News Briefs


Asia Lags on Internet Despite Strong Mobile Growth

Asia is expected to continue maintaining a strong growth in the mobile market due to sustained demands from China and India -- two of the world's largest mobile markets. However, "even if Asia is the world's largest broadband market in terms of absolute numbers, it lags the United States and Europe in overall penetration, with just 3.6 out of every 100 inhabitants connected to the high-speed Internet, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said in a report." more»

Domain Name Registrations Up 22% from Last Year, Totaling 168 Million

VeriSign today released the Domain Report for the second quarter of 2008, highlighting a continued growth of the Internet globally. At the midpoint of 2008, according to the report, there were 168 million domain name registrations across all Top Level Domain Names (TLDs) -- repersenting a four percent increase over the first quarter of 2008 and 22 percent growth over the same quarter last year. The base of Country Code Top Level Domain Names (ccTLDs) totaled 65 million domain names, a four percent increase quarter over quarter and a 27 percent increase year over year. VeriSign also reports on processing peak loads of more than 48 billion Domain Name System (DNS) queries per day in the second quarter of 2008. more»

Internet Capacity Is Keeping Pace With Traffic Growth, Says Research Firm

According to new data from TeleGeography research group, international Internet traffic grew 53% between mid-2007 and mid-2008, down from 61% the preceding year. Traffic growth between the US and Latin America was especially fast, surging 112%. In contrast, traffic on internet backbones between major cities in the relatively more mature US market rose a modest 47%. For the second consecutive year, according to the study, total international Internet capacity grew faster than total Internet traffic, leading to lower utilization levels on many internet backbones. Between 2007 and 2008, average traffic utilization levels decreased from 31% to 29%... more»

Free Web Services Increasingly Used as Spam Hosting Techniques

Picasa Web Albums is the latest of Google's hosted services to be exploited by spammers while Adobe Flash redirection techniques are also being abused by spammers to host Flash-based .SWF, Shockwave Flash, files that cause Web browsers to re-direct to the spammer's site. "Over the course of this year, spammers have been highly focused on using as many of Google's free, hosted services as possible to distribute spam," says Mark Sunner, Chief Security Analyst of MessageLabs. "Not only are the links contained within the spam emails difficult for traditional anti-spam filters to detect as they appear to be legitimate URLs, but it is also much more unlikely such filters will block emails based on the URLs they contain without causing significant collateral damage." more»

Google Chrome Found Vulnerable to Carpet-Bombing

Just hours after the launch of Google's new web browser, reports have surfaced about its security vulnerability to carpet-bombing that can expose Windows users to hacker attacks. If exploited, hackers could potentially run unauthorized software on a victim's computer and then used to execute web-based computer attacks. Researcher Aviv Raff has discovered that it is possible to combine this vulnerability (also at one point affecting Apple Safari which uses the same WebKit technology used by Google's Chrome browser) and a Java bug discussed at this year's Black Hat conference, to trick users into launching executables direct from the new browser. more»

Google Set to Launch Chrome Browser Today

Google announced on Monday that it has been working on an open-source browser known as Chrome and that it is going to release a beta version today in 100 countries. News about the launch of Google Chrome (originally planned for announcement after the holiday weekend) was accidentally emailed to outside sources according to reports. The new browser features include "isolated" tabs designed to prevent browser crashes and a more powerful JavaScript engine. Chrome is based on the open-source software Webkit which is also used to build Google's mobile software Android. more»

Proposed "One-Character Patch" for DNS Has Serious Side Effects

Last week a DNS researcher proposed a method to limit the DNS cache poisoning attacks by addition of a single character to the popular BIND name server software. Robert Lemos of SecurityFocus reports: By changing a '<' to '<=' in a trust check in the Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) server software, the patch would prevent a previously unknown server from poisoning the cache, unless the time to live (TTL) -- a limit on the age of a name server entry -- had expired. The suggestion, made by computer scientist Gabriel Somlo, would make exploitation of name server caches more difficult. However, the "one-character patch" also has some serious side effects, Dan Kaminsky..." more»

