Friday 28 February 2014


Turkey to Introduce Internet Censorship

Turkish MPs have recently introduced the new online law in frames of Prime Minister’s crack down on freedom of expression, access to data and investigative journalism. The government seems to be frantically trying to keep control of the country. Apparently, Prime Minister doesn’t want people to talk about what he is doing on social networks

It was no surprise that opposition MPs called the bill “censorship”, but they couldn’t stop Prime Minister, as his ruling Justice and Development Party dominates with its 58% of seats due to backing from the less educated, rural local constituencies.

It should be noted that Turkey already has hefty Internet curbs in place after a controversial 2007 law which put the country next to China as the largest online censor according to a Google transparency report.

According to media reports, a government agency named Telecommunications Communications Presidency is now able to block access to online portals without court permission if those are deemed to violate privacy or contain “insulting” material. This authority will also be able to request people’s communications and traffic data from hosting providers, who have to retain up to 2 years’ worth of such information without a court order.

The international observers point out that this decision moves Turkey away from the EU in terms of Internet policy, so it seems that the country can probably give up any hope of getting into the European Union. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe explained the new powers for the TIB mean that the outfit will be able to collect communications data about all users without any legal limits or restrictions. In the meantime, people would never know when and how this data is collected.

However, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister claimed there was no such thing as Internet censorship while there was freedom of press. As for Prime Minister, he himself blamed the worldwide web for helping people to organize protests against his glorious rule. Freedom of press is a doubtful thing in Turkey, as a few days ago deputy leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party was ordered to remove a parliamentary question from his website. The question was about recordings of phone calls involving the Prime Minister, his son and a Minister, and the question was also banned from media.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Fed-Up With The Yanks!!

Europe Is Discontent with US Internet Management

The European Union has decided that it has had enough of the American management of the worldwide web. Europe will push for diminished influence of the United States on Internet governance, claiming that it lost confidence in the US-centric model.

European Union issued a draft policy paper, which would propose a series of steps to globalize Internet governance functions and get the United States out of it. Apparently, America has only itself to blame, because it started to believe that it ruled the world and could spy on everyone. In the meantime, the recent spying scandal has made Brussels believe that it would be better off having someone more reliable running the Internet.

According to the draft paper, large-scale surveillance and intelligence activities by the United States have caused a loss of confidence in both the Internet and its present governance arrangements.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, located in California, in currently responsible for overseeing Internet governance, including the assignment of top-level domains. The government of the United States and ICANN have a long-standing operating agreement, but this arrangement has been questioned by many countries in recent years.

A number of governments all over the world, including Brazil, China and Russia, have called for more international governance of the worldwide web in recent years. Moreover, after last year’s revelations about broad NSA surveillance programs, Brazil has even suggested to wall off its Internet traffic from American networks. However, the experts can only propose a world standard Internet controlled away from the United States. Eventually the country would have to buy into it, otherwise it would be cut off from the rest of the world.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

EU Attacked??

Europe Suffered the Largest DDoS Attack

Security experts confirmed that a content delivery network provider was recently hit by the largest denial of service attack in the world. The attackers used a Network Time Protocol (NTP) Reflection attack that exploited a flaw in the way that the Internet works to greatly amplify small and ineffective assaults.

The victim of the hacker attack was CloudFlare, which is actually meant to protect websites and providers from DDoS attacks itself. Thus far it is not clear how many sites and users were affected, but one of the networking hosts located in France reported a 350Gbps DDoS attack during the assault.

According to CloudFlare CEO, the attack tipped 400Gbps, which is at least 100Gbps larger than the previous record DDoS attack. The latter used DNS reflective amplification. CloudFlare claimed that “someone’s got a big, new cannon” and sadly suggested that this attack was the “start of ugly things to come”.

In the meantime, the fact that the intruders used NTP became a huge headache for security experts trying to find out who did it. The matter is that the initial requests which kick off the attacks are spoofed. In case the hacker sends 100Mbps of spoofed NTP traffic, it can cause up to 5.8Gbps of malicious traffic to strike the spoofed target.

Security experts also point out that early versions of the hack have already taken down gaming streaming servers, which were used by professional gamers for EA and League of Legends. Although DDoS protection services are able to help to mitigate the impact of NTP DDoS attack, security specialists claim that administrators have to correct Internet configuration mistakes which squash the attack vector. The experts say that all you need to do to stem the flow of NTP-based DDoS is to make the simplest configuration changes to firewalls and NTP servers. However, this seems to be out of the league of many to sort out.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Making Dough!

