Online Services and Who’s Responsible for its Security?

In the news over the last 48 hours we have seen two different types of security breaches on online services and that lead me to wonder where does the responsibility lie for these breaches?

The first one was Google Mail where certain people were subject to a phishing attack the other was the Sony Network.  Now to me its obvious where the responsibility lies in both cases but what I was after is others opinions on this as our lives are increasingly going online and the information is being held by other people.

The Google Mail case for me isn’t Google’s problem as their security hasn’t been breached in a sense, due to the fact that the user has responded to a phishing attempt aimed at them.  The problem then becomes with these attacks on individuals does the company in question step in, while in this case even though I know it isn’t really a breach of Google’s security I believe that Google has a social responsibility to do something about these attempts.  What also complicates the responsibility in this case is the fact the attack was sent via email which is what the service that is being provided is also another complication.  Should the spam filters have caught this attempt?

The Sony case however I believe is completely down to Sony to sort out as it is an attack on their entire network.  Where these attacks come from I don’t know as I haven’t looked into it enough and I would be very much interested to know why Sony are being targeted so much of late. 

To conclude I think both these attacks on the different companies illustrate just where the barrier is for the responsibility of care is whether it is the companies responsibility or the end user, that being said it is not an exact science and it would look good on companies if they took actions to stop future attempts which I am sure both companies are doing.

Let me know what you think.


Legalising Drugs in the UK – Yes or No?

This debate seems to be coming up time and time again with celebrities now getting on the Yes bandwagon but are they?  While watching The Wright Stuff this morning some very interesting points did come out of the show, as they normally do as long as the topic is sensible.  The major point for me was the question of how much damage do drugs actually do to society over legal drugs that people can consume and buy?

I think the major point for me is that there has got to be a cut off point but I do believe that drugs like Cannabis could be legalised for personal use, having to have a license to be able to sell the drug just like Alcohol.  As stated on the show, people were less aware of people that took the Cannabis causing problems unlike people that drink to much alcohol.  In some cases the drugs that are illegal if they were produced properly and not on the black market like they are at the moment would actually do less damage to the person’s body then the likes of Tobacco and Alcohol.

If I was to give an honest answer to this question then it would be yes I am for legalising drugs not for myself but the fact that they could properly produced and the government could tax them bringing in more money for important matters.  More importantly it would stop organised crime from profiting, along with freeing up Police time to deal with bigger crimes than catching people in possession of drugs that are in personal use quantities.

With that aside my concern then becomes how far do you allow it to go?  Where would the cut off point be?

Those questions I can’t answer myself with no personal experience of legal drugs and the consequences of them but to my mind it is food for thought if in some cases they do less social and physical damage then Alcohol.

How do you feel on the controversial subject let me know in a comment.


Privacy Twitter and the Courts

The truth is no matter what service you use on the internet they have terms and conditions and in those terms and conditions it will state that they reserve the right to pass on information to the law enforcement agencies when they are requested if the situation warrants it.

Now with the latest privacy and legal issues surround an internet company being Twitter we have seen them actually standing up to the courts in order to give their users warning to the fact they are giving over the information so they are capable to get their defence in order.  Now what is wrong or right with this is not what we are looking into as I read this article from the Guardian I started to really think about the bad press Twitter had been receiving for giving up users information.

Yes the internet is one of those things that because doesn’t stay in one country it is available world wide and we have covered this that laws from one country might not be the same in the other and could effect the content produced.  The problem with Twitter is the fact that it is just a platform where you send out information as a comment, which means does that mean its gossip?  In the UK we have something called freedom of speech so we are able to say what we want within reason to friends.  The argument with that is Twitter is the same to that but the only problem is its on a public scale.

Twitter is a minefield because it doesn’t meet conventional media outlets, but have you ever stopped to think that if Twitter has this issue what about and Google which was brought to light in the article had given out information to the authorities without causing a fuss and you would of thought they meant not notifying the owner of those accounts. Although I must stress that we do not know that for fact.

So in your opinion should these big companies go to court on your behalf if you break a law or should you be held responsible?

Or more importantly should the companies warn you before they give out the information to the authorities?

My answer would be they should warn you and you should take responsibility for what has been published.  However this also depends on the nature of the law you have broken and whether it directly applies to you according to where you live.

GP Incentives Right or Wrong?

I was amazed by the way GP’s have incentives and what for this morning watching The Wright Stuff out of the four incentivise that I saw on the show there was only one I agreed with.  Part of the main reason I disagree with them surely the main reason anyone wants to become a Doctor is to help people, and by offering incentives to GP’’s isn’t that going against that?

