Archive for July, 2009

The Pirate Bay Ordered To Close In The Netherlands

Friday, July 31st, 2009
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tpbThe Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has won its court case against The Pirate Bay. The Amsterdam court today ruled that the site must cease all operations in The Netherlands within 10 days, or else pay penalties of 30,000 euros ($42,300) a person, per day.

In an Amsterdam court last week, BREIN’s lawyer argued that The Pirate Bay is responsible for millions of copyright infringements every day, and that the site should therefore be blocked to visitors from The Netherlands.

Interestingly, the news came as a total surprise to Fredrik, Gottfrid and Peter who said they received no official summons and were not aware of the case. In a counter move, the three sent a letter to the Amsterdam court, asking it to dismiss the case and impose damages against BREIN instead.

Today, the verdict was made public and The Pirate Bay has lost the case. The judge ruled that The Pirate Bay has to stop all of their activities in The Netherlands within ten days. If they don’t comply all defendants will be ordered to pay 30,000 euros ($42,300) per day in penalties up to a maximum of 3 million euros ($4,231,000) total.

The court argued that BREIN had done enough to inform the three defendants about the court case, although they were never officially summoned. In a letter to the court the defendants had indicated that if they had know, they wouldn’t have the financial means to attend the hearing. Because of this the court issued a default judgment and gave in to BREIN’s demands.

Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde, who is one of the defendants told TorrentFreak that they will appeal the decision, and that they are currently looking for legal representation.

Interestingly, the verdict claims that The Pirate Bay doesn’t have a registered owner, but holds the three accused responsible for it. However, as we’ve reported previously the site is in fact owned by a company called “Reservella” and not any of the defendants named in the case.

In addition to the three founders, GGF, the intended buyers of the Pirate Bay were also ordered to pay 30,000 euros ($42,300) per day in penalties if they continue to operate the site as it is after the deal is closed.

Legal experts informed TorrentFreak that the current ruling can be largely attributed to the lack of defense, and the fact that the defendants failed to show up. With this ruling in hand, it is not unlikely that BREIN will put pressure on Dutch ISPs if the Pirate Bay doesn’t block Dutch visitors within 10 days.

Source: torrentfreak.com

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Regarding The Personal USA Servers

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
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My friends,

Mojito_at_SunsetI know that many of you are eager to get your own personal USA IP address and I know that I have promised to launch it by today. But the truth is – we’ve faced some technical issues while implementing the brand new Personal USA IP Service and it turned out to be the complete rebuild and upgrade for our servers’ back-end.

The good part of the story is that our programmers are truly working hard to have the service released ASAP and I am sure that it is a questions of a few more days. Moreover, the upgrade of an admin back-end on all of our servers will make all the system even more rock solid and stable.

Please enjoy your summer, I am sure that in a few days I will be happy to officialy announce the ability for all of you to drink “Mojitos” on any beach of the world connecting to Internet with your Personal and very own USA IP address. Whereever in the world you will be – it will always stay with you helping you to enjoy your favorite services of the World Wide Web.

Stay with SmartHide! Enjoy the freedom!

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Pirate Bay Sale on Life Support

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
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We were shell-shocked when Global Gaming Factory X AB, a Swedish software corporate, announced it was acquiring The Pirate Bay for $7.8 Million. The Pirate Bay, the world’s epicenter for torrents tpband illegal P2P file distribution, sold to a company that intended to give it a new, legal business model? It sounded too insane to be possible.

I guess we shouldn’t be shocked then to learn that The Pirate Bay acquisition may not happen after all. Multiple sources are reporting that the acquisition may be canceled in one week’s time if Global Gaming X AB can’t provide investor guarantees. It doesn’t help that the major studios are suing it, either.

Just a strange series of events

The basic story is this: after Global Gaming made the deal public, it hired Wayne Rosso, the former head of Grokster, to negotiate with music and film giants to get legal licenses to their content. He specifically told CNET that he doesn’t think that Global Gaming even has the funds to make the deal happen, and that the Global Gaming hasn’t been straightforward with him. Thus, he’s left Global Gaming:

“I and my colleagues have very strong doubts that the funding is in place,” Rosso said. “And there are other issues regarding Mr. Pandeya’s credibility that trouble us greatly.”

The second nail in the coffin is a lawsuit that nearly a dozen studios have filed to shut The Pirate Bay down, including Disney and Paramount. Their claim is that The Pirate Bay hasn’t stopped their activities after being sentenced to prison. There’s also a separate lawsuit already in progress by the four major music labels.

Combine the lawsuit with losing Rosso and apparent funding problem and you can see why the Pirate Bay acquisition is in doubt. The Pirate Bay saga is just keeps getting stranger.

Are your surprised? Let us know in the comments.

