Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Hacking and Cyber attacking

Hacking and Cyber attacking

As you know by now, a few social networking sites (Twitter and Facebook) suffered temporary shut downs during the course of last week due to cyber attacks. Users worldwide experienced the attacks as they came in a number of waves.

I googled and found that Co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, had posted an update on Twitter’s blog. Apparently, Twitter has had a few cyber attacks and they are still ongoing by .

Yet Twitter is in denial… Though Stone refuses to speculate on the motivation behind them, he does note that they appear to be “geopolitical” in their nature.

Not only did Twitter’s main service go down, these attacks forced it to shut down many of its API services which crippled many of the services built on top of Twitter’s platform.

It is also said that similar attacks also targeted Facebook, LiveJournal, Blogger and YouTube…This is much like a terrorism attack but on cyber space. But this could have enormous implications for the future.

Cyber terrorism

What exactly led to Twitter’s shutdown on Thursday is still being debated in security circles and across the Web. However, security experts say that coordinated cyber attacks were aimed at silencing a Georgian blogger critical of Russian actions against his country.

Facebook’s chief security officer Max Kelly said the simultaneous attacks were aimed at a user known as “Cyxymu” who had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal and other affected sites.

They said the attackers first sent out a wave of spam which appeared to have come from “Cyxymu,” a technique intended to discredit a user by making him appear to be the source of large amounts of junk email.

Then, the hackers launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack designed to overwhelm a website’s servers with communications requests.

The last major cyber attack, driven by MyDoom, was Windows malware from 2004. … If you think that governments don’t use the Internet to knock out their enemies, clearly you haven’t been paying attention. Russians already successfully attacked Estonia’s Internet infrastructure in 2007.

Warning

The key point here is that obviously that the attacks intensified almost tenfold from what we were experiencing last week.

Social media sites, are susceptible to spear phishing, in which hackers send targeted messages masquerading as notices from legitimate organizations or people.

This makes cyber security is a major priority. Get tips on how to avoid being cyber attacked.

I think, if there aren’t any by now, there should be some anti-cyber attack law. This can reduce such dilemmas, before there’s a serious case on our heads like the previous Iran or China case.

If social networking sites are hacked who’ll be able to inform us if any news breaks? Most news organisations and users worldwide are depending on them.

This causes a great deal of questions and media houses and organisations ned to create strategies on how to combat such attacks and be completely ready for such events.

But I’m a bit thankful that Twitter and other social networking sites have experienced this and can now prepare for the future. Futureye signing out.

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little-pig1

I found it impossible to escape the news about Swine flu, now called H1N1 influenza A as I pondered what to blog, it’s on everyone’s minds, lips, tweets,  and status updates…

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) as of 06:00 GMT, 5 May 2009, 21 countries have officially reported 1124 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection. Mexico has reported 25 deaths and United States has reported one death. How does this link to the blog? Well, the H1N1 flu virus is too being rapidly spread through the social networking and media wires.

Yet this is not the first time the internet has been the one-stop shop for news scoops. Twitter has emerged as a source for major breaking news stories. Like the earthquake that devastated the Sichuan region of China, tweets from the disaster zone gave the rest of the world its first glimpse of the scope of the devastation. Again we saw how social network sites took the forefront when  there were media events that were driven by the web 2.0 e.g Mumbai terror attacks, plane crash in Hudson river etc.

Over the plethora of social networking websites, people from all sorts of backgrounds are blogging, twittering, facebooking and myspacing about the flu virus. Twitter has once again gained media attention as a source of fervent ‘swine’ flu discussion, it’s become the top trending topic on Twitter, with users rapidly tweeting about the latest (Twitter even topped out at a rate of more than 10,000 tweets per hour earlier during the course of last week).

Yes granted many ‘swine’ flu updates were making crude jokes, like SA’s own advertising upcoming guru Khaya Dlanga’s tweet updates, “Swine flu my ass, I’ll bring my mighty vengeance & furious anger upon these pigs. Had bacon for breakfast. For lunch, something with pig” or “If I hear one more thing about Swine flu I’ll go eat a pig”.

This proves that social networking sites can be as misleading, however a significant portion of the discussions about the flu seemed to centre around a legitimate desire to connect with others and talk about real issues. This created a some what tight knit community that wanted to speak about what is happening in the world.

New media vs old media

Google Trends reports that “Swine Flu Ohio” is the 27th most popular search keyword currently, with searches for “Swine Flu Symptoms” also making the top 100 keyword searches on Google.

google-trends

Google Maps have also been created to chart the spread of the Swine Flu. Below is a Google Map created by a bio medical engineer, this charts suspect and confirmed cases of the Swine Flu in the U.S. and Mexico.

h1n1-swine-flu-google-maps

Technorati has graphed the number of times the term was used in blog posts and it shows that the mention of Swine Flu rose sharply from Friday to nearly 2800 blog post demonstrates.

This for me, shows the power of the internet but most importantly the power of social networking and media sites. People from every corner of the globe are conversing about something that doesn’t affect them directly however it now part of their community discussions. These new media tools have gone beyond reporting on a particular story to what people want to say about particular issues. Now it is and it is creating some independence and democracy with audiences.

Granted only a few people have internet access to the but  the minority engage instanteously with the rest of the world. And in this case new media tools helped to support and deliver public health messages quickly and broadly and how to track such viruses.

Old media in trouble?

However, I think  the role of new media may overshadow traditional journalism and it can cause a form of tension in newsrooms because now journalists are trusting social network sites for scoops in the land of social media.

New media tools have become the new hybrid form of journalism, they are quick and everywhere on the web unlike traditional forms of journalism.

So is the traditional notion and value of hard core journalism being apprehended?

I think not, social netowrking and media sites can be complementary to old media. They just need to verify facts. Journalism and new media tools need each other to inform and educate the world. In the future when more outbreaks such as swine flu occur social media can help out traditional journalism. Futureye signing out.

Related link:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/2385466/Swine-flu-story-a-media-beat-up

Blog last updated and corrected on the  27th May 2009