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These colorful charts will show you how the Internet has evolved from 1997 to present

In November 2003, then-security researcher Barrett Lyon was completing his undergraduate program at California State University, Sacramento, while also taking on a full-time job as a penetration tester – in a way. rhetorically refers to a hacker hired by companies looking for weaknesses in their digital systems. Before starting work at each company, Lyon will conduct some basic surveys on customer infrastructure. He realized that he was basically perfecting and repeating a recipe for mapping of the new network he had just received. “This recipe eventually became part of a piece of software, so I let the software do everything for me“- Lyon said.

One day, while he was having lunch with his colleagues, Lyon said that he could use his network mapping tool to plot the entire internet. “They thought it was fun, so they bet 50 USD that I couldn’t do it“- he said. So he started to work.

The result is truly utopian, a still image that looks like a giant chaotic galaxy with thin, overlapping lines interspersed with bright spots like stars and branch lines depicting the entire internet. demand in the early 2000s. Lyon called it Opte, and although at first his losing colleagues were skeptical of what looked like the sewer slums he created, the end product immediately attracted. a huge fan base on the Slashdot website and elsewhere.

Original Opte version 2003

Now Opte has returned under a new, more complete update. The early version used “traceroutes” – diagnostic commands used to scan different paths across a network, thus visualizing the internet in an unprecedented level of complexity. But traceroutes can be blocked, deceived, or incorrect. So in an original Opte exhibition in 2010 at the New York Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon discovered an alternative. Instead of using traceroutes to map, Lyon uses the Border Gateway Protocol routing table, the underground map of the internet, to get a more accurate view. And he is currently using this approach for the next generation of Opte.

The original Opte version was a still image, but version 2021 “evolved” into a 10K video with extended stills, using BGP data from the University of Oregon’s Route Views project to draw the drawings. Internet map from 1997 to present. Lyon had been working on the new version for months and relied on a variety of applications, tools, and code to create it. One of them is a software package called Large Graph Layout, originally designed to build protein images by trying out hundreds of different visual layouts until you find the most representative and effective solution. Best. Think of it as a network of things that fit together best, showing all the chaotic interconnected data lines of the internet. The closer it is to the network center, the tighter and larger its internal links are.

While Lyon’s concept – mapping and rendering the entire internet in a visual way – remains the same, animating its evolution and expansion for over 25 years has made the new Opte interactive. higher. The materials are free to use for non-commercial use, and Lyon hopes this version will be of particular value to educators and appealing to students. Viewers can see details about the different areas of the network, and Lyon has created a number of drawings and videos to point out what is particularly fascinating. One example is China’s cyberspace with two heavily controlled access connections. Lyon also pointed out a large part of the internet system of the US military, including NIPRNET and SIPRNET.

These colorful charts will show you how the Internet has evolved from 1997 to present | Internet

Close-up of Chinese internet at the present time

Opte later showed that major internet events became more confusing, such as Iran’s nationwide internet crash in 2019 and the past few weeks in Myanmar. Lyon says he’s still collecting data to create a more perfect photo of recent events. Opte even showed leaks of the BGP route, events presented in the form of “flowing” data on a given road that were suddenly or intentionally redirected to go to other parts. of the network. The new project is designed and built by Lyon to be easiest to update, thereby allowing the author to review and change it later.

While Opte clearly and creatively demonstrates the size and impact of the internet, Lyon says it also represents the internet’s failure to become a truly decentralized and uncontrolled network, particularly at countries and geographic regions with limited access points to the global internet.

Internet collapse in Iran – November 2019

When I look at it, every little vibrating point is that people are doing something. Humans are actually using networks, building networks, crossing oceans and mountains with fiber-optic cables and digging protective moats. All of that is reflected in a snapshot. But some countries do not have strong bonds and that allows for the formation of controls“.

The Internet: 1997 – 2021

Reference: Wired

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