Category Archives: News

What’s Happening?

Will the Internet Become a Toll Road?

One of the key principles determining how the Internet operates is in danger. And it may disappear altogether if big corporations and the Federal Communications Commission have their way. The result could turn the information superhighway into a toll road, where high-paying customers have exclusive use of the fast lane, and the devil take the poor and the hindmost. The principle of Net neutrality is that all network traffic should be treated the same. All content, including spam, webpages, streaming videos, email, and illegal downloads are  given the fastest routes available. There must be no discrimination due to source, content, or destination. It is the one of the basic foundational ideals of the Internet, and big corporations are seeking to destroy it. It used to be that the FCC was one of Net neutrality’s most zealous defenders. But an appeals court threw out its old rules because they treated the Internet service providers as public utilities. This, the court  said, conflicted with an FCC ruling that the Internet should not be governed by the same rules that apply to power or phones. It would seem that the FCC could write new rules to preserve Net neutrality. But something happened in the meantime – Comcast and Netflix made a deal. For months, the giant service provider had throttled Netflix downloads by as much as 30%. But a secret deal to allow Netflix’ streaming videos to pass was made. The upshot is … Continue reading

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Heartburn over Heartbleed

The online world is buzzing with concern over the latest big security scare – the Heartbleed bug. The problem is in a piece of critical, and widely used, encryption software called OpenSSL. The bug allows an attacker to sift through the short-term memory of a server (the RAM, not its disk or database files). Software bugs and their attendant security problems are nothing new, but this one is creating a bigger stir than usual for a few reasons: OpenSSL is the software used for SSL security on the web. Estimates are that about 2/3s of all secure sites use OpenSSL. The bug has been around, undisclosed, for a long time. It was introduced in late 2011, so many systems have been vulnerable for over 2 years. Attackers who exploit the bug leave no trace. Web site owners can’t know for sure whether their site was compromised. The Good News Happily, the bug is not complex, and the maintainers of OpenSSL published a patched version quickly.  It’s straight-forward for system administrators to determine if they are vulnerable, and the patch was safe to apply quickly and didn’t cause other compatibility problems.  Now, 48 hours after the disclosure, much of the web has been patched. What Does it Mean to Me? Sadly, you cannot know if any of the sites you visit were compromised.  The error is only in server software, so you do not need to update software on your computer. … Continue reading

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Important Updates for Web-Publishers

If you own or run a website, there are a few new wrinkles you should know about. In the first place, the powers that be at ICANN who run the World Wide Web’s all-important Domain Name System have instituted a new hoop for domain owners to jump through. Since January 1 of this year, all new domains, any that get transferred or have any owner or contact information changed, must have the domain owner’s email address verified – or else. The domain’s administrative contact will be sent an email from the registrar with an activation link to be clicked or ICANN will disable the domain. If the message is not replied to within 15 days, the site will not be usable at at all until fixed – not even including email. This whole procedure violates just about every safety tip SWCP has issued to users to help everyone stay safe online. So Southwest Cyberport will do all we can to track the process, make it easy, prevent shutdowns, and keep it secure. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience. It can be expected that bad guys will try to take full advantage of this situation. Remember that no legitimate message will ever ask for your username or password. If you have any doubts, please call or email Tech Support. But whatever you do, please don’t ignore it. Note that this validation message will be sent only to that email address … Continue reading

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