Stringer / Reuters
DUBAI (Reuters) - Cyber attackers have targeted Iranian infrastructure and communications companies, disrupting the Internet across the country, a state official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Iran, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, has tightened cyber security since its uranium enrichment centrifuges were hit in 2010 by the Stuxnet computer worm, which Tehran believes was planted by arch-adversaries Israel or the United States.
"Yesterday we had a heavy attack against the country's infrastructure and communications companies which has forced us to limit the Internet," Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi, secretary of the High Council of Cyberspace, told the Iranian Labour News Agency.
"Presently we have constant cyber attacks in the country. Yesterday an attack with a traffic of several gigabytes hit the Internet infrastructure, which caused an unwanted slowness in the country's Internet," he said.
"All of these attacks have been organized. And they have in mind the country's nuclear, oil, and information networks."
Israeli officials have threatened military action against the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy sites if Western sanctions on Tehran's banking and oil sectors do not persuade it to shelve its disputed atomic program.
Western powers suspect Iran is trying to develop the means to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran says it is enriching uranium only for civilian energy.
Last month a commander in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said it was prepared to defend itself in case of a "cyber war" and deemed it more dangerous than a physical confrontation.
Iranian authorities said in April that a computer virus was detected inside the control systems of Kharg Island — which handles the vast majority of Iran's crude oil exports — but the terminal remained operational.
Iran maintains one of the world's largest Internet filters, blocking access to tens of thousands of websites on the grounds that they are criminal or immoral. Sites expressing anti-government views are routinely barred.
Many of the Internet restrictions date back to the use of sites such as Facebook and YouTube to rally and publicize mass anti-government protests that erupted after the disputed 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iranian riot police clashed on Wednesday with demonstrators and foreign exchange dealers in Tehran over the collapse of the country's currency, which has lost a third of its value against the dollar in a week, witnesses said.
Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who shouted slogans against Ahmadinejad, saying his economic policies had caused the currency crisis.
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A Chinese man in Wuchang, Hubei Province, China has been living inside an internet cafe for over the past two months. When questioned as to why he was in the cafe, his answer was, “I’m training for gold.”
The man, 23-year-old surnamed Wang, has been staying in a net cafe located on the corner of Xujiapeng, Wuchang. The story about Wang started circulating Chinese message boards earlier this month but no one really took it seriously, that is until Chinese internet news portal Tencent sent out a reporter to the location to verify the story.
According to the message boards and verified by Tencent, Wang has been sitting at the number 76 machine for over two months. He eats, sleeps, and lives within the cafe. Supposedly over the course of his stay (reports say that he’s still at the cafe now), Wang hasn’t changed his clothes or taken a shower, and he’s starting to reek because he’s been too busy “training for gold”. Wang’s apparent stench has been driving other players away from his vicinity.
Miss Xiong, the proprietor of the net cafe and some of her employees have tried to get Wang to take a break from his “training” but Wang refused. Xiong says that because Wang has paid his fees they can’t really ask him or force him to leave.
Tencent reports that the true purpose of Wang’s stay at the net cafe is more than just “training for gold” but instead gold farming. It appears that Wang is a Chinese gold farmer, he plays online multiplayer games and collects gold and equipment for lazy players in exchange for real world cash.
When questioned by the reporter whether or not Wang was worried about his health, overall well-being and if he was worried if his stench was affecting nearby players, Wang replied,”I don’t know you. Go Away”.
小伙吃住网吧两个月浑身发臭 自称代练游戏 [Tencent Games]
So, neighbors have asked Eyewitness News why some facilities are still open, and they complained about more trouble at these locations.
"There's a lot of traffic, a lot of trash, a lot of loud noise," a woman complained near Bernard Street and Inyo. She said it's bad in the late night hours. And she didn't want to be identified, worried about a bad element at the café.
"I don't understand it at all," the neighbor told Eyewitness News on Friday. "I just hope that the D.A. will do their job and get our neighborhood back."
The Keeping it Reel Internet café was open. Only one man was inside, and he said his mother owns the facility. He said the café is open from 10 a.m. until 4 a.m. The small business was lined with a number of computers, and signs for "sweepstakes." A sign in front said, "win cash."
