All posts by Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. He rants occasionally at Techarraz.com. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.

Facebook Uses Potentially Insecure Encryption for Email

It seems like everyone in every nook and corner of the world is after Facebook. Starting with privacy controversy to the recent death warrant against Zuckersberg, Facebook is having a tough time. And to add worries to these woes, we have John Graham-Cumming at http://blog.jgc.org, who has  written a post to show how vulnerable the Facebook mail system is.

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Facebook emails are signed using DKIM.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) lets an organization take responsibility for a message while it is in transit.   The organization is a handler of the message, either as its originator or as an intermediary. Their reputation is the basis for evaluating whether to trust the message for delivery. Technically DKIM provides a method for validating a domain name identity that is associated with a message through cryptographic authentication.

John Graham-Cumming has taken the header of a mail from Facebook. He has then successfully found that it is a RSA public key. On passing this to openssl, he successfully obtained the bit level of the encryption which stands at 512 bit. That makes this technique and the emails sent from Facebook easy to tamper with, sign and send back to the user. Not only that, a hacker can send an email signed with that key making it appear from Facebook.

Facebook has been informed of this and it is expected that they will make some changes to prevent this exploit.

We have kept Facebook really busy over the last few months! The good old saying of “With Great powers comes great responsibilities” is so much true.

The World Cup is the Hottest Thing on the Internet Right Now

As it turns out, the FIFA world cup 2010 has become the most popular web event in the history of the Internet. This event has turned the table in its favor and claimed this title beating president Obama’s Election Day victory. The official FIFA world cup website is now serving as many pageviews as Facebook and if we remember correctly, Facebook was competing with Google in the US a few days ago. That can help you estimate the magnitude of this overdrive.

Though, that is just one source of the FIFA buzz. It is all over Twitter, Facebook and other social networks as well. This makes FIFA world cup the hottest and the most happening thing on the Internet. Univision, which is managing live streaming of the matches claims that at least a quarter million people are watching matches online in U.S. and Puerto Rico. This includes desktop and mobile viewers.

Twitter users who are football fans at the same time, bring down a river of tweets updating regularly on the match proceedings. Twitter is having a hard time managing rates of 3000 tweets per second and has surrendered announcing that users should be ready for occasional downtimes.

Compare this to the last football world cup and you will see, how popular the Internet has become in the past few years. Readwriteweb has made a roundup of the driving factors behind this popularity.

Pakistan Ready to Issue Death Warrant Against Zuckersberg and Andy

Facebook has really upset the Muslim world with its “Draw Muhammad” page and this brought trouble for Mark Zuckersberg, the CEO and co-founder of Facebook.

A criminal proceeding against Mark Zuckersberg is in place and he is being investigated against for the highly controversial “Everybody Draw Muhammad” page. This proceeding is taking place in Pakistan which also happens to be one of the larger Muslim nations and has better connections with the west. Also involved in this proceeding are Facebook co-founders Chris Hughes and  Dustin Moskovitz and Andy, a German who started the page.

A Facebook spokesperson has refused to comment on this calling the matter legal. These charges are being pressed against the 295-C of the Pakistan penal court which says,

Use of derogatory remark etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet, whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable for fine.

According to that, Facebook has committed a heinous crime though; I have a question to ask here.  Is is right to issue a death warrant against the founder and the people running Facebook? They are not the ones who created the page in the first place!

Although Mark Zuckersberg never stops getting into trouble, but this is the biggest trouble he can get into.

IBM to Start Developing Mobile Apps Soon

Mobile applications are on a constant rise and so is the development of various mobile platforms. This development has allowed many mobile Operating Systems to reach a stable state, so that enterprise companies like IBM start considering them as a development platform for their business.

With this insight, IBM has announced that it will start developing mobile apps soon and has already the taken the first step in this process by developing an app for the iPhone. Mail Triage is an app developed by IBM which manages Email on the iPhone OS and IBM has many cool apps in store for Google Android too.

This announcement was made at unveiling of a new software lab at  Massachusetts. This new facility will cater solely to mobile app development and a considerable part of this app development will be related to social networking. IBM has already developed apps for Blackberry, Symbian, iPhone and the iPad. However, once it gets into the mainstream business, it will face tough competition from small scale developers who connect to their users in a better way.

An enterprise solution adds that feeling of receiving a good support and continuous updates and development though; it also includes a certain amount of red tape associated with approaching out to them.  Let us see what changes IBM brings about in this rich mobile app territory.

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Is The End of Email Nearing? Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Thinks So!

The technologies of tomorrow are decided and framed to appease the youths of today. With that, we see the good old days of email are done away and youngsters are moving to faster, easier and more informal modes of communication.

social-networking

The same vision is shared by Sheryl Sandbreg, the COO of Facebook. At the recent  Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference, she made a statement saying,

If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today. E-mail–I can’t imagine life without it–is probably going away.

She has revealed statistic saying only a 11% of today’s teenagers are sending out Emails though, a larger section of them are opting for faster, crisper and content rich forms of communication, like Twitter, SMS messages and social networks.

This is changing the way things have worked in the past though, now it is opening doors for better communication in the world of business. A an example, I have seen the Dell Twitter account respond to user complaints faster than conventional Email style communication. This goes a long way into managing and establishing a brand.

Though, in my opinion, the good old Email still works for me. The end of Email might be nearing though, it has evolved from being simple mail management to a complete account management. Email might still live, but in a different form.

