Monday, February 22, 2010

Nearly a bridge too easy for South Africa

The first India vs South Africa ODI came down to 1 run:

Yes, the SA batsmen had a gallant whack at the end, but yet again India nearly faltered. SA's 74 runs required from 43 balls looked like India had it in the bag. Then the bowling disintegrated (I don't know how else to describe it). Sreesanth and Nehra both being hit for 4s and 6s, and suddenly SA is poised to take the game?! I could not believe the score - and the last couple of overs.

And I suppose technically India did lose the match, in a manner of speaking, Nehra should have been bowled out off-stump - amazing how a 136 km/h ball did not knock the bales off, let alone the stump...pure luck I suppose...and without that boundary simple math tells you who would have won...

Jadeja and Kallis were the standout performers. And Praveen Kumar is a handy addition to the side in all aspects.

Now let's see what happens in the next match later in the week...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A spin on the old email phishing/scam?

Earlier this week, I received a SMS on my mobile phone telling me:

Thank your star! Your mobile number have won 1Million USD in FIFA 2010 GAME OF LIFE PROMO; for claims e-mail or call +447-024-036-835

The originating number showed up as: +2347056318188

This had me intrigued. I have been lucky enough to win many many wonderful prizes over the years where the very considerate organisers/promoters have been kind enough to contact me (in some cases persistently hound me) and advise me of my win. I have won trips to Florida, several million dollars (and counting) from various things, mobile phones, a villa by the sea, a Mercedes-Benz, and the list goes on and on.

I also had a rather rich Uncle (who I never knew about but he has the same surname as me) who passed away in the UK not too long ago, and he left me a small fortune as well. His very able lawyers engaged a very efficient agent to hunt me down so that I could claim my inheritance. How wonderful of them. I also had a colleague from my former regiment who died in an unfortunate accident who also left me a large part of his final will and testament. I cannot quite recall this colleague in question, and the unit he belonged to does not exist, but never mind all that. Then I have all those nice Bankers/Oil Company employees and Widows/Children of famous leaders from Africa paying me a handsome percentage to transfer funds for them. My Bank could not be any happier, what with all the money they are making from comissions and fees on the foreign exchange. is good when you are in such demand, but I digress.....I wonder if I sound a tad sarcastic in this paragraph? :)

Anyway, so I thought I would investigate the SMS a bit more. First I called +447-024-036-835. The number would not connect - +447 is not a valid country code. But if I re-arrange the numbers as +44-702-403-6835 then this is in the UK. I looked up the number on UK Phone Information and that indicates this is a "personal number" that is likely to be in service. This general range of UK numbers 702-xxx-xxxx are often set up as a UK number that forwards to just about anywhere in the world.

Then I called +2347056318188 and that connected. +234 is Nigeria but what I found interesting is that the call was answered by someone with an obvious East Asian accent. I am not entirely convinced the call was actually answered in Nigeria, but rather perhaps via VoIP it terminated elsewhere, after landing in Nigeria. Need to investigate more perhaps.

Then I had a look at the email address. Our friends at Robtex gave me the following information about "":

Summary is delegated to six nameservers, however all six delegated nameservers are missing in the zone and six other nameservers are listed instead. There are six duplicated IP numbers. Some of them are on the same IP network. Incoming mail for is handled by one mailserver having a total of two IP numbers. They are on the same IP network. has one IP number.,,,, and at least 16 other hosts point to the same IP.,,,, and at least 14 other hosts share nameservers with this domain.,,,, and at least 32 other hosts are subdomains to this hostname. is ranked #367332 world wide and is hosted on a server in China.

You can view the above summary and more at this link on Robtex

So, are we seeing a more organised and sophisticated level of phishing and scamming now?

From what I received and the little research I did, there appears to be a Nigerian link and a Chinese link. Add to this that I did not receive an email, but rather a SMS to my mobile phone - which is more "personal" and perhaps could be more "trusted" by a lot of people. People do expect email scams these days, but I am not sure SMS scams of this nature are that well-known (at the moment).

Educating people about such risks is very necessary, but there will still be people who will get duped. An acquaintance of mine from the Australian Federal Police told me not long ago that there are still people in Australia who are falling for the old Nigerian email scam, even though that scam has been highlighted often in various forums and media. He also indicated Australian citizens were not alone in this and other countries also had the same. I suppose greed often comes in the way of rationale thinking...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Global Innovation Commons

This is an interesting development:

If this takes hold and works in the way it should, the possibilities and opportunities are (nearly) limitless...

