Cyber war — world war III

Recently, as I discover TED talks is quite impressive, so I decided to find out some meaningful topic to argue. Interestingly enough, I randomly click on this talk:

This link consist of the summary of the crisis between China and the U.S.regarding cyberattacks against the American company Google, mentioned in the talk:
http://techcrunch.com/2010/01/12/google-china-attacks/

The speaker also mention about the incident happen In 1982, in the middle of the Cold War in Soviet Siberia, a pipeline exploded with a burst of 3 kilotons, the equivalent of a fourth of the Hiroshima bomb, was actually the result of a CIA sabotage operation,in which they had managed to infiltrate the IT management systems of that pipeline. This link contain the revealed by Thomas Reed, Ronald Reagan’s former U.S. Air Force Secretary :
http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/it-strategy/2004/03/01/us-software-blew-up-russian-gas-pipeline-39147917/

Times magazine mention about cyber war

Time magazine mention about cyber war

These example are just some significant example that the speaker find out. There are numerous cyberwar going around now. Surely you did not feel there are any war going on, but perhaps, your country, your company, or you yourself are under attack now, thats why cyberattack are so horrible. It is not again a virtual world that are unrelated with our physical world again, what one did at cyberspace can really cause a great disaster to our real world, just like the example above. You could not predict who and what will be after you until the time come as all of it are virtual, in total darkness. Even something really happen, you may not be able to find out the offender. If you feel like I am threatening you,  go google out cyber attack or cyber war online, you can get quite a lot of news, recently the news is about the Israel government website being hack. But possibly when you check it out, this news is outdated. My country also being hacked before. It is really nothing new. Why these being attacked country did not take out any action on these hacker? isn’t they threatening? is it because identity unknown, can’t trace? or any other reasons? who knows?

Possibly, Albert Einstein might have realise the harm human can do will not be limited with those bomb, aircraft and nuclear weapons, there will be these emerging cyber weapons in the World War III, that’s why he quote: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” In fact, cyber weapons have the ability to connect and link up everyplace and everyone compare to other weapons and because of this, its impact is so huge.

Albert Einstein Quote

Albert Einstein Quote

Richard A. Clarke, former presidential adviser on cybersecurity, says that: “Devastating cyber attacks could destroy power grids, banking networks or transportation systems. The U.S. military is entirely dependent on computer systems and could end up in a future conflict in which troops trot out onto a battlefield ‘and nothing works.’ ” Please follow this link for full article.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45199096/ns/technology_and_science-security/#.TrlI1vTDVGV

If you don’t understand why is it so, and still think that nowadays army are training under the hot sun, armed with weapons, you are wrong. Look at this picture

USA army using computer in an operation

USA army using computer in an operation

and study this words:
They use satellite images and computer generated images to keep track of targets and vehicles. Rockets have been retrofitted with computers and a computer chip so that no target could elude them. Even tanks and armored vehicles have a computer on board that provides them with the precise location where they are and the location of the designated target. Computers have proven useful while in the service of the military forces and they have been implemented in every aspect of the military life. For instance, computers based scenarios, are made when planning an assault on a specific target and according the result, commanders decide if the operation can be deployed or not.

Even soldiers are trained in simulators that are governed by computers. They care tested to see if they can handle extreme conditions, such as stress. There is no limit to the ways a computer can be used and the army will ever stop using it. After all, most of the technological developments have been because of computers.

To add on, you must visit this website and try it out. Then you will be shock at how USA government recruit young Americans using such attractive way.

America's Army 3 wallpaper

America's Army 3 wallpaper

AA3 screen shot, looks real right?

AA3 screen shot, looks real right?

http://www.americasarmy.com/

Feel eager to become one of them? They even have The Army Experience Center, in USA before, all of these is free.

This strategy is really effective, however, protest for this seems endless. Below is only one of the blog that describe the protest that make AEC shut down.
Children are not born violent, they are made violent. They are training an army of kids that conditioned to associate violence with fun, as part of “normal life”. Could the video game addict become conditioned to shoot or hit whenever provoked? Could these video games trigger what we call “instant replay,” so that the player is conditioned to pull a trigger when faced with a real-life problem? Of course, isn’t it what they wanted them to be? But is it ethic?

350 years ago, people are still concern about the military innovation of the day
60 years ago, new aircraft and tank technologies emerge,
30 or 40 years ago, nuclear weapons arise.

And now, we have cyber weapons. What is cyber weapons? Hard to tell, can be nothing, or can be everything, appear in different type like a pendrive, a server, a robot, a computer… Did they seem harmless to you. They cost life, maybe indirectly. Some country claimed that they are building cyberwar unit for defensive purpose, but who know? Cyberwar unit can be both defensive and offensive. There are many type of military robot being invented too. Military robots are autonomous robots or remote-controlled devices designed for military applications. The use of robots for military combat, especially when such robots are given some degree of autonomous functions is a great concerned. Maybe what happened in the movie like I, Robot, The Terminator, Star War might turn out to be true. Army is trained in cyberspace too.

