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EU begins IPv6 rollout

Enisa has become the first EU agency to begin offering IPv6 services, as experts warn that IPv4 addresses will run out in two years' time
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

The European Network and Information Security Agency, Enisa, announced on Tuesday that it has become the first EU agency to begin offering services over version 6 of the Internet Protocol.

The organisation is now offering its website content over IPv6, according to Enisa security tools expert Demosthenes Ikonomou, following the upgrading of its internal network to provide IP connectivity, DNS lookup and HTTP/S on the new protocol. 

The move is part of the European Commission's IPv6 Action Plan, which sets out a number of steps toward the broad implementation of IPv6 by next year.

IPv6 is principally seen as a way of getting around limitations in the address space of IPv4, the version of Internet Protocol currently in wide use. By 2011 new IPv4 addresses will no longer be available, according to the EU.

The European Commission feels the public sector has an important role to play in helping drive IPv6 adoption, according to Ikonomou. "Customer demand, with the support of the public sector, plays the most important role in the introduction of IPv6," he told ZDNet UK.

In addition, Enisa believes IPv6 can help address vulnerabilities inherent in the older system.

"For example, it is harder to launch opportunistic attacks such as worms against IPv6 hosts and [IPv6] makes reconnaissance probing much more difficult due to the vastness of the address space," he said.

He said the next step will be the deployment of IPv6 on the other services Enisa offers, but said the organisation does not yet have a timeline for these moves. "This will obviously depend on the availability of resources," he said.

Google is another large organisation that has been gradually IPv6-enabling its services, with search engine access enabled in March 2008. The rollout was expanded to include Google Maps in March.

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