Saturday, January 29, 2011

If Shakespeare was writing today, he would have said, “The first thing we do, let's kill all the Internet providers.”

Egypt Shut Down Its Net With a Series of Phone Calls

… While the world has seen net filtering and disruption in places like Burma and Iran following social and political unrests, Egypt’s decision to shutter it is different, according to Craig Labovitz, the chief scientist at Arbor Networks, a computer security firm that has nearly unequaled real data on international internet traffic.

“What’s different with Egypt is the scale,” Labovitz told “By that I mean that Egypt has fairly significant internet infrastructure with a diversity of paths — satellite, microwave and fiber links — a number of large providers and hundreds of smaller providers. It is one of the more significant internet infrastructures in the Middle East and certainly within Africa. Egypt has a very well-developed economy with a significant reliance on the internet, this is very different from Burma.”

(Related) Think it couldn't happen here?

Internet ‘Kill Switch’ Legislation Back in Play

Legislation granting the president internet-killing powers is to be re-introduced soon to a Senate committee, the proposal’s chief sponsor told on Friday.

The resurgence of the so-called “kill switch” legislation came the same day Egyptians faced an internet blackout designed to counter massive demonstrations in that country.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, is being floated by Sen. Susan Collins, the Republican ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The proposed legislation, which Collins said would not give the president the same power Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is exercising to quell dissent, sailed through the Homeland Security Committee in December but expired with the new Congress weeks later.

The bill is designed to protect against “significant” cyber threats before they cause damage, Collins said.

(Related) Maybe it is too good?

Does Obama’s ‘Net Freedom Agenda’ Hurt The U.S.?

On Thursday, President Obama declared access to social networks to be a “universal” value, right alongside freedom of speech. But when those networks helped weaken Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, one of the U.S.’ strongest allies in the Middle East, the Obama team demanded Mubarak turn the Egyptian Internet back on — but didn’t abandon support for him, either. Maybe this “Internet Freedom Agenda” wasn’t so well thought out?

For more than a year, the White House has been pushing the idea that online connections are a good thing — no matter what’s said using those tools. It’s a way of signaling to wired people, not just governments, that the U.S. is on their side. The Obama administration called for Twitter to stay online during 2009 protests in Iran, and U.S. cash for new social networks like Pakistan’s Humari Awaz and SMS relief webs for Haitian earthquake victims. “The very existence of social networks,” State Department tech adviser Alec Ross said, “is a net good.”

(Related) What was different in Tunisia? They didn't understand that they could shut it down...

Exclusive: Tunisia Internet Chief Gives Inside Look at Cyber Uprising


Egypt Cuts the Net, Net Fights Back

GMGruman writes

"Egypt's cutoff of the Net enrages the Netizenry, who are finding a bunch of ways — high tech and low tech — to fight back, from dial-up to ham radio, from mesh networks to Twitter. Robert X. Cringely shows how the Net war is being waged, and asks, Could it happen at home, too?"

Sure, it could. On the same topic, reader dermiste writes

"In reaction to the Egyptian government crackdown on the Internet, the French non-profit ISP French Data Network set up a dial-up Internet access. This way, anyone in Egypt who has access to a analog phone line and can call France is able to connect to the network using the following number: +33 1 72 89 01 50 (login: toto, password: toto)."

Just in time for Privacy Day?

Data retention push confirms DOJ hypocrisy

January 29, 2011 by Dissent

Chris Soghoian writes:

As I described in a lengthy blog post a couple days ago, the US law enforcement community is yet again pushing for mandatory data retention laws, which would require internet service providers to keep records detailing the IP addresses issued to their customers.

At the hearing last Tuesday, Jason Weinstein of the Department of Justice argued that the government needed this data to be able to effectively investigate serious crimes, such as terrorism and child exploitation.

In what truly is a bit of Orwellian doublespeak Mr. Weinstein told the Congressional committee that retaining this data would actually protect privacy….

Read more on slight paranoia.

[From the argument:

Imposing greater retention requirements would raise legitimate concerns about privacy, and these concerns should be considered. However, the absence of strong data retention requirements introduces different privacy risks, as the government may be less effective at targeting malicious activities that threaten citizens’ private data. [Sounds remarkably like, “In order to save the village, it was necessary to destroy it.” Bob]

Not as easy as “do not call” because the technology is based on a network intended to route around roadblocks?

Is True Do-Not-Track a Pie in the Sky?

January 28, 2011 by Dissent

Richard Adhikari writes about recent browser developments addressing “do not track.” Of particular interest to me, this part of his discussion:

Further, the requirements of do-not-track guidelines might create problems, Greenhouse told TechNewsWorld.

“An ad that is well-targeted based on other factors that don’t fall under do-not-track could be misinterpreted by the consumer as a violation,” Greenhouse explained. “I would anticipate that anyone responsible for enforcement will have to wade through mountains of false positives.”


“Ultimately, someone who’s very technology-savvy will have to draft a very clear, detailed set of guidelines that are mindful of the realities of Web application architecture,” Greenhouse said.

Those guidelines will still depend on implementation by websites and ad networks, Greenhouse remarked. “It’s just not something that a Web browser can accomplish on its own,” he added.

