Fresh Off The Block


Jun
06
2012

Today is World IPv6 Day – why it matters

When you want to call somebody over the phone – or maybe even using Skype or other VoIP services – you connect to them by dialling or having something dial their phone number, right? Every house, business and mobile phone around the world has their own, unique phone number; and all the numbers in the same area are decided by the phone company in charge and distributed supposedly at random based on the rules they’ve defined for that area. But what if a phone company runs out of numbers for the area? The simple solution is to make more numbers, by coming up with a new area code or even a new rule for generating numbers so that they can have a whole new bank to draw from.

The internet works in a similar way. Every device that connects to the internet – whether a computer, an iPod, a smart phone, a games console, or anything really – has its own “number”, known as an IP address, to identify it. To connect one thing to another across the internet, the two devices use their IP addresses to “call” each other and make a connection. So that people don’t have to remember these numbers themselves, DNS Resolvers attach website domains to IPs, so that when you type in the address to a website on an internet browser, the device does the hard work for you.

Like phone numbers, IPs are mostly randomly assigned, but they’re defined by a strict set of rules; and controlled by a regulator (ICANN) who set rules as to what IPs can be given out in different parts of the world and when, which they usually do in blocks to give web hosts in different regions a bank of IPs to use before they need to request more. The current rules are known as “IPv4”, and state that IPs are made up of four numbers, separated by dots, with each number allowed to be between 0 and 255 – making over 4.29 billion number combinations.

Amazingly, over the relatively short span of the Internet’s life so far, the net has grown at such a rapid pace that we’re now almost at 4.2 billion unique devices on the internet at any one time; and so the numbers left have almost run out. If they run out, it’ll become difficult for anything new to come to the internet. So we need to make more numbers. Luckily, computer boffins realised this possibility some years ago and designed a new standard, known as IPv6. This uses new rules to make numbers which allow for larger chains and more numbers in each part, potentially allowing for more than 340 billion billion billion BILLION addresses – several hundred times more than what we have now.

Problem solved, right?

Sadly, actually implementing IPv6 is a technical difficulty in itself, with servers needing to be reworked; equipment needing software updates and in some cases older equipment even needing to be replaced to take advantage of it. It’s estimated only 5% of the internet uses IPv6 and, until most places start using it, we can’t yet fully take advantage of it.

Today, World IPv6 Launch day, is an attempt to change that: today, internet providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as major internet properties like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, are all turning on IPv6 in an attempt to push forward this future of networking and hopefully keep the internet growing for many more years to come. Turning on IPv6 today does not mean that IPv4 will simply disappear: While its use will gradually diminish, there’s still millions more servers to switch and tons of equipment to update. But this first step will hopefully encourage others to also pick up the pace and get us moving forward soon.

You can rest a little easier now 🙂

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    Previous Articles


    Jan
    28
    2012

    Confirmed: Nintendo announce 2012 Wii U Release, Nintendo Network

    Nintendo confirms new console will launch this year, controller gets NFC function

    In its Third Quarter financial results briefing, Nintendo has revealed new details about its plans for the upcoming next-generation console, the Wii U.
    It has been confirmed the company is planning to showcase the final format and discuss the details of the new hardware at E3 2012, which will be held in Los Angeles in June this year. Nintendo can confirm that they will launch the Wii U in Japan, the U.S., Europe and Australia in time for the year-end sales season.
    "For the launch of new hardware, it is, of course, regarded as a sort of requisite not to miss the critical year-end sales season. The company is aiming to firmly complete the development of the entire system and prepare sufficient software so that the Wii U will be at its best at the time of the launch. Needless to say, we have learned a bitter lesson from the launch of the Nintendo 3DS," -Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Jan
    15
    2012

    VirusTotal gets updated, file size limit increased to 32 MB and new interface

    This article was not written by the team at Technically Motivated. It was quoted heavily from a similar post from dotTech.org; which itself was based on a posting from the VirusTotal blog; and has been reprinted here under the terms permitted by the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license the original work was licenced under. Technically Motivated makes no claim of ownership for this article.

    VirusTotal is an awesome website. If you don't know about it already, you have been missing out on life — VirusTotal allows users to scan a file with 40+ anti-virus/anti-malware engines. VirusTotal recently introduced an update to the website. This update brings many goodies. Let's take a look at what they are:

    • New interface. VirusTotal has a new interface; it is more modern and streamlined.
    • New file size limit. In the past VirusTotal only accepted files that were 20 MB or smaller in size. That limit has now been increased to 32 MB. Oh happy days.
    • New back-end engine. VirusTotal has now been migrated to Google Apps Engine. This basically means VirusTotal runs on Google's cloud services. For most of us normal users, it makes no difference if VirusTotal is running on Google Apps Engine or some other cloud service. However Google Apps Engine allows VirusTotal to scale better when the need arises, ensuring a better service level; plus scans and analyzes should now be faster thanks to Google's infrastructure.
    • Other changes. Aside from the major changes mentioned above, other changes include:
      • Thanks to HTML5, VirusTotal now computes the hash of files locally thus if you are looking to scan a file that has already been scanned by VirusTotal, you don't have to upload the file before you are given the ability to view the older scan results.
      • The URL scanner uses more engines now, bringing the total to 19.
      • Releasing version 2 of the public API, improving responsiveness among other things.
      • And more.

