Warning: disturbing a war memorial can provoke all out cyber war--at least in Estonia. On April 27, 2007, Estonia officials relocated the "Bronze Soldier," a Soviet-era war memorial commemorating an unknown Russian who died fighting the Nazis, a move that incited rioting by ethnic Russians and the blockading of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow. It also started a large and sustained distributed denial-of-service attack on several Estonian Web sites, including those of government ministries and the prime minister's Reform Party. A denial-of-service attack (DoS) occurs when someone directs a large number of requests to a target URL; … Read more
It's one of the most worn-out cliches of all action movies: the laser beam alarm system. But if they've been around for so long, why they haven't become household staples in today's security-obsessed society?
The latest example comes from Arizona-based company Ionatron and its "Portal Denial System" (sounds so RoboCop). Created for the U.S. government, it fires a stream of "laser-induced plasma" across any entryway, though SCI FI Tech says the operator has the option of making it lethal or "less lethal." Come to think of it, maybe it'… Read more
There used to be a debate in the networking industry around network intelligence. One camp favored the "fast/dumb" network with extremely limited additional intelligence. The other pushed for added processing power as a way to off-load server tasks.
This theoretical dispute still lingers to some extent. There will always be networking hot-rodders like Force10 and Juniper who figure out ways to move packets faster than everyone else, but on balance the argument is moot--Moore's law tipped the scales toward the network intelligentsia.
I expect network intelligence to be the dominant theme at this week's Interop … Read more
The way the particles land on a given credit card's magnetic stripe are as unique as individual snowflakes or human fingerprints--or so says a Magtek, the company that developed, MagnePrint, which records the unique magnetic media signature for all credit and debit cards scanned through its readers. The first scan by a MagnePrint reader creates a template against which all subsequent scans are compared.
MagnePrint is designed to prevent "skimming." Online carders buy credit-card information from a black-market database, then copy that information onto a blank physical card using a machine that costs about $250. The skimmed … Read more
Austin, Tex. Who does Richard Gephardt, the former Speaker of the House, look like to you?
A weatherman or a congressman in a movie, Gephardt said during a lunchtime speech at the Clean Energy Venture Forum taking place in Austin, Texas this week. Two women stopped him in an airport a while ago and one thought he was a weatherman from CNN. Another thought he was either a congressman or someone that played a congressman in a movie.
R. James Woolsey, the former director of the CIA and now a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, had his own encounter … Read more
IBM, one of the leading companies providing services to help manage and protect data, has apparently lost computer tapes containing personal information about its employees.
The tapes were being transported between IBM facilities in Westchester County, N.Y., on February 23 when they fell out of a contractor's vehicle. An IBM spokesman told the Associated Press that company representatives went to the scene of the loss but could not locate the tapes, which contained information mostly on former employees.
The loss of the tapes came to light recently when the company's human resources department mailed letters to the … Read more
In a paper (PDF) presented at last month's HotBots 2007 conference, researchers from Google say they've found malware downloads lurking on 1 out of every 10 Web sites visited. For this study Google analyzed 4.5 million URLs. The researchers determined that 450,000 of these contained some form of malicious code. The researchers identified four methods used to infect the unsuspecting Internet surfer. One is site-based, such as compromises in Web server security, but the others involve common user activity such as downloading user-contributed content, clicking Web advertising, and installing third-party widgets.
Attacking Web servers can be … Read more
Sometimes we analysts have an "all sizzle and no steak" reputation. We come up with high falootin' concepts, write reports and columns, and get quoted in the media, but we don't really "do" anything.
Former executive vice president of marketing for EMC, Bob Ano, once put it to me this way: "If I make a bet on your latest 'vision' and you turn out to be wrong, I lose my job and reputation. You simply change a few PowerPoint slides and move on."
With this as background, I am proud to say that … Read more
The U.S. Department of Defense issued a memo Friday that states it intends to begin blocking network access--including that of soldiers serving overseas--to several popular "Internet entertainment sites" on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The 12 total sites to be blocked include several large social networking and media sharing sites like MySpace, YouTube, MTV, Pandora, and Photobucket.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Army cracked down on soldiers' personal blogs, citing security concerns. Operational security, according to the memo from the DoD that was cited in Monday's AP article, is also a reason behind the … Read more