Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Join the GTZ Mekong Photocontest in Vietnam

The GTZ Projects of “Sustainable management of coastal forest and wetland in the Mekong Delta Provinces Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Kien Giang” jointly carry out an online photo contest on the topic “Climate Change in the Mekong Delta” from July 2010 until September 15th 2010.

The coastal zone of Vietnam particularly in the Mekong Delta is one of the most effected regions which is facing the challenging impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels and storms of increasing magnitude, flooding and drought threaten the poor rural population, Viet Nam’s rice and shrimp production and Ho Chi Minh City with increasing regularity.

The Mekong Delta is of extreme economic importance though, as it is seen as Viet Nam’s “rice chamber”. Intensive rice production and the rapid expansion of aquaculture have contributed to economic growth and poverty reduction. In addition, the population of the Mekong Delta makes a living principally from agriculture (rice cultivation) and aquaculture (shrimp production). Over the last 20 years, however, large areas directly behind the protected mangrove forests were converted into shrimp farms, which further endangers the protective function of the coastal forests.

Every Vietnamese aged above 16 years can participate in the photo contest by uploading photos to the website http://gtz-mekong-photocontest.com. “Effects of climate change on
peoples living conditions” and “Effects of climate change on agriculture” are the two categories and focus of the contest. The range of the best pictures will be carried out by online voting on the webpage and by a jury nominated by GTZ and Goethe Institute.

The prices will be awarded in the two categories “Jury voting” and “User voting”. In each category the prices are nominated as follows:
1. Best picture in the category:
10 million VND
2. Second best picture in the category:
5 million VND
3. Third best picture in the category:
2 million VND

The exhibition of the best photos will take place within the “Information days on Integrated
coastal Management” during October 12th and 13th 2010. The “Information days” are part of
the “German Year in Vietnam” events to celebrate 35 years of diplomatic relations between
Germany and Vietnam. The winners will be invited to the event for a prize giving ceremony.

Please also spread the word!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hacking iTunes accounts: Smart guy or douchebag? (or just a crime)

So some people in Vietnam seem to go the wrong way: In a country already renown for its copyright violations, stealing intellectual property, faking products now the focus turns on worldwide technology. But do not expect news of any great software made in Vietnam. Instead, the news are: VN (as Google complained) was compromising Google with trojan horse attacks. Vietnamese bloggers publish a Video of a leaked iPhone 4 (what means it was stolen apparently at the factory in China).

And now a Vietnamese developer hacks iTunes accounts and try to push his apps in the Top 10 lists buying the apps through the hacked accounts.
I would call this a serious cybercrime. Hackers usually find leaks and holes and REPORT this, either publicly or to the company that is affected by the incident. But they DO NOT make money out of it.
But the recent case isn't even hacking. What Thuat Nguyen did, was apparently just fraud. Or better, a kind of break in. He got access to iTunes accounts, most likely through phishing, were people were directed to a false landing page, were they entered their account details believing its a official apple page.
What a real hacker would do if he knew a security hole: He would try to push his FREE apps in the store to bring awareness to people and apple.

What Thuat Nguyen did, was a simple crime, made of desparate greediness. We are talking about 1 Million Dollar. And some people already think about that there might be a network of cyber bandits established, so it would not be a single case.Apple Insider shows how it works in China although it describes the way of distribution, not so much of the how-to-get-the account-data, is pretty scary.

What leaves me quite concerned is that Thuat Nguyen is becoming a kind of hero for some people. He fought against Apple, like the boys did with the iPhone. But he is neither cool nor smart. He is just a dumb guy too stupid to rob a bank (just because first people can reclaim the money from credit card companies and also Apple already started an investigation, so it's a matter of time when they will get him). we will see, if he lives in Vietnam, if the VN authorities handle this case as an international crime.

So my point is: Instead of praising thief's and bandits, it would be way better to actually start making good products. Otherwise VN will become a rogue country for IT. And with this reputation, it might be difficult to get more jobs in the important outsourcing industry.

If I would outsourcing my developing work or data processing just to find out that my suppliers staff praises guys like Thuat Nguyen in certain forums, I would immediately cancel the contract.