Facebook, Twitter, YouTube to remain blocked in PAKISTAN, PTA

faceeeee

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said on Saturday that social networking websites Facebook and Twitter and video-sharing sites YouTube and Dailymotion would remain blocked in the country until the law and order situation improved.

However, the telecom watchdog added that there had been no instructions to block cell phone services so far.

Access to these websites was blocked hours after law enforcers launched an operation to break up a protest sit-in in Islamabad, drawing the ire of Pakistani internet users.

Millions of Pakistanis rely on private television channels and social media platforms for updates on the events unfolding in the country following the Islamabad crackdown.

But then the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) ordered private television channels to go off-air, fearing live coverage of the Islamabad operation could trigger protests elsewhere in the country.

After the electronic media blackout, people turned to popular social networking websites for information, but Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were also blocked by the authorities in an effort to stop information from trickling out.

Complaints of inaccessibility started pouring in on Twitter mid-afternoon on Saturday. Some users say the social media ‘blackout’ is restricting people from their right to information.

 

Advertisements

How many tweets to reach the top?

twitter-trending-topics

According to Twitter statistics, the average number of tweets daily is a little less than 2 million, updated by around 630,000 unique Twitter users.

The idea of having a real time search is possible through the Twitter search engine, found at http://search.twitter.com. When a user search for a given topic, the results page shows what is been tweeted about that issue in real time.

The “Trending Topics” shown in the home page reflects the 10 most tweeted topics in real time. They are refreshed every 5 to 11 minutes.

But, the million dollar question is: How many tweets are needed to trend on Twitter?

It actually varies according to the time of the day. As mentioned above, a trending topic is refreshed periodically. So, to figure at the top ten, the topic must be tweeted in a short period of time. It is necessary around 1200 tweets from 12am to 6am PDT to reach the top 10. From 6am to 12pm PDT, 1700 tweets. From 12pm to 6pm PDT, 1500 tweets. And 1900 tweets from 6pm to midnight PDT.

The number of unique users tweeting also plays an important role in the equation, it ranges from 600 to 900 users.

Lately we have seen some movements to make a topic trend, as I mentioned in this blog on July 14th, when Brazilians mobilized to have the Jonas Brothers back for a new tour, posting hundreds of updates with the tag #BrazilwantsJB. Check it at http://pl0.sl.pt.

As a marketer, update an interesting message and hope that some 900 of your followers retweet it at least twice or, better yet, 1800 followers retweet it once. The reward: 5 to 10 minutes trending on Twitter, viewed by millions of users. Good luck!

Hackers continue attack on Pakistani sites, leak sensitive data

A screenshot of the defaced PTV sports website.

ISLAMABAD: A network of hackers claiming to be a part of Anonymous — the global hacktivist network — continued a campaign of hacking, DDOS attacks and defacing websites belonging to the Pakistan government, security forces and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Wednesday.

The group, going under the names ASOR Hack Team or Anonymous Op Pakistan, hacked into multiple websites and leaked private data of government employees and security forces, raising serious security and privacy concerns.

  • An unofficial PML-N website http://www.pmln.us was hacked and defaced with political messages related to the handling of the Model Town tragedy. The website was restored.

  • The Faisalabad Police Department website http://www.faisalabadpolice.gov.pk was hacked and private data leaked online, including usernames, passwords and the names/CNICs/addresses/contact information of employees.

  • The T20 section of Pakistan Television’s sport website sports.ptv.com.pk/t20 was defaced with ‘Go Nawaz Go’ messages, only to be restored hours later. Another message on the page read: “The desks that are being thumped on the face of the Pakistani people are a testimony that this gang can only get together to rescue its politics…the poor will continue to die in hunger and load-shedding.”

  • Usernames, passwords and email addresses, allegedly from hacks into the Pakistan Army and other government websites, were leaked onto the internet. The link to the data dumps are currently blocked in Pakistan, but screengrabs circulating online show private data including names, contact information and worryingly, designations of a sensitive nature including arms manufacturers. Messages included with the leaked data said the attacks were taking place because the Pakistan Army was carrying out an operation in North Waziristan.

Two days ago, the group of hackers temporarily brought down numerous government portals in a bid to “remove every vestige of the Pakistan government from the Internet”.

The group also leaked a zip file containing 23,000 bank records allegedly connected to the government. The zip file contained a document that stated the leak was carried out by ASOR Hack Team.

It appears the group is affiliated with the global Anonymous network, given the updates carried out on various official Twitter accounts.

 

‘Anonymous Pakistan’ take down government sites, leak bank records

Screenshot from the hackers' website

KARACHI: In the wake of ongoing anti-government protests in Islamabad, a group of hackers calling themselves ‘Anonymous Op Pakistan’ temporarily brought down numerous government portals in a bid to remove, “every vestige of the Pakistan government from the Internet”.

The group also leaked a zip file containing 23,000 bank records allegedly connected to the government. The zip file contained a document that stated the leak was carried out by ASOR Hack Team.

Claiming to be a part of Anonymous – the global hacktivist network – the hackers attacked over two dozen government websites overnight, a few of which remained inaccessible on Monday. Some of the hacked websites were defaced as well.

In numerous online messages, Anonymous Op Pakistan said it was carrying out the attacks for political reasons, in support of the PTI/PAT protesters:

“We are cataloging the atrocities being committed in Pakistan. We will begin at once assisting the peaceful protesters in Pakistan with every tool and tactic at our disposal. And we will initiate the process of removing every vestige of the Pakistan government from the Internet and shutting down their communications network. And the Pakistani people will then remove this criminal regime from power and lock them in prison where they belong. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you are hereby dismissed. You will leave power immediately. For the safety and security of your family we suggest that you depart Pakistan at once. This is your only warning.”

