San Francisco, USA–March 31, 2009–The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet’s premier technical standards body, last week gathered more than 1150 Internet thought leaders at its meeting in San Francisco. Many IETF working groups, where technical work in areas critical to the development of the Internet–including routing, transport and security–met in conjunction with the IETF meeting. Pradeep Sindhu, CTO and founder of official meeting host Juniper Networks, spoke to the IETF on “Clouds – The New Information Infrastructure.”

Several groups with key roles in the technical evolution of the Internet announced new leadership at the meeting.

Joel Halpern, Chair of the IETF Nominating Committee, said, “We are extremely pleased with the excellent incoming candidates from the many qualified community members who offered to serve. They demonstrate the community-driven approach that shapes the IETF and will build on the excellent work of past leaders.”

The IETF confirmed appointments for the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), which provides the final technical review of Internet standards and is responsible for day-to-day management of the IETF. The confirmed IESG members include:

*       IETF Chair: Russ Housley
*       Applications Area Director: Alexey Melnikov
*       Internet Area Director: Ralph Droms
*       Operations and Management Area Director: Ron Bonica
*       Real-time Applications Infrastructure Area Director: Robert Sparks
*       Routing Area Director: Adrian Farrel
*       Security Area Director: Tim Polk
*       Transport Area Director: Lars Eggert

Members of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) were also announced at the IETF meeting. IAB responsibilities include architectural oversight of IETF activities, and Internet Standards Process oversight and appeal. Incoming members of the IAB are:

*       Marcelo Bagnulo
*       Vijay Gill
*       John Klensin
*       Jon Peterson
*       Danny McPherson (incumbent)
*       Dave Thaler (incumbent)

Olaf Kolkman was reappointed as the Chair and Dow Street was reappointed as the Executive Director of the IAB. Aaron Falk was reappointed as chair of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), which promotes research of importance to the evolution of the future Internet by creating focused, long-term Research Groups working on topics related to Internet protocols, applications, architecture and technology.

The next meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force, IETF 75, will be held 26-31 July 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden. Registration for IETF 75 will open in April.

About the IETF
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual. More information is available on the IETF website: http://www.ietf.org

About the IAB
The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and an advisory body of the Internet Society (ISOC). Its responsibilities include architectural oversight of IETF activities, Internet Standards Process oversight and appeal, and the appointment of the RFC Editor. The IAB is also responsible for the management of the IETF protocol parameter registries. For more information about the IAB, see: http://www.iab.org

About the Internet Society
The Internet Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With offices in Washington, DC, and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world. More information is available at: http://www.isoc.org

Dalai Lama entangled in the invisible GhostNet ?

This is from The New York Times with the caption “Vast Spy System that Loots Computers in 103 countries by John Markoff” Posted as appeared in The New York Times and the views expressed do not reflect that of ISOC India Chennai.

A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers have concluded.
In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved.
The researchers, who are based at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto, had been asked by the office of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader whom China regularly denounces, to examine its computers for signs of malicious software, or malware.
Their sleuthing opened a window into a broader operation that, in less than two years, has infiltrated at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including many belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, as well as the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels, London and New York.
The researchers, who have a record of detecting computer espionage, said they believed that in addition to the spying on the Dalai Lama, the system, which they called GhostNet, was focused on the governments of South Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
Intelligence analysts say many governments, including those of China, Russia and the United States, and other parties use sophisticated computer programs to covertly gather information.
The newly reported spying operation is by far the largest to come to light in terms of countries affected.
This is also believed to be the first time researchers have been able to expose the workings of a computer system used in an intrusion of this magnitude.
Still going strong, the operation continues to invade and monitor more than a dozen new computers a week, the researchers said in their report, “Tracking ‘GhostNet’: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network.” They said they had found no evidence that United States government offices had been infiltrated, although a NATO computer was monitored by the spies for half a day and computers of the Indian Embassy in Washington were infiltrated.
The malware is remarkable both for its sweep — in computer jargon, it has not been merely “phishing” for random consumers’ information, but “whaling” for particular important targets — and for its Big Brother-style capacities. It can, for example, turn on the camera and audio-recording functions of an infected computer, enabling monitors to see and hear what goes on in a room. The investigators say they do not know if this facet has been employed.

