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How Safe is FttH?

My blog ‘What PRISM, credit card hacking and Chromecast have to do with FttH’ led to some very interesting discussions all around the world.

One of issues that was discussed was that the sheer capacity of FttH will also allow hackers, criminals and others to use that massive capacity for the wrong reasons. Its volume will make it increasingly difficult to police. The symmetrical nature of FttH also makes it harder to police the traffic in comparison with the copper and coax-based infrastructures.

At the same time there is no way back. Traffic will increase and symmetrical FttH services will be the future. The social and economic importance of the internet is such that it has grown ‘too big to fail’ —

  • It is hard to imagine running societies and economies without the internet, despite its insecure nature.
  • We all know that perhaps as much of 99% of all email is SPAM, yet few people will argue that we should stop using email. What we have done is learn to live with it, create filters and gmail services and get on with life.
  • Perhaps millions of PCs are quietly being used for DDOS attacks, for producing fraudulent clicks on ads and countless other bad things.
  • We just had a $1 billion credit card fraud in the USA, but I doubt that anyone has stopped using credit cards or e-banking systems because of it. The same story, these systems have become too important for us—and clearly for the banks also, as they simply accept the damage and continue to give us credit cards and offer e-banking.
  • It is frightening to see how casual people are with their own privacy on systems like Facebook, so here also there is no holding back and massive growth will occur in the future.
  • Cloud computing is seeing personal data such as pictures, videos, documents, and our own writing, such as blogs, moving into the cloud. This is making access, management and longevity of personal data vulnerable, yet few people are opting to install their own servers to manage all of their private material.

Throughout history we have seen that many innovations can be used, both for good and bad. For instance, stone tools allowed for the creation of battle axes, and this will be no different in relation to the new digital tools. However for 100,000 years we have been able to cope with the bad things and have been able to move on and, in general, prosper.

So, while some of the comments that we received may be right—FttH makes it more difficult to police bad behaviour—the reality is that there is no way back and that we will find ways to deal with this.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

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