The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kim Dotcom: NZ Prime Minister apologises over unlawful spy operation

The Prime Minister of New Zealand has issued a public apology to Kim Dotcom, the founder of, for an unlawful wiretapping operation mounted against him by the country's spy agency.

The Telegraph, Reuters, 27 Sep 2012

The founder of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, a German national also known as Kim
Schmitz, is seen at court in Auckland earlier this year Photo: REUTERS

An official report showed confirmed the breach of privacy rules on Thursday, prompting the apology from John Key and dealing a possible blow to a US bid to extradite Mr Dotcom..

Washington wants the 38-year-old German national, also known as Kim Schmitz, to be sent to the United States to face charges of internet piracy and breaking copyright laws.

Thursday's report by the Inspector-General of Intelligence, the official watchdog for New Zealand spy agencies, found the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) had spied on Mr Dotcom, despite a law prohibiting it from spying on New Zealand citizens and residents.

The flamboyant Mr Dotcom was granted New Zealand permanent residency status in 2010.
"It is the GCSB's responsibility to act within the law, and it is hugely disappointing that in this case its actions fell outside the law," John Key said in a statement, adding the blunder was the result of "basic errors".

Related Articles

"They [GCSB] have failed at the lowest hurdle," he added.

"I'm personally disappointed. New Zealanders should be very disappointed."

Mr Key apologised to Mr Dotcom and all New Zealanders, saying they were entitled to be protected by the law and that it had failed them.

New Zealand police asked the GCSB to keep track of Mr Dotcom and his colleagues before a raid in late January on his rented country estate near Auckland, which saw computers and hard drives, works of art, and cars confiscated.

The illegal surveillance may deal another blow to the US extradition case after a New Zealand court ruled in June that search warrants used in the raid on Dotcom's home were illegal.

The raid followed a request by the FBI for the arrest of Dotcom for leading a group that netted $175m since 2005 by allegedly copying and distributing music, films and other copyrighted content without authorisation.

Mr Dotcom maintains that the Megaupload site was no more than an online storage facility, and has accused Hollywood of lobbying the US government to prosecute him.

US authorities are currently appealing a New Zealand court decision that Mr Dotcom should be allowed to see the evidence on which the extradition hearing will be based.

The extradition hearing has been delayed until March 2013.

Related Article:

Apple Takes a Wrong Turn With 'Maps' App

Jakarta Globe, Trevor Tan - Straits Times, September 26, 2012

On Apple’s new Maps app (right), a search for City Square Mall in Kitchener
 Road turns up Northpoint Mall in Yishun, while the Google Maps on an Android
phone (left) puts it in the right location. (ST Photo/Dios Vincoy Jr).
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Singapore. According to Apple's new Maps application, Bedok Reservoir is the same as Bedok North.

That is what businessman Leonard Wee found out when he used the app in his new iPhone 5 to trace a Housing Board block near Bedok Reservoir.

"Luckily, I knew the place and didn't have to rely on the app to get there," said Wee, 38, adding that the app pointed him to Bedok North, about 1 km away from his destination.

Singaporeans and consumers elsewhere have voiced frustrations over the app's inaccuracy in pinpointing an exact location, as well as the lack of details of buildings, sites and points of interest.

The problem affects those who are using the iPhone 5, which runs on the iOS 6 operating system, or those who upgraded devices like the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S to iOS 6.

The brouhaha started last Thursday — just before the iPhone 5 was launched — though the brickbats did not dent demand for the smartphone, which notched sales of over five million in three days.

Apple, which replaced Google Maps with its own Maps in iOS 6, had relied on Google's navigation service in its products, like the first iPhone and iPad, since 2007.

Some analysts think the move to drop Google Maps could be linked to Apple's wariness of Google's own attempts to be a major mobile phone player.

Apple Maps' features include turn-by-turn spoken directions to get to destinations, and Flyover 3-D views that you can pan, zoom into and rotate. But it does not have public transport information, which Google Maps has.

