Depending on who you ask, the percentage varies, but it’s always high. Way too high.
Allegedly, 90% of internet traffic is spam. Or maybe it’s 95%.
Personally, I don’t see as much spam as I used to. I use Gmail and its spam-filtering is pretty good. I haven’t heard from any Nigerians in a long time—which kind of disappoints me, because I always regarded the Nigerian swindle as an opportunity to have some fun.
I learned a long time ago that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So when someone sends me an email telling me that if I will send them my bank account number, they’ll send me ten percent of forty million dollars, my BS alarm goes off big time.
I used to reply to the Nigerians with: “All of us here at the International Outreach Effort of the Institute for Homosexual Research are thrilled at your generosity. Your continuing donations will allow us to do important work all over Africa, educating people everywhere on the importance of gay liberation…. Please tell us how to proceed, etc.”
Why this? Because homosexuality is criminalized in Nigeria. Extremely so. So if someone is monitoring emails in Nigeria, this might very well put a few swindlers out of business in a very nasty way. As far as I’m concerned, swindlers are fair game. And no, I’m not a nice man. Why do you even bother to ask?
Australians who plan to traverse the Web better make sure they have antivirus and firewall software installed on their PCs, because if they don't, they risk being cut off from the Internet. And if they do manage to get an infection, they can expect their ISPs to disconnect service until they can prove a clean bill of health.
These recommendations come as part of a new plan being kicked around Australia's House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications. In a report titled "Hackers, Fraudsters, and Botnets: Tackling the Problem of Cyber Crime," the committee spent 260 pages outlining 34 recommendations on how to deal with the growing threat of cyber crime, everything from the above scenario to holding companies financially responsible who release IT products with security vulnerabilities.
"In the past decade, cyber crime has grown from the nuisance of the cyber smart hacker into an organized transnational crime committed for vast profit and often with devastating consequences for its victims," said committee chair Belinda Neal.
Is Australia's House of Representatives on to something here, or are they off their rocker? Hit the jump and sound off.
Online video will soon consume the highest amount of internet bandwidth. According to results of the annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, global internet video traffic will surge past p2p traffic by the end of this year, emerging as the internet's biggest growth driver. Come 2014 and the internet will be ferrying 2 years of video every second. If combined one after the other, all the video to cross the internet that year would be around 72 million years in length.
The Onlive cloud-based game streaming service hasn't even launched in the US yet, but plans are already being laid for a European version of the service. British Telecom has committed to taking a 2.6 percent stake in the Onlive product. In return, British Telecom will receive exclusive rights to bundle the gaming service with its broadband internet packages. Onlive will also be available as a separate purchase to users of other telecoms.
Onlive probises to deliver high quality 3D gaming to various devices with weaker hardware. This could included inexpensive laptops, mobile phones, or even TVs. A Beta test has been underway in the US, and a final release is supposed to happen next month. It's unclear if Onlive will be striking any special deals with US ISPs.
Onlive has been trying to gain a foothold in Europe since 2009, and has even gone so far as to set up data centers to test the service. Tests have been run in several countries with the aim of having different data presences in each country because of regulatory concerns. Resolution may not be what PC gamers are used to, but it might find its audience. Would you subscribe to Onlive?
Say what you want about bandwidth caps, metered Internet service, and other ISP woes - when all is said and done, the broadband business is thriving, and it will continue to do so, suggests ABI Research practice director Jason Blackwell. According to Blackewell, global fixed broadband service revenue will top $210 billion in 2014.
Broadband revenue has been steadily climbing. After reaching $145 billion in 2008, fixed broadband service pulled in $164 billion in 2009, a pretty big jump considering we're dealing with billions of dollars.
What's interesting to note is that broadband revenue continued to show significant growth, even as the economy came to a screeching halt. Part of the reason is because of the popularity of services like IPTV and online gaming.
The biggest benefactor is still DSL, which claims the lion's share of the market. DSL broadband service revenue claimed nearly $100 billion in 2009 all on its own, though ABI expects that to only grow to $103 billion in 2014.
Fiber broadband revenue, on the other hand, is showing tremendous growth. ABI Research reckons fiber broadband will pull in $24.4 billion in revenue by the end of the year.
Google owns a lot of network infrastructure around the country, and now it looks like they plan to put some of it to work. On the Google blog today, the Mountain View company announced that they plan to offer “experimental” high-speed internet service in select markets. When you hear how fast, you’ll want to be in one of those markets. Google says the new service will offer speeds of around 1 gigabit per second. Just let that sink in. As for price, Google would say only that it would be “competitive”.
