Tasha26 writes: The NSA has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard-drives made by top brands including: Seagate, Western Digital, IBM, Toshiba, Samsung and Maxtor, giving the agency a means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers.
An analysis by Russian firm Kaspersky Labs revealed that NSA found a way to install its spyware inside your hard-dirve’s firmware meaning the malware (nls_933w.dll) capable of persisting across machine wipes to re-infect targeted systems. Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, China, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.
Tasha26 writes: Game-maker activists BINJI have recently released a free Mario-type platform game called Eddy's Run: The Prism Prison as both an homage to Edward Snowden (the man who risked his life to leak information on NSA's spying programmes) and a wake-up call on the inhuman actions a government can take against millions of its own people. It is as they put it, their contribution in the fight against total surveillance and the undermining of democracy. Here's a CNN video interview of the game developers.
Tasha26 writes: Maybe those 300,000 farmers will have a little cheer this week. A french farmer who suffered neurological problems (incl. memory loss, headaches and stammering) after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004, sued the company for chemical poisoning and won. Monsanto said it was disappointed by the ruling and would examine whether to appeal against the judgment. Meanwhile the farmer was asked to establish the amount of damages caused.
Tasha26 writes: A trainee surgeon, Mark Frame, has figured out how to save UK's NHS thousands of pounds by taking advantage of 3D-printer technology. Success in orthopaedic operations relies on surgeons having an accurate 3D model of the area where the operation will take place. Such models take time to produce and cost upto £1200 ($1915). Mark, a self-confessed "technology geek," used open source OsiriX software to convert CT scans into files which are readable by the 3D printers at Shapeways, a company in the Netherlands. Within a week they produced & delivered the first plastic 3D model of a child's forearm at a cost of £77 ($123). Mark has written a free guide so that other surgeons can make their own bones which is being considered for publication by the World Journal of Science and Technology. He's also contactable via twitter: @3Dbones
Tasha26 writes: After the suicides and fatal explosion, the Taiwanese company Foxconn now faces losing its blue-chip status. Falling prices for smartphones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets and rising wages (20%) in China have undermined Foxconn's financial performance. The company lost $220m (£135m) in 2010. Foxconn International will be removed from Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index and be replaced by insurer AIA and nappy maker Hengan. The two new entrants use China both as a source of cheap labour and as a market for their product, a switch which Foxconn is now considering.
Tasha26 writes: After reading a recent Slashdot article about Nokia, I thought I'd discuss the Microsoft partnership on their own Forum and get some insight. I posted it under "News Announcements and Job Listings," so as not to interfere with programming discussions. Unfortuantely my thread was closed within 24 hours by a Nokia employee: Ron Liechty (Manager Forum Nokia Online Community). He even sent me a private message saying that it was off topic. Did I really do something wrong here or was this a daft move by Nokia?
Tasha26 writes: UK's Ministry of Defence admitted that secret information about its nuclear powered submarines was leaked on the internet by mistake. A "technical error" (i.e. turning the background colour of certain text to black) meant that sensitive blacked-out parts of the online MoD report could be read by anyone who copy-pasted it into another document. This accidental leak reveals amongst many things, how easy it would be to cause a Fukushima-style reactor meltdown in a sub and details of measures used by the US Navy to protect its own nuclear submarines.
Tasha26 writes: A former town Mayor, Colin Elsbury, made legal history yesterday by being first Brit to pay damages for libel on Twitter. His tweet on polling day said "It's not in our nature to deride our opponents however Eddie Talbot had to be removed by the Police from a polling station" amounted to pure election slur. The Twitter libel was settled at Cardiff High Court with total bill hitting £53,000 (£3,000 compensation + £50,000 legal fees). The fine works out at more than £2,400 per word. After Courtney Love recent £260k settlement in a Twibel case, this case reaffirms that anything posted in the public domain is subject to libel laws.
Tasha26 writes: Cosmetic retailer Lush stopped its online activities on Jan 21 due to hacking activities. Their website is still down due to "continuing attempts to re-enter" and Lush is thinking of spinning a small paypal outlet as temporary solution. The company is urging customers who placed an order between Oct 2010 to Jan 2011 to contact their banks for advice on compromised credit card details. Ironically the company even posted a message addressed to the hacker, saying: "If you are reading this, our web team would like to say that your talents are formidable. We would like to offer you a job — were it not for the fact that your morals are clearly not compatible with ours or our customers'."
Tasha26 writes: The HR of Swiss bank UBS AG came up with an innovative 43-page document (french) to establish fashion "dos" and "don'ts" in their retail branches. Will it nail the debate on what's acceptable corporate attire? Here's a skinny:
Men: — Tie-knots should match facial bone structure; — Socks with cartoon motifs are strictly verboten. — Fingernail length of no more than 1.5mm; — Schedule barber appointments every four weeks to maintain your haircut shape;
Women: — Light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick. No black nail polish or nail art — Wear flesh-coloured underwear and skirts extending to 5cm below the knee; — Have a haircut that is suitable for their age;
And neither sex should "allow their underwear to appear," perhaps Dilbert was a bit ahead of them on that. The document also mentions smells and "avoid garlic and onion-based dishes."
Tasha26 writes: Sky News is running a piece on the aftermath of stuxnet worm attack on Iranian facilities. Their source claims to have evidence that the virus is now in the hands of bad guys. The big concern is that hackers can now analyse the Stuxnet code and produce variations which can potentially shut down power stations, transport networks or even 999/991 emergency system. Now experts warn that the West is extremely vulnerable to similar attacks by criminal gangs seeking blackmail payouts or more likely by terrorist groups.
Tasha26 writes: I was recently asked to name a good webhosting site (and the friend didn't want GoDaddy for some reason), but then I wondered how an Amazon EC2/S3 solution compares (in price or advantage) over traditional web-hosting? Maybe there's a study on it or someone has experience of running a site from Amazon. I looked at the Amazon pricing but it turns out to be a structure: I/O connections, bandwidth, S3, EC2... even if you don't use S3 but your Firefox S3 app. pings to it, you get billed. Too many variables for a straightforward comparison. Any help would be much appreciated, thanks.
Tasha26 writes: BBC has an interesting web security snippet from the SyScan 2010 security conference in Singapore. In a presentation, security researcher Laurent Oudot released details of bugs found in commonly used attack-kits such as Neon, Eleonore and Sniper, proving that not only are they not secure but these loopholes could be exploited to get more information about the attackers, perhaps identifying them, stealing their tools and methods, or even following the trail back to their own computer.
Tasha26 writes: NY Times has an interesting interview with Oliver Stone for the sequel to the infamous 1987 movie: Wall Street. Is Greed still good? Well Gordon Gekko (Michall Douglas) is back and so are some others such as Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen). There will even be a part for Nouriel Roubini (who predicted the market crash in his book: Black Swan) as a hedge fund manager. Unfortunately, as I read page 2 of the interview, I discovered that Jar Jar Binx, I mean Shia LaBeouf will also have a prominent role as a young trader who is engaged to Gekko’s daughter! It would seem that Michael Bay hasn't quite yet wrecked Shia's career in the terrible Transformers movies. Wall Street 2 is scheduled to be released next April, 2010. Can't wait!