Microsoft Says!

By | ComCo Associates, News | One Comment

A cyber-attack that has hit 150 countries since Friday should be treated by governments around the world as a “wake-up call”, Microsoft says.

It blamed governments for storing data on software vulnerabilities which could then be accessed by hackers.

It says the latest virus exploits a flaw in Microsoft Windows identified by, and stolen from, US intelligence.

There are fears of more “ransomware” attacks as people begin work on Monday, although few have been reported so far.

Live reports: Ransomware cyber-attack fallout

Should you pay the WannaCry ransom?

Many firms have had experts working over the weekend to prevent new infections. The virus took control of users’ files and demanded $300 (£230) payments to restore access.

The spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack slowed over the weekend but the respite might only be brief, experts have said. More than 200,000 computers have been affected so far.


IPv4/IPv6 & Dual Stacking

By | News

– By Jeff Doyle president of Jeff Doyle and Associates,

We are entering the transitional period between IPv4 andIPv6, and things are going to get awkward for a while. IPv4 addresses will officially be used up in the next couple of years, although for most practical purposes you can  consider the pool of unallocated IPv4 addresses to be depleted already. I know of two very large service providers whose requests for new IPv4 allocations were, in the last couple of months, denied.

The “awkward period” we are entering is caused by several unavoidable facts:

1) With few exceptions, the only new globally unique unicast addresses you can get from your regional address registries are IPv6. Those organizations are becoming very protective of the few IPv4 blocks they have left, and even those will be gone in short order.

2) The vast majority of the user devices connecting to theInternet are IPv4.

3) The vast majority of content accessible over the Internet is IPv4 only.

4) The vast majority of service provider connectivity to their customers remains IPv4 only. Getting even basic connectivity to the “IPv6 Internet” usually requires some form of IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling, and the average user has no motivation to enable this.

5) Although modern operating systems are fully IPv6 capable (Windows Vista, MAC OS, most flavors of Unix), there is still a huge installed base of operating systems that either have limited IPv6 support (Windows XP) or none at all.

6) Service providers are faced with growing their network using IPv6, while continuing to serve legacy IPv4 customers. They are going tobe coping with some unwieldy logical architectures for a while.

7) New customer networks will probably continue to spring up using private IPv4 addresses, even if all the gear they install is IPv6 capable. It will take years for IT personnel to become comfortable with IPv6.The difference is that increasingly, the public side of their NAT devices is going to be IPv6 rather than IPv4.

Coping with the early transitional years, in which most content and users are still on IPv4 but the only new addresses are IPv6, falls heavily on service providers. They cannot continue giving customers globally routable IPv4 addresses, they cannot get new globally routable IPv4 addresses for expanding their own networks, and yet they must continue to serve both legacy IPv4 customers and new customers – all of whom are primarily trying to reach IPv4 destinations.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of broadband customers could care less whether their application traffic is riding over IPv4 or IPv6, or even know what IP is. Customers care about services, and how well those services are delivered. So any effort by a service provider to introduce IPv6 that reduces service quality or inconveniences their customers is going to be costly. In an intensely competitive market, even perceptions matter: A customer might not have run Windows 95 for years, and his IPv4-only game system might be gathering dust in the closet, but tell him that he cannot use them and he might switch providers.

Therefore IPv4 and IPv6 must coexist for some number of years, and their coexistence must be transparent to end users. In fact if an IPv4-to-IPv6 transition is successful, the end users should not even notice it.

The tools available to networkers for IPv4/IPv6 coexistence fall into one of four categories:

· Dual stack: A dual stack device is “bilingual;” that is, it can originate and understand both IPv4 and IPv6 packets.

· Manually configured tunnels: A tunnel carries IPv4 packets in IPv6, or IPv6 packets in IPv4. A manually configured tunnel is one in which the network operator specifies the endpoints of the tunnel and the encapsulation technology; the tunnel stays up until the operator removes it. Manual tunnels are ideal for connecting IPv6 sites over IPv4 or vice versa. IP in IP, GRE, and MPLS are the usual technologies used.

· Automatic tunnels: 6to4, ISATAP, DSTM, and tunnel brokers are the most prominent examples of automatic tunnels; these technologies are best applied when temporary tunneling is required. Unlike manual tunnels, automatic tunnels identify their own endpoints and are set up and torn down as needed.

