Tag: swiss

Big Content chases streaming Germans

Big Content trolls have issued bills to Germans who visited a porn website and streamed content.

Like most copyright trolls, the a Swiss-based firm that owns the content hosted by porn site Redtube hopes that Germans will be too deeply shocked that it becomes known that they visited a porn site and just pay up before it gets to court.

According to Chip.de the unnamed Swiss company is demanding $344 for each clip watched so you could be in for a stiff bill.

The law firm U+C which has been hired by the company claims to have received a go ahead from a local court, and as many as ten thousand warnings may have been sent to users, for porn shows watched in August.

But German online publication Stern thinks that the court in Cologne may have issued a wrong verdict, and should not have allowed lawyers of to go forward and ask ISPs to disclose names and addresses associated with the IPs which allegedly streamed the porn shows.

Under German law, online streaming is not the same as filesharing. Users streaming shows are simply watching content that is hosted on a different site, whether it is legal or illegal. Users were not aware whether the shows they streamed were obtained legally by Redtube, as the site did not say.

The feeling is that any court will chunk the case, but there will not be many Germans who want to go to court and proudly say, “I saw donkey porn” but I did it legally.

It is not clear how their IPs were actually shared with the law firm sending out the warnings in the first place, but their privacy has clearly been violated in some sort of way.

Chip.de suggests that these users may have been targeted with malware that harvested their IP addresses in order to be later used in such legal proceedings. If that is the case, the Swiss company could find itself on the receiving end of criminal charges. 

Researchers get cash for brain research

An international team of researchers has just gained $1.6 billion to fund a project which will simulate the human brain, which is like a CPU in that it is the brain of a computer.

The Human Brain Project (HBP) will take ten years and will involve scientists from lots of different disciplines.

The big idea is to understand and map the network of over a hundred billion neuronal connections that elicit emotions, and volitional thought. It is also believed that they can find the source of consciousness, which is a bit like the 21st century finding of the source of the Nile, only Lake Victoria actually exists,

The researchers will be using a progressively scaled-up multilayered simulation running on a supercomputer. The project is so big that it is being compared with the Large Hadron Colllider in terms of scope and ambition.

The project, which will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is an initiative of the European Commission. This is probably because US-based brains still think that the world was created in seven days, 10,000 years ago.

HBP will build new platforms for “neuromorphic computing” and “neurorobotics.” This will lead to the creation of new computing systems and robots based on the architecture and circuitry of the human brain.

Initially the plan is to reconstruct the human brain piece-by-piece, and gradually bring these cognitive components into an overarching supercomputer. They will then give it a big cup of coffee and fire it up.

In a press release, Swedish Nobel Laureate Torsten Wiesel said that the HBP will be a driving force to develop new and still more powerful computers to handle the massive accumulation of new information about the brain.

The research may also give rise to fundamentally new computer architectures modelled after the brain.

This cooperation should lead to new concepts and a deeper understanding of the brain, the most complex and intricate creation on earth, he said.

It might also help in the treatment of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

Disgruntled IT worker exposes Western spooks

Western spy networks have been exposed by a disgruntled IT worker who left the Swiss intelligence outfit, the Federal Intelligence Service, with a drive packed with top secret information.

The thumb drive had all the secret information on counter-terrorism which is shared by Western governments.

According to Reuters, intelligence agencies in the United States and Britain are among those who were warned by red-faced Swiss authorities that their data could have been put in jeopardy.

It is believed that the suspect became disgruntled because he felt he was being ignored and his advice on operating the data systems was not being taken seriously.

He downloaded terabytes of classified material from the Swiss intelligence service’s servers onto portable hard drives. He then carried them out of government buildings in a backpack.

Spooks arrested the technician amid signs he was acting suspiciously. It seems he was trying to set up a numbered bank account and the Swiss think he was trying to find a buyer for the data.

He has been released from prison while a criminal investigation by the office of Switzerland’s Federal Attorney General continues.

The techie had worked for the Federal Intelligence Service for about eight years and was apparently “very talented” technician and senior enough to have “administrator rights”.

Swiss investigators have recovered large numbers of portable storage devices containing the stolen data after they arrested the suspect, according to the sources. They think they arrested him before he had a chance to sell it, but can’t be certain.

Now the Swiss are engaged in a huge navel gazing exercise over whether or not the theft could have be avoided. According to the Swiss press, the techie had been showing warning signs that should have been spotted by his bosses or by security officials.

At one point he had been so hacked off that he stopped showing up for work.

The NDB did not realize that something was wrong until the largest Swiss bank, UBS rang them up to tell them that there had been a potentially suspicious attempt to set up a new numbered bank account, which then was traced to the NDB technician. 

Algorithm chases virus writers to their bases

Swiss researchers have come up with software that can swiftly trace terror suspects, computer viruses, rumours back to their source.