From the site:

What would happen if you were given over $2 trillion? That's right, if someone walked up to you and gave you $2 trillion. That could never happen, right?

In fact, that is exactly what has just happened.

While the patent system has been around since the 17th century when it was developed by nobles in Italy and England, it may surprise you that the system was designed to benefit you. Patents were supposed to be a public disclosure to advance science and useful knowledge. If someone shared sufficient information to teach the public about a novel development or useful technology, they would have a limited time (about 20 years) to decide who could use that idea.

There's some bad news and some good news. First, the bad news: For the past 30 years, patents have been abused. Rather than serving the public's expansion of knowledge, they've been used as business and legal weapons. Over 50,000,000 patents covering everything you do have served to keep you from benefiting in many aspects of your life. Many life-saving treatments have been kept from the market because they threaten established business interests. The world's ecosystem has been severely damaged because efficiencies have been kept from entereing the market.

In the face of all this, however, there is the good news: The thirty year "cold war" of innovation is over. Today, you now have access to it all. In the Global Innovation Commons, we have assembled hundreds of thousands of innovations - most in the form of patents - which are either expired, no-longer maintained (meaning that the fees to keep the patents in force have lapsed), disallowed, or unprotected in most, if not all, relevant markets. This means that, as of right now, you can take a step into a world full of possibilities, not roadblocks. You want clean water for China or Sudan - it's in here. You want carbon-free energy - it's in here. You want food production for Asia or South America - it's in here.

But here's the catch. We're sharing this under a license. The license is really simple. If you use this information, you must share what you're doing with everyone else. If you improve upon it, you must share your improvements with everyone else. And finally, if you use any of this information, you must reference the "Global Innovation Commons." That's it. When you take the next step, turn the possibilities into realities.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

GSM code cracked?

An interesting bit of news as we end the year:

From the article above:

After 21 years, the code that has kept the world's GSM networks safe from interception has been broken.
According to a 28 year old German cryptographer Karsten Nohl, speaking at a hacker conference in Berlin the Chaos Communication Congress, the encryption code has been deciphered.
Nohl and a group of cryptographers claim that they have broken and published the primary encryption code for GSM, using legal methods to break the A5/1 standard, and have made available a 'code book' of binary data that could be used to decipher the content of a call within hours or even minutes.
"This shows that existing GSM security is inadequate. We are trying to push operators to adopt better security measures for mobile phone calls," he said.

Let's see how this plays out in 2010, if the code book is released publically, or perhaps finds its way into not-so-nice hands.....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SIP client for Mac

I have been having a bit of an adventure finding a suitable (freeware)
SIP client (softphone) for my Mac.

Its not as easy as on Linux, or Windows for that matter.

X-Lite is there, but it only supports one SIP account - I have several -
so its useless for me.

I found 2 others that may do the job - SIP Communicator
and Blink

SIP Communicator has some nice features, like being able to also handle
your IM needs (Jabber, Yahoo, MSN, etc.). The version on offer is
1.0-alpha, and it is a bit rough around the edges. The interface is not
quite crisp, and it lacks some group management features. The IM cannot
really compare to what Adium offers. The SIP side of it does work, I had
no major issues as such, but again a bit rough around the edges.

Blink is nice (at least for now!). It has a nice crisp interface, and it
allows me to tweak SIP settings I like to tweak. The version on offer is
0.11.1 and I now it running as my default SIP softphone. It also offers
a large range of codecs (no G.729 as that costs $$$).

One other one that I found promising was Telephone
Blink worked fine for me, so I stuck with that, and did not actually try
out Telephone.

Now time to mull over my Email application, do I stick with the Mac or use Zimbra Desktop

I got Mac'ed!

I recently bought myself a Mac.....I had one 20 years ago, and the world is certainly a different place in technicolour!
The Mac I had in those days had a monochrome display :)

One thing I must say is that the Mac really is built for usability. (Nearly) everything just works on my MacBook Pro. I also have a Windows Notebook (Vista, sigh!) and another running Linux (Ubuntu). The Vista notebook is best described as a gutless wonder, largely due to the OS. Everything is a bit of a wait, somethings may load at boot time, some may note, depends on the day of the week........and yes its clean of viruses and malware, etc. etc. etc.

