A new and somewhat bizarre lawsuit filed against Google accuses the search giant of running an “internal spying program” and forcing employees to adhere to “illegal confidentiality agreements, policies, guidelines and practices.”

The lawsuit was filed earlier this week by an anonymous product manager. The suit claims that Google’s employment agreements expressly prohibit Google personnel from reporting illegal conduct they may have witnessed or even bringing to light potentially dangerous product defects. The complaint alleges that Google discourages the aforementioned type  ofwhistle blowing activities because such statements might ultimately resurface during legal proceedings

The complaint also details that Google’s employment agreement precludes employees from disclosing their base pay to potential employers and even from discussing what their working experience at Google was like.

“The policies even prohibit Googlers from speaking to their spouse or friends about whether they think their boss could do a better job,” the complaint adds.

Also interesting is the allegation that Google “prohibits employees from writing creative fiction”, without prior approval, if the main character works at a tech company in Silicon Valley.

The lawsuit takes the position that Google’s sweeping confidentiality agreements are unnecessarily broad and ultimately violate California labor laws.

The complaint reads in part:

The unnecessary and inappropriate breadth of the policies are intended to control Google’s former and current employees, limit competition, infringe on constitutional rights, and prevent the disclosure and reporting of misconduct. The policies are wrong and illegal.

In regards to the allegations that Google wants employees to keep illegal activity and potentially dangerous products on the down low, the complaint reads:

Google restricts what Googlers say internally in order to conceal potentially illegal conduct. It instructs employees in its training programs to do the following: “Don’t send an email that says, ‘I think we broke the law’ or ‘I think we violated this contract.'”The training program also advises employees that they should not be candid when speaking with Google’s attorneys about dangerous products or violations of the law. The program advises Googlers that some jurisdictions do not recognize the attorney-client privilege and “Inside the U.S., government agencies often pressure companies to waive the privilege.”

As a point of interest, the plaintiff in this case has been a Google employee for just over 2 years and, per the complaint, was recently outed, albeit falsely, for leaking proprietary information to the press.

Google has since issued a statement to The Verge relaying that it “will defend this suit vigorously because it’s baseless.”

The full suit can be read below.

Author:  Yoni Heisler

Source:  https://www.yahoo.com/tech/lawsuit-claims-google-employees-forced-ignore-serious-product-040350012.html

Categorized in Internet Privacy

This holiday season, when we Google for the most trending gifts, compare different items on Amazon or take a break to watch a holiday movie on Netflix, we are making use of what might be called “the three R’s” of the Internet Age: rating, ranking and recommending.

Much like the traditional “three R’s” of education – “reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic” – no modern education is complete without understanding how websites’ algorithms combine, process and synthesize information before presenting it to us.

As we explore in our new book, “The Power of Networks: Six Principles that Connect Our Lives,” the three tasks of rating, ranking and recommending are interdependent, though it may not be initially obvious. Before we can rank a set of items, we need some measure by which they can be ordered. This is really a rating of each item’s quality according to some criterion.

With ranked lists in hand, we may turn around and make recommendations about specific items to people who may be interested in purchasing them. This interrelationship highlights the importance of how the quality and attractiveness of an item is quantified into a rating in the first place.

Ranking

What consumers and internet users often call “rating,” tech companies may call “scoring.” This is key to, for example, how Google’s search engine returns high-quality links at the top of its search results, with the most relevant information usually contained in the first page of responses. When a person enters a search query, Google assigns two main scores to each page in its database of trillions, and uses these to generate the order for its results.

The first of these scores is a “relevance score,” a combination of dozens of factors that measure how closely related the page and its content are to the query. For example, it takes into account how prominently placed search keywords are on the result page. The second is an “importance score,” which captures the way the network of webpages are connected to one another via hyperlinks to quantify how important each page is.

The combination of these two scores, along with other information, gives a rating for each page, quantifying how useful it might be to the end user. Higher ratings will be placed toward the top of the search results. These are the pages Google is implicitly recommending that the user visit.

Rating

The three Rs also pervade online retail. Amazon and other e-commerce sites allow customers to enter reviews for products they have purchased. The star ratings contained in these reviews are usually aggregated into a single number representing customers’ overall opinion. The principle behind this is called “the wisdom of crowds,” the assumption that combining many independent opinions will be more reflective of reality than any single individual’s evaluation.

Key to the wisdom of crowds is that the reviews accurately reflect customers’ experiences, and are not biased or influenced by, say, the manufacturer adding a series of positive assessments to its own items. Amazon has mechanisms in place to screen out these sorts of reviews – for example, by requiring a purchase to have been made from a given account before it can submit a review. Amazon then averages the star ratings for the reviews that remain.

Averaging ratings is fairly straightforward. But it’s more complicated to figure out how to effectively rank products based on those ratings. For example, is an item that has 4.0 stars based on 200 reviews better than one that has 4.5 stars but only from 20 reviews? Both the average rating and sample size need to be accounted for in the ranking score.