On Oak Street, other neighbors had complained to Eyewitness News about parking problems at the Hot Spot Internet café. Signs on the front door told customers more parking was available in back, and urged parking courtesy. Nine customers were inside on Friday morning. A woman behind a desk said no managers were available to comment.
In August, the Kern County District Attorney's office announced a judge had ordered nine other Internet cafes to stop their sweepstakes activities. At that time, several of those businesses told Eyewitness News the sweepstakes services were marketing promotions and not illegal. The D.A. had disagreed.
"What they're offering in exchange for the money is actually the opportunity to win more money," Deputy D.A. Greg Pulskamp had told Eyewitness News. The true product is the gambling device."
The cafes say they're selling things like Internet minutes, prepaid phone cards, or other products and services.
One of the locations ordered to stop their sweepstakes was the Oz Café on F Street. On Friday it was still open.
"As of Aug. 7 we suspended the sweepstakes portion of our business," owner Phillip Walker said. His facility sells services like fax, copy and document-preparation. Walker says those are his products, which they still offer even after the sweepstakes games are gone.
"The difference being, is the products that we have here aren't moving as fast," Walker said. "Because people are not in here two, to three, to four hours."
Walker said his company is appealing the judge's order to stop the sweepstakes, and they're waiting for a ruling from an appeals
court. He insists the sweepstakes games he offered are like promotions at many fast food restaurants and grocery stores, but admits there are problems at some Internet cafes
"They're in it basically just for the sweepstakes, and that's when it's wrong," Walker said.
Deputy D.A. Greg Pulskamp told Eyewitness News on Friday his office is aware of the cafes that are open, and his office is "very concerned." Pulskamp said vice squad officers are investigating cases, and that takes a while.
He added that two of the nine cafes previously ordered to stop the sweepstakes will be back in court next week, and at that time the D.A's office will try to get preliminary injunctions ordered where the judge had approved temporary restraining orders.
Pulskamp said with the places they've investigated, officers got a lot of complaints.
"There was a dramatic increase in the number of vandalism incidents, drug use, and even allegations of prostitution," he'd told Eyewitness News in July. Pulskamp added that Kern County seems to be a hot spot for big companies providing game software, trying to bring the sweepstakes in.
Eyewitness News made calls to both the cafes in Bakersfield we found that are open. No calls were returned.
The neighbor in east Bakersfield is glad to hear the heat is still on the Internet cafes. She's not sure the sweepstakes are the root of the problems, but she worries about the customers they see.
"I want the D.A. To come in, investigate," the neighbor said. "And make sure that everything's on the up and up."
PARMA -- Internet Paradise — which was the city’s only Internet cafe before it reportedly closed in May — has reopened.
However, it’s not clear when it reopened. City officials say they don’t know and the cafe’s owner, Michael Strichko, will only say that “it’s been a while” since the cafe reopened its doors.
Strichko also refused to say whether Internet Paradise, 11727 Snow Road, still has sweepstakes machines that contain games provided by VS2 Worldwide Communications LLC in New Jersey.
VS2 was one of seven companies and 10 individuals indicted by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason in May.
In a May press release, Mason said VS2 was involved in a money-laundering scheme and that since February 2008 the company made more than $48 million in profits from illegal gambling.
In June, Strichko said that before Internet Paradise closed, it contained 50 sweepstakes machines and that all of them contained VS2 games.
When the Sun Post asked Monday if Internet Paradise still had machines with VS2 games, Strichko said he had no comment and hung up.
However, in paper work filed in July with the state of Ohio, Strichko listed VS2 as a vendor and-or supplier that provides sweepstakes equipment at Internet Paradise.
Parma Law Director Tim Dobeck said the city had no position, at least not yet, on the reopening of Internet Paradise, apparently with VS2 games.
“I’ll confer with the Safety Director (Greg Baeppler) and we’ll take it under advisement,” Dobeck said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Parma City Council has placed on second reading an ordinance that would extend the city’s moratorium on new Internet cafes by another 180 days.
The city’s moratorium on Internet cafes was originally established in October 2010, after Internet Paradise opened. That means Internet Paradise was not affected by the city-wide moratorium and was allowed to operate.
Whether Internet Paradise was allowed to reopen with VS2 games is another question, however.
In addition to indicting individuals and companies involved in Internet cafes, Mason in May ordered all Internet cafes in the county to close.
