Eye on Security: Vista 7 is ‘Secure’, They Promised

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Vista 7 — just like Vista and its processors — is still Swiss cheese based on the latest news

Breaking That Other OS

Yet another means of exploiting that other OS has been demonstrated by Sophos. An ordinary user can gain complete control of the system whether it is XP, Vista, “7″ etc. simply by running some code that tweaks a key in the registry. A workaround is to create a new key to block users from changing keys in the registry… Duh… How’s that for backwards compatibility?

This is another demonstration that M$ has created a monster running on nearly every PC on the planet that invites compromise. Now, hundreds of millions of users will have to do some dance with updates or tweak the registry themselves to do something that M$ neglected to do many years ago.

‘Nightmare’ kernel bug lets attackers evade Windows UAC security

Microsoft is investigating reports of an unpatched vulnerability in the Windows kernel that could be used by attackers to sidestep an important operating system security measure.

One security firm dubbed the bug a potential “nightmare,” but Microsoft downplayed the threat by reminding users that hackers would need a second exploit to launch remote attacks.

Newly discovered Windows kernel flaw bypasses UAC

Last week an exploit for a Windows kernel flaw was published by an unknown source. Presumably as a joke, details of the flaw, along with proof-of-concept code, were published on Code Project. Code Project is a programmer peer support community, containing many tutorials and useful snippets of code to assist developers. Malware developers are not the usual target audience for posts made to the site, and so perhaps unsurprisingly, the article has been removed (though is mirrored here).

The flaw is a privilege escalation vulnerability. Anyone who can run code on a Windows system can elevate her privileges to the highest level, and accordingly install back doors, compromise sensitive data, and so on. The flaw lies in a critical Windows driver called win32k.sys. The driver inappropriately handles certain data stored in the registry—data that is stored on a per-user basis, and hence accessible to any unprivileged program. The proof-of-concept code uses this flaw to elevate the privileges of the user running the demo code; it could just as well be used to install a back door or other malware.

Links 30/11/2010: Zeitgeist in KDE, New Gnome Shell Coverage, RHEL 6.0 Benchmarks

Posted in News Roundup at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A history of viruses on Linux

    We recently gave you a brief history of viruses on the Mac and as requested by a user we wanted to give you a history of viruses on Linux. Given the tight security integrated into Linux, it is difficult to take advantage of a vulnerability on the computer, but some programmers have found ways around the security measures. There are several free options for anti-virus on Linux that you really should use, even if it isn’t always running – a weekly or monthly scan doesn’t hurt. Free anti-virus solutions include: ClamAV, AVG, Avast and F-Prot.

  • Desktop

    • The good and bad news about Dell and Ubuntu

      In short, from a Windows user’s viewpoint, Ubuntu Light is a feature. I find it really annoying that Dell isn’t just not advertising Ubuntu Light; they’re not even telling their internal staff about it. My friend knew on seeing the Ubuntu Light setup windows appear knew what Ubuntu was and she had some idea what it would be good for. Most users would find it puzzling at best.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Zeitgeist coming to KDE

        The KDE desktop has taken the lead to bring the semantic desktop to users with their KDE 4.0 release. Although it had a rough start back then, IMHO Nepomuk always stood out as a major and remarkable service/technology.

      • GNOME’s Zeitgeist Is Coming To The KDE Desktop
      • Zeitgeist coming to KDE

        The KDE desktop has taken the lead to bring the semantic desktop to users with their KDE 4.0 release. Although it had a rough start back then, IMHO Nepomuk always stood out as a major and remarkable service/technology.

      • How a “Welded-to KDE 3.5 User” Began a Move to KDE 4.4 – Part 2

        In this second part of a two part guest editorial and tutorial Dr. Tony Young (an Australian Mycologist by trade) shares his trials, tribulations, successes and disappointments in working with the new version of KDE. In this installment he configures media players, K3b, Crossover Office, Lucid and Post Script and his final thoughts on his adventures.

      • Last Week in Amarok

        Similar artists applet now shows artist tags from Last.fm, and the full artist biography is shown when the artist image is clicked. It’s very nice to be able to listen to a stream from Last.fm, go to the Artist’s page in Last.fm, or even check out similar artists to any that sound interesting! A great way to Explore Your Music.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 Benchmarks

        There’s been a number of individuals and organizations asking us about benchmarks of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0, which was released earlier this month and we had benchmarked beta versions of RHEL6 in past months. For those interested in benchmarks of Red Hat’s flagship Linux operating system, here are some of our initial benchmarks comparing the official release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5, openSUSE, Ubuntu, and Debian.

      • Red Hat to Present Technology Announcement via Webcast on November 30

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that members of the Red Hat executive team will host a press conference that will be broadcast live via webcast on Tuesday, November 30 at 11am ET.

      • Red Hat Closing in to Resistance

        New York, November 29th (TradersHuddle.com) – Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated resistance at $43.68 with the current price action closing at just $43.32 placing the stock near levels that make it difficult to buy.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora board election results

          I’m happy to announce the results of our recent round of elections for at-large seats on the Fedora Board, FESCo, and FAmSCo.

    • Debian Family

      • How to find the right Debian packages: high-level search interface

        The Debian archive is known to be one of the largest software collections available in the free software world. With more than 16,000 source packages and 30,000 binary packages, users sometimes have trouble finding packages that are relevant to them.

      • An Invitation to Debian Novice Night – December 1, 2010

        It may be short notice, but if you are new to Linux, interested in Debian and live or work in the New York metro-area, check out Novice Night. It’s coming up this Wednesday. Info below is from Debian-NYC.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04: Network Manager Finally Gets AppIndicator Support

          Even though there was already work for getting ConnMan in Ubuntu (since 10.10), an update today in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal brings appindicator support for the Network Manager applet (you can see the changelog here). This is very important since Ubuntu will ditch the notification area soon, therefore the connection manager has to use an indicator applet.

        • Unity – What is it good for? An in-depth review.

          Unity could work, if it meets several important requirements: beauty and functionality.

        • Unity in Natty Evaluation 1

          Today I am finally finding Natty to be usably stable. So long as I stay away from Open Office, it seems to be running quite fine. So, I updated my maverick spider diagram in an attempt to capture where I think Unity is in the journey to being the Ubuntu desktop.

          In this first natty diagram, yellow is the target, blue is maverick, and that orangy color is my subjective assessment of Unity as it is today. You can review the criteria that I chose from assessment in a previous post.

        • Natty: Off To a Great Start!

          A little while back I blogged about the work planned for Natty in the community team. I just wanted to provide a quick status update to summarize progress so far in the cycle.

        • Testing Natty and Unity Safely With a USB Stick

          There is quite the buzz in the community about the new Compiz-driven Unity, and I know many of you are keen to play with it. Of course, do remember that it is incredibly early in the cycle and more things are likely to be broken than fixed as the transition is made. Some of you will be bummed out with the announcement that there will be no Maverick PPA for Unity, but fortunately, it is really easy to try Natty and Unity in a way that won’t involve sacrificing your current stable installation, or even touching your hard drive. You simply install and boot from a USB stick, and I wanted to share how to get this running.

        • LXC: Ubuntu Working to Improve Containers

          I’m not familiar enough with Ubuntu Development to know just how far this might go but at the very least it appears that some Ubuntu developers have identified as a goal to make LXC usable for production stuff and to put it on par with KVM.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu 10.10 Review

            A few years back, Ubuntu was my first taste of Linux. As I spent more time using it, I found there were other “flavors” available (namely Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc) Sharing many things with its big GNOME brother, it felt natural for me to get my first cup of KDE through Kubuntu.

            Unfortunately, back then KDE was going through some major changes (KDE 4.0), which added to the questionable stability of Kubuntu itself made the whole experience frustrating and disappointing. Initially, I thought it could be down to my lack of understanding of KDE, or perhaps that I didn’t install Kubuntu correctly. After reading many forum posts, though, I quickly realized that most people agreed that Kubuntu was not a good implementation of the KDE desktop. The average reply was recommending other alternatives, such as OpenSUSE, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, etc.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • No silver lining in Chrome OS delays

        Schmidt reiterated at the Web 2.0 conference in November that Android is optimized for devices where touch-screen input rules, while Chrome OS is meant more for devices with traditional keyboards. The last time Google provided a significant update about Chrome OS, Sundar Pichai, the leader of the Chrome OS project, said Google was drawing up specific Netbook hardware requirements for partners that were likely to involve larger screens and keyboards than the industry standard Netbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • What’s wrong with proprietary IM (ICQ, AIM, YIM, MSN/WLM)

    To conclude, I’d suggest either joining a trusted XMPP server or better yet run your own server. Personally I’m very happy with Gabbler since they promise not to log any data about you and would recommend them (sadly they don’t accept new accounts at the moment). There are quite a few XMPP servers though that provide a smilarly sane privacy policy out there.

  • Migrations From MATLAB to GNU Octave

    If you are interested in converting fellow staff and their students to Octave, remember that it suits an educational environment much better as it encourages sharing and collaborating, not asking for permissions, paying heavy fees/fines, and begging developers to fix bugs rather than have access to the source code, which in turn enables participation. Additionally, most of the basic functions are truly compatible with MATLAB’s and the lack of JIT optimisation, for example, should not matter much in an educational setting. Not many people create MATLAB GUIs either, so there is hardly a need for such advanced functionality. At a later date I hope to make some screencasts about Octave.

  • Open source software more suitable for Oxford

    Open source software is more attractive and better suited to traditional education needs, the IT head of Oxford University has said.

  • Five reasons to be grumpy about 2010

    Last week, at least for those of us in the United States, was time to give thanks. And while I have plenty to give thanks about personally, I can’t say the same thing when it comes to FOSS developments. Looking back on 2010, it’s been kind of a crappy year.

  • An Environment to Test Linux and OpenOffice? What about an Academic Dissertation?

    The members of the tribunal were very satisfied…I ended my degree in Education successfully thanks to Open Source. THANK YOU, LINUX; THANK YOU, OPEN OFFICE!

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 7 (build OOO330m17) available

      OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 7 is now available on the download website. Unfortunately, not all Windows builds are complete yet as the remaining still needs to be signed. Please be patient.

    • Time to Move On

      I joined Sun over 20 years ago; since then I’ve worked on many projects, enjoyed Sun’s culture and had a blast during the GlassFish years. The interregnum between the IBM rumor, the Oracle announcement and the Change in Control was way too long, but by February we started integrating the team and the products into Oracle.

    • Moving Java forward through the JCP?

      Mark Reinhold recently pointed out that he, Joe Darcy and Brian Goetz had submitted their OpenJDK work on features for JDK7 and JDK8 to the JCP for standardization. Normally I am somewhat sceptical about the JCP. I don’t believe the JCP fosters a truly open process and discourages Free Software implementations. But Mark, Joe and Brian seem to be proving me wrong. Of course that shouldn’t have surprised me, since they have shown themselves to do everything in the open and actively involve the community in all their OpenJDK work. All their code has been published under the GPL for everyone’s free use.

    • Oracle erects mystery Sparc SuperCluster

      It looks like Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison is getting ready to whip out his hardware again and measure it up against wares from IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

      While the United States was getting ready to stuff tens of millions of turkeys last week, Oracle put out a teaser saying that on December 2 it would announce the details of a “New Sparc Solaris Sunrise SuperCluster,” which will sport “world record database performance.”

  • CMS

    • WordPress welcomes Microsoft refugees!

      Of course WordPress gets new users out of this agreement and the blogging service which I think is the definitive choice for blogging on the net will expand with the mass migration of the refugees from Microsoft.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Manufacturing Contempt through the Commoditization of Practically Everything
    • Summary theses on the emergence of the peer to peer civilization and a new political economy

      1. Our current world system is marked by a profoundly counterproductive logic of social organization:

      a) it is based on a false concept of abundance in the limited material world; it has created a system based on infinite growth, within the confines of finite resources

      b) it is based on a false concept of scarcity in the infinite immaterial world; instead of allowing continuous experimental social innovation, it purposely erects legal and technical barriers to disallow free cooperation through copyright, patents, etc…

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Almost 60% of Wellcome-funded papers in PMC are fully open access

        The Wellcome Trust’s Open Access policy has always made it clear that it considers dissemination costs as legitimate research costs and as such provides grantholders with additional funding, through their institutions, to cover open access charges.

        In view of this I thought it would be interesting to see how many papers, attributed to the Wellcome Trust and available through PMC and UKPMC, were “fully” open access papers, in accordance with the Bethesda Principles.

  • Programming

    • Migrating to Distributed Version Control

      A few weeks ago I migrated two major projects to distributed version control systems (DVCS), leaving only one project in Subversion, the one hosted on Savannah. As you can read in my prior posts, I have resisted switching over to DVCS. However, recently I’ve understood the benefits propounded by DVCS adherents, and I’ve found that it has more features than most tutorials let on.


  • Complaining about information overload in the time of Ecclesiastes
  • Xinhua, NBC forge business partnership in TV news service

    Xinhua News Agency and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) here Tuesday to establish a multi-level business partnership in the area of international TV news service.

  • 490 – Map of the World’s Countries Rearranged by Population

    What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

  • Picasso’s Electrician Claims to Own Hundreds of Works
  • Science

    • Spanish woman claims ownership of the Sun

      After billions of years the Sun finally has an owner — a woman from Spain’s soggy region of Galicia said Friday she had registered the star at a local notary public as being her property.

    • The mismeasurement of science

      Albert Einstein’s greatest scientific “blunder” (his word) came as a sequel to his greatest scientific achievement. That achievement was his theory of gravity, the general theory of relativity, which he introduced in 1915. Two years later, in 1917, Einstein ran into a problem while trying to apply general relativity to the Universe as a whole. At the time, Einstein believed that on large scales the Universe is static and unchanging. But he realized that general relativity predicts that such a Universe can’t exist: it would spontaneously collapse in on itself. To solve this problem, Einstein modified the equations of general relativity, adding an extra term involving what is called the “cosmological constant”, which, roughly speaking, is a type of pressure which keeps a static Universe from collapsing.

    • CERN … fascinating insight into scientific collaboration

      The end of a busy week. I promised to write about CERN, so here we go (there is a full set of photos of the visit here). CERN is a unique organisation, a truly global corporation where people from all over the world work together on nuclear research. Often they are working together virtually, but often also “on-campus” so to say near the French border outside Geneva. Having seen it now I fully understand why people strive to go there, if only for a few weeks of summer school. It is obviously a defining experience.

    • RNA, obey

      Scientists are one step closer to learning how to program cells the way other people program computers.

      Researchers led by Christina Smolke, a biochemical engineer at Stanford University, report the accomplishment in the Nov. 26 Science.

      Smolke and her colleagues created RNA devices that could rewire cells to sense certain conditions and respond by making particular proteins. Such technology might be harnessed for creating cell-based therapies and cancer-fighting treatments. Someday, scientists might also be able to flip an RNA switch to make plants more tolerant to drought or coax yeast to produce industrial chemicals.

    • science@creativecommons T-shirts now available in the CC store!

      November has been an exciting month for science at Creative Commons. Earlier this month we hosted a Creative Commons Salon in San Francisco on the promises and pitfalls of personalized medicine, which you can now watch online. We met a matching giving challenge by Hindawi, the open access scholarly journal publisher (disciplines from neuroscience to pharmacology), who doubled $3000 in donations to our annual fundraising campaign. We also saw BioMed Central, the world’s largest OA publisher, provide in-kind support for our fundraising campaign.

    • NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2

      NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

    • Ray Kurzweil’s Slippery Futurism

      His stunning prophecies have earned him a reputation as a tech visionary, but many of them don’t look so good on close inspection

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • WikiLeaks: the revolution has begun – and it will be digitised

      Diplomacy has always involved dinners with ruling elites, backroom deals and clandestine meetings. Now, in the digital age, the reports of all those parties and patrician chats can be collected in one enormous database. And once collected in digital form, it becomes very easy for them to be shared.

      Indeed, that is why the Siprnet database – from which these US embassy cables are drawn – was created in the first place. The 9/11 commission had made the remarkable discovery that it wasn’t sharing information that had put the nation’s security at risk; it was not sharing information that was the problem. The lack of co-operation between government agencies, and the hoarding of information by bureaucrats, led to numerous “lost opportunities” to stop the 9/11 attacks. As a result, the commission ordered a restructuring of government and intelligence services to better mimic the web itself. Collaboration and information-sharing was the new ethos. But while millions of government officials and contractors had access to Siprnet, the public did not.

    • Trial to begin December 7th in TSA checkpoint case

      We’re reported before on the arrest of Phillip Mocek just over a year ago at a TSA checkpoint at the airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and his prosecution by local authorities on trumped-up criminal charges.

      Now, after several postponements, Phil Mocek’s trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Tuesday morning, December 7th, 2010, in Albuquerque. The trial is expected to last 2-3 days. There’s more information here.

      (The trial has been postponed several times, and might be postponed again, but this date appears to be for real, and Mr. Mocek is making firm travel plans — by land, not by air — to be in Albuquerque.)

    • Robert Redford, the Newsmedia and the WikiLeaks’ Cablegate

      WikiLeaks was gifted with a heap of really important information. In order to ensure dissemination, they passed them around to five major news outlets located in 5 different countries. Each were aware the others had the story, so they ALL had no CHOICE but to publish, with or without corporate or government approval.

      In this way, WikiLeaks guaranteed that the story broke and spread.

      UK: The Guardian US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis

      SPAIN: El Pais The greater infiltration of history reveals the secrets of American foreign policy (Google translation to English)

      USA: New York Times: Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels

      FRANCE: LeMonde WikiLeaks: Behind the Scenes of American diplomacy (Google translation to English)

      der Spiegel: Greatest Data Leak in US Military History

    • US embassy cables: The job of the media is not to protect the powerful from embarrassment

      Is it justified? Should a newspaper disclose virtually all a nation’s secret diplomatic communication, illegally downloaded by one of its citizens? The reporting in the Guardian of the first of a selection of 250,000 US state department cables marks a recasting of modern diplomacy. Clearly, there is no longer such a thing as a safe electronic archive, whatever computing’s snake-oil salesmen claim. No organisation can treat digitised communication as confidential. An electronic secret is a contradiction in terms.

    • China directs local media outlets to stop reporting WikiLeaks content China stops WikiLeaks reporting

      While the world’s media are afire with yesterday’s WikiLeaks data release of secret US diplomatic cables, the local media in China are strangely quiet.

      The reason, according to a Twitter update by Al Jazeera English’s correspondent in China, Melissa Chan a short while ago, is that China’s Propaganda Department have directed all domestic media outlets to stop reporting the WikiLeaks content.

    • Can Wikileaks be stopped?

      The entire world seems to be looking at Wikileaks after the release of some of the almost 250,000 diplomatic wires from U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. Endless lines will be written about this, my own view is close to what Simon Jenkins writes in his commentary piece in The Guardian, the media has the right to embarrass the powerful.

    • Why I Will Not Analyze The New WikiLeaks Data

      The latest leak typifies the identity and culture of WikiLeaks and by continuing to analyze new disclosures I am tacitly supporting this, which is something I will not do. WikiLeaks’ motivation is that of a court jester, to mock and ridicule the contradictions of a state. However, they present themselves as a sage with the wisdom to adjudicate the public relevance of all information, which is the greatest contradiction of all.

      To be clear, this is an entirely personal decision, and is not meant to discourage others from endeavoring to glean insight from this new data. The substantive value of the day-to-day machinations of diplomats, however, is dubious at best—even at aggregate.

      Openness of information can lead to great things, not the least of which is the democratization of knowledge in ways never before possible. Shoving private messages into the public sphere without any context or care for the consequences can lead to misunderstanding, fear, and aggression. Unfortunately, WikiLeaks appears to be in the business of promoting the latter.

    • Oregon mosque attended by bomb plot suspect target of apparent arson

      The FBI announced a $10,000 reward Sunday for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for an apparent attack on an Oregon Islamic center that was attended by the man authorities say was behind a foiled bomb plot at a recent Portland Christmas tree lighting.

      A fire appears to have started sometime early Sunday morning at the Salman AlFarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Oregon, authorities said. The building suffered some fire and smoke damage.

      Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was seized in connection with the plan to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van at a Portland tree-lighting ceremony Friday night, occasionally attended the center, the mosque’s imam told CNN.

      The blaze – discovered by a police officer who was driving by – was likely set intentionally, said Carla Pusateri, a fire prevention officer with the Corvallis Fire Department.

    • Congressman wants WikiLeaks listed as terrorist group

      The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says WikiLeaks should be officially designated as a terrorist organization.

      Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the panel’s presumptive next head, asked the Obama administration today to “determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization,” putting the group in the same company as al-Qaeda and Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult that released deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway.

    • Wikileaks removed from ACMA blacklist

      No parts of whistleblower website Wikileaks are now on the Australian blacklist of banned websites, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

      In March 2009 the ACMA revealed that a number of pages on Wikileaks were put on the blacklist of banned websites because the pages linked to websites on Denmark’s blacklist.

    • Cablegate: Journalists in defence of WikiLeaks [Update 1]

      John Kampfner, The Independent / Index on Censorship: Wikileaks shows up our media for their docility at the feet of authority

      “All governments have a legitimate right to protect national security. This should be a specific, and closely scrutinised, area of policy. Most of our secrecy rules are designed merely to protect politicians and officials from embarrassment. Documents are habitually over-classified for this purpose. The previous government made desperate attempts to stop legal evidence of its collusion in torture from reaching the public. Ministers argued, speciously, that this was to protect the “special intelligence relationship” with Washington. It will be intriguing to see how much information is allowed to be published when Sir Peter Gibson begins his official inquiry. Precedent suggests little grounds for optimism.

    • Wikileaks: the Web Watches and Waits

      It’s also not hard to see US hardliners calling for Wikileaks to be “taken off the Web” by blocking its address (the COICA approach). Of course, that wouldn’t stop people accessing Wikileaks – there are plenty of ways of getting around this. That might then prompt the US to attempt to wipe the address off the official Internet completely, with the support of other governments around the world that are already increasingly unhappy with the threat that Wikileaks poses to their control.

      That collusion is likely to be forthcoming. Indeed, Australia has already put Wikileaks on its own censorship blacklist once – ironically for daring to reveal details of Denmarks’ censorship blacklist. Apparently, though, it is currently off Australia’s (but it will be interesting to see for how long once the revelations from the cables start flowing…)

    • The Guardian gave State Dept. cables to the NY Times

      New York Times editors said Sunday that although the paper’s reporters had been digging through WikiLeaks trove of 250,000 State Department cables for “several weeks,” the online whistleblower wasn’t the source of the documents.

      But if WikiLeaks—which allegedly obtained the cables from a 22-year-old army private—wasn’t the Times source, than who was? Apparently, The Guardian—one of the five newspapers that had an advanced look at the cables—supplied a copy of the cables to The Times.

    • TSA Scanner Proof Underwear Protects Your Privates from Government X-Rays

      A special, lead-free powdered metal is decoratively affixed to men’s boxers or briefs. When TSA screeners try to check your most personal space, the X-ray will reveal a less embarrassing natural shape, a fig leaf. You can pick these up in a “USA Patriot 3 Pack,” one red, one white, one blue for $50. A one pack goes for $18. (Click through the sideshow to see X-ray views.)

    • WikiLeaks degenerates into gossip

      More broadly, though, this release seems to me to mark another step down for the WikiLeaks concept. WikiLeaks’s release of the “Collateral Murder” video last April was a pretty scrupulous affair: an objective record of combat activity which American armed forces had refused to release, with careful backing research on what the video showed. What we got was a window into combat reality, through the sights of a helicopter gunship. You could develop different interpretations of that video depending on your understanding of its context, but it was something important that had actually taken place.

    • China Trying to Plug Wikileak?

      Can the world’s most elaborate censorship system put the clamps on the Internet’s most prolific source of confidential information?

      A day after WikiLeaks began to release a quarter-million diplomatic cables sent from U.S. embassies, propaganda authorities in Beijing appear to be trying to control how much of the content of those cables leaks through to the Chinese public.

    • Wikileaks: US sought DNA, passwords of world leaders

      The big story circulating around the globe is that Arab nations have been urging the US to bear down on Iran.

      “King Hamad pointed to Iran as the source of much of the trouble in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” one November 2009 cable discloses.

      According to the memo, Bahrain’s Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was speaking to General David Petraeus. “He argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their nuclear program, by whatever means necessary. ‘That program must be stopped,’ he said. ‘The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.’”

      But the cables are also chock full of intelligence-gathering bombshells.

    • WikiLeaks cables: ‘Rude’ Prince Andrew shocks US ambassador

      Prince Andrew launched a scathing attack on British anticorruption investigators, journalists and the French during an “astonishingly candid” performance at an official engagement that shocked a US diplomat.

      Tatiana Gfoeller, Washington’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, recorded in a secret cable that Andrew spoke “cockily” at the brunch with British and Canadian business people, leading a discussion that “verged on the rude”.

    • TSA Terrorize A Disabled 4 Year Old Boy By Removing His Leg Braces, Then Forcing Him To Walk
    • Israeli Government Documents Show Deliberate Policy To Keep Gazans At Near-starvation Levels

      This documents the statement made by a number of Israeli officials that they are “putting the people of Gaza on a diet”.

    • Who is killing Iran’s nuclear scientists?

      Assassins on motorbikes have killed an Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in identical attacks this morning. They drove up to the scientists’ cars as they were leaving for work and attached a bomb to each vehicle which detonated seconds later.

      The man who was killed was Majid Shahriari, a member of the engineering faculty at the Shahid Beheshti in Tehran. His wife was wounded. The second attack wounded Fereidoun Abbasi, who is also a professor at Shahid Besheshti University, and his wife.

    • GOP nutbars out over WikiLeaks … and Dems?

      The only life I see in imminent danger is Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the country’s former president, will probably have Berlusconi whacked in an omerta-style hit now that it’s been revealed we see Silvio as Vlad the Impaler’s sock puppet.

      I can’t wait for the full 250,000 pages to be sorted through and commented on; I “can’t wait” with baited scare quote breath for GOP wingnuts and ball-less Democrats to try to outdo each other in either real or fake hysteria.

      And, given its recent missive, I can’t wait, and “can’t wait,” for The Nation to bury its head further up Obama’s ass by saying the Koch brothers are funding Julian Assange.

    • WikiLeaks re-taunts feds with US Amazon mirrors

      WikiLeaks is hosting its cache of confidential US Statement Department cables on US-based Amazon servers, just as it did with with the classified Iraq War documents it released last month.

    • WikiLeaks US embassy cables: as it happened


      Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public … Everywhere there’s a US post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed … It’s beautiful, and horrifying.

      So wrote Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old former intelligence analyst, suspected of being behind the leak of more than 250,000 dispatches from US embassies around the world.

    • Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal “Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership”
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP sued in Ecuador for violating the “rights of Nature”

      Ecuador’s recent constitutional recognition of the “rights of Nature” is getting its first major workout in a groundbreaking lawsuit against BP: “This morning we filed in the constitutional court of Ecuador this lawsuit defending the rights of nature in particular the right of the Gulf of Mexico and the sea which has been violated by the BP oil spill. We see this as a test case of the rights of nature enshrined in the constitution of Ecuador–it’s about universal jurisdiction beyond the boundaries of Ecuador because nature has rights everywhere.”

  • Finance

    • Mind the gap: bumper bonuses are back, yet millions struggle on welfare in US

      Growing inequality at the heart of the US economy is being laid bare this holiday season.

      Conspicuous consumption is back on Wall Street, in anticipation of bonuses close to pre-recession levels. Some American companies have just posted the largest quarterly profits ever. Meanwhile, one in five families is relying on food stamps to get by and unemployment remains stuck at around 10%.

    • Some Very Creative Economic Fix-Its

      It’s a cheerless truth about the post-Thanksgiving start of the Christmas season, traditionally the bell lap in America’s year-long steeplechase of buying. There has been a rebound in consumption since the grimmest days of the Great Recession, but that has not been joined by an uptick in hiring or a robust expansion.

    • How Congress’ tax-cut decision may affect economy

      On this, economists agree: Extending tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush for low- and middle-income people would strengthen the weak economy.
      The question is what to do about the highest-paid 3 percent of taxpayers. Should Congress let their tax cuts expire at year’s end as scheduled? Extend them for only a while? Or make them permanent?

    • Next Financial Crisis May Start in Washington, Says Bair

      You can add one more item to the list of problems keeping Sheila C. Bair up at night. The nation’s capitol, she fears, will be ground zero of the next financial crisis.

    • Attention: Deficit

      Do you consider yourself a deficit alarmist?
      No, I’m a deficit realist.

    • Trustee for Madoff victims files 40 lawsuits in NY

      Relatives of both Bernard Madoff and his wife are among those being targeted in 40 lawsuits announced Friday by the trustee endeavoring to recover money for victims fleeced by the disgraced financier.

      Twenty-two of the lawsuits were filed against relatives of Madoff and his wife, trustee Irving H. Picard said in a news release. Eighteen lawsuits were filed against former employees of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, he said.

    • Big New York insider trading probe spawns another

      An insider trading case last year that federal authorities said was the biggest ever is providing a recipe for another case that may be even bigger.

      The current case is largely an extension of work that led to the arrest of Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam in October 2009. The Galleon investigation marked the first time that federal authorities used wiretaps in an insider trading probe.

    • Don’t Just Tell Us. Show Us That You Can Foreclose.

      Some in the industry believe that questions about this issue — known as “legal standing” — are trivial. They say it’s just a gambit by borrowers’ lawyers to throw sand in the foreclosure machine. Nine times out of 10, bankers say, the right institutions are foreclosing on the right borrowers.

    • The Give and Take of Liar Loans

      This same company is now insisting that other lenders that made stated-income loans — loans that Countrywide eagerly bought to fatten its balance sheet — must repurchase them on the grounds that, golly, the loans turned out to be fraudulent. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    • The Irish Non-bailout

      So, a credit line at 5.8 percent interest. Considering that Ireland was able to borrow at that rate as recently as mid-September, and was falling off a cliff then, why is this supposed to solve the problem?

    • Imperious Institutions, Impotent Individuals

      Whatever happens to the economy, the threads that weave individuals and institutions together will continue to fray until leaders of all sorts rethink their fundamental assumptions about the relationship between human beings and organizations.

    • The bill for PFI contracts is an outrage. Let us refuse to pay this odious debt

      You’ve been told that nothing is sacred; that no state spending is safe from being cut or eroded through inflation. You’ve been misled. As the new public spending data released by the government shows, a £267bn bill has been both ringfenced and index-linked. This sum, spread over the next 50 years or so, guarantees the welfare not of state pensioners or children or the unemployed, but of a different class of customer. To make way, everything else must be cut, further and faster than it would otherwise have been.

    • Exclusive: WikiLeaks Will Unveil Major Bank Scandal

      First WikiLeaks spilled the guts of government. Next up: The private sector, starting with one major American bank.

      In an exclusive interview earlier this month, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes that his whistleblower site will release tens of thousands of documents from a major U.S. financial firm in early 2011. Assange wouldn’t say exactly what date, what bank, or what documents, but he compared the coming release to the emails that emerged in the Enron trial, a comprehensive look at a corporation’s bad behavior.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Anti-Allah outburst earns EDL supporter £200 fine after protest in Leicester

      A man has been fined for making offensive comments about Allah during the English Defence League protest in Leicester.

      Lee Whitby was found guilty of using racially aggravated abusive words during the protest in the city centre on Saturday, October 9.

    • Home Office concedes to meeting

      The Home Office, after several weeks of requests from ORG and others, has agreed to a meeting of civil society representatives next week concerning their review of enforcement of RIPA’s interception laws.

    • Peter Sunde Wants To Create Alternative To ICANN

      “According to Peter Sunde’s Twitter feed, he has been suspicious of ICANN for a long time. The non-profit corporation is tasked with managing both the IPv4 and IPv6 address spaces as well as handling the management of top-level domain name space including the operation of root nameservers.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • In praise of dead trees

      The important aspects of e-reader devices come from the restrictions which digital text place on the reader. Because of the digital restrictions management put on e-book files, you cannot share books with your friends. You cannot borrow them from the library. You cannot make a copy in a different format. That is exactly what the publishers and proprietors of e-readers want. Content providers want each consumer to be in a silo. Every good and work they want to consume would be purchased directly, and sharing would not be possible, since every purchased would be bound to the original consumer.

    • Netflix Partner Says Comcast ‘Toll’ Threatens Online Video Delivery

      Level 3 Communications, a central partner in the Netflix online movie service, accused Comcast on Monday of charging a new fee that puts Internet video companies at a competitive disadvantage.

      Level 3, which helps to deliver Netflix’s streaming movies, said Comcast had effectively erected a tollbooth that “threatens the open Internet,” and indicated that it would seek government intervention. Comcast quickly denied that the clash had anything to do with network neutrality, instead calling it “a simple commercial dispute.”

    • Level 3 Alleges Comcast Demanded Fees To Deliver Internet Content

      Network services provider Level 3 Communications on Monday alleged Comcast forced it to pay recurring fees to transmit Internet video and other content to cable customers, but the MSO countered that Level 3 misrepresented negotiations between the two companies and was trying to get a “free ride” on its network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property Appears to Figure Prominently In Wikileaks Cablegate

      Intellectual property policy has long been closely linked to U.S. trade policy, so it should come as little surprise to find that it appears to figure prominently in the cables obtained by Wikileaks. Although only a couple hundreds have been posted thus far, the Guardian has supplied a full list of all 251,287 cables. The list includes tags for each cable, so that the subject matter can be decoded. The Guardian has also posted a glossary of the tags, but omits KIPR, which appears to be the intellectual property tag (I base this conclusion on the correlation between the KIPR tag and the WIPO tag, to a specific reference to copyright in one of the cables, and the fact that IPR is a common acronym for intellectual property rights).

    • Copyrights

      • Warp Speed at the Copyright Board – Towards an Interim AC Tariff?

        If you think that the Copyright Board has been moving quickly on the AC proposed $45/$35 1,300% increase tariff up to now, it has just pushed the warp speed button.

      • AC’s proposed $45/$35 Tariff – Board Ruling of Nov 25 2010 on Intervenors etc.
      • A Brief History of Copyright
      • YouTube Reinstates Ally ASL’s Account

        Allyson Townsend, better known to her fans as Ally ASL, made headlines earlier this month when YouTube shut down her account after Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group complained that her videos, which featured Ally translating pop songs by Kesha, Owl City and others into American Sign Language, were violating those songs’ copyrights.

      • Anti-Piracy Lawyers Sued For Fraud, Abuse and Extortion

        The US Copyright Group thought it had found the ideal scheme to turn piracy into profit when it started filing lawsuits against tens of thousands of BitTorrent users this year. But the defendants in the Far Cry lawsuits have now become the plaintiffs in a class action filed against the anti-piracy lawyers and their partners. Among other things, the lawyers are accused of fraud, extortion and abuse.

      • US Copyright Group Sued For Extortion, Conspiracy & Fraud

        Well, the whole mass automated “pay up or we’ll sue” legal business may be getting a bit more interesting as Evan Brown notes that one of the folks sued by US Copyright Group has struck back with a class action lawsuit alleging that the law firm behind USCG, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, is engaged in extortion, fraud and conspiracy. The lawsuit looks to include in the class the nearly 5,000 people sued by USCG for sharing the Uwe Boll film Far Cry. The lawsuit highlights — as we pointed out earlier this year — many of the alleged infringements happened prior to registration, meaning that there would be no statutory damages available.

      • The Pirate Bay Decision, or the Political Persecution of Sharing

        The decision to sentence the co-founders of The Pirate Bay to jail is both absurd and unfair. It illustrates how an obsolete copyright law and its indiscrimate application are harmful to society as a whole. Such an incomprehension of technological, economic and social realities should not mask the fact that this decision is above all political.

      • French Author Plagiarizes Wikipedia; Does That Mean His Entire Book Is Now CC Licensed?

        PrometheeFeu alerts us to a fascinating situation happening in France. Apparently, a successful French author, Michel Houellebecq, recently came out with a novel, La Carte et Le Territoire. However, it turns out that Houellebecq copied decent chunks of three separate Wikipedia articles in the novel, without any credit or indication that he was quoting another source. This is what is normally referred to as plagiarism — or, in some views, sampling. This isn’t all that surprising, and we hear stories of plagiarism in books all the time. In fact, we tend to think that people get way too upset over such things in books. After being called on it, Houellebecq appears to have admitted to copying those sections.

      • Supreme Court refuses innocent infringement P2P case

        The US Supreme Court today refused to hear the case of a file-swapper who claimed she was an “innocent infringer,” but one justice at least understands the absurdity of the current law.

        The case concerned Whitney Harper, who shared some music on the family computer when she was a teenager and was subsequently hit with a lawsuit from the RIAA. Harper claimed that she was an “innocent infringer” who went straight when she learned about copyright law, and that she had thought P2P use was basically like (legal) Internet radio.

      • EFF Asks Judges to Protect Identities in Porn-Downloading Lawsuits

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked judges in Texas and West Virginia to block requests to unmask accused file sharers in several predatory copyright troll lawsuits involving the alleged illegal downloading of pornography.

        The cases were filed by two different companies and involve different copyrighted adult material. However, the tactics are the same. In both cases, the owners of the adult movies filed mass lawsuits based on single counts of copyright infringement stemming from the downloading of a pornographic film, and improperly lump hundreds of defendants together regardless of where the IP addresses indicate the defendants live. Consistent with a recent spike in similar “copyright troll” lawsuits, the motivation behind these cases appears to be to leverage the risk of embarrassment associated with pornography to coerce settlement payments despite serious problems with the underlying claims.

      • After Police Raid, Mulve File-Sharing App Operator Cleared Of Wrong Doing

        After being in quiet development for some months, in September the Mulve music downloading app hit the mainstream. Very quickly everything went sour, with British police swooping on the guy who registered the Mulve domain and placing him under arrest on a range of charges from copyright infringement through to conspiracy to defraud. Today we can report the outcome. For once it’s good news.

      • US Government Responds To Domain Seizures, Ignores The Big Question

        The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have just confirmed the seizure of 82 domains as part of Operation in Our Sites 2. The authorities claim the actions were targeted at websites that were involved in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and copyrighted goods, but fail to explain why a BitTorrent meta-search engine was included.

Clip of the Day

KDE 4.5.8 Base – Brief Preview

Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: November 29th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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