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The Internet

Submission + - Biggest DDoS in history fails to slash interweb arteries (theregister.co.uk)

SternisheFan writes: "The massive 300Gbit-a-second DDoS attack against anti-spam non-profit Spamhaus this week didn't actually break the internet's backbone, contrary to many early reports.

The largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assault in history began on 18 March, and initially hit the Spamhaus website and CloudFlare, the networking biz hired by the spammer-tracking outfit to keep its systems online, at 90Gbps. After failing to knock the organisation offline, the attackers targeted CloudFlare's upstream ISPs as well as portions of the networks at internet traffic exchanges in London and Amsterdam.

The volume of this second-wave attack, which began on on 22 March, hit 300Gbps, an unnamed tier-1 service provider apparently told CloudFlare.

By far the largest source of attack traffic against Spamhaus came from DNS reflection, which exploits well-meaning, public-facing DNS servers to flood a selected target with network traffic — this is opposed to the usual tactic of using a huge botnet army of compromised computers.

DNS reflection attacks involve sending a request for a large DNS zone file to a DNS server; the request is crafted to appear as though it originated from the IP addresses of the victim. The server then responds to the request but sends the wad of data to the victim. The attackers' requests are only a fraction of the size of the responses, meaning the attacker can effectively amplify his or her attack by a factor of 100 from the volume of bandwidth they control.

CloudFlare reckons there were 30,000 DNS servers involved in the attack against Spamhaus, which might have been launched from only a small botnet or cluster of virtual servers. The attack against Spamhaus and CloudFlare proved there is a serious design flaw in the underpinnings of the internet, one that security experts such as Team Cymru and others have been warning about for years — although the use of DNS servers in DDoS attacks is rare, Rob Horton from NCC Group told El Reg."

The Internet

Submission + - Cablevision to Suspend Repeat Copyright Scofflaws, Comcast to Hijack Browsers (wired.com) 1

SternisheFan writes: "Wired reports: Comcast is to begin hijacking browsers of its internet subscribers who are detected of repeatedly infringing on public file-sharing networks while Cablevision Systems said it would suspend subscribers for 24 hours after their fifth offense.

The punishment comes as the nation’s biggest internet service providers this week began rolling out the so-called “Copyright Alert System,” which is backed by the President Barack Obama administration and was heavily pushed by the recording and movie studios.

The plan, more than four years in the making, includes participation by AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. Others could soon join.

Generally, after four offenses, the historic plan calls for these residential internet providers to initiate so-called “mitigation measures” (.pdf) that might include reducing internet speeds and redirecting a subscriber’s service to an “educational” landing page about infringement. Those measures began to take shape this week.

Comcast announced a plan that virtually deadens a subscriber’s ability to surf the web after four infringement violations — which the ISPs are calling “Copyright Alerts.”

“If a consumer fails to respond to several Copyright Alerts, Comcast will place a persistent alert in any web browser under that account until the account holder contacts Comcast’s Customer Security Assurance professionals to discuss and help resolve the matter,” Comcast said.

The Center for Copyright Information, the new group running the program on behalf of the ISPs, maintains it is not designed to terminate online accounts for repeat offenders. However, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act demands that internet service providers kick off repeat copyright scofflaws, which Cablevision said it would do for 24-hour periods unless the ISP receives a call from the subscriber.

“Your Internet access will be temporarily suspended for 24 hours unless you call in to the Cablevision number provided on the notice,” Cablevision said."

The Internet

Submission + - Universe, human brain and Internet have similar structures (dnaindia.com)

SternisheFan writes: The structure of the universe and the laws that govern its growth may be more similar than previously thought to the structure and growth of the human brain and other complex networks, such as the Internet or a social network of trust relationships between people, according to a new study. “By no means do we claim that the universe is a global brain or a computer,” said Dmitri Krioukov, co-author of the paper, published by the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), based at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego.“But the discovered equivalence between the growth of the universe and complex networks strongly suggests that unexpectedly similar laws govern the dynamics of these very different complex systems,” Krioukov noted
  Having the ability to predict – let alone trying to control – the dynamics of complex networks remains a central challenge throughout network science. Structural and dynamical similarities among different real networks suggest that some universal laws might be in action, although the nature and common origin of such laws remain elusive By performing complex supercomputer simulations of the universe and using a variety of other calculations, researchers have now proven that the causal network representing the large-scale structure of space and time in our accelerating universe is a graph that shows remarkable similarity to many complex networks such as the Internet, social, or even biological networks. These findings have key implications for both network science and cosmology,” said Krioukov.

Google

Submission + - Google says government surveillance growing (informationweek.com)

SternisheFan writes: In a blog post, Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou says, " [G]overnment demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report." In the first half of 2012, the period covered in the report, Chou says there were 20,938 inquiries from government organizations for information about 34,614 Google-related accounts.

Google has a long history of pushing back against governmental demands for data, going back at least to its refusal to turn over search data to the Department of Justice in 2005.

