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 Thursday, 13 March 2008

Time Warner's AOL Internet Divison is buying the social networking site, Bebo, for $850m cash.

Social networking sites are valuable to online advertisers as the information posted by members is very valuable to online advertisers who can then target them with those products and services which match their profiles.

Bebo is reported to have 40 million members worldwide, many of whom are within the 13-24 year old age range and thus attractive to advertisers. ComScore report that Bebo is the UK's second most popular social networking site after Facebook. In the US, Bebo is the third biggest social networking site, after MySpace and FacebookComScore report that Bebo is the world's ninth most popular social site.

Read full article at bbc website.

Thursday, 13 March 2008 15:37:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 11 March 2008, the Initiative for the Regional Integration of South American Infrastructure (IIRSA) and the Inter-American Communications Commission (CITEL) jointly organized at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) headquarters a workshop on International Roaming Services for Mobile Telecommunications, the first component of an IDB Technical Cooperation to support the project known as Implementation of a Roaming Agreement in South America, included in IIRSA’s Implementation Agenda Based on Consensus. Following this event was the XII meeting of the Permanent Consultative Committee on Telecommunications I (PCC.I) of CITEL, held at the IDB’s headquarters, in Washington D.C., from 12 through 14 March 2008, during which telecommunication-related topics deemed important for the region were discussed, such as the coordination of standards for telecommunication networks and services, convergence, analysis of cybersecurity issues and critical infrastructure and the use of telecommunications in emergencies, among others.

A presentation on the Overview of ITU-D Activities Related to Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection was given by Robert Shaw, head of the ICT Applications and Cybersecurity division, during the CITEL meeting, providing background information on ITU, cybersecurity, related ITU key activities underway, and an outline of the Framework for Organizing a National Approach to Cybersecurity. Specific cybersecurity-related activities and initiatives as well as a case study on botnets were also presented. 

Another presentation on Management Framework for Organizing National Cybersecurity/CIIP Efforts was given by Joe Richardson, further discussing the ITU Framework for Organizing National Cybersecurity/CIIP Efforts and the ITU National Cybersecurity/CIIP Self-Assessment Toolkit.

For more information on CYB's activities involving cybersecurity, visit the division website.

Thursday, 13 March 2008 15:04:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) recently released an advisory on fast and double flux attacks. "'Fast flux' is an evasion technique that cyber-criminals and Internet miscreants use to evade identification and to frustrate law enforcement and anticrime efforts aimed at locating and shutting down web sites used for illegal purposes." This Advisory describes the technical aspects of fast flux hosting and fast flux service networks. It explains how the DNS is exploited to abet criminal activities that employ fast flux hosting, identifying the impacts of fast flux hosting, and calling particular attention to the way such attacks extend the malicious or profitable lifetime of the illegal activities conducted using these fast flux techniques. It describes current and possible methods of mitigating fast flux hosting at various points in the Internet. The Advisory discusses the pros and cons of these mitigation methods, identifies those methods that SSAC considers practical and sensible, and recommends that appropriate bodies consider policies that would make the practical mitigation methods universally available to registrants, ISPs, registrars and registries (where applicable for each).

Read the full advisory here.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008 09:58:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 05 March 2008

The Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) today launched the project of "1000 Telemedicine Units for Africa". This eHealth initiative aims to support financing telemedicine units in Africa as well as to enable health professionals to obtain continuing education. The project consists of equipping district hospitals with diagnostic tools and internet connectivity to enable real-time or deferred exchanges with experts at a distance and to update medical knowledge of health professionals through e-Learning tools.

To date, DSF partners in this project are the Network of French-speaking Africa for Telemedicine (RAFT) of the University Hospitals of Geneva and the Africa Health Infoway (AHI) of the World Health Organization.

For more information on DSF, click here.

Wednesday, 05 March 2008 16:37:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 03 March 2008

The UK  industry watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), will undertake an investigation into the use of material taken from personal profiles on social networks by newspapers.

Tim Toulmin, director of the PCC has said that his organisation had received complaints from people about material "that is being re-published when they themselves are the subject of news stories", and suggests that guidelines are necessary in order to guide the press in their use of social network content. Due to the present lack of boundaries, the PCC has commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct research into public attitudes. In addition, Mr Toulmin points out that social networking sites have a responsibility to advise their users about the implications of uploading personal information to public, or semi-private spaces and goes one step further, saying, "..the press do have obligations over and above those that govern the online community".

