<IT WORLD> Facebook under attack
By Martin J Young
HUA HIN, Thailand - Facebook fans are starting to fret about recent threats
from Anonymous, the notorious hacker syndicate, to take down the world's
largest social network website. In a video originally published on YouTube last
month, the group stated Facebook would be targeted on November 5 for misuse of
"Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed," a
speaker, whose voice was disguised, said in the video, going on to state:
"Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your privacy
settings, and deleting
your account is impossible. Even if you delete your account, all your
information stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time."
Anonymous claimed that Facebook had sold personal information that government
agencies and security companies could use to spy on people. While Facebook has
yet to comment on the Anonymous threats, it has claimed it does not sell or
share information with any third parties without a user's prior approval.
The typical method of attack by Anonymous is a distributed denial of service
(DDoS), which overloads the target servers by using automated scripts from
thousands of computers across the globe to make simultaneous data requests.
In recent months. Anonymous has targeted online retailer Amazon for closing
down WikiLeaks servers, PayPal, Mastercard, the Church of Scientology and a
number of state websites in the Middle East where democracy protests have
occurred. On August 8, the group replaced the Syrian Defense Ministry's website
with an anti-government slogan and its own logo.
Apple aficionados rejoiced this week as the maker of iPads, iPhones and other
shiny gadgets was briefly crowned the world's most valuable company. Apple
eclipsed energy giant ExxonMobil on Wednesday as the value of its shares pushed
it to the top of the before falling back.
In May last year, Apple knocked software giant Microsoft off the top to become
the world's largest technology company, shares have risen steadily over the
past few years, sometimes up to as much as 80% per year, as founder and chief
executive Steve Jobs marketed and released products that have taken the world
by storm. The company's total market capitalization is currently about $337
Microsoft's flagship product, Windows 7, is on track to become the leading
personal computer operating system by the end of 2011, surpassing the diehard
Windows XP. Industry analysts Gartner estimate that Windows 7 would be running
on 42% of all PCs by the end of the year; "Steady improvements in IT budgets in
2010 and 2011 are helping to accelerate the deployment of Windows 7 in
enterprise markets in the US and Asia/Pacific."
According to Gartner, Windows 7 will be shipped on 94% of all new PCs by the
end of the year. Apple's Mac OS is predicted to be loaded onto 4.5%, which
leaves a few crumbs for the niche operating system Linux and Google's Chrome OS
which are not expected to show any rapid market gains in the next few years.
The research firm also forecast that Windows 7 is likely to be the last
operating system deployed on a large scale by corporations and enterprises. The
future will be see more cloud-orientated computing as organizations strive to
move towards virtualization and away from desktop-based software solutions.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have warned that
power grids, GPS systems, satellites, and mobile telecommunications could be
disrupted by energy surges from the sun's magnetic field following a large
solar flare eruption this week.
The X-class flare did not cause any disruption this time as it was not facing
the Earth however it was the largest recorded in four years and one of many
more that can be expected during the sun's current solar cycle, a system of
heightened solar weather activity which occurs every 11 years.
Solar flares are measured in three classes, X being the largest, M representing
medium strength flares, and C the weakest. The solar maximum, where sun storms
and activity will be at its greatest, will occur in 2013. Solar storms and
flares pose a threat to the earth when highly charged plasma particles called
coronal mass ejections are release and sent in our direction.
As the sun approaches the peak in its activity cycle the planet is likely to
see an intensified magnitude and frequency of solar storms and flares heading
Martin J Young is an Asia Times Online correspondent based in
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