Many other companies have chosen to cooperate with government requests rather than question or oppose them, but Chou notes that in the past year, companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter have begun making government information requests public, to inform the discussion about Internet freedom and its limits.

According to the report, the U.S. continues to make the most requests for user data, 7,969 in the first six months of the year. Google complied with 90% of these requests. Google's average compliance rate for the 31 countries listed in the report is about 47%.

The Internet

Submission + - Wikileaks paywall draws Anonymous's wrath (tgdaily.com)

SternisheFan writes: "Hacking collective Anonymous has hit out at Wikileaks for -rather astonishingly -imposing a paywall on most of its content. Attempting to access Wikileaks' Global Intelligence Files, Guantanamo Files, Iraq War Logs and other documents triggers an overlay page asking for donations -and which can't be closed unless one is made. (It's possible, though, to avoid the paywall by disabling JavaScript). Oddly, payment options include MasterCard and VISA, both of which have previously withdrawn payment support for the site -and both of which were subequently hit by DDoS attacks from Anonymous in support of Wikileaks. The paywall was initially introduced yesterday for the Global Intelligence Files only. After it was publicly slated by Anonymous, it was withdrawn -only to reappear on a larger scale hours later. "The obvious intention is to force donations in exchange for access. This is a filthy and rotten, wholly un-ethical action -and Anonymous is enraged," says the group in a statement. "No longer will Anonymous risk prison to defend Wikileaks or Julian Assange from their enemies. No longer will Anonymous risk prison to supply material for Wikileaks disclosures." The group says it won't attack Wikileaks' website, as it has a policy of leaving the media alone. But, it says, it has other weapons. It's preapring a dossier of unethical actions by Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, and plans to release it to the media in a few days. Now, that should make interesting reading.

    by Emma Woollacott, TGDaily"

The Internet

Submission + - CNET News Internet & Media New book reminds us why we loved Netflix (cnet.com)

SternisheFan writes: "CNET:.by Greg Sandoval
    Dump Netflix. Buy Netflix. That's the conflicting advice coming out of Wall Street about the Web video rental service during the past two weeks and it has sent the company's share price on a wild ride. How can investors know which way to bet? Well, anyone looking for deeper insight should get their hands on "Netflixed," a richly detailed history of the company and its campaign to reshape the home-rental market. The book goes on sale today. "Netflixed" is a reminder of why the public and business press fell in love with the company and managers there should hand out copies with every video rental.
    The author writes that (CEO Reed) Hastings, a mathematician and software engineer, understood early on that his company was compiling unprecedented data about consumer's home-video tastes and behavior, based not on surveys or studies, but on usage. This data helped him recommend titles and build improvements into the service that he knew his customers would appreciate, according to the book, and the information only got richer with the development of the streaming service. "Netflix's market researchers had found th
    "Netflix's market researchers had found the holy grail of customer feedback," Keating wrote. "Real-time input about what customers thought about the movies they watched, based on how they behaved as they watched them. The system watched viewers as they screened films, noting the scenes where they stopped and rewound, how long it took them to abandon a film they didn't like, where they paused, what scenes they skipped. The resulting analysis of human behavior had the potential to be richer and more personal than any focus group could be." "Netflixed,""

The Internet

Submission + - Regulators smash global phone tech support scam operation (zdnet.com) 1

SternisheFan writes: "Zack Whittaker, ZDNet News: The FTC announced a crackdown on a massive international computer tech support scam that allegedly swindled tens of thousands of consumers in six countries.
Regulators from five countries joined together in an operation to crack down on a series of companies orchestrating one of the most widespread Internet scams of the decade. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other international regulatory authorities today said they shut down a global criminal network that bilked tens of thousands of consumers by pretending to be tech support providers. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, speaking during a press conference with a Microsoft executive and regulators from Australia and Canada, said 14 companies and 17 individuals were targeted in the investigation. In the course of the crackdown, U.S. authorities already have frozen $188,000 in assets, but Leibowitz said that would increase over time thanks to international efforts."

The Internet

Submission + - U.S. Is Tightening Web Privacy Rule to Shield Young (post-gazette.com)

SternisheFan writes: "By NATASHA SINGER
    Federal regulators are about to take the biggest steps in more than a decade to protect children online. The moves come at a time when major corporations, app developers and data miners appear to be collecting information about the online activities of millions of young Internet users without their parents' awareness, children's advocates say. Some sites and apps have also collected details like children's photographs or locations of mobile devices; the concern is that the information could be used to identify or locate individual children.
    These data-gathering practices are legal. But the development has so alarmed officials at the Federal Trade Commission that the agency is moving to overhaul rules that many experts say have not kept pace with the explosive growth of the Web and innovations like mobile apps. New rules are expected within weeks.
    The proposed changes could greatly increase the need for children's sites to obtain parental permission for some practices that are now popular --like using cookies to track users' activities around the Web over time. Marketers argue that the rule should not be changed so extensively, lest it cause companies to reduce their offerings for children. "Do we need a broad, wholesale change of the law?" says Mike Zaneis, the general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry association. "The answer is no. It is working very well."

