‘Ban naughty countries from net’

He said malware that surreptitiously turns PCs into “zombies” that can be remotely directed by hackers to attack targets was “now recognised as the most pressing and concerning aspect of cyber crime to emerge in the last decade”. The measures are set to go live on December 1 but Coroneos said 78 Australian ISPs were already partly or fully compliant. “In some cases the governments are clearly condoning this behaviour, clearly benefiting from it in some ways, and there needs to be a message not just to the guys who are writing this code and shipping it around but to the government,” Dr Winter, in Sydney this week, said in a phone interview. “The sooner you can isolate infected machines and get them cleaned out and back online the better it is for the internet and for the user,” he said. “We levy sanctions on countries for terrorist issues, we levy sanctions on countries for other kinds of misbehaviour, so why not levy sanctions on countries for this kind of misbehaviour.”

Winter compared it to the sanctions in place against Iran over its efforts to develop nuclear weapons technology. “Everybody can understand a nuclear weapon is a threat; people aren’t ready to understand that bad code is a threat but it’s pretty clear that it could do massive amounts of harm.”

The call comes amid growing concerns about politically-motivated cyber attacks on “critical infrastructure” around the world, such as banks, emergency services and utilities. The Department of Defence has investigated 250 “serious, sophisticated” cyber intrusions into Australian government networks in the first eight months of this year out of 1000 total cyber incidents. Last year, there were 2400 attempted intrusions and the government is now considering designating cyberspace as a fifth domain of warfare. The IIA earlier this year met US President Barack Obama’s cyber-security coordinator, Howard Schmidt, to discuss it as a potential model for the US to adopt. Winter, who is now the CTO for security solutions provider ArcSight, is under no illusions that implementing his idea to block countries from the internet would be an “enormously complex task”, as the kind of international authorities required to make it work have yet to be designed. Winter compared the approach to that taken in the public health arena, whereby quarantines and other restrictive processes are used to deal with highly infectious diseases. “If you look at all these kinds of shared environments whether it’s health or health care, air travel or even the use of highways – we get certain privileges in exchange for accepting certain liabilities and responsibilities.”

In June, a year-long parliamentary cyber-crime inquiry called on the ISP industry to go a step beyond quarantining infected machines. Security companies regularly finger countries in Eastern Europe and Africa as being havens for cyber criminals and spawning much of the internet security threats affecting internet users worldwide. In the first instance the ISP may simply send a letter to the user informing them that their computer is infected and showing them how to clean it up. Even global superpowers like China have been accused of sponsoring hackers to attack Western internet companies including Google. Winter said that when countries are consistently introducing cyber threats the global community should band together to effectively shut them out of the internet until their governments do something about it. IIA chief executive Peter Coroneos said “temporary quarantining” of Australians from the internet was just one measure built into the code that ISPs could adopt. A global survey released this week by Symantec found half of all companies running critical infrastructure systems worldwide say they have sustained politically motivated attacks. It recommended contractual obligations requiring people to install anti-virus and firewall programs on their computers in order to access the internet. But he said the Internet Industry Association’s moves to quarantine Australian internet users until they clean up their computers was a “tremendously important step” that should be adopted in other countries like the US. “Once your machine is compromised and it becomes an incubating ground for botnets and various other kinds of malware then it’s in everybody’s interest to get it cleaned up, and so a certain forcing function is necessary,” said Winter.
This is due to formally come into effect on December 1. While applauding this idea, Dr Prescott Winter, who left the NSA in February after a 27-year career there, including as its CTO, said governments and internet providers around the world could go a step further and target the source of many of the threats.. The Australian ISP industry is already one of the first in the world to develop an industry code that would see some infected Australian users effectively unable to access the open internet until they clean their computer of malware. Countries in Eastern Europe and Africa that harbour cyber criminals should be locked out of the global internet until their governments do something to reduce the threats, the former chief technology officer at the US National Security Agency says.

