Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder Urges Greater Internet User and Vendor Responsibility

April 2, 2014

Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame for her achievements in improving Internet security by jumpstarting the implementation of the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC). That protocol ensures that Web surfers can know for certain that they are visiting a secure site. But these days, Eklund Löwinder is laser-focused on the Internet’s future.

She travels widely with the goal of getting DNSSEC more universally used, and she’s seen steady progress in that area.

“There are still regions that don’t use DNSSEC – South America is one place where county-code Top Level Domains have been slow to adopt it – and many second-level domains still don’t use it,” she said recently. “It’s been an amazing struggle in some countries. But I’m optimistic that one day we will see DNSSEC universally adopted.”

Her sunny outlook also shines through when discussing the work of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which is working on using the DNS-based Authentication with Named Entities (DANE) technology with DNSSEC. She predicts that that technology will strengthen the SMTP- to-SMTP link for email users. “IETF also has announced that it will take up the fight and enact stronger encryption,” she says. “I’m hoping this becomes mandatory for all new machines and continues to make use of open standards.” 

What do we users do that jeopardizes our own online security?  

“We click on things,” she said. “We click on random email attachments without thinking twice about who might be behind them. And on social media, we recklessly click on coupons, games, and contests that ask for our name, address, phone number and more. It’s funny; we have many technologies we feel we can’t live without, yet we couldn’t be more ignorant about how they work. We have to be smarter, and always use the latest versions of our operating system and anti-virus software.  Users have to be responsible for their own computers.”

But vendors have to do their part, too. They should do more to protect and support Internet users, and help them check the validity of the websites they’re visiting, she says. “Some vendors are doing that now, but more have to join in.”

“A lot of governments are trying to control things that don’t need to be controlled. But that won’t last long; we all can and will work very hard to let the Internet be what it is. We need no more ‘Splinternets,’ like we had in the 1980s before the IP protocol was universally accepted. Back then, we had different protocols for different countries, regions and vendors. That must never happen again; we can’t afford to break down this beautiful Internet that we’ve created.”

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