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Monthly Archives: November 2016

30
Nov
2016

Tech Media Actively Promoting False Sense of Privacy

by Bill

A new Swedish website at Deseat.me claims to allow people to “clean up your existence” and Wired magazine online recently touted the service with an article titled “You can now delete (almost) all trace of yourself from the web at the click of a button” as if to suggest that the indelible footprint people are creating for themselves online is somehow capable of being deleted by a simple web app. Now reputation experts are cautioning the public to act with care and to overlook the dangerous hyperbole being published in the face of new sweeping security regulations that make virtually any privacy service worthless before it even has a chance to launch.

Deseat.me is designed by two Swedish programmers named Wille Dahlbo and Linus Unnebäck. The concept is a simple one. Using Google’s own OAuth Protocol, it allows anyone with a Google account to grant third-party access to the app so that the app can create a list of services associated with your account and allow you to delete any or all of them with a click or two.

While that sounds good in theory, and tech media is irresponsibly acting like it may be a panacea for the recent assault on privacy by governmental, corporate and personal interests, in reality it does almost nothing to actually keep your information concealed from anyone who wants to access it.

“There is a great degree of gullibility among the general public with regard to the evisceration of their own privacy in the last decade, and that’s understandable for anyone who is not professionally attuned to this sort of thing” said Stewart Tongue of ReputationCurator.com “What troubles me is seeing reputable sources like Wired.com, OZY.com and others posting clickbait headlines about a web app to promote this false sense of control when in reality there is nothing anyone can do to delete things from the Internet. We specialize in diluting that data, but outright erasing it or suggesting it can be deleted with a simple click of a button is dangerous nonsense.”

Deseat is only able to find accounts linked to a Gmail account, so any accounts created using other means will not be found. There is also very little external testing done to show how effective Deseat is at correctly accessing all of the accounts associated with a gmail account. Further, this is a new service and there is no history showing that it is being maintained in ways that will account for future updates to OAuth or the other relevant platforms.  Most importantly, information or pictures on a Facebook account or a website can be stored anywhere offline or republished anywhere online and none of that is affected by Deseat or any other point and click web app service.

“We aren’t even sure how safe it is to give Deseat access to a full list of your social media accounts,” explained Mr. Tongue. “They claim your privacy is important to them… but so does Google and Facebook and we all know that is meaningless. Services like the online Wayback Machine make it simple to find historical data, many companies now scrape information from platforms like Facebook and independent websites as well. When you post an image online, you have no idea how many copies of it exist elsewhere or where they might end up… and neither does Deseat.me – In fact, what Deseat.me does best is delete your Facebook account so you can’t see Facebook as a user, which is like telling you to put a blindfold on because it makes it hard for someone in the room to see you, when all it really does is obscure your ability to see the people who are watching you.”

The UK recently passed the Snooper’s Charter, officially titled the Investigatory Powers Bill, which includes a massive overhaul of governmental surveillance powers allowing security services and police forces to access communications data for their investigations including Internet history data stored for 12 months. That means at least 48 public authorities including police forces across the UK will be able to access your online activities. As Edward Snowden has repeatedly shown, the announced surveillance is just the tip of the iceberg. Clandestine services like the CIA and NSA in the US collect Yattobytes (a unit of information equal to one septillion bytes) of data each year including every bit of text, photo or video file they can find.

“What people need to know is that anything you post online publicly and most of what you think you posted online privately is completely spied upon, stored, cataloged and searched by governments and corporate interests on a daily basis” said Stewart. “That by itself is a very dangerous fact, but the added insult of major tech media capitulating by providing a false sense of privacy to people over a silly web app is far more frightening. This article has already been saved to a governmental server somewhere… and so has the fact that you read it.”

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17
Nov
2016

NatNet Blog: China Barricading Trade Under The Guise of Improving Cyber Security

by Bill

China has now passed new legislation under the name “The Cyber Security Law” which would grant Beijing unprecedented access to the foreign technology of companies seeking to do business within the world’s second largest economy. The new law was passed by China’s national legislature and will take effect starting in June of 2017 according to government officials.

Among many other things, the law will require Internet operators to cooperate with any investigations involving crime or national security. It also imposes mandatory testing and certification of all computer equipment, which necessitates each company granting the Chinese government’s investigators full access to their data if any wrongdoing is suspected (or alleged).

Logically, foreign companies are concerned that these policies give Chinese companies a major advantage over international competitors. “This is a step backwards for innovation in China that won’t do much to improve security,” according to James Zimmerman, Chairman of The American Chamber of Commerce in China. “The Chinese government is right in wanting to ensure the security of digital systems and information here, but this law doesn’t achieve that. What it does do is create barriers to trade and innovation” he told reporters via email.

The move has now caused more than 40 business groups from the U.S., Europe and Japan to send a letter to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, arguing it will prevent foreign entry of outside companies and slow China’s growth over time click this over here now. The measure is seen by many as part of a huge wave of regulations under President Xi Jinping to gain control over all aspects of the Internet in China.

For his part, Zhao Zeliang, director-general of the bureau of cybersecurity for the Cyberspace Administration of China said: “The law fits international trade protocol and its purpose is to safeguard national security. China’s cybersecurity requirements are not being used as a trade barrier.”

All of this is happening as President-Elect Trump prepares to take office after a campaign that included the threat of labeling China a currency manipulator and promises of tariffs to remedy a trade imbalance may foreshadow a strained financial relationship between two superpowers with data security and infrastructure technology at the epicenter. Will compromises be made or will tech trade become more insular in each nation? Only time will tell.

