A year in cybersecurity and cybercrime: 2012 review

A year in cybersecurity and cybercrime: 2012 review

Summary: During the year, we have seen the destruction of SOPA and PIPA but the emergence of CISPA and similar laws around the world, a growing trend in hacks and scams, an explosion in malware, and states committing cyberwarfare on their friends and foes. Here's a run-down of what happened in 2012.

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  • Russia enacts Internet blacklist law

    Soon after the Russian president Vladimir Putin was elected for another term, the Internet was high up on his agenda, including how to prevent ordinary people from rebelling by seeing dissidents' and protesters' Web sites, among other things.

    It was designed as a Web blocking bill -- pornography, drug references and "extremist ideas," but it was ill defined and poorly written and could have given the Kremlin wide-ranging powers to block out vast swathes of the Russian Web. It was, in effect, no different from the U.K.'s Digital Economy Act or the SOPA bill that went before the U.S. House earlier in the year.

    Ultimately it was passed by the country's Duma but with a number of clarifications and changes that allowed certain content to be blocked, but ultimately "harmful content" was defined properly in the act following widespread criticism that the ambiguous wording would give the judiciary and government powers that could block sites that it found politically undesirable.

  • DNSChanger, the 'Internet Armageddon': A busted flush?

    DNSChanger was a worry for many, after the malware infected more than 45,000 machines around the world. It changed DNS settings on the infected computer in order to serve up adverts, which would then revenue for the malware writers. Though U.S. federal regulators discovered the malware, it was not immediately shut down. The whole thing had a 'Y2K feel' to it, meaning many would suddenly lose access to the Web once the malware network was shut down.

    The FBI kept the machines going for a while so there would be no abrupt halt to Web access by those who were infected. Even social network Facebook and search giant Google notified users visiting their sites if they were infected with the malware. But once the FBI shut down the servers after months of warning, it turned out to be a "disaster" waiting to happen that never actually was.

    It wasn't "Internet Armageddon," rather just a bad hair day for a few thousand.

  • Malaysia's answer to SOPA 

    You can probably see a running trend here. First SOPA and PIPA, then CISPA, and across the pond and past Europe we had the Russian blacklist. And it didn't stop there.

    In Malaysia, a new amendment to the Malaysian Evidence Act, dubbed 114A, would mean Web site administrators, Web hosting providers, Internet providers, and those who own a computer or mobile device "on which [content] was posted" would be held accountable for any "illicit" material -- such as defamatory, seditious, or libelous content -- posted online. What if someone steals your smartphone and posted something 'grossly offensive'? The phone owner would be liable. It wasn't fair and people rightfully became angry.

    There were claims that the Malaysian government wanted to bring out the new amendments to help silence political opponents during the upcoming election. However, the government denied this. The Internet blacked out in Malaysia just as it did around the world earlier in the year to protest the changes.

Topics: Security, Apple, Browser, Government US, Legal, Networking, Outage, Privacy, EU

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13 comments
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  • Is that all?

    Seems a rather short article for the headline. Well, I am glad that the White House will veto legislation like SOPA and PIPA and, hopefully, any Trojan Horse legislation that incorporates similar stuff, such as the various trade agreements that threaten to do the same thing. However, the US is fairly practiced at getting other countries to introduce such legislation.
    Mahegan
    • yeahhhh...you have to look harder.

      There are 14 "image" screens you can scroll through each with its own article.....Be more "techy"..lol
      Civsoldier52983
  • Is that all?

    Seems a rather short article for the headline. Well, I am glad that the White House will veto legislation like SOPA and PIPA and, hopefully, any Trojan Horse legislation that incorporates similar stuff, such as the various trade agreements that threaten to do the same thing. However, the US is fairly practiced at getting other countries to introduce such legislation.
    Mahegan
  • Other legislation

    Philippine cybercrime law must protect, not harass, citizens - for example, this article.
    Mahegan
  • Headline Improvements, Please?

    Firstly, I enjoy this site and I visit frequently -- so kudos to you all for your articles and your clear, attractive, website layout!

    Secondly, may I suggest that you tone down the shrill of your headlines? The title of this article is a good example. A look back at ONE event is not an annual review in any way.

    As well, the title of another article "One in five Microsoft logins are in hands of hackers" is as grossly sensationized as it is misleading.

    Thanks for reading.
    ReadandShare
    • It's not just ONE event...look haaarderrrrrr

      There are 14 "image" screens you can scroll through each with its own article.....Be more "techy"..lol
      Civsoldier52983
  • multi-page article format = counter-productive

    Dear ZDnet,
    Read a few of these comments - clearly your dear readers aren't noticing that it's a 14 "page" article that one must keep clicking through to see the whole thing.
    Clearly, your (and many other publication's) transparent attempt to increase page impressions & eyes-on-ads is a failure. Can we please get back to normality now?
    techydude71
    • Matter of opinion..

      I don't think it's really that much trouble to click a single button for a new page, honestly. I believe the reasoning for multiple pages may have been because they wanted to show the image for every article. So, having a single page with all these images and articles would be a much bigger page. I realize it still comes down to a matter of opinion, but being their site sharing this wealth of information, I'd think they can decide on their own between the two options.
      Civsoldier52983
    • All that REALLY needs to happen...

      Is people need to open their eyes a little more and not be so used to the convenience of everything being universally aligned. If they signed up for the site, they have to have SOME level of intelligence...
      Civsoldier52983
  • ...and by the way...

    "This year in..." articles should never been seen until well into December, not mid-November - just makes you look like idiots.
    techydude71
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  • Zack,

    Love the work, hate slide shows.

    Stick with column format. I won't sit here clicking next and waiting for the page to load.
    mlashinsky@...
  • A run-down of what happened in 2012.

    Very interesting and well put together in a format that I am pleased with. Please keep up the outstanding articles, Zack Whittaker. I look forward to reading your IT, informative information.
    RichsAC