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Saturday, August 23 2014 @ 01:19 PM EDT

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Trouble On The Movistar Cellular Telephone System in Panama

Internet & TechnologyBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Something broke on the Movistar cellular telephone system network this morning at 10:00 am. Right now if you're trying to make a call, you will probably just get a "beep" and the call will not go through. According to Movistar, this is a system wide outage and as of right now, 2:15 pm on Thursday afternoon, 31 May 2012, they do not have an estimate for when service will be restored. Apparently users can receive calls without a problem, but they can't dial out.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Panama Is 5th In Latin America in Connectivity (Technology Application and Development)

Internet & TechnologyPanama holds position number 57 in the world, and is fifth in terms of connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean, competing with countries like Sweden, Singapore and Finland, which occupied the top three. The World Economic Forum today unveiled the Global Report on Information Technology, a report that was carried out with record coverage of 142 economies worldwide, and is the most comprehensive international analysis and authoritative report on the impact of competitiveness and the welfare of nations. However, the paper notes that Latin America has a backlog in infrastructure development, with a weak knowledge base due to poor education systems and in many countries, unfavorable business conditions for entrepreneurship and innovation.

The connectivity index used in the report has evolved in a way that ensures the capture of the main drivers of an industry about quickly developing information technology, and with continued relevance to those responsible for decision making public and private sectors.

Eduardo Jaen, administrator of the National Authority for Government Innovation, said that during the five years of the current (Martinelli) administration they will be investing some $400 million dollars to modernize public administration and to improve digital literacy, which are paying off, as demonstrated by international awards and recognition. "We have a long way to go, but it is noteworthy the report reflects the progress, and this is what encourages us to continue to follow the route we are taking to modernize public administration," said Jaén.

The success of the connectivity index of the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) emphasizes the importance of the continuing evolution of the structure (of the index) to keep pace with the development of technology, said Soumitra Dutta, co-editor of the report. Dutta pointed out that to measure this impact effectively, this year they introduced a new set of metrics designed to measure the effect, not only on the availability of technology, but how economies make better use of it.

On the other hand, Karim Sabbagh, a partner and the global director of communication and technology at Booz & Company, said that digital applications offer unprecedented potential for economic, social and political development. "Policymakers should be aware of the opportunities for growth and transformation in order to create policies that promote ubiquitous digitization, in a timely manner," Sabbagh added.

According to Dutta, the connectivity index has been adopted by several governments for their development. (Panama America)

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Government and Mining Websites Hacked in Panama

Internet & TechnologyThe websites of the National Assembly, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the company Minera Panama were apparently hacked Saturday afternoon. Initially, the home page of the National Assembly had all the information, except the news about a meeting of Deputy Marcos Gonzalez, the Vice President of the Assembly, with the Indians, was interrupted with the words "false, false, x none, x none ", until suddenly the page could no longer be opened. Meanwhile, the websites of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as well as that of the company Minera Panama, do not open. On the Minera Panama website appeared the words "internal server error". (TVN)
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About The Ongoing Hacking Attacks in Panama

Internet & Technology By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - There have been a series of hacking attacks launched against prominent websites in Panama, specifically the website of the La Estrella newspaper, for example. A Panamanian hacker associated with the "Anonymous" group said he would launch a series of attacks against websites of the different agencies of the Panamanian government in solidarity with the protesting indigenous Ngäbe Bugle Indians, who closed the Pan-American highway for six days last week, demanding the inclusion of Article 5 to Bill 415, which would prohibit all mining and hydro electric projects in their region. Yesterday afternoon one of my readers, an expert in Internet security, wrote this piece about the ongoing hacking attacks in Panama, how they are being done, why, how to protect yourself and your computer systems, etc.;

  • Don, this is a very brief intro into the subject, feel free to use it, I don’t want my name going on it as that makes it open season against me… point 1 is what I suspect the group are trying to do right now, just sucker people in Panama to websites so they can control the Pc’s here locally and launch an attack with the botnet tomorrow.. read on and it will make sense. Feel ree to edit any parts you want to make sound better or cut out.

  • So what do hackers do and why?

  • OK so this is a brief intro into the world of hackers and why they do what they do and how to avoid them. I will make it short and sweet and not go too much into detail.

  • Why? Well because its big business. People can claim its politically motivated or for personal interest, but that’s a load of crap. They do it for money, millions of dollars each year in fact. There’s two or three ways it can work, they can be getting paid by someone to do it, competition between gambling sites for example, political motivation (one political party against another), terrorism (sabotage of systems, traffic lights, power plants etc). Any way these guys make a lot of money.

