Millennial Generation: A Pew Survey

Judy Woodruff, PBS News Hour takes a look at how the millennial generation — people born after 1980 — fits into the current political and economic spectrum. The Pew Center’s Paul Taylor and Amanda Lenhart discuss their new report.

They are 18 to 29 years old. There are some 50 million of them, and they’re often called the millennial generation.

Today, they were the subject of a conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The event, for which PBS served as moderator, coincided with the release of a comprehensive national study conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Among its findings: Millennials are the most diverse generation in U.S. history. Only 61 percent are white, 19 percent Hispanic, 14 percent black, and 5 percent Asian. That contrasts with those 30 and older, a group that is 70 percent white.

The study also found that millennials are voracious users of new technologies, from smartphones to social networking sites. When respondents were asked if they sleep with their cell phone nearby, 83 percent of millennials said they did, far more than their parents or grandparents.

Internet security risks test U.S. government preparedness

WorldFocus.org takes a look beyond the headlines at increasing concerns over cyber-security, a problem that was recently highlighted by an online assault on Google from China.

This event added to fears of a digital attack that could cripple the information superhighway. In Washington, former security officials have met to role-play how the government would cope with such an attack.

For more, Martin Savidge interviews James Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Lewis discusses the readiness of the government to deal with an attack and the likelihood of one taking place. He also talks about how this issue could impact U.S.-China relations.

Beware of the Botnet: Attack hits corporations and agencies

Recent press reports reflect that a significant number of corporations, govt agencies infiltrated by `botnet,’ according to news announcements.

According to Wikipedia, a Botnet is a jargon term for a collection of software robots, or bots, that run autonomously and automatically. The term is often associated with malicious software, but it can also refer to the network of computers using distributed computing software. While botnets are often named after their malicious software name, there are typically multiple botnets in operation using the same malicious software families, but operated by different criminal entities.

While the term “botnet” can be used to refer to any group of bots, such as IRC bots, this word is generally used to refer to a collection of compromised computers (called zombie computers) running software, usually installed via drive-by downloads exploiting web browser vulnerabilities, worms, Trojan horses, or backdoors, under a common command-and-control infrastructure.

A botnet’s originator (aka “bot herder” or “bot master”) can control the group remotely, usually through a means such as IRC, and usually for nefarious purposes. Individual programs manifest as IRC “bots”. Often the command-and-control takes place via an IRC server or a specific channel on a public IRC network. This server is known as the command-and-control server (“C&C”). Though rare, more experienced botnet operators program their own commanding protocols from scratch. The constituents of these protocols include a server program, client program for operation, and the program that embeds itself on the victim’s machine (bot). All three of these usually communicate with each other over a network using a unique encryption scheme for stealth and protection against detection or intrusion into the botnet network.

A bot typically runs hidden and uses a covert channel (e.g. the RFC 1459 (IRC) standard, twitter or IM) to communicate with its C&C server. Generally, the perpetrator of the botnet has compromised a series of systems using various tools (exploits, buffer overflows, as well as others; see also RPC). Newer bots can automatically scan their environment and propagate themselves using vulnerabilities and weak passwords. Generally, the more vulnerabilities a bot can scan and propagate through, the more valuable it becomes to a botnet controller community. The process of stealing computing resources as a result of a system being joined to a “botnet” is sometimes referred to as “scrumping.”

Botnets have become a significant part of the Internet, albeit increasingly hidden. Due to most conventional IRC networks taking measures and blocking access to previously-hosted botnets, controllers must now find their own servers. Often, a botnet will include a variety of connections and network types. Sometimes a controller will hide an IRC server installation on an educational or corporate site where high-speed connections can support a large number of other bots. Exploitation of this method of using a bot to host other bots has proliferated only recently as most script kiddies do not have the knowledge to take advantage of it.

Several botnets have been found and removed from the Internet. The Dutch police found a 1.5 million node botnet and the Norwegian ISP Telenor disbanded a 10,000-node botnet. Large coordinated international efforts to shut down botnets have also been initiated.[4] It has been estimated that up to one quarter of all personal computers connected to the internet may be part of a botnet.[5]

According to recent press reports, security experts have found a network of 74,000 virus-infected computers that stole information from inside corporations and government agencies. The unusual thing about the incident is not that it happened but that it was discovered, and it is a reminder of the dangers of having computers with sensitive data connected to the open Internet.

More than 2,400 organizations, including financial institutions and energy companies and federal agencies, were infiltrated by the “botnet,” according to the NetWitness Corp. security firm, which discovered it.

NetWitness didn’t name the companies or agencies whose computers were compromised. The Wall Street Journal said the affected companies included Merck & Co., Cardinal Health Inc., Paramount Pictures and Juniper Networks Inc. Merck and Cardinal Health said in statements Thursday that one computer in each company was among those in the botnet but no sensitive information was taken.

The victims don’t appear to have been specifically targeted, unlike the recent computer attacks on Google Inc. that prompted the Internet search leader to threaten to pull its business out of China. That’s an important distinction, because it shows how online secrets can fall into the wrong hands even when criminals aren’t necessarily looking for them.

“This kind of stuff is out there and it’s pervasive,” said Amit Yoran, CEO of NetWitness and former cybersecurity chief at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Parts of the botnet discovered by his firm likely are still active. He said the network appears to be run from computers in Eastern Europe and China, but it’s not certain the perpetrators are there.

Botnets are networks of poisoned PCs that are remotely controlled by hackers and behave like their criminal robots. The PCs are often infected when their owners visit bad Web sites or open malicious e-mail attachments.

Botnets are a major tool for cybercrime. They help criminals amass troves of stolen data that they can sell on the black market or use for their own schemes, such as yanking money from victims’ bank accounts.

