The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

How Big Is The Internet of Things and how Big Will It Get?

Phil Howard wrote an article about the political impact of the Internet of Things for The Brookings Institution’s TechTank blog.

New information technologies have transformed world politics, and not always for the better. Even trying to understand how technology connects us reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the Internet. To understand what the Internet is becoming, let’s start with some basic questions—how big is it and how big will it be?

The word “botnet” comes from combining “robot” with “network” and is a collection of programs that communicate across multiple devices to perform some task. The tasks can be simple and annoying, like generating spam or aggressive and malicious, like choking off Internet exchange points, promoting political messages, or launching denial-of-service attacks. Some of these programs simply amuse their creators; others support criminal enterprises. In playing around, the census taker discovered a surprising number of unprotected devices connected to the global Internet. A complete census was only possible with a botnet that would enlist all the unprotected devices in the service of the census project. The botnet would both count devices and replicate itself so that its copies could help count devices. The botnet spread out and found 1.3 billion addresses in use by devices around the world.

Read the full article here.

BrookingsPax TechnicaPhil Howard

Samuel Woolley • 10th June 2015


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