The 20 Most Popular Halloween Costumes by Paid Search Spend

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Based on Google paid search spending this year, Batman villainess Poison Ivy is the most popular Halloween costume, according to recent research from AdGooroo, a Kantar Media company.

The report was based on an analysis of the US Google desktop search text ad and product listing ad (PLA) spend by retailers between August 1 and October 4, 2016, on 2,959 Halloween costume keywords.

Poison Ivy costumes garnered the largest paid search spend ($158,653) during the timeframe examined.

Pirate costumes received the second largest share of spend; Ninja Turtle costumes were third, followed by general Star Wars costumes.



The least popular Halloween ensembles with paid search advertisers for the keywords examined were werewolf baby costumes and Beyoncé lemonade costumes.

About the research: The report was based on an analysis of the US Google desktop search text ad and product listing ad (PLA) spend made by advertisers between August 1 and October 4, 2016, on 2,959 Halloween costume keywords.











Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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Artificial intelligence won’t save the internet from porn

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"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that." — United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

In 1964, the Supreme Court overturned an obscenity conviction against Nico Jacobellis, a Cleveland theater manager accused of distributing obscene material. The film in question was Louis Malle’s "The Lovers," starring Jeanne Moreau as a French housewife who, bored with her media-mogul husband and her polo-playing sidepiece, packs up and leaves after a hot night with a younger man. And by "hot," I mean a lot of artful blocking, heavy breathing and one fleeting nipple — basically, nothing you can’t see on cable TV.

In six simple words, Justice Stewart encapsulated the near-impossible act of creating a single definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it".

Attitudes toward sex have changed significantly since 1964. Soon after Jacobellis faced the Supreme Court, the United States experienced a sexual revolution followed by the porn boom of the 1970s and, more recently, the advent of the internet. Today, anyone with an internet connection can be knee-deep in creampies and pearl necklaces in a matter of seconds. We’ve come a long way, but one thing remains the same: We’re still nowhere close to a universal definition of pornography or obscenity.

Moreau, Jeanne - Actress, France - *23.01.1928- Scene from the movie 'Les amants'' with Jean-Marc Bory Directed by: Louis Malle

Jean Moreau and Jean-Marc Bory in the not-so-sexy scene from "The Lovers" at the heart of Jacobellis v. Ohio (Image Credit: Getty Images)

But unfettered access to all things smutty, dirty and questionably filthy has created a surge in censorship tools that, in theory, use algorithms and advanced artificial intelligence programs to identify porn and weed it out. Last year, Twitter acquired Madbits, a small AI startup that, according to a Wired report, created a program that accurately identifies NSFW content 99 percent of time and alerts users to its presence. Late last month, Yahoo open-sourced its own deep learning AI porn filter and there are no doubt similar projects underway at other internet companies.

Big players have been sinking big money into cleaning up the internet for decades. The trouble is, censorship is a slippery slope, and obscenity is inherently subjective. If we can’t agree on what constitutes pornography, we can’t effectively teach our computers to "know it when they see it." No matter the sophistication of the technology or the apparent margin of error, porn filters still depend on humans to teach them what is and isn’t NSFW.

Sometimes a naked child is more than a naked child.

In the early days of the world wide web, US libraries and schools implemented filters based on rudimentary keyword searches in order to remain in compliance with the Child Internet Protection Act. The act attempts, as the name suggests, to protect children from the darker side of the internet, specifically "pictures that are: (a) obscene; (b) child pornography; or (c) harmful to minors (for computers that are accessed by minors)."

But that’s not exactly how it played out.

A 2006 report on internet filtering from NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice referred to early keyword filters and their AI successors as "powerful, often irrational, censorship tools."

"Filters force the complex and infinitely variable phenomenon known as human expression into deceptively simple categories," the report continued. "They reduce the value and meaning of expression to isolated words and phrases. An inevitable consequence is that they frustrate and restrict research into health, science, politics, the arts, and many other areas."