The biggest on record is the one created by the Conficker worm. That infected anywhere from 3 million to 12 million PCs running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system and is still active.

The botnet NetWitness discovered used malicious software called “ZeuS” that steals passwords and other online credentials. It’s primarily focused on poaching Internet banking credentials and is well known in the security community.

The fact that so many companies and government agencies were hit generally appears to have been incidental. Yoran said the attackers were targeting specific information rather than specific organizations.

Still, they were very successful, snatching more than 68,000 credentials over four weeks. Most of those credentials were login details for Facebook and Yahoo and other personal e-mail services. On the face of it those aren’t the most sensitive pieces of information, but they can hold the keys to unlocking other types of online accounts and private data.

Security experts who weren’t part of the NetWitness report said the findings illustrate the growing risk from the ZeuS software, whose authors are constantly updating it to evade detection by antivirus software and other security measures.

A bigger concern, Jackson said, is a new version of ZeuS that has appeared in the last few months and is more powerful and even harder to detect.

Web’s Generation Gap and Internet Stats

Report: Internet, broadband, and cell phone statistics

Internet users tend to skew young, with a sharp drop-off in online activity among 65 and older.

Overview of the Pwe Internet and American Life Project

In a national survey between November 30 and December 27, 2009, we find:

  • 74% of American adults (ages 18 and older) use the internet — a slight drop from our survey in April 2009, which did not include Spanish interviews. At that time we found that 79% of English-speaking adults use the internet.
  • 60% of American adults use broadband connections at home – a drop that is within the margin of error from 63% in April 2009.
  • 55% of American adults connect to the internet wirelessly, either through a WiFi or WiMax connection via their laptops or through their handheld device like a smart phone.  This figure did not change in a statistically significant way during 2009.

These data come from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The most recent survey was conducted from November 30 to December 27, 2009, using landline and cell phones and including interviews in Spanish. Some 2,258 adults were interviewed and the overall sample has a margin of error of ± 2 percentage points.


Internet Users

Not all Pew Internet Project surveys include Spanish interviews, so these survey results are not completely comparable to all previous Project surveys. This latest survey finds that 74% of adults use the internet, a figure that has not markedly changed since early 2006, when we measured the online population at 73%. There is some variation from survey to survey. Here is the current profile of internet users:1

Internet Demographics: 74% of adults use the internet, a figure that has not markedly changed since early 2006, when we measured the online population at 73%.

These latest figures add to a long-term picture in Pew Internet Project data that there has been little significant growth in the overall internet user population since 2006.

Internet Users

Broadband Users

Again, this survey included Spanish interviews and that somewhat decreased the number of Americans reporting that they have broadband connections in their homes. Some 60% of adult Americans said they had home broadband connections in this survey and here is a portrait of the home broadband users:2

Broadband Demographics: Some 60% of adult Americans said they had home broadband connections

Broadband use at home has risen fairly consistently since the Pew Internet Project began to measure it in 2000, but growth rate has slowed somewhat in the general population.

Broadband use at home has risen fairly consistently since the Pew Internet Project began to measure it in 2000, but growth rate has slowed somewhat in the general population.

Wireless Users

Overall, 55% of Americans connect to the internet wirelessly at least on occasion. The Pew Internet Project measures wireless connectivity to the internet in several ways. First, it looks at those who connect via standard computer. Some 46% of adults now own laptop and, among them, 83% connect via WiFi and 28% connect via wireless broadband. In this survey, we also found that 83% of adults have cell phones or smartphones and, among them, 35% have accessed the internet via their phone. Here is the portrait of wireless users:

Wireless Demographics: Overall, 55% of Americans connect to the internet wirelessly at least on occasion.

Best and Worst Super Bowl “Internet Co.” Commercials: GoDaddy.com minus 10 & Google plus 10

Best and Worst Super Bowl “Internet Co.” Commercials: GoDaddy.com minus 10 & Google plus 10

Historically speaking, I tend to stay neutral when it comes to critiquing internet companies that support Web professionals. That said, its time to weigh in and voice an opinion on several of the Internet centric ads that ran yesterday during the super bowl.

Results:

* GoDaddy.com – 10 (very bad)
* Google plus + 10 (very good)
* Monster.com + 5 (good)

Here’s the ads and my two cents:

From a practicing Web professional perspective, T&A is so yesterday. The Web and the Web profession has a lot more to offer and we need better representation team GoDaddy.

First class! Way to go team Google.

Very well done and a little bit of hot tub can go a long way!

Logo Design Contest: Win $25,000.00

Who will design the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Logo? It Could Be You.

Last week, the N.E.A. and Mr. Landesman, its chairman, announced that proposals are being sought for a new logo to represent the phrase “Art Works,” which Mr. Landesman has previously described as the agency’s “guiding mission.” In a statement Mr. Landesman said the logo, which will be used in print and online promotions, should represent the three meanings of the phrase: the creations of artists, the effect of art on audiences and the contribution of artists to the economy. Proposals for the design must be submitted by e-mail to the endowment by 5 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 26. The author of the proposal selected will receive a government grant of about $25,000. Instructions and requirements for submissions are at arts.gov.

Web Design Trends for 2010

Web Design Trends for 2010 – A Web Designer and Blogger Perspective

Today’s podcast is an interview with Sneh Roy, Web designer and content developer regarding Web Design Trends for 2010.

Sneh writes for the Little Box Of Ideas, a design and inspiration blog with a strong focus on branding, illustrations, web design, social media and typography. In this seven minute interview for the Web Professional Minute, Sneh summarizes her perspectives and a dialogue that she had with a number of designers and followers of her blog.

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