Archive for category IT

Islamic State Eludes Southeast Asian Authorities With Telegram App

Wall Street Journal
Jan. 19, 2016

Terrorist group using encrypted messaging app to recruit members in Malaysia, Indonesia

Communications app Telegram Messenger is in the spotlight after the deadly terrorist attacks in Jakarta last week, with experts in Indonesia and Malaysia saying Islamic State radicals in Syria have used the platform to recruit members from Southeast Asia.

The revelations underscore both the apparent popularity of the Berlin-based app among members of the terror organization and the challenges it poses to authorities in tracking its private, encrypted chats.

Malaysian police on Saturday said its counterterrorism unit last week arrested four suspects, three of whom were recruited to join Islamic State in Syria by a Malaysian national via Telegram and Facebook Inc.’s social-networking platform.

Telegram, which in November said it blocked 78 of its public channels across 12 languages related to Islamic State, was one of the first apps to explicitly cater to privacy enthusiasts after reports in 2013 alleging widespread surveillance by U.S. intelligence.

Islamic State has used Telegram, a free platform that can be accessed via mobile devices and desktop computers, to disseminate public statements, such as its claim of responsibility for the November attacks in Paris. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Twitter really means for Islamic State supporters

Amanath Amarasingam
War on the Rocks
December 30, 2015

Abu Ahmad, one of Islamic State’s most active supporters online says he has had over 90 Twitter accounts suspended, but is not planning to slow down. He is a trusted member of what has come to be called the Baqiya family, a loose network of Islamic State supporters from around the world who share news, develop close friendships, and help each other when members get arrested or come under law enforcement surveillance. Abu Ahmad, as with all Baqiya members, agreed to talk to me on the condition that his real name and location not be published.

While Islamic State social media accounts used to flourish, Twitter has now been suspending the accounts of fighters and supporters alike. Scholars and analysts continue to debate whether this is effective and worthwhile.

For over two years now, I have co-directed a study of Western foreign fighters based at the University of Waterloo and have been interviewing — on Skype and various text messaging platforms — several dozen fighters and members of this Baqiya family. A few things are clear: First, while Twitter suspensions certainly disrupt their ability to seamlessly spread information, they have developed innovative and effective ways of coming back online. Second, these youth receive an enormous amount of emotional and social benefits from participating in their online “family.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Reality check on Malaysia’s lofty S&T achievement, goals

Natalie Heng

If one were to take the press release issued by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) on 28 September at face value, one could be forgiven for assuming its lead announcement about Malaysia’s GDP per capita exceeding for the first time the average of all nations was somehow connected to developments in the country’s science, technology and innovation scene.

The press release notes down the role of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC), run jointly by MIGHT and the New York Academy of Sciences, in advising how science and innovation should be incorporated into Malaysia’s ambitious goal of upping its GDP per capita to reach the threshold of developed country status by 2020.

The press release alludes to a variety of collaborations and initiatives to reach this goal, featuring selective quotations from the Global Innovation Index (GII) report crediting Malaysia as an innovation achiever in the last four years.

Despite all this talk, there are long-standing challenges that form a bottleneck to Malaysia’s success when it comes to fulfilling our S&T potential. Read the rest of this entry »

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Salleh should not be a spineless Minister who dare not own up and apologise for his mistakes but want his innocent subordinates to eat “dead cat”

The Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak should not be a spineless Minister who dare not own up and apologise for his mistakes but want his innocent subordinates to eat “dead cat”!

Salleh yesterday started the blame-game in Kuching and claimed that it was the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) which provided him with the information that 71 per cent of Malaysian Internet users preferred the slower Streamyx, even as slow as 384 kilobyte per second (kpbs), instead of the faster broadband of multi-megabyte per second.

Let me tell Salleh to stop talking rubbish, and I want to reiterate that there is no country in the world which would prefer slower Internet unless it is peopled by cretins and idiots.

I do not believe anyone in MCMC would be so dense and unprofessional as to tell Salleh that 71 per cent of Malaysian Internet users preferred the slower Streamyx to faster multi-megabyte broadband.

Can he produce black-and-white to establish that he had been advised by MCMC that 71 per cent of Malaysian Internet users preferred the slower Steamyx to faster broadband, and I would agree that such a MCMC officer should be disciplined.

