Computer security star Dan Kaminsky revealed plans to release software that will track whether Internet service providers are favoring some websites or content over others. Kaminsky crafted his free "N00ter" software to expose whether Internet service providers (ISPs) are being honest with customers when it comes to the hot topic of "net neutrality."
"You don't need to flat black-out a site to cause pain to it," Kaminsky said during a briefing at a prestigious Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas.
"You can just make the website unreliable and then make people pay a little more to make the problem go away," he continued. "Markets should not work on a model of pay-up or things are bad things are going to happen."
Kaminsky sidestepped whether he was championing "net neutrality," contending instead that he designed the software to keep Internet service providers honest by checking whether all online traffic was treated equally. He planned to make N00ter software available in the coming weeks.
The program can sit between computers and home or office networks, essentially splitting online traffic into two lanes in a way that compares how fast an ISP moves data to a standardized path. The software could be deployed to test whether an ISP is slowing data flow for streaming video while speeding up traffic to favored websites, such as those used to officially gauge the speed of services.
"I hope the impact of this software is immediate," Kaminsky said.
He explained that his intent was to give engineers at ISPs ammunition if corporate decision makers decide to secretly throttle certain online traffic for profit or other reasons.
"We will find out," promised the chief scientist at computer security firm DKH and the researcher who uncovered a flaw in the structure of the Internet referred to as the "Kaminsky bug."