Read more on TechNewsWorld.

Will this be banned in the US?

UK ISPs Consider VPN To Avoid Piracy Crackdown

"Broadband internet providers in the UK are considering whether or not to follow the example of a Swedish ISP, Bahnhof, which recently put all of its customers behind a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) in order to circumvent new European Data Retention and Internet Copyright Infringement laws. By doing this is makes their logs less useful to outside forces (e.g. rights holders) and allows customers to use the internet anonymously. However several UK ISPs, including business provider AAISP (Andrews and Arnold), have suggested that there may be better solutions than sticking everybody behind a costly VPN. AAISP's boss, Adrian Kennard, claims, 'something ISPs will be doing anyway, carrier grade NAT, will create a similar anonymity as there is no requirement to log NAT sessions.' Meanwhile, Timico's CTO, Trefor Davies, warns, 'It would be a pretty costly project for all ISPs to implement such a system. It would also bring with it risks – suddenly it becomes a lot easier for governments to start monitoring all your traffic because it all goes through a single point (or at least a few points) on the network.'"

I wonder how much will reach Facebook users?

Facebook Spammer Fined $360 Million

"Facebook has been awarded $360,500,000 in damages against spammer Philip Porembski, who phished the login details of at least 116,000 Facebook users and sent more than 7.2 million spam messages to victims' online friends. Facebook claimed it received more than 8,000 complaints from users as a result of the spam campaign, and more than 4,500 users had deactivated their accounts."

(That's Wharton) Interesting, but nothing earth shattering.

January 27, 2011

Whaton Knowledge: On the Move: Adapting to a New Global Economy

The Lauder Global Business Insight Report 2011 - On the Move: Adapting to a New Global Economy:

  • "In this special report, students from the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies analyze some of the more far-reaching changes affecting people, industries and regions around the world. The articles offer new perspectives on trends that will shape the coming year, including the emergence of a high-tech sector in Russia, the growth of private equity in Brazil and China, and the rise of social investing in France. Industries undergoing significant change are analyzed in articles about new media-driven ventures in the Middle East, improvements in educational opportunities for lower- and middle-class Mexican students, the rise of solar power in France, China's push to speed up the manufacture of electric cars and Mexico's initiatives to promote sustainable housing. Other articles look at the production of unique regional products in Japan, and an innovative French company that offers clients opportunities to become wine experts. The sports business is explored by examining new forces shaping China's approach to promoting basketball, and the ways in which Brazil may, or may not, benefit from the 2014 World Cup. The rise of German patriotism, the economic impact of the drug wars in Mexico, and how new urban prosperity in parts of China is affecting the strategy of multinational retailers are also analyzed."

You only need to backup the things you can't do without... Translations: Personal – backup anything you don't want to re-create or re-purchase. Business – backup anything your manager would fire you for losing, delete everything else.

Backup Your PC With Ease For Free Using Easeus Todo Backup [Windows]

Backing up your data is one of those things in life that you really won’t understand until disaster strikes, by which time it’s too late. For most people who haven’t experienced data-loss, the task of backing up just seems like such a good idea in theory, but so much effort in reality.

But take my advice, use this incredible free Easeus Todo Backup software and it’ll be so easy you won’t even have to think about it.

There are also full guides on the site for every type of backup operation you could want.

For my students...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quicklyst - A Quick Way to Create Outlines

Quicklyst is a nice tool for taking notes and creating outlines. Quicklyst provides a simple outline template that you can use to take notes. There are two neat features of Quicklyst that really stand out. First, you can do basic web searches within the framework of taking notes. To do a search just type a question mark (?) before a word then press enter. Quicklyst will then fill-in that line with some basic information about that word. For example, when I typed ?egypt that line on my outline was filled with some basic information about Egypt. The other useful feature offered by Quicklyst is the option to search within your notes. If you've created a lot of outlines in your Quicklyst account you can use the search function to quickly locate your notes about a particular topic.

Quicklyst can be accessed from your computer, your Kindle, your iOS device, or your Android device. You can also download and print your notes from Quicklyst.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Isn't this the same control the US government wants?

Egypt Shuts Off All Internet Access

"Several sources are reporting Egypt has shut off all Internet access. There is still no official confirmation. Blackberry, twitter and SMS seem confirmed off. So, if you were there, what would you do to get communications for everyone? Do you still have a POTS modem?"

Something for Privacy Day...

The Real Reason No One Reads Privacy Policies [INFOGRAPHIC]

How many e-companies are dong this? Latest Site Trying to Beat Regulators to Privacy Punch

January 28, 2011 by Dissent

Katy Bachman reports:

Friday is Data Privacy Day and at least one company, job search giant,, is using the occasion to announce additional privacy controls for the 68 million job seekers reached annually by behaviorally targeted ads through its Career Ad Network.

Monster is one of many Internet companies that’s recently been feeling the heat coming from probes by the Federal Trade Commission, the Commerce Department and Congress, and is taking privacy policy into its own hands before the regulators do.

“We want to make sure our users know what we’re doing with their information and that we maintain their trust. In light of what is going on, we don’t want consumers to be concerned about what we’re doing,” said Mary Cavanaugh, manager and counsel of global privacy for Monster. “We think we’re ahead of the game.”