But if Salleh could not produce black-and-white to prove that he had been so advised by the MCMC, would he tender a double apology, one for making a most stupid and senile statement and secondly, for the cowardice and spinelessness of trying to pass the buck of his mistake to MCMC? Read the rest of this entry »

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Twitter Plans to Go Beyond Its 140-Character Limit

By Kurt Wagner and Jason Del Rey
September 29, 2015

Twitter is building a new product that will allow users to share tweets that are longer than the company’s 140-character limit, according to multiple people familiar with the company’s plans.

It’s unclear what the product will look like, but sources say it would enable Twitter users to publish long-form content to the service. Users can already tweet out blocks of text with products like OneShot, but those are simply images, not actual text published on Twitter. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.

The 140-character limit has been one of Twitter’s trademark features since day one. It has long been scrutinized by those outside the company, and many have argued over the years that Twitter should expand it. It has also been a topic of discussion internally at Twitter for years, according to multiple sources, and has resurfaced in recent months under interim CEO Jack Dorsey as the company has been exploring new ways to grow its user base. Read the rest of this entry »

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Salleh should ask himself: What he can do for ICT in Malaysia and not what ICT can do for him!

Former Cabinet Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz hit the nail on the head when she advised the new Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak to improve Internet services instead of shooting himself in the foot by saying Malaysians prefer slower Internet.

She said: “That is embarrassing if the world has the perception that most Malaysians prefer the slower option, and that the government is happy with that!”

Let us see whether Salleh could make amends for his howler that 71 percent of Malaysian Internet users preferred the slower Streamyx broadband package that offered speeds of between 384 kilobyte per second (Kbps) to 1 megabyte per second (Mbps) because Malaysians could not afford faster Internet plans that were more expensive.

There are no countries in the world which would prefer slower Internet unless it is peopled by cretins and idiots. Read the rest of this entry »

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Salleh has beaten all Ministers to make the most stupid Ministerial statement, not only poorly researched but highlights total ignorance of his Ministerial responsibility apart from being Najib’s Chief Blogger

Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has beaten all Ministers to make the most stupid Ministerial statement, not only poorly researched but highlighted total ignorance of his Ministerial responsibility apart from being the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Chief Blogger.

When Salleh opened his blog statement insinuating that I may not be aware of the wide range of Internet speeds that Malaysian can choose from when I complained about the slow Internet speed in the country while his only concern since becoming the Communications and Multimedia Minister two months ago was to do propaganda work for the Prime Minister, he was actually highlighting his own ignorance.

This is because only a person who was not aware that Malaysians, and internet users in all countries, have a wide range of internet speeds to choose from depending on the cost they are prepared to pay, would have chosen to belabor this point when it was completely a non-issue!

This is not the point, as the issue is that high Internet speeds in Malaysia are too costly and unaffordable when compared to other countries when the Minister’s task is to make them affordable and popular. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia needs a Communications and Multimedia Minister who has the love and passion to overcome the poor state of Internet infrastructure in the country rather than to be the chief propagandist for Najib to fight the Prime Minister’s political survival battle

Malaysia needs a Communications and Multimedia Minister who is more concerned about the poor state of Internet infrastructure in the country than to be the chief propagandist for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to fight the Prime Minister’s political survival battle.

It has been four days since the release of the Second Quarter, 2015 State of the Internet (SOTI) Report by Akamal Technologies Inc, the global leader in content delivery network (CDN) services, showing that Malaysia is ranked poorly at 70th place worldwide and lags behind Sri Lanka and Thailand in average internet speed.

Malaysia registers an average Internet speed of 5.0 megabits per second (Mbps), which is a 17 per cent year-on-year improvement to broadband speed, but is still five ranks below Sri Lanka which registered a 50 per cent year-on-year improvement to bump up its average speed to 5.3 Mbps.

Thailand ranked 42nd overall with average connection speeds of 8.6 Mbps.
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Salleh should not only ensure no jamming of phone signals but ensure that the telcos expand their capacity by at least 20-fold in anticipation of at least half-a-million people with cell phones for the Bersih 4 rally

The Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Datuk Seri Said Keruak has said Putrajaya will not jam telecommunication towers during the Bersih 4 rally in order to block communication amongst the participants.