Now I understand having incentives are good and one prime example of this is the incentive to give out the Flu jab to people to me yes GP’s should be doing it anyone as it is in the interest of the patient but that seems to be a positive incentive.  The latest one however is the incentive for GP’s to tell people they are fat.  My question is why should GP’s be paid extra to tell people they are fat? What happens to people that are on the borderline?  Also could problems be overlooked with the wanting to get that little of extra money in their pockets by telling the patient they are fat?

The other incentive that I was concerned about it was the one in which GP’s are encouraged not to send Patients to hospital, and like I have said must people you would of thought go into the medical profession to help people but we all know that if we have the opportunity to make a bit more money we will take it.  To me although the Flu jab incentive is a good one there are far too many incentives that could be detrimental to patient care.

As regards to the latest incentive to tell patients they are fat I believe the money would be better used by putting in place extra funding to help people with their diets and fitness rather then just lining the pocket for someone to tell them they are fat.

What are your thoughts should GP’s get incentives?  Should they be paid more telling people they are fat? Leave a comment and let me know.


Facebook for Under 13s – Yes or No?

For me this was an interesting question because to be honest I have never thought about it.  I think it could be the fact that it is the law and every social network works to it so why do we need to challenge it?

That being said I know that people putting the wrong details into a website to gain access to it so you know there is going to a minority of kids on Facebook that are going to be lower than the age that is regulated.  When this question did come up however I had a think about it and thought well if the kid has access to the internet why shouldn’t they have access to one of the most popular site on the internet?

We all know the risks involved that they could be talking to the wrong people using it but at the same time if they have internet access in my mind wouldn’t it be better that they have access to something like Facebook but closely monitored to teach them about web safety?

If Facebook plans to allow under 13s use the site I think they should put in a system that means that the under 13s account is linked directly to a parents site where the parent has instant access to everything in order to monitor the child’s use of the Facebook, with the ability to change and remove things as they see fit.

Although the internet is a dangerous place I think it could be getting safer because of the more computer savvy parents are now, they will be able to monitor the use of the internet if they are given the right tools than its previous generation.

How do you feel about under 13s using Facebook?


Obama the State Visit- Propaganda

While watching the lunch time bulletin of BBC News it was reporting on the US President Barack Obama’s state visit to the UK and the special relationship that we (the UK) have with the US.  Which there is no getting away from the US seems to be the country with have the most to do with when it comes to the world outlook and all the political moves that are made in this day and age.

That being said though we have recently made moves without them with France, but something in this report caught my eye and that was the fact that they seemed to be stressing how much of a World Leader the US is and to be honest, I do agree with that to a point however I wouldn’t agree with it completely.  I think that in the times we live in that the US. is a super power but they are not the only ones, but this report really did give off the impression that whoever is US president is the leader of the entire of the world.  Which to me seemed a bit odd because in this day and age I would of thought News providers would know that people are more intelligence then before and can make their own opinions up of politics and what they consider to be the state of play in the world.

Which lead me to two questions:

  1. What do we actually get out of the relationship with the US?
  2. Do people see the US President as the leader of the entire of the World?

My answer to the first question was yes they are good allies to have however they might not be as good as we think with their economy struggling, and over the last couple of years all they have brought on us is war.  We might be better off trying to ally better with the developing markets in the long run.

The second question I couldn’t come up with an answer so I would be interested in your views on that question so do not hesitate to leave a comment.

Super Injunctions – Should they be used like they are?

Super Injunctions or Gagging orders, are all over the news these last couple of days surrounding the premiership football player, now I am not here to talk this case in particular but here to talk about the law itself and how it is being used.

I must admit I find it difficult on this subject as I have two contrasting opinions to do with the rich and famous, the one being that their private life should be kept as it should be private and the other that if they live in the public eye then they should expect the fall out.  Like most things I agree that each case should be evaluated on its own merits, for example if you compare the current premiership player in the news to say someone like Katie Price that live their lives in the spotlight you should respect the premiership players private life.  The reasoning behind this statement is the fact this player is only famous for his professional career and doesn’t do anything other than his career as a football player to earn a living, do we even know this football player wife?

The part that I am torn though is the fact are we using these gagging orders in the right way, part of me thinks not the sensible option would be to ask yourself is it a greater risk to the population as oppose to one individual because these gagging orders are just going against the human right of freedom of speech in this country.  The only reason I can see for the Super Injunctions is when it brings in national security and would put people in serious danger as oppose to hiding people’s mistake that are famous.