The Ubuntu notebook works fine, but its a lot of mucking around getting things to work just right, be it hardware or applications. I have to add that it has been getting better every release.

The MacBook Pro was a breath of fresh air, things are where I expect them to be, things (nearly) work how I think they should. Of course, it by design, deals a blow to my "open standards mantra", but a good capitalist always has to see the wood for the trees :-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

IGF 2008 and 2009

Although I attended both IGF 2008 and 2009, I did not have time to blog
about them. Here are links to the ISOC blogs on IGF 2008 (Hyderabad,
India) and IGF 2009 (Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt) which give some coverage on
the sessions and events:

IGF 2008:
IGF 2009:

I am back......I think

Its been nearly 2 years since I posted regularly on this blog. Various things have kept me away, however, I hope to post with some regularity from now least that's the thought :)

Monday, December 17, 2007


This past week, I attended GK3 organised by the Global Knowledge Partnership in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The conference was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre which is an outstanding conference venue, surrounded by a range of hotels within walking distance.

The conference itself was a somewhat eclectic mix of people covering civil society, private sector, public sector, social entrepreneurs and others, all with an interest in ICT for Development (another buzzword! ICT4D) and knowledge sharing.

There were numerous sessions organised around the conference covering all sorts of topics (full details available online here. The sessions were a bit of a mish-mash and their relevance really depended on one's background and level of engagement with the topics under discussion.

I did have a feeling that there were too many topics under discussion; with an attempt to somewhat throw things together for a session to happen for the sake of covering a topic, perhaps a bit more focus would have worked better. Then again maybe it was just me......

The greatest value I saw for GK3 was as a meeting place. It brought together a large mix of people together in one venue and was great for networking with folks from across a range of sectors and professions.

Would I attend "GK4"? Most probably, if I can manage it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

IGF 2007: Emerging Issues session and the need for “IGF for Dummies”

Much was said and debated at this session, and what was said covered a diverse range of issues. One observation: (as one would expect in a multi-stakeholder environment) different groups push different issues from technical to non-technical to social responsibility to policy to something somewhere in-between (and outside!).

Talking to some IGF delegates who were “rookies” and some with non-technical as well technical backgrounds, they do get a bit bewildered/confused about what happens at IGF. I think what is missing is an “IGF for Dummies” session, run just prior to the official IGF start to bring folks up to date, as apart from the usual suspects at IGF there are also a whole bunch of people who tend to walk around in somewhat of a daze from room to room, and who may not see and hear what they thought they would. Some may say this can be done locally/regionally, and whilst this is important, the “IGF for Dummies” session is important for those people who actually end up attending IGF.

IGF 2007: ISOC Visibility @ IGF Rio

This year ISOC was highly visible at IGF (and yes I am happy!). In the “Village Square” ISOC had the premium booth and was pretty much the first thing anyone entering the section saw. The 11 ISOC Ambassadors were given lanyards (good one Kevin) to hold their security IDs and this meant we stood out with our white lanyards with ISOC logos blazing on them. As far as I know, the ISOC Ambassador group has been active in various sessions, manning the ISOC booth, as well as networking and talking to people present here.

Congratulations to ISOC HQ for the initiative, and I hope it was valuable to all concerned.

IGF 2007: Consumer Protection and Data Breach Notification

I was a Panellist for this session on Day 3. When I was first approached to be on this panel, I had some idea of the background surrounding the issue, but only when I read through some of the literature provided by the organisers did I get a real appreciation of how grave the issue is, indeed it is potentially a disaster waiting to happen. When we add the attempts to get the next 1 billion online to the mix, the ramifications are potentially even worse. As Hank Judy pointed out, there is a lot of software out there which is pirated and therefore unlikely to get security updates and these machines are highly susceptible to nasty use and abuse.

This week the EU announced a new proposal for data breach notification, which applies to systems connected to publicly available networks. It goes without saying that the next billion coming online, a majority of which are from the developing world, will face substantial data breach issues as they embrace e-commerce and the use of online technology to effect financial and other transactions. It is possible that in the rush to embrace technology, and in the absence of appropriate legislation, some security measures may be overlooked, paving the way for massive data breaches and possible theft of financial and other information. This adds to my earlier stated security concerns with the next billion coming online. Its not only the next billion online, but also a new billion vulnerable online.