    Hit up the link below to check out the new VirusTotal yourself:

    VirusTotal homepage

    [via VirusTotal Blog]

    Sep
    23
    2011

    All your information are belong to them: Researchers claim they can crack secure web connections (read: HTTPS has been cracked)

    The following post was originally published by Ashraf, founder of dotTech.org, on the dotTech website. It has been reprinted here – with only minor edits as required for compatibility with the software used by Technically Motivated – under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial licence – the licence attached to the original work at the time of our redistribution. Technically Motivated make no claim of ownership to the below content nor make any guarantee for its validity or accuracy.

    A pair of security researchers claim to have written a JavaScript tool, named Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS or BEAST, that allows them to access the information being passed behind SSL/TLS encryption. Yeah, you read that properly. These two geeks claim they have the ability to crack HTTPS.

    Without going into too many technical details (because, well, I myself don't understand all the technical wand waving behind this specific exploit and I need to save face by using the excuse of not wanting to go into too many technical details), BEAST "cracks HTTPS" using a two step process. The first step involves sniffing network to gather enough blocks of plaintext data; the second step involves injecting the data back into the secure stream to decrypt the secure connection. Or something like that.

    BEAST uses JavaScript to do all its evil stuffs, so it can be injected to your browser via malicious ads, hidden iframes, or any other component of a website that executes JavaScript code. Original estimates said it takes about a half-hour to break content encrypted with 1,000 character long keys, but some refinement of the code by the researchers have that time estimate down to ten minutes. Ten freaking minutes.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Jan
    25
    2011

    O2 to fling out free Wi-Fi for all

    O2 is planning to deploy 13,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK, over the next two years, each of which will grant users free internet access, as long as you register your mobile number at one. Amazingly, the network won’t just be for O2 customers: anyone with a mobile phone will be able to sign up to the service, which will provide free internet access while logging the customer’s location and details – information that could be used for better delivery of targeted advertising.

    The costs for the new Wi-Fi hotspots will all be paid for by the venue, which might also like to make use of that advertising channel. Newly appointed MD of O2 Wi-Fi Gavin Franks expects to see venues such as supermarkets and department stores offering free 02-branded Wi-Fi.

    O2 already offers its premium subscribers (including iPhone users) access to hotspots run by The Cloud and BT OpenZone totalling around 7,500, and those deals will remain in place while O2 deploys its new free-to-all Wi-Fi network.

    Users wanting to take advantage will need to provide a mobile phone number, from any network, which will be confirmed with a text message. O2 then links the number to the MAC code of the kit connected, enabling it to automatically authorise future connections as well as spotting when the customer enters an area covered – enabling the delivery of the aforementioned advertising by text message or MMS. The MAC link supposedly allows your phone to be uniquely identified by the system, although it is well-known that MAC addresses can be changed on many devices, so it will be interesting to see if this actually works.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2011
    Dec
    12
    2010

    It’s a cyber war, and WikiLeaks is the cause

    Folks, we could be at the verge of the very first global war on technology. Or at least, that’s what the hackers want us to think.

    The battle centres on Washington’s fierce attempts to close down WikiLeaks and shut off the supply of confidential US government cables. For those of you who haven’t kept up with the latest news, WikiLeaks is a well-known whistleblower site that encourages people to post secret documents they’ve managed to get their hands on, so they can be made public and the information contained within made known to everyone – and the people responsible are kept completely anonymous. Lately, WikiLeaks is responsible for leaking the content of a long chain of confidential documents and communications between the US government. Naturally, the US are a little pissed off about it. Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said those who passed the secrets to WikiLeaks should be executed. Sarah Palin demanded the founder of WikiLeaks be hunted in the same way an al-Qaeda operative would be pursued.

    Recently, the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, was arrested in Britain, after British authorities received an arrest warrant from Swedish prosecutors eager to question him on unrelated allegations of rape. News of his arrest, even on unrelated charges, pleased the US authorities. “That sounds like good news to me,” said Robert Gates, US secretary of defence. The US now want Assange to answer to the actions of those using his website to leak the government cables, and his role in helping the leaks get widespread, and have made calls for Assange to be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage.

    Yet even as Assange prepared to appear in a London court last week, an unlikely alliance of defenders had begun plotting to turn on the forces circling WikiLeaks. They were beginning to attack Amazon, which had been persuaded to sever links with WikiLeaks by Joe Lieberman, who heads the US Senate’s homeland security committee; they also hit every domain name system (DNS) that broke WikiLeaks.org’s domain name: Mastercard, Visa and Paypal, which stopped facilitating donations to the site, and the Swiss post office which froze WikiLeaks’ bank account. Read the rest of this entry »

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2010