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3.2 Billion Dollars Lost to Phishing in 2007 112

mrneutron2003 brings us FastSilicon's summary of a Gartner survey which found that 3.2 billion dollars were lost in 2007 to phishing scams. "Gartner's latest survey into the realm of phishing attacks paints a rather bleak picture for 2007, with a record estimated loss of $3.2 Billion (that's Billion, with a B) U.S. Dollars. Overall loss per incident fell (to $886 from $1,244 lost on average in 2006) but the numbers of individuals who fell victim rose quite sharply from 2.3 Million in 2006 to a staggering 3.6 Million. Though online portals Paypal and eBay remained the most spoofed brands, it appears phishers are getting more creative utilizing fake electronic greetings cards, foreign businesses, and charitable organizations in their attacks on consumers. Furthermore these criminals are increasingly targeting debit card and banking credentials rather than credit cards, because the fraud protection mechanisms there are far weaker, according to a study done at The University of California at Berkeley.

Spam Trap Claims 10x-100x Accuracy Gain 419

SpiritGod21 writes in with a NYTimes article on a new approach to spam detection that claims out-of-the-box improvement of 1 or 2 orders of magnitude over existing approaches. The article wanders off into human-interest territory as the inventor, Steven T. Kirsch, has an incurable disease and an engineer's approach to fighting it. But a description of the anti-spam tech, based on the reputation of the receiver and not the sender, is worth a read.

Scientists Offer 'Overwhelming' Evidence Terran Life Began in Space 556

An anonymous reader writes "Using data from recent comet-probing space missions, British scientists are reporting today that the odds of life starting on Earth rather than inside a comet are one trillion trillion (10 to the power of 24) to one against. That is, we're not originally from around here. Radiation in comets could keep water in liquid form for millions of years, they say, which along with the clay and organic molecules found on-board would provide an ideal incubator. 'Professor Wickramasinghe said: "The findings of the comet missions, which surprised many, strengthen the argument for panspermia. We now have a mechanism for how it could have happened. All the necessary elements - clay, organic molecules and water - are there. The longer time scale and the greater mass of comets make it overwhelmingly more likely that life began in space than on earth."'" jamie points out that the author of this paper has many 'fringe' theories. Your mileage may vary.

Building a Fast Wikipedia Offline Reader 208

ttsiod writes "An internet connection is not always at hand. I wanted to install Wikipedia on my laptop to be able to carry it along with me on business trips. After trying and rejecting the normal (MySQL-based) procedure, I quickly hacked a much better one over the weekend, using open source tools. Highlights: (1) Very fast searching. (2) Keyword (actually, title words) based searching. (3) Search produces multiple possible articles, sorted by probability (you choose amongst them). (4) LaTeX based rendering for mathematical equations. (5) Hard disk usage is minimal: space for the original .bz2 file plus the index built through Xapian. (6) Orders of magnitude faster to install (a matter of hours) compared to loading the 'dump' into MySQL — which, if you want to enable keyword searching, takes days."

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