Thursday 12 May 2011

WACS lands in South Africa

 Christo [PCD]    12 May : 10:20
 None    Internet

Taken Directly from Mybroadband!

Taken Directly from Mybroadband!

The 5.12Tbps West Africa Cable System (WACS) landed in Yzerfontein on the West Coast

The newly constructed West Africa Cable System (WACS) has landed at Yzerfontein on the West Coast of South Africa today.

Deployment of WACS, done by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, began in 2009 and the company recently announced that the design capacity of the cable has been increased from 3.84 terrabits per second (Tbps) to 5.12Tbps.

With commercial services expected by 2011, the 5.12Tbps WACS will connect South Africa to the UK with landings in Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, and Portugal.

Local participants include Telkom SA, Neotel, MTN, Vodacom, Broadband Infraco and Gateway Communications.

Telkom South Africa is the landing partner of the cable in South Africa, and is constructing and managing the landing station in Yzerfontein as well as the backhaul fibre network for delivering WACS bandwidth.

“Various reasons led to the choice of Yzerfontein as landing point for WACS and allocating the responsibility to land the cable in South Africa to Telkom. All submarine cables that enter South Africa is located at either Melkbosstrand or Mtunzini, thus effectively two international fibre gateways,??? explains Casper K Chihaka, Managing Executive: Telkom Wholesale Services.

“Events such as earthquakes or even a large ship dragging its anchor has seen several cables being cut during singular events across the world. South Africa needs a third international fibre gateway to reduce the risk of complete isolation from the rest of the world. Telkom operates submarine cable gateways at Mtunzini, Melkbosstrand and now also at Yzerfontein,??? he continues.

Once WACS commences commercial operation, Telkom will be able to provide services through three diverse gateways from South Africa providing the redundancy for a connected South Africa even under disastrous conditions.

Furthermore Telkom’s submarine cable portfolio will now comprise of a complete ring around Africa enabling Telkom the ability to offer redundant and restorable international bandwidth services.

[Submitted by Siversmith[PCD]]

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Monday 03 January 2011

Mozilla Loses Users Names, Email Addresses, Hashed Passwords

 Christo [PCD]    03 Jan : 09:36
 None    Internet

File containing sensitive information was posted to common file server for all to see

File containing sensitive information was posted to common file server for all to see

These days internet firms seem to be having a tougher and tougher time holding on to your private data. Following lost emails databases at Walgreens, McDonalds, and others; Microsoft's leak of business users' contacts from the cloud; and Gawker's loss of users names, passwords, and site information, Mozilla has become the latest to fail to keep its users confidential data secure.

Chris Lyon, Director of Infrastructure Security at Mozilla, wrote users of its addons page to let them know it might have accidentally shared their encrypted passwords. Writes Lyon:

Dear user,

The purpose of this email is to notify you about a possible disclosure of your information which occurred on December 17th. On this date, we were informed by a 3rd party who discovered a file with individual user records on a public portion of one of our servers. We immediately took the file off the server and investigated all downloads. We have identified all the downloads and with the exception of the 3rd party, who reported this issue, the file has been download by only Mozilla staff. This file was placed on this server by mistake and was a partial representation of the users database from The file included email addresses, first and last names, and an md5 hash representation of your password. The reason we are disclosing this event is because we have removed your existing password from the addons site and are asking you to reset it by going back to the addons site and clicking forgot password. We are also asking you to change your password on other sites in which you use the same password. Since we have effectively erased your password, you don't need to do anything if you do not want to use your account. It is disabled until you perform the password recovery.

We have identified the process which allowed this file to be posted publicly and have taken steps to prevent this in the future. We are also evaluating other processes to ensure your information is safe and secure.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the infrastructure security team directly at . If you are having issues resetting your account, please contact . We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Chris Lyon

Director of Infrastructure Security

Worse yet, it turns out that the file contained passwords protected by an older hashing algorithm MD5, without any salting (random input to protect against dictionary attacks). Writes Lyon in his blog:

The database included 44,000 inactive accounts using older, md5-based password hashes. We erased all the md5-passwords, rendering the accounts disabled. All current accounts use a more secure SHA-512 password hash with per-user salts. SHA-512 and per user salts has been the standard storage method of password hashes for all active users since April 9th, 2009.

In other words, active users likely don't have much to worry about, but if you created an account in the past, which you haven't used in some time, it's likely that malicious parties may have at least your name and email address. And if your password is weak, they'll likely soon have that as well -- so users who fall into this category might want to immediately change any identical passwords on accounts on other sites.