Read the full Post-Gazette.com article linked below.
   "

The Internet

Submission + - Xbox Challenged as Cable Plots to Make Consoles Obsolete (bloomberg.com)

SternisheFan writes: "From Bloomberg News: AT&T Inc.. Verizon Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. are gearing up for a push to deliver video games directly to televisions, said people with knowledge of the matter, a strategy shift that poses a threat to traditional consoles such as the PlayStation, Wii and Xbox. Trials of cloud-gaming services are likely to start later this year so carriers can test and tweak the technology before wider deployments that may begin as early as 2013, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Other carriers are aiming for 2014, the people said. If successful, Web-based games could accelerate a shift away from consoles, the industry’s main money maker for the past three decades.
    “Everybody has a TV,” said Atul Bagga, a video-games analyst at Lazard Capital Markets in San Francisco. Cable and phone companies are “looking for new ways to monetize their users and gaming can be pretty compelling,” he said. By adding popular games to their TV, Internet and phone packages, carriers can offer another service to their almost 50 million digital TV subscribers. In addition to AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) and Cox Communications Inc. are also in talks to offer video-gaming services, the people said. They’re all looking to go beyond social games from Zynga Inc. and casual games such as “Tetris” and “Solitaire,” with technology that can deliver the most advanced action games from top publishers such as Electronic Arts Inc."

Crime

Submission + - Calif. man arrested for ESPN post on killing kids (yahoo.com)

SternisheFan writes: "A California man accused of posting comments on ESPN's website saying he was watching kids and wouldn't mind killing them was in jail Tuesday on $1 million bail after he was arrested for investigation of making terrorist threats, authorities said. Several guns were found Monday at the home of former Yale University student Eric Yee, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Steve Low. Yee was arrested after the sports network ESPN reported threatening posts were made in a reader response section to an online ESPN story on Thursday about new Nike sneakers named after LeBron James that cost $270 a pair. Some of the nearly 3,000 reader comments on the story talked about children possibly getting killed over the sneakers because of how expensive they are, said ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys.
"What he was posting had nothing to do with sports," Soltys said Tuesday. "We closely monitor the message boards and anytime we get a threat, we're alerting law enforcement officials." An employee at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., notified local police the same day and they linked the posting to Yee's home in Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County. Sheriff's investigators said they were contacted Sunday and began surveillance on the home where Yee, 21, lives with his parents until a search warrant was obtained. Experts said the bail amount was very high for a person suspected of making terrorist threats."

Google

Submission + - Google declares success for Kansas City gigabit broadband. (gigaom.com) 1

SternisheFan writes: "Google has signed up 180 out of 202 neighborhoods in a pre-registration drive for its fiber-to-the-home service. That’s an amazing take-up rate, although it’s not clear what percentage of homes have signed up. But the incumbent ISPs, AT&T and Time Warner Cable, must be worried.
    Google should celebrate — if it considers getting ready to spend a few hundred million in capital expenditures reason to celebrate — because as of Sunday night, it has pre-registered enough people in Kansas City to deploy its gigabit fiber to the home network to 180 out of its 202 “fiberhoods.”
    In what must have been a heck of a last-minute push, Google managed to sign up several neighborhoods that weren’t looking like they would get Google’s service. As of Friday afternoon when I had counted 21,000 people having pre-registered for the service I noted at least 50 areas — what Google calls fiberhoods — that hadn’t yet made the cut and most were in low-income neighborhoods.
    When Google announced its plans to offer a gigabit service for $70 a month plus the $300 one-time connection fee as well as a free 5 Mbps service that allowed registrants to pay the $300 connection fee up front or over a period of 1 year at $25 a month, it also opened up a new way of signing up for the service."

The Internet

Submission + - 19 Million Americans still go without broadband (usatoday.com) 1

SternisheFan writes: "By Roger Yu, USA TODAY Updated: 08/21/2012 10:54am Access to fast Internet is spreading in the U.S., but about 19 million Americans can't get it, according to a new government report out Tuesday. The report by the Federal Communications Commission shows improvement from the agency's data last year that showed 26 million were without access to such Internet service. The FCC says its latest report was based on data it had as of June 2011. The decline partially reflects Internet service providers' expansion beyond suburbs, but the FCC also attributes it to data collection that improved from its previous efforts. The lack of access continues to hamper rural Americans in particular. About 14.5 million rural Americans —or 23.7% of 61 million people living in rural areas —had no fast Internet service offered for their homes. In contrast, only 1.8% Americans living in non-rural areas —4.5 million out of 254.9 million —had no broadband access. The FCC categorizes an Internet service as "broadband" if it transmits at a speed of at least 4 megabits per second."

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