Military robots

Military robots

Many organisation, like the FBI is also working out on cyber attack. People become more and more concern about it. Cyber weapons do not replace conventional or nuclear weapons — they just add a new layer to the existing system of terror and might cause more conflict between different party.

I know who you are.

Recently, I heard one news that struck me. You can read the full news article from this link:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2097183-1,00.html
or watch this news report:

It is about a devil women, Linda Ann Weston, and her accomplices, kept four mentally incapacitated adults captive in a basement in northeast Philadelphia. Police believe she was gaining control of her captives Social Secuirty disability checks. At the time of her arrest, she was found with at least 50 identification cards and documents.

From the USA social security website, http://ssa.gov/pubs/10153.html, I found out this:

If you are unable to manage your benefits
Sometimes people are unable to manage their money. When this happens, Social Security should be notified. We can arrange to send benefits to a relative or other person who agrees to use the money to take care of the person for whom the benefits are paid.
Frequency of reviews
Improvement not expected—if your medical ­condition is unlikely to improve, your case will be reviewed only about once every five to seven years.

We are committed to protecting the privacy of your records. When we are required by law to give information to other government agencies that administer health or welfare programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps, those agencies are not allowed to share that information with anyone else.

What this news strike me is, how important your identity can be and how easily one can used it. This smart devil woman used her captive disability identity to gain benefits without being suspect and check for at least 10 years. Although those victims’ family have already made a report with police, the police could not track those victims’ record as it is protected. Then I try to find out information about how to steal one’s identity through cyberspace.

Identity theft

Identity theft

To my surprise, I find out information about how to steal one’s identity easily, without having the knowledge of how to hack one people computer system etc. There are youtube tutorial that teach you step by step on how to steal one’s identity, user-friendly crimeware that can direct people to a fradulent Web site even if they type the address of the real one in their browser, some other high technology technic like pishing and theft that rummage through people’s trash to get their personal or business information. Besides that, there is a professor that try to steal one person identity only knowing her name, what state she was from, where she worked, and about how old she was. Then he found out her blog and an old resume of her. By using password recovery feature of the banking and email system, he successfully reset all of her password by answering those “challenging” question(which can be found in the blog) and gain access to her money. You can follow this link to know how the professor did his great job: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=anatomy-of-a-social-hack

Is it really safe?

Is it really safe?

To proof that what he written on his blog is true, I try to search my name using Google search engine, to my surprise again, there are 410 results for my name, my facebook account appear to be the first in the list, follow with my windows live account, linked account, my friend and family facebook account. To my horror, the trip that I participate before, the mathematics competition prize that I won, my mentor, my exam place all can be find out just by searching my name. I wonder when is my information started to leak out. When I am studying in high school, I dreamed of being a famous person, I have tried many times to search my name like how I search my super starts information. Every time, I was disappointed as I could not find anything with my name mentioned, that means I am not famous at all. However, when I am a little bit famous now, I really feel insecure, I not sure when there will be an anonymous person that steal my identity to do anything he want. It is incredibly easy. You really can find out what I like, my date of birth, my work place and study place.

Google search engine

Google search engine

While I trying out the password recovery system, it seems really helpful if I really forget my password, however, even my friends also have the ability to answer the security question to change and retrieve my password. I try to make request to send my password to another email account which is not in the alternate email address list by answering some basic information without answering the security question. It turn out that the system really send a link to that email account to let me set up my new password. Truthfully, I am a little disappointed with the system. I will not reveal the trick here, but with the lesson I learn, I have already “power-up” my security defense.

gmail

gmail

yahoomail

yahoomail

hotmail

hotmail

What can I do to prevent my information from leaking? I can change my privacy setting, but I could not stop others from sharing my information, I could not stop the organizers to publish the winner list, I could not stop my friend from tagging me in her photo and I could not stop my professor from announcing the examination sit. Moreover, I could not prevent my devices from being stolen. There is so much data stored on smartphones to make our lives easier, with the end result being a device that is much more valuable to a thief than even your wallet.

Personal devices leak your identity

Personal devices leak your identity

Look at what I find out when I changing my privacy setting on facebook:

If you don’t want apps and websites to access other categories of information (like your friend list, gender or info you’ve made public), you can turn off all Platform apps. But remember, you will not be able to use any games or apps yourself.

On Facebook, your name, profile picture, gender, networks, username and user id (account number) are always publicly available, including to apps. Also, by default, apps have access to your friends list and any information you choose to make public.

You can manage the privacy of your status updates, photos and information using the inline audience selector — when you share or afterwards. Remember: the people you share with can always share your information with others, including apps.

