youtube stopped for 45 minutes

This is amazing and unbelievable. When Pakistan decided to block youtube this past week because of it contains contenyoutube.jpgt it deemed offensive [in particular the infamous cartoons of the Prophet], it ended up blocking youtube from the entire world. One of its ISPs rerouted youtube into a ‘black hole’.  It amounted to a denial of service attack – albeit unintentional.

Here is a technical analysis of how this happened link 

What does this tell us about the status of the internet? that it is so fragile, it is scary.

digital inclusion and cyber crime – helping pedophiles form networks

A conference in Rio de Janeiro will start Monday to discuss cyber crime including pedophilia and will be discussing the digital divide/digital inclusion. The conference is entitled the UN Internet Governance Forum, a product of the World Summit that took place in Tunisia in 2005.  Among its topics is, of course, governance issues on the internet. It is expected that

2,000 participants from 100 countries will examine ways to tackle pedophilia and cybercrime. [The conference] will also discuss the implications of more than 80 percent of the world’s population not having access to the worldwide network, mainly those in developing countries.

Apparently ‘millions of pedophiles’ have been enabled by the openness of the Internet and have been able to connect and form networks:

The US Congress also gave information recently that hinted at the size of the problem. According to an agent in the Justice Department’s special crimes investigation bureau, the Internet has allowed “maybe millions” of pedophiles in the world to form a network online. [link]

For more information on the Forum, visit their official website.

phishing test

Here are some phishing stats from SonicWall:

  • 6.1 Billion – Number of phishing e-mails sent world-wide each month
  • $1, 200 – Average loss to each person sucessfully phished (Federal Trade Commission)
  • 15, 451 – Number of unique phishing attacks in January 2006 (Anti-Phishing Working Group)
  • 7, 484 – Number of phishing Web sites found in January 2006 (Anti-Phishing Working Group)

Sonic Wall also puts a very interesting test for your online safety [link]. Try it and see how safe you are. I LOVE that test!!!

200,000 malicious programs in existence

These problem programs can arrive via e-mail, instant messenger, through your internet connection or even your web browser if you visit the wrong website. The threats are so numerous and appear so fast that Windows users must feel under siege. [link]

The majority of the attacks are against Windows users. So how do we stay safe while surfing? The BBC offers a few suggestions:

  • Use anti-spyware and anti-virus programs
  • On at least a weekly basis update anti-virus and spyware products
  • Install a firewall and make sure it is switched on
  • Make sure updates to your operating system are installed
  • Take time to educate yourself and family about the risks
  • Monitor your computer and stay alert to threats

Doesn’t exactly say much, but for starters, this is good advice.

the ghost in the browser


Google just released a study entitled The Ghost in the Browser: Analysis of web-based malware [pdf document] in which it claims that 10% of websites contain malicious malware. It conducted an “in-depth research on 4.5 million Web sites and found that about one in 10 Web pages could successfully “drive-by download” a Trojan horse virus onto a visitor’s computer. Such malicious software potentially enables hackers to access sensitive data stored on the computer or its network, or to install rogue applications.” [cnet news]

Not only that, but according to another article on cnet,

An average of 8,000 new URLs containing malicious software emerged each week during April, Cluley said, adding that the notion that such software resides only in the darker corners of the Internet is very outdated. Seventy percent of Web pages hosting rogue software are found on legitimate sites targeted by hackers, according to Sophos.