All the recruitment ads Monster places for its company clients will now contain a hyperlink that allows consumers to either opt-out of behavioral targeted ads or provide more information for better results. Before this new just-in-time hyperlink notification, Monster provided an opt-out control through its privacy policy.

Read more on AdWeek.

So, if the UK is doing a bad job, who is doing a good job (and what are they doing?)

Privacy study signals a worrying increase in surveillance across Europe

January 28, 2011 by Dissent

Yesterday I pointed readers to Privacy International’s newly revamped web site and their infographic on surveillance issues by country. On Data Privacy Day (Data Protection Day in Europe), it seems appropriate to also post their press release on the state of privacy protection in the EU:

A landmark EU-wide study of national privacy safeguards published today shows a decline in privacy protection across Europe and a steep increase in state surveillance over the lives of individuals.

The year-long study, funded by the European Commission and backed by a 600-page analysis of privacy in 31 countries, was co-authored by the London-based global watchdog Privacy International, the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington DC and the Center for Media and Communications Studies of the Central European University in Budapest.

The study includes a rating for EU member states and accession candidate countries. This rating pits Britain and Ireland fighting over the bottom of the privacy league.

Further information about the project will be found at

The EPHR project comprises three action areas: (1) Map European privacy laws and recent developments as well as summarise the trends in the light of the right to privacy; (2) disseminate information and publish it on multiple online and offline platforms; and (3) develop innovative awareness-raising campaigns to be launched at the European Data Protection Day on 28th January 2011. The country reports were also translated into native languages.

The EPHR project builds upon the EPIC and Privacy International publication “Privacy & Human Rights: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments“, which is the most authoritative reference on privacy regulations and developments worldwide.

Read more on Privacy International

For my Ethical Hackers and Computer Security students...

Protecting your privacy from webcam threats

January 28, 2011 by Dissent

For Data Privacy Day, Cybrosys Technologies writes:

So you own a webcam? Good! Welcome to being watched then.

Cyber crime is a fascinating field: constantly evolving, and always innovating. Meet its most latest brain child: hacking webcams without even the owner knowing!

The idea is simple: they turn on your webcam and watch you. Oh no, you will not be asked to pose or say cheese. They simply capture away pictures and videos of yours or anything in the webcam’s field, when you go about doing stuff, blissfully unaware.

Switching off your cam is not going to help either. The webcam hacking spyware works with a Trojan backdoor software that will turn on the web cam on its own. This can be installed in your system when you download innocent-looking picture or video or music files.

Read more on Cybrosys. Although they mention “studies” about this problem, I see no studies mentioned – just some news reports describing cases where people didn’t know they were being monitored via their webcams, including the Lower Merion case. But the article may inspire some people to shield their webcam lens if they’re not really using it.


iSpy Turns Your Computer Webcam Into Surveillance Equipment [Windows]

iSpy … has the ability to record video, record audio, provide online access to video and more.

… iSpy is able to record multiple video streams at once, so this launch area is meant to provide the space needed to keep tabs on a large number of cameras.

For my Lawyer friends...

Facebook Posts Mined For Courtroom Evidence

"Defense lawyers are increasingly gaining permission from US courts to mine the private comments and postings on Facebook accounts to be used as evidence during trials. The first example — noted in Slashdot in September — has given way to an avalanche of new cases — and a worrying precedent that judges consider social networking content to be public data." [Isn't it? Bob]

The flip side of Facebook... and perhaps a new area for Lawyers?

SI man hits Facebook with $500G suit

A Staten Island man is poking Facebook with a $500,000 lawsuit for disabling his account.

Mustafa Fteja said his account was disabled without explanation this past September, cutting off his access to friends and family around the world, as well as to personal memories and photos.

… Fteja, 39, said he's pressed the company for months to find out what happened, but to no avail.

"You call, they don't answer the phone. You write, they don't reply," he said - leaving him no choice but to go to court to get what he considers his property back.

… He found out he'd been cut off from his outside world this past Sept. 24, when he tried to sign on to his account, but couldn't. After a few more attempts, the site told him his account had been "disabled."

He tried to find out why, but ony got a form e-mail back two weeks later telling him he'd somehow violated the terms of the Facebook agreement. The social network typically cuts off users if they've posted objectionable content, or are suspected of spamming. Fteja said he didn't post anything objectionable, and he's no spammer.

… "Did someobody hack my account? I don't know. If it's that someobody hacked my account, Facebook should help me. If you have a problem with your AOL login, AOL helps you. Not Facebook," he said.

Since the site didn't inform his "friends" that his account had been disabled, many assumed he'd defriended them.

...His suit seeks money damages - and the restoration of his account. "While the requested service is free, the plaintiff has spent timeless hours creating content and relationships [Facebook] benefitted from," the suit says.

Facebook did not respond to e-mails for comment.

Another look at what the police can get and how they get it...

When can cops gain access to my personal info on Facebook?

January 28, 2011 by Dissent

G.W. Schulz reports:

…. Digital rights advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been suing federal agencies for months under the Freedom of Information Act with help from the Samuelson Clinic at UC Berkeley’s School of Law. The goal was to force open policies that explain when social networking sites can be used for government surveillance, data collection and investigations.

