Cyber Attacks on Estonia

About a week ago, there were reports on cyber attacks on Estonia, the fomer Soviet Republic, presumably by Russia which is angry over Estonia’s relocation of a Soviet war memorial.

The attacks target government websites. By overwhelming them, in an attack known as denial of service attack, the websites are caused to close down, disrupting the crucial services provided. Given that the majority of the people nowadays rely on infocomm technologies to access information, do business and practically run their daily lives, these attacks have great destructive powers.

The attacks also take the form of website defacement and hacking, and data modification, which can lead to confusion. Such attacks are not new. They have happened in the US, in the Indian/Pakistani conflict, etc.

What’s scary is that there are no clear rules of engagement in cyberwars, unlike conventional warfare. NATO has declared the situation in Estonia a security threat.

I’m sure governments around the world are watching how the situation is played out and are probably scrambling to beef up their cyber defences as well.


Blogscapes was featured in ST’s Digital Life!

What a pleasant surprise!

An excerpt from my blog posting last week on the issue of sexual predators using the Internet to trick gullible young students into meeting with them was featured in the weekly column on the blogosphere in Digital Life, the IT supplement by the national paper, The Straits Times!

I’m glad that the posting has made more people aware of the dangers of the Internet. I know some teachers have accessed the blog post as well, and it’ll be great if students were reading and learning from it as well.

Virginia Tech Massacre Game

In what can be seen as a new low in exploiting new media, an unemployed Sydney animator is asking for US$2000 to remove a game he created and uploaded on the Internet on the Virginia Tech massacre. The news appeared in the New Paper two days ago (Virginia Tech massacre game). Mr Ryan Lambourn created the game in which  the player has to control a character holding a handgun while going on a rampgae on campus. Lambourn said he created the game for kicks and laughs, but the content of the game is no laughing matter.

Much has been said about the connection between games and violence, but to depict an event that has caused so much hurt is really disrespecting the victims and their families. Needless to say, Lambourn has received much flak from others. Lambourn should have the good sense and some decency to take the game off the Net.  

Online text chat leads to real problems

Last week, the Straits Times reported on a sting operation it conducted in Singapore. It had a reporter psoe as a 13 year old girl in chat rooms. Almost immediately, she was hit upon by men who invited her to meet up for sex. Such blatant requests were made even when the men knew she was underaged.

In the end, the reporter agreed to meet up with three of the men, one of whom said he was a basketball coach with a girls’ school! While the picture in the report had the face of the coach made fuzzy, the teachers in the school he coached at kind of recognised him and the principal asked if he was the one in the report. When he ‘confessed’, the school decided to terminate his contract. i thought that was a good move by the school. Imagine, this predator working so closely with young girls!

What this shows is that what happens in the online virtual world can really have true consequences and the reality would catch up easily!

What this amazes me is the sheer number of sexual predators out there who are trawling the cybergrounds for sex! While some of the girls who respond do know what they are doing, quite often, there are gullible ones out there who respond out of curiosity and who actually believe that the men are inviting them home to watch a movie and play games.

Perhaps the anonymity of the Internet has dulled some of the flight/fight instincts, so much so that many young people out there willingly share their personal contacts online for all and sundry to see, and even include very private details of themselves and their families.

While the Internet is a relatively new form of expression and communication,  good old fashioned common sense should still prevail, and parents and young people need to be aware of that. 

UN blogger

Mr Matthew Lee is the only blogger at the UN with media credentials. What this means is that he has some entitlements that usually only invited press have such as free office space and access to UN briefings and press conferences. He is even allowed to ask questions. The information he gathers makes it to his website in daily postings. He covers all stories and aspects in the UN, big and small. This is one way of bringing info about and from the UN to the common masses, many of whom now get their dose of info online.

What interests me is that UN has actually granted Matthew Lee, an independent blogger so journalistic credentials which goes to show the growing awareness of the important role bloggers and the blogospehere have in society today, especially in the area of media influence.

Which reminded me of O’Reilly’s proposed code of conduct for all bloggers in a bid to give some organisation and structure to the blogosphere. I was just checking in on O’Reilly’s Radar for any updates and here’s what the man says in Code of Conduct: Some lessons learnt so far:

Rather than responding in detail to the many comments on my Draft of a Bloggers’ Code of Conduct or the earlier Call for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct, as well as some of the thoughtful discussion on other blogs, I thought I’d summarize some of my chief takeaways from the discussion so far.

These include:

Well, what do you say to that?