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Net Neutrality Provision Rejected

Internet companies and consumer groups calling for a new U.S. law that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or degrading some connections lost a major battle this week when a U.S. House of Representatives committee voted down such a provision.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, during debate on a telecommunications reform bill, rejected an amendment that would write so-called net neutrality provisions into U.S. law. Backers of a net neutrality law want Congress to prohibit U.S. broadband providers from blocking or slowing their customers' connections to Web sites or services that compete with services offered by the providers. more»

US Cybersecurity Coordinator Selected by Obama

Reported today in the Washington Post: "Seven months after President Obama vowed to "personally select" an adviser to orchestrate the government's strategy for protecting computer systems, the White House will name a former Bush administration official to the job Tuesday. Howard A. Schmidt, who was a cyber-adviser in President George W. Bush's White House, will be Obama's new cybersecurity coordinator, an administration official said Monday night." more»

UPDATEDSubdomain Patent Claims Rejected

Technology firms are often hampered by patent disputes, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office called into question last week a patent that had the potential to disrupt the habits of millions of Internet users. The PTO rejected all 20 patent claims over Internet subdomains held by a company called Hoshiko, which were used to bully sites like LiveJournal and Freehomepage.com and pursue litigation against larger companies like Google. The idea behind how to manage subdomains is too obvious to patent, the PTO ruled after the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation requested the patent be re-examined. more»

EFF Announced New Service to Let You Know When Terms-of-Serivce of Popular Sites Change

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a new site to keep track of 'Terms of Service' for major websites such as Google, Facebook, eBay and others. The new website called TOSBack has been created to help users easily find privacy policies of various websites and to alert them when those policies are changed. "Some changes to terms of service are good for consumers, and some are bad," says EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "But Internet users are increasingly trusting websites with everything from their photos to their 'friends lists' to their calendar -- and sometimes even their medical information. TOSBack will help consumers flag changes in the websites they use every day and trust with their personal information." more»

DNSSEC Gaining Momentum

It has been more than 15 years in the making, but DNSSEC is finally gaining some traction: The .gov and .org top-level domains have begun to adopt the Domain Name Service (DNS) security protocol, and during the past few days, some commercial activity was associated with it. HP last week announced it will resell Secure64's DNS software, while registrar and managed DNS provider Dynamic Network Services Inc. (Dyn Inc.), announced it has gone live with DNSSEC. DNS product vendor NeuStar, meanwhile, rolled out its own DNS security appliance to protect DNS servers from getting hit with the DNS cache poisoning flaw... more»

France Legalizes Three Strikes Law Against Internet Piracy

Eric Pfanner reporting today in the New York Times: "France thrust itself into the vanguard of the global battle against digital piracy on Thursday, approving a plan to deny Internet access to people who illegally copy music and movies. The country's highest constitutional court approved a so-called three-strikes law after rejecting the key portions of an earlier version last spring." more»

Targeted Social Engineering Attacks Against Corporations Reach Record Levels

A recent report by iDefense Labs estimates that there have been 66 distinct spear phishing attacks between February 2007 and June 2008, with the rate of attacks continuing to accelerate. Spear phishing groups have claimed more than 15,000 corporate victims in 15 months, with victim losses exceeding $100,000 in some cases. Victims include Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, government agencies, and legal firms. more»

NYT: US Weighing Risks of Civilian Harm in Cyberwarfare

John Markoff and Thom Shanker reporting in the New York Times: "It would have been the most far-reaching case of computer sabotage in history. In 2003, the Pentagon and American intelligence agencies made plans for a cyberattack to freeze billions of dollars in the bank accounts of Saddam Hussein and cripple his government's financial system before the United States invaded Iraq. He would have no money for war supplies. No money to pay troops... But the attack never got the green light. Bush administration officials worried that the effects would not be limited to Iraq but would instead create worldwide financial havoc..." more»

Chinese Hackers Breach White House Computers, Documents Accessed

Chinese hackers have penetrated the White House computer network on multiple occasions, and obtained e-mails between government officials, a senior US official told the Financial Times. On each occasion, the cyber attackers accessed the White House computer system for brief periods, allowing them enough time to steal information before US computer experts patched the system. US government cyber intelligence experts suspect the attacks were sponsored by the Chinese government because of their targeted nature. more»

IPv6 Making Its Way Into Corporate IT Systems Sooner Than Expected

"The thing is if you install any Unix operating system now it comes with IPv6 enabled." In addition, Microsoft's Vista operating system, set for release in the coming months, is expected to have support for IPv6 enabled, he said. With support for IPv6 enabled in these operating systems, IT managers need to be prepared to address security issues in the new protocol. more»

Finland First Country to Make Broadband Access a Legal Right

CNN reports: Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband internet access a legal right for all citizens. The legislation, which came into effect Thursday, forces telecom operators to provide a reasonably priced broadband connection with a downstream rate of at least one megabit per second (mbs) to every permanent residence and office, the Finnish government said in a statement... more»

Scientists Create Microscopic Fiber Optic Cables From DNA Strands

A team of Swedish scientists have created a new technique that converts DNA strands to microscopic fiber optic cables. Due to the nature of DNA's structure to create helices, wires self-assemble which according to scientists is better than wires made by the previous chemical method as they can self-repair. Bo Albinsson and his colleagues at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have worked out how to make them. The wires build themselves from a mixture of DNA and molecules called chromophores that can absorb and pass on light. more»

China a Decade Into Sweeping Cyber Warfare and Espionage Capabilities

According to a report released today by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, China is well into a "military modernization program that has fundamentally transformed its ability to fight high tech wars." The report further indicates that if Chinese operators are in anyway responsible for even some of the current exploitation efforts targeting US Government and commercial networks, "then they may have already demonstrated that they possess a mature and operationally proficient CNO [computer network operations] capability." more»

Defense Science Board: Cyber Security the Achilles' Heel of US Military Might

Robert O'Harrow of the Washington Post reporting: "Everybody knows by now that cyber security is something of an annoyance, if not a big deal... What most of us fail to appreciate is how big a deal all this really is. That's one of the subtexts of a new report from congressional researchers [PDF] that came Government Inc.'s way. Going by the dry title 'Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative: Legal Authorities and Policy Considerations,' the report underscores in a compelling way the fact that the nation's cyber vulnerabilities continue to grow, and fast." more»

European Commission Executive Slams "Interference" in .XXX Vote

The Internet governing body's decision to reject a new .xxx Internet domain for porn sites is a clear case of U.S. political interference in the Web's governance, the European Commission said on Thursday.

...The EU executive said the decision underscored the need to make ICANN independent quickly, following unsuccessful demands last year by a group of countries including the EU to make ICANN fully independent. more»

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