The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Apple hit by China Foxconn factory report

BBC News, 29 March 2012 

Related Stories 

Foxconn plants have been heavily criticised 
by rights groups over working conditions
Continue reading the main story
An independent investigation has found "significant issues" among working practices at Chinese plants making Apple iPhones and iPads.

The US Fair Labor Association (FLA) launched a probe into working conditions at Foxconn after stories emerged of long hours and poor safety.

The FLA says it has now secured agreements to reduce hours, protect pay, and improve staff representation.

The findings emerged as Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Foxconn facilities.

Mr Cook toured Zhengzhou Technology Park, where 120,000 employees work, on Wednesday.

A string of suicides at Foxconn last year put the spotlight on working conditions at its factories. Last month, the company announced it was to send independent inspectors from the FLA to audit the facilities.

The FLA said Foxconn had agreed to comply with the association's standards on working hours by July 2013, bringing them in line with a legal limit of 49 hours per week.


Related Article:


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Google: Our friend Steve takes a memorable test ride in a self-driving car

Google+, Mar 28, 2012 

We announced our self-driving car project in 2010 (http://goo.gl/dI6qA) with a clear goal: make driving safer, more enjoyable and more efficient.

There’s much left to design and test, but we’ve now safely completed more than 200,000 miles of computer-led driving, gathering great experiences and an overwhelming number of enthusiastic supporters.

We wanted to share one of our favorite moments from some special research we conducted. Watch this video of Steve, who joined us for a drive on a carefully programmed route to experience being behind the wheel in a whole new way. We organized this test as a technical experiment outside of our core research efforts, but we think it’s also a promising look at what this kind of technology may one day deliver for society if rigorous technical and safety standards can be met.

A version of this video with audio captions is available here: http://goo.gl/k5K9Q


youtube.com – We announced our self-driving car project in 2010 to make driving safer, more enjoyable, and more efficient. Having safely completed over 200,000 miles...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

EU announces proposed cybercrime center

Deutsche Welle, 28 march 2012



The European Union has announced a proposal that would see the creation of a Cybercrime Center aimed at fighting online criminals and protecting consumers online.

In effort to combat online crime and protect consumers from becoming victims of cyber crime, the European Union proposed a new center that would fight against cyber-threats.

A statement from the European Commission on Wednesday said that the center would focus on illegal online activities carried out by organized crime groups, such as online credit card fraud. The cyber crime center would also help protect users of social network profiles by fighting online identity theft.

"Millions of Europeans use the Internet for home banking, online shopping and planning holidays, or to stay in touch with family and friends via online social networks.

But as the online part of our everyday lives grows, organised crime is following suit - and these crimes affect each and every one of us," said Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Home Affairs.

The center would be established within the European Police Office (Europol) in The Hague. The proposal would need to be adopted by Europol's budgetary authority before the cyber crime center can be established.

According to the European Commission, more than one million people become victims of cyber crime daily, with the costs of those crimes expected to rise to $388 billion (291 billion euros).


Related Article:


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Most of world interconnected through email, social media

Reuters, by Patricia Reaney,NEW YORK, Tue Mar 27, 2012

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg delivers a keynote
 address at Facebook's ''fMC'' global event for marketers in New York City,
February 29, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar)

(Reuters) - Most of the world is interconnected thanks to email and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a new poll released on Tuesday.

Eighty five percent of people around the globe who are connected online send and receive emails and 62 percent communicate through social networking sites, particularly in Indonesia, Argentina and Russia, which have the highest percentage of users.

More than eight in 10 Indonesians and about 75 percent of people in Argentina, Russia and South Africa visit social media sites, the new Ipsos/Reuters poll showed.

Although Facebook and other popular social networking sites, blogs and forums, were founded in the United States the percentage of users was lower at six in 10, and in Japan it fell to 35 percent, the lowest of the 24 countries in the global survey.

"Even though the number in the United States was 61 percent, the majority of Americans are using social media sites," said Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Global Public Affairs.

The fact that more than six in 10 people worldwide use social networks and forums, she added, suggests a transformation in how people communicate with each other.