So at one end of the argument I do believe that this individual deserves the right to keep his affairs private and out of the public eye, but at the same time I believe that these injunctions are not sustainable and maybe should be rethought to how and what the requirements should be met for these orders, so that you don’t get cases like these that undermine the authority of them.

Feel free to leave your comments on this controversial matter.

Mobile Security is it Needed?

This the question that BBC click asked this week, and for my really geeky mannerisms computer security intrigues me.

Along with the fact that I have only just recently decided to stick with one security software provider through the good, bad and the ugly. BBC click brought up the fact that we now spend more and more time on mobile devices and the operating systems are getting more powerful with these trends it is only a matter of time before hackers target these devices and they already have with the Google Android and symbian operating systems.

As I started looking around at the solutions for my own phone HTC Hero (Google Android) I really liked the features these software offered from just scanning your phone for rogue applications to also being able to remotely wipe the phone and locate it if its stolen.  All great features but the question became is this security needed?  As its become the normal to have it on a Windows operating system for everyone.

The answer I came to was that it depends on your situation and what you actually using your phone for, for example I only use a handful of applications and all are well known. Not only that I only have my contacts which are sensitive information on my phone in which I would just change my Google and Facebook passwords.

That being said if I was using my mobile device for a company dealing with other sensitive information there would be a need.

So do we need it?

My answer would be not for everyday use, however the security industry needs to be proactive for when there will be a need for it.  As that day will come

Maxthon complaint to Microsoft

On this rare occasion I am going to stick up for Microsoft here.  As part of an anti-trust court case with the European Union Microsoft was to produce something for the European Market that meant they would give users the choice of what browser they used, instead of using Windows to unfairly gain market share in the Browser Wars.

After loosing the court case Microsoft put in place something that would list the top 5 browsers that are used on the web, and would be reviewed every 6 months to make sure those stats were correct.  Then they also added a further 7 browsers as an option if you scrolled side ways. 

Now Maxthon is complaining that they hold a bigger market share than Safari for the Windows platform and that statistics aren’t right. In the fact that the ones that are being analysed are ones in which do not distinguish between the two different operating systems Mac and Windows.

Ok this is business and any help that one browser can get in order to get a bigger share of the market is understandable however I sat reading this laughing at the fact Microsoft are already giving them a helping hand by having Maxthon’s browser already on the ballet box.  I can’t see why you’d want to complain to much, ok your not on the first page but at the same time you are still on there getting your name out there to more people then you already would normal.

Source: Computer World

Internet Explorer 9 Released: Will you be using it?

Microsoft tend to take slightly longer to release browsers than others in the market. So when they release a new version of its offering for the web browsing market it is always looked upon as a huge event, not only because of its slightly longer time to release it but also because it tends to come with its flagship product Windows.

Internet Explorer has unfortunately for Microsoft has had the reputation for being one of the slowest and insecure browser in the browser wars.  Has it warranted this reputation back in Internet Explorer 6 days the answer would be yes but the latest versions have both made significant improvements in this  and could even be better then the other browsers with their newest offering.  They have added privacy protection that is disabled by default but when enabled it blocks anything on the its list that is considered to be tracking what you are doing and where you are going on the internet.

The biggest selling point for Internet Explorer 9 is the fact that it is quicker than others on the market at the moment and gives you the ability to use HTML 5 along with hardware acceleration.

What does this all mean though?

Web Developers – Will not need to worry about whether their creations will be able to work on all browsers as all of them will be supporting HTML 5 soon and means that you will not get the problem that you’ve had before where you viewed the page in one browser and it didn’t display right but it did in another.  Also hardware acceleration as part of the browser means that they can make more graphic intense content without worrying about how jolty it will be because the browser will be using the graphics card in the machine directly.

Web Users – For web users it doesn’t necessarily mean anything will change for them, to a certain degree because it all depends on the content is produced that they want to see.  That being said if the latest crop of web browsers all work to HTML 5 then they won’t have to worry about what browser they are using because the sites will all display and work correctly for them.

After playing around with Internet Explorer 9 briefly in Windows 7 I didn’t really see a speed increase on Opera or Chrome on general surfing.  The only feature I did like was the privacy blocker as no other browser does seem to offer such a feature, without manually accepting cookies.  So on reflection I won’t be moving back to Internet Explorer just because I am now more comfortable in other browsers however I do feel that it is really a step in the right direction for the browser.

There is one point I would like to stress although some browsers are missing features or have extra features, in my opinion it is all down to personal preference rather then which one is actually better as they have all got really competitive to have a piece of the pie