Abstract

For decades security researchers, privacy advocates, and conspiracy theorists alike have criticized the domain name and certificate authority systems as being outdated, insecure, and a single point of failure for both state-level censorship and hack attacks. The point of this thesis is to investigate these technologies, determining whether or not these problems actually exist in practice, and if so are they inherent in the systems or if they are minor issues that can be addressed and patched. If these problems are structural, what sort of attempts have been made to remedy them, and how successful have these solutions been? After this investigation, it appears that these shortcomings, both of DNS and the CA system, are embedded in the infrastructure thereof. Further, an attempt has been made to remedy these systems via blockchain technologies such as Namecoin, but ultimately fall short due to a lack of usability for the end user. In conclusion, Namecoin was on the right track in reconstructing an alternative to the DNS and CA systems, but in the end barely missed the mark. In this researcher’s opinion, it is absolutely necessary for the continued operation of the Internet that a new, similar system that focuses on the experience of the end users should be created using similar blockchain architecture.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-10-2017

Mentor

Robert Mahaney

Department/Professional Affiliation

Department of Accounting/Finance/Information Systems

Access Options

Closed Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Department

Accounting, Finance, and Information Systems

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