The group also condemned police action against the protesters:

As for the criminal security and military forces who have so barbarically attacked your own people in Pakistan, we will collect evidence of your crimes and deal with you in the time and manner of our choosing. You would do well to….well, you know – expect us. You will either answer to the justice of your people and the international community, or you will be the subject of the rage filled vengeance of Anonymous.

Portals that were hacked included:

  • Pakistan Army (www.joinpakarmy.gov.pk)

  • Pakistan Air Force (www.paf.gov.pk, http://www.joinpaf.gov.pk)

  • Inter Services Public Relations (www.ispr.gov.pk)

  • Federal Investigative Agency (www.fia.gov.pk)

  • Punjab Government (www.punjab.gov.pk)

  • Urban Unit (www.urbanunit.gov.pk)

  • Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (www.pemra.gov.pk)

  • Pakistan Electronics Manufacturers Association (www.pema.gov.pk)

  • Provincial Disaster Management Authority (www.pdma.gov.pk/)

  • Press Information Department (www.pid.gov.pk)

  • Pakistan Meteorological Department (www.pmd.gov.pk)

  • National Institute of Electronics (www.nie.gov.pk)

  • Federal Board of Revenue (e.fbr.gov.pk)

Brief Facebook outage prompts complaints on Twitter

 

File photo

WASHINGTON: A brief Facebook outage on Friday prompted a flurry of complaints and comments on Twitter less than two months after a similar incident affected users worldwide.

 

According to the website downdetector.com, the disruption began around 1600 GMT and appeared to last less than an hour.

 

“Earlier this morning, some people had trouble accessing Facebook for a short time,” the California-based Internet titan said in reply to an AFP inquiry.

 

“We quickly investigated and are currently restoring service for everyone. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

 

Facebook has yet to pinpoint a cause, but the trouble appeared to be a technical issue.

 

During the outage, thousands of users complained they could not access the world’s biggest social network.

 

Similar to the brief June service interruption, Facebook users took to Twitter to vent or post comments, many using the hashtag #facebookdown.

 

“Facebook is Down?! Oh God! Now How the Hell Am I Going to Find Out How My Friends Feel About Facebook Being Down?!” one user tweeted.

 

Another wrote: “Facebook going down for 15 minutes is proof that today’s generation would’ve survived approximately 8 seconds in the 80s.“

 

A Twitter user with the handle @TheTweetofGod wrote, “#facebookdown. Please remain calm and do not attempt to interact with human beings“.

 

Some panicked users even called police for help, according to Twitter posts by a sergeant from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Calls to the sheriff’s office came in on both the emergency and non-emergency numbers, the sergeant said.

 

“#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please don’t call us about it being down,” he urged in a post fired off from the @LASDBrink account.

 

Microsoft’s Xbox One console to go on sale in China in September

— Reuters Photo

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft Corp will begin selling its Xbox One video game console in China in September through its partnership with Chinese Internet TV company BesTV New Media Co.

The partners will also kickstart a program to help developers create, publish and sell Xbox One games in China and other markets where the console is sold, Microsoft said in a statement.

In September last year, Microsoft and BesTV, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, formed a joint venture and invested $237 million in “family games and related services.”

Last week, Shanghai’s government said console makers such as Microsoft, Sony Corp and Nintendo Co will be able to manufacture and sell consoles in China through “foreign-invested enterprises” in Shanghai’s free trade zone.

China had banned game consoles in 2000, citing their negative effect on the mental health of its youth. It temporarily lifted the ban in January.

Pirated and smuggled consoles have been available in China during the ban, but they sold poorly as Chinese gamers predominantly play PC and mobile games.

Microsoft has sold more than 5 million Xbox One video game consoles to retailers since its launch in November.

 

Pakistan joins the 3G club

- File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The four cellular service providers bidding on licences for next generation mobile technology emerged the winners of Wednesday’s bidding war, with Mobilink, Telenor and Ufone picking up licences for 3G services while Zong being the only bidder to acquire a licence for both 3G and 4G services.

Mobilink and Zong bid for the ‘superior’ 10MHz band, while Telenor and Ufone preferred to bid on the cheaper 5MHz band. Although Mobilink, having acquired the 10MHz band, qualified for a 4G licence too, they opted not to go all the way.

This means one 4G licence is still up for grabs. Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman said that the licence would soon go under the hammer again.

Bidding began at 10am and continued until a little after 7pm at the Marriott Hotel. Bidders competed in eight rounds of 45 minutes each. A total of four 3G licences were auctioned and both Telenor and Ufone got the ‘shorter end’ of the spectrum.

“It was a strategic decision. We want to provide internet services for all our customers but at low costs. The 5MHz frequency is all that is required at the moment,” said Telenor Pakistan Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Muhammad Aslam Hayat.

Ufone had also shown an interest in acquiring both 3G and 4G licences, but on the day, they did not qualify. Under PTA rules, Ufone has to purchase the 10MHz band to be eligible for a 4G licence.

According to a Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) spokesperson, cellular companies with weaker frequencies would have to install more booster towers in their coverage areas, depending on how many cities they wanted to cover.

A taste of things to come

Visitors to the auction got a taste of next-generation mobile speeds at the stalls of various cellular vendors. Telecom reps showed off the astonishing speeds boasted by 3G services and demonstrated the power of high speed internet services on compatible mobile handsets.

Cellular companies will have to offer a minimum download speed of 256 kilobytes per second (kbps) under the stipulations of the 3G licence, which is four to eight times faster than current download speeds of 30-100 kbps that are currently on offer.

PTA Chairman Dr Ismail Shah said: “Meeting the budgetary targets is just one small aspect of this sale. We are looking at bigger benefits such as the creation of nearly 900,000 jobs and the development of newer, faster applications that will contribute to the improvement of educational, health and financial standards.”