Some 3-D views look either flat or comically distorted, while the Flyover feature is not available in Singapore.

Said technology consultant Kenneth Tan, 42, who had upgraded his iPhone 4S to run on iOS 6: "The 3-D views do not show the buildings as advertised."

And when he used Apple's Maps app to seek out City Square Mall in Kitchener Road, it showed Northpoint mall in Yishun.

Other users have also noted that a search for directions to the KK Women's and Children's Hospital would either point them to the right location, or that of the Singapore General Hospital.

According to analysts, the shortcoming is more acute outside the United States.

A Tumblr blog titled "The Amazing iOS 6 Maps" has been set up by a student in Britain to showcase screenshots of Maps' mishaps. Some screenshots show Las Vegas and Chicago "melting" and cities that look like they have had an apocalyptic transformation.

Apple has tried to minimize the damage to its reputation. In a statement to technology news site AllThingsD, Apple's spokesman Trudy Muller said: "Maps is a cloud-based solution, and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better."

Users can report any bugs to the company using the "report a problem" link in the Maps app.

However, there are some who are willing to give Apple time to iron out the kinks. They note that the app is not without its charms or usefulness. "It's actually more fun; I'm amazed to see these little cars in satellite view," said marketing executive Sharon Ng, 34.

Commenting on the turn-by-turn instructions, membership relations manager Celine Yeo, in her mid-40s, said, "as long as it is able to direct me from A to B, it is good enough for me."

Muh Hon Cheng, 31, developer of apps like SG NextBus, said you can still bookmark Google Maps on your home screen. He thinks Apple is being harshly judged as Google Maps has set a very high standard. "I think, compared with other available maps, Apple Maps is probably not far off," said Muh, who feels Apple will act swiftly to fix the issue.

Earlier, there were reports of some users here and elsewhere who had trouble logging into Wi-Fi networks with their iPhone 5 or any other iOS 6 device.

The problem was traced to the gadgets using an Apple web page to ascertain whether they were connected to the Web, and that page was down. It has since been fixed; the problem will go away by turning the Wi-Fi switch on the iOS 6 device off, and on again.

How to get Google Maps back on your iPhone

You can get Google Maps back on your iPhone in the form of a Web app.

In other words, it is a shortcut key that brings you to Google Maps on your mobile browser.

You will be able to get transit directions and more location information. However, there is no Street View or turn-by-turn voice directions.

Here's how to do it:

    •    Start the mobile Safari browser and go to "".
    •    Once it has finished loading, it will prompt you to tap on the arrow icon.
    •    Then tap on the "Add to Home Screen" option.
    •    You will then have Google Maps as a Web app on your home screen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Google: More renewable energy for our data centers

Google Blog, September 26, 2012

We announced our commitment to carbon neutrality back in 2007, and since then we’ve been finding ways to power our operations with as much renewable energy as possible. In our latest step toward this end, we just signed an agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to green the energy supply to our Oklahoma data center with 48 MW of wind energy from the Canadian Hills Wind Project in Oklahoma, which is expected to come online later this year.

We’ve been working with GRDA, our local utility, to procure additional renewable energy since we “plugged in” our data center in 2011, and in February of 2012, GRDA approached us about purchasing power from Canadian Hills. In conjunction with the electricity GRDA already supplies Google to operate its data center, Google will pay GRDA a premium to purchase renewable energy generated by Canadian Hills. This brings the total amount of renewable energy for which Google has contracted to over 260 MW.

This agreement is a milestone for GRDA because it’s their first-ever wind energy project. It’s also a milestone for Google because it’s a little different from the previous Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) we’ve signed, where we agreed to buy the energy directly from the developer who built the wind farm. This agreement, by contrast, marks the first time we’ve partnered with a utility provider to increase the amount of renewable energy powering one of our data centers.

