Tag: web

Dark web is not as dim as you think

155310-bigthumbnailA new survey suggests that dark websites are not all about guns, drugs and kiddy porn.

Dark web data intelligence provider Terbium Labs has conducted the industry’s first data-driven, fact-based research report into what his happening on the Dark Web and found that it was not quite crime central.

The bulk of activity appearing on the dark web is much like the content and commerce found on the clear web. In fact, research found that nearly 55 percent of dark web content is legal.

Emily Wilson, Director of Analysis at Terbium Labs said that the vast majority of dark web research to date has focused on illegal activity while overlooking the existence of legal content.

“We wanted to take a complete view of the dark web to determine its true nature and to offer readers of this report a holistic view of dark web activity — both good and bad.”

Terbium Labs based the study on hard data and statistical analysis. The study “The Truth About the Dark Web: Separating Fact from Fiction” used Terbium’s dark web crawler, which continuously scours the dark web adding billions of new records to its database each day.

What this all means is that anonymity does not mean criminality. Pornography is a big part of the dark web, but not all of it is illegal. Discussions about dark web pornography almost exclusively revolve around exploitation, but the dark web is home to its fair share of explicit content that is totally legal — almost 7 per cent of the total content.

Drugs make up only 12 per cent of total content on the dark web, 45 per cent of illegal content on the dark web is focused on drugs. Similarly, pharmaceuticals represent three per cent of dark web content and 12 per cent of illegal content.

Fraud was much lower than anticipated, representing less than two per cent of total dark web content and nearly five per cent of illegal content.

Another odd thing was that the dark web was not terrorist central either. Terbium found only one incident of extremism in its sample. No incidents of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or human trafficking were observed, reiterating how rare these types of content are on the dark web.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for a new web

bernerslee-404_682192cThe father of the world wide web, Saint Tim Berners-Lee, has called for the development of a new web which cannot be snooped on by the government.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, believes that the way his creation works in the present day “completely undermines the spirit of helping people create”.

He is currently involved in a project which will set up a new kind of information network that can’t be controlled by governments or powered by megacorporations like Amazon and Google.

Along with luminaries like TCP/IP protcol co-creator Vint Cerf, Mozilla Project leader Mitchell Baker and Electronic Frontier Foundation special advisor Cory Doctorow, they’ve gathered at the Decentralized Web Summit in San Francisco to discuss how this new kind of internet can be created and sustained.

One of the things they will look at is the use of increased encryption and methods to bring more accountability, as well as to reduce content creators’ and publishers’ dependence on ad revenue by developing secure, direct cryptocurrency-based payment methods for subscribers.

The Decentralized Web Summit is on from June 8-9.  It will be interesting to see if they get any backing or how long it takes for the world to stuff it up again.


Internet and web get capital punishment

Simpsons_Internet_Computers_Black_ShirtThe words Internet and Web are spending their last days as proper noun and will no longer be capitalised.

The changes go into effect on Wednesday with the new edition of the AP Stylebook, a manual followed by many journalists, offering a comprehensive guide to the usage of words, style, spelling and punctuation.

AP Standards Editor Tom Kent said that the argument for lowercasing Internet is that it has become wholly generic – like electricity and the telephone.

“It never was trademarked and is not based on any proper noun. “The best reason for capitalising it in the past may have been that the term was new. At one point the world ‘Phonograph’ was capitalised.”

Internet and Web will be joining the likes of website (formerly Web site) and email (formerly e-mail). Wi-Fi is expected to join them in the coming years.

European court kills web comments

European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has ruled that an Estonian news site Delfi may be held responsible for anonymous and defamatory comments from its readers.

The ruling, which goes against the European Union’s e-commerce directive, which “guarantees liability protection for intermediaries that implement notice-and-takedown mechanisms on third-party comments.”

A post from the Media Legal Defence Initiative summarises said the court came to this unexpected decision because of the “the ‘extreme’ nature of the comments which the court considered to amount to hate speech.

The fact that they were published on a professionally-run and commercial news website,” as well as the “insufficient measures taken by Delfi to weed out the comments in question and the low likelihood of a prosecution of the users who posted the comments.”

As a result the legal situation is now complicated and some analysts think it only really effects Estonia’s laws on site liability.

But what it might do is encourage the idea that intermediaries are liable for “manifestly unlawful” content, without specifying what “manifestly unlawful” actually means. So websites will either kill comments or be over cautious in taking down material which might possibly be contentious.”

