TNW València is here 🇪🇸 Pre-register for 2024

This article was published on September 29, 2011

5 things you can do today to help fix our broken Internet

5 things you can do today to help fix our broken Internet
Brad McCarty
Story by

Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

A few days ago, I posited that the Internet was fundamentally broken in the way that only things which have been patched together could be. The article at the time ended up being a long meeting with CloudFlare’s CEO, but it got me thinking about what we as the informed masses could do in order to help fix things.

It’s with that in mind that I’ve gone back to the thinking stool to come up with some ways that we can all band together to help fix our broken Internet. They’re little steps, but each of them can have a huge impact if enacted broadly. So let’s get to it.

Stay Up To Date

This is vitally important for Windows users, but it also has started to have more of an impact on Mac users too. If there’s a single thing that you can do to help the Internet as a whole, it is to use the latest version of your OS, updated software on that OS and to keep your virus definitions current in your scanner.

So many of the problems that we see, the vulnerabilites of the Internet, come from outdated software. If we could simply convince everyone to turn on automatic updating of their software, and to enable it to upgrade itself, numerous security holes would be closed.

Scan The System

Along the same lins as staying up to date, you need to have up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware scanners installed in your system. Granted, Mac and Linux users don’t have to worry quite so much about this, but Windows users, the onus is on you.

If we could get every computer user to have reliable antivirus and anti-malware protections installed, and get them to keep them up to date, we’d eliminate so many potential problems that it wouldn’t be worth the viurs-maker’s time to continue work on them.

Become the Future

I touched on this briefly in the piece about the broken Internet, and then more in depth when CloudFlare released its IPv6 gateway product, but it’s worth revisiting here — We have to stop living in the past.

Right now we’re living on an IPv4 system that is gasping its dying breaths. In order to move forward, we have to be on IPv6, but in order for hosts to justify the cost, we have to have content on that IPv6 network or else it’s going to be a barren Internet wasteland for anyone who transitions.

So you should find a way to make that IPv6 transition. CloudFlare offers one method, some ISPs are jumping onto the early move, as well. There will be other options as we move forward, and there are even software options being developed that can run on your own Web server. So, it’s more in-depth, but it’s vitally important to push this change forward.

Get Secure

So you don’t care if someone uses your WiFi connection, right? But what if they’re using it to spread problems? What if they’re enabling someone else to cause problems via your connection?

Wireless security is simple, so you should have it enabled. Many of the medium-quality an higher routers on the market offer guest browsing access to which you can freely give out the password and still keep the rest of your network secure. So don’t settle. Buckle down that insecure WiFi and stop having excuses.


It’s a matter of security. It’s a matter of making certain that your information stays your information. If a website offers HTTPS (and many more are, each day) then you should enable it. Twitter does, so do Google and Facebook. For many people on the Internet, that makes up the vast majority of their browsing day.

There’s one other step here, too. If you host a website, and you at any point ask for a user to submit any sort of information, make sure that you’re using a secure connection to do so. There’s hardly anything that I find more annoying on the Internet (except hipsters) than trying to look at something on a website, being asked to sign in, and then getting the insecure page warning.

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that came up to me off the top of my head. Beyond that, though, they’re shareable to your lesser-techie friends. So please, do share it with them and let’s start fixing our broken home.

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Back to top