The Malaysian public will hold him to his promise as in the previous Bersih 3 rally, the public have found their cellphone signals jammed which could only happen as a result of the directives from the powers-that-be to the telecommunication providers (telcos).

In an Internet and information era, Malaysians expect Salleh not only to ensure that cellphone signals during the Bersih 4 rally are not jammed and rendered unserviceable, but for the telecos to greatly increase their capacities many fold to cope with the increased traffic caused by hundreds of thousands Malaysians pouring into the Federal capital, likely to be larger crowds than Bersih 1, 2 and 3.

In this connection, it is most regrettable that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is already violating his public pledge that there will no interference or interruption of the free flow of information in connection with the 34-hour long Bersih 4 overnight rally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Police arrests and investigations under Section 124B in the current crackdown against the Ministerial assurances when the law was passed in Parliament that this section will only be used against those who used “violent and unconstitutional means”

Until a month ago, nobody has heard of Section 124B but in the past few weeks, Section 124B of the Penal Code has forced itself into public consciousness as the new monstrous weapon which the Najib administration is using to launch a major crackdown and usher a new Dark Age in Malaysia.

How many people have been arrested or investigated under Section 124B of the Penal Code.

I do not know, but it is safe to say that never have so many people been arrested or investigated under Section 124B of the Penal Code on “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” which can send a person to jail for a maximum of 20 years – and all these police arrests and investigations are against the ministerial assurances given to Parliament in 2012 when the new law was enacted that it would only be used against those who carry out “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” by “violent and unconstitutional means”.

When pressed in Parliament on why Section 124B had not spelt out clearly that Section 124B only referred to “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” by “violent and unconstitutional means”, the then de facto Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz claimed that this is understood and even referred to Oxford Dictionary that “activities detrimental to Parliamentary Democracy” means “by violent and unconstitutional means”.

When Nazri presented the Penal Code amendment of the new Section 124B, Parliament was in fact given to understand that it was meant to tackle terrorism previously covered by the already repealed Internal Security Act. Read the rest of this entry »

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From a Shenzhen factory job to world’s richest self-made woman

by David Barboza
New York Times
July 30, 2015

How a Chinese Billionaire Built Her Fortune

Zhou Qunfei started out making watch lenses for $1 a day, but honed her hands-on knowledge into a world-class, multibillion-dollar operation at the vanguard of China’s push into high-end manufacturing.

Zhou Qunfei is the world’s richest self-made woman. Zhou, the founder of Lens Technology, owns a $27 million estate in Hong Kong. She jets off to Silicon Valley and Seoul to court executives at Apple and Samsung, her two biggest customers. She has played host to President Xi Jinping of China, when he visited her company’s headquarters.

But she seems most at home pacing the floor of her state-of-the-art factory, tinkering.

She’ll dip her hands into a tray of water, to determine whether the temperature is just right. She can explain the intricacies of heating glass in an ion potassium salt bath. When she passes a grinding machine, she is apt to ask technicians to step aside so she can take their place for a while.

Zhou knows the drill. For years, she labored in a factory, the best job she could get having grown up in an impoverished village in central China.

“She’ll sometimes sit down and work as an operator to see if there’s anything wrong with the process,” said James Zhao, a general manager at Lens Technology. “That will put me in a very awkward position. If there’s a problem, she’d say, ‘Why didn’t you see that?’ ” Read the rest of this entry »

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Art Harun: Sarawak Report ban is laughable and tragic

FMT Reporters | July 20, 2015

Lawyer takes aim at Najib and says the PM prefers to shoot the messenger rather than probe the wrongdoings he has been accused of

PETALING JAYA: The decision by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block access to the Sarawak Report (SR) website on the grounds of national security and public order is both laughable and tragic, said lawyer and human rights activist Art Harun.

In a blog posting where he goes at the prime minister and the government with guns blazing, Art accused Najib Razak of preferring to “shoot the messenger” and asked, “Has that (the ban) got to do with the immediate witch-hunting by our authorities against those who dare publish ‘facts’ rather than investigating the wrong-doings that are so apparent from those facts?”

He was referring to the expose by the Sarawak Report and The Wall Street Journal that USD700 million of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds had found its way into the private bank accounts of Najib. Read the rest of this entry »

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I never realise that we may have a Cabinet Minister who is a “world beater” in having the world’s lowest IQ for Ministers

I never realise that we may have a Cabinet Minister who is a “world-beater” in having the lowest IQ for Ministers in the world.

This thought struck me when I was told about the New Straits Times report today entitled “’Can DAP deny Pua’s alleged links to Justo?’”

The NST report reads:

“Lim Kit Siang and the DAP leadership have been challenged to deny Tony Pua’s involvement with former PetroSaudi International Ltd former executive Xavier Andre Justo.

“’Can Lim Kit Siang and DAP leadership deny that Tony Pua (DAP Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament) has nothing to do with Justo and not involved in any way?

“”Yes or no?’ Barisan Nasional strategic communication director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan posted on Twitter yesterday.”

I am completely befuddled.

I thought Pua could not be clearer when he answered Rahman who asked the first time early this month whether the DAP MP for PJ Utara had met Justo. Read the rest of this entry »

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For his best self-interest, Najib should immediately direct MCMC to stop blocking access to Sarawak Report or he is transforming 1MDB scandal from a local into an international scandal of first magnitude

What a Hari Raya “gift” from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak – blocking access to the Sarawak Report website and overnight undergoing three transformations for Malaysia’s “Father of Transformation”, viz:

• Transforming the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and the posts on the Sarawak Report website from a local scandal into an international scandal of the first magnitude;

• Transforming Najib from a Nothing2Hide to Everything2Hide Prime Minister, all in a matter of 45 days from June 5, 2015 – the date of Najib‘s ill-fated and aborted 1MDB “Nothing2Hide” forum at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

• Transforming Najib from the most Internet-savvy Prime Minister of Malaysia into Malaysia’s most frightened-of-Internet Prime Minister, even violating Tun Mahathir and the Malaysian Government’s 17-year-old Bill of Guarantee of “No Censorship of Internet”.to the world.

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Google I/O is latest round in escalating high-tech arms race

Jon Swartz, Jessica Guynn and Marco della Cava
May 28, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — Google fired the latest salvos Thursday in an escalating arms race among tech’s Big 4 for the hearts, minds and coding of developers.

At the eighth annual I/O conference here, Google laid out a futuristic road map to throngs of 5,000 software developers, its infantry in the war against Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.

The tech titans are locked in a worldwide skirmish to make devices of all kinds smarter — whether smartphones and tablets, wearable devices, Internet-connected televisions, cars or virtual reality.

With most people on the planet within an arm’s length of an electronic device, the quartet is vying to become the primary vendor supplying technology underpinning five key battlefields — the Internet of Things, autos, virtual reality, mobile payments and wearable devices – worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Read the rest of this entry »

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Khalid’s failure after 48 hours to name police officers who had met Sirul in Sydney immigration detention centre and rebut the former corporal convict’s accusation that the top cop in the country had lied is the top national embarrassment of the year

Malaysia is probably the first country in the world with the top cop who operates in the Internet time zone, who seems to be running the 130,000-strong Royal Malaysian Police from his twitter post, twittering immediate police commands to police subordinates to harass and investigate Opposition leaders and civil society activists for alleged offences under the Sedition Act and other laws affecting civil rights such as freedom of speech, expression and assembly.

As a result, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has established a reputation of being twitter trigger-happy and earned the moniker of Twitter Cop, thereby raising different expectations from previous IGPs.

In the past, the public expect the IGP to respond within a day to issues of national importance affecting the police.

However, under Twitter Cop who operates in the Internet time zone of 24/7/365, the public expects Khalid to respond with faster speed in line with the new Social Habit on the social media. Read the rest of this entry »

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Controversial Malaysian Investment Fund’s Computer Records Wiped Off

By Our Correspondent
Asia Sentinel
February 15, 2015

All computers and servers at 1Malaysia Development Bhd, the troubled investment fund backed by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, were called in and wiped clean just before the end of last year, the investigative blog Sarawak Report reported on Feb. 13.