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WikiLeaks cyber war: pro-Assange Anonymous v US nationalists

And a Sydney member of the pro-WikiLeaks cyber attackers has revealed he is disillusioned with the group, saying they “couldn’t organise a piss-up in a pub”. Assange lawyers say US preparing charges
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WikiLeaks loyalists form new leak site

The controversy surrounding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has started a heated cyber war between Mr Assange’s supporters and a group of patriotic Americans.
Dutch police have already arrested two teenagers over the attacks. A Sydney-based member of Anonymous, who spoke to this website last week, said today that the IRC server used by the group had been knocked offline by the Operation Fightback counter-attackers. “For the continued defense of our nations (sic) people & businesses,” the tagline of the new group’s Twitter page, @AnonymousDown, reads, above a link to a YouTube clip of “God Bless the USA”. Mr Rudd has blamed the diplomatic cable leaks on the US, saying it did not secure its systems. Efforts to stem the embarrassing leaks could be futile as, even if WikiLeaks is shut down, competing sites will spring up immediately to take its place. One site, Openleaks, staffed by WikiLeaks defectors, is due to launch this week. He said attacks on PayPal failed for the most part because PayPal had a sophisticated server farm that could not be knocked out by a DDoS attack, and the Anonymous members were hitting the wrong target. He said that, rather than being full-blown hackers, the Anonymous members were “script kiddies” who only knew how to download the LOIC program and run it. “Use misleading tags, everything from ‘Tea Party’ to ‘Bieber’. “They’re very unprofessional, illogical and irrational and very much their actions are based upon emotions,” he said. Ms Gillard and Mr McClellend have accused Mr Assange of undertaking illegal acts but have since been unable to specify exactly which laws he had broken. “It seems to be going to hell in a bucket,” he said in a phone interview. The man said that, in addition to attacking the Anonymous IRC servers, the Operation Fightback group had also been putting up fake targets to confuse Anonymous members and get them to attack the wrong IP addresses. One of his other lawyers, Jennifer Robinson, has said an indictment brought by the US under the Espionage Act, over separate allegations that Mr Assange unlawfully leaked hundreds of thousands of US State Department cables, was imminent. Change of strategy

While there is no central command structure to Anonymous and several splinter groups have formed, a statement put out over the weekend said Anonymous was changing tactics, abandoning its strategy of online attacks on organisations seen as hostile to WikiLeaks. “If they would’ve gone after PayPal’s domain name server [DNS] they would have been able to shut down PayPal entirely but they didn’t know enough about network technology to work that out,” he said. The Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, seemed to be at odds with the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, when he said that, despite suggestions by Mr McClelland that Mr Assange’s passport may be cancelled, the final decision rested exclusively with him. “There are still people hanging around on the Operation Payback channel and trying to co-ordinate attacks and the last known target was Mastercard.com, but that seems to be falling apart because of both the DDoS on the IRC channel as well as people getting IP banned when they launch attacks against Mastercard.com,” he said. “For me, this is political theater, kabuki – entertaining and perhaps influential, but much less than war,” he said. The game has changed. Last week, a group of loose-knit cyber attackers dubbed Anonymous took down the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal in retaliation for the companies’ refusal to process WikiLeaks-related transactions following pressure from US politicians. When the game changes, so too must our strategies,” said the blog post announcing “Operation: Leakspin”. This had prevented them from launching new attacks. – with wires “Malicious tactics being employed by the Anonymous movement will not be tolerated … “They don’t organise well, they don’t co-ordinate well and it’s a lot like CB radio back in the 1970s – people farting into the microphone. The Sydney Anonymous member said the group had also failed in similar attempts to attack Amazon, which last week refused to host WikiLeaks files. In an overnight blog post, Anonymous said it now aimed to publish parts of the confidential US diplomatic cables as widely as possible and in ways that made them as hard as possible to trace. “We have, at best, given them a black eye. These people couldn’t organise a piss-up in a pub.”

Contrary to the group’s name, Anonymous members who used the LOIC program to attack targets could easily be traced and identified, The University of Twente in Holland said in new research. Over the weekend Mr McClelland said it could be a year before the Australian Federal Police was able to determine whether WikiLeaks committed a criminal act. James Lewis, a specialist in cyber security at Washington think tank the Centre for International and Strategic Studies, played down the attacks, saying it was more like a “noisy political demonstration” than a cyber war as only websites were knocked out, not back-end systems. freedom of speech is one thing, personal and corporate infrastructure is another,” the operator of the Twitter page wrote. US charges imminent

Mr Assange is in isolation at London’s Wandsworth prison awaiting hearings related to Sweden’s request to extradite him to face sexual misconduct allegations. “Mastercard.com administrators appear to be actively monitoring incoming packets and they’re doing IP blocks on wherever an attack is coming from.”