Pizza worker's 'D'oh' moment caught on camera

A pizzeria worker could be in trouble after learning the hard way that dough rises after it has been put to one side.

Passer-by Ailsa Burn-Murdoch took this photograph of pizza dough expanding out of a recycling bin outside a branch of Papa John's in Edinburgh.

She posted the photograph on Twitter where it quickly went viral - soliciting a response from the pizza chain.

She had tweeted: "I have a feeling @PapaJohnsUK owe a local sanitation worker free pizza for a year."

And the company responded quickly: "Thanks for letting us know about this. We're currently investigating this further directly with the store."

Monday 24 February 2014

Dog Gone??

London’s first dog café set to open in Shoreditch

London’s first dog café is set to open in the spring.

The House of Hounds will be located in Shoreditch (where else?) and provide grooming treatments for pets while their owners and other dog lovers relax in the café.

At present there are very few details about the venture and it is not clear whether the café will just include dogs brought in by customers or also house permanent canines rescued from shelters, like Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium.

The capital’s first cat café is expected to open before its doggy rival on Bethnal Green Road and will allow cat fans to enjoy a cup of coffee in the company of a number of rescued felines.

The House of Hounds at present has a basic holding page for a website, although followers of its Twitter account can sign up to a newsletter for updates on its progress.

Sunday 23 February 2014

A Sinking Feeling!

Sinkhole swallows £1million cars

Eight classic cars valued at more than £1million have been swallowed up by a 30ft sinkhole at America's National Corvette Museum.

Security guards raced to the scene at 5.45am in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after believing motion sensors had detected a fire in the building.

But after arriving they discovered a sinkhole 40ft wide and 30ft deep with the iconic vehicles at the bottom.

The one millionth Corvette, which was donated to the museum by Chevrolet, was among the cars that fell into the sinkhole.

A spokesman for the Kentucky attraction said: "We received a call at 5:44am from our security company alerting us of our motion detectors going off in our Skydome area of the Museum.

"Upon arrival it was discovered that a sinkhole had collapsed within the Museum. No one was in or around the Museum at the time."

Eight Corvettes were damaged, with six of the vehicles owned by the National Corvette Museum. Those cars include:

1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan from General Motors)

2009 ZR1 "Blue Devil" (on loan from General Motors)

1962 Black Corvette

1984 PPG Pace Car

1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette

1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette

2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette

2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette

Saturday 22 February 2014

Ramp It Up??

Council install 10 level ramp for disabled girl

THE mother of a disabled girl has said she is baffled after housing officials installed a ten–level ramp in their front garden.

Clare Lally, 33, spent two years asking for better access for Katie, seven, who uses a wheelchair, after West Dunbartonshire Council gave them a house at the top of three flights of stairs. But she was left shocked after a £40,000 steel structure was built in front of her Clydebank home.

She said: “We weren’t fighting for a massive steel ramp - we just wanted to improve Katie’s quality of life.”

Friday 21 February 2014

Someone Loves You!!

World's ugliest dog gets new home?

The world's ugliest dog dumped by her last owner after she became infested with fleas has been given a new home to live out her last years.

Mongrel Susi was left on a street in Hildesheim with a collar and a note around her neck reading: "Please take me with you. I need a new home. My name is Susi"

Staff at the Hildesheim animal home say that the only reason Susi looked so bad was that she had become infested with fleas - and had destroyed much of her fur with her insistent scratching.

Susi, thought to be around 13 or 14 years old, has now been given medical treatment for the flees - although another problem is that she is nearly completely blind and has no teeth left.

She recovered however enough that she was able to go out for walks and enjoyed being in the fresh air.

Now she has been deemed well enough to be released from the clinic and was taken into private care by an animal lover that offered to care for her, where she can live for the rest of her life.

Animal shelter director Sabine Oelschläger said the dog had been dumped beside a busy road in a box in freezing cold temperatures - and had only survived because a motorist found her.

He said: "She was absolutely covered in fleas and she was also was smeared in blood having been bitten countless times by the fleas."

Carer Holger Assmann, 51, said: "If you do not treat fleas, then every month a typical dog can end up with another 125,000. Although only one-and-a-half millimetres in size, they are incredibly irritating.

"The poor dog had suffered terribly and weighed just 6 kg when she came to us. She must have been suffering from fleas for at least six months and it would only have cost a few euros for flea powder to solve the problem."

Thursday 20 February 2014

Only A Dwarf?