However, Bob Satchwell, Director of the Society of Editors stated that the press should be subject to the same regulation as the public.

The recent media interest in the large number of suspected suicides among young people in Brigend, UK, has caused concern about the way social network profiles were being used by journalists.

The British Journal of Photography has stated that the publication of images on social networks does not automatically grant rights to republish photographs elseware.

Read full article on BBC website

Monday, 03 March 2008 12:26:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Jooce, a virtual desktop aimed at users who access the Web via cybercafes is attracting interest from organisations set up to bridge the digital divide. It is claimed that Jooce is presently targetting the estimated 500 million people who log on to the Internet from a cybercafe each day. Experts suggest that its free web-based desktop may be of great use for people who cannot afford their own personal computer.

Jooce provides the same functions as a personal computer, allowing access to files, e-mail, instant messaging, storage and other applications. "It's a platform that will make it much easier for the world's cybernomads to manage their digital lives",  said Jooce founder, Stefan Surzyck, referring to this platform as "their very own private space online".

Joocetop, a public desktop, is also said to be able to allow friends to access and share files. In addition a dedicated e-mail client is underway.

Eloisa San Mateo, regional IT coordinator for the Philippines National Computer Centres, has some concerns about the performance of Jooce on lower spec machines with poor bandwith.

Meddie Mayanja, a senior program officer with sees organisations such as Jooce  as essential to the sustainability of net access centres.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with JupiterResearch is less positive about web-based operating systems., an online technology news site, nominated Jooce as a finalist in its 2008 Webware 100 awards.

Read full article at BBC website.

Monday, 03 March 2008 10:17:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission recently proposed a new Safer Internet programme to enhance the safety of children in the online environment. Encompassing recent communications services from the Web 2.0, such as social networking, the new programme will fight not only illegal content but also harmful behaviour such as bullying and grooming. With a budget of €55 million, the programme, which builds further on the successful Safer Internet programme started in 2005, will run from 2009 to 2013.

The proposed new programme will:

  • Reduce illegal content and tackle harmful conduct online.
  • Promote a safer online environment.
  • Ensure public awareness.
  • Establish a knowledge base.

Read the full press release here.
For more information on the Safer Internet Programme, click here.

Monday, 03 March 2008 09:27:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Websense Security Labs has discovered that Google’s popular web mail service Gmail is being targeted in recent spammer tactics. Spammers in these attacks managed to create bots that are capable of signing up and creating random Gmail accounts for spamming purposes. Websense believes that from the spammers’ perspective, there are four main advantages to this approach. First, signing up for an account with Google allows access to its wide portfolio of services. Second, Google’s domains are unlikely to be blacklisted. Third, they are free to sign up. And fourth, it may be hard to keep track of them as millions of users worldwide are using various Google services on a regular basis. According to Websense, these accounts could be used by spammers at any time for abusing Google’s infrastructure. A wide range of attacks could be possible as the same account credentials can be used to target various services offered by Google.

A detailed analysis report is provided showing the entire process of the CAPTCHA breaking hosts. Read more about the analysis report here.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008 10:15:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Australian federal Government's plan to have internet service providers filter pornography and other internet content deemed inappropriate for children is going full-steam ahead. The Government wants to evaluate content filters in a controlled environment. Trials are to be conducted soon in a closed environment in Tasmania. Enex TestLab was selected more than six months ago after the Australian Communications and Media Authority closed a tender for an organisation to test ISP-based content filters. ISP-based filters will block inappropriate web pages at service provider level and automatically relay a clean feed to households. To be exempted, users will have to individually contact their ISPs. The trial will evaluate ISP-level internet content filters in a controlled environment while filtering content inappropriate for children, Enex said. "We invite vendors of all types (hardware appliances, software - proprietary or open-source) of ISP-based internet content filters to participate." The testing is slated for completion by July and will be followed by live field trials.

The internet sector has consistently voiced concern about the Government's ISP filters. Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos has said any clean feed policy would have to be balanced against the likely financial and performance costs, and ACMA's first annual report to Senator Conroy confirmed his fears. On the performance impact of filters, ACMA said: "In the case of personal computers the cost of upgrading processing power may be modest (although significant in terms of household income). "However, for ISPs the cost of upgrading or augmenting the expensive hardware that they typically deploy may be substantial, particularly for small providers."

