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Programming bugs almost always make their way into production code through some inadvertent way. This time it is Kickstarter who has found a flaw in some of its code. This bug allowed access to 70,000 unpublished projects' project description, goal, duration, rewards, video, image, location, category, and user name.
On the Kickstarter Blog, they have made it abundantly clear that no financial data was ever publicly visible. Of the 70,000 "visible" projects, only 48 were viewed, and that includes views by the Kickstarter team trying to verify and patch the bug. The bug had been introduced into the code with the April 24 homepage redesign.
The bug was introduced when we launched the API in conjunction with our new homepage on April 24, and was live until it was discovered and fixed on Friday, May 11, at 1:42pm. The bug made accessible the project description, goal, duration, rewards, video, image, location, category, and user name for unlaunched projects. No account or financial data was made accessible.
Based on our research, the overwhelming majority of the private API access was by a computer programmer/Wall Street Journal reporter who contacted us. Outside of that person's use, our research shows that a total of 48 unlaunched projects were accessed during the three weeks this bug was live (this number includes a number of views by Kickstarter's developers working on the API itself).
It has been a while since there has been news surrounding the upcoming top-level domains that ICANN was accepting applications for. Once again ICANN has had to push back the deadline for applications due to technical issues. The system had to be shut down lost month after receiving "a report of unusual behavior."
ICANN was originally going to reopen the application process yesterday and require applications to be submitted by the middle of next week. After which, ICANN has to go through the applications and decide who gets what names and which names will have to go up for auction. Before the bug that shut the system down, ICANN has reportedly accepted 2,091 applications and collected about $350 million in fees.
The system was originally shut down "following a technical glitch that may have allowed some users to see some file names and user names of other users." This latest delay is due to ICANN's continuing need "to review the extensive database of system logs and system traffic." ICANN continues by saying:
We have seen no evidence that any TAS user intentionally did anything wrong in order to be able to see other users' information...The large majority of users are unaffected by the glitch. We continue to review the extensive database of system logs and system traffic, and any new and relevant information that emerges from this analysis will be shared with applicants in a timely way.
With all of the new smartphones and tablets being released, it's not unexpected that mobile traffic has increased its contribution to the overall amount of global web traffic. Incredibly mobile traffic now accounts for 10.01% of all global web traffic. In 2010, that number was a tiny 3.81%, according to Pingdom.
Asia has the largest contribution to this mobile data traffic as it contributes 18%, but other countries are also increasing to create the massive upswing in mobile traffic. Incredibly, in India mobile traffic will overtake fixed-line traffic by the end of 2012. Smartphone sales have increased 40% year-over-year to 144.9 million during the first three months of the year.
Regionally, 48.87% of India's traffic comes from mobile devices. Worldwide, Africa is just behind Asia in mobile data usage at 14.85%. The reasons that developing countries and continents have higher usage of mobile data are pretty clear. Often PCs are too expensive or the infrastructure to provide internet to them is expensive and unreliable. Hence, mobile is the clear choice. These findings increase the evidence that websites need to provide a viable mobile website for users.
In the wake of a UK court ordering UK ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay, many sites have popped up as proxies to allow access to the site. The site is actually happy that sites are helping people access The Pirate Bay even when the sites copy its index. However, they aren't so happy when the copy charges users for access.
The idea of charging for access to The Pirate Bay is in direct contradiction to what they stand for. As such, when these copy sites use their index and charge for access, they aren't the happiest website on Earth. "We've noticed at least 3 sites that are tricking users to buying access or similar. We do not condone this behaviour, The Pirate Bay is a free service!" says an official blog post.
So, there are a couple of messages to take away from this. One, beware of illegal torrent sites that are illegally copying blocked illegal torrent sites. Two, if you are behind the blockers, make sure you are using a good proxy to access a free service. "Take care and don't get tricked. There's a war going on. It's the mafiaa against the people. Let's make sure that the people win."
Social networks really do take up a lot of a user's time as they try to read and respond to everyone. I'm not saying I don't spend my fair share of time of Facebook; I probably spend more than average. However, I mostly access Facebook from a computer. A new study shows that users spend more time accessing Facebook from their cell phone than they do the computer.
The study says that the average user spent more than seven hours pursuing Facebook via their cell phone, while only spending six doing the same from a computer. This is based off of data for the month of March. "Social networking proved to be a particularly popular activity on smartphones with several brands demonstrating exceptionally high engagement, in some cases higher than the corresponding time spent by users via traditional Web access," ComScore's report says.
