The Butterfly Effect

By Adnan Baykal


According to chaos theory, the butterfly effect simply states that a small change in one state of a system can result in large differences in a later state. A butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in another location.

When there is a cyber incident in any part of the world, it impacts the rest of the world.  This impact can come in the form of an increase in the costs of goods and services, additional attempted and/or successful attacks, policy changes, damage to reputation, or a decrease in service quality.  This is the butterfly effect that harms us. So, it is in everyone’s best interest to work towards a more secure online community. To do that, we have to work together. No one can do this alone.  That has been tried and has failed too many times.

Since the formation of the Global Cyber Alliance, I have taken time to talk with cyber security experts and executives of companies trying to find the sweet spot of protecting Internet users at the global scale while not competing with for-profit organizations. I am excited to say I believe we have found the sweet spot with our Global Open Recursive DNS project in which we create and maintain a free, resilient and transparent open recursive DNS infrastructure that blocks malicious domains for everyone around the world, while partnering with organizations to get threat intelligence data in exchange for anonymized telemetry.  I think this endeavor will have a positive butterfly effect in the global cyber ecosystem. We have the potential to protect millions of Internet users and a real chance of making a significant reduction in cyber intrusions while truly helping those who need it.

Already we have several companies that have agreed to share their best threat intelligence with us for this DNS project. We can use it to block general badness on the Internet for users who are using our infrastructure. This project capitalizes on the data that is otherwise not available to the general public and makes it beneficial for them.

This will work. In fact, companies are already supporting this initiative because it is the right thing to do. We are doing it for the same reason. For those entities who have reliable, actionable and up-to-date threat intel, we invite you to participate in this global effort and join this movement. We need to protect the users…we need to protect ourselves. Thank you to all those companies who joined us early on, you are the champions of this effort because without you, this would not be possible.

To participate, please contact me at abaykal@globalcyberalliance.org.

The author, Adnan Baykal, is the Global Technical Advisor at the Global Cyber Alliance. You can follow him on Twitter @adnan_baykal81.