There are even more factors that may be taken into consideration, such as reviewer reputation (ratings based on reviewers with higher reputations may be trusted more) and rating disparity (products with widely varying ratings may be demoted in the ordering). Amazon may also present products to different users in varying orders based on their browsing history and records of previous purchases on the site.

Recommending

The prime example of recommendation systems is Netflix’s method for determining which movies a user will enjoy. Algorithms predict how each specific user would rate different movies she has not yet seen by looking at the past history of her own ratings and comparing them with those of similar users. The movies with the highest predictions are those that will then make the final cut for a particular user.

The quality of these recommendations depends heavily on the algorithm’s accuracy and its use of machine learning, data mining and the data itself. The more ratings we start with for each user and each movie, the better we can expect the predictions to be.

A simple rating predictor might assign one parameter to each user that captures how lenient or harsh a critic she tends to be. Another parameter might be assigned to each movie, capturing how well-received the movie is relative to others. More sophisticated models will identify similarities among users and movies – so if people who like the kinds of movies you like have given a high rating to a movie you haven’t seen, the system might suggest you’ll like it too.

This can involve hidden dimensions that underlie user preferences and movie characteristics. It can also involve measuring how the ratings for any given movie have changed over time. If a previously unknown film becomes a cult classic, it might start appearing more in people’s recommendation lists. A key aspect of dealing with several models is combining and tuning them effectively: The algorithm that won the Netflix Prize competition of predicting movie ratings in 2009, for example, was a blend of hundreds of individual algorithms.

This combination of rating, ranking and recommendation algorithms has transformed our daily online activities, far beyond shopping, searching and entertainment. Their interconnection brings us clearer – and sometimes unexpected – insights into what we want and how we get it.

Source : http://theconversation.com/rating-ranking-and-recommending-three-rs-for-the-internet-age-70512

Categorized in Future Trends

The Internet Society has released the findings of its 2016 Global Internet Report in which 40% of users admit they would not do business with a company which had suffered a data breach.

Highlighting the extent of the data breach problem, the report makes key recommendations for building user trust in the online environment, stating that more needs to be done to protect online personal information.

With a reported 1,673 breaches and 707 million exposed records occurring in 2015, the Internet Society is urging organisations to change their stance and follow five recommendations to reduce the number and impact of data breaches globally:

1. Put users - who are the ultimate victims of data breaches - at the centre of solutions. When assessing the costs of data breaches, include the costs to both users and organisations. 

2. Increase transparency about the risk, incidence and impact of data breaches globally. Sharing information responsibly helps organisations improve data security, helps policymakers improve policies and regulators pursue attackers, and helps the data security industry create better solutions.

3. Data security must be a priority – organisations should be held to best practice standards when it comes to data security.

4. Increase accountability – organisations should be held accountable for their breaches. Rules regarding liability and remediation must be established up front.

5. Increase incentives to invest in security – create a market for trusted, independent assessment of data security measures so that organisations can credibly signal their level of data security. Security signals enable organisations to indicate that that they are less vulnerable than competitors.

The report also draws parallels with threats posed by the Internet of Things (IoT). Forecasted to grow to tens of billions of devices by 2020, interconnected components and sensors that can track locations, health and other daily habits are opening gateways into user’s personal lives, leaving data exposed.

“We are at a turning point in the level of trust users are placing in the Internet,” said Internet Society’s Olaf Kolkman, Chief Internet Technology Officer. “With more of the devices in our pockets now having Internet connectivity, the opportunities for us to lose personal data is extremely high.

“Direct attacks on websites such as Ashley Madison and the recent IoT-based attack on Internet performance management company, Dyn, that rendered some of the world’s most famous websites including Reddit, Twitter and The New York Times temporarily inaccessible, are incredibly damaging both in terms of profits and reputation, but also to the levels of trust users have in the Internet.”

Other report highlights include:

  • The average cost of a data breach is now $4 million, up 29 percent since 2013
  • The average cost per lost record is $158, up 15 percent since 2013
  • Within business, the retail sector represents 13 percent of all breaches and six percent of all records stolen, while financial institutions represent 15 percent of breaches, but just 0.1 percent of records stolen, indicating these businesses might have greater resilience built in to protect their users

Source  :  https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/67186/internet-trust-at-all-time-low-not-enough-data-protection

Categorized in Internet Ethics

The Internet Archive has been making waves lately, and not entirely by choice. The non-profit has been growing, and recently announced an intriguing new feature for its famous Wayback Machine that will make it far more useful, but it’s also been at center of a number of controversies over censorship and data freedom. This week it announced a provocative plan to spend millions mirroring its archives on Canadian soil, apparently to avoid future attacks from the Trump Administration. The two are at least somewhat related; as Archive.org makes its services larger and more user friendly, those services become more problematic in the eyes of the authorities.