The report found that popular filters inexplicably blocked sites belonging to Boing Boing, GLAAD, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and Super Bowl XXX, among others, and often reflected the political and social prejudices of their creators. While Yahoo and Google’s AI-powered filters have replaced keyword searches with sophisticated image recognition, they still rely on humans to teach them what is and isn’t safe for work. And as Facebook recently discovered, images are no less divisive than words.

Napalm Girl

(Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The social network faced widespread backlash in early September when it took down the photo above for violating its community standards. The Pulitzer Prize-winning image from 1972 shows a naked 9-year-old girl running away from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. Facebook originally took the photo down for violating its community standards, saying, "While we recognize that this photo is iconic, it’s difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others."

But as the New York Times reported, Facebook reinstated the original post after thousands of users posted the photo to their timelines in protest.

"An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our community standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography. In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time."

It’s not clear how the image was flagged, but whether it was a human or AI, or some mix of the two, the bottom line is: Sometimes a naked child is more than a naked child.

Sometimes a man with a bullwhip hanging out of his ass is more than a man with a bullwhip hanging out of his ass.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has been criticized for censoring images that many deem to be "clean." The social network has repeatedly come under fire for deleting posts containing exposed female breasts in the context of nursing photos and information about mammograms. More recently it learned a lesson about the fine line between pornography and art, when it deleted and later reinstated a video of a black woman who painted her naked body white on Facebook Live to draw attention to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The real world too, is rife with examples of the debate about what is art and what is porn. In 1990, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and its director were accused and acquitted of obscenity charges for an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography.

It was the first time such charges were brought against a museum in the US, and the photos in questions — depictions of gay S&M — were at the center of a national debate headed by the Republican Party. The prosecution argued that the exhibition, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, constituted pornography while the defense defined it as art. That case proved that sometimes a man with a bullwhip hanging out of his ass is more than a man with a bullwhip hanging out of his ass. It also proved that our access to art, no matter how controversial, isn’t always guaranteed.

Our personal prejudices continue to undermine our access to information and freedom of expression, despite advances in internet filtering. We may never agree on what NSFW really means, but without a universal definition, our machines will simply act as conduits for our own opinions. Not one of us can claim to know it when we see it, and no amount of code can change that.

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Scientists Discover What Your Brain Looks Like When You’re on Weed

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Image: Yekaterina Kadyshevskaya, The Stevens Laboratory, University of Southern California

You ever hit the blunt and start trying to figure out how getting high even works? How does anything work, really? Electricity? Computers? There are infinite mysteries to life, but some dank scientists are trying to figure out one of life’s most important questions—what does your brain look like when you get high?

A team of scientists from around the globe published a study in The Cell that shows the molecular structure of your cannabinoid receptor 1, the receptor in your brain which processes THC. As you may know, THC is the chemical in marijuana responsible for getting you blazed. The group of scientists—who hail from eight different universities in China and the United States—developed a molecule that freezes your cannabinoid receptor 1 for enough time for them to see its molecular structure. Once scientists saw the structure of the CB1 molecule, they created a computer simulation to show how THC interacts with it. And because science is so beautifully poetic, we can see that the 3D computer simulation also shows, on a spiritual level, what happens when you get stoned. It’s a party up in there!

Mapping out the molecular structure of the CB1 receptor was an impressive feat. CB1 was notoriously difficult to map because it’s constantly moving around. Now that it’s been mapped, scientists can further investigate how it interacts with synthetic marijuana, which killed 15 people in 2015, and why it’s so dangerous.

The scientist who developed the technology to freeze the CB1 receptor, Alexandros Makriyannis, told The Verge, “What was interesting here is that active site had a lot of crannies, a lot of different sites within it. We didn’t expect it to be so intricate.”

Most importantly, we can see that the receptors in our brains that get us high looks like the party popper emoji, 🎉. Is that a metaphor? Let me smoke a bowl, and I’ll get back to you on that one.

[The Cell via The Verge]

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What Is DNS and Why Does It Make the Internet Break?