For those confused what these accounts even are, Mozilla encourages users of its popular extensions/add-ons to register. According to Mozilla:

You only need to register if:

* You want to submit reviews for add-ons
* You want to keep track of your favorite add-on collections or create one yourself
* You are an add-on developer and want to upload your add-on for hosting on AMO

Judging by the number of inactive accounts, many of Mozilla's millions of users decided to take the plunge and create an account. Now some of those users' security may be at risk due to the organization careless post of user account information to a public server.

Given that a third party noticed and reported this file was available, it's safe to assume that someone preserved a copy of it. And just like that, Mozilla became the latest to allow its users to become the victim of a security bungle.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1294040112 Mozill

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Wednesday 24 March 2010

ADSL uncapped at R219 per month

 MaTiCa    24 Mar : 12:24
 None    Internet

MWEB aims to ‘free the web’ with the lowest prices ever on uncapped ADSL accounts

MWEB aims to ‘free the web’ with the lowest prices ever on uncapped ADSL accounts

An online social media campaign called ‘Free The Web’ has over the past few days gained momentum, sparking speculation that one of the larger companies are planning something big.

A Facebook page was created with the message “We're frustrated by the limitations of the internet in SA. Let's celebrate the greatness of the web and call for a change! Join us and be the first to know when we succeed in our cause to Free The Web in SA!???

This Facebook page quickly grew in popularity through both word of mouth and an aggressive advertising campaign, and has to date attracted over 13,000 fans.

The company behind the initiative, which was until recently unknown, said that “Our grand plan is announced in just a few days time (today).???

MWEB unveils their plan

It has now been revealed that MWEB was behind this social media campaign, and the announcement was indeed significant: Uncapped ADSL bandwidth at affordable rates.

“On 22 March 2010, MWEB will launch a series of affordable uncapped ADSL products in the South African market targeted at both consumers and businesses,??? the company said in a press statement.

The product offerings are as follows:

MWEB Connect (Consumer product; month-to-month)

1. Uncapped ADSL 384kbps: R219
2. Uncapped ADSL 512kbps: R299
3. Uncapped ADSL 4096kbps: R539

All inclusive

1. Uncapped All-inclusive 384kbps: R349
2. Uncapped All-inclusive 512kbps: R599
3. Uncapped All-inclusive 4096kbps: R899

MWEB BUSINESS (Business product; 12 month contract)

1. Uncapped ADSL 384kbps: R499
2. Uncapped ADSL 512kbps: R699
3. Uncapped ADSL 4096kbps: R1 999


1. Uncapped All-inclusive 384kbps: R629
2. Uncapped All-inclusive 512kbps: R999
3. Uncapped All-inclusive 4096kbps: R2 259

Official Press Release:

South Africans are today a step closer to being able to use the internet like the rest of the world does as MWEB, South Africa’s leading ISP, today launches a full range of uncapped ADSL packages for consumers and businesses at an affordable, highly competitive price. With products priced from R219 per month and some 40% cheaper than other offerings, MWEB is the first major player in South Africa to offer uncapped ADSL on a significant scale, available 24 hours a day, with all the value-added products, technical back-up and a world-class network – at an affordable price.

Rudi Jansen, MWEB CEO, says the time has come for South Africans to experience unlimited internet access that is within their means. “Internet penetration in South Africa remains below par - in fact, South Africa has fallen behind a number of other African countries in recent times. The lack of well-priced, generously-provisioned bandwidth has been holding us all back, and as a result we are missing out on an immense economic opportunity.

“In his state of the nation address last month, President Jacob Zuma promised to increase broadband access, reduce tariffs and ensure a high standard of internet service, in line with international norms. MWEB’s latest move is supportive of the government’s objectives to increase internet take-up as part of its efforts to encourage greater economic growth and social upliftment. By lifting the usage cap and increasing competition, MWEB will greatly assist the industry change that is needed in this country.

ICT industry analyst, Arthur Goldstuck, agrees with this sentiment, saying cheap, unlimited broadband by MWEB marks a key shift in South African Internet history. “It has been proven that accessible technology builds the economy. This is the kind of catalyst we’ve all waited for; we hope it's the gambit all other providers will have to match. If it delivers what it promises, the consumer and business user and ultimately the country will be the beneficiaries.???

Vast benefits
Citing the examples of France and South Korea and pointing to various global ICT programmes aimed at overcoming the 2009 economic slump, Jansen says the direct and indirect benefits including the multiplier effect of cheap, abundant bandwidth are nothing short of remarkable.