Norwegian boy takes parents' car to visit grandparents, claims he's a dwarf

A ten-year-old Norwegian boy came up with a novel excuse after he drove his parents' car into a snowy ditch on Wednesday morning: he told police he was a dwarf who forgot his driving license.

The boy lives near Dokka, a town about 110 kilometers north of Oslo. Sometime before 0600 local time, he loaded his 18-month old sister into the car and headed for their grandparents in Valdres, about 60 kilometers away, local police said.

He drove more than 10 kilometers before he veered off the road. A snowplow driver found him and alerted the police.

"The parents woke up and discovered that the children were missing and that someone had taken off with their car. They were pretty upset, as you can imagine," said Baard Christiansen, a spokesman for the Vest Oppland police district.

"The boy told the snowplow driver that he was a dwarf and that he had forgotten his driver's license at home."

Wednesday 19 February 2014

It’s In The Post!

Woman cuts out tattoo of ex-boyfriend’s name and sends skin to him in the post

Torz Reynolds took drastic measures when she discovered her boyfriend had been cheating on her with another woman.

Not wanting to bear his name in a tattoo on her arm any more, and apparently not being willing to wait to book an appointment with a laser technician, she cut out the phrase ‘Chopper’s B****’ using a scalpel.

The 26-year-old, from London, used tweezers to pull the skin off her arm, before tying it up in a ribbon and posting it to Stuart ‘Chopper’ May, 26.

According to the Daily Mail, Ms Reynolds had tearfully seen ‘Chopper’ off at the airport after he left to pursue his dream job in Alaska, in the US.

But she later learned he had diverted to Essex, to shack up with a woman he had been having an affair with for the last six months.

‘Posting the tattoo to Chopper sent a clear message. Now he knows never to mess with me again,’ Ms Reynolds said.

‘I packaged it up so it really did look like a present. I even used different handwriting so he’d have no idea that it was me.’

She added: ‘And the end of the day it’s only skin and it will grow back.’

Tuesday 18 February 2014

A Lucky Find!

Man reunited with £20,000 briefcase

Allan Karlsson may have started a new life for himself after finding a suitcase stuffed with cash in the bestselling book The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.

But when Chinese man Wei Chou, 52, forgot the suitcase at the train station at Zibo in east China's Shandong province filled with 217,000RMB (20,000 GBP) in bank notes, he was certain that the finder would also quickly do a disappearing act.

Wei contacted police, and by the time they got to the train it had already arrived at the station and the passengers had disembarked. Yet incredibly, the suitcase that was not even locked had not been touched - and all the money was still inside.

Wei said: "I couldn't believe it. Those were all my savings and I thought it would be gone for ever. I thought nobody would ever hand it in if they found the money.

"I made a careless mistake and in future I will make sure I do not carry such large amounts of money on public transport with me. It could have been a very costly mistake."

A police spokesman said: "The train had been packed but the man was in one of the sleeper carriages which generally have less passengers inside. Nevertheless he was very lucky that nobody decided to make off with the suitcase."

Monday 17 February 2014

A Place To Park At Any Cost??

Parking space in London sells for £400,000

An underground parking space near London's Royal Albert Hall in Kensington has sold for an eye-watering £400,000.

For that price you can fit not one, but TWO cars. Not bad for something that costs over two times the cost of an average home in Britain.

Just a short stroll away is a NCP car park which motorists can use for a mere £35.10 a day, meaning with £400,000 you could afford to park there for next 31 years.

This is not the first time the car park has lured in drivers, a similar space in the underground area went on sale - for a pocket-friendly £275,000.

Sunday 16 February 2014

People Will Kiss Anything!!

Practice your kissing with this creepy pillow

A new pillow which let's you practice your kissing is available for lonely hearts without a date this Valentine's Day.

These Make-Out Practice Pillows are the brainchild of designer Emily King, who says she wanted to offer a solution to the inexperienced kisser.

The 26-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida, explains: "When I was in middle school, everyone "joked" about making out with pillows for practice. I'm assuming that I was not the only one for whom the jokes had some truth. Let's just all admit that we all practice made-out with our pillows and we looked really silly doing it. Those poor pillows.

"There seems to have been little innovation in the make-out practice pillow department despite the rise in popularity of decorative "Let's Make Out" pillows and cuddle pillows so it is time that I step in and offer a new solution to the middle-schoolers or lonely hearts of the world: a pillow with a mouth."

Emily says the idea for the £19 design stemmed from a chance finding of a pair of CPR dummies and a big bag of removable mouths.

