I like their attitude

Mob of Britons blocks Google-cam

Posted: 03 Apr 2009 02:33 PM PDT

The thing that amazes me about my homeland isn’t its willingness to live under state surveillance, but the way we freak out whenever anyone else uses cameras in public. “I was determined to make a stand,” said one local, who helped block a Google Street View car from heading into a Buckinghamshire village.

My dad, who lives just an hour away from Broughton, suggests that the key to understanding this apparent paradox is in the amused contempt that many Britons have for politics. It’s not that they’re sheep: they just think that no matter what powers are given to the police, freedom is guaranteed by the fundamental incompetence of British police. We trust the authorities because the authorities are too stupid and useless to harm us.

This is why Britons will ignore CCTV cameras, but scream bloody murder at Google.

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This is from BoingBoing, which you already figured out if you clicked the link.  I follow Rob, he’s rather amusing.

More scary computer shit

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries
New York Times (03/29/09) Markoff, John

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Munk Center for International Studies say a massive electronic spying operation has successfully stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world.

The researchers say the system was controlled from computers almost exclusively in China, but they cannot conclusively say the Chinese government is involved. The researchers were asked by the office of the Dalai Lama to examine its computers for signs of malware and discovered a vast operation that, in less than two years, managed to infiltrate at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including computers belonging to many embassies, foreign ministries, other government offices, and the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels, London, and New York.

The Munk Center researchers say that in addition to spying on the Dalai Lama, the system, which they named GhostNet, also focused on governments in South Asian and Southeast Asian countries. GhostNet is by far the largest, in terms of the number of countries affected, spying operation to be exposed, and it is believed that this is the first time that researchers have been able to uncover the workings of a computer systems used for intrusions of such magnitude.

The researchers say GhostNet continues to infect and monitor more than a dozen new computers a week. The malware not only “phishes” for unwary victims but also “whales” for specific, important targets. The malware can even turn on the video and audio features of an infected computer, enabling the malware’s operators to see and hear what goes on in front of the computer. The researchers have notified international law enforcement agencies of the spying operation, which they believe exposes shortcomings in the legal structure of cyberspace.

April Fools, Internet

Fears of a Conficker meltdown greatly exaggerated

With 60 Minutes airing a report on Sunday, some people are panicking, but researchers don’t expect anything dramatic
By Robert McMillan , IDG News Service , 03/27/2009

Worries that the notorious Conficker worm will somehow rise up and devastate the Internet on April 1 are misplaced, security experts said Friday.

Conficker is thought to have infected more than 10 million PCs worldwide, and researchers estimate that several million of these machines remain infected. If the criminals who created the network wanted to, they could use this network to launch a very powerful distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against other computers on the Internet.

April 1 is the day that the worm is set to change the way it updates itself, moving to a system that is much harder to combat, but most security experts say that this will have little effect on most computer users’ lives.

Nevertheless, many people are worried, according to Richard Howard, director of iDefense Security Intelligence. “We have been walking customers down from the ledge all day,” he said. Often, the problem has been that company executives have read reports of some April 1st incident and then proceed to “get their IT and security staffs spun up,” Howard said in an e-mail interview.

That hype will probably intensify when the U.S. TV newsmagazine 60 Minutes airs a report Sunday on Conficker, entitled “The Internet is Infected.”

Conficker “could be triggered, maybe on April 1st … but no one knows whether on April 1st they’ll just issue an instruction that says ‘Just continue sitting there’ or whether it will start stealing our money or creating a spam attack,” CBS reporter Lesley Stahl said in a preview interview ahead of the show. “The truth is, nobody knows what it’s doing there.”

April 1 is what Conficker researchers are calling a trigger date, when the worm will switch the way it looks for software updates. The worm has already had several such trigger dates, including Jan. 1, none of which had any direct impact on IT operations, according to Phil Porras, a program director with SRI International who has studied the worm.

“Technically, we will see a new capability, but it complements a capability that already exists,” Porras said. Conficker is currently using peer-to-peer file sharing to download updates, he added.

The worm, which has been spreading since October of last year, uses a special algorithm to determine what Internet domains it will use to download instructions.