Mean­while... On The In­ter­net...

Micro Mart - - News and Views -

If we're be­ing hon­est, we were ex­pect­ing to re­visit the sub­ject of the Mi­rai bot­net on this page... and here we are, cov­er­ing the news that cus­tomers of Hull's KCOM ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43a), UK ISPs Talk Talk and The Post Of­fice, Ger­many's Deutsche Tele­com ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43b) and Ire­land's Eir all fell foul of the the loT pow­ered blighter last week ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43c) in at­tacks that ap­pear to tar­get spe­cific mod­els of router that they use, mainly mod­els by ZyXEL and D-Link, it would ap­pear.

These more re­cent prob­lems, how­ever, ap­pear to re­volve around the worm, or a de­riv­a­tive of it spawned from the code that leaked re­cently ( tinyurl.com/ MMnet43d), try­ing to re­cruit said router hard­ware to join the thou­sands of in­ter­net-con­nected de­vices it can utilise in its DDoS at­tacks ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43e). This was seem­ingly con­firmed in a Mother­board fea­ture, which fea­tures text from an on­line 'chat' with one of the peo­ple claim­ing to be re­spon­si­ble for the prob­lems ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43f). In­deed, the very civil­sound­ing hacker (who op­er­ates un­der the name of 'BestBuy') 'apol­o­gised' (or rather apolo-gloated – you can have that) for hav­ing knocked thou­sands of Post Of­fice cus­tomers off­line, be­fore go­ing on to claim that they weren't tar­geted "in­ten­tion­ally", and that the ISP should give its cus­tomers bet­ter kit, as "too many re­quests freeze the sh***y routers" (the stars are ours).

How­ever, like most id­iots that try to sound civil while roy­ally screw­ing peo­ple over, the per­son be­hind the re­named 'An­nie' bot­net (which, they claim, now has 4.8m de­vices within it, a fig­ure that can't be con­firmed as yet), is ac­tu­ally just en­gag­ing in text­book vic­tim blam­ing ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43g). So thanks for that, BestBuy.

Afew is­sues back we turned our at­ten­tion to the ad­vice given by the US town Ban­gor, Maine ( tinyurl.com/MMnet41h) on how it's res­i­dents should re­act to be­ing ap­proached on­line by strange mem­bers of the op­po­site sex, and how they should avoid be­ing scammed into 'per­form­ing' for said peo­ple in a way that could leave them open to black­mail.

At the time, we re­ported on the mat­ter in much the same dry and hu­mor­ous (we hoped) way that the cops' ad­vice was given, while still hop­ing to make a point. How­ever, re­cent news re­gard­ing the in­crease in the num­ber of sui­cides ap­par­ently re­lated to such 'Sex­tor­tion' cases has made us re­gret that tone more than a lit­tle ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43i).

As such, we would not only like to high­light that cases such as this have more than dou­bled, and been linked to four sui­cides in the UK, over the last year. We'd also make you all aware of the new ad­vice the Na­tional Crime Agency has on the mat­ter (para­phrased as 'Don't Panic, Don't Com­mu­ni­cate, Don't Pay, Pre­serve Ev­i­dence': tinyurl.com/MMnet43j), and that – like our good friends at Den Of Geek pointed out last week ( tinyurl.com/ MMnet43k) – there are won­der­ful, non­judge­men­tal, peo­ple like the Po­lice, the Re­venge Porn helpline (www. re­venge porn help line. org.uk ), Papyrus ( www.papyrus-uk.org), and of course the Sa­mar­i­tans ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43l) who are wait­ing to lis­ten to you and help you deal with what may seem like a un­re­solv­able sit­u­a­tion.

Please, if you find your­self in a sit­u­a­tion like this, or feel blighted by any is­sue that is push­ing you to­wards con­sid­er­ing sui­cide: talk to some­one, and don't rush into any­thing. You re­ally do mat­ter. Be ex­cel­lent to your­self.

If you pay any kind of at­ten­tion to the world of tech news, you'll prob­a­bly be aware of the on­go­ing code war be­tween ad block­ing soft­ware ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43m) and web-me­dia com­pa­nies that are re­liant on ad­ver­tis­ing for their in­come, Face­book among them ( tinyurl.com/ MMnet43n). You'll also prob­a­bly have worked out that its one of those tit-for-tat ( tinyurl.com/ MMnet43o) bat­tles that no­body's ever re­ally go­ing to 'win' ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43p) un­til a de­tente is reached.

While it's been a sub­ject of dis­cus­sion here and in Amer­ica, in Ger­many – to para­phrase The Who once more – it's been a 'le­gal mat­ter, baby' ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43q). Specif­i­cally, Eyoe, the com­pany be­hind the most pop­u­lar ex­am­ple of such soft­ware, AdBlock Plus ( ad­block­plus.org), in court de­fend­ing its prod­uct against at­tacks from some of its home-coun­try's big­gest me­dia brands. So far, how­ever, in the six cases it has faced, Eyeo has a 100% vic­tory record ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43r), save for a par­tial win by pub­lisher Axel Springer ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43s), which may force it to cease the oper­a­tion of its con­tro­ver­sial 'White List­ing' scheme ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43t), which de­mands large me­dia com­pa­nies with more than 10m ad views per-month pay to the have their ads al­lowed through by the soft­ware – though, even then, only if they con­form to AdBlock's strict 'Ac­cept­able Ads' stan­dards ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43u) and the users has se­lected that they are happy to see such ads.

While some see the scheme as a "pro­tec­tion racket" ( tinyurl. com/MMnet43v), Eyeo de­fends the scheme by say­ing that the money al­lows it to fight le­gal bat­tles, like the one it's just won over Der Spiegel ( tinyurl.com/MMnet43w), that ben­e­fit all ex­am­ples of such soft­ware, not just its own. Judg­ing by the fact that sev­eral of the cases it has 'won' are, of course, go­ing to ap­peal in higher courts, it's go­ing to need that rev­enue go­ing for­ward, one would sus­pect. As to whether there's a so­lu­tion to the Ad Blocker is­sue in the long run, your guess is as good as ours to be fair.

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