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Independence and Security Online Have Not Yet Been Won

As we, here in the United States celebrate our independence this Fourth of July, we are reminded that the liberties and freedoms that come with that independence have yet to be won online. As citizens of this country we are blessed with safety and security from threats both foreign and domestic, but those guarantees have not yet extended to our citizenship in the global Internet community. This is true not just for American citizens, but for all Internet users throughout the world. more

Garth Bruen Discussing Whois, DNSSEC and Domain Security

NameSmash has interviewed Garth Bruen, Internet security expert and creator of Knujon, on some key issues under discussion during the recent ICANN meetings in San Francisco. Topics include Whois, DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) and generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) -- issues of critical importance particularly with ICANN's expected roll-out of thousands of new gTLDs in the coming years. more

A Few Thoughts on the Future of Email Authentication

With the Online Trust Alliance Town Hall Meeting and Email Authentication Roundtable next week as well as the RSA Conference, I decided to pause and think about where we are and where we might be headed with regard to email authentication. Over the years, many of us have collectively worked to provide a framework for authenticating email... more

How Can ICANN Improve Institutional Confidence?

This week ICANN held a public consultation in Washington, D.C., where ICANN's President's Strategy Committee (PSC) solicited remarks from a packed audience of intellectual property (IP) lawyers, domain name registrars and other Internet stakeholders on how the organization can improve institutional confidence. No surprise, ICANN's decision to add new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to the Internet was on many participants' minds. more

Do We Need Two Internets?

Jonathan Zittrain's recent book, The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It, has spurred a lot of discussion both online and offline, with blog posts lauding his insights or criticising his over-apocalyptic imagination. The book itself makes fascinating reading for those who have watched the network grow from its roots in the research community into today's global channel for communications, commerce and cultural expression... One of the reasons that Zittrain puts forward for the growing popularity of closed or, as he prefers 'tethered', devices, is that they are less vulnerable to hacking, security flaws, malware and all the other perils that face any internet-enabled system. more

World Body Declares Cyber Security Top Issue

Sovereign nations around the globe have clearly defined borders, but as attendees were shown at a UN Conference several years ago, cybercrime is a borderless phenomenon. In 2011 Norton Security released statistics that showed that every 14 seconds an adult is a victim of cybercrime and the numbers are growing. As internet use grows, so does the amount and type of information streaming across the web. This information crosses transnational lines, public and private sectors. more

Microsoft's Takedown of 3322.org - A Gigantic Self Goal?

I will first begin this post by emphasizing that this article is entirely my personal viewpoint and not to be considered as endorsed by or a viewpoint of my employer or any other organization that I am affiliated with. Neither is this to be considered an indictment of the sterling work (which I personally value very highly) that several people in Microsoft are doing against cybercrime. Microsoft's takedown of 3322.org to disrupt the Nitol botnet is partial and will, at best, have a temporary effect on the botnet itself... more

Policy Failure Enables Mass Malware: Part I (Rx-Partners/VIPMEDS)

This is the first in a series of releases that tie extensive code injection campaigns directly to policy failures within the Internet architecture. In this report we detail a PHP injection found on dozens of university and non-profit websites which redirected visitor's browsers to illicit pharmacies controlled by the VIPMEDS/Rx-Partners affiliate network. This is not a unique problem, however the pharmacy shop sites in question: HEALTHCUBE[DOT]US and GETPILLS[DOT]US should not even exist under the .US Nexus Policy. more

Gary Warner: We Are Well Past Time to Declare a Spam Crisis in China

In a blog post last week, Gary Warner, director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama's (UAB) computer and information sciences department, wrote that it is well past time for someone to declare a "Spam Crisis in China". The warning comes along with UAB's reports that most of the spam they receive has ties to China. "It is very normal that more than one-third of the domain names we see each day in spam messages come from China," Warner wrote. "When one also considers the many '.com' and '.ru' domain names which are also hosted in China, the problem is much worse. More than half of all spam either uses domain names registered in China, is sent from computers in China, or uses computer in China to host their web pages." more

What's Wrong With Spam Prosecutions

Spam these days is more than an annoyance -- it increasingly carries malware payloads that can do serious damage to your PC, steal your identity, or turn your PC into a zombie that carries out denial of service attacks. So anything that law enforcement can do to fight spam should be a good thing, right? Well, not quite, as I'll explain. more

Blacklisting Under Wrong Assumptions

If you analyze the relay of spam- and malware-containing email circulating on the Internet purely through your mail server logs (running the Unix command "tail"), a large proportion seem to come from Asia Pacific hosts, especially those from mainland China. Therefore, many less-experienced systems administrators have simply blocked the access from subnets of Chinese or Asian origin, effectively destroying the fabric of the Internet -- messaging. If administrators took pains to analyze these supposedly Asian spam messages by analyzing the full Internet headers, they would have realized that the Asian servers were merely used by the real spammers as open relays, or perhaps as zombie hosts previously infected with the mass mailing worms through the exploitation of operating system vulnerabilities.  more

Maintaining Security and Stability in the Internet Ecosystem

DDoS attacks, phishing scams and malware. We battle these dark forces every day - and every day they get more sophisticated. But what worries me isn't just keeping up with them, it is keeping up with the sheer volume of devices and data that these forces can enlist in an attack. That's why we as an industry need to come together and share best practices - at the ICANN community, at the IETF and elsewhere - so collectively we are ready for the future. more

ICANN Fails Consumers (Again)

In its bid to be free of U.S. government oversight ICANN is leaning on the global multistakeholder community as proof positive that its policy-making comes from the ground up. ICANN's recent response to three U.S. senators invokes the input of "end users from all over the world" as a way of explaining how the organization is driven. Regardless of the invocation of the end user (and it must be instinct) ICANN cannot seem to help reaching back and slapping that end user across the face. more

University of California Identifies the Next Hard Target in a Never Ending War

This is, of course, about the recent NYT article that showcases the results of Prof Stefan Savage and his colleagues from UCSD/Berkeley. As my good friend and longtime volunteer at CAUCE, Ed Falk, points out, this is a great find, but hardly a FUSSP. The nice thing about the fight against bots and spammers is these little victories people on "our" side keep having in an endless series of skirmishes and battles... more

Why Isn't Mobile Malware More Popular?

This is a followup to Wout de Natris' as usual excellent piece on the Enisa botnet report -- pointing out the current state of mobile malware and asking some questions I started off answering in a comment but it grew to a length where I thought it'd be better off in its own post. Going through previous iterations of Mikko's presentations on mobile malware is a fascinating exercise. more

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