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Today, half of America’s internet shut down when hackers unleashed a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the servers of Dyn, a major DNS host. It’s still unclear exactly who carried out the attack and why, but regardless, the event served as a demonstration of how easily large swaths of the web can be wiped out if attacked by determined hackers.

Dyn released this statement following the outage:

Starting at 11:10 UTC on October 21th-Friday 2016 we began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Some customers may experience increased DNS query latency and delayed zone propagation during this time. Updates will be posted as information becomes available.

It’s horrific to know that major websites like Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, Etsy, Wired, and PayPal can all be taken offline in an instant. The exact process hackers used is so far unknown—aside from the DDoS detail—but it’s important for every internet user to understand because it has to do with how exactly the internet works. With that in mind, here is how some of the most popular websites in the world can be taken offline in a flash.


What is the technology?

Domain Name Servers (DNS) act as the internet’s phone book and facilitate requests to specific webpages. They make sure you end up in the right place every time you type a website into your browser. Hackers will occasionally attack DNS providers in order to bring down the sites they are serving. Today, that happened to be Twitter, Reddit, PayPal and more.

That’s a really basic overview. But if you really want to understand how DNS works at a deeper level, you have to follow the complete order of operations. A typical internet user starts at one of many computers in a large network connected through underground cables (such as your laptop). The individual nodes on these networks communicate by referring to each other with numbers known as IP addresses. DNS is used to translate a request like a URL into an IP address.

When you enter a URL—such as www.Gizmodo.com—your browser starts trying to figure out where that website is by pinging a serious of servers. It’s very detailed, and we won’t bore you with the complete chain of events. There are resolving name servers, authoritative name servers, domain registrars, and so on. The system is precisely configured to get you from browser bar to website seamlessly. The process is a little crazy, but perhaps the most insane part is that it all happens almost instantly. Anytime you’re browsing the web, opening dozens of tabs, requesting a bunch of different websites, your computer is pinging servers around the world to get you the right info. And it just works—until it doesn’t.


How does it break?

A DDoS attack is a common hack in which multiple compromised computers are used to attack a single system by overloading it with server requests. In a DDoS attack, hackers will use often use infected computers to create a flood of traffic originating from many different sources, potentially thousands or even hundreds of thousands. By using all of the infected computers, a hacker can effectively circumvent any blocks that might be put on a single IP address. It also makes it harder to identify a legitimate request compared to one coming from an attacker.

In the case of this morning’s attack, hackers brought down the servers of Dyn, a hugely popular DNS host that manages sites like Basecamp, CNN, Etsy, Github, Grubhub, HBO Now, Imgur, Paypal, Playstation Network, Reddit, Squarespace, and Twitter.

When the servers of Dyn were taken down, browsers essentially couldn’t figure out where to go to find the information to load on the screen. This type of attack happens every so often when hackers create a little army of private computers infected with malicious software known as a Botnet. The people that are often participating in the attack don’t realize their computer has been compromised and is part of a zombie army of attackers. In 2014, a hacker group called Lizard Squad shut down the Playstation Network and Xbox Live using this method. In 2015, a trojan virus called XOR DDoS helped hackers create a powerful botnet capable of taking down almost any server or website.

Defending servers against DDoS attacks can be difficult, but there are ways to prevent outages. According to Network World, one of the most common methods used is flow sampling, in which the system samples packets and identifies trends in network traffic. A flow analytics device evaluates traffic streams and identifies potentially bad traffic.


How do we protect ourselves?

Looking ahead, one big question stands out. How can we avoid attacks like this stealing internet access away from millions of Americans and losing companies millions of dollars in revenue?

The answer is complicated. As soon as security companies come up with new ways to protect companies like Dyn, hackers come up with new ways to attack them. In the case of DNS infrastructure, however, many point out that the best way for a website to avoid getting brought down by an attack on one host is simply to subscribe to multiple hosts. This is called DNS redundancy, and it’s probably the reason that some sites (like Pornhub) survived the attack unscathed.