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(Image Source: JGooders Blog)

Facebook and Twitter use BitTorrent to Update Codes across Servers

Facebook uses BitTorent as an ideal solution for transferring huge amounts of files to a number of locations, in a short span of time. With that view, it uses BitTotrrent to upgrade files across its servers. This makes BitTorrent a prospective enterprise solution for file transfer and upgrades its image from being a simple file sharing utility.

Large websites have a huge number of servers to serve data locally, all of which synchronize centrally. We see this system prevalent in Google and Facebook. Facebook’s systems engineer Tom Cook talked at the Velocity Conference saying,

BitTorrent is fantastic for this, it’s really great. Its superduper’ fast and it allows us to alleviate a lot of scaling concerns we’ve had in the past, where it took forever to get code to the webservers before you could even boot it up and run it.

With this innovation, Facebook can send hundreds of MBs of updates to all its servers in a few minutes. Without BitTorrent, they say it would have taken hours for the process to complete.

Apparently, Facebook is not the only one using this tech. Twitter uses the same technology to roll out its updates. This endorsement has almost made BitTorrent an industry standard in transferring huge data reliably and quickly.

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iPhone 4 has Wi-Fi Driver Issues, the Cause of the Wi-Fi Mishap at WWDC is Revealed

The WWDC Wi-Fi mishap has brought Steve Jobs and Apple a lot of embarrassment and has sent people all over the world out on a treasure hunt to find the cause for this. Earlier, it was believed that the number of Wi-Fi hotspots in the room was so high that the iPhone 4 could not fetch that list. Though recently, experts are of the opinion that it can as well be a real problem with the iPhone itself.

Experts believe that this is a pre-release version of iPhone 4 OS. That, coupled with some Wi-Fi driver issues caused the Wi-Fi problem at WWDC.  Glenn Fleishman at Ars Technica investigated into this and talked to  Phil Belanger in the process. Phil Belanger is a  renowned  network expert. Phil Kearney, who happens to be an ex-Apple employee,  was also contacted by Ars in this matter, was of the same opinion as Phil Belanger. This was indeed a driver problem.

The availability of multiple networks was surely a valid reason as it caused a huge congestion in the wireless network in that room. Though, given the power of a Mi-Fi network (being used at large in the room), it was not a powerful enough congestion to stop all communication!

Ars makes a roundup of the situation by pointing out that both the 3GS and 4G were in close proximity eliminating chances of any blind spot in a network. iPhone 4, powered by the improved 802.11n Wi-Fi chip was expected to perform better than the 802.11b powered devices. The blame clearly falls on the iPhone 4 OS Wi-Fi driver.

On a final thought, now that the cause of the Wi-Fi failure is public, iPhone 4 OS should soon get a better Wi-Fi driver that works.

4G Spectrum Auctioned Off in India, Fetches an Acquisition and $5.5B

India is a country where voice is given more importance than data communication over a cellular network. Although, this situation is changing now, but mobile broadband is limited to selected pockets in the country. On the other hand, service providers are more interested in owning bandwidth to release them under high costs which is not always affordable to people.

At a recent 4G auction, (which seems useless currently in itself has India is still not living in a 3G world) Infotel, a mobile broadband provider bought the largest share of 4G spectrum and won the bid for all 22 regions this bid was being placed. One factor that makes Infotel so much better than its competitor is that it has nationwide wireless broadband operations, possibly the largest; making it the  de-facto ruler in this sector.

Others in this race, Aircel, Tikona Digital and Bharti, each got eight, four and four licenses respectively. Seeing this state, Mukesh Ambani who currently holds the Reliance Industries, is now proposing to buy Infotel for $1 billion and also agrees to pay the licensing fees.  This desperate move will make Reliance  Communication  and Reliance Industries tough competitors in the mobile business once again.

What is expected of Reliance Industries now is that it understands the current #fail scenario and need of wireless broadband in India and tries to make it better.

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Cisco Aims to Release a Professional Network by this Year

Cisco has a stronghold on the world of routers and voice and video data transfer technologies. Finally it is exploiting this and jumping into the social networking business with its latest product, the Quad.

Though with so many social networks around us and a few of them catering to business and professional aspects exclusively, there is saturation in this market. So what makes Cisco think it’s network is going to survive?

Well, Cisco here is relying on its supreme video and voice communication technologies and is making this new platform not just a social network but a complete collaboration platform with sharing and live discussions of data, video chatting and web conferencing.

Cisco has made it clear that the product will release this year-end though, it has not announced any price yet. Once released, Quad will be available for the iPhone and iPad. Cisco has an array of technologies related to voice, IM and video communication and Quad seems to be an integration of these technologies. This product can be an instant hit within business enterprise solutions and professionals.

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FIFA World Cup Fires up an Internet Overdrive, Gives the Internet its New ‘Busiest Day’

The FIFA world cup started yesterday and has kept people all over the world glued to their television for live action. Though this time, this football love is not just limited to the television set.

Though, this football love is not limited to the world of television only. It has affected the Internet largely and has reported a day with the highest bandwidth usage on the Akamai network. This is the largest usage since the inauguration of Barrack Obama which was viewed by a large number of people online.

The Akamai network reports an 11 million visitor requests per minute and a total increase of around 230% in traffic. Akamai is the world’s largest CDN and this data comes straight from the millions of users it serves. Other notable CDNs include the Google CDN which has served a considerable amount of videos as well.

This increase in viewers has been triggered by two events. First is the improvement of Internet bandwidths and connections and second is the availability of HD live streaming videos.  The availability of HD videos has attracted a huge number of viewers who otherwise preferred the good old television earlier. With this success rate, there is an array of events to watch out for in near future.

In the meanwhile, you can all the info to watch the world cup online at this post.

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