG 2015 meeting in Bogotá.

How would you describe LACNIC’s Internet Security and Stability Program?

The mission of LACNIC’s Internet Security and Stability Program is to contribute to a more secure and stable Internet, both within our region and worldwide.

Different specific actions are carried our under the umbrella of this program for securing critical Internet infrastructure and increasing its stability and operational resilience.

In order to implement a common strategy worldwide, these actions are coordinated with other regions, mainly with the four other Regional Internet Registries but also with other relevant organizations.

When was the program launched?  What are its main lines of action?

The Program was launched in 2012. Its main lines of action include coordinating security incident responses by encouraging the creation of CSIRTs throughout the region; promoting routing security (RPKI) and DNS security (DNSSEC); programs in support of IXPs; promoting the installation of root server copies in the LAC region (+RAICES Program); encouraging the transition to IPv6 in response to IPv4 exhaustion; and training human resources through workshops on BGP, security, RPKI, IPv6 and other topics.

Why is it necessary to have an Internet Security and Stability Program?

Today, the Internet is a critical tool for people’s daily work and communications. As such, guaranteeing its proper operation and preventing information exchanges from being exposed to attacks or privacy violations is a must. In this sense, the actions aimed at promoting security implemented in various global Internet environments must be replicated in our region (RPKI, DNSSEC, CSIRTs). On a related note, network stability is an increasingly necessary feature, which is why a group of initiatives exist aimed at improving interconnection among different networks and having an Internet with widely distributed critical resources that do not depend on any single organization.

What are the main threats to Internet stability in Latin America and the Caribbean?

The region needs to improve internal connectivity within the different countries and add greater redundancy to its Internet links. While in recent years the number of carriers providing optic fiber to the countries of the region has increased, this does not always translate into improvements in terms of internal connectivity, and it’s even possible to find cases of users of various ISPs who are only interconnected via other regions. This creates different issues and affects Internet development as well as the production of local content.

Another issue that will affect Internet stability in the region is low IPv6 adoption rates. This could lead to a fragmented Internet, an Internet where communications with certain countries or regions would either be degraded or impossible due to protocol incompatibilities. This is why we believe it is extremely important to work towards IPv6 adoption in the region.

Likewise, the Internet’s routing system is receiving an increasing number of attacks known as “route hijacking,” which occur when an organization uses another organization’s IP resources without authorization. This can lead to traffic being re-routed and cause major damages to the affected organizations. This is why a lot of effort is being put into the adoption of security mechanisms for the Internet’s routing system, as well as to provide training so that network operators can adopt best practices.

What would be your recommendation to organizations in the region seeking to build a more secure and stable Internet?

The most important thing is to keep the network current and take advantage of the benefits obtained from sharing experiences with similar organizations. Together with other organizations also working towards similar goals, LACNIC is trying to promote spaces for sharing these experiences and incorporating technologies such as RPKI, DNSSEC, IPv6, etc.

What will be the role of IPv6 in Internet security?

Essentially, IPv6 deployment provides a solution for the continued growth of the Internet in the region. Keeping up with current growth rates is unthinkable on IPv4 alone. The number of connected users is growing daily, but the number of connected devices —ranging from mobile phones to home appliances— is growing even faster. The Internet of Things continues to expand and we will soon need millions of addresses to deal with this growth. For all of the reasons above, we believe IPv6 deployment in the region is essential.

IPv6 also offers a few advantages that improve end user connectivity, as they no longer have to go through multiple levels of NAT.