In the case of the Dyn servers, it’s unclear exactly how they solved the problem, but the company is now reporting the issue resolved—about one hour after the problem started.

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Today’s Brutal DDoS Attack Is the Beginning of a Bleak Future

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This morning a ton of websites and services, including Spotify and Twitter, were unreachable because of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Dyn, a major DNS provider. Details of how any the attack happened remain vague, but one thing seems certain. Our internet is frightfully fragile in the face of increasingly sophisticated hacks.

Some think the attack was a political conspiracy, like an attempt to take down the internet so that people wouldn’t be able to read the leaked Clinton emails on Wikileaks. Others think it’s the usual Russian assault. No matter who did it, we should expect incidents like this to get worse in the future. While DDoS attacks used to be a pretty weak threat, we’re entering a new era.

DDoS attacks, at the most basic level, work like this. An attacker sends a flurry of packets, essentially just garbage data, to an intended recipient. In this case, the recipient was Dyn’s DNS servers. The server is overwhelmed with the garbage packets, and can’t handle the incoming connections, eventually slowing down significantly or totally shutting down. In the case of Dyn, it was probably a little more complex than this. Dyn almost certainly has advanced systems for DDoS mitigation, and the people who attacked Dyn (whoever they are) was probably using something more advanced than a PC in their mom’s basement.

Recently, we’ve entered into a new DDoS paradigm. As security blogger Brian Krebs notes, the newfound ability to highjack insecure internet of things devices and turn them into a massive DDoS army has contributed to an uptick in the size and scale of recent DDoS attacks. (We’re not sure if an IoT botnet was what took down Dyn this morning, but it would be a pretty good guess.)

We are nevertheless getting a taste of what the new era of DDoS attacks look like, however. As security expert Bruce Schneier explained in a blog post:

Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.

This sort of attack is deep different than the headline-grabbing DDoS attacks of years’ past. In 2011, hacker collective Anonymous rose to fame with DDoS attacks that pale in comparison to today’s attack on Dyn. Instead of taking out an individual website for short periods of time, hackers were able to take down a major piece of the internet backbone for an entire morning—not once but twice. That’s huge.

If hackers are more easily able to amass extensive DDoS botnets, that means the internet as we know it becomes more vulnerable. Attacking major internet infrastructure like Dyn has always been a possibility, but if it becomes easier than ever to launch huge DDoS attacks, that means we might be seeing some of our favorite sites have more downtime than usual. These attacks could extend to other major pieces of internet infrastructure, causing even more widespread outages.

This could be the beginning of a very bleak future. If hackers are able to take down the internet at will, what happens next? It’s unclear how long it could take for the folks at Dyn to fix this problem, or if they will ever be able to solve the problem of being hit with a huge DDoS attack. But this new breed of DDoS attacks is a scary problem no matter how you look at it.

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If The Internet Seems Like Shit Today’s It’s Because Of A MASSIVE DDoS Attack — Here’s What We Know

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Hackerman Meme

If you’ve tried to visit Twitter throughout the day you might’ve found that at times the social network wasn’t working. The same goes for Reddit, Yelp, the New York Times, PayPal, FOX News, Business Insider, and a shit ton of other sites across the Internet. This is because of a MASSIVE coordinated attack, and here’s what we know so far.

Our sister site Uproxx reports that there’s currently a DDoS attack (Denial of Service) targeting Dyn, one of the world’s largest DNS providers (DNS = contact list of the Internet). They’ve been sending out updates on their website, but here’s what it looks like thus far, along with an outage map of the affected areas:

outage-map-usa-affected-areas-dns

dns-attacks-internet-dyn-reports

This is just a short list of sites that have been taken down so far today because of this DDoS attack:

OpenTable
Basecamp
Business Insider
CNN
Github
Imgur
PayPal
Pinterest
Recode
Playstation Network
Spotify
Storify
The Verge
Twillo
Twitter
Wired.com
Yelp
Zendesk
Eventbrite
Netflix
NHL
Fox News
Disqus
Soundcloud
NYT
Weather.com

These websites all appear to be crashing throughout the day, coming up to full service then tumbling back to nothingness again. For someone like myself who spends all day on Twitter sending out tweets to readers this has become a MASSIVE pain in my ass, but I guess it could be worse. BroBible doesn’t host with Dyn so we aren’t affected by this enormous DDoS attack on Dyn.

