Working at laptop

No internet? What can you do?

Did you know that a staggering 44 billion gigabytes of internet traffic was created in 2016?

However, if you think that’s a lot then you’d best sit down! Because by 2025, global internet traffic flow is expected to grow more than ten-fold to 463 billion gigabytes

As a society, we rely on the internet for everything, from financial management to reading your favourite PR agency’s blog; right through to self-diagnosing ourselves when we don’t feel well. But why are we so dependent on the internet?

In essence, we can get anything that we want just by going on the internet in the comfort of our own homes. We no longer need to take time out of our days to complete a task which we can do whilst commuting to work, relaxing or lying in bed. Often, we go into stores and compare prices of products with other retailers online to ensure we are getting the best deal… It seems safe to say that without the internet, our lives and businesses as we know them could grind to a halt.

But what would happen if the internet was not there for a day? Could it result in a national crisis?

We could well find out. On Wednesday October 11th, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body responsible for coordinating the maintenance and security procedures of the internet, will be making a major change to some crucial internet security protocols which could see a 48-hour outage for some 36 million internet users worldwide. Queue panic!

This only equates to 1% of internet users across the world, so you may be thinking, ‘what’s the big deal?’ Let’s put it into some perspective: this 1% is the same as some national populations, like Poland and Canada, and double the population of Holland!

Why is this change needed?

With the number of internet users increasing on a daily basis, ICANN needs to update the ‘root zone’ which protects the most critical part of the internet. Known as a ‘KSK Rollover’, the procedure will see ICANN update the first version, KSK-2010, to this latest version KSK-2017, which will essentially make it harder for cyber criminals to take control of the internet.

Many experts believe that with the increase in compute power across the world, it could now be possible to identify the existing algorithms which protect the most fundamental elements of the internet. Rolling out the KSK would generate new private and public keys to ensure that the algorithms are secure.

What does this actually mean?

In a nutshell, ICANN is making this move to ensure that parts of the internet cannot fall into the wrong hands who could use the power of the world wide web for malicious purposes.

We’ve all seen the movies where a group of bad people take over the White House, or kidnap the president. Well imagine a group of cyber-criminals taking over the internet… With our reliance on online services so vital for everyday life, not only for consumers, but also for governments and services, the thought of such an attack on the internet is quite scary! And should ICANN not perform this maintenance, such movies become reality.

What else can I do?

If you’re part of this 1%, the lack of internet for two days could drive you crazy, so here are my top suggestions for things to do to stay sane:

  • Play Monopoly
  • Read a book
  • Talk to your friends and family
  • Go for a walk
  • Play Cards Against Humanity
  • Go to the gym

If you power up your device on October 11th and find yourself disconnected, switch on the radio and make sure that there is a not an apocalypse in full swing! If all seems normal, I’d recommend you take your time over the above activities, it can certainly eat up two days. But let’s not forget that mobile networks will remain unaffected, so as long as 4G is still showing on your phone, you won’t truly be offline. Panic over! Unless you’re on a low data plan…


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From the Babel team

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