Mason and state officials believe that electronic sweepstakes machines, like those in Internet Paradise, are illegal forms of gambling. Internet cafe advocates disagree, saying their machines are no different than sweepstakes games found in fast-food restaurants.
At that time, Strichko told the Sun Post that he had closed Internet Paradise on the same day as Mason’s announcement, although he said he did so on his own accord. He said he did not receive a letter from Mason.
Then, in June, four Internet cafes — one each in Brook Park, Parma Heights, Richmond Heights and Cleveland — appealed Mason’s order to close down. The appeal was made in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
In June, Judge Nancy Russo issued a restraining order that allowed the four Internet cafes to reopen until she could hear arguments from both sides. That civil case is ongoing and a pretrial hearing was scheduled for Tuesday (Sept. 18).
In her ruling, however, Russo said she would not allow any Internet cafe with VS2 games to reopen.
Mason appealed Russo’s restraining order to the Ohio Supreme Court, which chose not to hear the case.
That left Mason’s charges against the seven companies and 10 individuals in limbo. Nicole DiSanto, Mason spokesperson, said the criminal case is not officially on hold but the prosecutor’s office is waiting and watching the civil case closely.
“It will have a bearing on the criminal case,” DiSanto said.
Meanwhile, also in June, Gov. John Kasich signed legislation that placed a statewide moratorium on new Internet cafes.
The idea was to give the Ohio General Assembly time to come up with rules and regulations for Internet cafes.
That same state legislation required existing Internet cafes to file affidavits containing information about their businesses. The affidavits were due to state Attorney General Michael DeWine by July 11.
Internet Paradise did file an affidavit as an existing Internet cafe, according to the attorney general’s website. The affidavit was received on July 2.
See more Parma news at cleveland.com/parma.
More Parma stories
MIRAMAR, Fla., Sept. 18, 2012 -- /PRNewswire/ -- MTN Satellite Communications (MTN), the leading global provider of maritime communications, connectivity and content services to remote locations around the world, is celebrating the 15-year anniversary of its Internet solution aboard cruise ships. Since 1999, more than 150 million passengers and crew members have logged in to the Internet to stay connected in some of the most remote locations around the world.
From the Internet Cafe to its recently launched Connect at Sea mobile application, MTN continues to lead the cruise industry in delivering innovative communication solutions to meet the evolving needs and expectations of passengers.
"Over the past 15 years, the communications landscape has changed dramatically, forcing cruise lines and communication providers to revisit how Internet enabled devices are being used by passengers and crew," said Brent Horwitz, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cruise Ferry Services at MTN Satellite Communications. "As a pioneer in the industry, we are evolving the Internet Cafe, not just in functionality, but in how to charge onboard. We consistently look for reliable ways to keep crew and passengers connected via their mobile devices, while also considering the price, speed and overall user experience."
The industry's first Internet Cafe was launched in 1999 following two years of "proof of concept" leveraging MTN's Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) technology.
MTN revolutionizes the way that passengers and crew stay connected with friends and family at home and addresses changing passenger dynamics with quarterly enhancements. The company will further validate its commitment to delivering an onboard, cutting-edge Internet experience, with the launch of its Next Generation Network later this year.
In addition to the Internet Cafe, MTN offers a variety of innovative solutions to meet the expectations of cruise passengers, including onboard Wi-Fi, MTN Worldwide TV and the newly launched Connect at Sea voice application. To learn more about MTN's cruise line solutions, visit http://www.mtnsat.com/mtn-product-solutions/cruise-solutions.
About MTN Satellite Communications MTN Satellite Communications (MTN), the first company to offer a stabilized Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite solution for ships at sea, has contributed to the evolution of the satellite industry over the past three decades, delivering communications solutions that address the needs of people moving around the world. Through MTN's reliable global satellite network and expertise, the company continues to deliver solutions across various markets while addressing the unique challenges and needs for each. Today, MTN offers services and solutions to cruise lines, commercial shipping, oil and gas, mega yachts, government entities and aviation markets. MTN delivers and supports a broad array of integrated turnkey services, including remote access for Internet, voice services, remote IT management, global vessel tracking, bandwidth optimization, real-time video capabilities, crew calling solutions, and other enterprise solutions. For more information, visit www.mtnsat.com.