Read the full article on the Australian IT.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008 09:40:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 26 February 2008

According to a report from vendor Mcafee, the growing number of cyber criminals in areas of Asia and Eastern-Europe is the result of a lack of IT jobs for qualified professionals. Joe Telafici, vice president of operations at Mcafee says that "the motivation to engage in illegal behavior is strong in Eastern Europe where technical skills were widely taught during the Cold War but economic opportunities are limited. The same is true in Asia, where population growth has stretched strong economic performance to the limits." In China, 43 per cent of IT graduates are unemployed, and hacker "training" web sites are creating a pool of effective malware authors and paying them like a legitimate business.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008 09:49:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

GigaOm Earth2Tech’s 101 Cleantech Startups provides a map showing cleantech hot spots around the globe. The different sectors such as solar, energy storage, biofuels and electric vehicles are all represented by a logo, and each pin on the map has all of the vital stats for each startup (founding year, investors, technology, etc.).

For more information, visit GigaOm's Earth2Tech website.
View the map here.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008 09:31:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 25 February 2008

The ITU-T newslog featured the following entry last Friday:

Senior technical experts have laid down the gauntlet on energy saving in information and communication technologies (ICTs) following a recent meeting in Geneva. Following tutorials on power saving, at a February meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 15, experts agreed to work towards a proposed percentage reduction of power consumption in broadband technologies. The aim is for the agreed figure to form part of a Resolution from the upcoming World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly. Reduction of power consumption should and can be done without the degradation of services according to experts.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has also underlined ITU’s role here saying: "ITU is one of the very important stakeholders in the area of climate change." ITU representatives made a statement at the UN Conference on Climate Change in, illustrating how ICTs are both a cause and a potential cure for climate change.

Speaking during the event attended by over 100 representatives from the ICT industry worldwide for each of its three, hour-long sessions, the Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, Houlin Zhao expressed appreciation that the meetings had proven so popular at such an early stage of the work. He pointed out that ICTs are responsible for 2.5 per cent of carbon emissions. This is roughly the equivalent of the airline industry and would require our urgent attention, he said.

The issue of power saving will be discussed within the wider context of climate change at ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change to be held 15-16 April 2008 in Kyoto (Japan) and hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and 17-18 June 2008 in London (Great Britain) and hosted by British Telecom. The events are part of a new initiative by ITU to better understand how ICTs can help mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as monitoring its impact.

Experts speaking at the SG 15 tutorials pointed to inefficiencies in terms of end-device power consumption level compared to the signal power. The deployment of passive optical network (PON) technology is of particular concern as operators worldwide rollout this new technology that some predict will massively increase power demands. Some simple measures, for example specifying power saving modes in network terminations such as: ‘asleep’, ‘standby’, as well as ‘on’ and ‘off’, were cited by speakers. It was also noted that next-generation networks (NGN) can lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing network complexity, and introducing equipment that is more tolerant to natural climatic conditions and therefore does not require air conditioning. Smart buildings, energy supply and transport industries must all play their part in achieving greenhouse gas reductions.

A first and completed task of the ITU experts has been to create a power saving checklist for standards authors. Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU congratulated SG 15 for responding so quickly to the request to address climate change. He urged all Study Groups to start the process of reviewing their Recommendations (ITU’s name for standards) according to the new checklist and assign appropriate metrics regarding reduction of greenhouse gases.

The checklist is intended to ensure that standards are drafted taking into account the most economic and energy-efficient solution, particularly related to energy saving in networks. Experts propose that each new ITU-T Recommendation should contain a clause that identifies its impact on climate change and demonstrates ways that it contributes towards emission reduction, covering both production and the use of the equipment.

To ensure that this work is completed with the highest degree of efficiency there is broad consensus that ITU action has to be taken into account collaborating in partnerships with other bodies working in the field and that everything is done to avoid duplication of work.

For activities carrying out in ITU's Telecommunication Development Sector on ICTs and climate change and e-environment, click here.

Monday, 25 February 2008 10:46:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 22 February 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum ended yesterday following the adoption of the Doha Declaration on Cybersecurity. The ITU Workshop on Frameworks for Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP) was held in Doha, Qatar, 18−21 February 2008 in collaboration with the Qatar Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) and the Qatar Centre for Information Security (Q-CERT). Over 80 representatives from 18 countries in the Arab region as well as key regional organizations including the League of Arab States, Gulf Cooperation Council, and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, participated in the Forum.