Although both options can make sense depending on the circumstances, we’re excited about this collaboration because it makes the most of our respective strengths: utilities like GRDA are best positioned to integrate renewable energy into their generation mix and to deliver power; we’re a growing company with a corporate mandate to use clean energy for our operations in a scalable way. We’ve been working closely with all of our utility partners to find ways to source renewables directly, and we look forward to working with other suppliers to deliver clean energy to our data centers.

Posted by Gary Demasi, Director, Global Infrastructure team

Access for all: top universities go online

RNW, 25 September 2012

(Photo: facebook)

Want a top-notch university education but unable to commute the thousands of kilometers to one of the world’s best universities—including Stanford, Brown, Columbia and Princeton in the United States and Scotland’s University of Edinburgh and the University of Toronto in Canada? Or perhaps you’re lacking the $54,000+ (about 41,700 euro) that some of those universities estimate it costs to enroll for this academic year alone.

Well, it may not be exactly the same—you can pretty much forget about getting course credit for the moment—but MOOCs—or massive open online courses—are reshaping higher education in the age of the Internet. Earlier this month, Coursera became the biggest MOOC of all (others include edX and Academic Earth), when more than a dozen American and international universities joined their online network of free courses.

The California-based start-up founded last year by two Stanford University computer scientists now offers more than 200 courses to anyone who can access the internet. (And according to a report released this week by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, one-third of the world’s population is now online.

Online education 101

Some 33 educational institutions offer courses from philosophy to mathematics to poetry and guitar lessons through them—including new partners John Hopkins University, the Berklee College of Music and EPF Lausanne in Switzerland. And there’s currently an astounding 680,000 registered students from 190 countries.

With almost 81,000 “likes” on Facebook and comments from followers like Jabar Mhemed Salih, who wrote, “Education for Everyone. Courses from top universities for free.كؤرساتي كمبيوتر بؤ هه مو ان . بئ به رام به ر,” it appears that Coursera is reaching out to the masses worldwide, which is its goal.

Academics, experts and pundits can debate the benefits and pitfalls of taking education out of the classroom, the future of “brick and mortar” institutions and what online education will look like when the institutions involved start to monetize. But as Coursera founders Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng point out in a recent Forbes article, for millions of people worldwide, the choice isn’t between attending traditional classes or taking them online, but “between online education and no education at all.”

The statistics they present (culled from the World Bank) are sobering: college enrollment in Africa is currently at six percent, only about one in 10 of Nigerians who want to can actually attend college due to lack of space, and in Central Asia, while the majority of people complete high school, less than half of those who do continue on to university.

Coursera’s founders are hoping to change that, making education “a fundamental human right.” As the new academic year gets underway, several classes began this week, including courses on organizational and data analysis, Greek and Roman mythology and an introduction to logic. But it doesn’t take much logic to reason that expanding the university classroom to include internet cafes in Nairobi or student unions in Beijing is an A-plus idea.

Related Article:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Israeli rabbi to followers: Burn your iPhones

Associated Press, Sep. 25, 2012

JERUSALEM (AP) — An influential ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi has ordered his followers to burn their iPhones, the latest attempt by the insular community to keep the outside world at bay.

IPhone 5
The religious Yated Neeman newspaper published the ban on its front page this week, as mainstream Israeli newspapers were gushing about Apple Inc.'s eagerly anticipated new smartphone, the iPhone 5.

The decree by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky came ahead of Judaism's holiest day, Yom Kippur, which begins Tuesday. It said that it was forbidden to own the smartphone, and those who already had one must burn theirs.

Israel's growing ultra-Orthodox minority tenaciously guards its traditional way of life against the influence of the secular majority. Many shun TVs and computers to avoid images that break their standards of modesty and values.

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"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Quantum TeachingThe Fear of God, Near-death ExperienceGod Becomes Mythology, Worship, Mastery, Intelligent Design, Benevolent CreatorGlobal Unity.... etc.(Text version)

“.. For centuries you haven't been able to think past that box of what God must be like. So you create a Human-like God with wars in heaven, angel strife, things that would explain the devil, fallen angels, pearly gates, lists of dos and don'ts, and many rules still based on cultures that are centuries old. You create golden streets and even sexual pleasures as rewards for men (of course) - all Human perspective, pasted upon God. I want to tell you that it's a lot different than that. I want to remind you that there are those who have seen it! Why don't you ask somebody who has had what you would call a near-death experience?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flight Attendant Arrested After App Finds Lost iPad

Jakarta Globe, September 23, 2012

An iPad app allows users to track the gadget if it goes missing

Related articles

Washington. A US airline passenger who lost his iPad on board used a special app to find it, in the home of one of the flight attendants, police said.

The attendant, identified as 43-year-old Horizon Air employee Wendy Ronelle Dye, was arrested late Friday, said Bill Kler, spokesman for the Oregon City Police Department near the western state of Oregon's most populous city Portland.

The passenger was a Nevada man who used the Find My iPad app to locate his tablet after it went missing on the plane, Kler told AFP.

Dye told police that travelers on the aircraft said they found the tablet on a seat and gave it to her, and she had planned to turn it over to the airline eventually and had not used it, Kler said.

But police found personal information of hers on it, including her husband's birthday, said the spokesman.

Agence France-Presse
Related Article:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hanging out for Jewish-Arab dialogue in Israel

Google BlogSeptember 21, 2012

Despite the fact that Israeli Arab and Jewish youth live in the same country and even study at the same universities, they often grow up without meeting. When tensions rise in the region, this lack of mutual understanding can lead to stereotyping, hostility and even violence.

We believe the Internet can help break down these barriers. In honor of today’s 30th annual International Day of Peace, we’re partnering with the Peres Center for Peace, a non-profit organization founded by the President of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres. The center promotes cooperation and peacebuilding between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel as well as between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Together, we’ll be holding a series of Hangouts on Google+ designed to enable dialogue between Israeli Arab and Jewish students. “Hanging Out for Peace” is a six-month project that will involve nearly 150 Israeli university students, women and men, with an equal number of Arabs and Jews. Students will be divided into mixed Jewish and Arab ‘circles’, matched with other students who study the same subject at university.

The circles will meet via Hangouts on Google+, led by instructors from the Peres Center, and will undertake online and offline projects related to the circle’s area of academic focus. After a series of Hangouts, the students will meet face to face, present the projects they’ve developed to the larger group of participants and discuss issues that arose during their work together.

The Internet provides a perfect platform for dialogue and cooperation. It can help overcome physical barriers and connect people from different cultures who have shared interests and common values. We’re excited to see how this project develops and hope that, in a small way, it will help foster coexistence and understanding between Israeli Jews and Arabs and, in the future, build bridges between other communities, too.

Posted by Doron Avni, Head of Policy, Israel

(Subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, ArabsEU, USIsrael, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

" ..... If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening. ....."

"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) 
(Subjects: Quantum Teaching, The Fear of God, Near-death Experience, God Becomes Mythology, Worship, Mastery, Intelligent Design, Benevolent Creator
Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“.. For centuries you haven't been able to think past that box of what God must be like. So you create a Human-like God with wars in heaven, angel strife, things that would explain the devil, fallen angels, pearly gates, lists of dos and don'ts, and many rules still based on cultures that are centuries old. You create golden streets and even sexual pleasures as rewards for men (of course) - all Human perspective, pasted upon God. I want to tell you that it's a lot different than that. I want to remind you that there are those who have seen it! Why don't you ask somebody who has had what you would call a near-death experience?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

German spyware business supports dictators

Deutsche Welle, 19 September 2012

German firms are reportedly selling spyware to Middle Eastern dictatorships, and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has called for an EU-wide ban. But another ministry refuses to limit the lucrative trade, say critics.

As many have pointed out, not least Chancellor Angela Merkel in her weekly internet broadcast, the wheels of the Arab Spring have been oiled by social networks and the availability of cheap mobile phones with video cameras.