 

The Internet Archive basically has two components: the website archive, called the Wayback Machine, and everything else, including databases of digitized books, music, movies, and more. The Wayback Machine has become a major pillar of the internet, not nearly as highly trafficked as Wikipedia but similar in that quite a few people would be screwed without it. In principle, its goal is really just part of the overall thesis of the internet: The Internet Archive is meant to ensure that knowledge and the public record stay intact over time. Through the Wayback Machine, it archives “snapshots” of as many websites as it can, as often as it can, and makes the full history available, for free. For most of its history, the biggest controversy it saw was whether it was appropriate to ask users for cash.

 

 


The issue reached a much higher level of profile earlier this week, when the organization revealed that it had received a so-called National Security Letter from the FBI. The group also posted a redacted version of the document online, one of the few such publications that has ever taken place. The letter was even shown to be pushing false information about how to challenge the automatic gag order that comes with an NSL, and the FBI has admitted that the same mistake was sent to some portion of NSL recipients. It’s not known quite how many just yet, but there were over 13,000 sent out last year alone. Archive.org is now one of the most successful challengers to their legal authority.Recently, though, Archive.org has been getting a very different sort of profile.

 

The ability to use its servers to anonymously host files has led ISIS and other extremist organizations to habitually post their videos and literature there. Much of it is aimed at recruiting impressionable teens around the world, and much of the rest depicts real crimes of gratuitous violence — but there it is, free and public, just a (slightly outside-the-box) search away on Archive.org. The Internet Archive’s ideological beliefs about censorship, along with its genuine inability to police the vastness of its own databases, has transformed its once squeaky-clean image. In some circles, Archive.org is a multimedia PasteBin, but with a lot more self-righteousness.

 

And it’s those brushes with the spooks and criminals alike that are driving Archive.org’s concern. Trump, who will be the oldest President ever at first swearing-in, has said that he would “certainly be open to closing areas [of the internet] where we are at war with somebody… I’m not talking about closing the internet. I’m talking about closing parts of the internet where ISIS is.” Evidently, the Internet Archive is unsure of whether it would be categorized as “where ISIS is,” since it explicitly referenced the “new administration promising radical change” as the reason for its new, Northern mirror.

 

 


As mentioned, though, the Internet Archive is famously cash-strapped, so the whole initiative is to be paid for with donations. It will cost “millions” according to their own estimates, but that’s actually pretty reasonable considering that the data itself comes in at a whopping 15 petabytes, or 15,000 terabytes. With such volume, the base storage costs should be at least around a few million all on their own. The project’s banner ad states that the entire thing could be funded if everybody reading gave just $50 — far beyond what Wikipedia generally suggests. The organization already has a small number of employees in Toronto, though, so presumably creating a copy there would be cheaper than other countries.Canada is of course a terrible choice for the archive’s backup, especially since the stated goal of the move is to keep a Library of Alexandria-style disaster from ending its existence for good. If there were to be a malicious attempt to burn down Archive.org, what protection would Canada’s draconian free speech laws provide, compared with those in the United States? Most attempts to take down the American side would presumably have the force of American law — does the Internet Archive think the Canadian government is going to resist a legal data seizure or server take-down request from the United States? Iceland would have been a much more logical choice — a country that, at the very least, doesn’t openly share virtually all intelligence with the agencies the Internet Archive is trying to escape.

FBI

The Internet Archive might seem like an odd sort of organization to go head to head with Big Government, but society and law seem to be slowly veering into a collision course with everything it represents. The archive’s views haven’t changed; if a conflict is coming, it’s because law and society are changing. Any public service with a true commitment to data freedom is going to become home to the people who need such freedom the most, both the journalist/activist types and the criminal/terrorist types. And that means that they will naturally attract the attention of anyone interested in countering one or both of those types of user.

By announcing even the intention to mirror their content in a different legal environment, this little archiving group has signaled that it will not back down, if challenged. Luckily for the archive, its seems to have the support of larger, more experienced groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This may all be rank overreaction on the part of the Internet Archive, but if not, there is now enough attention focused on it to ensure that any legal challenge becomes a major battle. For groups like the ACLU, which basically exist to fight and win battles of legal precedent, that might be the most desirable outcome of all.

 

Author : Graham Templeton

Source :  https://www.extremetech.com/internet/240720-internet-archive-just-got-bit-useful-lot-political

Categorized in Online Research

A new survey of internet users suggests that people who use the internet excessively may have more mental health problems. Using two scales to evaluate internet use, researchers have found high rates of problematic internet use in a group of primarily college-aged students.  The researchers evaluated internet addiction using the Internet Addiction Test, as well as newer scale of their own design, based on updated addiction criteria. This work may have implications for how psychiatrists approach excessive internet use.

A new survey of internet users suggests that people who use the internet excessively may have more mental health problems. Using two scales to evaluate internet use, researchers have found high rates of problematic internet use in a group of primarily college-aged students. The researchers evaluated internet addiction using the Internet Addiction Test, as well as newer scale of their own design, based on updated addiction criteria. This work, which is presented at the ECNP conference in Vienna, may have implications for how psychiatrists approach excessive internet use.

The unstoppable rise of the internet has given rise to fears that increasing numbers people are becoming unable to cope without regularly going online. The Internet Addiction Test (IAT) is the standard test used to measure excessive reliance on the internet, but as Chief Researcher Michael Van Ameringen pointed out: "The IAT was developed in 1998, prior to the widespread use of smartphone technology. In addition, internet use has changed radically over the last 18 years, through more people working online, media streaming, social media, etc. We were concerned that the IAT questionnaire may not have been picking up on problematic modern internet use, or showing up false positives for people who were simply using the internet rather than being over-reliant on it."

Professor Van Ameringen's group, from McMaster University in Canada, surveyed 254 students and correlated internet use with general mental health and wellbeing. Thirty-three of the students met screening criteria for internet addition according to the Internet Addiction Test. However, 107 students met criteria for problematic internet use using Professor Van Ameringen and colleagues' new screening tool. The research team also administered a further series of self-reported tests to see how the internet addicts compared to the others in the survey on areas such as symptoms of depression and anxiety, impulsiveness, inattention and executive functioning, as well as tests for ADHD.

Professor Van Ameringen said: "We found that those screening positive on the IAT as well as on our scale, had significantly more trouble dealing with their day to day activities, including life at home, at work/school and in social settings. Individuals with internet addiction also had significantly higher amounts of depression and anxiety symptoms, problems with planning and time management, greater levels of attentional impulsivity as well as ADHD symptoms. This leads us to a couple of questions: firstly, are we grossly underestimating the prevalence of internet addiction and secondly are these other mental health issues a cause or consequence of this excessive reliance on the internet?

This may have practical medical implications. If you are trying to treat someone for an addiction when in fact they are anxious or depressed, then you may be going down the wrong route. We need to understand this more, so we need a bigger sample, drawn from a wider, more varied population."

Commenting Professor Jan Buitelaar (Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre) of the ECNP Child and adolescent disorders treatment Scientific Advisory Panel said: "Excessive use of the internet is an understudied phenomenon that may disguise mild or severe psychopathology; excessive use of the internet may be strongly linked to compulsive behaviour and addiction; as the authors say, further study is needed in larger populations."

Sourcehttps://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160918180002.htm

Categorized in Online Research

Those of you who frequent the darkweb should be familiar with VPN (Virtual Private Network) services and have done some research to find a trustworthy provider. For readers who are just starting to explore the darker catacombs of the Internet a VPN is a mandatory tool for online anonymity.

But not all VPN services are created equal.

>>>Click for DeepDotWeb’s Chart of Best VPN services<<<

For n00bs

A VPN provides a secure connection between your computer and the VPN servers. All communications between your computer and the VPN are encrypted and sent through a secure tunnel over the Internet, preventing outsiders from spying on your web activity. You can securely connect to a VPN service and surf the web from their servers, using their IP addresses.

There are lots of reasons to use a VPN service such as establishing a secure connection over an insecure network, accessing censored or region specific web content, or hiding p2p sharing activity that is often frowned upon in the US. But if you’ve made it to DDW you’re probably starting to understand that there are parts of the web where more nefarious things happen (which DDW acknowledges but does not condone) and anonymity is of the utmost importance.

The connection between your computer and the VPN is secure, but the connection between the VPN and the rest of the web isn’t. Your activity on the web can be monitored and traced back to the VPN IP addresses, but cannot be traced back to your own IP address. When you use a VPN no one can trace your web activity back to you (insert obligatory meme).

In theory.On the internet

For Everyone

A VPN service’s main selling points are security and privacy, but privacy is interpreted differently among VPN providers. Just ask former lulzsec member Cody Kretsinger (a.k.a. recursion), how private his VPN service was.

Kretsinger used a popular VPN called HideMyAss and engaged in activity that linked him, and his online persona “recursion,” to several high profile hacks, including unauthorized access to servers controlled by Sony Pictures. As it turns out HMA keeps logs of users’ IP addresses and logon/off times. A UK court order was issued to HMA to turn over the logs related to the offending account, which were then used to identify and arrest Kretsinger.

VPN providers can log web activity over their network, but it is more common to see VPN providers log users’ IP addresses, logon/off times and bandwidth usage. This logging activity allows providers to identify individuals abusing the service for fraud and spam, but in doing so they acquire information that can be used to identify individual users.

You can be absolutely sure if a VPN provider is pressured to cooperate with authorities and they have any information to identify you as the suspect you will be up shit creek and you will be there without a paddle. No one is going to go to jail for you.

This is why some VPN services go out of their way NOT to log any information that could possibly identify their customers. They cannot be forced to hand over incriminating information that they do not have.

The Devil is in the Details

It is mundane but it is so incredibly important when considering a VPN to read the company’s Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy, and these documents need to be in plain English not lawyer-eese. A VPN provider who legitimately cares about customers’ privacy will lay it out in black in white what information, if any, is recorded and for how long.

Good VPN providers state that they store “personal information” necessary to create an account and process a payment (for example: name, e-mail address, payment data, billing address), but state that they do NOT log users’ IP addresses, logon/off times, or bandwidth usage.

Great VPN providers go a step further to minimize the amount of “personal information” required by accepting bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, eliminating the requirement for billing information. This further insulates the user’s true identity by requiring an as little information as an e-mail address to create an account.

An honorable mention must go out to VPN provider MULLVAD who do not even require an email address. Visitors to the website click “create account” and they are given an account number without entering any information at all.

VPN Providers to Avoid

If you intend to use a VPN to hide your p2p activity on the web or go to the other side of the great virtual divide we recommend that you steer clear of these VPN providers. We want to be fair, VPNs who make this list are not “bad” VPN providers but they do participate in logging activities that put their users at risk. These VPNs do not provide true privacy on the web.

Bad vpn Providers

Privacy Focused VPN Providers

The following is a list of ten VPN providers who openly state that they do not log any information that may be used to identify anyone using their VPN service. To be considered as a privacy focused VPN provider the service must have the following qualifications:

  1. Does NOT log any information that could be used to identify the user.
  2. Requires minimal personal information to sign up.
  3. Accepts cryptocurrency.

You will note that there are VPN providers based in the USA on this list. It is a common misconception that US VPN services are legally required to log activity on their network. This simply isn’t true, but they are still required to cooperate with US law enforcement while other countries are not. Required cooperation is partly the reason they dutifully do not log activity on their networks. These companies cannot be held liable for withholding information they do not have. Choosing a VPN service, and which country it is based in, is up to you, but we do not want to discourage people from supporting small businesses in the US based on hearsay

Anyone concerned with their privacy for any reason should consider one of the following VPN services. As a DDW Disclaimer: You shouldn’t rely on a VPN provider to protect you from the authorities. It’s really best if the authorities don’t have a reason to be looking for you at all.

>>>Click for DeepDotWeb’s Chart of Best VPN services<<<

Best Vpn Providers

Author:  IBURNEZ

Source:  https://www.deepdotweb.com/2014/07/08/is-your-vpn-legit-or-shit

Categorized in Internet of Things

Every day, brand new online businesses start up, but many times they fail just as swiftly, leaving only a small percentage that succeed. How can you ensure that you are one of the select few that will see success? Follow these tips and watch your online business flourish.

1. Respond to Visitors Quickly and Engage with Them

Don’t let potential customers have the time to slip through your fingers through a lack of contact, get back to all inquiries as soon as possible. Even if you are away for an extended period of time, make sure that there is someone available to answer inquiries, even if it is just to say that a clearer response will be given soon.

Social media platforms are the best way to engage with customers. Not only can you quickly post any type of information, you can also comment back just as swiftly.

2. Outsourcing

Outsourcing some of your tasks allows for you to reach customers with compelling tactics and strategies more quickly and more effectively than your competitor can. When you spend less time on a multitude of small tasks to focus on the larger tasks, you will be able to spend your energy working on the things that will grow your business. Outsourcing for marketing will allow your brand to approach a problem with a fresh and new perspective, and will be able to go forward with an innovative campaign.

3. Maintain Your Mailing List

Take the leap and ask your visitors to sign up for your newsletter. Provide an incentive such as a free online course or e-book that is related to your brand. You will need to respect these individuals that sign up for the mailing list by sending out a newsletter consistently, but not too often. The newsletter should only contain quality content that is relevant to readers, while providing an easy way for them to opt out if they need to. Always include sales, specials, and discounts to those on your mailing list ‒ this will ensure that they feel like they should stay on the mailing list to receive the exclusive offers.

4. Try Not to Over Optimize Your Website

Search engine optimization is how a webmaster manipulates a website to rank better in search engines. Some websites go way too far with this and will end up banned from the search results. Over-optimization will make a brand less likable and harder to read. Aim to be straightforward and direct, without a lot of fluff. Potential customers can see right through that and it will even make your brand appear less trustworthy when you over-optimize.

5. Keep Your Website Simple and Organized

Often times, in an effort to make their website stand out, businesses will over-design it ‒ which is a huge mistake. Too many flashy elements or loud music will hurt a website’s traffic. The text should be easy to read, and the website as a whole should be easily navigated. The safest choice is dark text backed by a lighter color background.

6. Social Media Marketing

Marketing through social media has the ability to reduce a brand’s overall marketing cost, it will create a voice for the brand, allow for better customer service, and build trust between the customer and the brand. It is a lot easier for a customer to visualize a person behind a brand when they are being communicated to in a casual manner. This will humanize your online business and make it easier for visitors to connect with you, and then develop loyalty.

7. Discover Your Specialty

Find out what it is about your brand that sets you apart from other businesses that are similar. Is it the type of product that you offer, or the quality of service that you provide? Whatever it is, nurture it and let your customers know that you care about it just as much as they do.

Author:  Sasha Brown

Source:  http://www.lifehack.org/423306/7-ways-to-successfully-run-a-business-off-the-internet

Categorized in Business Research

I wasn’t the only one to check my router on the morning of Friday, Oct. 21. The internet was down, and our digital infrastructure was reportedly under attack. To some, this meant the end; to others, it was just a morning without music in the background. But the outage felt strangely universal, affecting the most intimate parts of our lives—Spotify, Airbnb, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, PayPal, Reddit, the New York Times, and Fox News were all affected. The internet, as parts of the US learned in a few short hours, is everywhere.

The hackers targeted the Domain Name System (DNS), which is essentially the internet’s phone book. While most people were compulsively refreshing their screens, I was imagining the chaos playing out in a sprawling glass structure in Playa Vista, California. This monolith not far from LAX belongs to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the proudly omnipresent organization that basically governs the internet’s framework. I didn’t know they existed until I interviewed for a job with them last fall.

Admittedly, my understanding of everything under the hood was slim when we first met. The position—a technical writer with marketing-communication chops—was unlike anything I’d come across in my ten years as a self-described copy mechanic. But I prepared by finding every answer to every question out there. What was this place? What did they do? What was I signing up for? I recognized the acronym from owning small domains over the years, but not much else. Despite a thorough search and plenty of public chatter, I was no closer to understanding: On one hand, the nonprofit sounded like a mysterious NGO; on the other, a sci-fi federation of planets.

So I dug a little deeper. By 1999 the web was exploding in scale and scope, and the US government needed someone to manage its unwieldy phonebook. The internet needed order, not to mention maintenance and a few basic rules. That’s where ICANN came in, and they paired up with the US government. The decision gave us search functionality as we know it in the form of a safe, stable system of IP addresses. Some praised the formation between a private company and political forces, while others argued the DNS switchboard should remain open and unregulated.

Fast-forward to last month, and ICANN’s contract with the US Department of Commerce finally expired. (But don’t worry, the internet is still running as usual—well, nearly.) It arguably wasn’t the best time to enter the private sector, what with cyber-warfare and accountability on the rise. But the internet remains free and open with a framework that is utterly unprecedented, US-government relationship or not.

My interview experience was pretty banal: a phone conversation to start, a few written items, and finally multiple Skype sessions with personalities in far away places. Prepare for lots of time zones, I was told. (The irony of working for the very technology responsible for flattening time and space wasn’t lost on me.) The discussions were serious and thoroughly welcoming, like a college admission interview. They also carried all the weight of a should you choose to acceptultimatum, driven home by the fact that ICANN meets annually in exotic locales, from Marrakech to Hyderabad.

All in all, I learned a lot about the US’s digital governing body—but I learned even more about what it takes for someone to work at the internet.

Work with devices—but don’t be one

Whether it’s a hot startup or a heritage brand, working in digital is basically part and parcel to any career path today. But think about the people, where and how you see yourself engaging. I now work in the tech industry—for one of the giants. Working at one of those pace-making companies is like being in a self-contained ecosystem in many ways, and it’s a rite of passage to see your first engineer walk into a glass door while looking at their phone. But I was surprised to learn so many at ICANN came from traditional media, such as print and television. Very few of them were serial entrepreneurs, and very few were tech bros. These weren’t digital natives—they remember pre-internet times, and our conversations reflected that experience. So consider your coworkers and how you like to communicate: Are you pinging colleagues? Meeting for coffee? Sitting in silence? It sounds obvious, but choosing the types of people you want to work with can be woefully overlooked when you get caught up with the free almonds and beer.

The internet is made of people

And that’s a huge responsibility. This fact was stressed more than once: As much as our culture is created on and by this thing called the internet, it’s still ultimately a community. ICANN’s official language is English, but its bylaws state at least six translations be made at all times: Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, and Spanish, plus more online. If nothing else, this was a great reminder that people exist—both on and off the internet. From product development to press relations, the audience for anything in this nebulous landscape will always be a living, breathing community.

The internet never sleeps—and you probably won’t either

It might as well be a casino: no clocks, no time, no real place. Plenty of freelance professions are used to keeping strange hours for clients with timely needs, but for a copy guy, I wasn’t used to such extremes. I’ve since learned to adapt, and I’ve updated my CV to purposefully denote flexibility by including cities and time zones where you can find me. For example, I’m currently based in New York on Eastern Standard Time—that doesn’t mean I can’t take a call in Paris, but you know that it’s not ideal. Time doesn’t exist in certain industries anymore, so prepare to take that meeting when some of us are still sleeping.

Don’t sweat the tech

I was skeptical about handling the massive amounts of data and localization work at ICANN—I worried about it even more than the bureaucracy. But we all worry about learning new skills, whether it’s a content management system or, in my case, distilling copy about wonky scripts and root zones into clear nuggets of text. I consider myself a copy mechanic. Recruiters and HR types seem to like that phrase too—it suggests a willingness to embrace ambiguity and rise to the challenge with only your took kit in tow. Action begets action, and experience is no different.

In the end, the internet wasn’t for me. Or maybe I wasn’t for the internet.

For now, I’m back to managing copy and grabbing whatever interesting jobs it has to offer. But ask anyone in this line of work: Don’t dwell on the rejections. Keep sending those pitches, exploring those opportunities. (That is, until you wake up and can’t check your email one morning.)

Watching the news of internet outage unfold two weeks ago, I couldn’t help but think about ICANN and the people cranking the gears one more day. The nature of 9-to-5 work is changing, clearly: You might not hold the same hours as your colleagues, come with the same background, speak the lingo, or embrace your team’s Slack channel with the same gusto as that guy sending all those GIFs. But we should all remember: However this thing turns out, the internet is proving to be the one great equalizer, everywhere and everything at once.

Author:  Jason Orlovich

Source:  http://qz.com/827186/so-you-want-to-work-for-the-internet-what-i-learned-interviewing-with-the-gatekeepers-of-the-web/

Categorized in Social

Do you know: There is a vast section of the Internet which is hidden and not accessible through regular search engines and web browsers.

This part of the Internet is known as the Deep Web, and it is about 500 times the size of the Web that we know.

What is DEEP WEB?

Deep Web is referred to the data which are not indexed by any standard search engine such as Google or Yahoo.

The 'Deep Web' refers to all web pages that search engines cannot find, such as user databases, registration-required web forums, webmail pages, and pages behind paywalls.

Then, there's the Dark Web or Dark Net – a specific part of that hidden Deep Web.
Deep Web and Dark Web are the intriguing topics for the Netizens all around. But when you hear the term 'Deep Web' or 'Dark Web,' you usually categorize them into one.
 
If yes, then you are wrong.
 
 

What is DARK WEB?

Dark Web is where you can operate without been tracked, maintaining total anonymity.
The Dark Web is much smaller than the Deep Web and is made up of all different kinds of websites that sell drugs, weapons and even hire assassins.

These are hidden networks avoiding their presence on the Surface Web, and its URLs are tailed up with .onion.

These [websitename].onion domains are not indexed by regular search engines, so you can only access Dark Web with special software -- called 'The Onion Browser,' referred to as TOR.

How to Install TOR on Android and iOS Devices

TOR is free, and anyone can download it.

Many of us heard about the Dark Web when the largest online underground marketplace Silk Road was taken down following an investigation by United States federal authorities.

But, what if, you can still be able to dig the Darknet contents with your regular browsers, without the need of TOR?

Here's How to Surf & Search the Deep Web without TOR

Solution: Deep Web Search Engines

Search engines like Google are incredibly powerful, but they can't crawl and index the vast amount of data that is not hyperlinked or accessed via public DNS services.

However, there are Deep Web Search Engines that crawl over the TOR network and bring the same result to your regular browser.

Some of such Dark Web Search Engines are:

Here are some Deep Web Search Engines:

These Deep Web search engines talks to the onion service via Tor and relays, resolve the .onion links and then deliver the final output to your regular browser on the ordinary World Wide Web.

However, there is one consequence of browsing Deep or Dark Web on a regular browser. Working this way will make these .onion search results visible to you, me, and also, for Google.

Moreover, tracker-less search engines are also popular in the TOR culture – like DisconnectDDGIXQuick– which ensures your privacy searches.

Importance of TOR

It is worth noting that mere access via TOR is not considered as an illegal practice but can arouse suspicion with the law.

TOR has long been used by Journalists, Researchers, or Thrill seekers in heavily censored countries in order to hide their web browsing habits and physical location, crawl the Deep Web and exchange information anonymously.

However, one of the main reasons behind the rise of TOR is NSA's Surveillance Programs.

After the Assange-Snowden revelations in the past years, public fears about their privacy getting compromised over the Internet.

The reliability of the Internet had been lost that demanded the Ciphers come into action to thwart the Federal Agency's efforts. So comes the need of TOR.

With the help of TOR, the web users could roam around the Internet beyond any fear, keeping themselves and their real identities hidden from federal and intelligent agencies.

This is why TOR is being one of the favorite targets of federal agencies.

Since Tor has long been a target of the government intelligence agencies, most online users do not feel safe to use Tor anymore.

To known how easy it is for government agencies to unmask Tor users, you can read these articles:

Who lurks in the 'Dark Web'?

According to the recent survey conducted by researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid (in their book Cryptopolitik and the Darknet), it is found that 57% of the Dark Web is occupied by unauthorized contents like Pornography, Illicit Finances, Drug Hub, Weapon Trafficking, counterfeit currency flow and many more.

The netizens had given the shade of illegalities to Dark Web. This is why today Dark Web is being defined as something that is illegal instead of a 'Pool of Information.'

However, there are countless reasons to use Dark Web. But, ultimately, it depends on the surfer what to surf?

Sidelining Darkweb for criminal offenses often gray out the legitimate purposes inside Dark Web.

In the end, I just want to say:

Knowledge is Free! Happy Surfing!

Author : Rakesh Krishnan

Source : thehackernews.com

Categorized in Deep Web

Who is Legion?

(All information is based on media interviews that the hacker group has given. None of this has been corroborated independently by The Quint.)

  • Legion is a group of hackers based in multiple parts of the world.
  • They’re connected to India, though some of them may not have an Indian passport.
  • They’re behind at least four high profile Indian Twitter account breaches and two data dumps.
  • They’re difficult to trace as they use secure servers and apps for communication and hacking.
  • They’re addicted to crime and drugs, or so they claim.

Legion’s modus operandi so far has been breaching high profile Twitter accounts to deface them and warn about future attacks. (Photo: The Quint)

Legion’s modus operandi so far has been breaching high profile Twitter accounts to deface them and warn about future attacks. (Photo: The Quint)

A quick Google search of the word shows up a Wikipedia definition: ‘Legion’ is a group of demons referred to in the New Testament, in an incident during which Jesus performs an exorcism.

Biblical references aside, Legion is the latest hacker group to take centre-stage in India’s cyber-security landscape. In the last couple of weeks, Legion has hacked four high profile Twitter accounts and dumped a couple of gigabytes of sensitive personal information on the internet.

Everything you read about Legion is what they are projecting to the world. Nobody has met them, no one knows where they live or work out of, and hence it is extremely difficult for law enforcement agencies to pin them down and interrogate them. Their media interviews have all taken place on a secure chat app called Signal. Messages sent through Signal are end-to-end encrypted and the user cannot be tracked based on geo-data or IP.

The whole persona building with typical vocabulary of 4Chan and other online forums and overemphasis on drugs seems pretty forced. Perhaps this is done to allude to pop culture imagery of hackers portrayed online and in shows like ‘Mr. Robot’. 
‘Mr. Robot’ is the most popular and accurate depiction of the hacker culture in mainstream entertainment so far. (GIF courtesy: GIPHY)
‘Mr. Robot’ is the most popular and accurate depiction of the hacker culture in mainstream entertainment so far. (GIF courtesy: GIPHY)

Legion is quite media-savvy and their choice to hack Twitter accounts is a clear indication of that. Vijay Mallya, Barkha Dutt and Ravish Kumar are all extremely popular online personalities and have garnered immense chatter among relevant circles. Legion wants to establish their existence in people’s consciousness and in that endeavour they seem to have had some success.

They may also be aligned with the establishment or seem inclined towards it as there have been no direct hacks on the government or the BJP yet.

However, it seems Legion’s eyes are now set on releasing a big data dump of mails from sansad.nic.in. Nic.in is the official mail server used for all bureaucratic purposes and breaching this will give anyone easy access to official mail exchanges between some “Big Fishes” from the government.

Can the Indian Establishment Prevent Hacks?

Indian online defence systems are not equipped to handle a large-scale cyberattack. (GIF courtesy: GIPHY)

Does the Indian establishment have adequate and intelligent online defence systems in place to avert a large-scale cyberattack? Technology expert Prasanto K Roy doesn’t think so.

“While CERT works to secure critical assets of national importance such as the PMO office like a fortress, the general approach towards any other cyberattack seems to be a rather unscientific ‘Shut Down the Internet’.”

Prasanto also points out that ministers, bureaucrats and other government officials have an extremely lackadaisical mindset towards online security.

Most babus have an ‘armchair mail’ on the sarkarinic.in mail service but choose to use private mail services such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, even for official work. Some aren’t aware of Phishing and, hence, keep falling prey to these attacks. Till a couple of years ago, Gmail IDs were flashed on the IT ministry website as the official way to contact them. Fortunately, most departments have now switched to secure government IDs.Prasanto K Roy, Technology Expert

India has one of the most comprehensive cybercrime laws, but all that falls apart when it comes to enforcement. While high profile attacks by hackers such as Legion may not affect the average person on the street, even a small attack on digital financial services will put millions at risk. The government and private stakeholders need to ensure airtight security for financial tech if they really want to make good on the promise of Digital India.

Author : Ankit Vengurlekar

Source : https://www.thequint.com/technology/2016/12/13/drugs-hacks-and-internet-anarchy-who-is-legion-twitter-hack-rahul-gandhi-barkha-dutt-narendra-modi

Categorized in Internet Privacy

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