Powered By Xiaoshuoer!

Default utility Image

Cyber security and the online arms race: the battle has just begun Published in collaboration with The Conversation, a website that features commentary, research and analysis from Australian universities and the CSIRO. Cyber security has been in the news a lot lately. Corporate giants have had their data stolen, intelligence agencies have had their websites taken down and hacker groups have become household names. Closer to home, an Australian web hosting company distribute.IT confirmed yesterday that a June 11 hack of its servers had rendered the data of almost 5,000 clients “unrecoverable”. The recent spike in online criminal activity has led some industry players to call for significant overhaul to Australia’s cyber security laws and, indeed, the Federal Government has taken steps down that path. All of this raises a particularly pertinent question: is the threat of online attack inevitable, or is there a way to make the internet an inherently safer place to work, play and shop? SECURITY GIANTS A recent public lecture delivered by Eugene Kaspersky – CEO and co-founder of one of the world’s largest anti-virus companies, Kaspsersky Lab – shed some light on this very subject. Kaspersky’s interest in anti-virus systems was triggered when his computer was infected by a virus way back in 1989. This computer virus stimulated his curiosity, and he started to compile a database of each new computer virus he encountered. This database of virus “signatures” became the basis for his first anti-virus software tool. In those early days of the internet, the author of the virus that infected Kaspersky’s computer was probably also motivated by curiosity – in this case, curiosity to see whether it was possible to write a program that could spread between computers, even without the owners of those computers knowing. While curiosity was a major driving force behind both the unknown author of the virus and Eugene Kaspsersky’s response, it’s clear that cyber security is no longer the domain of curious amateurs. SERIOUS BUSINESS Cyber crime is now a thriving industry driven by those within more traditional criminal circles and, according to Kaspsersky, the second most lucrative criminal activity behind the illegal drug trade. So just how do hackers make money? Well, consider the case of “distributed denial-of-service” (DDoS) attacks. In an attack of this kind, an online business or service is disabled by a flood of malicious requests via the internet. DDoS attacks can be used to: * Swamped an online betting agency with bogus transactions that overwhelm their servers, thus denying access to legitimate customers. * Blackmail online businesses by threatening to close down the business unless protection money is paid. * Disable online government services, as was the case in February of this year when Australian government websites were attacked. For DDoS attacks to be effective, attackers need to generate a high volume of malicious requests which means having a large number of computers at their disposal. Attackers can use computer viruses and other pieces of malicious software (or “malware”) to gain control of legitimate users’ computers. TANGLED WEB These infected computers (collectively known as a “botnet”) can then be used to launch large numbers of malicious requests in a DDoS attack at the attacker’s command. According to Kaspersky, recent botnet DDoS attacks have involved as many as ten million infected computers. (By way of contrast, “only” a one-million-machine botnet was needed to take down most of Estonia’s online infrastructure in 2007.) In response to these growing attacks, the network managers of online networks and services continually need to deploy higher-capacity servers and network links, together with filtering systems such as anti-virus software and network “firewalls”. While this approach to defence aims to protect the target of an attack, it does little to stop the attack at its source, namely, the infected computers. Indeed, all that has emerged is an online arms race in which attackers and defenders are always trying to up the ante. So, is there a silver bullet to network security that will defuse this arms race? CATCHING CYBER-CRIMINALS One possible approach suggested by Eugene Kaspersky (among others) is to trace where requests to access online services are coming from. In practical terms this might mean the introduction of some form of online identification – an internet passport, if you like. If a user was found to be engaging in questionable online behaviour – such as requesting the same page from a web server repeatedly in a short period of time – the user would need to produce their online identification in order to proceed. Such methods would make it easier to trace perpetrators of cyber crime and, ideally, discourage such behaviour in the first place. While better verification of the identity and reliability of users on the internet could help in the ongoing fight against cyber crime, it’s certainly not a silver bullet. This type of verification can itself become the target of a DDoS attack. Indeed, no single strategy has yet been proven effective in protecting the internet from the persistence of attackers, nor is a single solution likely to emerge. While the problem of cyber crime may never be completely eradicated, we can only hope that our efforts will someday raise defences to the point where it is uneconomic for attackers to continue with these types of attacks.