But repressive governments such as those in Bahrain, Syria, and Turkmenistan have not been slow to use digital weapons to fight back. Pro-democracy activists have come to expect propaganda campaigns undermining their work, as Husain Abdulla, director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), told Deutsche Welle recently, but few were expecting to be targeted by software that could come from a James Bond movie.

A number of software security firms have developed Trojan malware with the ability to remotely grab images from computer screens, intercept and record Skype calls, secretly turn on web cameras and microphones, and record keystrokes. Mobile versions of the spyware exist too, which can turn a smartphone into a tracking device by enabling the phone's GPS system. 

Bahraini activists have been targetted
by malware
The most recent case was revealed by the Munk School of Global Affairs' Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, which analyzed spyware sent to Bahraini activists, including Abdulla, traced it to government-controlled servers in Bahrain, and identified the malware as made by German company FinFisher, a subsidiary of the UK-based Gamma Group.

Virus trade

Typically, according to Abdulla's account, the malware is attached to a legitimate email intercepted by government agents. If the attachment is then opened on the target computer, the virus copies itself into a system folder. When the computer is then re-started, it adds a new code into the system processes. This can hide the Trojan's network communication within a web browser and so avoid firewalls.

Andre Meister, internet activist at the German website, believes the software is very sophisticated. "From what I understand, it is very professionally put together," he told Deutsche Welle
German media reports have already named and shamed a number of German companies - Elaman, Trovicor, Utimaco - said to be involved in the business of selling malware to countries like Turkmenistan and Syria. 

The software can turn a smartphone
into a tracking device
But they are notoriously secretive. None of the above firms responded to DW requests for interviews, and even their promotional literature is kept under wraps, shown only to potential clients. One Elaman "German Security Solutions" brochure, obtained and released by Wikileaks, revealed that the company was helpfully pointing out that its technology could be used to "identify political opponents."


Though the German public and political class insist on stringent data protection laws at home, only opposition parties like the Greens and the socialist Left party have raised concerns about the sale of this software abroad.

"German politicians are maybe a bit critical of American corporations like Google and Facebook, but that doesn't mean that they would prevent the export of malware," said Meister. "After all, Germany is the third biggest weapons exporter in the world. But up until now, the export of this software is not limited in any way."

The legal difficulty, of course, is that this technology is "dual-use" - in other words, it can be used for both legitimate and illegitimate reasons - catching criminals or catching democracy activists.

Speaking to DW earlier this month, Gamma's International Managing Director Martin J. Muench used this as a convenient justification for their business. "We use the Export Controls Authorities (ECA) in the UK, Germany and USA to determine to whom we can sell our products. They in effect act as our 'moral compass,'" he said. "Given that a can of fizzy drink or a car battery can be abused and used as an implement of torture, it is of no surprise to anyone if our products can be abused too."

That sounds reasonable enough - except that there are no export guidelines that cover malware, so there is little that the ECAs can do. "There is no obligation to register where they are exporting to, and the companies don't say," said Meister. "That's the problem - it's all a business secret."

Westerwelle called for an EU-wide ban on malware exports

Pressure increasing

Germany's socialist Left party and the Green Party have both brought up the issue with the government. "We've started initiatives in parliament against the export of dual-use technologies," said Annette Groth, human rights spokeswoman for the socialist Left party. "The Left party has been calling for this for some time."

"We've been pointing out the problem for over a year and a half, ever since the Economy Ministry explicitly supported the export of this software," said the Green Party's internet policy spokesman Konstantin von Notz. "Anyway, everyone has really known about the problem for a long time."

And the pressure seems to be paying off. Speaking at an Internet and Human Rights conference, hosted by the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin last week, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called for a EU-wide ban on the export of surveillance software to totalitarian states.

"These regimes should not get the technical instruments to spy on their own citizens," Westerwelle said. It was a good start, though he failed to give details on what technologies he meant, or by when a ban should be implemented.

