Thursday, May 26, 2005

Washington - Computer users already anxious about viruses and identity theft have a new reason to worry: hackers have found a way to lock up the electronic documents on your computer and then demand $200 (about R1 200) over the Internet to get them back.

Security researchers at the San Diego-based Websense uncovered the unusual extortion plot when a corporate customer they would not identify fell victim to the infection, which encrypted files that included documents, photographs and spreadsheets.

A ransom note left behind included an e-mail address, and the attacker using the address later demanded $200 for the digital keys to unlock the files.

"This is equivalent to someone coming into your home, putting your valuables in a safe and not telling you the combination," said Oliver Friedrichs, a security manager for Symantec Corporation.

The FBI said the scheme, which appears isolated, was unlike other Internet extortion crimes.

Leading security and anti-virus firms this week were updating protective software for companies and consumers to guard against this type of attack, which experts dubbed "ransom-ware".

"This seems fully malicious," said Joe Stewart, a researcher at Chicago-based Lurqh who studied the attack software. Stewart managed to unlock the infected computer files without paying the extortion, but he worries that improved versions might be more difficult to overcome. Internet attacks commonly become more effective as they evolve over time as hackers learn to avoid the mistakes of earlier infections.

"You would have to pay the guy, or law enforcement would have to get his key to unencrypt the files," Stewart said.

The latest danger adds to the risks facing beleaguered Internet users, who must increasingly deal with categories of threats that include spy-ware, viruses, worms, phishing email fraud and denial of service attacks.

In the recent case, computer users could be infected by viewing a vandalised website with vulnerable Internet browser software. The infection locked up at least 15 types of data files and left behind a note with instructions to send e-mail to a particular address to purchase unlocking keys. In an email reply, the hacker demanded $200 be wired to an Internet banking account. "I send program to your email," the hacker wrote.

FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson said more familiar Internet extortion schemes involve hackers demanding tens of thousands of dollars and threatening to attack commercial websites, interfering with sales or stealing customer data.

Experts said there were no widespread reports the new threat was spreading, and the website was already shut down where the infection originally spread. They also said the hacker's demand for payment might be his weakness, since bank transactions can be traced easily.

"The problem is getting away with it - you've got to send the money somewhere," Stewart said. "If it involves some sort of monetary transaction, it's far easier to trace than an email account." - Sapa-AP

Source : Link

A Chinese man pulled a car with his ears while walking on eggs without breaking them.
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Zhang Xingquan, ,38, pulled the car for about 20 metres in Dehui, Jinli province.

His performance drew a big crowd of astonished onlookers.

Zhang said he began to learn the stunt when he was just eight-years-old.

He can also pick up a 25kg bicycle with his mouth while standing on eggs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Wallpaper Added

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Check out this wallpaper.

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A wallpaper section will be added soon.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Insulin itself is the target of friendly fire from the immune system in Type I diabetes, new research shows. The discovery may one day help doctors forestall that attack and thus prevent the disease.

Type I diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, occurs when T-cells of the immune system mistakenly recognise insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and destroy them. But researchers have not been sure which of several possible molecules actually triggers this case of mistaken identity.

A team led by George Eisenbarth at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, US, genetically engineered diabetes-prone mice to lack normal insulin genes. Instead, the researchers gave the mice a modified insulin gene that functioned normally as a hormone but lacked the structural feature of insulin usually recognised by the immune system.

Even though these mice carried all the same molecular targets - except insulin - as their unmodified kin, they did not develop diabetes, strongly implying that insulin is the crucial target of autoimmune attack (Nature, vol 435, p 220).
Knowing where to look

Human diabetics show evidence of a similar autoimmune response against insulin, though earlier clinicians had failed to find anti-insulin T-cells in blood samples drawn from diabetic patients. But researchers led by David Hafler of Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts decided to look where those cells would be most likely to accumulate - in the lymph nodes draining the pancreas.

The team obtained lymph nodes from patients during surgery or from organ donors after death and cultured the T-cells they contained. Pancreatic lymph nodes from three diabetic patients contained large numbers of insulin-recognising T-cells while lymph nodes near their spleen or the pancreas of three non-diabetics did not (Nature, vol 435, p 224).

Taken together, the two studies come very close to clinching the case against insulin in the onset of human diabetes, says Lisa Spain, director of immunology for the Type I diabetes programme at the US National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases in Bethesda, Maryland.

With this knowledge in hand, researchers can now begin searching for ways to block the immune system's inappropriate response to insulin. A drug that binds to the insulin-recognising receptor on T-cells, for example, might prevent them from mounting a response, says Spain.

London - Science-fiction moved a step closer to reality on Wednesday when robots nicknamed "Sister Mary" and "Doctor Robbie" started work at a London hospital.

The pair allow doctors to visually examine and communicate with patients, whether they are in another part of the hospital or even another part of the world.

"This is a revolutionary concept which opens new avenues in telemedicine research and integrates technology with healthcare," said Professor Sir Ara Darzi in a statement.

Darzi, head of surgery, anaesthetics and intensive care at London's prestigious Imperial College is also a practising surgeon at St Mary's hospital in Paddington, west London.

The 1.5m robots are controlled remotely by a doctor via a joystick.

Doctors can look at patients thanks to a camera mounted on top of the robot while patients can see their doctors via a screen on the robots' "face".

Patients can be asked questions and medical records - such as X-rays and test results - can be read.

As part of a pilot study, patients will be assessed as to how they respond to the robots' metallic ministrations.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

PS3 Vs Xbox 360

Everyone was expecting Sony to deliver a technological powerhouse with its PlayStation 3 debut here at E3 and Sony sure didn't disappoint. The PlayStation 3 combines the power of the Cell processor and the Nvidia-based RSX graphics processor to create what Sony Computer Entertainment's Ken Kutaragi calls a "supercomputer for computer entertainment."

Source: Link

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

I pray that this reaches you in the best of health and Eeman.

After steeping myself in books that deal with anxiety and mental ailments, I found that Muslim scholars agree upon three fundamentals for one who seeks a cure:

1. One should have a close relationship with Allah, by worshipping Him, being obedient to Him, and turning to Him when in hardship or in ease. And this is the paramount issue in faith:

“So worship Him [Alone] and be constant and patient in His worship. Do you know of any who is similar to Him? Surah Maryam – Ayah 65.

2. One must close the files of the past. Episodes of the past, which when recalled only induce pain, should be forgotten and eradicated from one’s memory. Thus, a new life for a new day!

3. One should leave the future alone. Whatever has yet to occur is from the world of the unseen. Therefore it should be left alone until it comes. More particularly, one should avoid being preoccupied with predictions, expectations, and apprehensions. Life should be within the boundaries of today.

‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Beware of having long-term expectations (for this world), for verily it makes one forget (his true purpose).”

“And they thought that they would never return to Us.” Surah Al-Qasas – Ayah 39.

Wasalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu Ahsin.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

May's Game of the Month

Check out this months game in The PlayGround section in
the side bar.