After scratching her head for inspiration, the approach of the most romantic day of the year sparked an idea.

"As we neared closer to Valentine's day I knew the time had come - pillows you could make-out with. But I have to admit that when I mentioned this idea to my friends, the reaction from anyone over the age of 25 tended to be variations on "that's really creepy," and anyone under the age of 25 thought it was hilarious and awesome: middle-school to college-age seemed to be the sweet spot of people who really liked the idea. I thought it was pretty hilarious myself until I actually made the things. They are super creepy. But I sort of love them for that."

Saturday 15 February 2014

First Alcohol Now Email!!

FBI Seized All TorMail Mailboxes

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has seized the entire email database of a well-known anonymous webmail service TorMail. This means that all of your secret mails now can be read by the agents. The service was seized while investigating a hosting company accused for sheltering kids porn in 2013. Now the US government claims that it has uncovered lots of emails that can be used in unrelated investigations.

Seized from Freedom Hosting, the email database emerged in court papers in the end of January when prosecutors indicted a Florida individual for trading counterfeit credit cards on the Internet. The FBI executed a search warrant on a Gmail account the alleged counterfeiters used, and discovered that orders for fake cards were sent to a TorMail e-mail account. Then the agents obtained a search warrant for that account and accessed it from the FBI’s own copy of “data and information from the TorMail email server, including the content of TorMail email accounts”.

It means that the FBI collects data into a virtual lock box and leaves it there until it manages to obtain specific authority to tap it later. So far the agency doesn’t search the trove for incriminating evidence before receiving a warrant. However, now the FBI has a copy of the TorMail’s servers and is able to execute endless search warrants.

The problem for TorMail users is that the mail service once claimed that it was absolutely immune to spying. This move gives the FBI the second major victory over so-called anonymous communication. Back in 2013, the agency won a court order demanding secure email provider Lavabit to turn over the master encryption keys for its site. This court decision would have given agents the technical ability to spy on all 400,000 users of the service. Instead of complying, Lavabit preferred to voluntarily close down and is currently appealing the surveillance order.

As for TorMail, this service was known as the webmail provider of the Darknet of anonymous and encrypted sites and services, which makes the cache of the US authorities very valuable.

Friday 14 February 2014

Bitcoin Arrest!

Bitcoin Vice Chair Arrested

Vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation who lobbies on behalf of the digital currency was arrested. He is accused of conspiracy to commit money laundering and encouraging anonymous drug trading

Charlie Shrem, the Bitcoin’s vice chairman, was arrested at JFK airport. This news came as a shock for the digital currency lobby group and its supporters. Two of them, twins Winklevoss, are known for their early involvement with Facebook, and have recently become backers of the digital currency.

Aside from Shrem, one more individual, Robert Faiella, was also arrested and charged for the same crimes. It is known that he was operating a small Bitcoin exchange under the name BTCKing. The charges accuse both men of engaging in a scheme to sell over $1 million in Bitcoins to Silk Road members. If you remember, Silk Road was the online black marketplace shut down by the FBI last year.

Charlie Shrem was one of the top executives on the Bitcoin Foundation, and the staff of the foundation have been doing their best to distance the digital currency from its links to crime. They testified to the US Senate in 2013 and were lobbying regulators in Washington. They keep insisting that Bitcoin Foundation had never been involved in any of the allegations.

In the meantime, the US drug enforcement administration confirmed that charges depict their commitment to identifying people promoting the sale of illegal drugs. Both arrested men are charged with facilitating anonymous drug sales and earning substantial profits. It is clear that the charges stem from Charlie’s ownership of the BitInstant exchange – he is its CEO and co-founder. The exchange hit the headlines last May when the famous twins led a seed round that raised $1.5 million of investment. As you can understand, the timing of the charges is unfortunate for the Winklevoss, who are set to speak soon at a conference on digital currencies. They explained that when they invested in BitInstant in 2012, its management swore they would abide by all applicable laws. Although the exchange isn’t directly named in the indictment of Charlie Shrem, the twins are deeply concerned about his arrest. The Winklevoss reminded that they are just passive investors in BitInstant and are ready to do everything they can to help law enforcement agencies.

However, the papers revealed that Charlie Shrem is also charged with failing to report any suspicious activity regarding Faiella’s unauthorized transactions via the company. They are accused of developing a scheme to sell over $1 million in Bitcoins to criminals bent on trafficking drugs on Silk Road. Apparently, Bitcoins can be laundered and used to fuel criminal activity like any traditional currency, so law enforcement had to act immediately.