"Global interconnectivity creates new interdependencies and risks that need to be managed at national, regional and international levels," said Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. "The formulation and implementation by all nations of a national framework for cybersecurity and critical information infrastructure protection represents a significant first step in addressing the challenges arising from globally interconnected ICT infrastructures."

During the event, the role of governments in leading national cybersecurity efforts was discussed as well as the critical role of the private sector and other groups in developing policy and law aimed at the implementation and operation of a national cybersecurity strategy. The Forum stressed the importance of reviewing national cybercrime legislation to address threats in cyberspace and called for a national focal point for cyber-incident management to strengthen watch, warning, investigation, response and recovery. Discussions were also held on the necessity of promoting a national culture of cybersecurity to ensure that all users, owners and operators of information systems and networks know their responsibilities with regard to security and develop appropriate tools to combat cyber attacks.

Referring to the recent damage to undersea optical cables, said to have been caused by an adrift ship anchor according to the operator FLAG, Mr Al Basheer said that experience is the hardest teacher. "Whatever the cause, whether intentional or not, whether cybercrime or a mundane accident, the lesson we take away is that every nation needs to organize itself to take coordinated action related to the prevention of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from cyber incidents," said Mr Al Basheer.

Read more of the ITU press release here.

Friday, 22 February 2008 09:46:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 21 February 2008

According to reports, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) assaults on online gambling sites, particularly on major online poker websites, have surfaced this week. The online poker information portal advised that many online poker and casino properties have suffered outages, naming  Full Tilt Poker as probably the most visible with an inaccessible website for as long as 48 hours, probably incurring serious losses in business. As of 5 am EST Tuesday, the website is redirecting to as a consequence of the attacks. According to the organisation, the attacks on Internet gambling sites commenced on 10 February 2008 and continued through to 18 February 2008. Among the targets were Full Tilt Poker, Party Casino, Titan Poker, Virgin Games, CD Poker, Europa Casino, and a number of Russian online gambling including The extent of the outages for each site varied depending on the ferocity of the attacks and if they had any anti-DDoS attack measures in place. Full Tilt Poker is clearly still having issues while a number of the Russian web properties are still down. There have been reports that Full Tilt's poker room has crashed numerous times over the past few days, including an embarrassing outage during the final table of the FTOPS main event. The motive behind the attacks is still unknown.

Read the full report here.

Thursday, 21 February 2008 09:34:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 18 February 2008

In the context of promoting Risk Management and Information Security, ENISA has generated material that can help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to understand and to apply simplified Risk Management methods. The aim of this document is to provide a simplified and comprehensive view of risk management/risk assessment for use within small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). To achieve this goal, the present document has been structured in a modular way. It is made up of various parts each devoted to particular needs of stakeholders involved in the process of risk assessment and risk management. The philosophy behind the generation of this material was to shield (non-expert) users from the complexity of risk management and risk assessment activities. In doing so, some complex security matters have been simplified to the minimum needed to achieve an acceptable security level.

For more information, see the relevant deliverable.

As a further step towards the promotion of Risk Management, ENISA has also planned to pilot this method with a number of European stakeholders. The selected pilots will be financially supported by ENISA, helping them to install Risk Management within their IT infrastructure and perform an initial Risk Assessment. Potential stakeholders (e.g., SMEs, associations, etc) who would like to run such pilots are requested to apply for a possible Risk Management introduction project. The deadline for proposals is the 29th of February 2008.

Please visit the ENISA website for more information.

Monday, 18 February 2008 14:48:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

OECD, through its Working Party on Indicators for the Information Society, developed Measuring the Impacts of ICT Using Official Statistics. This paper presents available (mainly official) statistics on the impacts of ICT and discusses a number of statistical issues associated with ICT impact measurement. It attempts to place ICT impacts measurement into an Information Society conceptual framework and suggests a number of areas for further work.

Read the full paper here.

Monday, 18 February 2008 09:51:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 15 February 2008

Once more there is controversy over a new database due to go online in September 2008, which will hold the school records of all UK school pupils aged 14years and over. Amid security concerns from a number of sources, the British government is under pressure not to implement it.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC)  insist that it is not a "tracking system" and would in fact be using existing information that had been collected a number of times already. David Russell, national director of resources at the LSC, said "It will only hold factual information such as name, surname, age, postcode, qualifications achieved and courses attended."

Under the Managing Information Across Partners (MIAP) system - to be launched on Thursday 21st February 2008 by Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell - the number will stay with them until they retire.