Default utility Image

Exclusive: Immigration scam revealed In an exclusive interview with SBS Mandarin News Australia, a student from China reveals how he was paid to sit an English language immmigration test for someone else. Following the story, IELTS issued a statement warning test candidates that if they attempt to present fraudulent identities to any IELTS test centre, they will be identified and action will be taken. Students are under increasing pressure to score higher results in the International English Language Testing System exam, a key criterion for gaining Australian permanent residency. An underground business is emerging, providing the service of falsifying everything international students need to get permanent residency . This includes everything from organising fake passports to finding a substitute to sit their English exam for them. The businessmen allegedly contact the ‘substitute’ students directly, using a popular Chinese instant messaging program. “Because we are both Chinese, we contact each other by the instant messaging program QQ. It is easy to register an ID contact name for each other. By using QQ contacts, nobody can track your real identification,” one source told SBS. The source, identified only as ‘Mr L’, says he never has a problem when pretending to be a student sitting for the IELTS exam. “I am similar looking to the student client. It is hard to figure out the difference between us, especially after changing my hairstyle,” he told SBS. SBS Mandarin found the IELTS substitution was almost an open secret. Two test centres at Macquarie University and the University of Western Sydney have introduced new fingerprint scanning machines for identification purposes, and the federal government plans to further toughen the criteria in July. If you have had any encounter with this kind of business, SBS would like to hear from you. You can email us anonymously at [email protected], or leave a message in the comments section of this article.

Default utility Image

Israelis march against Jewish extremists Thousands of Israelis gathered to protest against ultra-Orthodox extremists whose campaign for gender segregation has erupted into verbal and physical abuse against women. Police said about 3,000 people showed up in the town of Beit Shemesh, with “several hundred” police supervising. There were no clashes between participants and ultra-Orthodox residents who have recently been filmed spitting at a woman and verbally harassing an eight-year-old girl. Organisers had hoped for at least 10,000 to join the protest, “No incidents were reported,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “But we’ll be continuing security patrols in and around Beit Shemesh in the coming days. Media said ultra-Orthodox rabbis had instructed members of their community to stay away from the event, to avoid confrontation. Among the protesters were both secular and orthodox Jews, some with banners comparing the extremists to Afghanistan’s Taliban zealots. “Excluding women is my red line!” another sign read. “We stop it now.” On Monday, several hundred ultra-Orthodox activists rioted in the town of 80,000, 30 kilometres (18 miles) west of Jerusalem, showering police and television crews with eggs and setting fire to refuse bins. The majority of the town’s residents are religious Jews, among them a large and growing ultra-Orthodox community. Activists have posted signs in their neighbourhood instructing women to dress “modestly” in long sleeves and calf-length skirts. Images broadcast on TV last week of an ultra-Orthodox man in Beit Shemesh spitting at a woman led to his arrest on Saturday night. He was freed by magistrates on Sunday. The same broadcast featured an eight-year-old girl terrified to walk the short distance between her home and school, since she is subject to verbal abuse of ultra-Orthodox men who claim her attire is not sufficiently “modest.” On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to crack down on acts of gender separation and ultra-orthodox violence towards women, and keep the public “open and safe to everyone.” The violence came after a wave of incidents elsewhere in Israel in which women have been compelled to sit at the back of segregated buses serving ultra-Orthodox areas or get off, despite court rulings that women may sit where they please. Women’s rights activists say the ultra-Orthodox — around 10 percent of the population — have become increasingly radical over gender segregation and are winning concessions that harm women.

Default utility Image

Casey Anthony found not guilty A Florida jury has handed a not guilty verdict in the case of Casey Anthony, accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008, in a case that has gripped the United States and dominated social media. The seven-woman, five-man jury, who deliberated for just a day after a more than six-week trial, also found the 25-year-old not guilty of child abuse and aggravated manslaughter. She was found guilty on four counts of providing false information to law enforcement — misdemeanor charges that will likely see Anthony set free, after time served in prison awaiting the trial. Had she been convicted of first-degree murder, Anthony could have faced the death penalty in a widely publicized trial that became a media circus centered on the Orange County, Florida courthouse. Prosecution lawyers claimed Anthony had suffocated her daughter with duct tape, dumped the body in her car for a few days and then hid it. The skeletal remains of the little girl’s body were found just under six months later. The defense team maintained the toddler drowned accidentally and that Anthony, along with her father George, covered up the death — circumstances that he denied. In a statement released through their lawyer, Casey Anthony’s mother, father and brother said the verdict brought “closure” to this period of their life, and they will now “begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.” “Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented,” said the statement.