For von Notz, it's very clear about where the blame lies. "We know the Foreign Ministry has got this problem in its in-tray too," he said. "But up till now the Economy Ministry has always got its way, and said, 'we can't limit German exports.' Of course they won't say anything about it, but from their practical actions it seems clear that human rights don't matter much to them."

The Economy Ministry would not acknowledge any split in the government. "The German government takes the view that the export of surveillance technologies which can be used to suppress freedom of speech or the press in the Internet is to be limited by the appropriate sanctions," ministry spokeswoman Felicitas Hoch told DW in an emailed statement, before adding that the EU was actively working on introducing extra export controls for surveillance technology for "Syria and Iran."

The statement did not mention Bahrain or Turkmenistan or any of the other dictatorships accused of importing malware. Hoch merely added, "The government is also participating in discussions on a possible extension of export controls for surveillance technology on an international level."

But when this extension might be introduced was left open.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cyber security seeks tools in difficult battle

Deutsche Welle, 12 September 2012

Attacks on communication systems, cyber espionage, military hackers - security experts and top businesspeople are discussing these very real threats at the Cyber Security Summit 2012 in Bonn. Which strategies are best?

Internet crime is a fast-growing, billion-euro business, with hackers no longer just targeting the military.

At a forum organized by the Munich Security Conference and Deutsche Telekom, politicians, businessmen and security experts will gather Wednesday in Bonn to take a closer look at the real threat from the Internet, a possible cyberwar, and how to tackle the problem.

Remote-controlled zombie computers

'Zombie computers' are right now the most efficient form of cybercrime , and the threat is growing at an immense speed. Hackers invade individual computers and control them remotely, creating so-called botnets that can grow to huge proportions. 

Kemmerer tracks down botnets
Richard Kemmerer, a computer science professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara, has witnessed the phenomenon firsthand.

"Two years ago, we stole a botnet from the bad guys," the researcher told the seventh Future Security Conference in Bonn last week. "We had 180,000 hijacked machines reporting to us every 20 minutes. That gave us great insight into the underground economy."

The botnet hacker controls all the compromised computers and can, for instance, prompt them to attack random computer networks. Kemmerer only had 10 days to investigate the captured botnet before the "bad guys" managed to "steal it back." That was time enough to get a better grasp on which machines, including computers from large companies, were infected, he said.

Kemmerer found out which security holes the criminals used, and how they managed to obscure their activities by creating so-called fast-flux networks, which are difficult to locate because they change their domain names several times every hour. "It's hard to find out what domain you want to take down," the researcher said.

Computers are easily infected nowadays, and Kemmerer is particularly concerned about "drive-by" downloads - viruses, Trojans and computer worms that users contract by simply surfing the Internet. "You go and visit an innocent site, but it has been compromised by the bad guys and infected with their software, so when you visit, it installs the software onto your machine," he warned.

Shopping paradise for criminals

Two things make life easy for cybercriminals: straightforward programming software and careless system administrators. Hacking into political party websites and government agency networks therefore becomes easy for inexperienced hackers. Often enough, cybercriminals find easy access to other systems because administrators have neglected necessary software updates for years. 

Hackers can move quickly, Dirro warned
Do not underestimate malware programmers, warns Toralv Dirro, a security strategist at McAffee, a company that offers antivirus and anti-spyware software. Such programmers are highly adept and use every security breach they can find.

Hackers in Eastern Europe, for example in Russia, are seen as particularly diligent, Dirro says, adding that malware programmers there even compete with one another. Their work is so good that one doesn't have to be a computer whiz to get started with Internet crime, he says. "It's better if you know Russian, that is helpful in certain forums," Dirro said. "Everything else, you can buy."

Today's cybercriminals buy software tools - ready-made "crime packages" - to create their very own high-end Trojans. If the hackers don't succeed in letting their virus loose on humanity, Dirro says, they can buy that service for just a few hundred dollars online.