However, data security watchdog, the Information Commissioner stated that no database could be totally secure and a spokesman added, "We have provided advice and assistance to help ensure that this system is watertight and secure - but no system is immune to human error and breaches can and do occur..."

Last year, the British government put another planned database of children, ContactPoint, on hold, pending a security review and changes to the system including its access controls. ContactPoint is designed for use by child protection agencies. The review was ordered after the loss by HM Revenue and Customs of two discs containing the personal and bank details of 25 million people.

Read full article at the BBC News website

Friday, 15 February 2008 16:36:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-D secretariat-based derived base version of the October 2007 draft of the Study Group Q.22/1 Report on Best Practices for a National Approach to Cybersecurity: a Management Framework for Organizing National Cybersecurity Efforts is now available online.

This report provides national administrations with a management framework for addressing cybersecurity at the national level and for organizing and implementing a national cybersecurity strategy. As existing national capabilities vary greatly and threats constantly evolve, the report does not provide a prescriptive approach to securing cyberspace. Rather, the framework describes a flexible approach that can assist national administrations to review and improve their existing institutions, policies, and relationships addressing cybersecurity issues.

Although this report is focused on cybersecurity, we note that protection of physical network assets is an equally important priority. We also note that best practices in cybersecurity should in no way suppress freedom of speech, free flow of information and/or due process of law.

The five key elements outlined in this report are:

  • Developing a National Strategy for Cybersecurity;
  • Establishing National Government–Industry Collaboration;
  • Deterring Cybercrime;
  • Creating National Incident Management Capabilities; and
  • Promoting a National Culture of Cybersecurity.

This document is based on studies underway in the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector’s ITU-D Study Group Question 22/1: Securing information and communication networks: best practices for developing a culture of cybersecurity.

To continue reading the report, click here.
More information on ITU-D activities related to cybersecurity here.

Friday, 15 February 2008 15:34:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A draft paper from Bill St. Arnaud,  entitled ICT and Global Warming Opportunities for Innovation and Economic Growth, is now available online. There has been considerable interest recently about how ICT (Information, Computer, Telecommunications) technologies and how they can address the global challenges of protecting the environment and supporting sustainable development. The subject of ICT and the environment covers a wide range of fields such as sustainable development, using ICT to improve practices in agriculture and forestry, monitoring atmospheric and water pollution, waste management and recycling, improved energy efficiency and, of course ICT as a source of toxic waste in its own right. Although these are all important areas of scientific research and public policy, the intent of the report is not to address the various areas on how ICT can address global environment challenges such as the emission of  Green House Gases (GHG). Instead the purpose of this brief report is to focus on the opportunities for innovation and economic growth that might arise through the use of ICT to address the challenge of GHG emissions.

To date most approaches for using ICT to reduce GHG emissions have focused on "sackcloth and ashes" approach of reducing energy consumption or emission abatement techniques such as tele-commuting, tele-presence, etc.  Various industry consortia and government programs have been set up to promote innovation in these areas. Although these may be worthwhile endeavours, they have been in existence for some time and so far, have made little progress in reducing energy consumption or GHG emissions. Rather than focusing on energy efficiency or abatement techniques, the document aims to demonstrate that ICT can provide much greater opportunities for innovation and economic growth through a strategy of "zero carbon" for the ICT industry itself and using ICT e-products and e-services as a reward mechanism to encourage consumers and businesses to reduce their overall carbon footprint including heating, transportation, etc.

Read the complete draft paper here.
For additional information, please contact the author  or visit the Green/IT and Cyber-infrastructure blog.

Friday, 15 February 2008 09:54:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Safer Internet Day, 12th February 2008, was marked around Europe with events to educate children and parents about Internet dangers. A spokeswoman for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP),  which is coordinating the UK's involvement, said its efforts were focused on getting schools to run assemblies that discuss the issue, had these comments: "it is about them talking about the issue, the personal information they put online and their social networking profiles". Dr David King, chair of the Information Security Awareness Forum (ISAF) voices his concerns about the growing number of messages aimed at young people, "There are a lot of messages coming out from lots of different places but the question is who do you listen to?". ISAF plans to produce best practice guides for businesses and to run events to raise awareness about computer security and will collaborate with web-safety campaign Get Safe Online to promote security awareness.

