Archive for October, 2010

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Firefox Add-on Firesheep Brings Hacking to the Masses

October 26, 2010

Want to hack someone else’s Amazon, Facebook, Twitter or Windows Live account in just one click? A Firefox extension called Firesheep claims you can by hijacking a person’s current user session over an open Wi-Fi connection.

I tested the extension out and to my horror it works as advertized – almost that is.

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Harvey Levin Talks about Privacy and the Media with University of Chicago Law Students

October 26, 2010
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U.K. spend 650M pounds on cybersecurity

October 24, 2010

The U.K. is spending more than 650 million pounds to overhaul its cybersecurity programs with a plan to create a single point of contact where business and the public can report cyber crime.

Information Security reports the U.K. will also address deficiencies in the country’s ability to detect and defend against cyber attacks from terrorists, states, and other hostile actors. This will include improving the delivery of cyber products and services to industry and increasing investment in national intelligence capabilities.

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China’s Real Name Register targets “improper” web use

October 24, 2010

Internet users in China will soon be required to reveal their identities before they surf the web. This, Chinese government officials have told FutureGov, will enable China’s netizens to “speak freely” in a secure environment.

The Real Name Registration (RNR) project, known as Wang Luo Shi Ming Zhi in Chinese, will require China’s 400 million internet users to enter their national ID card number, or other official ID number, before they can use popular news and commercial web sites. Posting on a blog, forum, or commenting on social media would require use of a real name, or at least the deletion of an anonymous comment. The idea is to curb spam and fraud, and prevent “improper use” of the web, explained Feng Weiping.

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Hyderabad emerged as reputed Technology Centre

October 20, 2010

Hyderabad has emerged as a knowledge and technology centre of repute and it has been befittingly chosen for establishing the new campus of Tata Insitute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), prime minister Manmohan Singh has said.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone for TIFR’s Hyderabad campus at Gachibowli here today, he emphasised the need for expanding human resource in the area of science and technology to maintain competitive advantage in the knowledge economy. He also stressed the need to create a stimulating institutional environment through innovation and pursuit of excellence.

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Article: Balancing Online Privacy in India

October 20, 2010

There have been disturbing press reports and articles on the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008. These accounts broadly wallow about the increase in the police powers of the state. They contend that the amendment grants legal sanction to online surveillance inexorably whittling down internet privacy. This article seeks to examine this prevalent notion. It discovers that legal provisions for online surveillance, monitoring and identification of data have been inserted in a narrow and defined class of circumstances governed by tenuous procedures. At first glance it may seem that these procedures and safeguards by themselves increase the right to privacy. However, on a deeper study it is revealed that they are found wanting due to the nature of internet communications. The article takes a comprehensive look at the state of online privacy in India arising out of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The complete article

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Surprise! Passwords Are (Still) Weak Link in Security Chain

October 17, 2010

Despite predictions that the password will fade into obscurity, or the rise of alternative methods of authentication such as fingerprint scanners, the username and password are still the default method of accessing secure accounts and information. Unfortunately, weak passwords, and poor password practices mean the password isn’t providing very good protection in many cases.

A survey conducted on behalf of Webroot uncovered some concerning–yet not all that shocking–details about passwords. It would be nice to say that the survey results are startling, but the reality is that surveys such as this show year after year that users continue to follow the same poor password practices, and that passwords continue to be a weak link for computer and information security.

Passwords as Achilles Heel

Passwords are the primary keys to the digital kingdom, yet users show consistently poor judgment when creating and managing them.Webroot found that the most commonly used password-protected sites or resources are banks (88 percent), personal e-mail accounts (86 percent), and Facebook (72 percent). In other words, the vast majority of users rely on passwords to protect very sensitive financial and personal information.

But, the Webroot survey also found that:

• 4 in 10 respondents shared passwords with at least one person in the past year.

• Nearly as many people use the same password to log into multiple Web sites, which could expose their information on each of the sites if one of them becomes compromised.

• Almost half of all users never use special characters (e.g. ! ? & #) in their passwords, a simple technique that makes it more difficult for criminals to guess passwords.

• 2 in 10 have used a significant date, such as a birth date, or a pet’s name as a password–information that’s often publicly visible on social networks.

In Video: Disaster! How to Retrieve a Lost Windows Password

Reality Distortion Field

Webroot also uncovered a significant contradiction between how secure users believe their passwords are, and the reality demonstrated by their password practices. While half of the respondents believe their passwords are either very or extremely secure, the survey found that:

• 86 percent do not check for a secure connection when accessing sensitive information when using unfamiliar computers.

• 14 percent never change their banking password.

• 20 percent have used a significant date in a password.

• And 30 percent remember their passwords by writing them down and hiding them somewhere like a desk drawer.

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