"It is true interconnection and engagement with each other. It is not just about a message back and forth but building messages across communities and only the meaningful messages stick," she explained.

"It looks like a majority of the world is communicating this way," she said, adding the numbers were more than half in almost every country polled.

Ipsos questioned a total of 19,216 adults around the world in the online survey.

Email usage was highest in Hungary, where 94 percent of people communicated online. The numbers were similar in Sweden, Belgium, Indonesia, Argentina and Poland.

Saudi Arabia, where 46 percent of people said they communicate via email, had the lowest usage, followed by India at 68 percent and Japan at 75 percent. In all the other countries eight or nine out of 10 people were email users.

Although Americans and Japanese are thought to be very tech savvy, voice-over IP (VOIP), audio conversations conducted via an Internet connection, were not very popular in both countries with less than 10 percent of people using the relatively new technology, compared to 36 percent in Russia, 32 percent in Turkey and 25 percent in India.

Ipsos questioned people in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; editing by Paul Casciato)

Questions for News Corp over rival's collapse

Software company NDS allegedly cracked smart card codes of ONdigital, according to evidence to be broadcast on Panorama

guardian.co.uk, David Leigh, Monday 26 March 2012

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is facing questions over pay-TV
rival ONdigital's collapse. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire employed computer hacking to undermine the business of its chief TV rival in Britain, according to evidence due to be broadcast by BBC1's Panorama programme on Monday .

The allegations stem from apparently incriminating emails the programme-makers have obtained, and on-screen descriptions for the first time from two of the people said to be involved, a German hacker and the operator of a pirate website secretly controlled by a Murdoch company.

The witnesses allege a software company NDS, owned by News Corp, cracked the smart card codes of rival company ONdigital. ONdigital, owned by the ITV companies Granada and Carlton, eventually went under amid a welter of counterfeiting by pirates, leaving the immensely lucrative pay-TV field clear for Sky.

The allegations, if proved, cast further doubt on whether News Corp meets the "fit and proper" test required to run a broadcaster in Britain. It emerged earlier this month that broadcasting regulator Ofcom has set up a unit called Project Apple to establish whether BSkyB, 39.1% owned by News Corp, meets the test.

Panorama's emails appear to state that ONdigital's secret codes were first cracked by NDS, and then subsequently publicised by the pirate website, called The House of Ill Compute – THOIC for short. According to the programme, the codes were passed to NDS's head of UK security, Ray Adams, a former police officer. NDS made smart cards for Sky. NDS was jointly funded by Sky, which says it never ran NDS.

Lee Gibling, operator of THOIC, says that behind the scenes, he was being paid up to £60,000 a year by Adams, and NDS handed over thousands more to supply him with computer equipment.

He says Adams sent him the ONdigital codes so that other pirates could use them to manufacture thousands of counterfeit smart cards, giving viewers illicit free access to ONdigital, then Sky's chief business rival.

Gibling says he and another NDS employee later destroyed much of the computer evidence with a sledgehammer. After that NDS continued to send him money, he says, until the end of 2008, when he was given a severance payment of £15,000 with a confidentiality clause attached. An expert hacker, Oliver Koermmerling, who cracked the codes in the first place, says on the programme that he, like Gibling, had been recruited on NDS's behalf by Adams.

The potentially seismic nature of these pay-TV allegations was underlined over the weekend, when News Corp's lawyers, Allen & Overy, sought to derail the programme in advance by sending round denials and legal threats to other media organisations. They said any forthcoming BBC allegations that NDS "has been involved in illegal activities designed to cause the collapse of a business rival" would be false and libellous, and demanded they not be repeated.

On the programme, former Labour minister Tom Watson, who has been prominent in pursuit of Murdoch over the separate News of the World phone-hacking scandals, predicts that Ofcom could not conceivably regard the Murdochs as "fit and proper" to take full control of Sky, if the allegations were correct.

James Murdoch, who is deputy chief operating officer of News Corp and chairman of BSkyB, was a non-executive director of NDS when ONdigital was hacked. There is no evidence, the BBC says, that he knew about the events alleged by Panorama.

