On June 4th, Mark Graff interviewed Harlan Stenn on CyberMatters Radio as part of the “Hidden Heroes” series they are producing.
You may already know about NTP and network time. This interview is still worth a listen! It gives a great overview of NTP, network time in general and the impact it has on our lives. Mark and Harlan discuss: how network time software works and why it’s important, leap seconds, cyber security impacts and the effects of inaccurate timestamps and how the General Timestamp API will fix them.
Accurate timestamps are of vital importance. One example being the single-track train system; timing is critical to avoid collisions. Another example is the way medical records use timestamps to determine when a medical event occurred and when treatments are administered.
They also discuss the devastating effects of The Blackout of 2003. In the 10 seconds before the blackout, approximately 20,000 incidents occurred. Accurately synchronized networks show the exact order of events making the root cause of problems easily determined. However, time across the network wasn’t synchronized. This critical infrastructure flaw made it impossible to determine the cause.
Harlan and Mark also talk about leap seconds and why we need them. There are approximately 40 physical forces that affect Earth’s rotation, including tides, the jet stream, the sun, circumpolar ocean currents, and earthquakes, to name a few. Because of these physical forces, the Earth’s rotation is slowing at an uneven rate, requiring that adjustments be made to the length of a day. So, about every 1.5 years, we need to add a leap second.
This interview along with other educational videos and information can be found on the NTF Documentation Resources page.
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