Archive for July 27th, 2011

The NBN side of this will get more coverage, but I don’t think it’s the most interesting bit

You may have heard in the news this morning that the federal police have arrested a man from Cowra whom they allege was responsible for hacking in to the systems of one of the National Broadband Network’s service providers. That, albeit interesting for its obvious links with current political discourse, is not the most interesting bit of the story.

The bit which I find interesting is that police also allege that this man was responsible for the attack which brought down Distribute.IT, a wholesale service provider of website hosting, domain names and the like. Distribute.IT was a fairly large player in the Australian market, providing wholesale services to many of the other players in the market.

The attack on Distribute.IT resulted in the total loss of somewhere in the order of 4,000 websites and chaos for the owners of many thousands of domain names, not to mention the retail service providers who had to deal with the fallout from it all. For .au domains, the chaos was slightly more contained as core systems (not run by Distribute.IT) which allow for the domains to be transferred to other providers continued to work, however for non .au domains, such actions were not possible and thousands upon thousands of domains were left in limbo…still operating to the extent of allowing traffic to be directed to appropriate servers, but unable to be managed in any way by their owners, and unable to be renewed if they were due to expire, which some did.

Eventually another provider, NetRegistry, bought Distribute.IT’s assets without any of their liabilities and set about restoring the horribly compromised Distribute.IT systems to some form of functionality before moving customers across to their own systems. While debate rages about whether NetRegistry’s move was the best possible outcome (moves were afoot by authoritative bodies within the industry to dissolve Distribute.IT’s domain registrar accreditation which may have resulted in people being able to move their domains to other providers more easily, but could also have been very messy) and I don’t propose to try and decide which option would have been better, what I can say is that the full functionality of the management side of the affected domains has still not been restored, and that this hacking has resulted in many thousands of hours of lost productivity throughout the Australian internet services industry and in other industries which rely on it, such as businesses with online stores.

I think that this is a much bigger and more interesting story than an intrusion in to the systems of a company which happens to have an agreement with NBN Co. and am somewhat disappointed that it won’t get anywhere near the amount of coverage, although I suppose when it is all added together and you take in to account the fact that the man who police allege is responsible for it all has no formal qualifications in IT whatsoever, it does go to show what many people in the IT industry have been saying for a very long time. Experience trumps qualifications every time.


July 27th, 2011 at 08:31am

President Klaus’ address to the National Press Club

Yesterday morning I went along to the National Press Club to see Czech President Vaclav Klaus’ address on the subjects of climate change as well as socialism, communism and the like. When I arrived, I was a tad early, so I was directed to the club’s lounge where I had a cup of coffee and was pleasantly surprised to find that Lord Monckton was in the room, however he was busily engaged in conversation so I did not interrupt, although I was fortunate enough to say hello to him and have a quick chat with him when he opened himself up to the handful of people in the room who wished to say hello.

After this, I went downstairs and found that for some peculiar reason I was registered on two tables, eight and nine. I forget which table I ended up sitting at, however I had a very pleasant conversation with the other people at the table. The club provided barramundi for lunch and then the speech began.

President Klaus made it quite clear that he was no in the country to advise the government, but rather to offer up his own views based on his own experiences and observations.

On the subject of climate change, President Klaus spoke at some length about how he sees no real evidence of the changes in the climate being unusual, extreme or dangerous, and that to the same extent he sees attempts to control the climate as futile, and from an economic perspective considers adaptation to any changes to be the more prudent approach, and one that has worked well for us for a very long time.

President Klaus also recounted some of his observations from his time within the former communist state of Czechoslovakia, including some of the difficulties he encountered being a believer in the free market in such a state. He also, while making clear that he does not believe that the global warming agenda is a socialist plot (he did mention at one stage that he simply does not believe in conspiracy theories), noted that he sees many similarities between the actions of those who claim that global warming is a problem and have a solution, and the actions of the socialist leaders, and this worries him greatly.

After his address, during the period of time dedicated to questions from the media, President Klaus was asked about his views on the policies of our current government and opposition. Having already made it clear that he sees carbon trading as a pointless and economically destructive idea, he focused on the Coalition’s “direct action” policy which he said was slightly better than carbon trading because it was a more tangible idea and easier to account for, but that he still regarded it as a “crazy” idea, something which those of us in the room who believe that the Coalition really wouldn’t do anything about climate change took some comfort in.

After all of this, the Press Club presented him with their usual gift, a bottle of wine and a pen, which caused some amusement within the room due to an incident which occurred in Chile earlier this year where he was caught on video pocketing a pen during an official visit and was widely accused of theft in the international media, however both he and the Chilean President deny that there was any theft and instead say that the pen was a gift to President Klaus.

I thoroughly enjoyed the address and the company of the various people that I met, and found President Klaus’ address to be quite illuminating, and I’m very glad that I went in person and did not merely watch on television.

That said, it is good that it was televised as this allows me to share the video of the event with you in the hope that you will also find it quite interesting.


1 comment July 27th, 2011 at 05:04am


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