Microsoft and the Prime Suspectz

Internet 'Society' makes for an entertaining weekend; Chello silenced while Telecom goes flat and Ihug goes dairy

A tough couple of days for the world’s largest hacker target. Not only did a group calling itself Prime Suspectz manage to successfully crack part of Microsoft New Zealand’s site but a DNS problem left most of Microsoft’s sites around the globe offline yesterday morning.

Sites hit included web based email service Hotmail.com, web portal MSN.com, news website MSNBC.com and the company's corporate site Microsoft.com.

And to top off a week of hits, government sites in the US, Australia and UK were targeted by a group calling itself Pentaguard. Is security lax in the post Christmas period or are there just heaps of kids on holiday at the moment causing trouble? How secure are your servers?

Microsoft's NZ Site Hacked - Nzoom.com

Hackers breach site again - NZ Herald

Microsoft websites suffer large scale blackout - IDGNet

Meanwhile the trial in Canada of Mafiaboy is sparking interest in the security debate — Mafiaboy is 16 years old yet managed to bring down a number of corporate sites worldwide.

Mafiaboy's story points to Net weaknesses - IDGNet

And it seems Epson New Zealand is among the list of targets — a day after Microsoft New Zealand was hit, Epson New Zealand’s site ended up looking alarmingly similar.

Epson NZ joins Microsoft in long line of hack victims - IDGNet

Internet “Society” makes for an entertaining weekend

I once tried to learn how to speak Japanese. My tutor said, “There are two stages to learning a language — step one: open mouth, step two: insert foot.” It seems that applies to being a member of a Society as well. Last week I inadvertently broke one of the acceptable use policies of the Internet Society (ISOCNZ) by publishing details of a draft report one of its numerous working groups was putting together as the basis of what would become a submission to the select committee that is mulling over the Crimes Amendment Bill and its various Big Brother overtones. After a tedious and abusive weekend of email duelling over my personal and professional ethics, morals and capabilities, I was told to apologise or be suspended from the list. Fortunately my sparring partner, Keith Davidson, was told the same thing and I have to say his apology was both gracious and graceful.

Now we are older but I think not much wiser. Not just Keith and myself, I mean the Society in particular and emailers in general. Personal attacks are often found on newsgroups and mailing lists in place of good honest debate. It’s something of a tradition online, an old way of doing things that has survived into the 21st century but quite frankly it sucks.

Oh, we were arguing about a draft proposal about the Crimes Amendment Bill. This is really important — in Britain similar legislation is seeing country-bumpkin coppers turning up at ISPs asking for all kinds of information that ISPs simply don’t collect in formats they can’t offer. Hands up anyone here who can give me a list of every email address in my postal code area.

Anyway, I think being a member of a society and reporting on that society are probably incompatible goals, so I’ve resigned as a member and plan to watch from a safe place. Like Guam.

The offending first article: Bill makes PC networks illegal-ISOCNZ - IDGNet

And the follow-up story: ISOCNZ shuts off archive - IDGNet

Meanwhile in the UK, ISPs are having a rough time with country coppers who don't seem to understand quite how the internet works...

ISPs 'RIP' Into British Police - Wired

The Internet Society of New Zealand

Chello Silenced while Telecom goes flat and Ihug goes dairy

Meanwhile back in the constantly astonishing but so far personal-attack-free world of telecommunications (touch wood) Dutch broadband provider Chello has pulled out of the New Zealand market. Chello users were sent an interesting wee email from Paradise.Net, now part of TelstraSaturn’s burgeoning empire, offering a choice of two broadband offerings. Oddly the email says the Paradise Broadband service is “recommended by Computerworld as the fastest and most cost effective broadband solution”. Computerworld doesn’t test such things and has never recommended any broadband ISP’s service.

On a better note, Telecom is offering its first high-speed flat rate DSL service and Ihug is selling start-up connection packs through local dairies.

Telecom’s JetStart package offers 128kbit/sec connection for a fee of around $65 a month — a number of ISPs are reselling the package and may have different charges.

Ihug has gone to the corner shop in search of those newbies who will be hunting for a dial-up connection for the first time. For $19.95 users get connected and a month’s internet access and director Nick Wood hopes this will put the pressure on the offerings from the remains of the “free” ISPs.

Offshore, Telecom now seems to be the front runner for the Cable and Wireless Optus service, although rumour has it the company may flog off the newly functioning Southern Cross Cable and its managing company to pay for the Aussie wireless provider. Telecom’s Australian subsidiary AAPT isn’t getting its CDMA rollout until the purchase of C&W is sorted out.

Chello to cease service on February 1 - IDGNet

Flat-rate DSL starts to roll - IDGNet

Ihug pops down to the dairy - IDGNet

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