Can a bunch of Estonians bring the Internet down?

“D-Day for Internet” – The Indian Express

I turn a deaf ear to the Indian media hype, especially around topics of no interest to me say, politics. The recent hype around the ‘DNS Changer’ malware though is undeniably one of the biggest ‘face-palm’ moments of Indian media. I want to point out a couple of things to our concerned scribes who thought the Internet was going down.

First of all, the DNS Changer is not a virus but malware. I won’t waste precious bytes explaining what the difference is, but get a fucking dictionary and write accurate news.

Secondly, the numbers thrown around were highly inaccurate. An FBI report estimated that only about 200,000 computers (or modems) worldwide were infected by the malware while our media was quoting numbers ranging from 100,000 to 500,000.

Third and most importantly, the magnitude of the problem was blown out of proportions. Last I checked there were 120 million Internet users in India, and an estimated 20,000 computers (or modems) are affected. How is this Armageddon? Here’s an idea – get a fucking calculator and do the math. Only a tiny fraction of the users will be affected if at all. In all honesty, I don’t feel sorry for those users, they’re probably the ones still clicking on the ‘free iPad’ promos and think Bill Gates is going to wire them money every time they forward a fucking email about a nonexistent child in need.

If you’ve come this far, rest assured your PC or network is not infected. Now that I’ve adequately abused the media, let me get to some revelations I had this morning about how our ISPs are preparing to avert disaster:

My allegiance with Sify dates back to 2004, and the following statement from one of their Security Products guys is just a joke:

“We are following all security procedures and deployed security solutions such as anti-malware, anti-spam and others protection tools. Besides, we are monitoring 24×7 our networks for malware infections and DDoS but there are no reports for DNS Changer infecting our customers”

I’m sorry but what does DNS Changer have to do with Distributed Denial of Service, and how will any measure of security help if the customer’s DNS Resolver IP is altered? May I remind you that you are a Cable Internet provider and don’t have modems/routers to remotely manage at the customer’s premise?

And here’s a guy from Pacenet:

“To curb such threats we have incorporated DNS security into our DNS namespace design, reviewed the default DNS Server service security settings and applied Active Directory security features on the DNS Server service which is running on a domain controller”

DNS Security a.k.a DNSSEC guarantees the authenticity of the (authoritative) DNS Server but does not guarantee that the DNS Resolver is not acting maliciously. DNS Changer does exactly that – takes the spot of your DNS Resolver and acts maliciously by say forwarding you to a favorable website instead of the one you originally sought, to generate ad revenue. What the fuck have you guys been smoking?

Long story short – I’m drawing the following conclusions:

  1. Abu Jundal is now stale news, and the media wanted to ride this wave with inaccurate, bloated-fake-news.
  2. A majority of the Indian ISPs don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.
  3. A bunch of Estonians cannot take the internet down!
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Coming – Summer 2011

A message to Fortis and Apollo Hospitals

I was smitten by another writers block for a long time, but this topic was compelling enough for me to return. I don’t know if this will be just a blip on the radar I will continue writing. If you live in the Bannerghatta locality like I do in Bangalore, you’d know what I am talking about on this post. For others who don’t, let me give you an analogy:

Imagine yourself going through a new TV buying decision – what do you look for besides the price, features, right? How many HDMI ports does the TV have, is it full HD or HD ready, what is the contrast ratio, can it support USB playback, what is the brand value, obviously you wouldn’t want to buy a Takai would you?

Now, if someone in the family is unwell, would you go through a similar process to decide which hospital to go to? Would you choose a hospital because they can perform a “single incision laparoscopic surgery”, or “Arthroscopic Brachial Plexus Catheterization”, or have the “CyberKnife® Robotic Radio Surgery System”? Pardon my French but I don’t give a fuck about whether the hospital has the most advanced technologies in Asia, or if it was the first one to perform a certain surgery in the country.

I’d rather go to a hospital that:

  1. has cashless transaction option for my medical insurance cover,
  2. is (relatively) accessible to where I live,
  3. takes good care of their patients (word of mouth or factual knowledge).

