China Shuts Down Access To Popular VPN Services

Weekly Axis Of Easy #12

In this issue:

  • The AA UK admits customer data exposed in breach
  • China shuts down access to popular VPN services
  • Disquieting: no NSA-powered worms attacked everybody last week.
  • Will Bitcoin split into two blockchains?


UK AA admits customer data exposed in breach

After initially downplaying concerns that customer data was exposed the UK insurance co the AA admitted last week that yes, customer emails and credit card info was leaked when a backup of their database was left exposed on a public facing web server. File under “do not do”. 


China shuts down access to popular VPN services

China has a long history of exerting tight control on the speech of it’s citizens and on what sites they can access from behind The Great Firewall of China.  (Last I heard, easyDNS was blocked there for years because we are a dynamic DNS provider; which enables Chinese dissidents to setup non-sanctioned web servers on dynamic IPs to thwart The Wall). Many citizens use VPN providers in order to circumvent government blocking, which is now harder to do. VPN providers have begun reporting that their Chinese customers can no longer access their services while at least one Chinese-based VPN has been ordered to shutdown by the government.


Disquieting: there were no rampant NSA-powered worm outbreaks last week

Usually when I sit down to write this I have an easy “item in the bag” just by typing a quick paragraph about whatever new ransomware worm outbreak that is based on leaked NSA hacking tools. But nothing like that happened since Petya aside from the usual smattering of derivations and knock-offs. What gives? Well at least NSA whistleblower, Bill Binney, issued an affidavit on July 4th stating that the NSA is still illegally vacuuming the data of American citizens. Keep the faith. 

Will Bitcoin split into two blockchains? 

In what could be described as a “Come-to-Jesus” talk delivered by Craig Wright  (the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto), the Bitcoin community is even more abuzz now over the looming decision whether to adopt Segregated Witness (“Segwit”) to solve the Bitcoin scaling problem (among other things). Wright vehemently opposes Segwit, while Bitcoin core is in favour. When I first heard about this I didn’t even understand what “Segregated witness”  means. I do now, thanks to two podcasts via the Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast network:

On Let’s Talk Bitcoin #337  Adam Levine and Andreas Antonopolis discuss the issue with Andreas sounding rational and more on the “in favour of SegWit” side.

Then on the the July 3rd Episode of The Crypto Show, Roger Ver comes on sounding just as reasonable, but opposed to Segwit.

Craig Wright’s original fire-and-brimstone speech can be heard in Let’s Talk Bitcoin episode #336.

From my relatively uninformed-on-the-deep-guts-of-the-code viewpoint,  this sounds a lot like the “systemd will destroy linux” hysteria when that was supposed to cause the collapse of civilization as we know it. 


Previously on #AxisOfEasy

If you missed the previous issues, they can be read online here:

• July 4, 2017:  Freedom Of Speech Ends Where Criminal Law Begins
 June 26, 2017: Hackers Target Email Accounts Of UK Parliament
June 19, 2017: Failure To Renew A Domain Put Millions At Risk
• Jun 12, 2017: Does easyDNS Know Your Passwords?
• Jun 5, 2017: Discover Your Odds Of Being Replaced By A Robot

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