Tag Archives: internet

Internet Archaeology.

The Internet – the one we all know and couldn’t do without for a second today – is still only a relatively new phenomenon. Just 20 years ago there was no Google, no Yahoo… Just 12 years ago you could only get yourself an account on Facebook if you were a student at an Ivy League university; the only tweets made back then were the original, analog versions; and iPhones were a mere figment of Steve Job’s imagination.

(The first iPhone appeared just 10 years ago; it had no front camera, no video, no GPS, no App Store! It’s like with many things today we take for granted – just a decade earlier they’d seem simply impossibly progressive and crazy!)

Then there’s the terminological confusion regarding the word ‘Internet’. The ‘Internet‘ is used to refer to all sorts of stuff while, strictly speaking, the Internet is a super-network joining up a huge quantity of local networks connected among themselves with TCP/IP protocols. This infrastructure uses the Worldwide Web, i.e., a network of millions of webservers all around the world, and this is where the likes of Google, Facebook and all the other zillion sites live. It’s namely this informational environment folks refer to when they tell you to find something on the Internet or ask if you’ve been banned from using the Internet at work. However, besides the web (www) infrastructure of the Internet, all sorts of other things are used, like various peer-to-peer networks, email, FTP servers, and other useful stuff like CCTV, televisions, ATMs, cars, and myriad other IoT devices.

But the theory and practice of modern computer networks aren’t what I want to talk about today. Instead, I’d like to talk about… archaeology! Sort of. I want to tell you about four proto-Internets of the past (in the widest meaning of the word ‘Internet’).

Project Cybersyn (Chile)

Read on: Minitel for Teletel…

Cybernews from the dark side: June 30, 2014

Stock market hacks for microsecond delays.

Cyber-swindling gets everywhere. Even the stock market. First, a bit of history…

The profession of stockbroker was once not only respected and honorable, but also extremely tough. Dealers in stocks and shares once toiled away on the packed floors of stock exchanges and worked silly hours a week, stressed to the limit by relentless high pressure decisions all day (and night). They bought and sold securities, stocks, bonds, derivatives, or whatever they’re called, always needing to do so at just the right moment while riding the waves of exchange rates and prices, all the while edging nearer and nearer to serious heart conditions or some other burn-out caused illness. Other times they simply jumped out of windows to bring a swift end to it all. In short – hardly the world’s best job.

Anyway, all that was long ago. All that hard manual labor has been replaced by automation. Now thinking hard, stressing and sweating aren’t needed: a large proportion of the work today is carried out by robots – special programs that automatically determine the very best moments to buy or sell. In other words, the profession of stockbroker has in large part been boiled down to the training of bots. And to these bots reaction times – to the microsecond – are vital to take advantage of this or that market swing. So speed literally depends on the quality of an Internet connection to the electronic stock exchange. That is, the nearer a robot is physically located to the exchange, the higher its chances of being the first with a bid. And vice versa – robots on the periphery will always be outsiders, just as will those not using the very latest progressive algorithms.

These critical reaction times were recently tampered with by unknown cyber-assailants. A hedge fund’s system was infected with malware to delay trading ability by a few hundred microseconds – which can – and probably did – make all the difference between clinching deals and losing them.

bae-600x255

Read on: Your password for a Twix?…

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