It was found that Robert Faiella offered digital currency for sale on the Silk Road website – this move would entail knowing of their drugs trade. The Bitcoins for sale were bought from the BitInstant exchange, and Shrem, as its compliance officer, was supposed to ensure its compliance of anti-money-laundering laws.

The accusations say that Shrem knowingly allowed Faiella to use BitInstant services to purchase Bitcoins for Silk Road members, and even personally processed all transactions and provided discounts on high-volume order. For some reason, Shrem never filed suspicious activity reports about the transactions, but instead helped Faiella circumvent the anti-money-laundering restrictions.

It should be noted that Winklevoss twins’ investment in the exchange was only a small part of their total investment in digital currency. So they can’t be happy about the news that Shrem and Faiella’s arrest affected the price of Bitcoin, which instantly dropped by 3% on the Mtgox exchange.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Skype Spam!!

Microsoft Experts Cut Down Skype Spam

Microsoft developers are trying to find a way to cut down on fake Skype accounts and efficiently kill off spammers in the network. They investigated sources like user’s profile, activities and social connections via a so-called supervised machine-learning environment. The latter could automate manual tasks of fraud detection.

Thus far, the results indicated that the framework boosted fraud detection rates for certain account types by almost 70% with a 5% false positive rate. Microsoft reported that there are some types of fraud relevant to Skype. They normally include credit card and other online payment fraud, along with account abuse like spam instant messages.

The idea of Microsoft’s move is to detect the fraudsters who elude the first line of defenses at Skype. They conducted a research across 34,000 Skype members. This number included both legitimate and fraudulent accounts chosen from an initial randomized pool of 200,000 Skype users that hadn’t been blocked for more than 4 months after setting an account.

The research collected and analyzed account habits of the captured Skype members limited to what kinds of communications methods they used and how often. In the meantime, they didn’t record the content of calls, and anonymized Skype usernames. As a result, the researchers managed to identify fraudulent accounts which were inactive after 4 months. However, it turned out hard to find if they remained active for over 10 months after registering an account. By the way, it would appear that major part of the fraudulent accounts operating on Skype were hacked legitimate users.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

I Want It Back!!

Give Back My Kidney: Devon Woman Wants Estranged Husband To Return Her Donated Organ

THE People report on “Caring Samantha Lamb”, 41, of Ivybridge, Devon, who gave one of her kidney’s to ailing husband Andy, 45. The People says it saved his life. She says after the transplant he had an affair. He says he didn’t. She wants her kidney back. You could deduce that she wants him dead.

Says the mum-of-one:  “I can’t ­believe he now has a second chance to live to see his grandchildren grow up. I would definitely go through the operation again – but I wouldn’t give the kidney to him. I hate him. If I could I’d take it back and give it someone else. Obviously I don’t want people to be put off putting their names on the organ donor list. But all I want from him is his name on the divorce papers.”

Andy, billed by caring Sam as king of the one-liners, replies: ”Despite what Samantha believes, I’ve never been with her friend. I just helped train her dog.”

Tuesday 11 February 2014

In The Pink!!

Pink puppy found abandoned with broken leg gets new home

It’s hard to imagine anyone abandoning this adorable pink puppy.

A member of the public found the three-month-old Chihuahua with dyed pink fur lying in the street in East Palo Alto, California.

She was found with no collar or ID and was not microchipped.

Staff at the Peninsula Humane Society (PHS), who decided to name her Candy, also discovered a hairline fracture of her rear right leg.

‘This is a little more unusual than your usual stray dog because the dog had an injury and the dog was dyed,’ spokesman Scott Delucchi told SFGate.

‘It shows some level of care and attachment that someone went to the trouble to do that. You would think that someone who would show that level of attachment would look out for their dog.

‘But this is pretty weird.’

They have since found Candy a ‘wonderful’ new home after hundreds of people expressed an interest in adopting her.

‘We also want to take the opportunity to make a case for our 30+ Chihuahuas awaiting adoption,’ Mr Delucchi added.

‘They aren’t two months old puppies dyed pink, but we consider these regular adoptions to be every bit as special as Candy’s adoption.’

Monday 10 February 2014

All In A Name??

Alaska sled-dog race organizers tell NY's Idiotarod 'cease and desist'

The Iditarod, a grueling multi-day sled dog race across Alaska, is not - not! - to be confused with the Idiotarod, a pointedly sillier affair due to take place this weekend with costumed participants racing modified shopping carts through New York City.

