Home Past Shows Tech Talk Radio Forum Send us Feedback  

Tech Talk Radio Show 37of 2009
Transmission date: September 14, 2009

pod 2 hour full show
pod Podcast audio


Ep 37: Adam likes what he sees in iTunes 9, but sees red over the lack of blu. The ABC looks to partner with more ISPs to offer unmetered access to its free iView on-demand television portal
Apples CEO Steve Jobs is back into the public spotlight for the first time in over half a year but looking as heathy as his latest Operating system Snow Leopard and Regulators to freeze nuisance Triple Zero callers.

September 14 , 2009

These days, global citizens are becoming more and more reliant on the internet, not only for personal and social reasons, but wheels of commerce are gathering speed in cyberspace as well. Banks encourage us to check our account balances and pay our bills online, Retailers offer us discount incentives to buy on line, and most importantly, the internet, for most Australians, is where we get our news, and research our purchases, but what would happen if the internet just disappeared?

Well this is exactly what happened to two Australian websites last week belonging to the Prime Minister of Australia, and the Government body that regulates telecommunications, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, ACMA.

According to reports in the media, hackers temporarily shut down Kevin Rudd's website in an apparent protest at government proposals for a mandatory internet filtering system scheme. The website of the Australian Communications and Media Authority was also taken down by the attack at about 7.20pm, but both sites were reported to be back online an hour later. Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Communications was also targeted.

A website purporting to be responsible for the attack said the proposal for internet filtering would block legal content, and take censorship to China-like levels. "Not only will your rights be at stake, our internet speeds will slow down by 70 per cent, be mandatory for all Aussies and will not protect us from evil AT ALL”

Motives aside, the websites that were attacked were the victims of a DDOS attack, otherwise known as a Distributed Denial of Service Attack. A DDoS occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers. These are usually the result of the controller of a zombie network giving an instruction to all the computers in the compromised network a command which instructs them to continually try and connect to a specific web site, and in this case, it was the PM’s site and ACMA’s site. As a result of the vast amounts of traffic generated to these sites, it makes it very hard, if not impossible for legitimate users to connect. It can sometimes  cause web servers to crash as they just can’t cope with the demand on the site.

In more recent times, a online betting site ran out of Alice Springs was forced out of business by a Russian syndicate who tried to extort cash out of the owner. They too used a DDOS attack to render the site inoperable, but such was the size of the attack, that it took out all of Alice Springs and most of Adelaide. It was even felt as far away as Sydney.

So looking at the bigger picture here, if hostilities between countries ever escalated to that of Cold War proportions, it wouldn’t take too much to seriously hinder, if not prevent a country from using the internet, and in affect, bringing it to its knees.

A spokesman for Senator Conroy said those responsible were misguided because the proposed filter would only block illegal content, but maybe it’s the Government that is misguided. If this havoc is what a small group of wayward, mis informed individuals can achieve, imagine what a well organize, well orchestrated group of potential terrorists could achieve. Maybe the next 9/11 will be played out in the virtual world, not the real world.


Also on the show this week:

  • Adam likes what he sees in iTunes 9, but sees red over the lack of blu.
  • The ABC looks to partner with more ISPs to offer unmetered access to its free iView on-demand television portal
  • Apples CEO Steve Jobs is back into the public spotlight for the first time in over half a year but looking as heathy as his latest Operating system Snow Leopard and
  • Regulators to freeze nuisance Triple Zero callers