It turns out that I did not change any default setting, as some is restricted as a must to share information and some is threatening you that you might not be able to use some apps. In addition to that, it is really so inconvenience to read those detail carefully and change the setting accordingly, especially for those that are not really understand what is going on. Feel that it is time to protect yourself? You should always study those website or application policy. If you are a facebook user, I bet you are, follow the link below to find out what information that you agree to let them use.
http://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/

facebook

facebook

I strongly suggest you guys try and find out your own information like you are a stranger, then you will experienced what identity leak really is and you will know what you should do next naturally. If you are really concern about how to protect your identity and what common fraud there are that you are still not yet discovered, take a look on this website:
http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud

Identity theft needs their victim in various aspect, especially for criminal and financial purpose. There are also hackers that try to hacked in to steal your WiFi. Innocent children, and particularly foster children in USA, make great targets for identity thieves as they are too young to take out a loan or credit card, they have Social Security numbers that are a clean slate, ripe for exploitation. Children aren’t likely to realize their identity has been stolen until they grow up and apply for credit.

“Cyber Crime Made Easy”, losing your identity will really make you in great trouble to make everything get on track again. We could not stop this social problem from happening, but we can prevent ourselves from being a victim by paying more attention to whats happening on yourself and do not hesitate to check your own credit. Always update yourself with current technology and share your precious experience with people that you care.

A great lost? or a good lost?

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

This blog post should be posted earlier, as it is related to Steve Jobs:

Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)
–an American business magnate and inventor
–co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc
–co-founder and previously served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios
–a member of the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company in 2006, following the acquisition of Pixar by Disney.

There are many facebook post that caught my attraction like he is a vegan (Vegans, like vegetarians, do not eat meat. However, vegans are more strict and will not even eat animal by-products such as dairy foods. Jobs first became a vegan after an enlightening trip to India in 1974) and a Buddhist: He delay surgery for almost a whole year after learning that he was suffering a relatively treatable and rare form of pancreatic cancer. At the time, he felt that he could rid his body of the disease with natural treatments, including vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches. He even consulted a psychic but eventually agreed to having surgery in 2004.

I did not own any Mac product, but I was influence by him, because of his meaningful Stanford Commencement Address:

Steve Jobs Stanford commencement address

Original website:
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

The first story about connecting the dots teach me to be confident to pursue whatever I like and possibly one day in the future, it will change my life greatly. The second story is about love and loss teach me to keep looking my “great work” until I find it, and don’t ever settle. The third story is about death that teach me not to waste time living someone else’s life, instead, live each day as if it was my last. Lastly, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

Why is he famous for? He change the IT world greatly with iPhone, Mac, iOS and many more. His idea of designing Mac is to introduce a computer that was easy to use and affordable by user.

Steve Jobs apple logo

Steve Jobs apple logo

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

You can find more of his quotes here:
http://www.macstories.net/roundups/inspirational-steve-jobs-quotes/

However,
Richard Matthew Stallman (born March 16, 1953)
–an American software freedom activist and computer programmer
–launched the GNU Project to create a free Unix-like operating system
–founded the Free Software Foundation in October 1985

written this in his blog after Steve Jobs past away:

Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.
As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.” Nobody deserves to have to die — not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs’ malign influence on people’s computing.
Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.

It seems that he is worrying that Steve Jobs invention might have the world change to a more worst condition. In fact, from the statistic below, we can see that the number of Mac user is not really so wide, can his invention really influence the majority population in the world?

2011 Win7 Vista Win2003 WinXP Linux Mac Mobile
September 42.2% 5.6% 0.8% 36.2% 5.1% 8.6% 0.9%
2010 Win7 Vista Win2003 WinXP W2000 Linux Mac
December 29.1% 8.9% 1.1% 47.2% 0.2% 5.0% 7.3%
2009 Win7 Vista Win2003 WinXP W2000 Linux Mac
December 9.0% 16.0% 1.4% 61.6% 0.6% 4.5% 6.5%
2008 Vista W2003 WinXP W2000 Win98 Linux Mac
December 15.6% 1.7% 71.4% 1.7% 0.1% 3.8% 5.3%
2007 Vista W2003 WinXP W2000 Win98 Linux Mac
November 6.3% 2.0% 73.8% 5.1% 1.0% 3.3% 3.9%

Out of 100% only there are 7 % users of Mac. 85 % of the market is captured by windows XP.
You can find more detail statistic from below website:
http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp

From the table above, although the number of Mac user is just a small portion, but it keep on increasing. Unlike Microsoft, have to create new windows every two to three years. Beside, the creation of iPhone inspire the creation of android. Smart phone and apps become trend. Nokia and Microsoft will not corporate. Samsung and Sony Ericson will still competing in pixel. iPhone is undoubtedly quite a great invention, but we are facing problem with new generation that get distracted easily, inefficient outcome while multi-tasking, low memory, too dependant with technology, cybercrime, and lazy. The more convenient and user friendly such product provide us, the more we are in trouble. There are already students that couldn’t write properly because typing in computer without the need to write; there are students that could not read book or did not read book for years because of studying with ebook, ppt and pdf file. How will the new invention, Siri in iPhone 4S benefit us? It even do not require your hand to accomplish the task. When you are lonely, there is always one that can talk to you and even help you clear your misery more efficiency then your friend. So will the connection between human get separated even more further? I think if such situation continue, technology will just help computer scientist and some other profession become more clever and great, but other human will really get into trouble, because in a very near future they will be totally useless when the day the machine can do whatever a human can do come. The youngster will only feel “cool” when more and more high tech, user-friendly and unimaginable stuff exist without realizing that their ability is being sacrifice.

refurbish-apple-product

Anyway, although I am still aware of those really nice but dangerous creation, but I am still tempted to own one. Singapore is launching iPhone4S at 28th of October. I have to admit that Steve Jobs is really a great man, as he can go through such a tough life and still succeed. There are many junction (when being adopted, losing job, drop of from college, get cancer,…) which nowadays people will choose to commit suicide, but he did not. His spirit is what we really have to appreciate for. The letter below touch my heart deeply:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

Original version:
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/08/24Letter-from-Steve-Jobs.html

If you are interested with more about Steve Jobs and his funeral, you may like to follow this link:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7079BEC68848470F

In memory of Steven Paul Jobs.

SNS: Breadth or Depth

Let me give a brief history about RenRenWang: Originally called “Xiaonei”, RenRen was, like Facebook, founded by a college student named Wang Xing at Tsinghua University, a prestigious university in Beijing. Like Facebook, it was originally designed as a platform for graduates to keep in touch, open only to college students. Later on, it opened itself to the broader population, thus the change of name from “Xiaonei” (校内) meaning “within the school” to “Renren” (人人) meaning “everyone”.

Nowadays, almost everybody in the world is connected via Social Networking Sites (SNS). According to the definition in Wikipedia, a social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, who, for example, share interests or activities. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Friendster, LinkedIn and RenRenWang are examples of social networks which function similarly to each other, just widely used in different country and different time space.

I have went to a Winter Camp in China in which I made some friends from China. After going back to Malaysia, the only way to catch up with them is through RenRen and QQ. Therefore, I created an account in RenRenWang and QQ to connect to them. However, it only lasted for roughly one month as it was too complicated to run QQ and MSN when I turn on my computer and log into Facebook and RenRenWang when I open my browser. Last but not least, changing the input language between English and Chinese gets quite frustrating when you type in long string of characters and you find out that it wasn’t in the language you want.

Many people (including me) have wondered, why don’t everybody just use Facebook? According to Frigyes Karinthy’s six degree of separation idea, every two people on earth can be connected in an average of approximately six steps (or friends in this context). This is also the main idea behind developing a SNS. If everyone uses the same SNS, then we will be able to link to more people more easily. You would not need to sign in to RenRenWang for China friends, LinkedIn for Indian friends, Facebook for US friends, Cyworld for Korean friends, etc.. Just look at the picture below for an idea of the number of social networking sites which exist in the world!

How many SNS can you recognized?

How many SNS can you identified?

Can we really link everyone together? This idea may not really work, due to the many difficulties faced trying to link everyone together. For example, Facebook is banned in China due to political issues, Koreans have their own unique social networking website because of language problems, and above all, because of poverty, there are a large number of people in the world that do not have access to the Internet. So, the huge boundary is that there are too many platforms provided that may separate us apart in term of country, language, interest and occupation. Look at the picture below, there are just too many SNSs in China! RenRenWang is just one of the most popular. Can a stranger in this country really make friends if they participate in just one SNS? If not, then how can they participate in every SNS?

China SNS

In my opinion, the idea might be true in an ideal world that we can link to one another through SNS, like me and my friends in China. However, the problem is how can we maintain the connection remain linked? Nowadays, people seems to have too much “friend”, can you really recognise your friend? or do you really know his/her name? Just like knowledge have breadth and depth, friendship also the same, you want to use SNS to broaden your relationship or make your friendship last forever? You can’t choose both as God know man is greedy, so He only give us limited life time. It really depends on how you choose. Human nowadays seems to be so free until they can spend numerous time on following other people status. Can one get any benefit from looking out others status? People in the past used to see the big news happening all around the world, in contrast, the youngster used to follow blog, post and twitter that provide mini news. They can only gossip about the things happening around their small community, so is SNS link them wider or narrower? I think that the continuation development of SNS is not something nice, as it is really so attracting until it affect out community widely. The problem induced from SNS is what we should aware of and think deeply about its consequences.