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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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  • Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Formalin (1945560) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:05AM (#41371113)

    Just apply the real cure already... This is so ridiculous.

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

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:12AM (#41371139)

    I know IPv6 is needed, and it'll be great having disposable addresses to throw at any device. I'll be certainly happy to get rid of NAT in many circumstances, but OTOH, IPv6 is going to suck. I have tens of IPs in my head, which I access daily by memory. IPv4 addresses are easy to remember, easy to pass over the phone, easy to type, and easy to operate (i.e, calculate things such as masks in your head, etc). IPv6 is going to make it way harder, and that's not taking into account he migration process ...

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

    by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:22AM (#41371171) Homepage Journal

    As any climate scientist will tell you, the ability of people to deny impending disaster is remarkable, especially when doing something about it costs money. That includes people on Slashdot, who keep telling me that the whole address depletion thing is bogus, that we can keep going indefinitely by discovering unused blocks and using existing blocks more efficiently.

    A few years ago, I was part of the product team that was working on a new Sun server. Now, every Sun server comes with an ILOM (Integrated Lights Out Manager), a little embedded Linux system that lets an administrator manage the server remotely. Naturally, the ILOM has its own network interface — but the one planned for this system did not support IPv6. I pointed out all the IPv4 address exhaustion issues, but was basically told to mind my own business. "No customer demand for this feature." Never mind that a few years down the pipe, customers would be very unhappy they didn't have it.

  • by grcumb (781340) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:22AM (#41371173) Homepage Journal

    An e-petition was created asking the DWP to sell off the block to ease the IPv4 address scarcity in the RIPE region.

    Why not just ask them to do the right thing and give them back to RIPE? I mean seriously, what kind of example are we trying to set here? Or maybe someone's just trying to bootstrap a market for IPv4 addresses in order to cash in on the increasing scarcity....

    ... In any case, encouraging profit from a public resource like this is a terrible idea.

  • relatively common (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:41AM (#41371253)

    This sort of thing is relatively common, it's probably used internally as a routable address space, but not intended for use on the public Internet. (Saves have to deal with multiple uses of rfc1918). This sort of thing is very common in the government (though usually much less than an /8). They can't use a consistent rfc1918 address space internally as whenever the government changes it's priorities, work units will shuffle between departments. You'll probably find that this address space is now used by many departments, and trying to move all users over to another range will cost more than they can recover from selling the /8

  • Re:Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P (655590) <<ejkeever> <at> <nerdshack.com>> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:00AM (#41371341)
    I enjoy the idea of the Internet actually functioning as an end-to-end network the way it was meant to, rather than one with a handful of privileged devices with publically routable addresses and (soon enough) whole cut-off sub-Internets trapped behind them. But that's just me.
  • by jibjibjib (889679) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:09AM (#41371391) Journal

    Giving away a block of IPv4 addresses worth about $1 billion is the same as literally giving away $1 billion of taxpayers' money. I don't think that would be doing "the right thing" for the people of the UK.

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

    by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:18AM (#41371425) Homepage Journal

    I think you need to ask yourself why you have to remember all those IP addresses. I'll bet that in each one could be dispensed with if you had the motivation to work out a DNS-based way to access these systems — with the possible exception of the DNS servers themselves.

  • Re:Propaganda (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:26AM (#41371465) Homepage Journal

    "The way it was meant to" was specified by a bunch DARPA funded geeks who design their tech for a small network where all the admins knew each other. They had no concept of operating a network with large numbers of users, many of them malicious

    Whenever I hear "the way it was meant to" I run the other direction. It's always based on some lame notion that things were perfect in the past, even though people in the past were also whining about "the it was meant to."

  • by jibjibjib (889679) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:37AM (#41371505) Journal

    The amount it cost in 1994 is irrelevant in the decision about what to do with it now.

    If it can be sold for $1 billion, then giving it away for nothing is equivalent to giving away $1 billion.

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

    by jibjibjib (889679) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:41AM (#41371527) Journal

    Yes. In IPv6, a home internet connection generally has a rarely-changing prefix that can be converted to a name and address with the ISP's cooperation.

    But in IPv4, a home internet connection generally has a rarely-changing prefix that can be converted to a name and address with the ISP's cooperation.

    How is IPv6 worse?

  • Re:Who cares (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @02:19AM (#41371685)

    I am yet to see DNS fail badly. I have seen plenty of people who don't understand it say it does, when the problem is invariably routing or a firewall.

  • Re:I believe... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @04:17AM (#41372159)

    I think you should keep your "WHOOOSH".

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

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @04:58AM (#41372303) Journal

    When IPV6 is what we have to work with, we will be swarmed by those bastard botnets with no way to block that many IP addresses that will be used to attack.

    Don't block the address, block the prefix. Block a /64 and you're probably blocking a consumer endpoint. With IPv6, addresses are allocated hierarchically, so this becomes even easier. Just shorten the prefix and you'll eventually get the whole ISP. This makes it very easy to block ISPs or even countries that harbour spammers.

    Additionally, it becomes much easier for a home user to identify attacks at the router. If you pick a random 32-bit number, odds are that it is a valid IPv4 address. Pick a dozen and you've almost certainly found one that's a home Internet connection. That makes it very easy for malware to spread. Pick a random 64-bit number, and if you're very lucky it's an IPv6 subnet that has some computers on it. Now you have to pick another 64-bit number to find one of the computers on it. For a home Internet connection, most users will be using under 50 of these (and rotating them quite frequently), so you end up with a 50 in 2^64 chance of getting the right one. After a few tries, their router's firewall will notice the suspicious behaviour (lots of connection requests to nonexistent addresses) and block your /64.

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

    by Cimexus (1355033) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:16PM (#41375311)

    Yep. Been on native IPv6 for 2 years now and I have not ONCE needed to memorise, copy down or type/enter a IPv6 address for any reason. This is a non-issue.

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