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#264 Nick Sullivan: Cloudflare – The Internet’s (De)centralized Security Blanket

We enter dozens of trust relationships ever time we interact with the Web. Browsers, ISPs, DNS providers, cloud hosting companies, all the way down to the handful of people who control certificate root keys; we rely on the integrity of these intermediaries to serve reliable, and accurate information. The concentration of power by any one of these actors threatens to compromise the very foundational principles of the Web. Decentralized technologies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tor, and IPFS seek to reverse this trend.

We’re joined by Nick Sullivan, Chief Cryptographer at Cloudflare. Founded less than 10 years ago, the company offers content delivery services (CND), DNS, and DDoS protection to over 12 million websites. The company contributes to open source cryptography libraries, some of which are used by Etherum. They recently launched an IPFS gateway and features which allow users to have strong guarantees as to the integrity of the content.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Nick’s background as a cryptographer and previous position at Apple
  • The Internet’s infrastructure and trust model
  • How Cloudflare is experimenting with IPFS
  • The challenges to hosting static websites with IPFS
  • Cloudflare’s Onion routing service (Tor) and the benefits to users
  • The Roughtime protocol and encrypted SNI
  • Cloudflare’s contribution to open-source cryptography libraries
  • The vulnerabilities of DNS and Cloudflare’s free private DNS service (1.1.1.1)

Links mentioned in this episode:

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