Friday, December 3, 2010

WikiLeaks and DNS

[Notes: Click images for higher resolution. This post was originally published on 12/3/10, then edited and repost-ed on 12/7/10.]

We all probably have some idea and opinion (de
pending on particular sources) about what is going on with WikiLeaks and the exposing of hundreds of thousands of classified US state documents. I'll keep my personal opinions private here. Technically it has been interesting to watch the cat and mouse game and I thought it would be good to diagram how DNS works., a U.S. DNS provider pulled WikiLeaks from it's database, claiming constant denial of service took the controversial site offline earlier today, claiming that the constant hacking attacks were so powerful that they were damaging its other customers.

What's DNS and why is it so important? I always describe DNS as basically an internet telephone book - it keeps track of site names (URLs) and the IP addresses of the servers hosting those sites. It is something that is not required to access websites but makes it a lot easier because users only have to remember site names and don't have to remember long IP addresses. You get access to DNS with a web connection from your provider. There are also some good alternative DNS providers you can access as long as you have an internet connection. Here's a diagram I made up showing how it works.
Is DNS required to access websites? No. You can still get to a site by typing in the IP address of the site.

I've got an earlier post on DNS linked here that you may also find interesting.


Anonymous said...

> I won't give the WikiLeaks site IP address here

LOL. What are you scared of? Free speech?

Gordon F Snyder Jr said...

It's just the teacher in me - I'll tell/show you how to do it but won't do it for you!
Hope you were able to find it!