The Gandi Community

Gandi Events June 2016

This month, our main event to talk about is our series of talks about DNS that we’ve been coordinating with Cloudflare on what we’re calling The Root Zone. First, we’ll wrap up last month’s meetup with Dan Kaminsky and then we’ll move on to talk about our talk coming up with Paul Vixie at Gandi’s Offices on Tuesday June 21.

 The Root Zone. with Dan Kaminsky

This past month on May 10, we welcomed Dan Kaminsky at the Gandi offices in San Francisco. Dan is the namesake of the Kaminsky Vulnerability and has worked in cybersecurity for almost two decades.

Here’s the full video:

The range of topics covered was extensive (though not necessarily exhaustive). As we spoke with Dan over the course of the evening, a few themes emerged.

First of all, DNS just works. It works so well that most people don’t really understand it even though it’s essential to the functioning of the internet. Dan linked this to a range of consequences.

Some of you who might work in organizations with larger networks are probably familiar with a phenomenon that Dan talked about where somebody messes with DNS somewhere along the line, it causes an error in a totally unrelated area that takes weeks to track down and then the poor intern who made the mistake of touching DNS is out of a job.

But because people don’t understand the technology well, nobody knows how to do cool things with it (And by “cool things” Dan doesn’t just mean streaming Darth Vader doing the river dance through DNS).

Of course it’s hard to talk about DNS for too long without getting into questions of internet architecture. In particular, Dan talked about the government’s role in internet architecture and his experiences serving as the one engineer in meetings with lobbyist, policymakers, and aides who only pretend to know what The Pirate Bay is.

One interesting viewpoint he shared was that he believes the government does have a role in the internet. Namely, the internet needs organizations involved capable of thinking in 10 year timeframes, which is an almost unthinkably long timeframe in the current start-up obsessed tech culture. The point is that needed technologies like DNSSEC can only really develop with this kind of long-term view.

The problem is, according to Dan, the government can’t go around regulating the internet by doing things like sticking its finger into DNS or being the biggest, baddest hacker in the room. He stressed the need for an NIH-style institute that is immune from meddling by the feds or the NSA. He also stressed that he doesn’t think the internet should be balkanized. After all, as one of the seven “key shareholders” who can restore the DNS system if necessary, Dan likes the fact that there’s just one root.

Overall it was an interesting talk with a lot of interesting points made by Dan. We recommend watching it, or at least pieces of it.

The Root Zone. w/ Dr. Paul Vixie

The Root Zone. with Paul Vixie

Coming up this Tuesday June 21, Gandi and CloudFlare will be welcoming Paul Vixie to our next The Root Zone. meetup at Gandi’s offices. Paul, of course, is considered an inventor of DNS. We’re set to discuss things like alternative DNS root servers, email security and spam, and the omnipresent topic of DNS security. Come grab a beer with us at 6:00 PM. The talk starts around 6:30pm. 

Keep an eye on the meetup page for more information and updates