Our friends at Apollo and Fortis don’t seem to understand the logic – to me it appears as if these ads I see all over Bannerghatta Road are targeted towards hiring the best doctors, surgeons, and physicians in the city and not towards attracting patients. You’re telling them that they get to play with the latest gadgets in the market (read medical equipment), and you’re telling them they can feel proud to be part of your organization. If your intention is to get the public to know you’re good – you’ve failed mise-fuckin-rably!

If you want the public to know you are the best hospital around, share your patients experience surveys with us, tell us how they rate you in patient care, facilities, cleanliness, accuracy of diagnostics, doctor’s fee, etc. This may not be relative to other hospitals, because you wouldn’t expect your patients to try one hospital each week, but just an assessment of what they think about your services. I’ve been to these hospitals in the recent past and I know they do take those feedback forms, so why not make them public?

Someone I know complained of a chest pain in the middle of the night, and the emergency room at Apollo hospitals took an hour and a half to get an ECG done. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the equipment you have if you take that long to perform potential life saving diagnostics.

Get the drift?

Treat the patient, not the Xray.  ~James M. Hunter

Garage Sale 2010

I have been cleaning my ‘gadget garage’ the past few weeks and have the following for sale. If you are interested in any of these, write to me: nirupesh (at) gmail (dot) com

Items available: [Picture Gallery at the bottom of the post]

  1. Sony CyberShot DSC W5
  2. Sony CyberShot DSC P43
  3. Netgear Wireless Router WGR 614v5
  4. Blackberry Curve 8900 (Javelin)
  5. Sony PlayStation 2 + 3 original games
  6. Sony Mini (Shelf) CD player HCD HPZ7
  7. Compaq Presario v2000 laptop

Details and Prices (Prices are negotiable):

Item: Sony CyberShot DSC W5
What’s available:

  1. Camera
  2. Sony rechargeable batteries (2)
  3. Sony battery charger
  4. Camera tag
  5. Sony Digital camera puch
  6. USB Data cable

What’s not available:

  1. Memory card
  2. (The camera has 32MB internal memory)

DSC W5 Specs and Review
Purchase year: 2006
Purchase price: Rs12,300/-
Asking price: Rs3,000/-

Item: Sony CyberShot DSC P43
What’s available:

  1. Camera
  2. Sanyo rechargeable batteries (2)
  3. Sony 16MB Memory Stick
  4. Camera tag
  5. Case logic Digital camera puch
  6. USB Data cable

What’s not available:

  1. Battery charger

DSC P43 Specs and Review
Purchase year: 2004
Purchase price: Rs16,000/-
Asking price: Rs2,000/-

Item: Netgear Wireless Router WGR 614v5
What’s available:

  1. Router
  2. Router holder (stand)
  3. Power adapter (India)
  4. Can also throw in a LAN cable if required.

Netgear WGR614 v5 review and specifications
Purchase year: 2005
Purchase price: Rs3,500/-
Asking price: Rs1,000/-

Item: Blackberry Curve 8900 (Javelin)
What’s available:

  1. Phone (Vodafone India locked)
  2. Original Blackberry black rubber skin
  3. Phone charger (India)
  4. USB Data cable
  5. OEM Software
  6. 1GB Memory card

Blackberry Curve 8900 specs and Review
Purchase year: 2009
Purchase price: Rs27,500/-
Asking price: Rs10,000/-

Item: Sony PlayStation 2
What’s available:

  1. PS2 (NOT modded)
  2. Wired PS2 controller (1)
  3. Sony 8MB memory card for PS2
  4. Power chord (India)
  5. Composite cable (Red, White, Yellow) for TV
  6. Original Games: Transformers, Moto GP, and Socom2 Combined Assault

What’s not available:

  1. Wireless controller

Sony PlayStation 2 Review
Purchase year: 2006
Purchase price: Rs15000/-
Asking price: Rs8000/- (Bundle price with games)

Item: Sony Mini (shelf) CD player HCD HPz7
What’s available:

  1. Player + 2 detachable speakers (wired)
  2. Remote control
  3. Audio IN port
  4. 5 disk changer (plays MP3 + Audio CD)
  5. Original packaging

What’s not available:

  1. Wireless speakers
  2. DVD playback
  3. Video CD playback

Purchase year: 2006
Purchase price: Rs11,000/-
Asking price: Rs8,000/-

Item: Compaq Presario v2000
What’s available:

  1. Intel Celeron 1.2 Ghz processor
  2. 14″ wide (16:9) screen
  3. 256MB RAM
  4. DVD ROM – CD R/W
  5. Wireless G adapter
  6. SD Card Reader
  7. Compaq laptop carrying case
  8. Power cable
  9. I can throw in a logitech external USB webcam if needed.

What’s not available:

  1. Webcam
  2. Bluetooth

Compaq Presario v2000 review

Purchase year: 2005
Purchase price: Rs34,000/-
Asking price: Rs10,000/-

Picture Gallery:

In Memoriam, Michael Crichton – book extract.

Amid the ferns, Grant saw the head of an animal. It was motionless, partially hidden in the fronds, the two large dark eyes watching them coldly.

The head was two feet long. From a pointed snout, a long row of teeth ran back to the hole of the auditory meatus which served as an ear. The head reminded him of a large lizzard, or perhaps a crocodile. The eyes did not blink, and the animal did not move. Its coloration as the infant’s: yellow-brown with darker reddish markings, like the stripes of a tiger.

As Grant watched, a single forelimb reached up very slowly to part the fern beside the animal’s face. The limb, Grant saw, was strongly muscled. The hand hand had three grasping fingers, each ending in curved claws. The hand gently, slowly, pushed aside the ferns.

Grant felt a chill and thought, He’s hunting us.

Its been a year since Michael Crichton died and I haven’t been able to start a miniseries of book extracts as I had originally intended. But Crichton’s death anniversary last week led to this.

I fell in love with Crichton’s books when I first read Jurassic Park back in 1998. Although that wasn’t the first book by Crichton, it was what I got to read of his work. So here’s to one of the greatest authors I have known!

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"We won’t hire Satyam employees". Well, why?

Infosys says they wouldn’t hire Satyam employees and has advised their recruitment teams to not entertain calls from Satyam employees who intend to jump ship at this time of crisis. Nasscom has also asked not to poach from Satyam.

I don’t know if the first story was a misinterpretation, but if NRN had said that in the light of ‘safeguarding’ Infosys’s ethics, it was a very wrong statement. Let’s look at it this way, the World Bank refused to work with Satyam for the next few years, another noted Bank canceled their contract with Satyam a few weeks ago, and who is going to fight for these businesses now? Will all the other majors including Infosys ‘let go’ of these businesses? I don’t think so, they would undercut and quote even with the least margins to win these businesses at this time with both Satyam crumbling and the economy being shaky.

However, if the announcement was directed more towards senior management from Satyam’s board that will try to jump, then it should have strictly been an internal communication and not a public announcement.

Isn’t this funny?

Isn’t this too funny to be a coincidence? Or is it not a coincidence?

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11/26, Mumbai

Enough has been said about the shocking events that shook Mumbai and the whole of India in the past week, what was expected to be a nice and long thanksgiving weekend was turned into a weekend of terror.

I read some nice articles on the Viewspaper and observed different perspectives, thought I could post the links here. Also, a nice photo set on flickr here.

In Memoriam – Michael Crichton 1942 – 2008.

photo_crichton

Best-selling author Michael Crichton died unexpectedly in Los Angeles early this month, after a courageous and private battle against cancer.

While the world knew him as a great story teller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us — and entertained us all while doing so — his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes. He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget.

Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand.

He will be profoundly missed by those whose lives he touched, but he leaves behind the greatest gifts of a thirst for knowledge, the desire to understand, and the wisdom to use our minds to better our world.

I am an ardent Michael Crichton reader and have read all books by Crichton. In memory of MC, I will be starting a ‘mini-series’ sort of extracts from my favorite Crichton novels soon.

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