Saturday, June 09, 2012

So who are the new (cyber)War mongers? I can see my next class: Making e-nukes for fun and profit.
"Scott Kemp writes about the similarities between the nuclear arms race and the use of cyberweaponry for offensive purposes. As the article points out, offensive cyberwarfare leaves a nation's own citizenry vulnerable to attack as government agencies seek to keep weaknesses in operating systems (such as Windows) secret. Quoting: 'In the world of armaments, cyber weapons may require the fewest national resources to build. That is not to say that highly developed nations are not without their advantages during early stages. Countries like Israel and the United States may have more money and more talented hackers. Their software engineers may be more skilled and exhibit more creativity and critical thinking owing to better training and education. However, each new cyberattack becomes a template for other nations — or sub-national actors — looking for ideas.'"

I'm thinking this could be the basis for a fun Quiz for my Computer Security students...
"A common joke in infosec is that you can't hack a server that is turned off. You better make sure that the power cord is unplugged, too. Otherwise, you may be exposed via IPMI, a component present on many servers for remote management that can be used to flash firmware, get a remote console and power cycle the server even after the normal power button has been pressed to turn the server off."
[From the article:
  • IPMI is active once the server is connected to power. It does not depend on the server to be actually "switched on".
  • IPMI is implemented as a specific circuit on the motherboard. Sometimes, you may find it on an optional plugin board. But it does not require CPU, RAM or other components

Reducing “what you could see if you were there” to “what you can see online.” The difference doesn't seem to be a workable definition of privacy...
Swiss Court Orders Modifications to Google Street View
Switzerland’s highest court on Friday upheld Google’s basic right to document residential street fronts with its Street View technology, but imposed some limitations on the kinds of images the company can take.
… The Swiss ruling did not involve the collection of private Internet data but focused on the conditions for Street View cars to photograph the country’s streets.
… In its ruling Friday, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, the Bundesgericht, said Google did not have to guarantee 100 percent blurring of the faces of pedestrians, auto license plates and other identifying markers captured by Google’s Street View cars; 99 percent would be acceptable. The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., says its technology blurs faces and license plates in 99 percent of cases.
While the Swiss court sided with Google on the adequacy of its digital pixilation methods, the panel upheld several conditions demanded by the national regulator. Those conditions would require Google to lower the height of its Street View cameras so they would not peer over garden walls and hedges, to completely blur out sensitive facilities like women’s shelters, prisons, retirement homes and schools, and to advise communities in advance of scheduled tapings.

Be careful who you ask for what you ask for...
"Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, voluntarily sitting as a district court judge, in the patent infringement dispute between Apple and Motorola has, tentatively, dismissed the case on the eve of trial. In this hilariously short order, Judge Posner states, 'I have tentatively decided that the case should be dismissed with prejudice because neither party can establish a right to relief.' Because it is 'with prejudice' the parties cannot refile their case. The parties are likely to appeal the order (when it's finalized)."

Because the speed of light is a drag...
Google and Netflix Make Land Grab On Edge Of Internet
Behind the scenes, there’s a big change happening on internet. It’s something that’s mostly hidden from web surfers, but it’s becoming critical to big internet companies such as Google and Netflix.
They’re moving servers — usually free of charge — next to the service providers’ networking gear so that people trying to watch a popular YouTube video don’t have to send traffic across the network to servers back to the website’s data center. It can save companies like Google and Comcast lots of money, and it speeds things up for consumers.
According to Craig Labovitz, founder of network analysis company Deepfield Networks, it’s also changing the way that internet companies work. “The business they’re in isn’t delivering bits anymore. It’s delivering content,” he says. And while not everyone agrees, Labovitz says there’s a bit of a land rush going on as more companies move to get their content closer to consumers.
… Many of these deals are secret, but Deepfield Networks knows of about 40 companies that are setting up their own content delivery networks with service providers, according to Craig Labovitz.
… Of course, five years ago, did anyone really think that Netflix would be responsible for 20 percent of U.S. Internet traffic? Back then, they were just the guys who mailed you CDs.

A Golden Age of Books? There Were Only 500 Real Bookstores in 1931
… Of these five hundred, most were refined, old-fashioned 'carriage trade' stores catering to an elite clientele in the nation's twelve largest cities."
… It's my contention -- and I've made this point in other ways -- that when people look at the sprawling mess of Internet publishing and decide that the quality of writing has declined, they are comparing apples to oranges.
They're taking the most elite offerings that could be imagined, which were based on the tastes of the most educated people in 12 cities, and comparing them to the now-visible reading habits of everyone on the Internet. That's just not a good way to draw smart conclusions about the relationship between technology and culture.

Take that, you young whipper-snappers!
Online Seniors: Tech-Savvier Than You Think
It’s not often that we come across startups that focus on seniors, but according to a new report by analyst firm Forrester Research, seniors ages 65 and up are probably more connected and tech-savvy than you think. Forrester found that about 60% of U.S. seniors are online. That’s about 20 million people and while this obviously means that 40% don’t care much about the Internet, those 60% who are online are tech-savvy and happily use technology to connect to their friends and family.

This explains a lot...
"The Atlantic has an article discussing how 18- to 35-year-old males are losing their place as the most important demographic for tech adoption. 'Let me break out the categories where women are leading tech adoption: internet usage, mobile phone voice usage, mobile phone location-based services, text messaging, Skype, every social networking site aside from LinkedIn, all Internet-enabled devices, e-readers, health-care devices, and GPS. Also, because women still are the primary caretakers of children in many places, guess who controls which gadgets the young male and female members of the family get to purchase or even use?' The article points out that most of the tech industry hasn't figured this out yet — perhaps in part to a dearth of women running these companies."

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