For more information on this coordinated attack across the Internet you can CLICK HERE to head on over to Uproxx.

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Here Are The Two Most Aggressive Tinder Strategies — One Actually Worked!

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tinderweird

This is the tale of two Tinder strategies. Let’s start with the first one, which seems like a recipe for disaster using Tinder Social:

ed1586f8960f4f63a623b758e7a008cf

Shockingly: No luck.

But now let’s see something equally aggressive that actually worked! This dude is gettin’ laid by going WAYYYYY out of his comfort zone. Lightening like that doesn’t strike twice.

ed1586f8960f4f63a623b758e7a008cf

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Europe’s lost Mars lander probably ‘exploded on impact’ — see the photos

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exomars martian mars descent vehicle robot esa

When the European Space Agency (ESA) lost contact with its Schiaparelli lander on October 19, the probe was headed toward its doom: a 60-second free-fall that ended in an explosion — and a new crater on Mars.

The 8-foot-wide probe, which is just one-half of the ExoMars 2016 mission — its mother ship, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), successfully entered orbit around Mars — survived atmospheric reentry and a parachute deployment.

But Paolo Ferri, the ESA’s head of mission operations, said during a live video stream on Wednesday that something "unexpected" happened when Schiaparelli was supposed to turn on its rocket motors and gently plop onto the surface of Mars.

Engineers have worked day-in and day-out to deduce what happened from the last bits of data sent from the probe. And a news release issued Friday afternoon confirms it wasn’t pretty.

The ESA’s description of the spacecraft’s failure was rather subdued:

"Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometres, therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h," the ESA wrote. "The relatively large size of the feature would then arise from disturbed surface material. It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full."

In short: The probe fell out of the sky from more than a mile up, impacted the ground at more than 185 mph, and catastrophically blew up with its tanks full of propellant.

In the event there’s any doubt that this happened, just look at this animation from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which snapped a photo of Schiaparelli’s suspected landing site shortly after it was supposed to land:

schiaparelli mars lander explosion esa mro animated gif

The animation alternates between two views of the site: one photographed in May 2016, and the second on October 20, 2016.

The right pane shows a zoomed-in view of the site, which clearly shows a dark spray of material that spans 130 feet wide, or roughly a 13-story building on its side.

Had Schiaparelli’s landed, it would have been the ESA’s first spacecraft to safely reach the surface of the red planet.

Unfortunately, these images mean the probe has joined a growing graveyard of failed Martian spacecraft.

For Russia, which collaborated with ESA on the mission, Schiaparelli is the nation’s seventh failed Mars landing (though it put two satellites into orbit around Mars while it was still the Soviet Union).

The two-part mission is precursor to a more ambitious rover mission planned for 2020, and it’s more of an engineering proof-of-concept than a science mission.

"We should remember this landing was a test," Ferri said on Wednesday. "And as part of the test, you want to learn what happened," he added, no matter the outcome.

The ESA said the orbiter seems to have safely entered into Mars orbit on Wednesday, which means its task of sniffing for methane on Mars — a potential sign of microbial life — can soon begin.

A harrowing descent

exomars 2016 schiaparelli descent sequence timeline esa

Prior to Schiaparelli, humanity tried 18 times to touch Mars with penetrators, landers, and wheeled rovers. Only eight such missions have ever succeeded.

The last time the ESA tried to land a probe on Mars, in 2003, it failed.

Its Beagle 2 lander successfully jettisoned from an orbiting spacecraft. Aside a final signal before its descent, however, the robot robot never contacted Earth again.

