Researchers probe net's most blighted darknet

Researchers probe net's most blighted darknet
Researchers probe net's most blighted darknet 

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
The Register
15th June 2010

Researchers probing a previously unused swath of internet addresses say 
they've stumbled onto the net's most blighted neighborhoods, with at 
least four times as much pollution as any they've ever seen.

The huge chuck of more than 16.7 million addresses had never before been 
allocated and yet the so-called darknet was the dumping ground sustained 
barrages of misdirected data as high as 150 Mbps, with a peak as high as 
870 Mbps, said Manish Karir, director of research and development at the 
non-profit group Merit Network. That was about four times higher than 
most darknets and 20 times higher than a previously unallocated address 
block of addresses set up as a control group.

The block is referred to as a 1/8 (pronounced one slash eight) or because it comprises through, a 
designation of 224 individual IP addresses. Almost as soon as it was 
allocated by IANA, or the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, in late 
January, the researchers noticed it was absorbing huge amounts of 
garbage traffic, making many of the addresses largely unusable.

"It's basically like an unallocated plot of land and you don't know 
what's there because nobody has paid attention to it before," Karir told 
The Register. "The concept of pollution is the same whether you're 
looking at a plot of land or whether you're looking at address space. 
And in both cases, it limits or it impacts the person who actually buys 
or owns that plot of land."


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