Thursday, June 6, 2019

peer to peer dns

Technology ReviewThe ambitious plan to reinvent how websites get their names

The next time you type the name of a website into your browser, pause for a second to think about what happens after you press “enter.”

What happens is that your browser sends that name—, say—to a network of computers called the Domain Name System. The DNS is often called the internet’s phone book, and it converts (or in internet parlance, “resolves”) website names into IP addresses—in this case, These numbers are what allow your browser to find the right server on the internet and connect to it.

We use the DNS because most humans are bad at keeping track of long numbers. It doesn’t get much attention; you don’t normally have to think about what the DNS is doing in the background. But you do have to trust it, which means trusting a handful of organizations that have been charged with keeping the DNS working and secure.

To people like Steven McKie, a developer for and investor in an open-source project called the Handshake Network, this centralized power over internet naming makes the internet vulnerable to both censorship and cyberattacks. Handshake wants to decentralize it by creating an alternative naming system that nobody controls. In doing so, it could help protect us from hackers trying to exploit the DNS’s security weaknesses, and from governments hoping to use it to block free expression.

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