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UK Government Owns 16.9 Million Unused IPv4 Addresses 399

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the who-needs-that-ipv6-thing dept.
hypnosec writes "The Department of Work and Pensions in the UK has a /8 block of IPv4 addresses that is unused. An e-petition was created asking the DWP to sell off the block to ease the IPv4 address scarcity in the RIPE region. John Graham-Cumming, the person who first discovered the unused block, discovered that these 16.9 million IP addresses were unused after checking in the ASN database."
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UK Government Owns 16.9 Million Unused IPv4 Addresses

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  • by RulerOf (975607) on Monday September 17, 2012 @11:26PM (#41371195)
    Am I the only one that sees something like this and immediately wants to call dibs on a "Vanity IP?"
    I'll take:
    • 51.51.51.51
    • 51.52.53.54
    • 51.0.0.1
    • ...and 51.50.49.48

    I'm sure there's an algorithm or list that could tell me all of the possible "desirable" IPs in the /8, but, due to the fact that we shouldn't be greedy, and the completely arbitrary relation to the number 4 for IPv4, and the fact that it's an election year here in the US, I propose that we Slashdotters limit ourselves to four a piece, and leave the remainder to Reddit and 4chan. Or something.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17, 2012 @11:27PM (#41371201)

    I think you'll find that this complaint comes mainly from folks that do know how to set up DNS.

    The real difference isn't realizing that we have DNS, it's that with IPv6 and no more NAT, devices will do DNS and it won't be such an annoyance.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday September 17, 2012 @11:38PM (#41371241) Homepage

    Sometimes DNS fails or you need to validate routing tables and troubleshoot based on pure IP alone. Yes, IPv6 is going to suck badly in this regard. Feeble human mind. Oh well, I'll just have to get used to depending on an IPv6 calculator app on my smartphone. That and a TXT list that I can cut-n-paste in a terminal screen. Bah!

  • by RulerOf (975607) on Monday September 17, 2012 @11:52PM (#41371299)
    Oooo.....

    http://0x33333333 [Enter]

    You sneaky bastard :D

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:21AM (#41371447)

    mysql> select count(host) from systems;
    | count(host) |
                      498 |
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)

    (stupid slashdot thinks mysql's output are junk characters)

    Since most of those 498 servers I manage are behind NAT and have dynamic public IPs, I do have a system to track them (not ddns, but a homemade solution), and I have scripts in place that allow me to get any server's IP. Combine that with shell expansion and I can ssh root@`gethost customer_id server_id` and similar stuff. That doesn't mean you don't have to deal with IP addresses anyway, and it doesn't mean doing ifconfig eth0 2001:0db8:85a3:0042:0000:8a2e:0370:7334 is gonna be easy. Imagine debugging a routing table! Imagine reading the output of tcpdump with such meaningless addresses. IPv6 is gonna be a PITA.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:09AM (#41371651) Journal
    It won't be that bad at first, until a lot of addresses are used, because of the IPv6 notation shorteners. For example, ff06:0:0:0:0:0:0:c3 may be written as ff06::c3. Unless your ISP gives you a random number as an IP address, it'll still be fine to work with.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:1, Interesting)

    by CodeheadUK (2717911) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @02:22AM (#41371937) Homepage

    Ranges were given out like candy to anyone who asked in the early days of the web. Corporations, Government and Academics made a land grab because they were the only people who could use the resource at the time.

    I've heard that Glasgow Uni has a /8 that's never had more than 10 addresses exposed to the Internet.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:4, Interesting)

    by unixisc (2429386) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @03:24AM (#41372183)
    It's not so much DNS they are doing as much as ND (neighbor detection) and autoconfiguring. And the latter is I think what the GP's complaint was about. Difference in IPv6 is that unlike in IPv4, DHCP6 is more essential than DHCP4 was in IPv4.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @03:47AM (#41372267) Journal
    For home users, it entails pretty much nothing. If you're running a commodity operating system, it probably already advertises its host name via mDNS. It may also already advertise its link-local IPv6 address. Try sshing to a Mac on your local network by its name and see which address it tries to connect to: you may be surprised...
  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zocalo (252965) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @04:23AM (#41372399) Homepage
    Plenty of people have noticed this before now, IANA has published a table [iana.org] showing all the /8 allocations pretty much since they were formed. Anything flagged as "LEGACY" was assigned before the current RIR/LIR assignment process was implemented. Someone even complied a table showing which parts of the legacy IP assignments were not routed some years back, which must have included the DWP's /8 as well unless they were actually advertising it at the time that the table was compiled.

    The only thing that makes this slightly newsworthy is this about a cash strapped sovereign government sitting on a sizable pool of "spare" IPv4 space that has suddenly become a much more valuable commodity following the recent announcement that RIPE is now down to its final /8 and IPv4 allocations within Europe and those parts of Asia that fall under RIPE's remit are now heavily restricted. You can probably expect a similar story about the dozens (see the table above) of underused /8s that are held by US corporations and government agencies, the DoD especially, when ARIN's IPv4 approaches exhaustion as well.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:47AM (#41372905)

    Like RFC 1751 (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1751) for instance :)

    Although it does tend to come up with sequences that have some comedy smutty parts.

  • by PhotoJim (813785) <jim@Nospam.photojim.ca> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:18AM (#41374547) Homepage

    Use radvd instead of DHCP6. That way IP addresses are predictable and unique, as long as you use /64 subnets which is standard practice with IPv6.

    You can take a machine's MAC address and predict its IPv6 suffix perfectly. Add it to your /64's prefix and you know your IP. radvd and your clients will figure the same IP out on their own.

The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.

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