Default utility Image

‘Design flaws’ blamed for China train crash Local railway officials have blamed ‘design flaws’ in signalling equipment for China’s high-speed train crash in which at least 39 people were killed, the official Xinhua news agency said Thursday. The system “failed to turn the green light into red”, Xinhua quoted An Lusheng, head of the Shanghai Railway Bureau, as saying during a meeting on the investigation into China’s worst rail disaster since 2008. At least 39 people were killed and nearly 200 injured in Saturday’s collision on the outskirts of the eastern city of Wenzhou, the worst accident ever to hit China’s rapidly expanding high-speed network. WEN VOWS TO PUNISH THOSE TO BLAME FOR CRASH Wen, a popular figure with China’s masses, visited the scene of the crash as the government tries to assuage mounting anger which has dominated the media and the blogosphere in recent days. “We will severely punish those responsible for the accident and those who hold responsibilities of leadership in accordance with the country’s laws,” he told reporters at the accident site. “The high-speed railway construction of China should integrate speed, quality, efficiency and safety. And safety should be put in the first place,” said Wen, who has ordered an “open and transparent” probe into the incident. ACCIDENT RAISES SAFETY CONCERNS The accident has raised questions over whether safety concerns may have been overlooked in China’s rush to build the world’s biggest high-speed rail system, a feat it has achieved in just four years. China’s state-controlled media has been unusually outspoken in its coverage of the accident, defying directives not to question the official line. A comment piece on the front page of the People’s Daily, the Communist party mouthpiece, said Thursday that China “needs development, but does not need blood-smeared GDP.” “Development is of overriding importance. But development should not be pursued at all cost,” said the article, which was attributed to “the newspaper’s commentator”. “While developing, (we) must… put human safety as the top priority and… balance speed, quality and benefits. We must never solely pursue speed or sacrifice life for money.” Wen, who typically makes highly publicised visits to disaster sites, will meet with the injured as well as relatives of the victims during his trip to Wenzhou, the official Xinhua news agency reported. He also urged efforts to “make China’s high-speed railway exports really safe” — after observers said that the accident could scuttle Beijing’s ambitions to sell the technology overseas. ‘URGENT OVERHAUL’ OF RAIL SAFETY Three senior railway officials have already been fired over the disaster, and Beijing has ordered an “urgent overhaul” of national rail safety. But that has done little to calm the furious response from the public and the media. Anger has been compounded by allegations that authorities tried to cover up evidence by burying the wreckage, although officials said this was to help rescuers access the crash site. Thousands of people have posted on China’s hugely popular micro-blogs, demanding to know why the driver of the second train, who was killed in the accident, was not told to stop in time. China has ploughed huge sums of money into its high-speed rail network, which covered 8,358 kilometres (5,193 miles) by the end of 2010 and is expected to exceed 13,000 kilometres by 2012 and 16,000 kilometres by 2020. A new $33 billion high-speed link between Beijing and Shanghai opened to passengers amid much fanfare on June 30 — a year ahead of schedule — but has suffered power cuts and delays. The high cost of the network has sparked fears over corruption, and China’s state auditor has said construction companies and individuals last year siphoned off 187 million yuan ($29 million) from the Beijing-Shanghai project. The revelation followed the sacking of former railway minister Liu Zhijun in February, who allegedly took more than 800 million yuan in kickbacks over several years on contracts linked to China’s high-speed network. Shortly after his sacking, the railway ministry said trains would run between 250 and 300 kilometres per hour on the new Beijing-Shanghai link, which is designed for a maximum speed of 380 kph, for safety reasons.

Categories

TITLE

April 2019
M T W T F S S
« Mar   May »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Recent Posts

Default utility Image Japan starts shutdown of nuke reactor

The operator of Japan's ageing Hamaoka nuclear plant, located near a tectonic faultline southwest of...

Default utility Image Turkey death toll nears 500

Homeless survivors of Turkey's devastating earthquake shivered in sub-zero temperatures as the government admitted that...

Default utility Image Athens smoulders after austerity protests

"It's culture that has gone up in smoke," filmmaker Nikos Kavoukidis lamented...

Default utility Image Violence flares in Kosovo, talks delayed

EU-brokered talks between Belgrade and Pristina were delayed Tuesday after the latest surge of violence...

Default utility Image Tensions rising on Kosovo-Serbia border

Dozens of youths set fire to one of two border posts on Kosovo's northern frontier...

Recent Posts

Default utility Image Default utility Image Default utility Image Default utility Image Default utility Image

Recent Posts

Default utility Image Japan starts shutdown of nuke reactor

The operator of Japan's ageing Hamaoka nuclear plant, located near a tectonic faultline southwest of...

Default utility Image Turkey death toll nears 500

Homeless survivors of Turkey's devastating earthquake shivered in sub-zero temperatures as the government admitted that...

Default utility Image Athens smoulders after austerity protests

"It's culture that has gone up in smoke," filmmaker Nikos Kavoukidis lamented...

Default utility Image Violence flares in Kosovo, talks delayed

EU-brokered talks between Belgrade and Pristina were delayed Tuesday after the latest surge of violence...

Default utility Image Tensions rising on Kosovo-Serbia border

Dozens of youths set fire to one of two border posts on Kosovo's northern frontier...

Tag Cloud