It is good news for Big Content too. The judgment upholds a finding that “proactive monitoring” of Internet users can be required. This would force Internet web sites to filter content something that the movie studios have wanted and has been ruled illegal by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Delfi would probably have won had it taken its case to the CJEU, given the e-commerce directive’s clear guidelines, but this course of action was apparently not permitted by the Estonian courts. It therefore went to the Court on Human Rights, hoping for a ruling that the Estonian law was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

White House struggles with web security

US house of repsThe United States government chief information office has published a set of technical guidelines that say the administration’s many different websites should use the encrypted HTTPS only.

In a better late than never move, the US government CIO Tony Scott – requires that “all publicly accessible federal websites and web services only provide service through a secure connection”.

“All browsing activity should be considered private and sensitive,” Scott wrote.

The standard hypertext transport protocol transmits data in clear text only. This makes users browsing on government websites vulnerable to interception and alteration of data, as well as privacy violations.

But it appears that some of the White House’s other chickens have come home to roost.

Correctly configuring HTTPS with digital certificates is notoriously difficult to do right and the White House is stuck because it has not really implemented SSL/TLS properly.
iTnews  found the sites link to digital certificates with weak security configuration using Secure Hash Algorithm-1 signatures.

SHA-1 was designed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and been considered outdated and easy to crack for ages. This was because in 2012, LinkedIn suffered a large-scale data breach that saw attackers dump almost 6.5 million usernames and passwords, the latter encrypted with SHA-1 which made it a doddle to decrypt.

The whole move is also ironic because IT industry giants are fuming at the Obama’s proposed backdoors in encryption which would mean that his own site should have back doors.

Cameron’s censorship mentor faces paedophile charges

The bloke who encouraged Prime Minister David Cameron to censor the internet to protect kids from evil paedophiles has been arrested on child pornography charges.

Patrick Rock has been closely involved in drawing up Government policy on internet porn filters. It seems that while he was filling David’s head with the terrors of paedophiles he was at the centre of a police probe over images of child abuse.

Detectives from the National Crime Agency even searched No 10 and examined IT systems and offices used by Rock who was the deputy director of the Downing Street policy unit.

According to the Daily Mail,  Rock was a protégé of Margaret Thatcher and has held a series of senior posts in the Conservative Party and was described as Cameron’s ‘policy fixer’. He was about to be rewarded with a Conservative peerage.

It is not the first time that Rock has been in trouble. He was also been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint from a civil servant working in Downing Street. That particular complaint was buried by Cameron’s advisors which miffed the rest of the staff at Number 10.

Cameron’s time with Rock goes back to the Home Office, where they both worked under Michael Howard in the 1990s. When Cameron brought him back into Downing Street in 2011, that move welcomed by critics as heralding the return of a ‘grown up’ to the centre of government.

Although Rock is innocent until proved guilty, his arrest has made Cameron’s crusade against internet porn look more than a little stupid. There is a psychological theory which states that those who complain most about some something usually have something dark to hide about it. The thought that an anti-child porn law might have been drawn up by the very person it was designed to catch leads many to wonder if it was really designed to create a semblance of a law while never actually arresting real paedophiles. Rock was arrested under the old laws, which seemed to be working rather well. 

David Cameron has been watching too many cop shows

Prime Minister David Cameron is attempting to get his snooper’s charter back online again after being killed off by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for being too expensive.

Cameron now  wants to further legalise the government’s ability to spy on pretty much all communications because of what he sees in the fictional cop shows on television.

According to the BBC, Cameron told a parliamentary committee that gathering communications data was “politically contentious” but vital to keep citizens safe.

He said that in the most serious crimes shows, such as child abduction cases, communications data is vital.

“I love watching, as I probably should stop telling people, crime dramas on the television. There’s hardly a crime drama where a crime is solved without using the data of a mobile communications device,” he said.

Cameron said that the government had to explain to people that… “if we don’t modernise the practice and the law, over time we will have the communications data to solve these horrible crimes on a shrinking proportion of the total use of devices and that is a real problem for keeping people safe”.

In other words, because fictional characters on crime drama TV shows make use of data, that is somehow proof that it is necessary. What is interesting is that Cameron is clearly selective in his viewing. If he watched Enemy of the State it would show how government can abuse such information, or maybe that is the idea.

That is right. Because Cameron has seen shows on TV where criminal cases are solved because of technology, he thinks that it is vital that the country should give up its right to privacy. It is just as well he does not watch much science fiction or he would be spending many tax dollars looking for alien technology and monitoring police phone boxes. Sheesh even Thatcher did not get that mad and she was completely barking.