1MDB employees told the blog that all computers and records at the fund were called in and cleaned, including personal computers and mainframe servers, supposedly because the fund’s system was hacked.

The chief economic advisor of the fund, which was started in 2009, is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. It reportedly faces RMB43 billion (US$12.01 billion) in debt and has been unable to meet loan payment dates several times. It was forced to go to Bank Negara, the country’s central bank, to ask for an extension in the payment dates, raising concern that its financial problems could threaten the entire Malaysian banking system. The bulk of the loans were made by the government-linked Malayan Banking Bhd or Maybank, and RHB Bank.

Sources confirmed the story to Asia Sentinel but the reason for the action appears unclear. It may stem from the fact that Sarawak Report, which is published by Clare Rewcastle Brown, announced last September that she had access to the fund’s emails. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spyware Embedded by U.S. in Foreign Networks, Security Firm Says

New York Times
FEB. 16, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — The United States has found a way to permanently embed surveillance and sabotage tools in computers and networks it has targeted in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other countries closely watched by American intelligence agencies, according to a Russian cybersecurity firm.

In a presentation of its findings at a conference in Mexico on Monday, Kaspersky Lab, the Russian firm, said that the implants had been placed by what it called the “Equation Group,” which appears to be a veiled reference to the National Security Agency and its military counterpart, United States Cyber Command.

It linked the techniques to those used in Stuxnet, the computer worm that disabled about 1,000 centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. It was later revealed that Stuxnet was part of a program code-named Olympic Games and run jointly by Israel and the United States.

Kaspersky’s report said that Olympic Games had similarities to a much broader effort to infect computers well beyond those in Iran. It detected particularly high infection rates in computers in Iran, Pakistan and Russia, three countries whose nuclear programs the United States routinely monitors.

Some of the implants burrow so deep into the computer systems, Kaspersky said, that they infect the “firmware,” the embedded software that preps the computer’s hardware before the operating system starts. It is beyond the reach of existing antivirus products and most security controls, Kaspersky reported, making it virtually impossible to wipe out.

In many cases, it also allows the American intelligence agencies to grab the encryption keys off a machine, unnoticed, and unlock scrambled contents. Moreover, many of the tools are designed to run on computers that are disconnected from the Internet, which was the case in the computers controlling Iran’s nuclear enrichment plants. Read the rest of this entry »

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If there is nothing wrong with his Facebook post calling on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses, why has Ismail Sabri deleted the post?

Malay Mail Online today reported that “due to his busy work schedule” the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is not expected to give his police statement this week over his controversial Facebook post call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses.

Yes, Ismail is now very busy basking in the glory of a new “hero” status after political pressure was invoked in the Cabinet, resulting not only in 35 Ministers, but also the two MCA Minister who had been breathing fire and brimstone against Ismail’s racist remarks before yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, to meekly accept that Ismail’s call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses were actually a very smart call to all traders and not at those of a certain race to reduce prices!

Nobody knows how the two MCA Ministers could square the circle, but clearly they have acquired such superior art of political somersaults not understood by ordinary mortals, including ordinary politicians.

However, if the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s tweet directing a police investigation into Ismail’s Facebook post making the racist call to Malays to boycott Chinese businesses is still to be taken seriously after the Cabinet clearance of Ismail’s Facebook post, shouldn’t the police be investigating the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the entire Cabinet to learn how they could transform Ismail’s racist call to Malay consumers to boycott to Chinese businesses into a call to all traders and not at those of a certain race to reduce prices? Read the rest of this entry »

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Bill Gates Also Worries Artificial Intelligence Is A Threat

Eric Mack

Aside from founding Microsoft, Bill Gates is known as an all-around smart guy who has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to saving the world. It would seem that this makes his opinions worth considering when he tells us that he, like fellow brainiac Stephen Hawking and Tesla Motors founder / Iron Man inspiration Elon Musk, fears that artificial intelligence could pose a threat to humanity.

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Wednesday, Gates echoed the concerns expressed over the past year by Hawking, Musk and others that something vaguely resembling the science fiction scenarios from the Terminator and Matrix franchises could come to pass if the potential of artificial superintelligence is not taken seriously. Read the rest of this entry »

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