Results made public so far by EFF are available below for more than a dozen sites in a chart built by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Old and new policies alike are posted next to the document year, so you can compare possible changes over time. EFF argues that the variety among them shows how “social networking sites have struggled to develop consistent, straightforward policies.”

The chart makes for an interesting read.

Schulz also notes:

Verizon testified to Congress four years ago that it faced tens of thousands of requests for customer data annually. Google’s “Transparency Report,” praised by observers as a leading example of openness, lists how many it receives from countries around the globe: nearly 4,300 in the United States alone during a six-month period last year.

Facebook recently told reporter Bob McMillan that it would be releasing some information in the future, but did not specify when or exactly how they would handle it. And just today we learned that Comcast had indicated in an affidavit that it had revealed information on 36,771 customers to law enforcement over the past four years.

Read Schulz’s full report on the Center for Investigative Reporting. At the very least, consumers should be able to get clearer statements from some companies as to what their policies are about turning over information to law enforcement. Otherwise, how can consumers make an informed decision as to whether they want to use a service or trust a company with their data?

Tools for my Ethical Hackers. As I read this, I could install the software on your computer and have it quietly copy everything to my “backup” account in the Netherlands. - Back Up All Your Data

As the title of the review puts it, this is a new alternative for those who have decided it is time to back all their data. In this particular case, the storage process is made possible by installing and then launching a small application. This will take care of uploading all your data to the cloud, where you will be able to access it later on, at any time you want.

And (as it is only suitable) Safeberg takes care of backing up your data automatically. Once installed, it will do the job for you without you even noticing. And it is very important to mention that Safeberg can actually take care of backing up files that are open - its continuous backup capabilities make that possible.

The free version of Safeberg will let you store up to 2 GB of data...

(Related) I wonder if I can make Hillary Clinton sound like Elmer Fudd?

MorphVOX Junior 2.7.5

MorphVOX® Junior is free voice changer software that will modify your voice to match your personality. You can sound like a man, woman, or little folk. Built-in voices and sound effects make this voice changer so convenient to use.

Closing the barn door? Can they stop distribution of changes he made to his own PS3?

Sony Wins Restraining Order Against Geohot

"The courts have just issued a temporary restraining order against George Hotz (Geohot). Sony filed this lawsuit because they were unhappy that Geohot had released the Playstation 3 decryption keys so other people could play unsigned games on it. [Geohot is prohibited from] 'offering to the public, creating, posting online, marketing, advertising, promoting, installing, distributing, providing, or otherwise trafficking' in any software or methods for circumventing the PS3's protection methods. No longer can he 'provide links from any website to any other website' relating to such matters, or publish any information obtained by hacking the PS3. And more to the point, he can no longer 'engage in acts of circumvention of TPMS in the PS3 System to access, obtain, remove, or traffic in copyrighted works.' Pretty much he can't talk or think about the PS3 for some time."

As threatened promised...

Netflix Compares ISP Streaming Performance

"The Netflix blog compared streaming performance among 20 top ISPs for the past three months. A Netflix HD stream can provide up to 4800 kbps, but the fastest American ISP, Charter, could sustain only 2667 kbps on average. Most Canadian ISPs beat that, with champ Rogers providing an average of 3020 kbps. Clearwire, Frontier, and CenturyTel were in the doghouse with under 1600 kbps."

It looks like Scott Adams has been through TSA security recently...

Best summary of Social Networks I have seen yet...

Twitter = I need to pee.

Facebook = I peed!

Foursquare = I'm peeing here.

Youtube = Watch this pee!

LinkedIn = I pee well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Instant background research?

Quora + CrunchBase + LinkedIn = Best Extension Ever?

… The straightforward app is very, very slick. You simply visit the website of a company you’re interested in, hit the extension button, and you get an overlay of the CrunchBase, LinkedIn, and Quora data for the company. The CrunchBase column shows you the funding information, the LinkedIn column shows you your connections within the company, and the Quora column shows you some of the Q&A conversations going on about about company.

Polaris Insights is Chrome-only for now, but Spoon says that if it’s popular enough, they’ll gladly do a Firefox version.

Facebook addresses Security...

Facebook: A Continued Commitment to Security

January 26, 2011 by Dissent

Alex Rice announces a welcome decision on Facebook’s blog:

This Friday is Data Privacy Day, an international effort by governments, businesses and advocacy groups to raise awareness about the importance of staying in control of personal information. A key part of controlling information has always been protecting it from security threats like viruses, malware and hackers.

That’s why we’ve developed a number of complex systems that operate behind the scenes to keep you secure on Facebook. In addition, we’ve created some advanced features you can use to help protect yourself even more, such as remote logout and one-time passwords. These features are especially useful when you’re uncertain whether your network or computer is secure. Today, we’re announcing two new such features.

A Secured Connection

If you’ve ever done your shopping or banking online, you may have noticed a small “lock” icon appear in your address bar, or that the address bar has turned green. This indicates that your browser is using a secure connection (“HTTPS”) to communicate with the website and ensure that the information you send remains private. Facebook currently uses HTTPS whenever your password is sent to us, but today we’re expanding its usage in order to help keep your data even more secure.