Next he will be calling for a public inquiry into why so many serial killers have hit the town of Bradfield in West Yorkshire over the last decade.

Cameron’s porn filter is a massive fail

David Cameron’s attempt to keep children safe from the evil internet when they have been abandoned in a pub appears to be failing on many different levels.

The filter designed to catch porn and adult content inadvertently blocked a game update which contained the letters ‘s-e-x’

The League of Legends strategy game mistakenly caught by UK porn filter because an update of an online video game due which unintentionally included the letters “s-e-x” in its web address.

As a result the block resulted in the update failing with “file not found” errors, which are usually created by missing files or broken updates on the part of the developers.

The problem was first noted on social news site Reddit by LolBoopje showing that files named VarusExpirationTimer.luaobj and XerathMageChainsExtended.luaobj were enough to trigger a block at the internet service provider level.

But the filter, which already causes more trouble than it is worth, is also being rendered useless because people are opting out of it.

The Guardian said that that the filters are only used by a minority of people: those that have ordered a new service since the law came into effect, and who said “yes” to filtering when they signed up. Most are not doing so.

All it seems Cameron’s filter did was show that Brits hate being told what they can’t read online and will ignore it when they can. 

Cameron’s internet filter a disaster

UK Prime Minister David Cameron must be pleased that his anti-porn filter programme was launched while most of the world was on holiday.

This is because it is turning out that his attempts to impose an anti-porn filter has proven to be an unmitigated disaster.

Leaving aside the fact that it is easy for a child to get around, it blocks access to leading charity sites including ChildLine, the NSPCC and the Samaritans.

Ironically this means that in the name of protecting children, Cameron has managed to cut them off from their life-lines and will allow them to be sexual abused or commit suicide because they can’t get the help they need.

It puts the fact that they might see a woman’s boobs in perspective.

They have also been banned from seeing women’s charities, the British Library and the National Library of Scotland. The last could be the first stop for kids wanting to do their homework.

The filter blocks access to the Parliament and Government websites and the sites of politicians. If any politically aware kids wanted to complain about it to their MP,  they can’t. Fortunately, it also blocks access to Claire Perry, the MP who has campaigned prominently for the introduction of filters, so there is a God after all.

Harry Clapham, whose website offers guitar lessons, complained on Twitter that he was being censored by the filter. “So a parent who opts in is safe from guitar lessons giving their kids bad dreams,” he tweeted. Another Twitter user complained “it appears ‘parental control’ is O2’s term for ‘switch the whole internet off’.”

O2 told The Independent on Monday that it was changing its parental control filters to allow access to some of the charities that had been blocked. 

Cameron’s porn filter blocks tech sites

It is just as we predicted, David Cameron’s wonderful “save the children” porn filter is just another attempt by the Tories to prevent people finding out information.

The first person to notice that Cameron had stopped people reading his site was tech writer Peter Hansteen from Norway. For no other reason that Hansteen could think of, Cameron had declared bsdly.net out of bounds.

The only reason he could find was that once he wrote a story which refered to a picture of “a blonde chick with a cute pussy”. It turned out that the picture in question in fact was of baby poultry and cats.

The site is mainly tech content, with some resources such as the hourly updated list of greytrapped spam senders.

The national Norwegian Unix Users’ group web site www.nuug.no was blocked, and we assume that Cameron does not want people finding out about that nasty communist Open Sauce.

Www.usenix.org, the main site for USENIX, the US-based but actually quite international Unix user group has also turned out to be apparently blocked in the parental control regime.

Basically Cameron finds Unix and Linux immoral and something children should not be allowed to see.

Of course Cameron has blocked the Electronic Frontier Foundation – after all the last thing you want is your kids to find out that he is taking their liberties away like an evil Santa.

Also gone is amnesty.org.uk. Yep, Cameron was dumb enough to censor Amnesty International, because it disagreed with Teresa May’s decisions on extradition.

Apparently slashdot.org is blocked by the Parental Control regime, along with linuxtoday.com and blogspot.com. Arstechnica is also gone, and the www.openbsd.org and its rival the www.freebsd.org, which is the home site of FreeBSD. Gone is www.geekculture.com. www.linux.com.

We would have thought that these bodies and groups would have a case for suing the government. After all it is interfering with free trade for absolutely no reason. As it is kids of today are ignorant and self-absorbed and now it seems that Cameron wants to keep them that way.