f Google tricks & Other Tutorials: January 2009
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Google targeted in Chinese Internet crackdown

Google, alongside other popular web portals, was warned on Monday that they must do more to block pornographic content from reaching Chinese users, in the latest in a series of crackdowns on Internet content by the Chinese government.

Chinese authorities published a list of 19 websites that have failed to get rid of unsuitable material. The list includes American search giant Google and China's top search engine Baidu. According to the BBC, one Chinese official said that the websites could be closed down if they fail to delete the offending material.

Speaking on Chinese Central Television Cai Mingzhao said, "we will continue to expose, punish or close down websites that have a lot of vulgar content."

However, the list also contained Tianya, a site that is popular amongst people who criticise the Chinese government, suggesting that the crackdown is not just about "vulgar content."

Charles Freeman, a specialist on China at the Center for Strategic and International Studies based in Washington, reckons that the pornography is just a decoy. "They're looking extensively at political speech, the sort of things traditionally cast under the First Amendment in this country," Freeman said.According to the Associated Press, Freeman also said that 2009 is a "very sensitive year politically in China," with it being 50 years since the Dalai Lama fled Tibet, 30 years after the democracy wall movement, and 20 years since Tiananmen Square.

Cui Jin, a spokeswoman for Google in China said that the search engine does not generatre any pornographic content and obeys Chinese law. "If we find any violation, we will take action. So far, I haven't seen any examples of violations," she said.

California-based company spokesman, Scott Rubin, added that Google has no control over the content of the billions of pages in its index.

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Google ranked as #3 spammer's paradise

As of today (6 January 2009), Google has been ranked as the third worst "spam service ISP" by Spamhaus.org.

Besides not doing enough to stop dodgy drug companies redirecting unwary consumers through Google Docs, the company has been serving as a major host to those intent on committing advance-fee fraud (one example being the "Nigerian" or "419 letter"), mule fraud (in this case, setting up an email account as a fake "intermediary" or escrow service to dupe an unsuspecting punter), and excessive spamvertising through its Gmail and Blogger services.

No respectable ISP wants to be seen as pro-spam, but the fact is that some companies permit spammers and scammers to operate through their networks. Simple greed could be the motive, or it could be that some companies simply are not targetting their resources effectively to minimise the abuse of their networks.

Microsoft used to be a regular visitor to Spamhaus's dubious top ten, but they seem to have sorted themselves out. According to Richard Cox of Spamhaus, "Microsoft got rid of the bad guys, and off they went to Google, which is now hosting a lot of the stuff that was on Microsoft's domains."

Google, it seems, has a way to go.

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Google Browser Security Handbook Available For Download

To assist web developers, browser engineers and information security researchers further, Google has released a Browser Security Handbook. This handbook is meant to furnish a one-stop reference to key security properties of contemporary web browsers. Google has commented: “Insufficient understanding of these often poorly-documented characteristics is a major contributing factor to the prevalence of several classes of security vulnerabilities”.

The Browser Security Handbook covers almost all the browsers available, e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, Google Chrome as well as Android embedded browser. The content of this handbook is generally divided into three main part: “Basic concepts behind web browsers”, “Standard browser security features” and “Experimental and legacy security mechanisms”. It has also included many practical examples for downloading.

Direct Link:
Browser Security Handbook
Test Cases

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