The organizers of the Alaska race, however, are taking no chances. This week, they got their lawyer to send a cease-and-desist letter to the organizers of the Idiotarod.

The letter, which Idiotarod organizers shared on their Facebook page on Friday, says the New York race, with its "slight variation" in name, is breaching the Iditarod Trail Committee's trademark rights, and said Idiotarod organizers risked a lawsuit to seek damages.

Jon Dawson, the Iditarod committee's lawyer, wrote that the Idiotarod organizers were causing the public to associate the name "with an event that celebrates wacky costumes and antics over one that honors the endurance and athleticism of champion sled dogs and the courage and skill of the men and women that run them."

On Friday, Idiotarod organizers called the letter frivolous, and said its 10th anniversary race, described on its website as an "urban spoof" of the Alaskan race, would proceed virtually as planned this weekend.

In an act of what they called appeasement, however, they said they would rename their race the Idiotarodorama (aka the Desistarod). Still, they insisted that "no one in their right mind" could confuse the two events.

Whether sprinkling a few more letters into the name will avert legal troubles remains unclear.

Dawson, the Iditarod committee's lawyer, said on Friday he had not received a formal response to his letter and could not comment further.

The next Iditarod race, which commemorates a 1925 rescue mission that carried diphtheria serum by sled-dog relay to the Alaska town of Nome, is due to begin in March in Anchorage.

The organizers of what is now being called the Idiotarodorama, whose identity is opaque at the best of times, declined further comment.

"Frankly, we're cowering behind our anonymity," an organizer, who did not give a name, said in a response to an email. "Legal stuff is scary."

Sunday 9 February 2014

Tickets Please!!

I love my 13,000 toy buses

GEOFF Price has spent £130,000 amassing the world’s biggest collection of toy buses – but he’s not so keen on the real thing.

Geoff, 63, has more than 13,000 models filling his house, garage and garden sheds, though long-suffering wife Linda has declared their living room a bus-free zone.

His obsession has taken him round the world in search of unusual additions to his collection. But the events planner admits he hates public transport and goes everywhere by car. “I know it’s ironic because I love toy buses but I’d never get on one out of choice,” said father-of-two Geoff, of Walsall, West Midlands.

“They’re unreliable and not practical at all. The only time I ever catch the bus is when my car’s in for a service.”

Saturday 8 February 2014

Irish Logic?

Irish Politician against Open Source Browsers

Patrick O’Donovan, a politician from Limerick, called for crackdown on open source browsers that allowed anonymous browsing. Deputy O’Donovan asked the Oireachtas Communications Committee to investigate tougher controls on the use of open source browsers that allow people to remain anonymous in the unauthorized trade of drugs, weapons and porn.

The politician claimed there was a black market on the Internet that protects anonymity and operates across borders through open source browsers and payments systems, both of which allow users to remain anonymous. Such services encourage operation of online markets for illegal stuff like drugs, weapons and adult content, where it’s very difficult to trace the identity of the buyers.

O’Donovan said that if the Oireachtas Communications Committee doesn’t take him seriously he would go further and raise the matter with both the Ministers for Justice and Communications. He also claimed he wanted to get the European Union on his side. The politician pointed out that the US police have recently taken action to address the problem, but he missed the fact that it was fruitless, because replacement browsers quickly emerged to continue illegal trades. Perhaps, O’Donovan believes that the Irish shouldn’t pay attention to the fact that the Americans with their super surveillance gear failed to get it working, and is sure that enhanced international co-operation and engagement will successfully solve the problem. Well, let’s see.

Friday 7 February 2014

Amazon Is Not Good All The Time!

Most Malware Found on Amazon

Security firm’s report revealed that Amazon online services are the biggest malware servers across the globe, followed by GoDaddy and Google. The reason is that malware producers take advantage of the cloud. The report claims that hackers are using cloud hosting platforms in order to quickly and effectively serve malware to oblivious users. This allows them to bypass detection and geographic blacklisting by serving from a trusted provider like Amazon.

Security experts found out that the intruders compromised legitimate websites for nefarious purposes, along with buying and hosting their own websites. Today’s ease of website creation, low cost and speed of deployment allows to infect millions of machines and lots of enterprise systems. Of course, cloud providers, including Amazon, GoDaddy and Google, have security policies against malicious activity and do their best to take down offenders once they are discovered. The problem is that a huge number of sites hosted on their cloud systems all make that discovery job difficult, while the malware producers are trying to seek safety in numbers. Security experts admitted that it’s still up to providers to do something to stop the proliferation of malware and hold responsibility for monitoring the activities on their properties.

