Daily Archives: March 12, 2017

What is Ransomware and How to Protect Against it

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts media, document and other files on the target PC and access to those files is only granted once the attacker’s ransom demands are met.Christoph Scholz | FlickrCurrently, there are two types of ransomware — one which locks certain files on a computer and other which locks the entire system. The latter is mostly found on smartphones.Ransomware has been around for more than a decade now. The first instances of such an attack were found in Russia in 2005 with Trojan GPcoder.Early History: The Russian ConnectThe first known ransomware virus to create trouble on a large scale were developed by Russian organised criminals and came to the fore in 2005 and 2006.

These malware infected PCs in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. One of the strains of malware was called Archievus and another called Troj_Cryzip.A.While the former encrypted the ‘My Documents’ folder, the latter identified and moved certain file types in a PC to a password protected Zip folder, which would only be unlocked when the victim transferred a few hundred dollars to the attacker via E-Gold — electronic currency before Bitcoin.

Source: What is Ransomware and How to Protect Against it

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Banana Phone Blocks Robocalls 

Despite the implementation of the National Do Not Call Registry in the US (and similar programs in other countries), many robocallers still manage to get around the system. Whether they’re operating outside the law somehow (or they simply don’t care about it) there are some ways you can take action to keep these annoying calls from coming through. [Alex] is among those to take matters into his own hands and built a specialty robocall-blocking device.Based on a Raspberry Pi, the “Banana Phone” is able to intercept incoming calls on standard land lines or VoIP phones. After playing a short message, the caller is asked to input a four-digit code. Once the code is correctly entered, the caller is presumed to be human, added to a whitelist, and then the Pi passes them on to the recipient. There are, however, some legitimate robocallers such as emergency services regarding natural disasters or utility companies regarding outages. For these there is a global whitelist that the Pi checks against and forwards these robocalls on to the recipient automatically.

Source: Banana Phone Blocks Robocalls | Hackaday

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The Promised Land of Pigs – A Retirement Home for Pigs Saved from Slaughterhouses 

For the last 22 years, the Promised Land of Pigs, a unique farm in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, has been a haven for hundreds of pigs that would have otherwise been slaughtered and sold piece by piece at a supermarket. Here, they enjoy a peaceful, comfortable existence complete with hugs and weekly massages until the end of their natural lives.The Promised Land of Pigs (Beloofde Varkensland) is a non-profit organization founded by Dafne Westerhof, an activist militating for the humane treatment of farm animals. For over two decades she has saved hundreds of pigs, either by buying them straight from slaughterhouses, or taking them in from breeders who no longer had use for them or had become too attached to them to have them butchered. Whatever the reason, she’s always been more than happy to accept new pigs into her “Lucky Family” (Familie Bofkont) and give them the life she thinks they deserve.

Source: The Promised Land of Pigs – A Retirement Home for Pigs Saved from Slaughterhouses | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities

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We knew it! Coffee and cocoa cocktail boosts your attention and mood

OIt always seemed like a match made in heaven, but now we have the science to back it up: a mixture of brewed coffee and chocolate’s main ingredient, cocoa, can boost both your productivity and your mood.Together, hot chocolate and coffee make you feel better and perform better. Image via Wiki CommonsClarkson University researcher Ali Boolani recently completed a year-long study in which he analyzed the effects of two of the world’s favorite delights. He devised a double-blind study in which some participants got brewed cocoa, others got cocoa with caffeine, caffeine without cocoa, or a placebo with neither caffeine nor cocoa (double blind means neither the subjects nor the researchers knew what they got until after the experiment was over). Before the drinks, they were asked to complete some simple tasks such as watching groups of letters float on a screen and noting when an “X” appeared after an “A.” They also did some pretty simple math. After the drink, they were asked to complete tests to evaluate their cognitive skills and mood.

Source: We knew it! Coffee and cocoa cocktail boosts your attention and mood

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Too Much Bacon, Not Enough Nuts Linked to Deaths

(NEWSER) – Gorging on bacon, skimping on nuts? These are among food habits that new research links with deaths from heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Overeating or not eating enough of the 10 foods and nutrients contributes to nearly half of US deaths from these causes, the study suggests. “Good” foods that were under-eaten include: nuts and seeds, seafood rich in omega-3 fats including salmon and sardines; fruits and vegetables; and whole grains, the AP reports. “Bad” foods or nutrients that were over-eaten include salt and salty foods; processed meats including bacon, bologna, and hot dogs; red meat including steaks and hamburgers; and sugary drinks.