Source: mashable.com

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AT&T is blocking 4chan.org

Monday, July 27th, 2009
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Acording to reddit.com AT&T is now blocking all access to img.4chan.org, effectively blacklisting /b/censor and censoring the internet.

From what I can tell, this is only a confirmed issue in Southern California at the moment, but seems to be wider than just a regional problem. Those who have contacted AT&T representatives were told that the site is in fact blocked, so this isn’t a technical problem, and all the other 4chan subdomains work fine.

SmartHide users may not worry. Everyone who is smart enough to use SmartHide enjoys the freedom of Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Internet Traffic Security (Encryption)

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
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traffic_encryptionThe technology of Internet-traffic protection from the unauthorized access is developing alongside with protected traffic interception technology. Non-encrypted user traffic interception and access to it is no longer a difficult task, even for an ordinary user. Practically everybody knows the word “sniffer”. In theory, it’s impossible to intercept secure  SSL/TSL connections. But is it really so?

Actually, not really. Yes, encrypted traffic is practically impossible to decrypt, but in reality, if one has a strong desire and the necessity, even the encrypted traffic can be decrypted once a key is found. But in order to do that, great resources are required. In this case the decryption makes sense only on the level of government or military interests.

When working over secure connections (the easiest example –  HTTPS) all the traffic between the interacting points in the Net is encrypted on the sender’s side and decrypted on the recipient’s side. Traffic is encrypted in both directions. In order to encrypt and decrypt the traffic you need a pair of keys (asymmetric cryptography). The public key is used for encryption and is sent to the data receiver, while the private key is used for decryption and is kept by the sender. In this way, hosts with SSL-connection between them exchange public keys. Further on, to improve the performance a single key is created, which is sent already encrypted and is used for both encryption and decryption on both ends (symmetric encryption).

And how do they do it? Usually, through the same channel which will be used to transfer the secure traffic after that. At the same time the key exchange takes place in an open mode. In case of HTTPS, the server key is connected with the certificate, which the user is suggested to look through and accept. And exactly this certificate can be intercepted by any intermediate server through which the certificate is transferred in an open mode (proxy, router).

In order to “read” all of the user’s traffic, the intermediate server substitutes this certificate by its own. That is it connects to the client with its certificate and at the same time connects to the remote server. The client receives a wrong certificate from the server-intruder and the browser informs the user about danger (such certificates never have signatures). The user has a choice: to accept the certificate and work with the site or reject it, but then it’s impossible to work with that site at all. Sometimes users ignore the content of certificates and automatically accept any data transferred by them.

If the user accepts the false certificate, the traffic will be transferred according to the following scheme:

Client<=SSL-connection=>server-wiretap<=SSL-connection=>destination server

That means that the intermediate server will receive all of your “secure” traffic in an open mode. It should be also noted that the certificate transmission takes place in the beginning of each HTTPS session.

In case of secured SSH, during the first connection with the server, the server key remains on the client side and the client’s key on the server. These keys are transmitted between the given client and the server only once, at the time of the first connection. If someone tries to intercept SSH-traffic in this case, both the client and the server will reject the connection because of keys mismatch. Since keys can be transferred between the client and the server through alternative ways (through a secure channel or on an external device), this connection method is relatively secure. It can only be blocked, making the user work openly.

It should be noted that the so-called “Enterprise information security solutions” which intercept the complete traffic transferred through an office proxy-server and “read” it have been sold for a long time already. The programs search for specific phrases or information of certain type in the data flow from browsers, e-mail programs, ftp-clients, office workers’ messengers. Besides, such programs can identify and process correctly different types of communication with servers. Particularly, they check secure SSL-traffic by certificates substitution. I had an almost first-hand experience in one of such systems development.

Anyhow, there are ways to escape such a total tracing. It is possible to direct any necessary traffic via installed SSH connection, which will be transferred from the SSH-server in an open mode to the destination recipient. This method is called SSH-tunneling. This way the traffic transfer through the unprotected channel can be secured, but this approach makes sense only when there is a trustworthy server with the set up and tunneling customized daemon. And it’s rather simple to organize it. The SSH-client connects to the server, configures to wiretap any specific port on the local computer. Such a client will provide SOCKS5-proxy service, i.e. its usage can be set up in any browser, e-mail program, IMs, etc. Packets get to the server through the SSH-tunnel and then transferred to the target server from it. The scheme is as follows:

[localhost: client<=>proxy] <== SSH-connection==> server<=> target server

Another way to protect traffic is a VPN-channel. It is easier and more convenient to use than SSH-tunneling, but it’s more complicated in the initial installation and setup. The main convenience is that you don’t have to write a proxy in programs. Some of the software doesn’t support proxy at all, consequently only VPN will be suitable.

However, if you are not familiar with the technical back-end of the methods above,  there is another easy-to-use and effective solution to encrypt your traffic. The Hide IP software SmartHide is able to solve all the issues connected with the traffic encryption with a single click of a mouse button and thus help to stay protected from any unauthorized access. Consider purchasing our Hide IP software to secure your information and behavior in the Net for the future.

