Monthly Archives: October 2008

China's zombie IP addresses

You may have read that one of the leading spam gang was shut down earlier this month (after all, the FTC had received more than three million complaints). That’s the good news. The bad news is that it had no significant effect on the total amount of spam sent out since…
Did you ever wonder were all the spam was coming from? According to Spamhaus, China ranks second after the United States in the number of open current spam issues. China is also a top location for zombie IP addresses – Germany has the fastest rate of zombie IP address turnover, at approximately 79% per day and China is a close second at 78% per day. spam1.jpg
The problem of zombie IP addresses is compounded by the fact that over 55% of the world’s zombies have a lifespan of a single day, when using IP address as the identifier for each zombie. In order to hide their existence from static black lists, zombies are continuously requesting new IP addresses.

Experience the Chinese Internet

Want experiencing the Net as a PRC internet user?
The Firefox add-on China Channel offers internet user outside China to surf the web as if they were in China. Take an unforgetable virtual trip to China and experience the technical expertise of the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry (supported by western companies). It’s open source, free and easy
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To download the add-on, click here

Microsoft fights piracy in China

The good news is that China’s piracy rate dropped two points, as new vendor agreements with OEMs took effect in 2007 and as more China-based companies became multinational. The bad news is that, with more than 80% of software piracy (source: Business Software Alliance), China remains a thorn in Microsoft’s foot: losses are estimated at more than USD 6 billion per year (just behind the USA with USD 8 billion). For sure, there is the advantage of the installed base and the lock-in effect but that won’t help a company make profits or develop new services. 

Microsoft has thus decided to tackle once again the issue by launching an anti-piracy tool targeting Chinese computer users to ensure they buy genuine software.

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The “Windows Genuine Advantage” (WGA) program turns the user’s screen black if the installed software fails a validation test. The move has triggered significant discussions in Chinese chat rooms and one Chinese lawyer even filed a legal complaint against Microsoft for installed WGA on his computer.

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Microsoft defeated the US Department of Justice. Let’s see if it wins the battle against the Chinese consumer!

P.S.: Has Linux’s time come?

China's Internet will be short of IP addresses… soon

The Internet in China may soon run out. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, under the current allocation speed, China’s IPv4 address resources can only meet the demand of 800+ more days and if no proper measures are taken by then, new Chinese netizens will not be able to gain normal access to the Internet.

At present, most of the networks in China use IPv4 addresses and 80% of the final allocation IP addresses have been used. The new IPv6 network address, only used among educational websites in China, could come to the rescue but it would require network operators need to spend a lot of time and money on equipment updating. The National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) announced 2 months ago that IPv6 would be an upgrade rather than an overhaul – the agency aims to have the IPv6 Internet reach over 500,000 Internet users by the end of 2010.

P.S.: During the Beijing Olympics, IPv6 had its inaugural test run, transmitting live Olympics events to broadcasting and video streaming systems over the Internet. In addition, many different types of technologies and applications compatible with IPv6 were launched during the Games, including fixed and mobile broadband technologies, such as GSM/EDGE, WiFi/WiMAX, TD-SCDMA, high-definition TV, virtual private networks (VPN), leased lines, narrow and broadband-access, mobile ticketing, streaming video and mobile TV advertising

Counter-reform?

The Chinese government is taking another stab at reforming the telecommunication sector: it ordered its three domestic telecom operators to share and co-build infrastructure to avoid repeat construction in the wake of industry restructuring

One question is whether the government’s intervention will lead to a more level-playing field? It is worthwile remembering that previous attempts to reform the sector have either failed or met with notably lower levels of success that expected. Like in most other contries, incumbent operators (e.g. China Mobile and China Telecom) have managed to maintain a dominant market share in their respective segments.

For sure, the new scheme is interesting as it creates de facto co-location. But it by no means implies that access – the real crux of the problem – will be secured for the rivals. In fact, the government may want to re-think its policy and consider alternative models to enhance competitiveness – like network separation.

Watch your chat!

The now-famous Chinese Internet police appears to have extended its range of surveillance. According to a report from the Information Warfare Monitor, full text chat messages of TOM-Skype users, along with Skype users who have communicated with TOM-Skype users, are regularly scanned for sensitive keywords in China.

One question raised is to what extent do TOM Online and Skype cooperate with the Chinese government in monitoring the communications. It is not the first time that a company operating in China is found collaborating with the government. Yahoo, Google, and others all had to make the choice between privacy and “respecting local legislation”.

In a country where Internet penetration remains relatively low (at least for the time being) blogs and chats may be only marginal despite a growth in absolute numbers. But what about mobile phones and text messages? With more than 600 million users and 429 billion messages sent last year must be logged somewhere too.