Cisco Faces Second Lawsuit For Allegedly Supplying Technology To Track Chinese Dissidents

Subject: Networking | June 12, 2011 - 04:24 AM |
Tagged: networking, Lawsuit, Internet, Cisco

Cisco, the worldwide networking heavyweight, is now facing a lawsuit from three Chinese website authors for Harry Wu. Mr. Wu is a Chinese political activist who spent 19 years in Chinese forced-labor prison camps, according to Network World. The charges raised against Cisco allege that Cisco optimized its networking equipment and worked with the Chinese government to train them to identify and track individuals on the Internet that speak out against the Chinese government with pro-democratic speech.

In a similar vein, the networking company was presented with an additional lawsuit last month by members of the Falun Gong religious group. This previous lawsuit claims that Cisco supplied networking technology to the Chinese government with the knowledge that the technology would be used to oppress the religious movement. Falun Gong is religious and spiritual movement that emphasizes morality and the theoretical nature of life. It was banned in July 1999 by the Communist Party Of China for being a “heretical organization”. Practitioners have been the victims of numerous human rights violations throughout the years.

Cisco has stated on the company’s blog that they strongly support free expression on the Internet. Further, they have responded to the allegations by stating that “Our company has been accused in a pair of lawsuits of contributing to the mistreatment of dissidents in China, based on the assertion that we customize our equipment to participate in tracking of dissidents. The lawsuits are inaccurate and entirely without foundation,” as well as “We have never customized our equipment to help the Chinese government—or any government—censor content, track Internet use by individuals or intercept Internet communications.”

It remains to be seen whether the allegations hold any truth; however, Cisco has been here before and are likely to see further lawsuits in the future. How do you feel about the Cisco allegations?

World IPv6 Day Goes Off Without A Hitch

Subject: Networking | June 8, 2011 - 10:19 PM |
Tagged: networking, ipv6, Internet

As has been said numerous times throughout the Internet, the pool of available IPv4 (32 bit) addresses are running out. This is due to an ever increasing number of Internet users all over the world. In response to this, the standards for IPv4’s successor were developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force. The new IPv6 standard uses 128-bit addresses, which supports 2^128 (approximately 340 undecillion) individual addresses. Compared to IPv4’s 32-bit addresses, which can support up a little under 4.30 billion addresses (4,294,967,296 to be exact), the new Internet protocol will easily be able to assign everyone a unique IP address and will enable support for multiple devices per user without the specific need for network address translation (NAT).

Today is World IPv6 Day, and is the first widespread (live) trial of IPv6. Over a 24 hour period numerous large and small websites plan to switch on IPv6 to test for consumer readiness for the protocol. Big companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Youtube, and Bing are participating by enabling IPv6 alongside IPv4 to test how many users are able to connect to IPv6 versus IPv4. Led by the Internet Society, consumers and businesses are encouraged to help test the new IP protocol by visiting the participants sites and running readiness tests.

According to Network World, the trial has been going very well. They state that, according to Arbor Networks, overall IPv6 traffic volume has “doubled during the first 12 hours.” Further, Akamai experienced a tenfold increase in IPv6 traffic just before the event. Fortunately, this increase did not result in an increase of DDoS attacks, which Akami states were minimal. The June 8, 2011 event was used as a deadline of sorts by many businesses, and resulted in many large corporations getting their IPv6 protocol up and running.

While the event only lasts 24 hours, some large websites likely will continue to enable IPv6 alongside IPv4 addressing. Network Wold quotes Champagne in hoping more businesses will move to IPv6 after seeing the successes of the World IPv6 Day participants now that “everybody went into the water today and found out that the water is fine.”

It will certainly be interesting to see if the success continues and if consumers still on IPv4 can be made ready before the 32-bit address well runs dry, much like the move to digital TV broadcasting in the US saw many deadline push-backs.  Are you ready for IPv6?

It's world IPv6 Day

Subject: General Tech, Networking | June 8, 2011 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: what could go wrong, networking, ipv6, 404

On February 3 of this year, the last block of IPv4 addresses were allocated which brought IPv6 to the forefront of the minds of many network heads.  NAT and internal LANs can extend the usage of IPv4 for quite a while and many of the allocated addresses are not actually in use which is a good thing as not many OSes support IPv6 natively, nor do many network appliances.

That brings us to today, where many major websites are cumulating all of the internal testing they have been performning by doing a 24 hour dry run of IPv6.  Companies like Juniper and Cisco have been working to ensure their portion of the Internet's backbone will be able to handle the new addressing scheme so that clients can connect to the sites that are testing IPv6.  Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Bing have all turned on IPv6 as have several ISPs including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, with Verizon's LTE mobile network are also testing IPv6.  You can see a full list of the participants here.

This will of course involve a little pain, as new technology does tend to have sharp edges.  You may well see a few 404's or have other problems when surfing the net today but overall it should not be too bad, Google predicts about a 1% failure rate.  The hackers will also be out to play today, likely using the larger sized packets for DDoS attacks.  Since the IPv6 packets are four times larger than an IPv6 packet, a flood of the new protocol will be super effective at DDoS attacks.  As well, most of the IPv6 packets will be bypassing companies current deep packet inspection hardware and software, IPv6 is not backwards compatible with IPv4 so the network appliances used for that type of scan simply cannot inspect IPv6 packets.  That is not to say that these devices cannot inspect IPv6 packets, simply that for a one day test major providers are reluctant to completely reprogram the devices.   In the case of an attack, most of the participants have a plan in place to revert immediately back to IPv4.

So, if possible on your machine, fire up IPv6 and give it a whirl.  There is a simple test here to see if you are IPv6 compliant and if it is enabled or a more comprehesive test here.

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"Sponsored by the Internet Society, World IPv6 Day runs from 8 p.m. EST Tuesday until 7:59 p.m. EST Wednesday. The IT departments in the participating organizations have spent the last five months preparing their websites for an anticipated rise in IPv6-based traffic, more tech support calls and possible hacking attacks prompted by this largest-ever trial of IPv6."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Scientists Set New Download Speed Record Using Fiber And Single Laser

Subject: Networking | May 24, 2011 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: networking, Internet, fiber

Using a single laser, scientists were able to encode data and transmit it over 50 km of single-node fiber using “325 optical frequencies within a narrow spectral band of laser wavelengths.” The single laser was capable of handling 26 terabits of information per second in an energy efficient manner, which is equivalent to the amount of data used by 400 million phone calls.

The technique used to encode and decode the optical data is called orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM). It is a modulation technology that can be applied to both optical and electrical based transmission methods. The data is broken down into numerous parallel streams of data (using mathematics) that greatly increases the transmission speed and amount of bandwidth available. While electrical/copper based systems are not able to transmit 26 terabits of information using OFDM, optical systems are able encode the amount of data in their experiments without speed restrictions and while using “negligible energy.” Dr. Leuthold stated “we had to come up with a technique that can process data about one million times faster than what is common in the mobile communications world.” Further, his stated that his experiment shows that optical technology still has room for transmission speed improvement, and increases in bit-rate do not necessarily result in higher energy usage.

The important aspect of Dr. Leuthold’s research lies in the energy efficiency inherent in reducing the amount of lasers and fiber nodes required to transmit 26 terabits per second of data. Using simple optical technologies, they are able to greatly increase the amount of bandwidth in a single fiber line. Japanese researchers have been able to achieve 109 terabits per second download speeds; however, they had to use multiple lasers to achieve the speeds. Dr. Leuthold iterated that “it’s the fact that it’s one laser,” as being the important results of his research.

Image courtesy Kainet via Flickr Creative Commons

Source: ABC News