Friday 9 December 2005

What is Mobile WiMAX?

What a lot of empty talk about Mobile WiMAX this week. If you're finding it hard to understand, here's a translation:

  • It's WiFi on steroids
  • It has great range and speed
  • When you're far from a base station, the speed degrades gracefully
  • You can easily roam from one base station to another without hiccoughs
  • Don't expect it until 2007 at the earliest

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Thursday 8 December 2005

eBay phishing saga; in summary...

Last week I noted a problem reporting a phishing email to eBay. I'm pleased to report that the phishing website -- -- is now down. However, I'm not pleased to report how long it took. The detail behind the delay is instructive...

From first report to takedown took 13 days (November 25 to December 7), which is simply unacceptable. However, despite the hilarious response from their "Trust and Safety Department," you should note that eBay wasn't the main factor in this delay. Indeed, the company claims that it first started takedown proceedings on November 8.

The main issue was that the phishing webserver was hosted on a botnet of virus-compromised PCs. The DNS entry for the web site served up a sequence of IP addresses, so that requests for the webpage could go to one of many machines. In other words, taking down "the website" wasn't an option.

Removing the DNS entry was the only practical takedown option. However, the DNS registrar for the domain --, a small company based in Switzerland -- was completely unresponsive to all requests to investigate. Finally, it seems Verisign -- the controller of the .net top-level domain stepped in and removed authority for away from Now requests for the web site come back "no such host."

This sorry saga illustrates the fact that it's important for domain registrars to act quickly and responsibly when abuses such as phishing are brought to their attention. Authorities upstream of the registrar need to be able to exercise some sort of leverage if they don't act.

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Wednesday 7 December 2005

Hurrah, is no more

At last! Looks like Verisign pulled rank on

Query for type=255 class=1
net SOA (Zone of Authority)
Primary NS:
Responsible person:
refresh:1800s (30 minutes)
retry:900s (15 minutes)
expire:604800s (7 days)
minimum-ttl:900s (15 minutes)

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Tuesday 6 December 2005

Digged (dugg?)

That was a hairy few days of web server load. Hello to all my new readers, anyway.

My eBay story was picked up in several places including:

Digg (on the home page for a while)
PC World
Yahoo! (was the #1 most viewed tech news item for a while)
PC Magazine (although they truncated it and I'm not mentioned)
PC World Greece
Computerworld (no link -- and this is the thanks I get for ITBW?)
Upsize This
ComputerWorld Australia
The Ross Show
Tulip Tools
CSO Magazine
PC World Australia
ComputerPartner Netherlands
InfoWorld Netherlands
Winnipeg Sun
Computerworld New Zealand
PC Advisor (UK)
Auction Info
PA Pundits

And to top it all off, my hosting provider kindly decided to take the server down for two hours of maintenance on Tuesday, without telling anyone. Great...

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