Information from the report also demonstrated that in the last quarter of 2013, the United States was the most active malware hosting nation, accounting for 44% of the worldwide share of malware. This is 5 times more than Germany, which accounted for 9% of the global malware and followed the US in the list. As for the online services, Amazon appeared the top malware-hosting provider (16% of the global share), followed by GoDaddy (14% share).

Some may remember that a few months ago a Google-backed BitTorrent client was caught spreading malware to Windows PCs and Android users.

Thursday 6 February 2014

Now…Here’s A Surprise…NOT!!

Music Industry against Google

The IFPI and RIAA, music industry entities, have resumed their attacks on the search giant, accusing Google of breaking its promise to tone down piracy portals in its search rankings. The outfits have both published articles in a coordinated campaign in order to call for Google to adopt a 5-point plan to fight digital piracy.

This move is the latest in a fight between the entertainment industry and Google, even though the tech giant is an increasingly strong partner for various music labels and publishers via its YouTube and Google Play services. Nevertheless, the industry remains cross, claiming that their anger is justified, but the outfits don’t suggest any clear plan to resolve the argument.

In the meantime, the tech giant points at its 100 millionth takedown notice received from music copyright owners. The notices have been received within the last 2.5 years, at an accelerating pace: in December 2013 alone, the British music body the BPI sent 5.2 million notices, while the Recording Industry Association of America sent 2.3 million. The copyright owners consider Google the largest piracy discovery website in the world.

In response, Google published a report last September hitting back at the claims that it fails to address piracy and questioning whether the issue is as huge as the music industry claims. The report broke down Google’s activities, including such legitimate services as YouTube and Google Play, as well as Content ID system for helping copyright owners make money from uses of their music on someone’s videos. The company also emphasized its efforts within its advertising business – Google ensured that its adverts weren’t appearing on piracy websites.

Google pointed out that turnaround time on takedown notices was less than 6 hours, and keeps decreasing despite the rocketing volume of requests. Finally, the tech giant reminded that search was never a major driver of traffic to pirate sites. Indeed, all traffic from Yahoo, Bing, and Google combined accounts for only 15% of traffic to BitTorrent trackers.

Besides, Google questioned the methodology music industry used for the rightsholders’ research. The company provided its own statistics showing that people searched for a “song title” 16 times more often than “song title mp3” on Google and found lots of legal links at the top of the results.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Live To Fight Another Day!

Windows XP Will Live till July 2015

Microsoft has changed its mind over killing Windows XP entirely this April and announced it will continue providing updates to its security products (antimalware engine and signatures) until middle of July, 2015. Thus, XP will get another year’s life. Back in 2013, Microsoft said it would halt all updates on the same day as the end of support date for Windows XP this spring.

In other words, Microsoft Security Essentials will still get updates after full support ends for operating system. The same will go for System Centre Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection, and Windows Intune used on XP. But it should be noted that Microsoft will still end full technical assistance for Windows XP this spring and you won’t be able to download Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP since that date.

Windows XP will still be alive thanks to updates to its security products for extra 15 months. Taking into account that the developing countries mostly use XP, it is good news that they will be at least partially protected until July 2015, though Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system.

Everyone understands that Microsoft has been trying to get people away from Windows XP to “better” products. The company realized that the best way to do so is to stick to its end of support date, even despite the fact that there are still so many millions of Windows XP users out there. It looks like Microsoft finally realized that leaving all of them completely vulnerable could cause more harm than good.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Get A Life?

Britons Have Either a Tablet Or a Life

According to the latest research, half of the UK citizens are now using tablets - the statistics show that there were over 12 million tablets sold in the country last year. By comparing this number to the population, you can figure out that by the end of January, half of Britons will own or have access to a tablet, up from 36% last summer.

The industry observers believe the growth of popularity of keyboardless devices had been driven by the value end of the market, which had made the touchscreen items children's toys, popular among those who don’t want to pay for more expensive models.

The growth was helped by the rise of budget tablets - for example, Amazon’s Kindle Fire (its price starts at £199), Tesco's Hudl and Argos's £99 tablet. However, the last is now unavailable. Experts say that tablets had gained popularity with extraordinary speed, and their makers will have to work hard to stay on top of the evolution of the market.

It looks like people are now starting to listen to Bill Gates who claimed that there were shedloads of uses for tablets. Today there appear to be more users and use cases for tablets than many could imagine. The secret was to get the balance of form, function and price right.