The search giant claims only benevolent motives in this course of action. “Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone,” Google said in the post. Google points specifically to what developers might do with nearly unlimited bandwidth as something they will watch. They also hope to gain experience in running large fiber networks. Google also promises to manage the network in open and non-discriminatory ways. Clearly, Google plans to use this opportunity to showcase how net neutrality should work.
Communities interested in being part of this grand experiment have until March 26th to submit a request for information. Google says they plan to offer the fiber service to at 50,000-500,000 individuals. Both local governments and individuals are able to nominate a community. So maybe go have a chat with your mayor after you submit your own request. How does Google provided broadband make you feel, excited or paranoid?
The FCC has formally issued their draft net neutrality rules, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is calling foul. The document contains language covering so-called “reasonable network management”. According to the EFF, this creates a loophole that would allow ISPs to block BitTorrent.
The net neutrality debate really took off when in 2007, Comcast began blocking BitTorrent connections. Eventually the FCC forced them to stop, but Comcast is still appealing the decision. This copyright loophole in the draft could be used by content producers to encourage ISPs to enforce copyright law. In fact, the EFF claims the exact behavior that got Comcast in hot water, and kicked off the debate could be perfectly acceptable under the proposed regulations.
It may not be feasible for the FCC to be intimately involved in every aspect of an ISP’s network management. What’s the solution? Can they just require protocol agnostic management?
Maybe Verizon spokesperson Bobbi Henson thought she was being reassuring, but her recent statement to CNET actually reads like more of a veiled threat. When asked about Verizon’s ongoing handling of illegal file sharing Henson said, “We've cut some people off. We do reserve the right to discontinue service. But we don't throttle bandwidth like Comcast was doing. Verizon does not have bandwidth caps.” Well, as long as they’re not throttling, right?
Verizon seems to have confirmed that multiple warnings for illegal file sharing could result in suspension of service. This policy is very similar to the one heavily favored by the recording industry. The RIAA originally announced their intention to work with ISPs in late 2008. The partnerships seemed not to have materialized, but this may be proof that Verizon has quietly fallen in line with the RIAA.
According to Verizon, the system works much as you’d expect. Content owners troll the p2p networks capturing IP addresses. They forward those along, and Verizon sends out infringement letters. No information was given to indicate how many infringement notices a customer will receive before being cut off. They did not give any information about what a customer can do if they feel they received a notice in error. Verizon claimed repeat offenses were rare, but are they just creating craftier, harder to catch file sharers?
Remember when Comcast was sanctioned by the FCC for throttling BitTorrent? Well, they’re still in court trying to get that overturned, but at the same time they’re making some noise about the whole issue of Net Neutrality. On the face of it, their position sounds downright reasonable. Comcast is pushing for “clear rules” for Net Neutrality from the FCC.
The internet giant is apparently worried that the all but inevitable regulations pushed by FCC Chair Genachowski could end up being overly broad and confusing. Comcast says that they were completely surprised that fiddling with users’ BitTorrent connections and lying about it would be frowned upon. They just want to avoid that sort of embarrassing incident in the future.
Comcast also spoke disapprovingly of the tone of debate saying, “It’s truly sad that the debate around “net neutrality,” or the need to regulate to “preserve an open Internet,” has been filled with so much rhetoric, vituperation, and confusion.” There seems to be a bit of a disconnect here, considering a lot of that rhetoric comes from the ISPs. It could be that Comcast is just trying to save face as it becomes clear Net Neutrality will move forward.
The Canadians, it seems, were miffed by The Yes Men’s parody (or hoax, according to the Canadian government), because it denigrated Canada’s “deplorable climate policy”. The website, contrary to current Canadian policy, was promising strict action on regulating carbon emissions. Mark Landreville, of Environment Canada, in an email to Serverloft, wrote: “We trust you appreciate the importance of avoiding confusion among the public concerning Canadian governmental affairs and that you will assist us in preventing this hoax from spreading further,” asked the offending sites be taken down, and that no others of the ilk be allowed. Serverloft, with nothing more official than the email, complied with the request, and in the process dumped, without notice, an additional 4500 websites unrelated to the parody.
The Yes Men were quick to respond, lamenting the action taken by the Canadian government, blasting its ready suppression of free speech, and wondering if the Canadian government “could instead figure out reasonable ways of responding to their growing legion of critics,” rather than shutting them down.