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I saw a strange scam / trick today. While working on a client’s computer, a Skype call suddenly started ringing from “gpq.systems”. It had a Screen Name of “SYSTEM NOTICE – URGENT”. I basically cocked my head to the side pondering what in the world some fool thought he was doing. So I answered it and an english voice said “Hello, we have detected an unauthorized attempt by a hacker to access your system. May we have permission to access your computer and prevent them?”

I scoffed and said “I don’t know who you think you are, but consider yourself reported.”

Skype Scam

An example of recent scam calls

Please, never answer any call like that. It’s an attempt at social engineering to hack into your computer. They will pass you a link that will most likely take control of your computer, load it with viruses or worse, steal your identity. Very dangerous.

Here are a few others (looking at my client’s history in Skype) that they received:

• “SYSTEM NOTICE – URGENT!” (Skype Username: ‘gpq.systems’)
• “ONLINE HELP – PERFORM SYSTEM MAINTENANCE!” (Skype Username: ‘xprpssb’)
• “ONLINE HELP – PERFORM SYSTEM MAINTENANCE!” (Skype Username: ‘ss2.online.system.states’)
• “SYSTEM HELP – URGENT NOTICE!” (Skype Username: ‘syshelp.notice.ol2′)

If you ever get  an calls or chats on Skype (or any other Instant Messaging software), never accept them. Only accept calls and chats from people you know. Anything else is a scam or an attempt to gain access to your information.

Block and Report Abuse

Block and Report Abuse Immediately

If you should receive them, please, click “Block” and “Report Abuse” to Skype immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the weekend, a friend mine sent me an email showing that the FBI would be shutting down various servers and computers remotely due to a threat of some malware advertising scam.

Now, people send these kinds of things to me all the time, asking me if they are legit or not and about 98% of the time they are just gossip, nothing more.

I will admit I was a bit surprised when it turned out to be true.

What it’s about

Basically there is someone by the name of Vladamiri Tsastsin that has compromised a large network of computers (both servers and personal computers). He and several other hackers created a virus that took control of these computers and used them to serve out viruses and trojans, which in return affected even more computers.

So, the FBI and other internet companies were able to obtain a court order under “UNITED STATES v. VLADIMIR TSASTSIN, ET AL.” and collected a group of IP addresses (unique numbers that identify computers on a network) that needed to be isolated from the rest of the internet.

The collectivly came to an agreement that on July 9th (today) they would cease all DNS (domain name servers that point to these unique addresses) operations to these IP addresses so that they can isolate them from the rest of the public and prevent further damage.

What you should do

You can find out if you are in fact infected by these viruses or trojans and if your computer IP address is in fact compromised by going to: http://www.dns-ok.us/. If the background is green, you are good… for now.

Now, keep in mind, over 95% of home computers out there use what’s called DHCP, which means that you get your IP address is reissued every so often and you are not set to a single static IP address. This means that you could still be infected, but are lucky enough to have an IP at the moment that is not being removed from access. That being said, you can still check to see if you have the virus or trojan but downloading the most recent virus definitions for Symantec (Norton) or McAfee.

There are more details about the FBI Malware Warning here:

https://forms.fbi.gov/check-to-see-if-your-computer-is-using-rogue-DNS

http://kdvr.com/2012/07/08/fbi-warning-malware-could-cause-thousands-to-lose-internet-access/

The software “Carrier IQ” has been known for a while now to log keystrokes and activity on phones. Sprint is finally taking action to remove it.

On Monday Android Central reported that the HTC EVO 3D, which runs on Sprint’s network, will get a new firmware update that will wipe the Carrier IQ software from the device. HTC confirmed on Tuesday its move in a statement to The Verge. The company said that the maintenance software update would “remove Carrier IQ and provide security enhancements and bug fixes beginning in January.”

Read more at: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-57360436-266/sprint-updates-phones-to-eliminate-carrier-iq/?tag=mncol;editorPicks

The holidays are over, and if you’re like me, you’ve blown all your extra cash on gifts for other people. But what if you still would like to treat yourself to shinny new handset? Not to worry, since these new phones are all more capable than you’d expect yet are easy on the wallet.

Even if you don’t see a device here with your name on it, they all prove the theory that you don’t need to spend top dollar to enjoy premium mobile features.

Read more: http://www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-57360439-85/best-smartphones-for-budgets/#ixzz1jkqPAmpS

We could be a few weeks away from getting a peek at Apple’s next iPad, if a new report is to be believed.

iPad 3 Citing an Asian supplier and “a source in United States,” Japanese Apple blog Macotakara says that Apple is cooking up a special event in “early February” to take the wraps off its next iPad, with a formal launch of the product taking place sometime the following month.

Why the delay? Macotakara says that the Chinese factories involved with the production if iPad 3 units will be celebrating the Chinese New Year, which kicks off at the beginning of next week.

It’s not unusual for Apple to delay the sale of a product from its formal introduction, however that time period has only been a week or two for new iterations of existing products. In the case of the iPad 2, the product was unveiled at an event on March 2, 2011, with a release on March 11. With the original iPad it was considerably longer, with Apple unveiling the product on January 27, 2010 and not putting it on sale until April 3.

Read more at: http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-57360372-248/ipad-3-to-get-february-intro-march-release/?tag=mncol;topStories

One of our major problems on today’s roads is the influx of drivers that are texting while driving. What could possibly be so important that you are willing to put dozens of lives at risk just to send that text message while you’re driving down the road?

Q: What technological advances have been made in the past five years that affect the way potential buyers and sellers showcase their properties?

A: Real estate and technology have changed dramatically in the last five years. One of the reasons I chose to be affiliated with Climb Real Estate Group is that it is one of the few general brokerages that have fully embraced technology.

We have a team consisting of a webmaster, content manager and Internet marketing coordinator that showcase our properties through our website, new development blog sites, outsource to 48 different real estate sites and create videos for video blogging and property websites.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/13/RE101MOOPB.DTL#ixzz1jVHt1IAE

As Toyota Motor Corp. promotes new in-car technology letting drivers make restaurant reservations on OpenTable and use Bing to search the Internet, regulators are still seeking to discourage mobile-phone use.

Audible Facebook updates and steering-wheel controls that let drivers buy movie tickets and check stock prices went on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week. Daimler AG is developing technology to let customers summon road information on the windshield with a wave of the hand.

“People are pretty determined to be connected in their vehicles as they are everywhere else,” said Jeremy Anwyl, vice chairman of auto researcher Edmunds.com. “You can regulate all you want. I’m not sure, for a lot of consumers, it’s going to make a lot of difference.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/14/BUPJ1MP3O4.DTL#ixzz1jVH3zFZQ

Aisle after aisle of companies hawking their latest tech gadgets. HDTVs stacked 30 feet high with brilliant colorful videos playing in a loop. Thousands and thousands of people all there to soak it all up.

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is an impressive event.

Companies from all over the world converge on the city that never sleeps to show off the latest technology. Almost every major innovation over the past 30 years has been launched at CES –  VHS, DVD, HDTV and 3DTV. Needless to say, the expectations are high every year.

Read more: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/science_tech/blog-consumer-electronics-show-brimming-with-innovative-technology#ixzz1jVGTYZ8W

 

Face Recognition

In recent years Laptop manufactures have been opting for facial recognition software to unlock and lock your computer when you sit down at it as an alternative to fingerprint scanners. Do not believe Facial Recognition Softwarethe hype of the facial recognition software. It is definitely NOT as safe as fingerprint readers. Not only does it not communicate effectivly with the security portions of the operating system, it is extremely easy to fool by simply holding up a picture of you or by using a pulsing light (Courtesy DefCon: http://gizmodo.com/5330196/defcon-badge-hack-fools-facial-recognition-systems-with-pulsing-light).

Why have manufactures been turning to Facial Recognition?

Their primary reason is, they are already almost always offering a built in webcam. So it’s one less peice of hardware to include with a laptop system. Also, it may not sound like a lot of money, but the fingerprint readers cost them on average $50-90 to install, whereas the webcam only costs them roughly $15-20. Granted, they usually pass that cost on to the consumer.

———————————————

Here is an article relating to the dangers or facial recognition software:

(http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9128264/Laptop_face_recognition_tech_easy_to_hack_warns_Black_Hat_researcher)

Computerworld – WASHINGTON — The face-recognition technologies offered by some laptop vendors as a way for users to securely log onto their systems are deeply flawed and can be relatively easily bypassed, a security researcher warned today at the Black Hat security conference here.

Nguyen Minh Duc, a researcher at Bach Khoa Internetwork Security Centre, a Hanoi-based security firm that is commonly known as Bkis, showed how attackers could break into laptops from Lenovo, Toshiba and Asus featuring face-recognition technologies, simply by using digitized images of the actual user of the systems in each case. The attacks were conducted on a Lenovo system with its Veriface III technology, an Asus system featuring its Smart Logon software and a laptop using Toshiba’s Face Recognition technology.

The attacks are possible because the underlying technology used by the vendors for face authentication can be easily fooled — meaning it cannot be trusted for secure log-on purposes, Minh Duc said. He claimed that each of the vendors has been notified of the issue and urged them to reconsider the use of face recognition as a secure log-in option until the problem has been fixed.

Toshiba, Lenovo and Asus are among a handful of vendors currently supporting face authentication as a secure log-in option. The idea is to let a user’s face serve as a password for gaining access to a system. Instead of logging in with a username and password, users simply sit in front of a built-in camera on the system that captures an image of their face and compares selected features from the image with those previously registered by the user. Users are granted access only if the images match.

Laptop vendors have touted the technology as safer and easier than relying on usernames and passwords.

The problem, according to Minh Duc, is that face-recognition algorithms cannot tell the difference between a digitized image and a real face. Because the algorithms, in effect, process digital information sent via the camera, it is possible to trick the software with an image of a registered user of a system, he said.

An attacker could obtain a photo of the user and tweak the lighting and viewpoint with commonly available image-editing tools, he said. Because a hacker is unlikely to know what the face stored in the system looks like, he might have to create a large number of digital facial images — each with different lighting and viewpoints — to fool the face-recognition technology. An attacker would need to have a reasonable amount of experience with image editing and regeneration to successfully carry out such attacks, Minh Duc added.

At Black Hat, Minh Duc showed how to access laptops from each of the three vendors simply by placing digitized images of actual users in front of the built-in laptop cameras. The approach worked even when the face-recognition software was set to its highest security setting. With the Toshiba face-recognition technology, Minh Duc had to move the images a bit to fool the technology because it looks for facial movement. It is also possible to use black-and-white images to fool one of the systems, he added.

What makes the vulnerability in laptop face-recognition technology particularly dangerous is that compromises are harder to spot, Minh Duc said. An attacker could gain access to a system without the real user ever knowing about it, he claimed.

In comments sent via e-mail, a Lenovo spokeswoman didn’t directly dispute any of the claims made by the security researcher. But she said that the company’s VeriFace face-recognition technology offers a “convenient” and “accurate” log-in option for users.

“There are trade-offs between security and convenience, and users should balance the need for convenient, quick access through facial log-in with the higher levels of security that are associated with using complex and lengthy passwords or fingerprint readers,” the Lenovo spokeswoman wrote.

She added that VeriFace looks for eye movement to distinguish between a still photograph and a real person. And she said that the face-recognition technology, which is offered only in the vendor’s consumer laptops, “continues to be upgraded.”

Okay, now I have heard it all.

——-
Courtesy The Register

A US man who had been convicted on a second-degree murder charge will get a new trial after a computer virus destroyed transcripts of court proceedings.

Randy Chaviano, of Hialeah, Florida, was given a life sentence for the fatal shooting of Carlos Acosta after he was convicted by a Miami jury in July 2009. An appeal was lodged when it was discovered that only a partial record of the trial that led to Chaviano’s conviction could be found.

In the circumstances the Third District Court of Appeal had no option but to strike the conviction and order a fresh trial.

Court stenographers normally record proceedings on both paper and digital disk. But Terlesa Cowart, stenographer at Chaviano’s 2009 trial, forgot to bring enough rolls of paper and relied on digital recordings alone to chronicle proceedings. She transferred this data to her PC and erased it from the stenograph. Cowart has been fired for the monumental screw-up, The Miami Herald reports.

Bad move. The PC subsequently became infected by an unidentified virus, causing the destruction of the records. No secure backup was taken, so the state will be put through the expense of a second trial that will cause, at the very least, inconvenience for witnesses and heartache for the victim’s family.

 

I know what you’re thinking, “Why all the fuss over getting Siri on non-iPhone 4s phones?” the reason at least I am always researching it? I don’t like to be told that something is impossible with computers. I have yet to meet a computer problem I couldn’t fix. So, in the spirit of exploration, here is an article from Huffington Post was published five days ago that may have at least some of the answers using a new underground app called Spire.

——–

Video

The Scoop

Ever since the release of the iPhone 4S, hackers have been diligently working to port Siri — the voice-activated personal assistant app exclusive to the new phone — to other iOS devices.

Now, Grant Paul (aka chpwn) and Ryan Petrich have released “Spire,” a tool for installing Siri on any device running iOS 5. Unfortunately, while Spire will let users install Siri directly — and legally — from Apple, getting the software to successfully communicate with Siri’s servers is another task entirely.

Writing on his blog, Paul admits Spire is “not a complete solution” and explains the trouble with getting iOS devices other than the iPhone 4S to run Siri properly:

“Apple still requires authorization to use Siri, so information from an iPhone 4S is still required. To insert this information, Spire allows you to enter your own proxy server address. I’ve put up a list of my ideas on how you might get access to a proxy; hopefully you can figure something out.”

Paul suggests a number of possible solutions, including snagging some authentication tokens from a friend who has an iPhone 4S and is willing to share, or perhaps paying for them on some sort of yet-to-be established marketplace for trading access tokens.
As for any possibility that the iPhone hacking community may circumvent the Apple firewall in the future, Paul says that’s “very likely impossible.”

Writing for TechCrunch, Sarah Perez notes that this is not the kind of statement to be taken lightly when coming from an iPhone hacker.
“Remember, hackers don’t often throw around words like ‘impossible’ too often,” Perez wrote. “Clearly, Apple has some heavy-duty security in place for managing Siri requests.”

So, while Spire may help users install the software, they’re essentially left to their own devices when it comes to making Siri work.

For the more adventurous iPhone users out there, Spire is currently available in the underground app store, Cydia.
Of course, Cydia can only be accessed from jailbroken devices. Luckily, the iPhone Dev-Team recently released an untethered jailbreak solution for devices running iOS 5. (Click here to find out more about that)

On the other hand, Google is reportedly working on its own Siri competitor named “Majel.”
According to eWeek, Google engineers working on the project are adding natural language processing enhancements to the company’s existing voice search application, which has been available on iPhones and Android devices since 2008.
But CNET speculates Majel could end up being much more than a Siri knockoff, especially considering Siri actually uses Google as its default search engine.
If you’re interested in learning how to install Spire on your older-generation iPhone, check out the video (above), featuring step-by-step instructions, courtesy of Revolvrr.

Well, just as I predicted in my article: Siri and the iPhone 4S, Siri  raping iPhone user’s data packages.

This was just published by Bloomberg:

Washington Post with Bloomberg

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — Apple Inc.’s voice recognition software Siri has prompted owners of the iPhone 4S to use almost twice as much data compared with the handset’s predecessor, placing greater pressure on operators, network firm Arieso said.

“Voice is the ultimate human interface,” Arieso Chief Technology Officer Michael Flanagan said in an interview in London. Voice recognition is prompting consumers to use their smartphones’ functions more often, he said. Arieso advises clients such as Vodafone Group Plc, Telefonica SA and Nokia Siemens Networks Oy on how to manage wireless networks.

Apple brought in Siri, dubbed a virtual personal assistant, in its latest iPhone update in October. With a few spoken words, the artificial-intelligence feature helps iPhone users schedule appointments, write text messages and check the local weather. Arieso, based in Atlanta, said it measured more than 1 million subscribers across a single European network in both urban and rural areas, without identifying the operator.

The strain of data-intensive devices may place additional pressure on mobile operators as they build out faster networks. Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. carrier, said this week the number of iPhones it sold doubled to 4.2 million in the fourth quarter.

Network Load

AT&T Inc, which last year lost the exclusive U.S. rights to the iPhone, has been criticized for dropped calls and network coverage among high-use areas such as New York and San Francisco.

A London-based Apple spokesman said he couldn’t immediately comment. The iPhone 4S, the latest update of Apple’s best- selling product, is its first major release since the death of Steve Jobs, who helped guide the company’s product design and marketing.

Apple rose 0.7 percent to $421.14 in New York trading today as of 10:50 a.m.

While the iPhone is the world’s most popular smartphone, Google Inc.’s Android software is more widely used, showing up in devices from Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp.

The iPhone 4S’ regular connections with Apple’s servers to synchronize applications including music lists may also contribute to the data load, Flanagan said.

Operators have sought to limit their data tariffs to prevent heavy use as subscribers record high-definition video and images and browse the Internet and play music on their phones. Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile-phone operator, has shifted toward consumption-based billing to protect its network capacity.

‘Getting Hungrier’

Arieso’s research showed that a minority of users account for half of downloaded data. About one percent of the high-use subscribers downloaded half of the data volumes, according to the company. “The hungry are getting hungrier,” Flanagan said.

An average user of Research In Motion Ltd.’s latest BlackBerry smartphones, the Curve and the Bold Touch, downloads about 20 percent of the data of an iPhone 4S subscriber, according to Arieso. While RIM compresses data, the company’s traditional business users also use fewer applications beyond e- mail, Flanagan said.

The proliferation of voice command software may accelerate as more manufacturers adopt the technology, Flanagan said. “What makes Apple unique is that they have done it first successfully.”

–With assistance by Adam Satariano in San Francisco. Editors: Simon Thiel, Kenneth Wong

A series of arrests and millions of images of child sexual abuse that were seized by police in New Brunswick on Wednesday are part of an operation that began months ago with hundreds of possible suspects.
Insp. Kevin Leahy of the RCMP’s Major Crime Unit in Fredericton said investigators pared down an original list of suspects to more than 160 and finally a smaller group of targets based on an assessment of their risk to the community.
“Given the number of potential targets, it’s impossible to go after every one of them,” he said in an interview conducted during the course of the police investigation. “So what we have to do is be able to look at the potential targets and use other data bases to determine who poses the most risk to the community.”
Police in New Brunswick arrested three men and a male youth on Wednesday as part of a co-ordinated operation with municipal police forces in the province that began in November.
None of those who were arrested have been charged and police say three were released on conditions, including that they have no contact with children under the age of 16, have no access to the Internet and are not to be in possession of computers. Police say court appearances for those who were arrested will be scheduled for later dates.
Police executed search warrants on homes in Moncton, Havelock, Grand Bay-Westfield, Dumfries and Petit-Rocher-Ouest, and say the bulk of the images and videos were seized from the home in Moncton.
Police arrested a 51-year-old man from Moncton, a 45-year-old man from Havelock, a 49-year-old man from Dumfries, and a youth under the age of 18 from Grand Bay-Westfield. The 51-year-old man remained in police custody on Wednesday.
Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceCorp. Jean-Marc Pare of the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation unit in Fredericton said the images and videos seized are of children being sexually abused and assaulted.
The Canadian Press was invited by the RCMP to observe the investigation from the early stages and to speak with investigators.
The investigation involved developing a target group of suspects from hundreds of potential suspects, which Pare said was a difficult process.
“We’ve tried to centre around those people we feel would represent the highest risk of being a hands-on offender in society. I’d like to say we’re going to be 100 per cent right but I can’t say that for sure,” he said.
“The reality is they’re all dangerous. We don’t have the resources to go after everyone, so we try to target the ones we feel will be the highest risk.”
Pare said the investigation is ongoing.
Leahy said child pornography and sexual exploitation are growing concerns for police.
“When we have individuals using the Internet to attract young people for the purpose of exploiting them sexually it’s a major problem,” he said.
Cybertip.ca, which operates Canada’s national tip line for online sexual exploitation offences, receives about 700 tips per month. It reports that as many as 80 per cent of its confirmed child pornography reports involve children younger than eight years old.
In New Brunswick alone there were 71 cases of child pornography reported to the RCMP last year. That doesn’t include incidents reported to municipal police forces.
Pare said parents need to be aware that many of the pictures and videos being sold or traded around the world are of victims in New Brunswick.
“I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen boys, I’ve seen girls through various ages. … I’ve seen as young as infants all the way to 18 years old. It just depends on the individual suspect’s preference.”
Pare said he doesn’t use the term pornography when it relates to children.
“I use the term child sexual abuse images,” he said. “What you are seeing is in fact the sexual abuse in a picture or in a video of a child.”

The best way to protect yourself from an online financial scam is to diligently check your bank accounts. At least, until now.

Israeli-based Security firm Trusteer has found an elaborate new computer virus that not only helps fraudsters steal money from bank accounts — it also covers its tracks.

Think of a crime plot involving a spy who plans to break into a high-security building and begins by swapping out security camera video so guards don’t notice anything is amiss. Known as a surveillance camera hack, the technique has been used in dozens of movies.

A new version of the widely prevalent SpyEye Trojan horse works much the same way, only it swaps out banking Web pages rather than video, preventing account holders from noticing that their money is gone.

The Trojan horse employs a powerful two-step process to commit the electronic crime. First, the virus lies in wait until a customer with an infected computer visits an online banking site, steals their login credentials and tricks the victim into divulging additional personal information such as debit card information. Then, after the stolen card number is used for a fraudulent purchase, the virus intercepts any further visits to the victim’s banking site and scrubs transaction records clean of any fraud. That prevents — or at least delays — consumers from discovering fraud and reporting it to the bank, buying the fraudster critical extra time to complete the crime.

Trusteer calls it a “post transaction” attack, because much of the virus’ effectiveness is attributable to its ability to control what victims see after fraudulent transactions occur. Amit Klein, chief technology officer for Trusteer, said he believes criminals have used the technique for a few months, and it has infected real consumers.

“I predict that the use of post transaction attack technology will significantly increase as it enables criminals to maximize the amount of fraud they can commit using their initial investment in malware toolkits and infection mechanisms,” Klein said.

The new SpyEye came to Trusteer’s attention when a large retail bank in the United States spotted it and shared with the firm, he said.
‘A very scary tactic’

The virus’ evidence-covering techniques are elaborate. First, it keeps track of all fraud committed by the criminal, and makes sure to remove those line items from online transaction lists. It also edits balance amounts to prevent consumers from getting suspicious.

“This is a very scary tactic,” said Avivah Litan, a financial fraud analyst at consulting firm Gartner. “Everybody thinks all they have to do is check their transactions and their balances. That’s not true anymore.”

The new virus technique ups the ante in the cat-and-mouse game between security companies and the computer criminals who try to steal consumers’ money. Consumer reports of fraud are still a very important part of fraud-fighting techniques, Litan said.

“Most banks ‘let the first transaction through,’ because if they stopped everything that was potentially fraud, consumers would get annoyed,” she said. In some cases, fraud-checking tools kick in only after initial reports, so this version of SpyEye could buy criminals important time as they try to turn stolen data into cash.

“Usually they only need one day more to get the money, to push the fraud through,” she said. “They always want to keep the security guys running after them.”

Such cover-your-tracks techniques have been used before by virus writers, Klein said. In a simpler version, criminals who raided online bank accounts and wired money out of them would try to hide the transaction from victims using the same Web page interception trick. But this new flavor has more potential for success, because it involves stolen debit card numbers used at third-party merchants, creating complex transactions involving multiple banks and multiple security systems.

Victim account holders who check their balance at an ATM — or even at a second uninfected computer — would be able to spot the fraudulent transactions. The virus doesn’t impact bank systems, merely the characters that are displayed within the infected system’s Web browser. That means paper statements would reveal the fraud, too.

Of course, consumers who rely on paper statements could be a full 30 days behind when it comes to spotting fraudulent transactions.

While Klein is worried about the “post transaction” attack, he said consumers who have vulnerable Web browsers are bound to be victims of one fraudster or another.

“My take is that if your computer is infected with financial malware, it’s game over anyway,” he said. “My takeaway is you need to prevent getting infected with financial malware in the first place.”

This is an article that I saw on CNN. Personally, I think it’s crap. It’s whole purpose in my opinion is to raise sales for car manufacture’s features. I am all for a ban on handheld phones. They are a huge problem. But limiting usage to devices only installed by the manufacture?? Seriously?? That’s insane. As long as the device allows a hands free operation it should be allowed. I am not going out to buy a new car just to meet a law like this.

————–

By Mike M. Ahlers, CNN

NTSB wants cell phone ban while driving. A federal safety board called Tuesday for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving.
The recommendation is the most far-reaching yet by the National Transportation Safety Board, which in the past 10 years has increasingly sought to limit the use of portable electronic devices — recommending bans for novice drivers, school bus drivers and commercial truckers. Tuesday’s recommendation, if adopted by states, would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road.
It would apply to hands-free as well as hand-held devices, but devices installed in the vehicle by the manufacturer would be allowed, the NTSB said.

The recommendation would not affect passengers’ rights to use such devices.
Study: Distracted drivers in denial
NTSB members say the action is necessary to combat a growing threat posed by distracted drivers. While distracted driving has been a problem “since the Model T,” in the words of NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman, authorities say it has become ubiquitous with the explosion in the number of portable smart phones. At any given daylight moment, some 13.5 million drivers are on hand-held phones, according to a study released last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Some 3,092 roadway fatalities last year involved distracted drivers, although the actual number may be far higher, NHTSA said.
“This (distracted driving) is becoming the new DUI. It’s becoming epidemic,” said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt.
Accident investigators routinely seek protective orders to preserve smart phones for use as evidence in accident investigations, Hersman said.
But because distracted drivers sometimes do not own up to their actions, or because they die during the crash, determining whether distraction was a factor in an accident can be difficult.
That was the case in a 2010 chain-reaction accident near Gray Summit, Missouri. During the 11 minutes prior to that incident, the driver of a pickup truck received five text messages, and sent six, and he was seen leaning over just before the accident, leading investigators to believe the driver was likely distracted when his truck plowed at 55 mph into the rear of a tractor trailer, which had slowed or stopped because of a highway work zone. Two school buses then plowed into the wreckage. Two people — including the pickup truck driver and a bus occupant — were killed; 38 other people were injured.

A series of arrests and millions of images of child sexual abuse that were seized by police in New Brunswick on Wednesday are part of an operation that began months ago with hundreds of possible suspects.
Insp. Kevin Leahy of the RCMP’s Major Crime Unit in Fredericton said investigators pared down an original list of suspects to more than 160 and finally a smaller group of targets based on an assessment of their risk to the community.
“Given the number of potential targets, it’s impossible to go after every one of them,” he said in an interview conducted during the course of the police investigation. “So what we have to do is be able to look at the potential targets and use other data bases to determine who poses the most risk to the community.”
Police in New Brunswick arrested three men and a male youth on Wednesday as part of a co-ordinated operation with municipal police forces in the province that began in November.
None of those who were arrested have been charged and police say three were released on conditions, including that they have no contact with children under the age of 16, have no access to the Internet and are not to be in possession of computers. Police say court appearances for those who were arrested will be scheduled for later dates.
Police executed search warrants on homes in Moncton, Havelock, Grand Bay-Westfield, Dumfries and Petit-Rocher-Ouest, and say the bulk of the images and videos were seized from the home in Moncton.
Police arrested a 51-year-old man from Moncton, a 45-year-old man from Havelock, a 49-year-old man from Dumfries, and a youth under the age of 18 from Grand Bay-Westfield. The 51-year-old man remained in police custody on Wednesday.
Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceCorp. Jean-Marc Pare of the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation unit in Fredericton said the images and videos seized are of children being sexually abused and assaulted.
The Canadian Press was invited by the RCMP to observe the investigation from the early stages and to speak with investigators.
The investigation involved developing a target group of suspects from hundreds of potential suspects, which Pare said was a difficult process.
“We’ve tried to centre around those people we feel would represent the highest risk of being a hands-on offender in society. I’d like to say we’re going to be 100 per cent right but I can’t say that for sure,” he said.
“The reality is they’re all dangerous. We don’t have the resources to go after everyone, so we try to target the ones we feel will be the highest risk.”
Pare said the investigation is ongoing.
Leahy said child pornography and sexual exploitation are growing concerns for police.
“When we have individuals using the Internet to attract young people for the purpose of exploiting them sexually it’s a major problem,” he said.
Cybertip.ca, which operates Canada’s national tip line for online sexual exploitation offences, receives about 700 tips per month. It reports that as many as 80 per cent of its confirmed child pornography reports involve children younger than eight years old.
In New Brunswick alone there were 71 cases of child pornography reported to the RCMP last year. That doesn’t include incidents reported to municipal police forces.
Pare said parents need to be aware that many of the pictures and videos being sold or traded around the world are of victims in New Brunswick.
“I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen boys, I’ve seen girls through various ages. … I’ve seen as young as infants all the way to 18 years old. It just depends on the individual suspect’s preference.”
Pare said he doesn’t use the term pornography when it relates to children.
“I use the term child sexual abuse images,” he said. “What you are seeing is in fact the sexual abuse in a picture or in a video of a child.”

Streaming media giant Netflix experienced an outage at approximately 4:00pm PST bringing down it’s site for millions of viewers.
NetflixNetflix claimed that several of their ‘power nodes’ lost communication halting approximately 45% of their streaming media traffic.

As of this writing, Netflix.com is intermittently available.
Customers were running into a similar issue on the many set-top boxes that offer Netflix content. Earlier, I attempted to access Netflix Instant Streaming on the Samsung Blue Ray DVD player. An error message was displayed saying, “Netflix is currently unavailable. Try again later.” As of this writing, streaming is still unavailable.
A Netflix spokesperson told RepairStadt in a phone call that the company is “aware of the issue” and it’s “working to resolve it.” The spokesperson said that Netflix would not comment “on what is causing the issue.”

-Update – 7:45pm EST -
Netflix has confirmed that their outage is now at approximately 65% of their viewers.

-Update – 10:22pm EST -
After speaking to Netflix Vice President, Steve Swasey he stated “We’re working fast and furious to bring it back for all to enjoy as usual.” he continues “our management is not at liberty to go into specifics regarding the outage.”

NetflixCurrently the site states: “We’re sorry, the Netflix website and the
ability to instantly watch movies are both temporarily unavailable,” reads a message on Netflix.com. “However, our shipping centers are continuing to send and receive DVDs so your order is in process as usual.”  The message on Netflix’s site referred customers to Netflix’s toll-free customer-service number at 877-445-6064.

-Update – 10:40pm EST -
Netflix is back online and is fully operational