Gibling told the programme: "There was a meeting that took place in a hotel and Mr Adams, myself and other NDS representatives were there … and it became very clear there was a hack going on."

He claimed: "They delivered the actual software to be able to do this, with prior instructions that it should go to the widest possible community … software [intended] to be able to activate ONdigital cards. So giving a full channel line-up without payment."

Gibling says that when fellow pirates found out in 2002 that he was being secretly funded by NDS, THOIC was hastily closed down and he was told by Adams's security unit to make himself scarce.

"We sledgehammered all the hard drives." He says he was told to go into hiding abroad.

Kommerling says he was recruited by Adams in 1996. "He looked at me and said 'Could you imagine working for us?'"

Kommerling was told the NDS marketing department were "looking into the competitors' products" and he cracked the codes for the system used by ONdigital, which came from the French broadcaster Canal Plus.

Later he recognised the codes cracked by his own NDS team, when they got out on to the internet. They appeared on a Canadian pirate site with an identical timestamp: "The timestamp was like a fingerprint," he says.

NDS published its own response to the programme's allegations before transmission, saying: "It is simply not true that NDS used the THOIC website to sabotage the commercial interests of ONdigital/ITV digital or indeed any rival."

NDS admits Gibling was in its pay, but says it was using THOIC as a legitimate undercover device. "NDS paid Lee Gibling for his expertise so information from THOIC could be used to trap and catch hackers and pirates," NDS said.

The company does not dispute the allegations that it got its own hands on ONdigital's secret codes, which was not itself illegal, and that the material was passed on to Adams, its security chief. But NDS says there is an innocent explanation "as part of the fight against pay-TV piracy".

According to NDS: "All companies in the conditional access industry … come to possess codes that could enable hackers to access services for free." This is for the purpose of "research and analysis". They claim that it was part of Adams' job to "liaise with other pay-TV providers" and therefore "it was right and proper for Mr Adams to have knowledge of … codes that could be used by hackers".

The company added: "NDS has never authorised or condoned the posting of any code belonging to any competitor on any website." Adams has denied he ever had the codes.

In 2002 Canal Plus, which supplied ONdigital with its smart card system, sued NDS in a US Court, alleging that NDS had hacked its codes. But no evidence about a link to ONdigital emerged: the case was dropped following a business deal under which Murdoch agreed to purchase some of Canal Plus's assets.

The king and i: Swaziland plans social media lese-majesty law

Africa's last absolute monarchy to ban Facebook and Twitter users from insulting King Mswati III

guardian.co.uk, David Smith in Johannesburg, Monday 26 March 2012

King Mswati III is facing growing protests over his undemocratic regime.
Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Swaziland is planning a censorship law that will ban Facebook and Twitter users from criticising its autocratic ruler, King Mswati III.

Africa's last absolute monarch is facing growing protests over his undemocratic regime, which has pushed the tiny mountain kingdom to the brink of bankruptcy.

But Mswati's justice minister, Mgwagwa Gamedze, told the Swazi senate: "We will be tough on those who write bad things about the king on Twitter and Facebook. We want to set an example."

The government was finalising a law that will make it illegal to insult the king on social networks, Gamedze said.

The move follows comments last week by the Swazi senator Thuli Msane over how online activism was spiralling out of control and threatening the king's reputation. "It's like, the moment Swazi people cross the border to neighbouring countries they begin to go on a campaign to disrespect their own country and king," she said. "Surely there is something that must be done with them. There must be a law that can take them to task."

Although internet penetration is low among Swaziland's 1.2 million people, networks such as Facebook and Twitter have been used to organise public protests, including a student demonstration on Monday against cutbacks in higher education.

Pius Vilakati, spokesman for the Swaziland Solidarity Network, condemned the planned crackdown. "The government is desperate right now. They are trying anything to stop people talking to each other," he said. It would be difficult for them, because people will always talk and continue to talk."

Vilakati predicted chaos if the law was enforced: "I don't think Swazis will take it lying down."