It's not just Facebook that is doing well, either. Twitter users spent quite a bit more time on the site via cell phone. Whereas they only spent 20 minutes on Twitter from a computer, they spent on average just about two hours. Wow! Once again, this data is for the month of March. ComScore was able to collect this data using a new mobile behavioral measurement service called Mobile Metrix 2.0.
We all know it's coming, but Apple and their secrecy shuns us from the truth, constantly. We don't know if the next-generation iPhone will be called just 'iPhone', or 'iPhone 5', or something completely different.
But, Fusible has reported that Apple have filed a claim with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) where they seek to gain control of the iPhone5.com domain. WIPO authorities are currently assessing compliance of Apple's claim with the agency's regulations, and proceedings are likely to be initiated in the near future.
Right now, the iPhone5.com domain hosts a small discussion forum dedicated to the, well, discussion of the 'iPhone 5'. The forum was launched in October 2010, hot on the heels of the iPhone 4 release earlier on in the year. This should be interesting to most people, as Apple didn't even try to gain control of the iPhone4.com domain until over twelve months after the iPhone 4 itself launched.
Spring cleaning is in full effect over at Google. Usually during the spring, Google attempts to rid itself of dead-end projects or, you know, push to overhaul the internet's DNS system. In this case, Google would like to replace HTTP with a new protocol called SPDY. To encourage this, it's showing potential speed gains on mobile networks.
Relying on the company's benchmarks, I can say that mean page load times on a Galaxy Nexus are 23% faster with the new system. Google hypothesizes that even more speed can be gained with future optimization. Google has already implemented SPDY in Chrome and Mozilla in Firefox. For once, even Microsoft seems to be on board.
So, as a way to transition, Google is proposing an Apache 2.2 module called mod_spdy. This module would allow web servers to take advantage of features such as stream multiplexing and header compression. HTTP, you've been good to us, but it appears that it is about time for you to go into the history books.
DNS, at its roots, is somewhat complicated and complex, so when a couple of years ago a group released a piece of malware that sent people to the wrong sites, fixing it has proven difficult. You see, the piece of malware changed users' DNS settings to go to a server by the perpetrators which then forwarded them the wrong IP.
People that are infected with the malware still rely on these "bad" DNS servers. Obviously they aren't bad anymore, but they are being maintained by the FBI. The FBI is planning to shut these servers down come July 9, 2012. If a user's computer is infected, it will no longer have access to the internet due to the lack of DNS.
Starting today, any site running on CloudFlare can simply enable an app that will alert users who come from the improper DNS servers. This is a pretty good reach, but not quite enough. So CloudFlare has gone one step further and released the code on GitHub so that any website can implement the warning page.
Matthew Prince, of CloudFlare, says that the two companies, over the next month, should manage to see 60% of the infected computers. That still leaves 40% who won't have seen it. Come July 9, 2012, there are going to be a lot of people who will be without internet. And by "a lot," I mean some where in the hundreds of thousands.
In an interesting, yet somewhat expected, turn of events, the High Court's ruling last Friday that all of UK's ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay has had an affect on The Pirate Bay's web traffic. But not in the direction you think. Instead of losing hits and traffic, the file sharing website has seen an increase of 12 million visitors, more than it has ever had.
I guess this proves what they say is true: "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Clearly. "Thanks to the High Court and the fact that the news was on the BBC, we had 12 million more visitors yesterday than we had ever had before. We should write a thank you note to the BPI [British Phonographic Industry]," a spokesperson told TorrentFreak.
Virgin Media has already started to block access to the website, however, these blocks aren't hard to get around. Now, I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but I will tell you who will. The Pirate Bay, in the time before the rest of the ISPs block access to the site, is using the time to educate users how to beat censorship. If you happen to be on Virgin Media, you can check out The Pirate Party's website as they are mirroring the content.
Google have announced through their Google Docs Blog that the Google Docs Team have unveiled 450 new fonts and 60 creative templates. The new fonts and templates are part of an array of new features an updates announced today, which expand the range of documents users can create.
This drags Google's offering up to compete with the capabilities of its main productivity suite competitor, Microsoft Office. Template options are divided into different sections, Work, School, Home and Fun. The update to Google Docs also supports the importing of images from Google Drive and increased support for screenreaders.
Google Docs supports importing images from webcams and the LIFE Photo archive. The new update also bumps the size limit for files from 2MB to 50MB.