MTN Press Contact Christy Pittman Welz Weisel Communications for MTN +1.703.218.3555 office +1.703.200.1065 mobile email@example.com
SOURCE MTN Satellite CommunicationsOrder Reprint
A narrow stairway leads to a small room, crowded with dozens of wooden cubicles, quiet and well-lit - it's not hard to find an Internet café in Istanbul. Just turn off the main thoroughfare and down any of the smaller side streets and look up. Red neon signs flash "Internet" or "Chat" - the "A" cleverly turned into an @.
The cafés have increasingly become a focus in Turkey's Internet war as the Turkish government grapples with mounting attacks from hacker groups. Now, government agents go to Internet cafés like this one to recruit Internet-savvy kids.
Recently a group of young people were swapping stories in an Internet café, when the police appeared and showed one of them names and passwords, says Baris Isik, co-founder of Alternative Information, a pro-hacking and free speech organization in Istanbul. "They asked him, 'do you want to be a hacker?'" Isik told Deutsche Welle.
Lamers and hacktivists
He calls hackers who work for the government "lamers."
Hacker groups such as Anonymous embarrass governments
On the other side are the hacktivists, Isik says: groups of political hackers.
The main hacktivist group in Turkey is Red Hack, a left-leaning collection of affiliated hackers who leak information about the Turkish government.
There is very little information about the group. It's not known how many members it has, or whether someone is in charge, or where exactly the group is located. Some people describe Red Hack as a digital Robin Hood, some as an Internet thug.
"We think that they are some good old friends, doing their job somewhere, but we don't know," Isik says. But people do know what Red Hack has done.
When hundreds of children were poisoned by spoiled milk handed out at school, Red Hack hacked the milk companies' websites. In response to threats the government would ban abortion, they hacked the Ministry of Family and Social Policy. They hacked the Foreign Ministry website and put up pictures of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shaking hands with the late Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi and Syrian President Bashar Assad. They hacked the website of the Ankara police and posted information about police informants. They hacked the website of the Interior Ministry and supposedly stole files. And the list goes on.
Hackers find the weak spot in computer networks
Istanbul hackers like to gather at Hacker Space. At the end of a short alleyway, a few little girls ride around on their bikes. "HS" is spray-painted in neon orange on a broken concrete wall. The front of the office is glass, and through it, you can see two men typing away on computers. The office is clean, furnished with a few tables and some bookshelves. There is pile of mineral water bottles waiting to be recycled.
Furkan Mustafa, a young man with kind, brown eyes and a bushy beard, helped start Hacker Space because he wanted to teach people to use technology and meet fellow hackers. Furkan says he had been messing around with computers since he was a kid. He once rewired a USB port on his laptop to be a bluetooth device, he said: "When you hack something, it's really exciting. It feels like you need to show it to everybody."
Hacker Space doesn't do political hacks. Most of them are programmers or website designers who regard hacking as a legitimate way of improving existing systems.
"If you pour oil on your pants, you have to put salt on the stain; then you have hacked that stain," says Murat Yilmaz, another founder of Alternative Information. "If your mother uses ice cream containers to store food, your mother is a hacker too, because she hacked the system."
Spiders versus starfish
Hackers: criminals or security experts?
Murat says that much of the information that Red Hack publishes is already half-known or guessed at in Turkey. Publishing the information publicly keeps Red Hack in the newspapers.
The Turkish government has tried to put a stop to the leaks. They reported the arrest of seven Red Hack members. But on Twitter, Red Hack responded that the people arrested were innocent.
Ozgur Uckan, a professor of economics and political science at Istanbul's Bilgi University, explains that snuffing out hackers is much more difficult than stopping a political organization. Hacker groups, Uckan explains, are not like spiders - they are like starfish.
"The spider is kind of a central animal, there is a head and legs. If you cut the head, the spider is dead," Uckan says. "But if you take a starfish, there is no head at all. Every vital organ is repeated in every arm. If you cut a starfish, you have two starfish, you can have five starfish."
Hackers, it seems, are here to stay.
And according to Uckan, their contribution to society is not to be underestimated. "Without hackers there is no progress at all, there is not technology at all," the professor says. "Because curiosity is imagination, and imagination is free."
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Tampa, Florida -- Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office detectives are attempting to identify the two men who robbed an Internet Cafe late Thursday night.