Read full article at the BBC News website.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008 11:44:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 12 February 2008

According to the Washington Post, new research from Damballa suggests that the Storm worm has its roots in "Bobax worm," a computer worm that first surfaced as early as 2004. Bobax spread by exploiting various vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system, and turned infected machines into spam-spewing zombies. Damballa researcher Chris Davis asserts that the Storm worm actually first surfaced in late 2006 as seen on this SANS Internet Storm Center alert on 29 December 2006. On 19 January, F-Secure reported receiving a flood of spam advertising new versions of Storm. Researchers soon discovered that all infected systems were controlled using the eDonkey peer-to-peer file (P2P) communications protocol, the same technology and networks used by millions of people to share movies and music online. Paul Royal, Damballa's principal researcher said "they basically took Bobax and made all of them become Storm victims, and then started the propagation of Storm through that method. So Storm used a big botnet to bootstrap itself, and it was the vehicle by which Storm became very popular very quickly." Damballa estimates that roughly 17,000 systems remain infected with Bobax.

Read the full article on the Washington Post.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008 11:26:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2007-2008, Science and technology for development: the new paradigm of ICT, Chapter 7, Promoting Livelihoods Through Telecentres, provides a comprehensive report on the importance of telecentres in supporting sustainable livelihoods, stating that this will depend largely on their capacity to support local development and not only access to ICT.

More information at the UNCTAD website.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008 10:47:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

InSafe, the European network of Internet safety awareness nodes, holds its 5th Safer Internet Day today, 12 February 2008, dedicating some time in schools to reflect on some of the Information and Communication Technologies issues and more importantly raising awareness of them. A competition launched in October 2007 invited young people between 5-19yrs of age to share their online lives and compete for prizes. This year's theme is "Life online is what YOU make of IT." With this, the youth were encouraged to draw from their creativity to illustrate their views of the online world.

More information about the Safer Internet Day 2008 on the InSafe website.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008 09:18:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 07 February 2008

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) recently published its third annual Progress Report 2007. GeSI shares relevant information with its stakeholders and the civil society to support the economic and technological progress on information and communication technologies (ICTs) worldwide. This report highlights GeSI’s recent work on sustainability, specific accomplishments in climate change mitigation, managing supply chains, determining materiality, reducing e-waste, and leading public policy.

With support by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), GeSI is dedicated to the sustainable development of the ICT sector. For more information on GeSI's activities, click here.

Thursday, 07 February 2008 18:46:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

With the rise of initiatives such as the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and Classmate, security experts warn that this development could mean an explosion in botnets in the developing world. However, Ivan Krstic, OLPC's director of security hardware, points to the choice of Linux as the operating system for the computers emphasizing that for an attack with an overall control, it would have to be written to the system kernel, and those vulnerabilities are patched very quickly making it difficult to get them to run bots. There is an option to run Windows XP on the machine though making all connotations of Windows security apply.

"The bigger problem in the long term may be the developing world's choice of operating system. 'Most of the machines we are shipping have Windows on them. That's the operating system most countries want,' says Intel. It adds that teachers will receive training from Intel to monitor the network and will be able to see if changes have been made to the machines: 'Some schools using the computers will have a teacher who is responsible for security on their networks, others will have an IT person.' As a last resort the Classmate, like the OLPC XO, can be wiped clean and restored to its factory settings. But while Windows has its problems, Linux may not offer much better protection, says Guillaume Lovet, a botnet expert for Fortinet. 'The first botnets were Stacheldraht, Trinoo and TFN, and were built in Linux,' says Lovet. He also dismisses claims that the low bandwidth and internet use in parts of the developing world - the World Economic Forum's 2007 Africa Competitiveness Report estimated that African internet use was just 3.4% of the world total - would act as a brake on the development of botnets. 'It doesn't take any bandwidth to control or make a botnet,' Lovet says. 'Aggregated bandwidth is what is important, and that would still be massive. You could still build a huge cyber-weapon with only a thousand of these machines.'"

Intel and OLPC point out that the laptops will often only have intermittent connectivity which could lower the risk of getting infected. This could lower the chances of getting security upgrades as well though. Rolf Roessing, a security expert for KPMG, notes "if we are to bring IT to Africa then it will not work unless we bring security with it. Computer security in the west grew because of a loss of innocence and there are still weaknesses in the developed world because of a lack of awareness. If you bring IT to developing countries then you have to develop awareness, too."

Read the full article on The Guardian.

Thursday, 07 February 2008 14:50:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |