—By Domani Spero
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3®) released its 2012 report recently. Here’s one of the scams described:
In a twist to the pop-up scareware scheme, victims began receiving telephone calls from individuals allegedly claiming to be from legitimate well-known software companies. The victims of these calls were advised malware had been detected on their computers and posed an impending threat. The fraudsters tried to instill a feeling of urgency so victims would take immediate action and log on to their computers. Once the victims logged in, the fraudsters directed them to the utility area of the computers, where they appeared to demonstrate how the computers were infected. The fraudsters offered to rid the computers of the malware for fees ranging from $49 to $450. When the victims agreed to pay the fees, they were directed to a website where they entered a code or downloaded a software program that allowed the fraudsters remote access to their computers.
These folks are actually quite persistent. The first time I got this call, the caller spoke in heavily accented English. I told the person politely that I have difficulty understanding what he was saying. The person connected me to his supervisor who was no better at it. Finally they gave up on me since I was dumb and dumber and they had to repeat half a dozen times their explanation of what’s a malware. That was fun!
Another time, I scolded the caller for implying that my computer is some sort of ET who can call “home.” That was not even fun and a waste of time since they interrupted my favorite chore of laundry making.
Now when these folks call, I just tell them I live in a tent and do not own a computer. You can hear their minds literally crash. Oh, and they haven’t called since.
Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Click on the image below to use EFF’s automated system to email your senators. Sunlight Foundation shows that backers of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act had $605 million in lobbying expenditures from 2011 through the third quarter of last year compared to $4.3 million spent by opponents of the bill. Lopsided resources in action.
EFF: U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the Senate
ACLU: CISPA Explainer #1: What Information Can Be Shared?
ACLU: CISPA Explainer #2: With Whom Can Information Be Shared?
ACLU: CISPA Explainer #3: What Can Be Done With Information After It Is Shared?
The Security Skeptic: What you (still) need to know about CISPA
Via Renesys CTO, James Cowie:
Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.
At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet’s global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt’s service providers. Virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.
Read the whole thing here.
This may turn out to be a dumb and dumber move. Roll back the tape to 1986 and the people power in the Philippines. That was before Google, Facebook and Twitter. One dictator, family and best friends booted out of that country after years of plunder. Before ISPs.
Here’s a clue – 10% of all U.S. federal procurement money is spent in this state.
Clue #2, this state hosts several federal agencies which include the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and others.
What’s in Virginia? Besides the headquarters of several federal agencies? About 263,552 federal employees and retirees according to 2008 stats, not to mention a host of defense contractors that call the state home. And within Virginia, the most googlers come from — Sterling –
What’s in Sterling, Virginia?
Screen capture above from Google Insights for Search which “analyzes a portion of worldwide Google web searches from all Google domains to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you’ve entered, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.” The snapshots change according to search parameters.
Probably just interesting to nerdy cats like us …
Four Globetrotters is “the (most likely) incoherent ramblings of a sleep-deprived single mother living overseas with her trio of kiddos.” The blog is by a Foreign Service Officer who have almost 10 years with State, “currently live overseas in a country which for now shall remain unnamed.” She also has the distinction of being a former FS brat (brat used in a good way) or third culture kid now looking at FS kids growing up in the white glare of the web 2.0 galaxy. Excerpt below:
Foreign Service Brats — That Was Then, This Is Now
I’m an old school Foreign Service brat.
In some of the places where I grew up we only got mail every couple months. We didn’t have a telephone. We didn’t have cable. We didn’t have internet.
Our social lives consisted of other families at post and our classmates at school. If we wanted to talk to each other we’d use our radio and everyone and their mother would listen in (“Gunsmoke Alpha, this is Cherry Bravo. Would you like to come over for a Sierra Lima Echo Echo Papa Oscar Victor Echo Romeo, over?”).
When I was a kid, you left post and you knew that was it. You said your goodbyes, you grieved, and you moved on and focused on your next post, your next school, your next set of friends. Now with the Internet, Skype, Vonage, Facebook, Twitter, APO/DPO, etc making it much easier to stay connected, you can maintain a virtual presence pretty much anywhere in the world.
What I’m seeing around me, both with my own children and the children of some of my colleagues, are much longer “transition periods”. Thanks to Facebook and Skype primarily, the FS Brat 2.0 clings to his or her past and refuses to see the possibilities in front of them. They’re bogged down in an information overload, emotions pulled between the past and the present — loyalties are questioned. Are you betraying your friends at post X by going out and building a life in post Y?
It’s like pulling a bandaid off s-l-o-w-l-y and suffering the pain over a longer period of time. Or to be even more dramatic, it’s like dating again after your spouse has died. Are you betraying your spouses’ memory by going out and continuing to live your life? Except in the case of the poor FS Brat 2.0 their “spouse” never dies; he or she just lingers on life support forever.
My heart really goes out to this new generation. At least when I was a kid the bandaid was yanked off as soon as the plane went wheels up.
Radio? what’s a radio? She’s a fun read. See the whole thing here.
And while you’re visiting her blog, do not/not miss reading her story on why you must be kind to your OMS.
Image by MJTR (´･ω･) via FlickrWhy TSA did not think of this first, baffles my brain. An iPad would be nice, too. Or anything that’s in short supply this holiday season would probably do the trick (jobs are in short supply, of course, but that may be too tricky for giveaways). Want a turkey? Get touched by TSA (just make sure it’s not a frozen turkey). Want a tussle? Get touched by TSA. But absolutely no biting! Oh, my – one can go on and on with this with a beginning rhymes dictionary.
National Opt-Out Day – the day before Thanksgiving – is the busiest travel day of the year. In light of recent controversy, many plan to refuse a backscatter scan at airport security, and instead choose a (fairly invasive) pat-down. Either way, people can count on longer-than-usual airport lines.
As a slight gift to opt-outers out there, Loopt is giving away 10 iPod Touches for TSA touching. Just check into your airport on Loopt* on Wednesday, November 24 (with iPhone, iPod Touch or Android), share a bit about your experience, push it to Twitter with the hashtag #touchedbyTSA, and you can win an iPod Touch. That simple.
The company Loopt was formed in 2006 “to build mobile applications that use location to help you enjoy the friends, places, and events around you right now.” Loopt offers a suite of mobile applications that run on over 100 different phones and are enjoyed by more than 4 million people.
Işıl Eğrikavuk has a first person account in Turkey‘s Hürriyet Daily News about the country’s new biometric passports:
The biometric passports, or e-passports, introduced June 1 in Turkey are supposed to make travel easier and reduce the amount of time spent at borders and customs checkpoints.
These features give e-passports a higher level of security and make it easier to verify a traveler’s identity, hence preventing identity theft and document forgery. Officials say they also represent an important phase in Turkey’s EU harmonization process.
On June 9, I went to the Eyüp police station, right at the appointed time, and with all my papers ready. I was still confident that I could apply for a passport, but as I moved through the bureau, the cold truth hit me. “We can’t see the online appointments, you have to come here at 6 a.m. and put your name on the list,” an officer said. He was not joking. My eyes started to well up with tears.
For the third time, I had been turned away, and I had a valid passport in my hand. What could I say? I had even received a text message the day before reminding me about my appointment. I tried explaining this, but they repeated the same words: “We cannot see the online appointments. You have to come here early.”
The next day I woke up at 5 a.m. and went to Eyüp. I was in front of the police station at 6 a.m., yet I was already the 26th person on the list. A police officer told me that people had started to show up at 3 a.m. “We started writing their names at 5:30 a.m.,” he said. “You are lucky to have put your name down, because they only take 40 people a day.”
I waited for six long hours at the police station. At a quarter to noon, my name was called. I was fingerprinted and joined the line to present my papers.
“I cannot see your passport registration in the archives,” the officer said. “You need to either go to the police office where you first got your passport, or you need to apply for a new one. But if you apply for a new one, we can’t transfer your valid dates into your new passport. You have to pay to extend your new passport’s date.”
So this was my choice: Go to another station and wait for another six hours, or pay 754 liras to get a new passport valid for five years. I was out of time, strength and patience. I paid the money.
Getting an e-passport costs 71 euros in Belgium and 28 euros in Estonia (both valid for five years.) In Italy, the cost is 44 euros and the passport is valid for 10 years. In Russia, a passport valid for 10 years costs the equivalent of 66 euros.
Mine cost me the equivalent of 394 euros.
At prices like that, Turkey surely has the world’s most expensive passport.
If the e-passports really make Turkey more prestigious, give me humble and simple any day.
Read the whole thing here.
Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist Jonathan Zittrain begs to difffer. The Internet, he suggests, is made up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.
Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist
Jonathan Zittrain begs to difffer. The Internet, he suggests, is made
up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.
The increasing proliferation of “tethered” devices, from iPhones to Xboxes, is only one of countless threats to the freewheeling Internet as we know it. There’s also spam, malware, misguided legislation and a drift away from what Internet law expert Jonathan Zittrain calls “generativity” — a system’s receptivity to unanticipated (and innovative) change instigated by myriad users.
Harvard law professor Zittrain, as an investigator for the OpenNet initiative and co-founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, has long studied the legal, technological and world-shaking aspects of quickly morphing virtual terrains. He performed the first large-scale tests of Internet filtering in China and Saudi Arabia in 2002. His initiatives include projects to fight malware (StopBadware) and ChillingEffects, a site designed to support open content by tracking legal threats to individual users.
“Zittrain’s book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, sounds … a klaxon calling to arms everyone who believes that platforms open to user innovation should rule the world, not tethered, sterile appliances that are controlled only by their designers.” – ArsTechnica
This being a big weekend for health care vote on the Hill, I thought I’d post something about a group that’s doing a lot to shine some bright lights on politics, money and influence in Washington, D.C.
MAPLight.org, a groundbreaking public database, with offices located in Berkeley, California, illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Elected United States officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws.
This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal. MAPLight.org makes money/vote connections transparent, to help citizens hold their legislators accountable.
Last week, during Sunshine Week, the group launched an all-new version of its website shining a light on money and influence in Congress. The new site here includes new tools to analyze (filter) legislator money/votes by:
- Political party
- Committee membership
- How they voted
- Voted with or against their donors
- Any ad-hoc/custom group of legislators
Each amendment and each bill text now has its own support and opposition interests. This important change reflects that amendments often have different supporting and opposing interests than the bill being amended. This improvement will help surface more interesting findings with more specific connections between money, votes and policy outcomes. This change required extensive research and programming work including:
- Created new internal data model to track any vote, not just “on-passage” final votes on bills—including amendment votes and voice votes.
- Created information design and user interface to support working with this new data model.
- Revised scripts to import Congressional legislative data from GovTrack.us.
MAPLight.org combines three data sets:
- Bill texts and legislative voting records
- Supporting and opposing interests for each bill
- Campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics
MAPLight.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is nonpartisan. Contributions to MAPLight.org are tax-deductible as provided by law.
Click here to see a video tour.
Below is a brief newsclip about MAPLight.org’s project for my video of the week.
The US Embassy in Moscow has now posted a photo of Ashton Kutcher with Ambassador Beyrle during the US Innovation Delegation trip to Russia. Neither of them identified in this photo:
from US Embassy Moscow
From the US Embassy Moscow: U.S. Innovation Delegation Arrives in Russia | February 17, 2010
A combined public private delegation of leaders of major American technology and social media companies has arrived in Russia and will be here through February 23. The purpose of their trip is to bring together these leaders with representatives of the Russian government, universities, private companies, and non-governmental organizations. They will discuss how social media and other innovative technologies can be used to strengthen and broaden ties between the United States and Russia, and how these technologies can be used to develop knowledge-based societies and economies in both our countries. This trip is part of the broad dialogue launched by the Bilateral Presidential Commission created by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in July 2009.
The delegation is being led by Jared Cohen from the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning staff and Howard Solomon of the National Security Council. White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra will also participate. They are joined by leaders of major American technology and social media companies, including EBay, Twitter, Cisco Systems, Howcast, EDventure, Social Gaming Network, Mozilla, Katalyst non-government organization, and the New York Academy of Sciences.
The delegation will be travelling to Moscow and Novosibirsk.
He may be unnamed in that embassy photo but the most popular member of the delegation and the one with the most Twitter followers is no other than Ashton Kutcher
in twitterworld. At the time of this writing, aplusk
followers. That makes him the most followed user
on Twitter and he, of course, tweeted about the trip:
To join us live in the room hashtag #rustechdel
we are talking transperency
Hanging with a room of Russian startups. Any advise for them #rustechdel
Meeting with Russian NGOs about human trafficking and exploitation of children. #rustechdel
Reactions from tweetworld:
Headed to airport after #RusTechDel
Successful trip w/21 deliverables in education, anti-trafficking, health, anti-corruption, e-gov
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