I hope that the IGF pays attention to these wider issues related to Internet development, and more attention is paid to such “under the radar” issues. Kudos to David Satola and Henry (Hank) Judy for organising the session, and its a pity the IGF Secretariat allocated what was a lousy time slot (in the face of numerous open slots published in the agenda). I hope David and Hank continue to work on this for the IGF and further work is done at IGF Delhi and beyond. I also hope that consumer protection issues (related to electronic transactions, storage, etc. in particular) become an important part of national policy formulation in developing and emerging countries. This was also evident by comments from the audience.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

IGF 2007: Governance Frameworks for Critical Internet Resources

I was on the panel for this workshop and though, in my opinion, the theme of the workshop was quite clear, the discussions that ensued got fragmented into a discussion on the old ICANN debate. Of course some do say that the Critical Internet Resources theme is a veil for the old ICANN debate. My final comment on the panel was “The Internet is a dynamic beast and Organisations and debates must also be dynamic in nature. In response to the call for institutional competition for ICANN, I would really like to know how exactly this may be implemented, and I fear this will lead to yet another never-ending debate. I would rather we expend our energies on what already exists and try and make that better, rather than attempting to re-invent the wheel”.

IGF 2007: Dynamic Coalition on Access & Connectivity for Remote, Rural and Dispersed Communities

I was involved in the organisation of this workshop and it turned out to be a rather good session, though we had some logistics problems in the beginning with Videos that did not start playing and microphones that did not work.

The session started with a presentation by Janna Anderson from Imagining the Internet on a survey they carried out at IGF Athens and it was interesting to hear comments that were relevant then, and continue to be relevant now.

This was followed by commentary from Dr. Vint Cerf on some of the Access & Connectivity challenges in different regions and some possible solutions.

Dr Cerf’s comments led into a panel discussion on Digital Inclusion issues and the role Government, Private Sector and Civil Society can play. The Panellists were a diverse group representing Private Sector, Government and Civil Society. Examples of Government-Private Sector success stories were presented by Guillherme Saraiva from Comcast Brazil. We were honoured to have the Hon. Gunnar Hökmark, Member of the European Parliament, on the Panel and he offered some perspectives on the role of Governments in creating enabling environments and the value of regulatory reform. Hakikur Rahman from ISOC Bangladesh represented the Civil Society voice on the Panel, having been involved in ICT development for over 20 years. He presented some perspectives on how Civil Society is also an important part of delivering ICT for development, in particular in rural communities.

The ensuing audience interaction was also very valuable with some great examples being provided of access and connectivity initiatives around the world. One example was of India deploying 100,000 ICT centres for e-Government initiatives, and efforts in the Dominican Republic to introduce computers to village communities which has led to an explosion of computer use with more villagers investing in computing technology. One other comment I found of interest was by Arun Mehta of India who said that technology exists for disabled access to ICT, and this in itself is a practical way in which to provide exposure to ICT for an illiterate population - people may not be able to read and write, but they can speak and understand speech, which is what systems developed for the blind do by delivering an oral version of what is on the screen.

We had a peak headcount of around 85, and this was very encouraging. We hope to further build on the Dynamic Coalition and start planning early for IGF Delhi.

Monday, November 12, 2007

IGF 2007: IGF Delhi 2008 Dates

The dates have been announced by the Indian Delegation as 8th to 11th December in New Delhi, India, and the five themes from this year will continue.

Update: Venue for IGF 2008 is going to be the Taj Palace Hotel

IGF 2007: John Klensin @ Opening Session

We just heard from John Klensin, where he gave a brief overview of Internet development, and emphasised that the problems today are not necessarily all new - they have existed in one form or another for some time. He also stated that multi-lingual content on the Internet has existed for a while (with Japanese Kanji in use since the 1980s), and that criminal elements tend to use technology more efficiently then the rest of the world, and using the Internet for stalking, criminal activity, pornography is just a mere extension of the existing (non-virtual) world. I can’t say I disagree.

IGF 2007: And we are away!

IGF Rio has kicked off!

The usual roll call of guest speakers is ticking along. In the opening session, there was some reference to the old ICANN/DNS Adminstration story, but it was good to see some of the guest speakers picking up on this, and re-stating what the focus of IGF should be, and highlighting that all present should expend their energy on the more pressing global issues such as getting the rest of the world online.

It is also somewhat interesting that a large number of the speakers are stressing on different issues (which collectively equate to the various IGF themes) , and I guess this is based on their priority areas.

In terms of numbers, there appears to be less in the room, then there was at IGF Athens, but people are still arriving.