The researchers were able to monitor the commands given to infected computers and to see the names of documents retrieved by the spies, but in most cases the contents of the stolen files have not been determined. Working with the Tibetans, however, the researchers found that specific correspondence had been stolen and that the intruders had gained control of the electronic mail server computers of the Dalai Lama’s organization.
The electronic spy game has had at least some real-world impact, they said. For example, they said, after an e-mail invitation was sent by the Dalai Lama’s office to a foreign diplomat, the Chinese government made a call to the diplomat discouraging a visit. And a woman working for a group making Internet contacts between Tibetan exiles and Chinese citizens was stopped by Chinese intelligence officers on her way back to Tibet, shown transcripts of her online conversations and warned to stop her political activities.
The Toronto researchers said they had notified international law enforcement agencies of the spying operation, which in their view exposed basic shortcomings in the legal structure of cyberspace. The F.B.I. declined to comment on the operation.
Although the Canadian researchers said that most of the computers behind the spying were in China, they cautioned against concluding that China’s government was involved. The spying could be a nonstate, for-profit operation, for example, or one run by private citizens in China known as “patriotic hackers.”
“We’re a bit more careful about it, knowing the nuance of what happens in the subterranean realms,” said Ronald J. Deibert, a member of the research group and an associate professor of political science at Munk. “This could well be the C.I.A. or the Russians. It’s a murky realm that we’re lifting the lid on.”
A spokesman for the Chinese Consulate in New York dismissed the idea that China was involved. “These are old stories and they are nonsense,” the spokesman, Wenqi Gao, said. “The Chinese government is opposed to and strictly forbids any cybercrime.”
The Toronto researchers, who allowed a reporter for The New York Times to review the spies’ digital tracks, are publishing their findings in Information Warfare Monitor, an online publication associated with the Munk Center.
At the same time, two computer researchers at Cambridge University in Britain who worked on the part of the investigation related to the Tibetans, are releasing an independent report. They do fault China, and they warned that other hackers could adopt the tactics used in the malware operation.
“What Chinese spooks did in 2008, Russian crooks will do in 2010 and even low-budget criminals from less developed countries will follow in due course,” the Cambridge researchers, Shishir Nagaraja and Ross Anderson, wrote in their report, “The Snooping Dragon: Social Malware Surveillance of the Tibetan Movement.”
In any case, it was suspicions of Chinese interference that led to the discovery of the spy operation. Last summer, the office of the Dalai Lama invited two specialists to India to audit computers used by the Dalai Lama’s organization. The specialists, Greg Walton, the editor of Information Warfare Monitor, and Mr. Nagaraja, a network security expert, found that the computers had indeed been infected and that intruders had stolen files from personal computers serving several Tibetan exile groups.
Back in Toronto, Mr. Walton shared data with colleagues at the Munk Center’s computer lab.
One of them was Nart Villeneuve, 34, a graduate student and self-taught “white hat” hacker with dazzling technical skills. Last year, Mr. Villeneuve linked the Chinese version of the Skype communications service to a Chinese government operation that was systematically eavesdropping on users’ instant-messaging sessions.
Early this month, Mr. Villeneuve noticed an odd string of 22 characters embedded in files created by the malicious software and searched for it with Google. It led him to a group of computers on Hainan Island, off China, and to a Web site that would prove to be critically important.
In a puzzling security lapse, the Web page that Mr. Villeneuve found was not protected by a password, while much of the rest of the system uses encryption.
Mr. Villeneuve and his colleagues figured out how the operation worked by commanding it to infect a system in their computer lab in Toronto. On March 12, the spies took their own bait. Mr. Villeneuve watched a brief series of commands flicker on his computer screen as someone — presumably in China — rummaged through the files. Finding nothing of interest, the intruder soon disappeared.
Through trial and error, the researchers learned to use the system’s Chinese-language “dashboard” — a control panel reachable with a standard Web browser — by which one could manipulate the more than 1,200 computers worldwide that had by then been infected.
Infection happens two ways. In one method, a user’s clicking on a document attached to an e-mail message lets the system covertly install software deep in the target operating system. Alternatively, a user clicks on a Web link in an e-mail message and is taken directly to a “poisoned” Web site.
The researchers said they avoided breaking any laws during three weeks of monitoring and extensively experimenting with the system’s unprotected software control panel. They provided, among other information, a log of compromised computers dating to May 22, 2007.
They found that three of the four control servers were in different provinces in China — Hainan, Guangdong and Sichuan — while the fourth was discovered to be at a Web-hosting company based in Southern California.
Beyond that, said Rafal A. Rohozinski, one of the investigators, “attribution is difficult because there is no agreed upon international legal framework for being able to pursue investigations down to their logical conclusion, which is highly local.”


