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 Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In a press release, Gartner, Inc. advises businesses to plan for five increasingly prevalent cyberthreats that have the potential to inflict significant damage on organisations during the next two years. These threats are:

  • Targeted threats (Targeted threats are cyber attacks with a financial motivation that are aimed at one company or one industry);
  • Identity theft (Identity theft refers to the theft of an individual's personal or financial information for the purpose of stealing money or committing other types of crimes);
  • Spyware (Spyware is malicious software that can probe systems, reporting user behaviour to an advertiser or other party without the user’s knowledge);
  • Social engineering (Social engineering is the practice of obtaining confidential information by manipulating legitimate users);
  • Viruses (Viruses are malicious programmes that use a propagation method to enable widespread distribution.)

According to Amrit Williams, research director at Gartner, "We are seeing an increasingly hostile environment fuelled by financially motivated and targeted cyber attacks. By 2008 we expect that 40 percent of organisations will be targeted by financially motivated cybercrime."

"Cyber attacks are not new, but what is changing is the motivation behind them. They are no longer just executed by hackers for hobby or cybervandilism, but by professionals with a targeted aim at one person, one company or one industry," said Williams.

"For example, we have recently seen several companies hiring private investigators to spy on their competitors. Private investigators used Trojans to install targeted spyware on competitors’ computers to gather confidential information about such things as upcoming bids and customers."

Gartner said that social engineering and viruses will remain an everyday nuisance for chief information security officers through 2009. It warned that in the next two years, at least 50 percent of organisations will experience a social engineering or a virus attack."

Access the full report and Gartner news release here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:06:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"Chapter Two: Measuring the Information Society" introduces the structure and methodology of the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI). It explains why the component indicators were chosen and how they measure different aspects of digital opportunity, in: opportunity to access telecommunications (including basic access to telecommunications and affordability, with detailed price information); the basic infrastructure available in a country; and actual utilization of ICTs, in the use of the Internet and broadband technologies (fixed and mobile).

This chapter reviews trends in the individual indicators making up the DOI, including: the growth of mobile coverage (both 2G and 3G); a comparison of Internet and mobile prices; household penetration of ICTs and broadband and mobile Internet. It illustrates these trends with a wealth of country information and regional comparisons, to show how the DOI captures the growth in digital opportunity around the world.

The DOI is a flexible and forward-looking index, which includes measurement of the promising technologies of tomorrow in broadband and mobile Internet subscribers (as a proportion of total Internet subscribers and total mobile subscribers). It is the major index to date that includes up-to-date and current price information for both mobile and Internet access. Find out more and download the DOI as part of the World Information Society Report here.

Structure of the DOI:

The DOI is currently being updated for 2006 information, as part of the ongoing work programme of the Digital Opportunity Platform.

 

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 1:04:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 18, 2006

"Chapter One: A Summit for Building the Information Society" outlines the background to the World Information Society Report (WISR). It sets out the background to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in the origins, aims and achievements of the Summit. In particular, it considers the call by member governments for an effective means and methodology for follow-up to monitor progress in building the Information Society through implementation of the Summit's recommendations.

The Geneva Plan of Action calls for a composite ICT Development (Digital Opportunity) Index to be published annually, or every two years, in a report on ICT development to clarify the magnitude of the digital divide in both its domestic and international dimensions.

Chapter One of the WISR reviews WSIS implementation since the Summit concluded in Tunis in November 2005, and explains why composite indices give a more complete picture of the development of the Information Society in any given economy than a single indicator. It gives an overview of the main composite Indices for measuring Digital Opportunity, and how they differ. It concludes by explaining the main virtues of the Digital Opportunity Index, especially for developing countries: it evaluates digital opportunity in 180 countries, the most of any index published to date; it is based on standard indicators (as defined by the Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development); it uses objective data rather than survey data; it can be split into its fixed and mobile components, so developing countries can be measured on the basis of their strengths; it uses household penetration data (which favour developing countries, on the basis of their large average household size); and it is simple and easy-to-use.

"Chapter One: A Summit for Building the Information Society" of the World Information Society Report can be downloaded for free here.

Monday, September 18, 2006 11:38:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 15, 2006

Business Communications Review has an article entitled The Botnet Threat reviewing a recent report put out by Arbor Networks, which surveyed ISPs about their biggest security concerns.

"When they surveyed 55 ISPs, McPherson and Labovitz discovered that distributed denial of service attacks, and the related threat of botnets, remain the biggest security problem that ISPs face. Together, these two elements were named as the top threat by 77 percent of respondents. "Brute-force attacks remain the most predominant attack type on the Internet today," the authors write.

The largest sustained attack reported by the survey respondents was a whopping 17 Gbps; a UDP flood of 22 million packets per second (pps) and a SYN flood of 14 million pps have also been reported. "The magnitude of these attacks is incredible when you consider that a 14 Mpps SYN flood can nearly fill an entire OC-192 (10 Gbps) circuit with a minimum packet size," McPherson and Labovitz write. "Any one of these attacks, or even a fraction thereof, can create significant pain for even the largest ISP networks in the world today."

