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When you’re trying to figure out statistics about something as nebulous and pervasive as “the Internet,” you’re going to have to performs some interesting mental contortions. After all, how many things out there are connected to the Internet? How many of those things would you consider to be actively “using” it, how much power is there in the world? All valid and difficult questions, valid and difficult questions that Justin Ma and Barath Raghavan, of UC Berkeley and the International Computer Science Institute respectively, were determined to tackle.

“Internet Responsible for 2 per Cent of Global Energy Usage"
October 26, 2011 | Jim Giles, New Scientist

How much energy does the internet use? It's hard to know where to start. There's the electricity consumed by the world's laptops, desktops and smart phones. Servers, routers and other networking equipment suck up more power.

“What Is Nicira Up To?"
October 17, 2011 | Quentin Hardy, Bits Blog, The New York Times

With $40 million in funding, an all-star bench of investors and engineers, and technology that has already drawn spies, Nicira is an unusually visible company in the supposedly secretive “stealth” stage of its early life.

“Cutting Down on Spam”
October 7, 2011  |  Ania Monaco, The Institute

Despite e-mail filters, spam has become an often annoying part of our daily lives. Each day, many of us sift through a deluge of unwanted messages that find their way along with the good stuff into our inboxes. From advertisements for pharmaceuticals to discounted golf balls, the spam trail can seem endless. But what if there were a way to put a chokehold on all that junk mail? 


"Priv3 Firefox Extension Stops Social Networks Tracking You"
October 6, 2011  |  Will Shanklin, Geek.com

We all know that the internet has become saturated with social networking. If you can read it on the web, chances are you can also “Like” it. It’s only natural that, if you share something, Facebook or Google will know that you visited that page. It’s also likely that they’ll use that data to sell advertising. What most of us don’t know, however, is that those same networks can track your visits to many pages even if you don’t click on any sharing buttons. Enter Priv3, a new extension for Firefox that only allows your visits to be tracked when you want them to.

Firefox: It's not just Facebook that's actively tracking your movements on the Web without your consent: Google, LinkedIn, and others do the same, although most other services make it easier to opt out. If you want to use those services when you want without trading your privacy for the privilege, Priv3 is a Firefox extension that gives you back the ability to choose.

"An Analysis of the Pay-Per-Install Underground Economy"
September 7, 2011  |  Chester Wisniewski, Naked Security

A few weeks ago at the USENIX Security Symposium, researchers Juan Caballero, Chris Grier, Christian Kreibich and Vern Paxson presented their paper "Understanding the Underground Economy," a look into the inner workings of the pay-per-install underground economy. What is pay-per-install? Security researchers use the term to describe one of the most popular malware distribution methods. In the malware economy, criminals have specialized to perform specific services and contract with one another the same as in the legitimate world.

“Inside The Booming Botnet Industry”
September 7, 2011  |  Mathew J. Schwartz, InformationWeek

When running a botnet, attrition is constant, as security software on PCs finds and eliminates the malicious code that turned the PC into a botnet node. Accordingly, many "botmasters" outsource infections to what's known as pay-per-install (PPI) service providers. Going rates for infecting 1,000 unique PCs with malware range from up to $180 in the United States and Great Britain, from $20 to $160 for other parts of Europe, down to just $7 or $8 in parts of Asia.

"Search-Query Hijacks and Redirection: What You Need to Know"
September 6, 2011 | Michael Kassner, TechRepublic

Takeaway: Do you trust the results returned from your chosen search engine? Michael Kassner looks into search engine hijacking and redirection.

"If You Can't Trust Your ISP, Who Can You Trust?"
August 11, 2011 | Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOM, Reprinted in The New York Times

Some Internet Service Providers have apparently been hijacking the search traffic from customers typing keywords into Yahoo and Bing search engines, and now the backlash has begun. Instead of searching on their chosen search page, ISPs — using gear from a company called Paxfire — are reportedly routing the traffic to the ISP’s servers or to Paxfire’s servers and delivering search results that can generate money for firms selected by the ISP as well as the ISP itself. Now Paxfire has been hit with a class-action lawsuit and may face a Congressional inquiry.

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