Apparently, online retailers understand the situation and started slashing prices and promoting e-books to appeal to those who received tablets as Christmas gifts.

Monday 3 February 2014

Help Australia Government? = Arrested!!

16-Year-Old Hacker Arrested for Helping Government

A teen hacker from Australia must be regretting reporting a security hole at the government website which allowed him to access a database with sensitive data about 600,000 public transport users.

Australian government portal was important as a primary website for information about public transport timetables. Its database featured full names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and even a 9-digit extract of credit card numbers used there.

Joshua Rogers, 16, has contacted the website after Christmas and reported the flaw. After receiving no response, the teen called newspapers and that is when Transportation Department reported him to the police. Although it is unknown how Rogers accessed the database, it seems to be a doddle. Perhaps, it was an SQL injection flaw, because it’s the tool of choice to breach websites and access backend databases.

Local police have a record of arresting people revealing security holes. For example, three years ago, Patrick Webster suffered a similar consequence after reporting a website vulnerability to a national investment company which managed his pension fund. The individual was arrested for writing a script to download 500 account statements in attempt to prove that its account holders were at risk. The company reported him to police and demanded access to his machine in order to make sure he had deleted all stolen data.

The teenager admitted that the police haven’t even contacted him. In fact, he learned about what has happened from journalists. Anyway, he might be regretting doing the decent thing and reporting the flaw. Maybe selling his remarks to Russians would have had more sense.

Sunday 2 February 2014


70 Million People’s Data Leaked from US Retail Chain

Target chain had to admit that hackers stole personal data with details of about 70 million people. Phone numbers, email and home addresses leaked in the hack.

Target’s experts revealed that the extent of a pre-Christmas breach to its computer systems was greater than it had initially thought. The company hasn’t said until now how many people were affected. Security experts believe that it will affect more than 70 million and end up being the largest retail breach ever. The retail chain informed its customers that hackers stole their names, card numbers, expiration dates, PINs and the embedded code on the magnetic strip on the back. However, the company assured people that they will not be liable for any fraudulent charges resulting from the breach. It is known that PIN codes would have been encrypted, but other information might have been stored in a human-readable format.

When the breach was announced, a number of banks imposed daily spending limits on people with affected cards (this wasn’t a very pleasant thing ahead of the holiday shopping rush). Anyway, transactions at Target were down by 3-4% before Christmas, while other American retailers reported strong results.

Earlier, the security experts reported a huge electronic breaking at Adobe Systems, with 152 million usernames and passwords stolen. In that case, the passwords were encrypted, but some flaws in the system could allow hackers decrypt them.

The breach happened within a 19-day period since the end of November. The hack was brought to public attention by the security researcher on 18 December. It later appeared that the details of leaked cards were flooding into online underground criminal markets.

The retail chain has previously been the object of such hacking, paying a $9.75m settlement four years ago. But the extent of the latest breach suggests that the intruders could access its interfaces with banks and credit card companies. Target told its customers last week that its ongoing investigation has proved more personal data had leaked than it was estimated before. The company promised to contact customers and provide tips on how to safeguard against consumer scams. In addition, target offers a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to people who shopped at its stores. You will have 3 months to enroll in the program.

Saturday 1 February 2014

Another Success?….NOT!

UK Online Filter a Disaster


British anti-porn filter program was enforced while everyone was on holiday, and it seems that Prime Minister’s attempts to impose it turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

First of all, the filter is very easy for kids to get around. But now it appears that it blocks access to leading charity websites like ChildLine, the NSPCC and the Samaritans – thus harming kids instead of protecting them.

In other words, in the name of protecting kids, UK Prime Minister cut them off from their life-lines and would allow children to be sexual abused or commit suicide as they cannot get the help they need. Kids have been banned from seeing women’s charities, the British Library and the National Library of Scotland, which might be the first stop for children wanting to do their homework.

Cameron’s filter blocks access to the Parliament and government portals and the websites of politicians. Even if any politically aware children wanted to complain about this to their MP, they cannot. The only good news is that the filter also blocks access to Claire Perry, the MP who has campaigned for the introduction of those filters.

Harry Clapham, who offers guitar lessons on his site, complained that he was also being censored by Cameron’s filter. Thus, a parent who opts in will be safe from guitar lessons giving their children bad dreams. Other users complained that “parental control” is just ISP’s term for switching the whole Internet off. One of the largest British Internet service providers O2 claimed that it was changing its parental control filters in order to unlock access to some of the charities that had been blocked.