· Translators:These are used when an IPv4-only device must speak to an IPv6-only device, or when some portion of the network between two end systems can only carry one IP version. Some translators, such as NAT-PT, work at the network layer and convert all packets of one version to packets of the other version. Other translators are Application Layer Gateways (ALGs) that only convert packets belonging to certain applications.

Dual stacking is by far the preferable solution in most scenarios. The dual stacked device can speak equally to IPv4 devices, IPv6 devices, and other dual-stacked devices (with the two devices agreeing on which IP version to speak). And the entire transition can be driven by DNS: If a dual-stacked device queries the name of a destination and DNS gives it an IPv4 address (a DNS A Record), it sends IPv4 packets. If DNS responds with an IPv6 address (a DNS AAAA Record), it sends IPv6 packets.

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By | News

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a version of the Internet Protocol (IP) that is designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). The Internet operates by transferring data in small packets that are independently routed across networks as specified by an international communications protocol known as the Internet Protocol. Each data packet contains two numeric addresses that are the packet’s origin and destination devices. Since 1981, IPv4 has been the publicly used version of the Internet Protocol, and it is currently the foundation for most Internet communications. The Internet’s growth has created a need for more addresses than IPv4 is capable of. IPv6 allows for vastly more numerical addresses, but switching from IPv4 to IPv6 may be a difficult process.

IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to deal with the long-anticipated IPv4 address exhaustion, and is described in Internet standard document RFC 2460, published in December 1998. Like IPv4, IPv6 is an Internet Layer protocol for packet-switched internetworking and provides end-to-end datagram transmission across multiple IP networks. While IPv4 allows 32 bits for an Internet Protocol address, and can therefore support 232 (4,294,967,296) addresses, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, so the new address space supports 2128 (approximately 340 undecillion or 3.4×1038) addresses. This expansion allows for many more devices and users on the internet as well as extra flexibility in allocating addresses and efficiency for routing traffic. It also eliminates the primary need for network address translation (NAT), which gained widespread deployment as an effort to alleviate IPv4 address exhaustion.

IPv6 implements additional features not present in IPv4. It simplifies aspects of address assignment (stateless address autoconfiguration) and network renumbering (prefix and router announcements) when changing Internet connectivity providers. The IPv6 subnet size has been standardized by fixing the size of the host identifier portion of an address to 64 bits to facilitate an automatic mechanism for forming the host identifier from link layer media addressing information (MAC address). Network security is also integrated into the design of the IPv6 architecture, and the IPv6 specification mandates support for IPsec as a fundamental interoperability requirement.

The last top level (/8) block of free IPv4 addresses was assigned in February 2011, although many free addresses still remain in most assigned blocks and will continue to be allocated for some three to six months from then. After that, only 1024 addresses are made available from APNIC for each LIR.[2] While IPv6 is supported on all major operating systems in use in commercial, business, and home consumer environments,[3] IPv6 does not implement interoperability features with IPv4, and creates essentially a parallel, independent network. Exchanging traffic between the two networks requires special translator gateways, but modern computer operating systems implement dual-protocol software for transparent access to both networks using ‘tunneling’. In December 2010, despite marking its 12th anniversary as a Standards Track protocol, IPv6 was only in its infancy in terms of general worldwide deployment. A 2008 study by Google Inc. indicated that penetration was still less than one percent of Internet-enabled hosts in any country at that time.



By | News

So, the iPad 2 finally goes on sale in the UK but those hoping to rush out and get one are set to be disappointed.

The Apple Store are quoting a 2-3 week dispatch date and customers are likely to only be able to pre-order the tablet.

The iPad 2 starts at £399 for the basic model and this rises to £659 for Wi-Fi + 3G 64GB.

Knowing the iPad 2 was to go on sale in the UK today,  you would have thought Apple would have prepared stock ready and not made their customers wait.

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By | News

The World’s largest spam network, The Rustock botnet, has been raided and dismantled in the US.

The network, which is thought to have sent up to 30 billion messages per day, was run by a small team says a senior investigator involved in dismantling the spam giant.

“It does not look like there were more than a couple of people running it to me,” said Alex Lanstein, a senior engineer at security firm FireEye, which helped with the investigation into Rustock.

The investigation and shut down of Rustock was undertaken by FireEye, Microsoft, Pfizer and others was culminated on 16 March with simultaneous raids on data centres in seven US cities that seized 96 servers which had acted as the command and control (C&C) system for Rustock.
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