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16
Nov
2016

Carbon Nanotubes May Soon Replace The Need For Silicon In Silicon Valley

by Bill

Silicon may soon be a secondary source of material for microchip design as researchers hone in on new technologies that may finally make carbon nanotubes a revolutionary component of next generation chip design. The theory isn’t new, and many have hypothesized in the past that these microscopic structures might be capable of accelerating chip speeds to as much as ten times faster than today’s silicon examples while using far less electricity in the process.

Faster and lighter more power efficient chips would be crucial to the kinds of mobile devices that already exist, but far more important is the fact that carbon nanotubes would also make flexible screens and bendable devices or injectable microchips and nanomachines that could be an important component of medical advancement. A team of IBM researchers now claims to have made a breakthrough that should bring nanotube tech a reality soon.

IBM Research materials scientist George Tulevski, is unveiling the work during TED@IBM, and has explained to media in advance that the new process revolves around coaxing nanotubes into specific structures by using chemistry instead of a top-down approach, which is more similar to growing a crystal than carving a statue.

Tulevski’s work comes on the heels of a previous IBM milestone reached last year when another team developed a new way to pack carbon nanotube transistors into a smaller space. Other companies like Nanotronics Imaging are developing new tools like custom microscopes to make it easier to manufacture nanoscale devices.

Skeptics warn that this new research will take years to yield a working model in the field for commoditization, and during that timeframe silicon chips will continue to become faster as well. So the target is moving because the nanochip teams aren’t really competing with what is already available, they would need to leapfrog years worth of incremental improvements to provide a product capable of dominating a space that silicon has satisfied up to this point.

Still, the notion of a faster, lighter and more malleable chip material would have applications as far ranging as medical science, space travel, convenience electronics and from a Hosting perspective might greatly reduce the environmental footprint of data centers by orders of magnitude that would never be attainable with traditional silicon hardware. That insatiable urge to move technology forward is what has brought us all this far, and NationalNet remains eager to be fully engaged in the next wave of innovation as it becomes available as well.

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11
Nov
2016

Thank you veterans

by Bill


All of us at NationalNet would like to say thank you to all veterans for everything you have done. We truly appreciate your service to us and our country

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04
Nov
2016

DMCA Update: It’s Now Legal To Hack Devices You Own

by Bill

Up until today, even if you paid for a device and owned it outright you were in violation of DMCA law the moment you decided to hack its software. Even if you were a trained professional making custom modifications to your own possessions like your car, PC hardware and software, or insulin pump there was a legal risk of being sued each time you reverse-engineered a device. This was especially problematic for security professionals who wanted to fix security vulnerabilities in products without waiting months for manufacturers to release patch updates.

Now a new exemption to the decades-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act has carved out important protections for people willing and able to hack their own devices without fear that the DMCA ban allows lawsuits by the item’s manufacturer or creator. This change enables security research and development of new patches on consumer devices or other digital repairs by individuals in the hope that DIY initiatives will lead to faster fixes by device manufacturers in the long run.

“This is a tremendously important improvement for consumer protection,” according to Andrea Matwyshyn, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University, who spoke recently with Wired Magazine. “The Copyright Office has demonstrated that it understands our changed technological reality, that in every aspect of consumers’ lives, we rely on code.”

The exemptions are limited to a two-year trial period for “good-faith” testing in a controlled environment designed to avoid any harm to individuals or to the public. As Matwyshyn explained “We’re not talking about testing your neighbor’s pacemaker while it’s implanted. We’re talking about a controlled lab and a device owned by the researcher.”

As the battle for digital security continues to rage, crowdsourcing some of the challenges to DIY participants makes great sense. However there are dangers from untrained amateurs potentially injuring themselves or causing more significant threats to security through their own negligence. It will be interesting to see how quickly the law and the people can strike a healthy balance of these concerns while combatting hacks or other weaknesses in device code that has become far to common as manufacturers continue to rush products into their inventory.

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03
Nov
2016

Massive DDoS Attacks Shake The Internet Globally

by Bill

The digital world was shaken by the largest Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack in history, as hackers sent as much as 1.2 Terabits per second of data at the DYN network, knocking down several major website domains including Twitter for an extended period of time. The attack started at approximately 7:00AM on 10/21/16 and originated from an Internet of things (IoT) botnet cobbled together from many thousands of devices including cameras, thermostats, printers, computers and just about anything else with a Wi-Fi connection.

Scott Hilton, the Executive Vice President of Products at Dyn, explained in a written statement online that “Early observations of the TCP attack volume from a few of our data centers indicate packet flow bursts 40 to 50 times higher than normal. This magnitude does not take into account a significant portion of traffic that never reached Dyn due to our own mitigation efforts, as well as the mitigation of upstream providers.”

The problem with DDoS attacks is one that has grown more significant as the proliferation of unsecured internet-capable devices continues to gain momentum. Every time a new wave of seemingly innocuous items hits the market and consumers begin unwitting adding items that are easy to hack as new failure points for digital security, the size and speed of DDoS assaults becomes more severe.

At NationalNet we strive to protect our clients from all kinds of attacks and hacks. While no measure of security is entirely bulletproof, it is absolutely true that having mitigation procedures in place prior to the start of an attack is infinitely better than scrambling to successfully halt an attack after one starts. Please contact us any time you think your sites may be the target of an attack, and proactively get in touch with our experienced staff to discuss other ways to improve your preparedness for the unfortunate eventuality of downtime caused by everything from terrorism to state sponsored hacks and amateur script-kiddies seeing to damage your business online.

As Thomas Jefferson once said: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

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