First Letter of Your Email Address May Be a Factor in Your Spam Volume

Everyone knows that some people get more spam than others, but new research shows that it may have something to do with the first letter of your email address. Richard Clayton, a security researcher at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., says he found evidence that the more common the first letter in your email address is, the more spam you get: in other words, typically gets a higher volume of spam than, or He says that's simply because there are more combinations of names that begin with "A" than with "Q" or "Z." more»

U.S. Slammed as Major Host for Cybercrime

While Russia and Ukraine are generally regarded as today's main cybercrime hubs, "a lot of their infrastructure is housed in the west, in the United States to be precise," writes Vincent Hanna of Spamhaus Project. "Without exception, all of the major security organizations on the Internet we know of agree that the 'Home' of cybercrime in the western world is a place known as Atrivo/Intercage. We ourselves have not come to this conclusion lightly but from many years of dealing with criminal operations hosted by Atrivo/Intercage, gangs of cybercriminals -- mostly Russian and East European but with several US online crime gangs as well -- whose activities always lead back to servers run by Atrivo/Intercage..." more»

Global Survey of Internet Activists Hears Calls for Online Bill of Rights

Kenneth Corbin reporting on InterneNews: "On the eve of what could be a seismic shift in government, talk has been heating up about tech policy in the United States. But it's worthwhile to remember that it is the World Wide Web, and in that spirit researchers from Elon University and the Pew Internet and American Life Project canvassed the world's leading Internet activists to get an idea of what a global tech policy should look like. Pew today released the responses from the attendees of the second annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF), held November in Rio de Janeiro. A solid majority (66 percent) of respondents said there should be some form of global Internet bill of rights...." more»

Internet's Biggest Security Hole

Kim Zetter reporting on Wired: Two security researchers have demonstrated a new technique to stealthily intercept internet traffic on a scale previously presumed to be unavailable to anyone outside of intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency. The tactic exploits the internet routing protocol BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) to let an attacker surreptitiously monitor unencrypted internet traffic anywhere in the world, and even modify it before it reaches its destination. more»

More Airlines Signing Up for Aircell's Wi-Fi Service

Aircell, the company that provides the new Gogo Internet service on some American Airlines flights, is reported to be signing another airline to its service. Aircell management expects there will be some 2,000 commercial airplanes offering Gogo by the end of next year... "American Airlines has installed Gogo on 15 airplanes for flights between New York and Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco, and Delta says it'll have Gogo available across its domestic fleet of 330 commercial jets within a year. Delta is expected to expand that service to Northwest Airlines flights if the merger of those two companies goes through as planned..." more»

Google Further Expanding the Undersea Communications Cable System

Following last year's report on the Unity trans-Pacific submarine cable project, research company, TeleGeography reports today that "Google is working with a consortium of carriers planning to build an intra-Asian submarine cable system. The new cable, dubbed the Southeast Asia Japan Cable (SJC), would link Unity's landing station in Japan to Guam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore." Report further indicates that the work is still in the planning phase. 'Given the current flurry of undersea cables under construction, the SJC cable will probably not be ready for service until 2011 at the earliest,' said TeleGeography analyst Alan Mauldin. more»

Criminals Breach Online Booking System of Best Western Hotel Chain, 8 Million Customer Data Stolen

An exclusive report from Scotland's Sunday Herald newspaper says that an international criminal gang has managed to steal the identities of an estimated eight million guests of the Best Western hotel chain in a hacking raid that could ultimately net billions of dollars in illegal funds. According to the report, late on Thursday night, a previously unknown Indian hacker successfully breached the IT defenses of the Best Western Hotel group's online booking system and sold details of how to access it through an underground network operated by the Russian mafia. It is a move that has been dubbed the greatest cyber-heist in world history. The attack scooped up the personal details of every single customer that has booked into one of Best Western's 1312 continental hotels since 2007. more»

Cyberwar Against Britain Waged by Criminals and Terrorists

Britain's Government has warned that computer networks controlling electricity supplies, telecommunications and banking are under constant attack at a rate of thousands of times a day. According to reports, the cyberwar against Britain is waged by criminals and terrorists some of whom are backed by foreign stats. "If you take the whole gamut of threats, from state-sponsored organizations to industrial espionage, private individuals and malcontents, you're talking about a remarkable number of attempted attacks on our system -- I'd say in the thousands," Lord West of Spithead, the Security Minister said. "Some are spotted instantly. Others are much, much cleverer." more»

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