part 3index

The History of the Internet


This chapter starts with the charging of 50USD for the use of the backbone bij NSF and ends with the most massive denial of service attack in the history of the internet in 2000.




pointer.gif (149 bytes)The National Science Foundation announced that as of April 30, 1995 it would no longer allow direct access to the NSF backbone. The National Science Foundation contracted with four companies that would be providers of access to the NSF backbone (Merit). These companies would then sell connections to groups, organizations, and companies.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)$50 annual fee is imposed on domains, excluding .edu and .gov domains which are still funded by the National Science Foundation.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)NSFNET reverts back to a research network. Main US backbone traffic now routed through interconnected network providers

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The new NSFNET is born as NSF establishes the very high speed Backbone Network Service (vBNS) linking super-computing centers: NCAR, NCSA, SDSC, CTC, PSC

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Neda Rayaneh Institute (NRI), Iran's first commercial provider, comes online, connecting via satellite to Cadvision, a Canadian provider (:rm1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Hong Kong police disconnect all but 1 of the colony's Internet providers in search of a hacker. 10,000 people are left without Net access. (:api:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Sun launches JAVA on May 23

pointer.gif (149 bytes)RealAudio, an audio streaming technology, lets the Net hear in near real-time

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Radio HK, the first commercial 24 hr., Internet-only radio station starts broadcasting

pointer.gif (149 bytes)WWW surpasses ftp-data in March as the service with greatest traffic on NSFNet based on packet count, and in April based on byte count

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Traditional online dial-up systems (Compuserve, America Online, Prodigy) begin to provide Internet access

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Thousands in Minneapolis-St. Paul (USA) lose Net access after transients start a bonfire under a bridge at the Univ of MN causing fiber-optic cables to melt (30 July)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)A number of Net related companies go public, with Netscape leading the pack with the 3rd largest ever NASDAQ IPO share value (9 August)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Registration of domain names is no longer free. Beginning 14 September, a $50 annual fee has been imposed, which up until now was subsidized by NSF. NSF continues to pay for .edu registration, and on an interim basis for .gov

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The Vatican comes on-line (

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The Canadian Government comes on-line (

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The first official Internet wiretap was successful in helping the Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) apprehend three individuals who were illegally manufacturing and selling cell phone cloning equipment and electronic devices

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Operation Home Front connects, for the first time, soldiers in the field with their families back home via the Internet.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Richard White becomes the first person to be declared a munition, under the USA's arms export control laws, because of an RSA file security encryption program tattooed on his arm (:wired496:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Country domains registered: Ethiopia (ET), Cote d'Ivoire (CI), Cook Islands (CK) Cayman Islands (KY), Anguilla (AI), Gibraltar (GI), Vatican (VA), Kiribati (KI), Kyrgyzstan (KG), Madagascar (MG), Mauritius (MU), Micronesia (FM), Monaco (MC), Mongolia (MN), Nepal (NP), Nigeria (NG), Western Samoa (WS), San Marino (SM), Tanzania (TZ), Tonga (TO), Uganda (UG), Vanuatu (VU)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Top 10 Domains by Host #: com, edu, net, gov, mil, org, de, uk, ca, au

Technologies of the Year: WWW, Search engines

Emerging Technologies: Mobile code (JAVA, JAVAscript), Virtual environments (VRML), Collaborative tools

Hacks of the Year: The Spot (Jun 12), Hackers Movie Page (12 Aug)

Backbones: 145Mbps (ATM) NSFNET (now private), private interconnected backbones consisting mainly of 56Kbps, 1.544Mbps, 45Mpbs, 155Mpbs lines in construction, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 6,642,000



pointer.gif (149 bytes)Most Internet traffic is carried by backbones of independent ISPs, including MCI, AT&T, Sprint, UUnet, BBN planet, ANS, and more.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Currently the Internet Society, the group that controls the INTERNET, is trying to figure out new TCP/IP to be able to have billions of addresses, rather than the limited system of today. The problem that has arisen is that it is not known how both the old and the new addressing systems will be able to work at the same time during a transition period.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet phones catch the attention of US telecommunication companies who ask the US Congress to ban the technology (which has been around for years)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, PLO Leader Yasser Arafat, and Phillipine President Fidel Ramos meet for ten minutes in an online interactive chat session on 17 January.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The controversial US Communications Decency Act (CDA) becomes law in the US in order to prohibit distribution of indecent materials over the Net. A few months later a three-judge panel imposes an injunction against its enforcement. Supreme Court unanimously rules most of it unconstitutional in 1997.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)9,272 organizations find themselves unlisted after the InterNIC drops their name service as a result of not having paid their domain name fee

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Various ISPs suffer extended service outages, bringing into question whether they will be able to handle the growing number of users. AOL (19 hours), Netcom (13 hours), AT&T WorldNet (28 hours - email only)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Domain name sold to CNET for US$15,000

pointer.gif (149 bytes)New York's Public Access Networks Corp (PANIX) is shut down after repeated SYN attacks by a cracker using methods outlined in a hacker magazine (2600)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)MCI upgrades Internet backbone adding ~13,000 ports, bringing the effective speed from 155Mbps to 622Mbps.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The Internet Ad Hoc Committee announces plans to add 7 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLD): .firm, .store, .web, .arts, .rec, .info, .nom. The IAHC plan also calls for a competing group of domain registrars worldwide.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)A malicious cancelbot is released on USENET wiping out more than 25,000 messages

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The WWW browser war, fought primarily between Netscape and Microsoft, has rushed in a new age in software development, whereby new releases are made quarterly with the help of Internet users eager to test upcoming (beta) versions.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Restrictions on Internet use around the world:

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Country domains registered: Qatar (QA), Central frican Republic (CF), Oman (OM), Norfolk Island (NF), Tuvalu (TV), French Polynesia (PF), Syria (SY), Aruba (AW), Cambodia (KH), French Guiana (GF), Eritrea (ER), Cape Verde (CV), Burundi (BI), Benin (BJ) Bosnia-Herzegovina (BA), Andorra (AD), Guadeloupe (GP), Guernsey (GG), Isle of Man (IM), Jersey (JE), Lao (LA), Maldives (MV), Marshall Islands (MH), Mauritania (MR), Northern Mariana Islands (MP), Rwanda (RW), Togo (TG), Yemen (YE), Zaire (ZR)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Top 10 Domains by Host #: com, edu, net, uk, de, jp, us, mil, ca, au

ebayOne of the largest action sites is founded: eBay auction site founded

CAPTCHA Moni Naor from the Weizmann Institute of Science, produces a report entitled "Verification of a human in the loop, or Identification via the Turing Test". (13)

Search robots are specifically created to add url's to their search engines for the purpose of spamming. To prevent this it is thought to devise a test to distinguish humans from computers, it also protect against non human access to web services. No actual CAPTCHA is created and the term is not yet coined. See below for an example.

captcha 1996


Hacks of the Year: US Dept of Justice (17 Aug), CIA (19 Sep), Air Force (29 Dec), UK Labour Party (6 Dec), NASA DDCSOL - USAFE - US Air Force (30 Dec)

Technologies of the Year: Search engines, JAVA, Internet Phone

Emerging Technologies: Virtual environments (VRML), Collaborative tools, Internet appliance (Network Computer)

Backbones: 145Mbps (ATM) NSFNET (now private), private interconnected backbones consisting mainly of 56Kbps, 1.544Mbps, 45Mpbs, and 155Mpbs lines, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: over 15,000,000, and growing rapidly



pointer.gif (149 bytes)71,618 mailing lists registered at Liszt, a mailing list directory

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) is established to handle administration and registration of IP numbers to the geographical areas currently handled by Network Solutions (InterNIC), starting March 1998.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)CA*net II launched in June to provide Canada's next generation Internet using ATM/SONET

pointer.gif (149 bytes)In protest of the DNS monopoly, AlterNIC's owner, Eugene Kashpureff, hacks DNS so users going to end up at

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Domain name sold for US$150,000

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Early in the morning of 17 July, human error at Network Solutions causes the DNS table for .com and .net domains to become corrupted, making millions of systems unreachable.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Longest hostname registered with InterNIC: CHALLENGER.MED.SYNAPSE.UAH.UALBERTA.CA

pointer.gif (149 bytes)101,803 Name Servers in whois database

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Country domains registered: Falkland Islands (FK), East Timor (TP), R of Congo (CG), Christmas Island (CX), Gambia (GM), Guinea-Bissau (GW), Haiti (HT), Iraq (IQ), Libya (LY), Malawi (MW), Martinique (MQ), Montserrat (MS), Myanmar (MM), French Reunion Island (RE), Seychelles (SC), Sierra Leone (SL), Somalia (SO), Sudan (SD), Tajikistan (TJ), Turkmenistan (TM), Turks and Caicos Islands (TC), British Virgin Islands (VG), Heard and McDonald Islands (HM), French Southern Territories (TF), British Indian Ocean Territory (IO), Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (SJ), St Pierre and Miquelon (PM), St Helena (SH), South Georgia/Sandwich Islands (GS), Sao Tome and Principe (ST), Ascension Island (AC), US Minor Outlying Islands (UM), Mayotte (YT), Wallis and Futuna Islands (WF), Tokelau Islands (TK), Chad Republic (TD), Afghanistan (AF), Cocos Island (CC), Bouvet Island (BV), Liberia (LR), American Samoa (AS), Niue (NU), Equatorial New Guinea (GQ), Bhutan (BT), Pitcairn Island (PN), Palau (PW), DR of Congo (CD)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Top 10 Domains by Host #: com, edu, net, jp, uk, de, us, au, ca, mil

pointer.gif (149 bytes)At AltaVista Andrei Broder and his colleagues are using CAPTCHA's to prevent bots from adding URLs to their search engine.


Looking for a way to make their images resistant to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) attack, the team looks at the manual to their scanner, which had recommendations for improving OCR results (similar typefaces, plain backgrounds, etc.). The team created puzzles by attempting to simulate what the manual claimed would cause bad OCR. (13)

Hacks of the Year: Indonesian Govt (19 Jan, 10 Feb, 24 Apr, 30 Jun, 22 Nov), NASA (5 Mar), UK Conservative Party (27 Apr), Spice Girls (14 Nov)

Technologies of the Year: Push, Multicasting

Emerging Technologies: Push, Streaming Media [:twc:]



pointer.gif (149 bytes)Hobbes' Internet Timeline is released as RFC 2235 & FYI 32

pointer.gif (149 bytes)US Depart of Commerce (DoC) releases the Green Paper outlining its plan to privatize DNS on 30 January. This is followed up by a White Paper on June 5

pointer.gif (149 bytes)La Fête de l'Internet, a country-wide Internet fest, is held in France 20-21 March

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Web size estimates range between 275 (Digital) and 320 (NEC) million pages for 1Q

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Companies flock to the Turkmenistan NIC in order to register their name under the .tm domain, the English abbreviation for trademark

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet users get to be judges in a performance by 12 world champion ice skaters on 27 March, marking the first time a television sport show's outcome is determined by its viewers.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Network Solutions registers its 2 millionth domain on 4 May

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Electronic postal stamps become a reality, with the US Postal Service allowing stamps to be purchased and downloaded for printing from the Web.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Canada kicks off CA*net 3, the first national optical internet

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Compaq pays US$3.3million for

pointer.gif (149 bytes)CDA II and a ban on Net taxes are signed into US law (21 October)

pointer.gif (149 bytes) accidentally posts test US election returns one day early (2 November)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Indian ISP market is deregulated in November causing a rush for ISP operation licenses

pointer.gif (149 bytes)US DoC enters into an agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers (ICANN) to establish a process for transitioning DNS from US Government management to industry (25 November)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)San Francisco sites without off-city mirrors go offline as the city blacks out on 8 December

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Chinese government puts Lin Hai on trial for "inciting the overthrow of state power" for providing 30,000 email addresses to a US Internet magazine (December) [ He is later sentenced to two years in jail ]

pointer.gif (149 bytes)French Internet users give up their access on 13 December to boycott France Telecom's local phone charges (which are in addition to the ISP charge)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Open source software comes of age

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Country domains registered: Nauru (NR), Comoros (KM)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Bandwidth Generators: Winter Olympics (Feb), World Cup (Jun-Jul), Starr Report (11 Sep), Glenn space launch

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Top 10 Domains by Host #: com, net, edu, mil, jp, us, uk ,de, ca, au

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Hacks of the Year: US Dept of Commerce (20 Feb), New York Times (13 Sep), China Society for Human Rights Studies (26 Oct), UNICEF (7 Jan)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Technologies of the Year: E-Commerce, E-Auctions, Portals

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Emerging Technologies: E-Trade, XML, Intrusion Detection



pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet access becomes available to the Saudi Arabian (.sa) public in January

pointer.gif (149 bytes)vBNS sets up an OC48 link between CalREN South and North using Juniper M40 routers

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First Internet Bank of Indiana, the first full-service bank available only on the Net, opens for business on 22 February

pointer.gif (149 bytes)IBM becomes the first Corporate partner to be approved for Internet2 access

pointer.gif (149 bytes)European Parliament proposes banning the caching of Web pages by ISPs

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The Internet Fiesta kicks off in March across Europe, building on the success of La Fête de l'Internet held in 1998

pointer.gif (149 bytes)US State Court rules that domain names are property that may be garnished

pointer.gif (149 bytes)MCI/Worldcom, the vBNS provider for NSF, begins upgrading the US backbone to 2.5GBps

pointer.gif (149 bytes)A forged Web page made to look like a Bloomberg financial news story raised shares of a small technology company by 31% on 7 April.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ICANN announces the five testbed registrars for the competitive Shared Registry System on 21 April.

They are AOL, CORE, France Telecom/Oléane, Melbourne IT, 29 additional post-testbed registrars are also selected on 21 April, followed by 8 on 25 May, 15 on 6 July, and so on for a total of 98 by year's end. The testbed, originally scheduled to last until 24 June, is extended until 10 September, and then 30 November. The first registrar to come online is on 7 June

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First large-scale Cyberwar takes place simultaneously with the war in Serbia/Kosovo

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Abilene, the Internet2 network, reaches across the Atlantic and connects to NORDUnet and SURFnet

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The Web becomes the focal point of British politics as a list of MI6 agents is released on a UK Web site. Though forced to remove the list from the site, it was too late as the list had already been replicated across the Net. (15 May)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Activists Net-wide target the world's financial centers on 18 June, timed to coincide with the G8 Summit. Little actual impact is reported.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)MCI/Worldcom launches vBNS+, a commercialized version of vBNS targeted at smaller educational and research institutions

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Somalia gets its first ISP - Olympic Computer (Sep)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ISOC approves the formation of the Internet Societal Task Force (ISTF). Vint Cerf serves as first chair

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Free computers are all the rage (as long as you sign a long term contract for Net service)

pointer.gif (149 bytes).ps is registered to Palestine (11 Oct)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)vBNS reaches 101 connections

pointer.gif (149 bytes) is sold for US$7.5million (it was purchased in 1997 for US$150,000 (30 Nov)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Top 10 TLDs by Host #: com, net, edu, jp, uk, mil, us, de, ca, au

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Hacks of the Year: Star Wars (8 Jan), .tp (Jan), USIA (23 Jan), E-Bay (13 Mar), US Senate (27 May), NSI (2 Jul), Paraguay Gov't (20 Jul), AntiOnline (5 Aug), Microsoft (26 Oct), UK Railtrack (31 Dec)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Technologies of the Year: E-Trade, Online Banking, MP3

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Emerging Technologies: Net-Cell Phones, Thin Computing, Embedded Computing

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Viruses of the Year: Melissa (March), ExploreZip (June)



pointer.gif (149 bytes)The US timekeeper (USNO) and a few other time services around the world report the new year as 19100 on 1 Jan

pointer.gif (149 bytes)A massive denial of service attack is launched against major web sites, including Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay in early February

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Web size estimates by NEC-RI and Inktomi surpass 1 billion indexable pages

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ICANN redelegates the .pn domain, returning it to the Pitcairn Island community (February)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Various domain name hijackings took place in late May and early June, including,, and

pointer.gif (149 bytes)A testbed allowing the registration of domain names in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean begins operation on 9 November. This testbed only allows the second-level domain to be non-English, still forcing use of .com, .net, .org. The Chinese government blocks internal registrations, stating that registrations in Chinese are its sovereignty right

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ICANN selects new TLDs: .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .pro (16 Nov)
These domains will not be available until sometime in 2001 after contract negotiation and US Dept of Commerce approval

captcha 2000Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas J. Hopper (all of Carnegie Mellon University), and John Langford (of IBM). develop and publicize the notion of a CAPTCHA:

"Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart"

captcha 2000

This includes any program that can distinguish humans from computers. This requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen. The first CAPTCHAs are widely used at Yahoo!.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Hacks of the Year: RSA Security (Feb), Apache (May), Western Union (Sep), Microsoft (Oct)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Technologies of the Year: ASP, Napster

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Emerging Technologies: Wireless devices, IPv6