Millions of new viruses, Trojans and computer worms

Every day, about 100,000 new Trojans are unleashed on the Net, according to Dirro. There is no lack of providers offering server space for criminal activities, either. So-called bulletproof hosters are available not only in Russia, but also in the US, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and many other countries. "The providers ask no questions, and if there are too many complaints, [the hosters] get a new IP address," Dirro said.

Thomas Tschersich, head of Group IT Security at Deutsche Telekom, warned that since criminals take advantage of security holes as soon as they arise, the Internet sits wide open to them. For this reason, the fight against cybercrime has to be simultaneously undertaken by all those involved, he added. Internet service providers can systematically monitor data flows for malware to the end device, but require the consent of customers.

Tschersich thinks the legal framework needs to be expanded. So-called deep packet inspection should be utilized, he thinks, but he says customer privacy should also be protected.

Crash tests for new computers

Tschersich promoted a regulatory solution
Tschersich also called on computer manufacturers to improve the situation. "Imagine if you buy a car without brakes, a seatbelt or airbag," he said, comparing the IT world to the automotive industry. Instead, he suggests customers be offered computers that have already passed a "crash test" against viruses.

However, this is made more complicated by the ease with which computers can be networked - computers nowadays sit in a thick network of smartphones, digital televisions, networked printers, alarm systems and much more. All of these devices depend on the Internet, and they are all susceptible to malware.

That's why McAffee strategist Dirro thinks less is more. "Do I really need a digital refrigerator that can automatically restock the milk, or place an order for more salmon?," he asks. Because, he continues, such a device might tempt a determined hacker to send a refrigerated truck to your home full of milk and three tons of fish.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Internet Needs Flexible Governance, Not Restrictive Regulation: Report

Jakarta Globe, September 11, 2012

A woman uses a computer in an internet cafe at the center of Shanghai
 in this January 13, 2010 file photo. In a report released on Monday in
 Geneva, Switzerland, the TMT firm Analysys Mason recommended that
 governments develop a robust Internet ecosystem while avoiding strict
regulations. (Reuters Photo/Nir Elias)
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A new report released by a global telecommunications, media and technology firm reveals that recent proposals to regulate the internet will harm growth and innovation worldwide.

In a report released on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland, the TMT firm Analysys Mason recommended that governments develop a robust Internet ecosystem while avoiding strict regulations.

The report, “Internet global growth: lessons for the future,” authored by Michael Kende, co-head of Regulation at Analysys Mason, examines the impact of proposals that seek to apply the antiquated system for terminating international voice calls through the payment of settlements to Internet traffic.

The proposals in the report are addressed to the International Telecommunications Regulations, which are being readied for the World Conference on International Telecommunications to be held in Dubai this December by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union.

The report highlights the Internet as a driver for growth and opportunity, noting its increasingly central role to consumers, businesses and governments alike.

“Content has transformed from largely text-based to multimedia delivery, global demand and usage has exploded, and access has moved toward wireless over wired,” Kende writes.

Kende says that significant investments must continue to be made in response to these trends, as current projections show that the number of Internet users worldwide will increase from 2.2 billion in 2012 to 3.5 billion in 2020.

The report confirmed the upward swing in Internet usage via mobile broadband throughout the world, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and that further deployment of such technology is best achieved without internationally sanctioned regulatory intervention.

Applying unwarranted static voice regulations to the Internet would negatively impact users across the globe and slow or reverse current growth trends. Furthermore, the rate system would be difficult to design and expensive to implement, and would increase the cost of content delivery and hinder network investment at the expense of users.

Lastly, the report offers specific suggestions for governments in developing countries, including removing roadblocks to investment while stimulating demand, as well as full liberalization of the sector while removing barriers to foreign investment and ownership.

“Spurring access and adoption of the Internet has the ability to transform and improve entire economies, and no one stands to gain more than those in developing nations,” added Kende. “Applying a settlement regime as some countries are proposing is a solution in search of a problem, which would ultimately slow Internet penetration and the availability of content.”