Copyright (c) SmartHide Security Octopus

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Security Insight by SmartHide Security Octopus

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
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A very informative and useful information has been posted in the analytical article by Security Octopus. The iranraised problem concerns the ways, in which governments of different countries try to block Internet users Worldwide from their right for the freedom of information.

I advice you to spend a couple of minutes to get acquainted with the article to realize how happy you guys are, that you are able to use SmartHide to stay Free and Protected while using all the resources of World Wide Web.

So here is the article:

With The Help Of The West

I encourage you to leave comments below the article to open a discussion of the problem on the Security Octopus blog.

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With The Help Of The West

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
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The political crisis in Iran, which is gaining momentum these days, showed to the whole world not only the tough aggression of the repressive regime towards its “lieges”, but also how it is possible to control the network activity of the whole country with the help of modern technologies. I won’t go into political details – it’s neither the right place, nor the rigiranht time, and frankly speaking, I am not the right person to evaluate all the facts and arguments adequately and sort the wheat from the chaff. Even more in a situation when I am absolutely not familiar with the language of the country. We are speculating on a topic which is much closer to us – the censure, blocking people Worldwide who still do not use SmartHide Service from accessing their favorite web-resources.

On June 22nd the highly regarded “The Wall Street Journal” (further on WSJ) published a very interesting article where journalists report about an ultra-modern Internet traffic deep packet inspection system used in Iran. It was not hard for Iranians as well as for foreign observers to understand what “the government reads” – since the time when thousands of people went out on the streets to protest against the rigged elections, the Internet speed dropped significantly in the country. Bloggers as well as journalists who encounter difficulties with information transfer through the Net witness this. It is obvious that nobody would ever drop the transfer capacity without any reason. That was when the WSJ decided to dig deeper into the core of the story and found an interesting contract, signed in 2008 by the government of Iran, owning the monopoly on all kinds of the communication within the country (mobile connection, Internet, television, radio) and a joint venture of Finnish Nokia Corp. and German Siemens AG – Nokia Siemens Networks, for ultra-modern mobile phone networking equipment delivery, and as it became known later, for the complete national traffic analysis. We’ll start from where it should be started – from preceding events.

In the second half of 2008 Nokia Siemens Networks provided Iran with the special equipment according to the agreement “On Lawful Interception of Information and Internet content filtration”. One can’t say that there is something fantastic in that – the government of every country tries to protect its users from child pornography, web terrorism and other knowingly unlawful actions of criminals. As the official representative of the company Ben Roome reports:

“If you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to intercept any communication that runs over them”.

iran2The “Monitoring Center”, installed by the joint venture of two communication giants, was a part of a big contract that included mobile phone and networking technologies. It should be noted that during the last 10 years the number of optical fiber miles in Iran grew by 50 times – the necessity of a “control” tool in such a situation is out of question. Nothing to be surprised with: a Muslim country, living according to its rules, it’s not anything like France or Sweden.

The Iranian government had experimented with the equipment for brief periods in recent months, but the filter or interception had not been used extensively. Nobody worried, life was going on. It continued until one fatal day: June 13, 2009 when all the network and mobile traffic practically stopped in the country.

Today Iranian network engineers say that

“nobody ever thought that the government is capable of such a level of control. We knew that there was some equipment, but now we know that it is a very powerful, modern and complex technical facility allowing almost complete tracking of the network”.

The method used in the Iranian data center is called deep packet inspection. All the flow of online data whether an online-data packet or a telephone call, SMS, a digital image – anything is deconstructed, examined for keywords, after that it’s reconstructed and reaches the recipient. It’s done within millseconds. But unlike China, where the same scheme is used by the provider and it is decentralized, in Iran the whole thing is done at a single location. The digital life of the whole country is filtered in a single room, to put it simple, and that’s why the Internet speed slowed down to less than a tenth of normal speed.

The reasons for such a behavior from the part of Iranian conservative government are again obvious. While they can still easily keep people misinformed/blocked from the information by means of national TV channels and radio stations, nobody will tell the “false truth” on the Internet. Today we are all familiar with the Twitter functionality in exposing any details – that’s what happened in the “Tibetan history”, with Moldova and now the same thing is taking place in Iran.

The government is trying to intrude deep into the network situation and it is doing that just perfectly. Bradley Anstis, the director of technical strategy with the American provider Orange says:

“This looks like a step beyond what any other country governed by the “regime” is doing, including China”.

China, however, has 300 million of Internet users, unlike Iran with “only” 23 millions, but actually, it doesn’t change the essence of the problem.