Anonymous members are just ‘script kiddies’

The Sydney Anonymous member has grown increasingly disillusioned with his colleagues over the weekend, saying today that they were “really just ordinary dumb shit kids” who do not know much about network technology. The attacks were named “Operation Payback” but now a group of American nationalists is counter-attacking Anonymous under the banner “Operation Fightback”. The activists are now encouraging supporters to search through leaked cables on the WikiLeaks site and publish summaries of ones that have been least exposed, labelling them so they are hard to find by any authority seeking to quash them. Some of Amazon’s European websites suffered a half-hour outage over the weekend but it was not clear whether this was caused by cyber attacks. Post snippets of the leaks everywhere,” the blog said, referring to the US grassroots conservative movement and the 16-year-old Canadian pop phenomenon Justin Bieber. Using the same methods as Anonymous – distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which flood servers with millions of requests – the Operation Fightback group has been able to seriously disrupt Anonymous’s operations and prevent it from launching new attacks. Mr Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, who is defending the Australian-born activist in the Swedish rape investigation, told Britain’s Daily Mail that he has seen secret police documents that prove he is innocent of rape claims made against him by two women in Stockholm. Anonymous members used a software application called Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) to launch their attacks, which received its instructions on which targets to attack from an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel.
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Hundreds of Australians rally in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Sydney on Friday. Photo: AFP

Video: inFamous 2 gameplay, now with more cyclones

You’ll definitely want to watch this gameplay clip of inFamous 2. Not only does it show off Cole’s new look, it highlights the revamped graphics engine, improved “in your face” camera . .. and best of all, a new power.

Continue reading Video: inFamous 2 gameplay, now with more cyclones

JoystiqVideo: inFamous 2 gameplay, now with more cyclones originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 03 Jul 2010 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tweets shed light on our banking gripes

Researchers also found that people were far more likely to tweet about ANZ, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank than they were about National Australia Bank, with NAB the topic of only 9 per cent of messages. If somebody knows you’re out there and you’re listening they are going to be a little less negative and that’s an important thing for the brand.”

http://www.amsrs.com.au Not surprisingly, tweets about banks were most often negative, but researchers found important differences around what kind of messages people put on Twitter depending who they were addressing the tweets to. The study, by Christine Walker of Alliance Strategic Research, analysed more than 5000 tweets between January and May this year. This was also an area where there were big differences between the banks, with 85 per cent of ANZ’s commentary negative compared to an average for the other banks of 71 per cent. Ms Walker also analysed swearing in the bank tweets and found that Commonwealth Bank copped the highest proportion of messages including bad language. Ms Walker said the research showed that people did self-moderate their tweets depending on whom they were talking to. The breakdown of negative, positive and neutral comments was similar for each bank. It will be presented today at the Australian Marketing and Social Research Society conference in Melbourne. The issue most commented on for all banks was service. After service, the most commented-on aspect of banks was social media followed by brand image, location of branches and bank personnel. Classification of the tweets into themes revealed some hot spots for customers. Internet banking and bank websites were the subject of a lot of negative comments with typical complaints including running slow, login not working, site down and balances not shown. A study of five months’ worth of tweets about Australia’s big four banks has found that people dislike all banks about the same, but find different reasons to be fed up with each one. People were more strongly negative and more likely to swear in their banking tweets, if the message was not addressed to anyone specific. Ms Walker said there was a clear benefit in banks being on Twitter, in terms of managing the word-of-mouth about their brand and ensuring that comments were less negative. “It’s important that you [the banks] are in the conversation. She said at the time of the study, Westpac was the only bank actively engaging with people on Twitter and responding to comments.

OnLive: The first few weeks

Much like reviewing an MMO, I didn’t really feel comfortable “reviewing” OnLive and I don’t know that I ever will. I can (and will) make a handful of declarative statements about my feelings on the service as it stands right now, but, like an MMO, sweeping changes could occur tomorrow that obliviate all previous statements. That said, as of right now, OnLive works.

In my experience with the service — on both coasts and three major US cities — it was quick, responsive, and relatively free of bugs (though I did encounter a couple). And demos are available for almost every game, so I put at least a bit of time in with nearly every title currently playable. Dirt 2 with DirectX 11 running on my 10-month-old (Apple!) laptop? Speeds along without a hitch. Unreal Tournament 3? No issues (well, other than not finding anyone to play against outside of bots). I was also able to hook up a wired Xbox 360 controller without any additional installation and it worked flawlessly — the Xbox guide button even brought up the OnLive guide and auto-paused games (madness!). And though I probably wouldn’t suggest OnLIve for hardcore, twitch gamers — and neither would the company itself — I would absolutely recommend it to everyone else.