It wasn’t until January 2015 — more than a decade later — that NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found and photographed the dead rover in a satellite image. A subsequent investigation found that its solar panels had failed to deploy, so it never mustered the energy to phone home.

exomars 2016 Schiaparelli separating from Trace Gas Orbiter esaThe 8-foot-wide Schiaparelli lander departed from its Martian gas-sniffing mother ship, TGO, the morning of October 16.

Its hair-raising descent to the surface of Mars should have taken less than 6 minutes because it initially traveled at 13,000 mph (21,000 kph).

To slow down, Schiaparelli first burned through a heat shield, deployed a parachute, and later cut the parachute and heat shield loose. After free-falling for awhile, it fired its thrusters.

From here on in the timeline, some kind of fault doomed the probe.

Schiaparelli was supposed to slow toward the surface until its sensors detected that it was hovering just a few feet from the ground.

At that point the thrusters should have stopped, dropping the probe with a thud onto a honeycomb-like pad that’s designed to crumple and absorb the impact.

Had the probe survived, it would have also taken pictures of its descent and attempted to measure Mars’ electric field for the first time, among other limited scientific observations.

May it rest in pieces.

SEE ALSO: Boeing says it will beat SpaceX to Mars

DON’T MISS: These ocean worlds reveal just how little water we have on Earth

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Europe and Russia are about to make history by landing a spacecraft on Mars

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The internet is still actually controlled by 14 people who hold 7 secret keys

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ICANN Key Ceremony

It sounds like something out of a Dan Brown book, but it isn’t: The whole internet is protected by seven highly protected keys, in the hands of 14 people. 

And in a few days, they are going to hold a historic ritual known as the Root Key Signing Ceremony.

On Friday morning, the world got a good reminder as to how important the organization that these people belong to is.

A good chunk of the internet went down for a while when hackers managed to throw so much traffic at a company called Dyn, that Dyn’s servers couldn’t take it, and Dyn went down for a while.

Dyn is a major provider of something called the Domain Name System (DNS), a system that translates web addresses, like "businessinsider.com" (easier for humans to remember) into the numerical IP addresses that computers use to identify web pages.

Dyn is just one DNS provider. And while hackers never gained control of its network, the success of hackers to bring it offline for even just a few hours via this so-called "denial of service" attack, shows just how much the internet relies on DNS. This attack briefly brought down sites like Business Insider, Amazon, Twitter, Github, Spotify, and many others.

Upshot: if you control all of DNS, you can control all of the internet. 

If someone were to gain control of ICANN’s database, that person would pretty much control the internet. For instance, the person could send people to fake bank websites instead of real bank websites.

DNS at its highest levels is secured by handful of people around the world, known Crypto Officers.

Every three months since 2010 some, but typically not all, of these people gather to conduct a highly secure ritual known as a key ceremony, where the keys to the internet’s metaphorical master lock are verified and updated.

The people conducting the ceremony are part of an organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is responsible for assigning numerical internet addresses to websites and computers

To protect DNS, ICANN came up with a way of securing it without entrusting too much control to any one person. It selected seven people as key holders and gave each one an actual key to internet. It selected seven more people to be backup key holders: 14 people in all. The ceremony requires at least three of them, and their keys, attend each time. Three keys are needed to unlock the actual equipment that protects DNS.

ICANN key ceremony 2016

A highly scripted ritual

The physical keys unlock safe deposit boxes. Inside those boxes are smart key cards. It takes multiple keys to gain access to the device that generates the internet’s master key. That master key is really some computer code known as a root key-signing key. It is a password of sorts that can access the master ICANN database. This key generates more keys that trickle down to protect various bits and pieces of the internet, in various geographies and used by different internet security organizations.

The security surrounding the ceremonies, before and after, is intense and involves passing through a series of locked doors using key codes and hand scanners, until entering a room so secure that no electronic communications can escape it. Inside the room the Crypto Officers assemble along with other ICANN officials, and, typically, some guests and observers.