Source: Too Much Bacon, Not Enough Nuts Linked to Deaths

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‘Ghost ships’ in European waters spark terror fears

Hundreds of ships are sailing into European waters after suspicious manoeuvres near terrorist hotspots, prompting fears that they are smuggling people and weapons with impunity.An investigation by The Times has uncovered how cargo ships and other large vessels routinely switch off GPS tracking so they can disappear, falsify their identification or veer off their usual course.Figures compiled by Windward, a maritime data and analytics company, revealed that in January and February 40 ships entered Europe from Libya, close to where Islamic State is operating, after “going dark” by ceasing transmission of their location. Twenty vessels travelled through Syrian or Lebanese waters and made dubious stops for up to six hours before reaching the Continent. This amounts to hundreds of ships a year if…

Source: ‘Ghost ships’ in European waters spark terror fears | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

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Barbra Streisand: Donald Trump is making me fat 

While Donald Trump’s presidency has caused Lena Dunham to shred the pounds, it has had the opposite effect on Barbra Streisand.The ten-time Grammy-award winning singer, who has often rebuked President Trump, said witnessing his presidency was causing her to “gain weight”.Streisand said news stories about the billionaire property developer were making her devour pancakes.”Donald Trump is making me gain weight,” she wrote on Twitter.”I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!”

Source: Barbra Streisand: Donald Trump is making me fat | The Independent

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Commissioner blames ‘those damn chicken nuggets’ for drunk driving arrest 


A Montcalm County commissioner was arrested in December for driving with a blood-alcohol content almost twice the legal limit.

Jeremy Miller, 40, was stopped for speeding and later arrested for operating while intoxicated after a breathalyzer test indicated he had a BAC of 0.14 percent.

Asked if he understood why he was being arrested, Miller told the arresting Greenville Public Safety officer it was “because I was being stupid, those damn chicken nuggets,” according to a police report.

The incident occurred after 3 a.m. Dec. 18 when Miller’s black Yukon was clocked at 58 mph while traveling east on VanDeinse — a 30-mph zone.

In his report, the arresting officer noted he smelled an odor of intoxicants on Miller. The officer said he asked Miller how much he had to drink, to which Miller responded, “I don’t know, it has been a night.”

Source: Commissioner blames ‘those damn chicken nuggets’ for drunk driving arrest | MLive.com

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How a spam superpower built a list of 1.4 billion emails – and leaked it for all to see

Every time you sign up for a service or website, do you take the time to read through the small print? Probably not. Hardly anyone does, simply because legal documents are boring, and most people aren’t lawyers with the requisite skillset to actually interpret them correctly.But this has been our undoing, as when we press ‘Accept’, we often unwittingly allow the website or service to share our details with their “carefully selected partners.” Who then share it with their “carefully selected partners.” And so on.

It was through this – and several other less-than-kosher methods – that the ostensibly legitimate marketing company, River City Media (RCM), was able to build a list of 1.4 billion email addresses, combined with people’s real names, IP addresses, and physical addresses.

RCM was also responsible for a staggering volume of spam sent. Per their own leaked documentation, they sent out a billion messages each day.

Source: How a spam superpower built a list of 1.4 billion emails – and leaked it for all to see

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Dresden retirement home recreates communist E. Germany to help dementia patients — RT News

A retirement home in Dresden has gone to extreme lengths to help jog the memories of those with dementia, decorating the facility so it resembles the decor of communist East Germany.Alexa Seniors’ Residence has decorated several rooms with 1970s wallpaper and furniture reminiscent of what would have been found in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR).

But it doesn’t end with furnishings. Residents can even purchase everyday products from the era in an on-site shop. A photo of Erich Honecker, the general secretary of the East Germany communist party, hangs inside the store.

The retro features did not come about easily. The retirement home’s management team committed themselves to scouring flea markets and eBay for communist-era knick-knacks.

Among the treasures they found and purchased were portable cassette players, outdated cookers, and a giant bread-slicer.

Source: Dresden retirement home recreates communist E. Germany to help dementia patients — RT News

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Man Charged With Trying to Kill Mannequin in Homeless Murder Sting

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man has been charged in Las Vegas with using a hammer to try to kill a mannequin that police positioned to resemble a sleeping homeless person in an area where two men had been bludgeoned to death just weeks before.The unusual charge of attempted murder, but of a human decoy, was lodged Tuesday against Shane Allen Schindler at a hearing in which a justice of the peace ordered Schindler to undergo a mental competency evaluation.The 30-year-old Schindler hasn’t been charged in the earlier attacks. He told police following his arrest early Feb. 22 that he knew it was a mannequin he was attacking.

Source: Man Charged With Trying to Kill Mannequin in Homeless Murder Sting | KXNT 840 AM « CBS Las Vegas

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