Why IPv6 is like Broccoli

ipv6_ready_logo“IPv6 is not the question — it’s the answer,” Leslie Daigle, chief Internet technology officer for the ISOC, said during an IETF panel discussion on IPv6. “The question is do we want to continue to have an Internet that continues to be expanded by innovations from everywhere? In which case, we need to deploy IPv6 to continue to have global addressing.”

“It’s something of a broccoli technology, in that regard: It’s better for you if you eat it but it’s not necessarily appealing in its own right.”

Daigle noted that the Internet development community has known for at least a decade that IPv4 does not provide enough address space to allow each machine to have its own address. IPv4 has a 32-bit address size, allowing for only 4.3 billion addresses.

On the other hand, the 128-bit address space of IPv6 allows for a staggering 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 possible addresses.

Though there’s a need, Daigle commented that deployment of IPv6 is no trivial task: It’s nothing less than the transformation of the Internet.

And it may need to happen quickly.

From Sean Michael Kerner’s article in Internet News . Please do read on at the above link.



Industry Experts discuss the Vital Significance and Critical Issues Highlighted in a Newly-Released IPv6 Report Surrounding the Future of the Internet

Washington, DC- March 19, 2009- A panel of experts from industry and other Internet thought leaders will convene next week to discuss the pressing need to adopt Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) to ensure the continued growth of the Internet as a platform for innovation. The Internet Society, a nonprofit organization that provides leadership, vision and valued expertise in addressing issues that impact the future of the Internet, is sponsoring the panel in conjunction with a meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet’s premier technical standards body.

Currently, most Internet services are based on IPv4 which, due to the Internet’s continued rapid growth, is expected to run out of available addresses in the next two to three years.

The panel builds on findings released today by the Internet Society from a study of the operational characteristics of IPv6 among its organization members. Internet Society organization members include various Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Internet Exchange Point Operators, (IXPs), enterprises, national research and education networks (NRENs) and network equipment and software vendors. The study was conducted to gain a better grasp on the need to implement IPv6, the usefulness of IPv6 and to learn about their experience in adopting IPv6. The full Report and its findings may be found at: http://www.isoc.org/pubs/2009-IPv6-OrgMember-Report.pdf

With the growing need for Internet users to understand the urgency for IPv6 adoption, the primary goal of the panel discussion is to discuss current progress, issues, and options regarding the imminent need for deployment of IPv6, critical for the continued growth and use of the Internet by individuals, businesses, and organizations worldwide.

The panel will be moderated by Leslie Daigle, the Chief Internet Technology Officer at the Internet Society. Each panelist will have a few minutes to provide initial remarks on different topics relating to IPv6. The panelists for this event include:

* Lorenzo Colitti, Google
* Alain Durand, Comcast
* Jari Arkko, Ericsson Research
* Kurtis Lindqvist, Netnod (an IXP, netnod.se)
* Richard Jimmerson, American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)
* Sebastian Bellagamba, Internet Society

The panel discussion will be part of a luncheon that will take place on Tuesday, March 24 at 11:30 a.m. in Grand Ballroom A of the Hilton San Francisco Hotel in conjunction with a meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). For more information about the IPv6 panel, contact Kate Russell at krussell@rmr.com.

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society (ISOC) is an independent international non-profit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education and policy around the world. With offices in Washington, D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.

Kate Russell
RMR & Associates, Inc.
+1-301-230-0045 ext. 19

Greg Wood
Internet Society


World Economic Forum: Global IT Report

The Report stresses the importance of ICT as a catalyst for growth in the current global turmoil

Denmark and Sweden once again lead the rankings of The Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009, released for the eighth consecutive year by the World Economic Forum. The United States follows suit, up one position from last year, thus confirming its pre-eminence in networked readiness in the current times of economic slowdown. Singapore (4), Switzerland (5) and the other Nordic countries together with the Netherlands and Canada complete the top 10.

The Report underlines that good education fundamentals and high levels of technological readiness and innovation are essential engines of growth needed to overcome the current economic crisis. Under the theme “Mobility in a Networked World”, this year’s Report places a particular focus on the relationship and interrelations between mobility and ICT.

With record coverage of 134 economies worldwide, the Report remains the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations.

The Report is produced by the World Economic Forum in cooperation with INSEAD, the leading international business school, and is sponsored by Cisco Systems.

The interactive report is here

based on a message from SSEA chapters