  • How: Well there’s a couple ways I will briefly describe here, there are more but these are the most common:

  • 1. Control a botnet. A botnet is basically a network of PC computers that the hacker controls. Normally they have installed some software that people like you or I wouldn’t even notice on our PC’s by embedding it in a file or even in recent years with some malicious code on a website. They do this by making you click on legitimate looking or outrageous looking links. For example, publishing a link on a website with outlandish claims like “shakira caught naked, J-lo cheating videos” you get the idea. Once you click on it, it either downloads a file you open or executes some clever code in the webpage and bang, they have a backdoor into your computer to install whatever they like. Its similar on Facebook, they get some poor suckers account that has an easy password and post a link to a fake video, you click on it and it shares the link on your page and it multiplies like swine flu in winter! Once they have enough infected PC’s under their control it’s easy to launch a Distributed Denial of Servidce or DDoS attack. A DDoS attack is where they use all the PC’s under their control to send useless data to a webpage or destination over the Internet. Just think most people have 2 or 3mb connections minimum over broadband, so if you control a few thousand PC’s you can send thousands of megabytes of Information. Let’s assume that an average website has 10mb of traffic contracted, all of a sudden it gets a few thousand megabytes and boom, its offline for as long as the hacker wants. Normally they demand some kind of ransom or fee to stop the attack or they are getting paid by someone else to keep it going.

  • Best way to avoid getting infected are your standard defenses, running antivirus, malicious website detection. Also an element of common sense, if a link looks to ridiculous or tempting to be true, it probably is, try to resist and not open these kinds of stories, even if they are on pages you trust. Same goes for Facebook, don’t click on people who you kow wouldn’t post a video like that when they post them. Also be aware of social engineering, if someone who you know is suddenly asking questions via email or instant messaging about passwords, favorite hobbies (that they should know) it could be someone who hacked you friends account trying to get your password to hack yours!

  • 2. Hack the site. This was the older way of claiming a victory over a site, forcefully hacking in with a password and changing the content of the site. This can either be hacking the website or sometimes even the equipment that hosts it to boot it off the net. These attacks still happen but they are normally aimed at very specific targets and have precise objectives, mainly terrorism or information theft of credit card databases etc. Its unlikey you would fall victim to this kind of attack, but I include it here as most films use this one as the measure of hacking. More modern techniques include actually changing people’s keyboards in their offices via cleaning staff and having them linked via Bluetooth to a nearby laptop, then when the person comes into work in the morning and they type their passwords, its transmitted to the hackers nearby and they have access and see everything. They are even cheeky enough sometime to even call that person and pretend to be from the banks in order to scare people to log into their accounts… This is why often online banking has those drop down boxes, it helps avoid any nasty keyboard logging software or hardware snooping your passwords!

  • Best way to avoid this are also the reasons above.

  • 3. WiFi Warning: NEVER use passworded sites over WiFi. If you have to make sure they are at least using a certified HTTPS session. Facebook has this as an OPTION I recommend you all go to your security settings and turn it on now! It makes facebook load a little slower (half a second!) but could save you social embarrassment and money! Never, ever, ever use online banking when your on a network you cannot 100% trust. If you HAVE too, use a program to connect to your home PC if possible and do it from there. There are many apps available, I like TeamViewer as its easy and free and encrypted. Everytime I am out the house, I use it to connect to my house then log on to banking. Wifi points can also be faked, most cell phones can give WiFi access spots and be used to steal everything, even if you think its encrypted. A fake wifi spot can identify and falsify a web site kind of like a man in the middle of a conversation. You connect to the wifi spot and navigate to your bank.. right… wrong! Your really navigating to the bank page of the hacker on the wifi network. You then put in your username and password, memorable information etc and yu see your account details as normal, yet really it’s the hackers machine that logged on to your bank account and is relaying the information. You log out of the bank and it tells you you have logged out… you haven’t the hacker keps the real session logged in and cleans you out! You have been warned!

  • Most this stuff is just common sense, but just be a little paranoid, it helps.

Editor's Comment: Thanks for the input, the explanations, and the warnings. And as a side note, the very next email waiting for me in my inbox (after this one) supposedly came from the La Prensa newspaper. It appeared to be an article from La Prensa, in Spanish, saying someone had uploaded an XXX video of Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli on the Internet, and to read the story or see the video, click here... Obviously that was part of this current campaign to create "bots" like the writer says, which will be used later for some kind of an attack. Anyway, heads up. Take all of the normal precautions. Update your security software. Actually reach into your pocket and spend some money to get top of the line software. Personally, I run two different kinds of scanners on everything, all the time. Those filters detect and eliminate dozens of infected files, attacks, and attempts every year. And of course if something looks too good or too interesting, simply don't click that link. Either you will take the required steps to keep your systems clean, or live with the consequences of your neglect. Your call...