Police say on Sept. 13 around 11:15 p.m., the two armed men entered the Internet Cafe in the 13000 block of Hillsborough Avenue West, walked behind the counter. After getting an undisclosed amount of money, the suspects fled to the back of the business.
Photo Gallery: Internet cafe robbery
The first suspect is described as black male, 22-29 years old, 5'7", 160 lbs., with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a black mask, black T-shirt with a white logo on the front and a white glove on his right hand.
The second suspect is described as a black male, 30-40 years old, 5'7", 200 lbs., with a medium build and black hair in long dreadlocks. He was last seen wearing a black mask, black T-shirt, black shoes and jeans, and white gloves.
Anyone with any information reference these suspects is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 247-8200 or anyone with any information regarding the identity and whereabouts of the suspects and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or text "CSTB plus your tip" to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).
By Ben Rooney
But Facebook’s Richard Allan and Google’s DJ Collins, both of whom head their respective organizations’ public-policy departments for Europe, Middle East and Africa, agreed on a lot more than they disagreed. At times the two were a bit like a double act, ribbing each other.
“The idea that one person is going to win it all is ridiculous. It doesn’t work like that,” said Mr. Collins, refuting suggestions that the two were head-to-head competitors.
With their backgrounds in U.K. politics (Mr. Allan, technically Lord Allan, is a Liberal Democrat peer, and Mr. Collins worked with the last Labour administration) and working in the politically charged environment of public policy, both were skilled in sticking to the party line. Mr. Allan several times quoted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; Mr. Collins, no matter how many times he was asked, stuck to the party line that Google+, the company’s fledgling social network, was performing as the company had hoped. He wouldn’t be drawn on what those hopes were.
Other areas touched on included:
Mobile: Mr. Allan stated, “We are a mobile company,” which might surprise some commentators who have linked Facebook’s share-price plummet to questions over its mobile strategy. Both stressed the huge growth in Internet connections from mobile devices and the opportunities in emerging nations.
Regulation: Mr. Allan contrasted the European approach to regulation with that of the U.S. The U.S. tends to look for a market solution first and then regulate; Europe, he said, had a tendency to go to regulation first. “A market-driven solution may not be ideal, but it is likely to be effective,” he said. Mr. Collins criticized some parts of Europe for taking a “permission to innovate” approach; yes, innovation is encouraged, but only if you seek permission first.
Europe: The biggest problem in Europe is the lack of a proper single market; in theory there is one, in practice it doesn’t exist.
Open vs. Closed: Mr. Allan suggested that open will always win, although as one member of the audience pointed out, while Facebook’s APIs are open, of course they are under Facebook’s control, so is that really open?
Follow the Tech Cafe on Twitter with #wsjtech.
Spartanburg City Council passed the first reading on a proposed ordinances that would place tougher zoning restrictions on Internet sweepstakes cafes and body-piercing shops.
According to our news coverage partners at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Council had previously passed two moratoriums on Internet cafe establishments, but City Attorney Cathy McCabe said the city needed a clear framework on where and how the cafes can operate.
The newspaper reports that new devices use the internet in “games of chance,” and simulate gambling. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether the devices are legal.
Law enforcement in various parts of the state have seized the machines and county magistrates have subsequently ruled on the legality of the machines, although those rulings aren’t consistent, McCabe told the Herald-Journal.
The Herald-Journal reports that Council voted unanimously Monday to allow the cafes only in industrial zones and they must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, day care centers, churches, religious institutions, the boundary of a residential district, a property line of a lot with a residential structure, public park, playground or recreation area, public building, hospital, doctor’s office, medical center, nursing home, youth activity center and any registered historic property. Also, the cafes can’t be closer than 500 feet of another Internet cafe.
No one younger than 18 is allowed in the cafes and alcohol can’t be sold or consumed in the establishments. The cafes can be open 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and must remain closed on Sunday.
The Herald-Journal also reported that Council put restrictions on body piercing shops by requiring owners to comply with the same guidelines as tattoo parlors.
Body piercing shops are allowed only in industrial districts and must meet the same distance requirements as Internet cafes. They can’t locate within 1,000 feet of another tattoo parlor or another body piercing facility.
The penalty for those violating the Internet cafe and body piercing facility restrictions are subject to a maximum fine of $500 or 30 days in jail.
Council must hold public hearings and second reading on both ordinances before they are enacted.
To read the rest of this article from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, click here.