Researcher Pedro Pinto of Lausanne’s Federal Polytechnic said that his network technique can find the source of all kinds of things circulating in a network just by listening to a limited number of members of that network.

The software fast-tracks the route taken by the information to arrive back at its original source.

It can help investigators follow the path as directly as possible and eliminate false trails.

According to the scientific journal Physical Review Letters, which we get for the “observe the proton” competition, Pinto’s team tested the algorithm to pinpoint the individuals behind the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The software reconstructed the message exchange inside the 9/11 terrorist network from publicly released news. The software came up with the names of three potential suspects, one of whom was found to be the mastermind of the attacks.

Using social networking, Pinto said it was a doddle to see who had started a rumour posted to 500 contacts by looking at posts received by just 15 to 20 of them.

He said that the algorithm could be used to identify the origin of spam or a computer virus.

It has other uses. Pinto found the source of a cholera outbreak in South Africa after applying the formula to water and transport networks.

Switzerland demands Powerpoint's death

There are shedloads of single issue political parties out there, but has got to be one of the best.

The Swiss Anti-Powerpoint party, which was launched this week, has the sole interest of saving the world from the evils of powerpoint demonstrations.

In the outfit’s blog, it claims that all these institutions use PowerPoint and about 11 percent of more than 4.1 million employees have to waste time assisting making presentations on a regular basis.

So getting out its calculator, the SAP Party said that the presentations take place twice a week on average, and have an average number of 10 participants. Using the average Swiss salary to work out how much is money is being wasted, the Party thinks that PowerPoint causes the annual monetary destruction of $2.5 billion.

It points out that the situation in Germany is worse with 15.8 billion euros flushed down the loo because workers have to sit through very precise and dull presentations.

Looking at the problem Europe wide, SAP thinks that Powerpoint costs the 110 billion Euros which is coincidently how much the Greek debt bail-out will cost.

SAP wants to become the fourth strongest political party in Switzerland, so it is clear it is aiming high. It has already had to adapt its strategy to emphasise that it is not just Microsoft’s Powerpoint software it wants banned but all makers of such pointless software.

Still, it has a good chance of getting what it wants. In Switzerland, citizens force a referendum on any subject. All it takes is 100,000 voters to sign a petition demanding one.  It also looks like it has the backing of the US Army.

Anonymous takes down Visa, Amazon, PayPal, Swiss bank, Assange prosecutor

War has been declared on the internet between hackers backing Wikileaks and companies who have withdrawn support for the website. The hackers have already launched attacks against several companies and we can reveal that more are on the cards.

This week a hacker group, calling itself Anonymous, led a series of attacks called Operation: Payback. They targeted MasterCard, which stopped processing donations to Wikileaks. It managed to take MasterCard’s website offline yesterday with a series of DDoS attacks, effectively crippling much of MasterCard’s online services.

MasterCard is mostly back online today. It issued the following statement: 

“MasterCard has made significant progress in restoring full-service to its corporate website. Our core processing capabilities have not been compromised and cardholder account data has not been placed at risk. While we have seen limited interruption in some web-based services, cardholders can continue to use their cards for secure transactions globally.”

Today, Visa is in the crosshairs. Visa’s website came under attack from hackers and is currently down. It is likely to see sustained attacks throughout the day, with web services unlikely to resume until some time tomorrow.

The prosecutor leading the sexual assault case against Julian Assange in Sweden has come under attack. The prosecutor website, www.aklagare.se, was targeted and taken down. We managed to briefly access it to view a statement on the attack, but it was quickly down again within minutes.

Security firm PandaLabs was the first to report the attack on the Swedish prosecutor website and now PandaLabs’ own website is offline, suggesting it may also have suffered an attack.

The Swiss Post Office bank PostFinance, which recently froze Assange’s assets, was also on the hackers’ blacklist, with its website experiencing difficulties following DDoS attacks.

There have also been some reports that Amazon, which terminated Wikileaks’ hosting on its service, has been attacked, but its website is currently online. Likewise, PayPal is under attack but is also currently online. Both websites are likely to suffer further attacks later today and tomorrow in the next wave of Operation: Payback.

In a message from Anonymous yesterday Twitter was marked for a major attack due to accusations that it is censoring Wikileaks to prevent it from trending. So far Twitter has remained online, but there is little doubt that some disruption will be seen to its service over the coming days.

Today Facebook banned the Operation: Payback page for violation of the terms of service, which Anonymous appears not to have taken kindly to, so it is likely that it too has joined the long list of targets which will be DDoSed.

Many of the Operation: Payback websites and accounts have been suspended. A number of its Twitter accounts have been deleted, while some of its website were periodically down. It is not known if this is a counter-attack from government agencies, security firms, other hackers, or simply a suspension from the web hosts themselves, but the hackers have quickly brought things back online or replaced accounts with new ones.