The whole event is heavily scripted, meticulously recorded, and audited. The exact steps of the ceremony are mapped out in advance and distributed to the participants, so if any strange deviation occurs, the whole room will know.

The group conducts the ceremony, as scripted, then each person files out of the room one by one. They’ve been known to go to a local restaurant and celebrate after that.

But as secure as all of this is, the internet is an open piece of technology, not owned by anyone single entity. Originally invented in the US, the US just relinquished its decades of stewardship of DNS earlier this month. ICANN is officially fully in charge.

Keenly aware of its international role and the worldwide trust placed on it, ICANN lets anyone monitor this ceremony, viewing it live streamed over the internet. It also publishes the scripts for each ceremony.

Next week, on October 27, ICANN will hold another ceremony, and this one will be historic, too. For the first time ever, they will changing out the master key itself. Technically speaking, they will be changing the "key pair" upon which all DNS security is build, known as the Root Zone Signing Key.

“If you had this key, and were able to, for example, generate your own version of the root zone, you would be in the position to redirect a tremendous amount of traffic,” Matt Larson, vice president of research at ICANN, recently told Motherboard’s Josphex Cox.

Here’s an in-depth description of the ceremony by CloudFlare’s Ólafur Guðmundsson.

Here’s a video of the very first key ceremony conducted in 2010. Skip to 1:58 to see the ceremony.

 

SEE ALSO: Google’s nit-picky interview process is a huge turnoff for some experienced coders

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NOW WATCH: Facebook’s ridiculously large drones will beam internet from the sky

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New photo shows crash site of Europe’s lost Mars lander

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New photo shows crash site of Europe’s lost Mars lander

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's view of the Schiaparelli landing site.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s view of the Schiaparelli landing site.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Well, it looks like Mars has a new crater thanks to a European spacecraft that crash-landed on the red planet this week. 

According to a newly released photo taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in Martian orbit, European Space Agency’s (ESA) Schiaparelli lander appears to have hurtled into the red planet during its bid to become the first European spacecraft to softly land and operate on the world.

The new images show a dark spot in the place where the Schiaparelli was expected to land along with a lighter spot thought to be the spacecraft’s parachute. 

“Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometres, therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h,” the ESA said in a statement.

The ESA also speculates that the lander may have exploded on impact if its tanks full of fuel were still full after its thrusters cut off prematurely. 

Scientists need more information before they know exactly what happened to the lander, but the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter should be able to provide new, high-resolution images that may be able to fill in the gaps next week.

“Since the module’s descent trajectory was observed from three different locations, the teams are confident that they will be able to reconstruct the chain of events with great accuracy,” the ESA said. “The exact mode of anomaly onboard Schiaparelli is still under investigation.”

ESA mission controllers lost contact with the lander about 50 seconds before it was expected to touch down on Mars Wednesday. 

Mission managers know that the spacecraft’s parachute and heat shield seemed to deploy, but they lost contact just before the lander’s thrusters were scheduled to have fired to slow its landing. 

Artist impression of the Schiaparelli module after the parachute has been deployed, in happier times.

Artist impression of the Schiaparelli module after the parachute has been deployed, in happier times.

The Schiaparelli was designed as part of the ESA’s joint ExoMars mission with Russia, launched to help try to find signs of life on the red planet. 

And in spite of the Schiaparelli’s failed landing, the mission, in many ways, has already been a success. 

Schiaparelli went to Mars with ExoMars’ Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), a probe that successfully made it into orbit around the planet Wednesday. The TGO is actually the science heavyweight of the mission, unlike the Schiaparelli, which was an experimental technology demonstration to help scientists land a future ExoMars rover on Mars by around 2020. 

Thanks to Schiaparelli, the ESA now has more information about how best to land a spacecraft on Mars that should help with planning as it moves toward launching that life-hunting rover years down the road.

While about a dozen lander and rover missions have been launched to Mars, only seven NASA-operated missions have been totally successful.

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