Dec 24, 2014

Opinion: Media Wars « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

bw version of the Eye of Horus
bw version of the Eye of Horus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Opinion: Media Wars « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Excellent OpEd from this Egyptian media source, and well worth a read, in my opinion.

Information warfare has become a key part of twenty-first century conflicts, whether domestic or international. Run from behind screens, these battles could cause damage as deadly as those inflicted by weapons of mass destruction. This was clearly seen in the Ukrainian crisis, as well as the 2011 uprisings that erupted across the Arab world—social media and new media formed a key tool. Another recent example can be seen in the hacking of Sony Pictures and the exposure of its emails and films. The White House has responded by threatening to take measures against North Korea which is suspected of being behind the attack.
Some say we are entering uncharted waters but it has been established that information warfare has always been part of human warfare and conflicts. Only the tools have differed, evolving in terms of sophistication and speed thanks to modern technology. read more ...


Dec 23, 2014

Are Our Children Overprotected?

English: Street photography - photograph of a ...
English: Street photography - photograph of a child watching children play on the grounds of Arts College at Osmania University, Hyderabad, AP - India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Overprotected Kid: (via the Atlantic)

If a 10-year-old lit a fire at an American playground, someone would call the police and the kid would be taken for counselling. At the Land, spontaneous fires are a frequent occurrence. The park is staffed by professionally trained “play-workers,” who keep a close eye on the kids but don’t intervene all that much. Claire Griffiths, the manager of the Land, describes her job as “loitering with intent.” Although the play-workers almost never stop the kids from what they’re doing, before the playground had even opened they’d filled binders with “risk benefits assessments” for nearly every activity. (In the two years since it opened, no one has been injured outside of the occasional scraped knee.) Here’s the list of benefits for fire: “It can be a social experience to sit around with friends, make friends, to sing songs to dance around, to stare at, it can be a co-operative experience where everyone has jobs. It can be something to experiment with, to take risks, to test its properties, its heat, its power, to re-live our evolutionary past.” The risks? “Burns from fire or fire pit” and “children accidentally burning each other with flaming cardboard or wood.” In this case, the benefits win, because a play-worker is always nearby, watching for impending accidents but otherwise letting the children figure out lessons about fire on their own. more ...

Dec 22, 2014

Notice the Difference? New Canadian Internet Copyright Rules for ISPs Set to Launch - Michael Geist

Michael Geist, is a Canadian academic, and the...
Michael Geist, is a Canadian academic, and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Notice the Difference? New Canadian Internet Copyright Rules for ISPs Set to Launch - Michael Geist

For Internet providers, the system creates significant costs for processing and forwarding notices. However, assuming they meet their obligations of forwarding the notice, the law grants them a legal “safe harbour” that removes potential liability for actions of their subscribers.
 There are important benefits for Internet users as well. First, unlike the content takedown or access cut-off systems, the Canadian notice approach does not feature any legal penalties. The notices do not create any fines or damages, but rather are designed as educational tools to raise awareness of infringement allegations.

John Draper aka "Cap'n Crunch" in Need of Our Help!

English: 'Captain Crunch' outside his home in ...
It's truly sad to hear of his financial troubles, Mr. Draper may be having - seems he has been suffering hard times recently due to health issues, as reported by ArsTechnica here. His contemporaries of the day, Steve Jobs and TheWoz (Steve Wozniak) sure have been treated better by life it seems.
From his own blog, John writes:
"Latest news on my debilitating health issues. I’ve suffered some major health issues, and discovered I have degenerative spine disease which is the root of most of my spine problems which started in or around 2004. My first surgery was in Dec of 2009, a year later, suffered trauma from a sudden pressure on the back of my neck thanx to some dude at Defcon party, you know who you are. Everything was ok until early in 2014, I started feeling that same back pain I was suffering from back in 1009, but it progressed much further, starting early march, About the time I was invited to the home brew computer club reunion, in the Bay Area. A few weeks later, was invited to speak at the hacker hostel, when at that time the pain was getting horribly bad." Read more ....

South Korea nuclear plant operator says hacked, raising alarm « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

The coat of arms of South Korea Español: escud...
The coat of arms of South Korea Español: escudo de Corea del Sur 日本語: 大韓民国の国章 中文: 大韩民国国徽 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
South Korea nuclear plant operator says hacked, raising alarm « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Computer systems at South Korea’s nuclear plant operator have been hacked, the company said on Monday, sharply raising concerns about safeguards around nuclear facilities in a country that remains technically at war with North Korea.
The Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd (KHNP) and the government said only “non-critical” data was stolen by the hackers, and that there was no risk to nuclear installations, including the country’s 23 atomic reactors.
But the hacking was reported as the United States accused North Korea of a devastating cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.
Experts voiced alarm that the controls of the nuclear reactors could be at risk.
“This demonstrated that, if anyone is intent with malice to infiltrate the system, it would be impossible to say with confidence that such an effort would be blocked completely,” said Suh Kune-yull of Seoul National University.
“And a compromise of nuclear reactors’ safety pretty clearly means there is a gaping hole in national security,” said Suh, who specializes in nuclear reactor design.
The government is investigating but has not said who might be responsible. In 2013, South Korea accused the North of a series of cyber-attacks on banks and broadcasters. Anti-nuclear activists in South Korea have also protested against the use of nuclear power. More ...

May 6, 2014

Debian "E: The value '...' is invalid for APT::Default-Release as such a release is not available in the sources"

Debian OpenLogo
Debian OpenLogo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Received this error as I've been playing around with Synaptic  (package manager) and adding some Linux Mint Debian, (LMDE) repo sources (They're stale so don't bother as it appears MINT isn't supporting it anymore).

In the middle of this I had changed from Jessie (testing) to unstable and being "unstable" had some problems logging into Gnome-Shell afterwards. Evidently I had broken packages - hell it was a mess, let's not mince words!

Somehow Synaptic had selected "Debian" as the default repo during this, and as I cleaned up my sources list, didn't notice this - there is no sources list called Debian.
So, next time launching Synaptic it complained about 'Debian' being invalid and hence the error message in this article title!

So, like any reasonable Linux user faced with problems, I Googled for a solution. Well, none of the solutions worked for me - probably because they weren't Debian and/or Synaptic specific.
To cut to the chase here is where Synaptic stores the default release setting: '/root/.synaptic/synaptic.conf'. Hope this helps someone else!

Guess the moral of this story is not to rely on a package manager and use 'apt-get' and/or 'aptitude' from the command line - which I usually do. What can I say, me likes to try new things once in awhile. lol

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Mar 23, 2014

Hello Virgin, Bye Bye Mobilicity

Image representing Virgin Mobile USA as depict...
Image via CrunchBase
Well, finally moved my mobile phone account from Mobilicity to Virgin Mobile Canada.
For approximately $10 more than what I was paying at Mobi, I get LTE with 1Gbyte of data.

Sure Mobilicity was "unlimited", but what good is unlimited data when it doesn't work when needed, or if it does, works at a snails pace?
I'm speaking as one that wasn't a bandwidth hog - I never even came close to 500 Mbytes of data at my heaviest usage - most of the time my Nexus 5 was on WiFi.
Besides, we all know that Mobilicity is in receivership, under court protection and it's days are numbered.
So, we'll see how things go with VirginMobile Canada - I'll keep this uptodate in this regard.
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Jan 13, 2014

NSAs ANT Division

National Security Agency
National Security Agency (Photo credit: Scott Beale)
Der Spiegel has done some excellent work on this story, detailing a 50 page catalogue of exploits that the NSA is known to do and in some cases even showing the cost in monies for each. Quite the interesting stuff to read.
"After years of speculation that electronics can be accessed by intelligence agencies through a back door, an internal NSA catalog reveals that such methods already exist for numerous end-user devices.
When it comes to modern firewalls for corporate computer networks, the world’s second largest network equipment manufacturer doesn’t skimp on praising its own work. According to Juniper Networks’ online PR copy, the company’s products are “ideal” for protecting large companies and computing centers from unwanted access from outside. They claim the performance of the company’s special computers is “unmatched” and their firewalls are the “best-in-class.” Despite these assurances, though, there is one attacker none of these products can fend off — the United States’ National Security Agency". Read more ...
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