Starting today we’ll provide you with the ability to experience Facebook entirely over HTTPS. You should consider enabling this option if you frequently use Facebook from public Internet access points found at coffee shops, airports, libraries or schools. The option will exist as part of our advanced security features, which you can find in the “Account Security” section of the Account Settings page.


Social Authentication


Instead of showing you a traditional captcha on Facebook, one of the ways we may help verify your identity is through social authentication. We will show you a few pictures of your friends and ask you to name the person in those photos. Hackers halfway across the world might know your password, but they don’t know who your friends are. [Unless they ask and you answer... Bob]

Read the entire post on Facebook’s blog.

(Related) ...but not very well.

Facebook roll-out of new features encounters some bumps

January 26, 2011 by Dissent

Facebook’s roll-out of its new security feature, social authentication, is not without its problems, it seems. Helen A.S. Popkin writes:

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook today, no doubt you’ve seen more than a few of your Facebook friends describing the hoops they had to jump through just to log on — that is, if you’ve managed to log on yourself. If you haven’t yet tried, be prepared to correctly identify a series of photos from the accounts of random friends to prove you are who you say you are.

Read more on MSNBC.

And over on Digital Society, George Ou writes that the other new security feature, HTTPS, isn’t going so swimmingly either:

… there are some major problems with this update from Facebook. First, the feature doesn’t work yet even though they’re saying it’s available as of today, and I can’t enable the always enable HTTPS whenever possible option under account settings. Second, the feature should be turned on for everyone automatically because most people won’t even know about this.

Read more on Digital Society.

US ISP's will not go this way, because then they can't do Behavioral Advertising and have no basis for charging more...

Swedish ISPs To Thwart EU Data Retention Law

"After a leaked document from the department of justice showed police will be able to demand extensive private information for minor offenses, some Swedish ISPs have decided to fight back (translated article). By routing all traffic through VPN, they plan to make the gathered data pointless. ISP Bahnhof says they will give you the option to opt out of VPN, but giving up your privacy will cost extra."

[From the article:

Bahnhof choose a technical solution that allows them to not know what their customers do online, which they sent or are talking to. The information that they save is thus irrelevant to the police.

Even if not passed, this is a stab at a definition of Network neutrality.

Senators Bash ISP and Push Extensive Net Neutrality

"Remember when Verizon sued the FCC over net neutrality rules? Well, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Al Franken (D-MN) see it a bit differently and have authored a new working bill titled 'Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 (PDF).' The bill lays out some stark clarity on what is meant by Net Neutrality by outright banning ISPs from doing many things including '(6) charge[ing] a content, application, or service provider for access to the broadband Internet access service providers' end users based on differing levels of quality of service or prioritized delivery of Internet protocol packets; (7) prioritiz[ing] among or between content, applications, and services, or among or between different types of content, applications, and services unless the end user requests to have such prioritization... (9) refus[ing] to interconnect on just and reasonable terms and conditions.' And that doesn't count for packets sent over just the internet connections but also wireless, radio, cell phone or pigeon carrier. Franken has constantly reiterated that this is the free speech issue of our time and Cantwell said, 'If we let telecom oligarchs control access to the Internet, consumers will lose. The actions that the FCC and Congress take now will set the ground rules for competition on the broadband Internet, impacting innovation, investment, and jobs for years to come. My bill returns the broadband cop back to the beat, and creates the same set of obligations regardless of how consumers get their broadband.'"


Is Netflix trying to embarrass certain ISPs?

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said it is "inappropriate" for Internet service providers to require his company to pay all the costs of delivering streaming video to a subscriber's home, and tomorrow he plans to do something about it.

In a letter from Hastings to Netflix shareholders published today, he said it is only fair for ISPs to accept some of the financial burden since it is the ISPs' customers who have requested Netflix's content. Hastings made it clear that he hasn't received enough cooperation from ISPs.

In response, Netflix plans to publish statistics about which ISPs are best at delivering "the best, most-consistent high speed Internet for streaming Netflix."


Cisco: Puppy cams threaten Internet

Network demand will explode, fueled by unexpected growth in ambient video, like puppy cams and surveillance video, according to reports from the 33rd Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) conference held last week in Hawaii.

Telegeography Research presented estimates that global broadband Internet subscribers will climb to more than 700 million by 2013, with more than 300 million from Asia, compared to about 100 million in North America, and nearly 200 million in Europe.

And Robert Pepper, Cisco vice president for global technology policy, presented findings from the company's Visual Networking Index, which showed that global IP traffic is expected to increase more than fourfold (4.3 times) from 2009 to 2014.

In fact, global IP traffic is expected to reach 63.9 exabytes per month in 2014. This is equivalent to 766.8 exabytes per year -- almost three-quarters of a zettabyte. The most surprising trend is that video traffic surpassed peer-to-peer volumes in 2010 for the first time.

An unexpected driver in this overall growth of Internet traffic is the surge in ambient video. This is so-called "puppy cam" traffic -- fixed video sources featuring pets, so-called "nanny cam" child care and health monitoring video streams, and especially security camera applications.