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JoystiqOnLive: The first few weeks originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pre-order Halo Reach at GameStop for exclusive armor

For those of you who have to keep your Spartan dressed in the latest styles, GameStop is offering exclusive armor and helmet configurations with pre-orders of Halo: Reach. Those who reserve the game will receive tokens for a Spartan Recon Helmet with Visor/Blast Shield and a UA Multi-Threat Mjolnir Mark V(B) Armor, which features a unique chestplate design and a grenade belt. Can’t you hear it? “Hey, (your name here)! Looking good in that UAMTMMVBA! ” You and your Multi-Threat, Blast Shield-sporting friends can mock the Spartans who dare to show up wearing default armor.

Of course, you also receive a $20 coupon, just like those offered by Walmart and Amazon.

JoystiqPre-order Halo Reach at GameStop for exclusive armor originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 07 Jul 2010 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Preview: GoldenEye 007 (multiplayer)

GoldenEye 007

Let’s clear one thing up: This GoldenEye Wii game is not your GoldenEye N64 game all prettied up. This is an original game based on the same Bond … movie (though featuring the Daniel Craig Bond). That’s not to say that the new GoldenEye 007 doesn’t borrow — what it legally can — from Rare’s classic console FPS, but be careful about expecting a modern port of the 1997 game known simply and lovingly as “Bond.” (That project is still not happening. )

At Nintendo’s E3 booth, I played a quick round of two-player split-screen multiplayer of this new GoldenEye, and it left a positive impression. I could have sworn my opponent and I had faced off in a classic Bond map (the Archives, I thought), but Activision insists this is an “original” level, in so much as it is not a recreation of one of Rare’s maps from the N64 game. Of course, Rare’s maps were based on sets from the movie, and Activision has the rights to have maps designed from these same sets. So, expect to get a sense of déjà vu when playing the new Goldeneye.

Continue reading Preview: GoldenEye 007 (multiplayer)

JoystiqPreview: GoldenEye 007 (multiplayer) originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 19 Jun 2010 21:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumor: Disney eyeing Playdom acquisition

TechCrunch and VentureBeat both have sources claiming Disney is ready to purchase social gaming developer Playdom for over $600 million. There are currently obscene amounts of money being invested in the social gaming arena; just last year EA purchased Playfish, another big player in the space, for $300 million.

Disney Interactive Media, which continues to have annual losses, has been working on making or buying a mega-money maker. Split/Second obviously isn’t panning out, but Club Penguin seems to be doing fine. There’s also the question of how the company will eventually incorporate the Marvel properties, unless it opts to continue licensing those out. The Playdom purchase, if true, would give the company access to a demographic that its current mouse house of studios doesn’t directly service.

JoystiqRumor: Disney eyeing Playdom acquisition originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 23:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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If your anticipation for the co-op treasure-plundering action of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is so strong that you’re seeking for outlets through which to give Crystal Dynamics money, here’s your chance. A handful of Avatar items based on the XBLA title will arrive on the Xbox Live Marketplace July 29. The particulars and prices of these items have yet to be revealed, though a handful of images posted in the gallery below indicate costumes for Lara, her partner-in-raiding Totec, a Tomb Raider-themed T-shirt, a hideous matted wig and … some kind of … demon suit.

The background featured in these images is actually available on the Marketplace today for 240 MSP, under the title “The Lava Tomb. ” It’s perfect for those who think their menu navigation experience could use a bit more molten rock and ugly statuettes.

Continue reading Lara Croft Avatar items and premium theme coming to Marketplace

JoystiqLara Croft Avatar items and premium theme coming to Marketplace originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 24 Jul 2010 01:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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We didn’t think there was anything slower in the whole, entire universe than one of Gears of War 3‘s lumbering, impossibly muscle-bound protagonists. We were wrong — as evidenced by the two GameTrailers videos posted after the break, that honor goes to the new Beast Mode’s “Berserker” character.

Continue reading See how the other half lives in Gears of War 3 ‘Beast Mode’ footage

JoystiqSee how the other half lives in Gears of War 3 ‘Beast Mode’ footage originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 24 Jul 2010 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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