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Viruses of the Year: Love Letter (May)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Lawsuits of the Year: Napster, DeCSS



The number of Chinese Internet users has risen to 25.4 million from 8.9 in 1999. (8)

August 1 The government of China appeares to be unsure about letting her citizens freely roam the Internet and shuts down those internet shops and cafes that had no official license. In September this year the authorities also closes down the non Chinese search engines. What was left accessible for the Chinese citizens was censored by cybercops. China also asked foreign web sites to refrain from contents that would be regarded as being subversive.
A few days later Google is on line again. But then user's screens remained blank when requesting certain pages with political content.
This is the first relatively successful time that a government tries to impose total control on the contents of the Internet for its citizens. In the past there have been (partial) attempts to do that by other governments(10) but all failed. In the past the means, technology or infrastructure would not allow to have total control and only the big holes could be plugged to bar free access to the Internet. The government of China seemed to think differently. However this action certainly gave other governments some new ideas.
In the latter months of this year the rules to use the Internet for Chinese citizens were tightened and more stringently imposed with all possible means.


The World Wide Web Consortium announced its formal policy for ensuring that key Web technologies, even if patented, are made available on a royalty-free basis.

In a statement, the consortium said that the W3C Patent Policy is designed to reduce the threat that key components of Web infrastructure may be covered by patents which block further development.

Spam is e-mail that is not wanted, is one of the shortest definitions.

In this year Spam has become a serious nuisance and takes up more and more of the internet resources. So much so that universities are creating a new, and more important, faster internet to get rid of this: Internet 2. This network will not be open to the public.
Up to 3 out of 10 emails of an average e-mail user is spam. For heavy users who have at least one reference to their e-mail address on one or more web sites receive 60-90% Spam in their mail box. Leaving one's true e-mail address on a newsgroup or forum assures you to even more Spam. Some times to almost 95-99% Spam, thus 1 out of 100 e-mails in your in-box is unsolicited e-mail.
The industry fights back in setting up anti Spam sites which are using Spam filters, setting up black lists of spam senders, servers, or proxies. And so on. The Spam filtering techniques are getting better but the Spammers too. A war is waging on the e-mail front!

see also spam see also: history of spam ,

see also spyware see also: spyware



250,000 computers infested by Mydoom (1 Feb. 2004)

SCO took down its web site to prevent the attack from hurting its Internet service provider and slowing the Internet, Mr. Stowell said, rather than setting up an alternate web site. SCO Group is offering $US250,000 for information leading to the capture and conviction of the virus' author. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is also offering a $US 250,000 reward.

Mydoom is spreading faster than last year's SoBig virus, which set up programs on infected computers in August to send mass mailings of unsolicited e-mail. A similar virus, the Blaster worm, targeted Microsoft's software-download site in August. That attack was averted when Microsoft took down the site. (9)

Like MS explorer Google dominated the web in searching. The noun 'to Google' has become an accepted term.


Over the years development of searchengines leaped ahead. As AltaVista seemed to be the most important one in the late nine-ties Google has now a comfortable hegemony on the market.

Spam takes up more than 33% of e-mail traffic and this number is growing fast. Also rising is the general concern that spam will kill e-mail as it is used in this year: free to use without practical limitations.

Read on the history of spam

Yahoo starts operations in China under a different name: Yisou.

A search engine made by a company called "3721 Network Software" from Hongkong that was bought in 2003 by Yahoo for USD 120 million. According to Yahoo this software is tailored to the needs of Chinese users by implementing the technology from 3721 Network Software. This is presumed to be a reaction to the announcement from Google to invest in which is the most popular Chinese language search engine in China at the moment.(12)


editors comment:

It is very well possible that the search engine battle will start from China. Soon to be the largest user group of the internet. That this competition will be joined by others is obvious.
The only thing to be worried about is: how much will the government(s) be involved. Since the contemporary Chinese government does not allow its citizens to roam over the internet freely for reasons that clearly opposes free speak and open access to information via the internet. Will other governments follow suite using the new software now developed by Yahoo , Microsoft and Google?
Obvious as well is that one can imagine these companies have made some sort of agreement with the Chinese government concerning the free access to information. Witness the statement: "tailored to the needs of..."



At this moment according to Netcraft there are approximately 75 million websites online. Over 17 million sites were added to the web this year.


part 3index Last Updated on 19 March 2001 For suggestions  please mail the editors 

Footnotes References