“This a much bigger deal than anyone thought,'' said Pepper. He added that the popular Shiba Inu Puppy Cam site was said to have more Internet viewing hours than all of ESPN online video. In fact, of the top online video sites in Europe last year, "three of the top 20 are ambient video, and these didn't exist a year ago."

“We can't lower the threat level. If something happened when we said there was little risk, we'd look foolish!”

DHS to End Color-Coded ‘Threat Level’ Advisories

The changeover comes more than a year after the Homeland Security Advisory Council recommended altering the terror-alert code.

… The threat level has not changed in more than four years.

Perception is everything. No one asks, “Will it work?”

Even DHS Is Freaked Out by Spy Drones Over America

Police departments around the country are warming up to unmanned spy planes. But don’t expect the Department of Homeland Security to catch drone fever anytime soon. It’s too controversial for an agency already getting hammered for naked scanners and junk-touching.

For my Computer Security students

Trustwave 2011 Global Security Report Reveals Shift in Cybercrime

January 26, 2011 by admin

Missed a press release from Trustwave last week, but worth noting:

Today Trustwave unveiled its 2011 Global Security Report, which reveals the target of attacks has shifted from traditional infrastructure to mobile users and endpoint devices. This trend combined with the popularity of mobile devices and social media is providing the perfect recipe for cybercriminals looking to compromise business, customer and user private and sensitive information. The report offers analyses of data compromise investigations, offensive security exercises and defense strategies taken directly from Trustwave’s expansive global client base.

Key Report Findings

  • Food and beverage regained its title as the most breached industry-representing 57% of the investigations.

  • Third-party vendors continue to put companies at risk-88% of breaches resulting from insecure software code or lax security practices in the management of third-party technology.

  • Cybercriminals got fresh in 2010-because in-transit credit card data is usually more recently created (more fresh) than stored data, 66% of investigations found the theft of data in transit.

  • A single organized crime syndicate may be responsible for more than 30% of all 2010 data breaches.

Evolving Threats

  • Among the most interesting and surprising elements of the report is the rate and sophistication of attacks against mobile platforms and social networking sites. As the security of mobile networks has improved, mobile devices are increasingly the target of attacks, while social networking sites are quickly becoming cybercriminals’ platform of choice to expand and propagate destructive botnets. Drive-by infections and mobile phishing attacks were among the most popular client-side attacks in 2010.

  • Geolocation data is helping cybercriminals launch more sophisticated and targeted attacks against social networks.

  • Mobile devices offer cybercriminals an open door to corporate authentication credentials, sensitive data and trade secrets.

  • Anti-virus software is losing the battle against malware – the new breed of malware is virtually undetectable by current scanning software.

A complete copy of the “2011 Global Security Report” is available at:

Report Methodology

The foundation of Trustwave’s Global Security Report 2011 is data from real-world investigations and research that SpiderLabs performed in 2010. Results are based on information gathered from over 200 data breach investigations, 2,300 penetration tests and other security-as-a-service (SaaS) activities conducted for our clients. Standardized tools were used to record data, as well as other relevant details for each case or test.

Also for my Computer Security students

Why Corporate Counsel Should Lose Sleep Over the Federal Wiretap Act

January 26, 2011 by Dissent

Philip L. Gordon writes:

Once seen only in the shadows of the war against organized crime, the Federal Wiretap Act should now be moving steadily and rapidly toward the top of the corporate compliance checklist. Robust civil remedies, recent court decisions and technological developments have transformed the act’s risk profile from a nonevent to a statute worthy of significant attention.

Although principally a criminal statute, the Federal Wiretap Act is unique among privacy laws in that it provides for substantial monetary damages without proof of actual harm.

Read the legal commentary on U.S. v. Szymuszkiewicz and other court decisions and their implications on

For my Intro to IT students. No wonder you're confused... If you can't (or won't) meet the standards, change the standards!

Wired Explains: What U.S. Carriers Mean by ‘4G’

… Loosely defined, 4G stands for the the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards. In the narrow terms originally defined by International Telecommunication Union standards, it doesn’t count as 4G unless it offers download speeds of 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps. That’s about 100 times faster than any speeds we’re seeing on networks now.

If we were to judge the networks available to us now by this standard, none of them would be considered 4G.

Luckily for the carriers, we aren’t judging that way — at least, not anymore. In December at the ITU World Radiocommunication Seminar in Geneva, the ITU allowed the term “4G” to “also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement” compared to current 3G networks.

People at the extreme ends of the Bell Curve are difficult to categorize.

Xbox Live Labels Autistic Boy "Cheater"

"Jennifer Zdenek, the mother of an 11-year-old boy who lives with autism, is outraged at Microsoft Xbox Live for labeling her son a 'cheater' and taking away everything he's earned online. She says her son, Julias Jackson, is so good at playing X-Box games, Xbox LIVE thought he cheated. She says her son got online last week to play Xbox LIVE and saw that he was labeled a cheater and had zero achievements. Microsoft continues to ignore her requests to take 'cheater' off of his account."

Tools & Techniques Take all your Hacking tools with you!