People are beginning to protest – consumers are writing angry letters to Siemens and Nokia saying that they destroyed their mobile phones and will recommend to do the same to people they know. It’ll last until the company “can make the right ethical choices”. However, Mr. Roome comments: ”Every company does have a choice whether to do business in a certain country.” Even if Nokia Siemens Networks could suggest that their equipment will be used for censure, being European democrats they could scarcely foreknow that mass espionage against country’s own citizens is possible. I believe that those people who made such a decision thought very deeply to find ways to justify themselves saying that communication interception and monitoring technology inevitably goes together with the equipment. It’s a normal situation in many quite civilized countries and in some of them it is even a standard requirement to the equipment, for example in Great Britain. During its existence (in March the company sold its communication business to a German investment company), Nokia Siemens Networks sold such data centers to the governments of 150 countries. However, official representatives say that neither China, nor Burma, nor any other country with such a tough censure policy are on the list.

However, one shouldn’t think that Iran and China are the only countries which feel easy to involve in such practices. In the already mentioned Great Britain, for example, there is a list of completely blocked sites, and the German government bought such equipment not long ago. In the USA, during the government of George Bush’s administration, such equipment appeared with the National Security Agency within the framework of the “Terrorist Surveillance Program”. However, we do not know if it’s still being used. The Australian government is still experimenting with Web content filtering systems. The Russian Federation… might also have modest desire to follow the example of its colleagues, especially now when the Internet is so widely spread.

Probably the safest way to protect yourself, your personal data and ensure your correspondence security is traffic encryption with services like Arovax SmartHide, that help you to encrypt all your internet traffic and protect your personal data and identity. Nobody will spend money, time and resources to analyze this kind of data. But it’s another story.

The following materials were used in the article: The Wall Street Journal, Wired (1, 2), Gizmodo, Mashable, Textually.

Copyright (c) SmartHide Security Octopus

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How to Crack a Wi-Fi Network’s WEP Password with BackTrack

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
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wepcrackbacktrack

You already know that if you want to lock down your Wi-Fi network, you should opt for WPA encryption because WEP is easy to crack. But did you know how easy? Take a look.

Today we’re going to run down, step-by-step, how to crack a Wi-Fi network with WEP security turned on. But first, a word: Knowledge is power, but power doesn’t mean you should be a jerk, or do anything illegal. Knowing how to pick a lock doesn’t make you a thief. Consider this post educational, or a proof-of-concept intellectual exercise.

Dozens of tutorials on how to crack WEP are already all over the internet using this method. Seriously—Google it. This ain’t what you’d call “news.” But what is surprising is that someone like me, with minimal networking experience, can get this done with free software and a cheap Wi-Fi adapter. Here’s how it goes.

Security Octopus Note: All SmartHide Service users should not worry about the safety of your WiFi network connection. Using SmartHide makes your access to Internet using WiFi completely secure and your personal data will be safe. This video shows the actual danger of using WiFi without proper protection.

Source: lifehacker.com

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China Blocks Twitter and Facebook … Again

Monday, July 13th, 2009
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china__firewallNumerous Twitter users are reporting that access to Twitter and Facebook has once again been blocked in mainland China. This latest blockade comes one month after China has blocked access to these two sites, together with other major social networks and search engines.

According to ComputerWorld, Twitter has already been inaccessible in the last couple of days; Web2Asia now reports that since 8pm Chinese time Facebook has also been blocked. This has been confirmed by users on Twitter, some of which link the latest blockade to Uighur protests in Xinjiang, which had left over 150 people killed and over 1,000 wounded.

This latest attempt at censorship comes as no surprise as the Chinese government has decided to tighten its control over the Internet in the last couple of months. Unfortunately, the mechanisms of censorship seem to react faster and work better each time they’re employed.

Source: Mashable.com

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SmartHide MacOS Edition. Work in Progress.

Monday, July 13th, 2009
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While Closed Beta Test of the upcoming brand new SmartHide MacOS Edition for Apple users is still going – it is a great pleasure for all of us here at SmartHide Dev. Team to get a lot of good feedback on it.

Every day we receive emails from our beta testers telling us how excited they are about new SmartHide and how intuitive and effortless the new Graphical user Interface is and how quickly and seamlessly servers connect.

mac_coding

To be honest we did not expect such a great interest to the Apple version of SmartHide Service client and are truly inspired by the feedback we get. Every day we get a lot of comments, bug reports and suggestions on how to improve SmartHide MacOS Edition and the ideas on what features to add.

At the moment we are working 4x times harder on SmartHide for Apple and are doing our best to push the release of SmartHide MacOS Edition so all the Apple Community could enjoy SmartHide Service in the nearest future.

I would like to remind you, that we still accept Beta testers for SmartHide MacOS Closed Beta Test.

Please apply by sending an email to macbeta (at) smarthide.com

Thank you for staying with us, our dear SmartHide fans! Your endless support and feedback is the core for the successful development of SmartHide Service for the years to come.

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