Monday, August 18, 2014

Internet's festivities last all year


At this point of the year, many Spanish towns celebrate their patron saint’s day celebrations. Far and wide across the country, villages get dressed for this special occasion and significantly multiply its population in this period. These are days for bull runs, ‘charangas’ (brass bands), religious processions and ‘verbenas’ (open-air dances); a lot of food and, perhaps, too much drinking; it’s a time to be shared with family and childhood friends.

You could say that the Internet has its own festivities, but in this case the celebrations are held throughout all year. In "cyber bull runs", instead of bulls they are distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which are becoming more and more "savage" year by year. In the second quarter of 2014, the average peak size of these attacks has increased by 291% compared to the first quarter, according to a report by VeriSign. In this regard, 65% of them exceed 1 Gbps.

In cyberspace the number of festivals is huge. Hundreds of millions of people everyday enjoy countless orchestras of servers or connected devices. However, there are always some people who want to get as close as possible to the stage in order to not miss anything. It seems that GCHQ British intelligence agency has been seeking the best positions in each ‘verbena’ by scanning all open ports across 27 countries in a project called "Hacienda". That way, they would have taken over vulnerable servers to later use them in attacks without revealing their identity.

What really livens up popular fiestas in Spain is the music of brass bands. On the Internet, however, users are entertained watching videos and browsing through their social networks. Sometimes such simple activities can bring some problems though. For example, in Facebook, some of the most viral contents are false and lead users to malicious websites orchestrated by cybercriminals. The last big hoax spread across the world's largest social network was the death of Hulk Hogan, a wrestler and actor from the 90s.

To regain the  strength and make the most of a festivity, there should always be plenty of food and drink. For example, browsers feed on juicy security updates that strengthen them after days or weeks of relentless spree. Recently it has come the turn of Safari, for which Apple has released updates that fix seven vulnerabilities.

But you better be careful to not exceed your limits. Most of us have ever experienced the effects that the excessive intake of food or drink  can produce on us. It seems that the Internet Explorer browser ended up 'drunk' after its latest security update which caused the dreaded "blue screen of death". So Microsoft has advised all users to uninstall the patch MS 14-045 released on August 12.

Another risk of towns festivities is the gossip, especially in small the smallest ones where everyone knows everything about each other. If someone crosses the line with alcohol and says or does something stupid, everybody will know the next day. In this sense, the Internet is like a huge town full of busybodies. The "PORTAL" project aims to put it more difficult to cybercriminals, governments and businesses by allowing you to go unnoticed on the Web. This is a modification of a TP-Link router’s firmware which automatically connects the user to the TOR anonymous network .

If you want to enjoy the daily Internet’s festivities in a secure way, we invite follow us through our social channels (find the links at the right sidebar) or here on our blog to keep yourself well informed. Happy patron saint's day celebrations!

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