PAC: Easily Create Your Own Portable Apps – No Programming Knowledge Required [Windows]

The concept of portable apps gives you the convenience of always having all of your favorite applications all of the time without the trouble of installing them on every computer you use. Just put them on your USB thumb drive, and you are good to go.

You can begin building your portable apps collection by going through the list on this article: 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick, by visiting PortableApps, or by using a search engine. Most popular applications (and some of the not-so popular ones) are available as portable apps, so there are plenty for you to play with. But if you can’t find the ones that you need, you can build your own. The adventurous types can try the manual way, while the more practical types can use PAC – Portable App Creator.

For my Visual Learners (i.e. Students who won't read...)

How Big Is The Internet? (Infographic)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How does a government deal with a social network inspired protest?

Egypt slams lid on protests, Twitter

The Egyptian government has banned further protests against the long rule of President Mubarak and shut off access to Twitter after a day of violent protests left three people dead.

… Twitter said, at about midnight UK time: "We can confirm that Twitter was blocked in Egypt around 8am PT today. It is impacting both & applications."


Why Twitter is mum on Egypt block

… But when CNET contacted Twitter for comment to find out whether they could say if Twitter was blocked in Egypt, no statement was provided--just a link to an evidently new Twitter account, @TwitterGlobalPR, which in turn directed those interested in finding out about an alleged block to consult a site called HerdictWeb.

HerdictWeb, run by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society under the auspices of digital academic Jonathan Zittrain, keeps a crowd-sourced log of reports about which sites are inaccessible in which countries. According to HerdictWeb around 11 a.m. PT on today, seven reports of Twitter inaccessibility in Egypt had been logged.

The @TwitterGlobalPR account, which seems to have been freshly launched on Tuesday, explained more later in the day. "We're not the experts on how Twitter is being used in highly developing situations 1000s of miles from our comfortable HQ in SF," it explained. "The experts are those using Twitter on the ground and those coordinating with them around the world."


After Blocking Twitter, Egypt Reportedly Starts Restricting Access To Facebook

All carrot, no stick? Not sure I agree (so what else is new?)

The Federal Trade Commission and Privacy: Defining Enforcement and Encouraging the Adoption of Best Practices. (Version 2.0)

January 25, 2011 by Dissent

An updated working paper by Andy Serwin:

The Federal Trade Commission and Privacy: Defining Enforcement and Encouraging the Adoption of Best Practices. (Version 2.0) Andrew B. Serwin


This article examines the history of privacy enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission, including the FTC’s jurisdiction under Section 5, and its privacy enforcement matters, as well as the FTC’s recently issued report, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers”, in which the FTC examines past enforcement models, noting their failings. In light of the FTC’s examination of past enforcement models, this article then analyzes these models, including the accountability-centric model that has previously been utilized in the United States, as well as the FTC’s proposed solution to the privacy problems of the Web 2.0 World–the adoption of best practices, including a “privacy by design” framework. The article then argues that the method to achieve the FTC’s goal of voluntary adoption of best practices is to focus on proportional protection for data based upon the sensitivity of the data in question, and to create a “safe harbor” from enforcement for businesses that choose to adopt the framework. This proposed framework could be linked in a meaningful way to existing EU processes, such as Binding Corporate Rules or the existing EU Safe Harbor program. By combining these elements, the FTC can achieve meaningful and focused self-regulation and provide appropriate protection to consumers, while giving business an incentive to adopt best-practices, and also increase the level of international cooperation regarding privacy.

Download the full article from SSRN.

[The paper's conclusion:

Whatever nomenclature is used to describe Privacy 1.0 and 2.0, it cannot be questioned that these models have failed and the FTC’s Report raises legitimate questions about prior privacy enforcement models and their value in a Web 2.0 world. Given the current business models of the Internet, privacy models must change in order to create the appropriate incentives for business to adopt best practices and protect consumer privacy in an appropriate way. If change is truly desired, then we must turn away from prior failed models, such as enforcement-centric models that have not worked and have been criticized by many scholars. The new path must be provide appropriate incentives to business to adopt best practices that are proportional to the sensitivity of data. In short, Privacy 3.0 must be based upon the Principle of Proportionality.

(Related) “We own our users.”

Facebook Will Be Using Your Face in ‘Sponsored Stories’ Ads (And There’s No Opting Out)

January 25, 2011 by Dissent

Okay, so within hours of me posting a blog entry that is actually complimentary to Facebook, Kashmir Hill reminds me why I will never have a Facebook account:

Facebook users will be the stars of the social network’s latest advertising product. The site will soon launch “Sponsored Stories.” Companies will be able to pay for users’ endorsements to show up as ads on the site. If you’ve used Facebook to check into a particular store or if you’ve “liked” the page of a particular coffee shop (Starbucks gets lots of shout-outs in the video and promotional material describing the service), that company can pay to have your interaction with their brand show up on your friends’ pages.

Read more on Forbes. Kashmir doesn’t see this as a big privacy issue but notes that users may be upset at not being compensated for the use of their image for advertising.