“Broadband lifted South Korea out of the devastation of the Asian market collapse in 1997,??? he says. “In 1995, 1% of their population dialed up to the Internet. In 2009, more than 95% of households had broadband. The change is deep and irreversible - everybody has high-definition video on demand. Online gaming conventions are as big as soccer matches or rock concerts. South Koreans spend twice as much per capita online as US citizens.???

South Africa’s turn
Jansen says MWEB hopes its actions are a precursor to a meaningful industry response. Since South African telecoms policy was liberalised to permit ISPs to offer services on their own networks, MWEB, a first-tier ISP with its own international bandwidth provisioned through SAT3 and Seacom, is now able to compete with telcos by providing Internet access on its own network.

“In spite of the current stranglehold that Telkom currently has on the internet market in South Africa, we felt that action of this significance was necessary to get South Africa to join the rest of the world and enjoy the social and economic benefits that broadband internet has to offer,??? said Jansen. “This offer will enable South Africans to access and download content on scale never seen before. We have a real chance to lift ourselves from broadband mediocrity in South Africa, or we risk falling into broadband oblivion,??? he added.

MWEB has invested significantly in its network to produce a top quality, reliable network that has been engineered to world-class standards and which will accommodate the volume of traffic expected. MWEB recently achieved Tier-1 ISP status with the migration of its customers to its own IPC network, thereby limiting its reliance on other Tier-1 providers for its bandwidth needs. With its new IPC link, MWEB will have more control over its ADSL network. Jansen said he is confident that the additional control will mean better performance and higher service levels.
“We will also be utilising bandwidth on both the SAT3 and SEACOM international cable systems in order to have full redundancy on our international bandwidth,??? he said. “We signed up with SEACOM in March for a long-term agreement and we are purchasing significant bandwidth as SEACOM provides MWEB with a very attractive solution for international network capacity, at the best price currently available to the South African market.???

He added however, that for any ADSL service to be successful a close working relationship with Telkom is needed as they still control the last mile. MWEB will continue to work with Telkom to ensure MWEB subscribers receive the best possible network experience in the country.

MWEB is introducing six data-only ADSL packages for consumers and businesses. The consumer data-only products will cost R219, R299 and R539 per month for line speeds of 384Kbps, 512 Kbps and 4Mbps respectively. The MWEB Business data-only offerings will cost R499 per month for a 384Kbps line, R699 per month for a 512Kbps line, and R1 999 per month on a 4Mbps line. These services are available on any line rental package available from Telkom, even Telkom’s “Closer??? subscription bundles.

In addition, MWEB will offer three consumer all-inclusive packages (ADSL line rental included) for R349, R599 and R899 per month for line speeds of 384Kbps, 512 Kbps and 4Mbps respectively. The all-inclusive offerings for businesses will cost R629 for the 384kbps option, R999 for the 512Kbps option and R2 259 for the 4Mbps package.

All business products are unshaped, and as in the rest of the world, no bandwidth caps will apply to any of these services.


The MWEB Business products are specifically designed to suit the needs of small and medium sized businesses, usually seen as 5 or more connected devices. Andre Joubert, GM of MWEB Business, explains that the MWEB Business packages are fully managed. “If something goes wrong, MWEB’s support engineers will remotely log on to fix a router or send an engineer on-site at no additional charge, and also liaise with Telkom, for their portion of the fault.???

Joubert says the Business packages have other advantages too.
- They are unshaped.
- The service is designed to cater for the throughput of business applications not usually associated with consumer products
- MWEB includes use of a business-grade router worth R3 999 in the 12-month contract.
- The product comes with fixed IP addresses, offering the ability to host servers and deploy a VPN connection.
- MWEB runs a dedicated call centre that offers business-specific technical skills.
- The service is fully MWEB VoIP compatible.
- The product comes with reports and proactive fault communication.

In addition, says Joubert, while MWEB Business packages are at a premium compared to consumer products, they’re still up to R1 800 less per month than comparative business products on offer. The throughput will be better than is currently available in the market.

???Now businesses can run more effectively without having to worry about their internet costs. This is set to drive growth in the SME sector in particular.???


MWEB will use the occasion to consolidate its numerous ADSL offerings into a simpler portfolio. On the consumer side, a number of capped packages prevail, but these will enjoy additional cost-savings. For example:
1GB R89 no frills now costs R69
2GB Data Cap Only will be migrated to 3GB at R145
1GB All-inclusive 384Kbps will be migrated to 2GB at R199


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