He said even so-called independent newspapers in Swaziland were heavily censored by the government. "They say there is free speech in Swaziland. But if people are not allowed to criticise the leadership, there is no free speech."

Last month, the sacked editor of the Swazi Observer newspaper reportedly fled the country in fear for his life.

Educated at Sherborne school, in the UK, Mswati has 13 wives and hosts an annual reed dance at which he can choose a new bride from tens of thousands of bare-breasted virgins. Opposition parties are outlawed and political activists are routinely detained or assaulted.

The king's fortune is estimated at about $100m (£64m). There was anger last month when the royal family and military received extra money from the national budget. Swaziland, a former British protectorate, has the highest HIV rate in the world, and two-thirds of the population live in poverty.

Mswati has endured unprecedented protests because of a deepening financial crisis. Last year, thousands of students and activists took to the streets, prompting a forceful response from police. More protests are planned in coming weeks.

Swaziland's crackdown follows similar measures in Zimbabwe, where a man was arrested last year over an allegedly subversive message he posted on Facebook. He was later cleared of all charges.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Facebook, lawmakers warn employers not to demand passwords

Reuters, by Gerry Shih, San Francisco, Fri Mar 23, 2012



(Reuters) - Facebook and lawmakers have warned employers against requesting Facebook passwords while screening job applicants, a controversial practice that underscores the blurring distinction between personal and professional lives the era of social media.

The practice has reportedly grown more commonplace as companies increasingly regard profiles - or embarrassing photos from wild nights out - as windows into a prospective employee's character.

On Friday, Facebook Inc's Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, posted a note warning that the social networking company could "initiate legal action" against employers that demand Facebook passwords.

Also, lawmakers in several states and in Washington said they would introduce bills to prohibit companies from vetting employees by demanding access to private accounts.

Leland Yee, a California state senator, told Reuters on Friday he introduced legislation that would prohibit companies in the state from soliciting Facebook passwords from job applicants. The Associated Press reported that lawmakers in Illinois and Maryland were also considering similar moves.

"Employers can't ask in the course of an interview your sexual orientation, your age, and yet social media accounts may have that information," Yee said.

"Employers have legitimate questions about a person's job performance, but they can get that information the regular way, without cutting corners and violating people's privacy."

Egan said in a post on Facebook's website published on Friday that the social networking company has seen in recent months "a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people's Facebook profiles.

"We don't think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don't think it's the right thing to do.

"But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating. For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don't hire that person."

OPEN UP YOUR MAIL

The issue bubbled up this week after the Associated Press reported that employers are increasingly asking to look at content job applicants have uploaded to their digital accounts, regardless of whether that content is shared or not.

In the case of the Maryland Department of Corrections, job applicants were asked to browse through their own Facebook accounts with an interviewer present, the AP reported.

The ACLU, which previously criticized the Maryland state government's online vetting, called the practice "an invasion of privacy" in a statement this week.

"You'd be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside," said ACLU attorney Catherine Crump.

"It's equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person's private social media account."

Facebook's outspoken stance on the issue cast it in an unfamiliar but welcome role.

Hundreds of users cheered Egan, applauding a company that has been repeatedly criticized for bungling privacy issues over the years, especially when changing privacy settings without duly notifying users.

By Friday afternoon, close to a thousand users had "Liked" Egan's post and many users left positive comments.

Yet there were still a few cynics.

"FB you're talking out of both sides of your mouth," wrote Facebook user Ron Carrubba. "Now how about fixing your other privacy issues in the application itself?"

(Editing by Andre Grenon)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Iranians and Israelis start a "Bombardment of Love" on social media platforms

Deutsche Welle, 23 Mar 2012


While politicians in both countries continue to step up the rhetoric, ordinary people in Israel and Iran have launched an initiative to express their respect for each other and their mutual rejection of a possible war.

The initiative was triggered by a video shared on the social media platform "YouTube" by Ronny Edry and his wife Michal Tamir, who live in Tel Aviv.

The 41 year old graphic designer explains his motives in the video: "Lately in the news you can hear about the war coming, a big one. Politicians talk about destruction, about self defence, like this war is not about us." He goes on to appeal to YouTube fans to make posters with their photos and express their love of the Iranian people.

Ronny and his wife have made a colourful poster with their photo, holding their little daughter in their arms. Their message was: "Iranians, We love you. We will never bomb your country…No Iranians ever did me harm."

Many people are worried a war between
Israel and Iran could break out
The Israeli, who runs a small preparatory school for graphic design with his wife, argues that Iranians talking about war on Iranian TV are not representative of the Iranian people and what they think about Israel. At the end of the video, he asks everyone who feels the same to share this message and help it to reach Iran.

Reactions in Israel have been extraordinary. A few hours after the video was posted on YouTube, hundreds of Israelis started posting their own photos with expressions of mutual respect and love. A Facebook page was also launched and #israellovesiran became a trend on "Twitter."

"Iran Loves Israel Too"

Since the start of the "Israel Loves Iran" Facebook page, Iranians from all around the world have started expressing their support.

"My Israeli friends! I do not hate you; I do not want war. Love and peace" is typical of many Iranian posts by Iranian Facebook users on a new sister page called "Iran Loves Israel." Some other posters read: "Iranians don’t want a war with any country in the world."

Most of the Iranians who posted messages on the Facebook page from inside the country, did so with their faces partially veiled for fear of Iranian security forces."Espionage for Israel" is a common allegation used against those critical of the regime’s policies.

Some of the Iranian posters challenged the Islamic Republic’s view that nuclear energy is the country’s "inalienable right." One poster caption reads: "Dear Israeli friends and the world! Iranians love peace and we hate hate! And we don’t need any nuclear power to show it!"

Another photo shows a young couple, kissing each other while showing their passports to the camer. The girl is holding an Iranian passport, the boy’s is Israeli. The caption reads: "I believe in Love. Israelis and Iranians love each other. Believe it."

Interestingly some Iranian Facebook users have also made a clip with pictures of Jewish synagogues, schools, shops and old houses all over Iran to give an unusual glimpse of the life led by the 25,000 to 35,000 Jews living in Iran.

Ronny Edry and Michal Tamir
started a 'campaign of love'
"What about Palestine?"

Like many other online initiatives and ideas, satirical responses were also quick to appear. A mock post by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned up reading: "Iranians! I love you. I truly love you all. It’s my people I hate."

But some Iranian and Israeli users injected the highly contentious Palestinian issue into the campaign pointing out that the "Love Exchange" was ignoring people living in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank.

As an Iranian Facebook user puts it: "As much as I am touched by the Iranian-Israeli love affair, I have to say this to the Israeli and Iranian people holding "I love you" signs, I love you too, but love isn’t enough." She then launches into an attack on Israel’s policy against Palestine emphasizing that democracy in Israel is "just a claim.

Unless you (the Israelis) have a say in what your state does, saying "we will never bomb you" is meaningless."

Others believe such comments are counterproductive. An Israeli Facebook writes "I fear that starting to involve the Palestine issue will decrease the power of this campaign and a lot fewer people will sign and join the initiative. Let’s stay narrow and focused."

The initiative aims at promoting peace
Despite these differences more than 14,000 people have "liked" the Facebook page of the campaign since it went online a week ago.

Iran and Israel have not had diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic revolution. In the Shah’s day the two countries were viewed as allies in the Middle East.

Iranians are not allowed to travel to Israel on an Iranian passport. No Israelis have visited Iran for thirty years.

Author: Farnaz Seifi
Editor: Grahame Lucas


An image from a poster on the
'Israel Loves Iran' Facebook
page.Pushpin Mehina
 

Most 2011 cyberattacks were avoidable, Verizon says

Despite all the hype about sophisticated attack methods, 97% could have been stopped using fundamental precautions

Computerworld, by Jaikumar Vijayan, March 22, 2012

Computerworld - Despite rising concern that cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, hackers used relatively simple methods 97% of data breaches in 2011, according to a report compiled by Verizon.

The annual Verizon report on data breaches, released Thursday, also found that in a vast majority of attacks (80%), hackers hit victims of opportunity rather than companies they sought out.

The findings suggest that while companies are spending increasing sums of money on sophisticated new security controls, they are also continuing to overlook fundamental security precautions.

The conclusions in the Verizon report are based on the investigations into more than 850 data breaches. The report was compiled with the help of the U.S. Secret Service and law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Ireland and Australia, Verizon said.

Verizon said it found that attacks by so-called "hactivist" groups such as Anonymous for the first time compromised more breached records -- more than 100 million -- than the number of attacks by hackers specifically looking to steal financial or personal data.

Data breach victims and security vendors generally tend to describe attacks as highly sophisticated and involving a great deal of expertise on the part of hackers.

The Verizon report though shows a far more mundane reality.

Most of the breaches didn't require hackers to possess special skills or resources, or to do much customization work. In fact, Verizon said that 96% of the attacks "were not highly difficult" for the hackers.

"Additionally, 97% were avoidable, without the need for organizations to resort to difficult or expensive countermeasures," the report said.

Very often, the companies breached had no firewalls, had ports open to the Internet or used default or easily guessable passwords, said Marc Spitler a Verizon security analyst.

The study found that cybercriminals did not have to work any harder to break into a large organization than into a small one.

Attackers in 2011 generally didn't need new sophisticated tools to break into most organizations, Spitler said.

"We have seen nothing new. Some of the old standbys are continuing to work very well for the people going after information," he said. "Not enough has been done to raise the bar and to force them to spend" significant sums on new tools and exploits.

The most sophistication found by the researchers was in the methods used by attackers to steal data after breaking in to systems, he said.

Attackers typically have installed malware on a victim company's network to escalate privileges, set up backdoors, enable remote control and sniff out sensitive data. Many take steps to remain hidden on the network for a long time and then wipe their tracks when they are done.

Such tasks require moderate to advanced skills and extensive resources on the part of the attackers, according to Spitler. "That is one area where we have raised the bar," he said.

Most of the targeted attacks last year were directed large companies in the finance and insurance industries, according to Verizon.

Hackers, often part of organized groups, used large-scale automated methods to find vulnerable businesses to exploit.

In such cases, more than 85% of victim companies employed less than 1,000 employees and were mostly in the retail, hospitality and food services industries.

The findings once again highlight the need for companies to pay attention to security basics, Spitler said.

"It is about going back to basic security principles. A lot of the same recommendations we have used in past years, we have recommended this year," he said.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

'Israel Loves Iran' initiative takes off on Facebook

Online posters sending messages of love and peace draw widespread attention and support; Iranian citizens send messages of thanks and praise.

Haaretz, by Oded Yaron, 18 March 2012

An online call for peace initiated by an Israeli couple has managed to achieve the support of 1,000 Israelis and Iranians. And it all began with two posters.

An image from a poster on the 'Israel Loves Iran' Facebook
page.Pushpin Mehina
 

Ronny Edry and his wife Michal Tamir, together with "Pushpin Mehina", a small preparatory school for graphic design students, uploaded posters to Facebook depicting images of themselves with their children alongside the words, "Iranians, we will never bomb your country, we [heart] you."

Attached to each poster was the caption, "To the Iranian people, To all the fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters, For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other, we must hate. I'm not afraid of you, I don't hate you. I don t even know you. No Iranian ever did me no harm."

"I'm not an official representative of my country. I m [sic] a father and a teacher", wrote Edry, adding that he wishes to send a message on behalf of his neighbors, family, students and friends. "[W]e love you. We mean you no harm", he wrote. "On the contrary, we want to meet, have some coffee and talk about sports."

In a conversation with Haaretz, Edry explained that he hoped his initiative would reach the Iranian citizens, but admitted that he never believed it would gain so much momentum. "On my Facebook page I have left-wing friends who always speak of these things; they all agree with me. Every so often a right-winger answers me saying what we're on about is rubbish, but I've never spoken to an Iranian."

"I thought that when you're constantly surrounded by talk of threats and war, you are so stressed and afraid that you crawl into a sort of shell and think to yourself how lucky we are to also have bombs and how lucky we are that we'll clean them out first," he said. "So I thought, 'Why not try to reach the other side; to bypass the generals and see if they [Iranians] really hate me?'"


An image on the Facebook page of the 'Israel Loves Iran' blog.
(Photo by: Pushpin Mehina)
 
             
More on Haaretz.com: 

At first, the posters were castigated, said Edry. "After the first poster people started criticizing me, saying I'm an idiot, that I’m naïve. 'Why are you telling them you love them? Why are you giving up before the war has even started?'" But very quickly the posters became a hit: the first image gained hundreds of "Likes" and "Shares," and numerous people asked to join the initiative.

It was not long before reactions from Iranians began trickling through. "I never imagined that within 48 hours I would be speaking to the other side," said Edry, who explained that most of the Iranians' messages had been coming through in private, but that there had been some who invited him to be their Facebook friend.

In a conversation that took place on Saturday evening, after a full day spent in front of the computer chatting to Israelis and Iranians, Edry was buzzing with excitement. "Something insane is going on here," said Edry. "I was just having a conversation with a few Iranians, trying to convince them to send me photos of themselves, and they told me that we [Israelis] might be able to publish photos, but they risk going to jail over such a thing." In the meanwhile, they conversed via private messages, with their identities concealed.

However, by Sunday morning, Edry began receiving the first signs of reactions from the other side.

"We also love you. Your words are reaching us despite the censorship," wrote one Facebook user from Iran. "The Iranian people, apart from the regime, do not hold a grudge nor animosity against anyone, especially not the Israelis… We never saw Israelis as our enemies. As such, the regime cannot gain public support for war."

"The hatred was invented by the propaganda of the regime, which will die soon", continued the Iranian Facebook user. "The ayatollah will die soon. [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad will disappear. He is nothing more than an opportunist, and more than anything – an idiot. Everyone hates him. We love you, love, peace. And thanks for your message."

By Sunday afternoon, faceless posters prepared by Iranians, sharing a similar message of thanks and love, were posted onto the Pushpin Mehina Facebook page and the "Israel Loves Iran" blog.

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(Subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."



9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Introducing PayPal Here: The Future of Commerce for Small Business

PayPal Blog, March 15, 2012

PayPal has a long history of helping small businesses. For 14 years we’ve provided the tools and services that have allowed millions of small businesses to grow by solving the complex and critical task of processing payments securely and easily in more than 190 countries. Helping small business owners get paid is in our DNA. That’s why I’m excited to unveil PayPal Here, a new payments solution that will help small businesses get paid – whether they do business online, offline or on mobile.

PayPal Here is the world’s first global mobile payment solution that allows small businesses to accept almost any form of payment. It’s designed to help those merchants make more sales and grow their business with confidence. And it gives them choices. They can accept payments by swiping cards with a fully encrypted thumb-sized card reader, or use a phone camera to scan and process cards and checks. It also allows them to invoice directly from the mobile app and, of course, accept PayPal in a brand new way.


So, you’re asking, how is this different from other small business mobile payment solutions? The key differentiator is that it comes from PayPal, a trusted brand in the online payments industry with more than 100 million customers around the globe and years of proven payment innovation, driving growth for millions of businesses globally. PayPal Here comes with our world-class fraud management capabilities, and our 24×7 live customer support. In addition to accepting more payment methods, PayPal Here offers a simple flat rate of 2.7% for card swipes and PayPal payments. Merchants are also given a business debit card for quick access to their funds and 1% cash back on eligible purchases – which means if you use the debit card, your fees are actually just 1.7%!

PayPal Here is just the latest addition to our comprehensive suite of payment solutions for small businesses – from PCI-compliant checkout options and invoicing, to debit cards and mobile-optimized checkout. With PayPal Here, we are now able to serve as a one-stop shop for online, offline and multi-channel small businesses.


We’re happy to be helping small businesses around the globe take the pain out of payments and let them focus on what they do best – running their business and growing their customer base.



PayPal Here is available today exclusively for select merchants in the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. It will open to all other merchants in those countries next month. And we’ll announce the availability of PayPal Here in more countries soon. Be sure to visit www.paypal.com/here to get the free app and card reader as soon as it’s widely available. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below!

–David Marcus, Vice President of Mobile, PayPal


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Monday, March 12, 2012

Hot Interest in Image Sharing Website Pinterest

Jakarta Globe, Glenn Chapman, March 12, 2012

A newcomer in the social network field, Pinterest has made
itself popular among female American Internet users. (JG Photo)
 
               
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Oakland. Christine Martinez spent the past week frolicking on the Caribbean island of St. Barth after becoming a star by sharing her sense of style at Pinterest. 

Pinterest has become the Web's hottest young website, particularly among women, by giving people virtual bulletin boards that they decorate with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, fashion or travel.

"Gawd I love Pinterest," fashion blogger Martinez said in a Twitter message fired off between flights on Friday as she made her way back to her home in the California city of Oakland.

Nearly a million people have signed up to follow Martinez at Pinterest where people "pin" pictures they have taken or, in most cases, plucked from elsewhere on the Internet.

"I have a penchant for pretty," Martinez said in her Pinterest profile, which had a picture of her with her cherished dog 'Miles.' As of Saturday, she had 43 Pinterest boards with more than 5,700 images reflecting her taste in jewelry, swimsuits, and more.

Pinterest is such an influential fashion venue that chic beachwear label Calypso St. Barth brought her to the French island territory for a week to "live pin" the label's swimsuit photo shoot.

"Pinterest is the latest procrastination tool of the masses," Avery Spofford of fashion website shefinds.com wrote in an online post citing Martinez's adventure as evidence of Pinterest's clout.

"Mostly, people just like to look at photos of puppies and cake and interior design," Spofford continued. "Us, too!"

Pinterest was launched in early 2010 and has growing at a dizzying rate in the past six months despite being invitation-only. The website reportedly has more than 13 million users.

Pinterest is driving more online traffic to retail websites than social networks LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ combined, according to a January report from Shareaholic.

"Pinterest's traffic charts aren't hockey sticks -- they're rocket ships," Internet tracker RJ Metrics said in an analysis released last month. "Pinterest is the hottest young site on the Internet."

Brands are leaping onto Pinterest, setting up pages to appeal to prime shopping demographics or forming collaborations such as the one between Martinez's MilestoStyle.com blog and Calypso.

"The amount of free advertising a brand gets on Pinterest is ridiculous," blogger Kerry Sauriol wrote at WomenInBizNetwork.com.

"Without even having their own Pinterest boards, clothing companies, furniture designers, tech companies, and on and on have their products pinned and adored," she continued. "Think of the marketing power of a brand that does have a board."

Other websites have begun adding "pin it" buttons inviting visitors to decorate Pinterest pages with images using a single click, according to co-founder Ben Silbermann.

"The last few months have been a whirlwind here at Pinterest," Silbermann said in a recent blog post. "It's humbling, and exciting."

The small Pinterest team works in box of an office in single-story building in downtown Palo Alto in Silicon Valley. About a dozen engineers were working at rows of desks in an undecorated room when an AFP correspondent visited. Pinterest said it was too swamped with attention from users and media for interviews.

Rampant pinning of images snagged from the Internet has raised concerns about copyright violations at Pinterest. The website follows procedures set out in US copyright law and has a form at the site for reporting violations, Silbermann explained. Each "pin" has a flag icon for marking pirated content.

"We care about respecting the rights of copyright holders," Silbermann said. "Copyright is a complicated and nuanced issue and we have knowledgeable people who are providing lots of guidance."

Pinterest fans include Dave Morin, a longtime member of the Facebook team who left the leading social network to start Path. Morin sees Pinterest as part of a trend for people in "the world's biggest club" Facebook to form sub-groups based on interests or close relationships.

"Now that the world understands how to be social through the Internet people want unique experiences in different contexts," Morin said, noting that Path lets people intimately share with family and close friends.

"Pinterest has a space where you can talk about your deep interests," he continued. "In my case, deep interests in ski gear or photography gear."

Agence France-Presse