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The Internet Botnet Stats

Internet Census 2012 Data Examined: Authentic, But Chaotic and Unethical 32

Posted by timothy
from the could-have-been-worse dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A team of researchers at the TU Berlin and RWTH Aachen presented an analysis of the Internet Census 2012 data set (here's the PDF) in the July edition of the ACM Sigcomm Computer Communication Review journal. After its release on March 17, 2013 by an anonymous author, the Internet Census data created an immediate media buzz, mainly due to its unethical data collection methodology that exploited default passwords to form the Carna botnet. The now published analysis suggests that the released data set is authentic and not faked, but also reveals a rather chaotic picture. The Census suffers from a number of methodological flaws and also lacks meta-data information, which renders the data unusable for many further analyses. As a result, the researchers have not been able to verify several claims that the anonymous author(s) made in the published Internet Census report. The researchers also point to similar but legal efforts measuring the Internet and remark that the illegally measured Internet Census 2012 is not only unethical but might have been overrated by the press."
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Internet Census 2012 Data Examined: Authentic, But Chaotic and Unethical

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  • They illegally and unconstitutionally collect it anyway, especially on Americans, and give a copy of the feed illegally and unconstitutionally to the CIA and GCHQ.

    Among others.

  • "Authentic" would be an anagram of "unethical" if it weren't for that darned "l".
  • Unethical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maevius (518697) on Monday July 28, 2014 @01:16PM (#47551127)

    Unethical? Whatever.
    Having read the original "census", it was a cool hack and no harm was done, nothing more. I'm pretty sure he/they didn't go for vigorous scientific process when this was done.

  • Shocking! Just simply shocking!
  • by NotInHere (3654617) on Monday July 28, 2014 @01:32PM (#47551205)

    Why is using idle machines of other people (he's used only machines whose load was under a certain threshold), more unethic than to torment and kill mice in the name of science? I don't think that, when used responsible, latter is unethic, but I wonder why do they put things above biological life?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      but I wonder why do they put things above biological life?

      Same reason why it is illegal to steal, even if it's only food, and you are really hungry. Understandable, sure. Forgivable, maybe. But still illegal.

    • We do not "torment" and kill mice gratuitiously, a choice of word which certainly show quite inherent bias here. Usually you have to go thru an ethical comitee for animal experimentation (although the barrier is lower for lab mouse). Furthermore most of those animal experimentation have a clear goal to help develop cure or model for the human health. If you can't differentiate that from people misusing the computer of others, then I can't help you.
      • I don't think that we shouldn't cover animal experimentation with flower words. I've no doubt animal experiments are OK, as you've said they mostly help the health of humans, but we should at least name what we do to the animals by what it is. How would you call it?

        Of course, an internet census is not such an "ethical" goal as healing people, so my comparison might be a bit shaky from this perspective.

        • Firstly not all animals in experimentation are killed or suffer. But even for those who do : one of the goal of ethical guideline is to avoid animal pain as much as possible. In fact in some case we go more out of our way to avoid unnecessary pain to animals in labs, than we do for human at end of life in hospital.

          You simply have a warped view on lab experimentation which is not found in medical labs. Now you may have a point with *cosmetic* experimentation , but you won't find me defending those.
    • by weilawei (897823)

      When you use a machine, it ceases to become idle. It incurs bandwidth and power costs. That's (one of) the unethical bits.

    • Why is using idle machines of other people (he's used only machines whose load was under a certain threshold), more unethic than to torment and kill mice in the name of science? I don't think that, when used responsible, latter is unethic, but I wonder why do they put things above biological life?

      Well, because now we can cure even the most obscure diseases that afflict mice.

  • OS Fingerprints! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by d33tah (2722297) on Monday July 28, 2014 @02:41PM (#47551759)
    Apparently the researchers didn't analyze OS fingerprints at all. There is some metadata that the original researcher(s) forgot to remove (as well as a lot more mess). Service fingerprints are interesting as well. I did a lot of research on this data set and I have to say that while messy, this is also a really amazing data set. This article is IMHO biased.
  • The methodology to verify the data used in the paper was to perform their own scans of networks that were known to have hosts, and then compare the results to the published 2012 internet census data. They got a high match rate. I evaluated the data slightly differently. I scanned network segments that I know to be empty, unused, or entirely behind firewalls. In these cases (for segments /24 and larger) there are still records in the internet census data. These records are completely made up. Try going

  • I assumed "Authentic, But Chaotic and Unethical" was the description of the Internet resulting from the census.

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