But what if a user just checks into a store and posts something on their page like, “At Macy’s now.” without saying whether they liked it or not? Could the store still use their image for advertising? Or what if they post, “At Macy’s now and they have a great selection of pots and pans!” but 10 minutes later, post “Yikes – Macy’s is so over-priced compared to BBB!” Could advertisers just use or continue to use only the first post? I think we need more clarification on how this will work before concluding that there is no real concern other than lack of compensation.

As always, I think these things need to be opt-in. In this case, not only is it not opt-in, there’s seemingly no opt-out.

Bad, Facebook. Bad, bad.

Controlling Facebook – or not. Not being in Germany, I can't opt-out and Facebook can still use my e-mail address to entice new users?

Facebook settles with Germany over Friend Finder issue

January 25, 2011 by Dissent

Jeremy Kirk reports:

Germany is stopping short of legal action against Facebook after reaching a 14-point agreement on Monday over how the site handles data from non-Facebook users.

Hamburg’s Data Protection Authority took issue with Facebook last August over its Friend Finder feature, which imports e-mail addresses from user contact lists on other e-mail services and then sends out invitations to non-Facebook users to join the site.

Read more on PCWorld.

[From the article:

Under the agreement, Facebook will allow those non-Facebook users to opt-out of further invitations. Those targeted users will also be told why they have been sent an invitation and how Facebook is allowed to use their e-mail addresses for additional friend finding.

For my Computer Security students

PayPal Most Phished, Facebook Most Blocked

"OpenDNS released statistics about which websites were commonly blocked — and which websites users were frequently given access to — in 2010. The report additionally details the companies online scammers targeted in 2010, as well as where the majority of phishing websites were hosted. Facebook is both one of the most blocked and the most allowed websites, reflecting the push/pull of allowing social sites in schools and the workplace. On the other hand, 45 percent of all phishing attempts made in 2010 were targeting PayPal."

Are all those Twits crazy?

TweetPsych: Twitter Psychological Profiling Tool Online

If you want to get more info about the person behind a Twitter handle, TweetPsych is a new psychological profiling online tool is here to help. Just enter the handle of any public Twitter account and TweetPsych will create a psychological profile based on a variety of factors.

The tool analyzes the tweets of that user for certain categories and then compares the frequency with an average user to create a profile. The categories include positivity, emotions, self-reference, media, time, work, social, learning, past, numbers, anxiety, sex, negativity, constructive, control and more.

The tool also creates an easy-to-read colorful bar chart to give you a quick overview of that person’s profile. Even though the tool provides a good insight into a users tweets, it should be taken with a grain of salt as results can be a bit skewed based on things like retweets.

For my Computer Security students

Ten years of scams and Malware - McAfee looks at the past

McAfee recently released a report examining scams and Malware from the previous decade. Essentially, McAfee says that the explosion of users online can be tied directly to the amount of crime that we sometimes face. [Quelle surprise! Bob]

Very interesting introduction to Cloud Computing.

7+ Popular Desktop Apps You Can Run From Your Browser Using Spoon

We have seen the magic of virtualization programs, in particular, the open-source VirtualBox, which allows you to install entire operating systems in an environment and use them in conjunction with its seamless mode. You don’t even have to be installing other OS’s because you can, in fact, clone your current OS for virtualization purposes. If installing a whole OS sounds like too much for you but you still would like to try Windows software without compromising the state of your registry, Spoon might be of interest.

… Spoon is a revolutionary virtualization tool that lets you run applications that you would normally need to download to your desktop by just using your web browser and a plugin. Once you’ve created an account and downloaded the plugin, you can select from a variety of applications in its directory, which features a number of the more popular software.

Office Suites

OpenOffice and OxygenOffice Professional are both available


… there are times when you just really need to use a more established browser other than your favorite one. … you’ll have the options to run either Firefox 4 Beta, 3.5, 3 and 2, as well as Safari 5 and Opera 10.

Useful Productivity Programs

Foxit Reader (PDF viewer)

Abiword (word processor)

Notepad++ (text editor for programmers)


Pidgin/Trillian: Two popular multi-protocol IM clients, which you can even use to tweet.

Skype: A highly convenient VoIP and video-call service.

Audacity: A great audio editor

Irfanview: One of the very best and most lightweight image viewers, converters and optimizers

Blender: An open-source animation suite and video editor

GIMP: image editor

Paint.NET: More advanced than Windows Paint

VLC player: media player


Google Adds an Education Category to the Apps Marketplace

Learn more about the education section of the Google Apps Marketplace in the video below.

For all my students: Better research!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Good List of Google Search Tricks

Today, I'd like to share with you a list of 100 Google Search Tricks. The list, compiled by Online College Courses, includes tips for refining searches using the tools built into Google and some tips for using operator words. Not all of the tricks are "new" or "secret" tricks, but I'm sure most readers will find something new to them on the list.

(Related) What are they saying locally?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

10,000 Newspapers On Google Maps

Newspaper Map is a new tool for locating and reading newspapers from locations all around the world. Newspaper Map claims to have geolocated 10,000 newspapers. To find a newspaper you can browse the map then click on a placemark to open the link within to read a newspaper. You can also locate newspapers by using the search boxes to locate a newspaper by title or location. Along with links to the newspapers, Newspapers Map provides links to translate the newspapers you find on the map.