Me, A Hacker?

A few days back I received a letter from Amazon EC2 where some of my appliance hosting resides:

Dear Amazon EC2 Customer,

We’ve received a report that your instance(s):

Instance Id: i-be2ee0ea
IP Address: 46.137.XXX.XXX

has been making illegal intrusion attempts against remote hosts on the Internet; check the information provided below by the abuse reporter.

Host Intrusion is specifically forbidden in our User Agreement: http://aws.amazon.com/agreement/

Please immediately restrict the flow of traffic from your instances(s) to cease disruption to other networks and reply this email to send your reply of action to the original abuse reporter. This will activate a flag in our ticketing system, letting us know that you have acknowledged receipt of this email.

It’s possible that your environment has been compromised by an external attacker. It remains your responsibility to ensure that your instances and all applications are secured. The link http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/entry.jspa?externalID=1233
provides some suggestions for securing your instances.

Case number: 12937466983-1

Additional abuse report information provided by original abuse reporter:
* Destination IPs:
* Destination Ports:
* Destination URLs:
* Abuse Time: Tue Apr 17 02:10:24 UTC 2012
* Log Extract:
<<<

2012-04-17 02:10:24.773209 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 11697, offset 0, flags [DF], proto TCP (6), length 48) 10.139.33.104.63732 > 112.67.116.160.3389: Flags [S], cksum 0xc87d (correct), seq 1290811049, win 8192, options [mss 1460,nop,nop,sackOK], length 0
2012-04-17 02:10:24.773313 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 11698, offset 0, flags [DF], proto TCP (6), length 48)
10.139.33.104.63733 > 216.169.213.118.3389: Flags [S], cksum 0x08da (correct), seq 3600982876, win 8192, options [mss 1460,nop,nop,sackOK], length 0
2012-04-17 02:10:24.773353 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 11699, offset 0, flags [DF], proto TCP (6), length 64)
10.139.33.104.63541 > 91.176.95.155.3389: Flags [P.], cksum 0x3424 (correct), seq 4198313113:4198313137, ack 1826613510, win 64985, length 24
2012-04-17 02:10:24.776028 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 11700, offset 0, flags [DF], proto TCP (6), length 48)
10.139.33.104.63734 > 128.49.252.222.3389: Flags [S], cksum 0x8a38 (correct), seq 1143989632, win 8192, options [mss 1460,nop,nop,sackOK], length 0
2012-04-17 02:10:24.776178 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 11701, offset 0, flags [DF], proto TCP (6), length 48)
10.139.33.104.63735 > 111.199.115.152.3389: Flags [S], cksum 0xa32f (correct), seq 3819226819, win 8192, options [mss 1460,nop,nop,sackOK], length 0

>>>

Seems like my Windows box have been doing some naughty things to Remote Desktop clients all over the Internet. Must be because I didn’t patch my installation cos after I updated it, the attempts stopped.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms12-020

USDSGD Outlook

It’s been a long time since I’ve written stuff but I’ve only just been asked this by my friend yesterday and I thought it to be a relevant question. Basically, I’m looking for way more upside for USDSGD based on three very compelling reasons.

1. Exogenous factor 1: Slowing global growth

If anyone tells you the world economy is still healthy, give them a slap on their face and then cut off all contact from them. 99% of Europe is in a recession and Germany is about to be too. The US is muddling along with sub-par growth in the midst of record low borrowing costs and is about to face close to a trillion dollars of automatic fiscal cuts on the first day of 2013 which is projected to slice off 4% of GDP and throw the continent back into a recession. China’s growth is slowing down drastically and Japan is facing an imploding government debt bubble. Now any of these could trigger a large slump in demand for global exports and Singapore is heavily reliant on it.

2. Exogenous factor 2: Massive deleveraging of banking sector (especially Europe)

Singapore is heavily reliant of foreign capital to keep its financial sector running. Easy monetary policy from both the US, Japan and continental Europe has kept money flowing into Singapore over the past decade. With the EZ in a credit crisis, European banks are increasingly pressurised to undertake massive repartrations. According to the recent BIS report (source not verified yet), it seems that Singapore’s foreign claims on European banks total a whopping 60% of GDP. Now if the ECB does not continue to provide more liquidity to ease the credit crunch amongst banks, these banks might be forced to evacuate all overseas assets en masse. If that happens, the SGD is likely to suffer drastically and I don’t believe the MAS will step in to keep the currency propped up much.

3. Endogenous factor 1: MAS has got it all wrong

Even though local inflation was at a ridiculous 5.2% last year, a bulk of the inflation has been locally produced. Rising COE and property prices are main contributors and are all domestically produced and appreciating the local currency does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to alleviate this. In addition to that, from personal on the ground experience, local prices are sticky and cost savings derived from nominally cheaper imports hardly find their way to the end consumer. Thus, an appreciation of the SGD, no matter how gradual, will cause more harm than good as it would stifle exports more than ease inflation.

In addition to that, oil prices have skidded much lower on the back of diminishing Iranian tensions, Saudi Arabia oversupply and extinction of global physical demand.

Hence, even though inflation is likely to drop dramatically in the coming months, it is my view that the MAS will realise it’s folly before that and rethink it’s policy stance.

My Domaining Journey

Getting really in the groove of the domain industry after having left it during the gold rush years of 2006-2008. Back then, I accumulated over 120 domains in various niches then sold them off in a fire sale, pocketing just above reg fee for the domains.

Now I’m back into the domain industry, domain parking to be exact. Cos I believe that’s where the money in domaining is to be made. No time spent trawling through domain aftermarkets or lurking around the drop zones for expiring domains.

I started with Sedo and NameDrive after picking up some domains with traffic. Got booted out from NameDrive for supposedly fraudulent traffic so I pointed the domains to Sedo. Seeing as these domains have thrived at Sedo since then (600 Euros so far) make me ponder over   their sudden ejection from ND.

I realized that I had a Bodis account from way back in 2007 so I dug it up and pointed my rafflesmail.com to it. ($90 so far) and 1 other future project domain. I still had GentingSingapore.com which I got embroiled in trademark rift, almost.

Then I sort of diversified and when with Voodoo, DomainSponsor and AfterNic. Good revenues so far, in the mid $X,XXX.

Here’s for another good month.