Dan Kaminskys new app N00ter aims to keep ISPs honest
After the FCC released its report illustrating how actual ISP bandwidth compares to what customers are promised, things seemed mostly rosy when it came to stateside internet access. Security pro Dan Kaminsky still thinks there’s some shady business going on behind the scenes, however, and he’s unveiled a new software tool that he hopes will shed some light on a rather troublesome situation.Kaminsky’s program, which he’s dubbed N00ter, attempts to determine whether or not an ISP is selectively throttling connections to websites — say, for example, streaming video sites like Netflix and Hulu or file dumps like RapidShare and HotFile. On the flip side, access to bandwidth testing sites like Speedtest.net might be getting a boost that other sites are not in order to make customer connections appear to be performing at optimum levels.Such practices not only undermine Net Neutrality principles, but they could also encourage users to shell out additional dollars for bigger and better internet connections. These artificial speed problems could also lead businesses to pony up for beefier uplinks — if they can be persuaded that more money and additional bandwidth will make their customers’ issues go away.N00ter follows in the footsteps of other connection-testing apps like the M-Lab project that Google helped launch in 2009. M-Lab offers an array of connection-testing tools that allow users to check bandwidth, test whether their ISP is traffic shaping, and see if particular sites are being throttled or blocked completely.Kaminsky hopes N00ter will have an immediate impact once it’s released, which he hopes will happen before the end of the month. This isn’t Kaminsky’s first go at shaking up the underpinnings of the Internet. In 2008, he discovered a rather serious flaw in DNS that has since been named “The Kaminsky Bug.”More at Yahoo!