The report also cites what the authors call "a new and disturbing observation" made by one respondent: Not only are botnets highly organized and "uniformly gargantuan," but there's an increasing amount of marketing of these botnets. ("Blast your affiliate numbers overnight!" is a typical pitch they report seeing.)"

Friday, September 15, 2006 8:45:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU’s Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU) is delighted to announce over 17,000 downloads of its major new report, the World Information Society Report (WISR), over the two months since its publication.

As part of the ITU’s follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the Report charts progress in building the Information Society and track the dynamics driving digital opportunity worldwide using a new tool—the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI). The DOI is part of the agreed evaluation methodology endorsed during the WSIS and will be published annually in the World Information Society Report to track progress in reaching the WSIS targets and building a diverse and inclusive Information Society by 2015.

The WISR shows how the Digital Opportunity Index can be used to strengthen policy-making by monitoring the critical areas of the digital divide, universal access, gender and the promotion of broadband and universal service policies. The Report is addressed to policy-makers, regulators, academics, public and other stakeholders with an interest in telecommunications and development.

Starting next week, SPU will profile a different chapter of the World Information Society Report each day, to show how the Information Society is evolving and how you can contribute to WSIS follow-up. 

For more information, please see the WISR website

Friday, September 15, 2006 1:13:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 14, 2006

In the latest issue of Total Telecom, an article entitled No Signal discusses the need to develop an NGN global interconnection regime.

"NTTs CEO and CTO have raised the alarm and are calling for the worlds operators to start work on new interconnection models today, before NGNs are in place, and more importantly before legacy networks are switched off.

At a CEO summit hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva in July, NTTs president and CEO, Norio Wada, called for a new interconnect framework that will extend national NGNs into a secure and fully managed global IP network."

Thursday, September 14, 2006 10:24:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

InfoWorld reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has released the findings of Operation Cyber Storm, a large-scale simulation of combined cyber-physical attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure.

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its public findings from Operation Cyber Storm, a large-scale tabletop simulation of a coordinated cyber attack on the government and critical infrastructure that was held in February, 2006. The exercise involved US-CERT, the Homeland Security Operation center as well as the National Cyber Response Coordination Group (NCRCG) and the Intragency Incident Management Group (IIMG), various ISACs from the transportation, energy, IT and telecommunications sectors, and 100 private sector companies." "The exercise simulated a large-scale cyber campaign that disrupts multiple critical infrastructure, as well as simulated "physical demonstrations and distrubances" to test the ability of government to respond to multiple incidents simultaneously, even when its not clear that the events are related (read: 9/11)."

From the article: According to DHS, "observers noted that players had difficulty ascertaining what organizations and whom within those organizations to contact when there was no previously established relationship or pre-determined plans for response coordination and risk assessments/mitigation. There was a general recognition of the difficulties organizations faced when attempting to establish trust with unfamiliar organizations during time of crisis."

Read the InfoWorld article here.
See the DHS press release on Operation Cyber Storm. 

This article was accessed via Slashdot.

Thursday, September 14, 2006 9:49:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Within the framework of the 17th European Regional ITS Conference, session on the Next Generation Infrastructure (see programme)C.B. Blankart, G. Knieps, and P. Zenhäusern presented their new paper on "Regulation of New Markets in Telecommunications? Market Dynamics and Shrinking Monopolistic Bottlenecks".

In the paper the Authors focuse on the debate on the EU telecommunications regulatory framework and analyse whether new markets create new monopolistic bottlenecks or extend the borderlines of existing bottlenecks. Three kinds of transmission qualities on service markets can be dif-ferentiated according to the products provided: narrowband services like PSTN/ISDN or GSM, semi high-speed broadband services like broadband inter-net access up to 6 Mbps download and VDSL services up to 50 Mbps. As long as, due to the absence of alternative network infrastructures, a monopolistic bot-tleneck in local infrastructure networks exists the question arises what the re-maining bottleneck components are for these different markets. In this paper we will demonstrate the shrinking-bottleneck hypothesis.

Download the full version of the paper.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 6:02:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

European Commission published three studies by external consultants on the review of the EU 2003 regulatory framework.The three studies are the following:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:53:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 07, 2006

A recent APDIP e-Note goes into the discussion of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Internet Governance.

As the number of non-English speakers on the Internet grows exponentially, the limitations of the Domain Name System have become evident to many.

The APDIP e-Note examines "how IDNs relate to cultural diversity and the basic human right to communicate in one's own language on the Internet. While the bulk of the content on the Internet has been in English, this is rapidly changing. In China, for example, over 60 million of the nation's 100 million-plus users browse the web only in Chinese, yet top-level domain names remain in Roman script for all users. The APDIP e-Note further discusses the ongoing debate on how best to allow users to navigate the Internet in their own language. Different systems available for multilingual domain names and future scenarios are also explored.

Download the full APDIP e-Note.
View other APDIP e-Resources here.

The Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) is an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that aims to promote the development and application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for sustainable human development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:53:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A select committee has recommended a major change to New Zealand's anti-spam bill, suggesting anyone should be able to send unsolicited emails that are of an entirely non-commercial nature and need not desist even if asked to do so by the recipient. The original anti-spam bill said that organisations that sent unsolicited emails to promote their aims or ideals - such as school newsletters and messages from political lobbyists - would fall foul of the spam bill. This is if they did not stop sending messages when asked to do so, by letting recipients "opt-out". The select committee dropped this requirement in amendments it proposed early September 2006.

The proposed amendments also drop the legal requirement that spam be reported to a customer's internet service provider before Internal Affairs could take action. Other proposed amendments eliminate the distinction between emails whose prime purpose is commercial and ones that are primarily promotional, but which contain a commercial element, and lift a ban on possessing or supplying email harvesting software, but bans New Zealanders from using such software to send spam.

This news item was retrieved through the APCAUCE Newslog.
The full article is available at stuff.co.nz.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:50:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In a recent press release, Gartner, Inc. says that the number of households around the world subscribing to Internet Protocol television (IPTV) services offered by telecom carriers will reach 48.8 million in 2010. Buoyed by new service launches, IPTV subscribers will more than double in 2007 from an expected 6.4 million in 2006 to 13.3 million according to Gartner.

Despite the eight-fold increase in users between 2006 and 2010, Gartner says that carriers will struggle to turn IPTV into a mainstream Pay TV distribution platform on par with established cable or satellite services. "The difficulty in carving out a distinctive proposition that will clearly differentiate early IPTV services from other established TV options will lead many service providers around the world to drive adoption by competing on price in the next few years", said Elroy Jopling, research director at Gartner. "As a result, the global picture for IPTV revenue is much less impressive than for subscriber numbers."

"Global IPTV revenue during the period will grow from $872 million in 2006 to a still relatively modest $13.2 billion by 2010. IPTV will not be a panacea to replace diminishing voice revenue for carriers, but in the medium term it can be a powerful tool for carriers in helping retain customers on their existing voice and broadband services."

Gartner defines IPTV as the delivery of video programming (either broadcast or on-demand) over a carrier’s managed broadband network to a customer’s TV set. It does not include streaming media over the Internet to a PC.

See the full press release on the Garner website.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:45:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 28, 2006

A presentation entitled "Booming Broadband for a Wireless World" was given by Lara Srivastava of ITU on 22 August 2006 at BroadbandAsia 2006 in Shanghai, China. Other speakers included, inter alia, L. Ladid (President, IPv6 Forum), T. Poulos (Asia-Pacific Head, Global Billing Association), A. Hassan (Executive Director, Wi-Fi Alliance), J. Wang (Secretary-General, TD-SCDMA Forum), S. Ramaswamy (Senior Vice President, Bharti AirTel).

Monday, August 28, 2006 9:24:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), in the context of its work together with the OECD Anti-Spam Task Force has developed an E-mail Metrics Program and agreed on a series of ISPs spam indicators. In June 2006 MAAWG released the second spam metrics report. The report, providing data for the first quarter 2006, is key to evaluating the evolution of spam and the effectiveness of anti-spam solutions and educational efforts.

Download the full MAAWG report here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 4:00:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 5th of May 2006, France and Japan signed a joint statement within the framework of a coordinated international action in order to fight spam. Both countries especially consider to exchange informations and good practices regarding the field of anti-spam policies and strategies.

The French Direction du Developpement des Medias (DDM) has more information on their website.

See other spam-related articles on the OECD Task Force on Spam website

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:45:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 18, 2006

The Vietnamese Ministry of Trade is drafting a circular governing advertising activities by electronic means, including emails, pop-ups and mobile phone messages.

"Local Internet users have been bombarded with spam mails but most of them are from overseas. Now such a circular is necessary as local spamming activities are on the rise.

The circular has basic requirements for users to fight spams such as opt-out options, genuine sender addresses, sender telephone numbers and obvious headings. But it seems that the draft circular is too lenient towards spammers when it provides them five working days before they have to stop their spams in case recipients choose to opt out. It also allows for the collection of personal data including email addresses and telephone numbers. Even though the circular requires collecting parties to ask for permission first and to keep those data confidential, this provision can be abused and can cause disputes later on.

This is all the more possible because the circular provides two scenarios: A complete ban of sales of email addresses and telephone numbers to advertisers; or allowing such an activity. Unsolicited short mobile messages are now possible because some carriers are selling subscribers’ numbers to various advertising companies. Users are especially frustrated when senders use some automatic message generation device so that they might receive an advertising message in the middle of the night.

The fines provided in the draft circular are from VND5 million to VND20 million, which many say are not heavy enough to prevent harmful violations of personal information."

[via APCAUCE and Viet Nam News]

Friday, August 18, 2006 10:03:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An article entitled New regulation to monitor online video spoof craze in Xinhua Online says that new regulations are in the pipeline to regulate video content on the internet in the wake of a surge in short satirical films online, according to the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

"Video spoofs have become so popular that netizens have even coined a slang term, "egao," to describe the act of using real film clips to create mocking send-ups.

From late August or September, only authorized websites such as sina.com, sohu.com and netease.com, will be allowed to show short films under the new regulations, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing an announcement by the administration."

[via Smart Mobs]

Friday, August 18, 2006 8:21:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |