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Security research firm Renesys has authored an interesting blog post
noting how they're seeing a significant uptick in the number of large-scale man in the middle attacks. What's more, insists the firm, these attacks are increasingly gobbling up a larger and larger share of overall Internet traffic without most people bothering to notice.
Since February, the firm states they have observed 38 distinct events in which significant blocks of Internet traffic have been covertly redirected to routers at Icelandic or Belarusian service providers. Renesys provides one such example of a trace from Guadalajara, Mexico to Washington, DC that goes through Moscow and Minsk:
Mexican provider Alestra hands it to PCCW for transit in Laredo, Texas. PCCW takes it to the Washington, DC metro area, where they would normally hand it to Qwest/Centurylink for delivery.
Instead, however, PCCW gives it to Level3 (previously Global Crossing), who is advertising a false Belarus route, having heard it from Russia’s TransTelecom, who heard it from their customer, Belarus Telecom. Level3 carries the traffic to London, where it delivers it to Transtelecom, who takes it to Moscow and on to Belarus. Beltelecom has a chance to examine the traffic, and then sends it back out on the “clean path” through Russian provider ReTN.
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has announced
that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have struck an agreement with forty-five states to stop billing for "premium" SMS services. Such services have long been a source of fraud and cramming, with carriers allowing the annoying services to thrive because they received a cut of the profit (often as high as 40%).
One of the most notable bits in Sandvine's recent study on bandwidth and Internet traffic
is that the doomsday bandwidth apocalypse scenarios breathlessly predicted by numerous analysts, lobbyists, and ISPs never materialized. While peak bandwidth usage is still healthy and growing at 40%, overall bandwidth growth continues to slow substantially, continuing to be manageable with only modest network investment.
You might recall how last year, police in Pennsylvania busted a large group of individuals and a Comcast employee
that had been illegally offering users a lower monthly rate for a one-time fee of between $150 and $200. Comcast estimates the ring caused them more than $2.4 million in losses, with between 5,700 and 6,000 signing up for the offer between 2011 and 2012. The ring ultimately collapsed after they offered the discount to a skeptical customer that contacted Comcast. Now the man considered to be the second in command of the ring has plead guilty, according to the Montgomery News website
Back in May our users uncovered a Canadian scam being run by several individuals who were pretending to be entirely fake ISPs
in order to collect customer cash and private user information. Using ISP names like "Cable Gator" and "Go Cable Solutions," the scammers promise users broadband service they can't get, demand $100 down payments and personal data including SIN and driver's license numbers, then skirt off with the cash.
A rather amazing story has bubbled up over the last week after half of the onion sites in the TOR
network were compromised, revealing the supposedly anonymous identities of Tor users. Malware popped up last Sunday morning on numerous sites hosted by anonymous hosting operation Freedom Hosting, the code exploiting a critical memory management vulnerability in Firefox (see the Tor security advisory
We've long tracked the cable industry's tendency to sometimes hire less than qualified installation subcontractors, who then proceed to do all manner of interesting things including falling asleep
, killing people
, torturing kittens
, digging in the wrong yard
, or blowing up laptops
. However Broadband Reports regular David
directs our attention to a story out of Alabama that adds tax fraud to the ongoing legacy.
Long after this week's surveillance firestorm erupted, the White House has finally seen fit to grace the public with some justifications for their wholesale secret spying on pretty much everyone, everywhere, all the time. In a speech (full video here
), Obama effectively stated that spying on such a ridiculous scale is a "critical" tool in the country's arsenal, and that both
of the programs
exposed in more detail this week were approved by Congress, and therefore perfectly ok.
Users in our Canadian broadband forums
claim to have stumbled into what appears to be an identity theft and scam outfit posing as bogus ISPs in order to swindle users out of installation deposits and personal information. The alleged scam first came to light when users noticed a Canadian ISP by the name of "Cable Gator" offering users 200 Mbps service in regions that can't get those speeds.
Back in April we noted
that AT&T was imposing a new $0.61 "Mobility Administrative Fee" on all postpaid wireless subscriber bills. According to AT&T's website, the sneaky fee "helps defray certain expenses AT&T incurs," though like AT&T's equally nonsensical "regulatory recovery fee," those expenses should be included in the cost of doing business, and not buried beneath the line.
As I've been discussing a lot lately
(because it's the most important issue facing the broadband sector right now), both AT&T and Verizon are in the process of gutting regulations that require they continue offering copper landlines -- and by proxy DSL -- to tens of millions of Americans. Both companies insist that they're simply interested in "modernizing regulations" and ushering us into an "all IP age." In reality, both companies simply want to exit the fixed-line market in areas they're unwilling to upgrade.
Back in January, former FCC boss turned cable's top lobbyist Michael Powell finally acknowledged that caps on fixed-line broadband networks weren't actually about congestion
-- after the cable industry spent much of the last decade arguing caps were all about congestion. Powell did continue perpetuating the myth that caps and overages were about fairness, when most people at this point realize it's simply about driving up the price of data a.
because a lack of competition allows it and b.
to offset inevitable TV revenue losses to Internet video.
The New Republic story continues..
notes that one of the cornerstones of the GOP's technology agenda being firmed up at the convention this week (aside from censoring porn
, opposing net neutrality and further eliminating consumer protections) is "spectrum reform." The New Republic
argues that spectrum reform in GOP parlance is really just code for taking any and all spectrum you can find and selling it to AT&T and Verizon, so they can squat on it and prevent additional competitors from entering the marketplace (aka protectionism).
In addition to just throwing money at the GOP
, the incumbents and the GOP sell the idea of further protecting the nation's duopoly from competition by insisting they're just super
concerned about bringing broadband to rural users.
Dish is already in hot water with the FTC for ignoring the Do Not Call Registry
, and now the satellite carrier's mailers are causing some additional annoyance for consumers. The Consumerist
points out how the company is also sending consumers a mailer with the words "INSTALLATION NOTICE," along with a specific "Appointment No." listed on the front. The additional message of "welcome to the DISH family" on the back tricks customers into thinking they've already been signed up for service, prompting them to call in to Dish. As some Consumerist
commenters note such ads are all too common, with so many mail spam these days dressed up as official correspondence designed to catch the eye. However, letting customers know you're dishonest right off the bat doesn't seem like a winning brand strategy.
Since around 2004
we've talked about the significant amount of fraud involved in the government's IP Relay service, which is intended to help the hearing impaired communicate with phone users via the Internet with the help of paid transcription workers. Unfortunately, for the better part of a decade the service has been abused by scammers and other assorted technoscumbags, with carriers doing nothing about it because they're paid by the FCC (aka you) about $1.50 per minute to carry this traffic.
As we've been discussing lately, there's many people who like to insist we're always facing an unavoidable "capacity crisis"
that never arrives. If you find someone engaging in capacity scare mongering, they're usually selling hardware (Cisco, Sandvine), bad anti-competitive policy and high price justifications (carrier lobbyists), or eager to make a buck off of spectrum auctions (FCC).
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