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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President Complains Of "Lousy" Cell Phone Coverage on Cinta Costera

Internet & TechnologyThe President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, criticized this Thursday, February 2, the lousy cell phone coverage in the area of the Cinta Costera. The President wrote through his Twitter account "I've asked the ASEP to fine the cellular telephone companies for the lousy service in the Cinta Costera where the service cuts out a lot." What's more, this is not the first time this kind of incident has been reported. During the giant balloon parade on 26 December 2011, there were thousands of people in the area who complained of a lack of cell phone service. No calls could come in, or go out. (Estrella)
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Cell Phone Number Portability Comes To Panama (At Last)

Internet & Technology Cell phone number portability will start functioning as of 30 November 2011, according to Edwin Castillo, National Director of Telecommunications of the Authority of Public Services (ASEP). Castillo explained that although the change of operator will be free initially, it is necessary for cell phone users to be prudent in the use of this benefit, because otherwise it could create a cost. According to the official, the user can "change" as often as they want for free, without restrictions, provided they are not comfortable with the phone operator that provides the service. Number portability is an important tool for the development of competition and a considerable investment has been made in this issue so that we Panamanians have this benefit, but with order, said Castillo. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: So, as of Wednesday you can change from one cell phone carrier to another, and take your cell phone number with you. This has never been available here in Panama before. I've had the same cell phone number for eleven years and now, if I want to, I can change from Movistar to a different carrier (there are about four or five now) and I can take my old number with me. Good news. Let me know how it works out, on the ground, in the real world once someone tries to do this.

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Follow Panama Guide Via Twitter For Real Time Updates

Internet & Technology #Panama - By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - All of you social media butterflies out there using Twitter should surf to my profile - http://twitter.com/#!/Panama_Guide then click on "Follow." I'm paying more attention to Twitter lately, and I can quickly and easily send tweets from anywhere, via my cell phone. So, if there's something hot or interesting going on in Panama and I'm not in the office, many times you'll see it first on Twitter, and then later on the regular website once I get back in the office. If you're already following me on twitter then please "retweet" this article via your account to your friends and the people who are following you, if you think they might be interested. Thanks.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Psst - Hey Mister - Wanna Buy A Dash Cam?

Internet & Technology By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - After my most recent success with the dash cam in my car, this afternoon I received a plethora of email, all asking basically the same question: What kind of a camera are you using, and where can I get one. Now that PanaGuard is no longer selling these cameras, I did a very quick Internet search and came up with this - http://dash-camera.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=30&products_id=155. That looks to be about the exact same make and model that I'm using right now. If it's not an identical product, then it's a very close cousin. The only problem I've had with this thing is the quirky line of code that has to reside on the SD disk, and the fact that over the past year or so, once or twice it's locked up, and I just had to hit the reset button to get it running again. Other than that, it's been flawless. Oh, here's another neat trick. When you get pulled over by that traffic cop who wants to suck a quick and easy bribe out of you, simply reach up, spin the camera his way, and say "Smile, you're on candid camera..." I've done something similar in other situations. With the camera running you can spin it around to point in any direction. It also records audio so it gets the conversations in your car. Like, if someone accuses you of talking on your cell phone while driving or whatever, you can prove that you were not. Anyway, for $200 bucks, it's the cheapest piece of insurance you'll ever buy. Insurance. Oh yeah, don't forget to call my good friend Kevin Bradley for all your insurance needs. He came through for me again recently. He can become the most important person in your life in the blink of an eye, when something bad happens. Be safe out there, guys... Or at the very least, get it on tape.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Network Data Problems for Blackberry Users

Internet & TechnologySince yesterday, customers who use Blackberry devices nationwide are having problems of inconsistencies in the transmission and reception of data. Abdiel Antonio Gutierrez, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Cable & Wireless Panama told Panama America that the problems originate with the RIM platform, which provides service to Blackberry, and not on company networks that are functioning normally. He said they have already contacted the providers, and were told the service would be reestablished gradually. He added this is a problem not only in Panama but also in Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia, among other countries in Latin America. (Panama America)

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Don't Forget To Follow Panama Guide on Twitter

Internet & Technology By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - We're putting more of an effort into providing real-time updates via Twitter whenever possible. All of the articles published on this website are already broadcast as "tweets." While out of the office I also will update the Twitter account as often via mobile, and you can see those on the website down on the right hand side of the page in the Twitter block. You can follow up via Twitter by clicking on this link: http://twitter.com/#!/Panama_Guide and then click on the green "Follow" button. Think of it as subscribing. Thanks.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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