FryUp: Mo' MVNO moves

Compass readies for a mobile launch, while social media goes anti-social

On yer supercomputing bikes

Supercomputers, as you know, are massive, binary beasts that consume vast amounts of power. Or, they’re green and lean, driven by lycra’ed legs only, as the SciCortex one used for climate modelling calculations at University of Maine, USA.

With thanks to Bill St Arnaud’s CAnet news

— YouTube

— Article on Campus Technology

Mo’ MVNO moves

I see that Karim and Co are about to launch the Compass Communications mobile service, having availed itself of Vodafone’s wholesale’s willingness to sign up Mobile Virtual Network Operators. Congrats to Compass.

Interestingly enough, the usually efficient Vodafone PR machine is conspicuously quiet on the MVNO deals… perhaps so as not to upset its retail people?

Orcon may or may not be the next provider to launch under Vodafone’s MVNO wings, depending on if the SOE ISP manages to conclude negotiations with the Giant Mobile Telco. They are, I hear, rather difficult for a host of reasons.

While the MVNO market in New Zealand has been slow to develop and now faces the same shortage of funding as other business projects do this year, it’s there all right.

This begs the question why Telecom decided not to give its wholesale component access to the new WCDMA network. The MVNOs wouldn’t have got on board straightaway, giving Telecom maybe six to eight months to get the new network trucking along, and surely, isn’t it better to have operators buying wholesale from Doc Reynolds’ outfit than Vodafone?

Compass to launch mobile service by March

Anti social media

Social media. Doncha lerv it? Sign up to Facebook or some other social site and keep in touch with friends and family everywhere, no matter how mundane your life is. It’s the killer application of the new millennium, and it will get bigger and bigger.

Now we know to be safe online, and not to give out too much personal stuff like addresses, phone numbers, bank and credit card details.

How about giving out any details at all being unsafe? Sydneysider Mark Neely got a call from a friend earlier this month. The friend was “talking” to Neely on Facebook chat, and was told Neely had been robbed at gunpoint in London and needed urgent financial assistance to get back to Sydney.

That of course was Neely’s Facebook account being compromised, with a fraudster trying to milk his friends for money with a bogus story. This isn’t the first such case I’ve heard of either, and you can see why getting into Facebook accounts is so attractive for scammers – people trust that their friends on social media sites really are who they say they are.

And, they are, usually, but not always. There’s no way to check though, apart grabbing a phone and calling each other, as happened in Neely’s case, so it’s dead easy social engineering for the scammers.

Malicious access to social media accounts can quite easily ruin someone’s life. Stealing your friends’ money is one thing, but what if someone posts illegal or defamatory material on your Facebook? Or just something that will make your friends hate you.

“My account was hacked!” probably isn’t a credible defence unless you can back it up with solid evidence. Neely asked for just that, but Facebook doesn’t want to provide it.

Of course, it’s not just social media sites that are targeted — any site that’s strongly associated with individuals, and assumed to carry trusted and credible information is likely to be abused. Like Monster.com, the huge employment site that was compromised last week, with the personal details and data of millions of job seekers being stolen.

These types of security breaches have the potential to turn social media into social menaces instead of fun and useful tools. There’s no easy answer to this problem either, because the social media cat is well and truly out of the bag now. If you think that by not having a presence on for instance Facebook, you’re safe, think again: if anything, your good name is more likely to be abused by scammers pretending to be you.

They won’t even have to crack your account, just set up a new one.

Mark Neely: My Facebook nightmare

Monster.com suffers database breach déjà-vu

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