News Roundup, June 8: World IPv6 Day, Cyberwars, Social Media Suspension in Hong Kong

Published:  June 8, 2012
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In anticipation of the vigil for the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre, political activists lost access to Facebook. Photo licensed CC by Fred Lam: http://goo.gl/EFXbX

On June 6, the tech community celebrated World IPv6 Launch Day, when a number of major ISPs and Internet companies turned on IPv6, a new protocol for Internet addresses known as IPv4. This new protocol will eventually replace the current one. IPv6 will address the shortage of IPv4 addresses—the remaining few million were assigned in 2011—and enable the continued expansion of the Internet. Although IPv6 will likely run parallel with IPv4 for at least a few years, beginning the transition now is key. As part of the effort spearheaded by the Internet Society, companies including Google, Facebook, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Yahoo!, and Akama have now made the shift. Read more about what it means here.

Privacy and Security: Experts Issue Cyberwar Warning

Last week, Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of Europe’s largest anti-virus company, revealed the discovery of the Flame Virus, which targets countries like Iran, Israel, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The malware represents one of the “most complex threats ever discovered,” and Kaspersky compared it to Stuxnet, a virus commissioned by the U.S. and Israel that attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2010. Flame, however, is nearly twenty times larger than Stuxnet. The technical sophistication of the Flame virus suggests that only a government would have the capacity to build it, although Kaspersky stopped short of implicating a particular country in the creation of the virus. Nonetheless, he did warn about the dangers of cyberwarfare and called for a global effort to stop the growth of cyber terrorism. Read more about the discovery at Kaspersky Labs.

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Internet Freedom: A Large Number of Facebook User Accounts Suspended in Hong Kong

Every year, before the annual vigil of the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre in Hong Kong, concerned citizens urge their friends to attend the vigil together, often using Facebook and other social media sites to spread the word. On Friday, June 1, however, a large number of Facebook user accounts in Hong Kong were suspended for unknown reasons. Many of those affected by the suspension—political cartoonists, activists, students, and so on—said that their accounts were suddenly or automatically disabled shortly after they posted messages of a political nature, particularly urging people to attend the candlelight vigil on June 4th. Read more about the crackdown here.

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