Daily Archives: March 12, 2018

Oregon dad made son shoot him to delay prison 

An Oregon mortgage fraudster has had his jail sentence extended by a judge after he made his teenage son shoot him in the legs in a bid to delay prison.Shannon Egeland, 43, lost his limb in the 2014 shooting, which he staged a day before he was due to report for a 10-year custodial term.The shooting came one week after he applied for disability insurance.A prosecutor described Egeland in a sentencing document as a “menace to society”.”The psychological and emotional destruction defendant caused this minor child is unimaginable,” Scott Bradford wrote in the court memo.If Egeland had died in the stunt “the minor child would have been left to deal with the consequences”, the assistant US attorney added.In 2014, Egeland was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in an extensive mortgage-fraud scheme, orchestrated through the housing development company where he worked as vice-president, reports KOIN, a TV news channel in Portland, Oregon.

Source: Oregon dad made son shoot him to delay prison – BBC News

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Offline mode on Spotify sucks out loud and on purpose

Ever since the Walkman days, music lovers have taken their music anywhere and everywhere they could. We take our music out for a run, we bring music into the shower, and we always bring music when we travel, be it by plane, train, or automobile. And since we bring our music where our internet sometimes cannot follow, that means that offline modes for our music apps are important. Offline for Spotify is an abomination, and call me crazy, but I believe it’s intentional.Let’s begin with what you have to do to turn on Offline mode. Turning on Offline mode is a three-tap process at a minimum. From the home tab of Spotify:Tap Your Library.Tap Settings (the gear icon in the top right corner).Tap Offline mode to toggle it on.

Source: Offline mode on Spotify sucks out loud and on purpose | Android Central

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Congress Will Make Credit Freezes Free for All in Belated Response to Equifax Breach

Congress is set to finally do something that will benefit US consumers in response to the Equifax breach last year—beyond excoriating the company’s executives on live television. Yet, as with everything, it will come at a cost.As many as 17 Democrats are lending their votes to a Republican banking bill that will scale back sweeping reforms passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis by rolling back or dismantling parts of Dodd-Frank. Known as the Crapo bill—after Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, Republican of Idaho—the legislation includes a bipartisan agreement that will enable consumers to initiate credit freezes at no charge.Credit report agencies, like Equifax, will lose a source of revenue in the deal. But not everyone is pleased. Some consumer advocates argue the bill may stymie the efforts of some states’ to pass more stringent credit-freeze requirements. Only eight states at present, however, guarantee consumers free access to credit freezes—a mechanism that prevents lenders from accessing credit reports, thus hindering identity thieves trying to get credit or open accounts in victims’ names.

Source: Congress Will Make Credit Freezes Free for All in Belated Response to Equifax Breach

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Payphones Are Disappearing, Their FCC Audit Rules Will, Too – Inside Towers 

The FCC voted to eliminate outdated and costly payphone audit rules on Thursday. Payphones have been disappearing for years from America’s streets and buildings. Payphone use peaked in 1999, when more than two million payphones were in service, according to the Commission.In 2003, the agency adopted audit rules to make sure that long-distance and other providers that handled calls originating on payphones compensated payphone providers as required. But with the rise in cell phone use, the number of payphones has dropped — to less than 100,000 by the end of 2016.“I remember when the only way to report a traffic accident by calling 911 was to find a working payphone,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn as she voted for the change. Her colleague, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, said payphone audit obligations and the associated reporting requirements “no longer make any sense.” The cost of an audit now “significantly exceeds payphone compensation,” he said.

Source: Payphones Are Disappearing, Their FCC Audit Rules Will, Too – Inside Towers – Inside Towers

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Nuclear physics and the fight against beer fraud – Food labelling

GO INTO a trendy pub and the beer list will be accompanied by tasting notes as purple as in any upmarket wine bar. The “grassy aromas” and “citrus notes” come from the flowers of Humulus lupulus, or the hop plant. These vary in flavour from region to region and between different varieties of the plant. Brewers therefore tend to be rather particular about obtaining specific types of hops from specific plants in specific places, to ensure the flavour of their beer does not change unpredictably.But they cannot always be sure of what they are buying. Unscrupulous growers can adulterate high-quality hops with cheaper varieties, which can affect a beer’s taste. Detecting doctored shipments can be difficult. Existing tests focus on measuring levels of chemical telltales such as essential oils. But they are not very sensitive, typically requiring adulteration of 10% or more before triggering an alert. Now, as they report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Miha Ocvirk, a PhD student at the Institute of Hop Research and Brewing in Slovenia, and Iztok Kosir, his supervisor, think they have a better idea.

Source: Nuclear physics and the fight against beer fraud – Food labelling

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British Airways To Expand Boarding Gate Biometrics

British Airways is expanding testing of its biometric boarding gates in the U.S.The airline began its testing last November in Los Angeles, specifically on passengers flying out of LAX on British Airways flights to Heathrow airport in London, according to Engadget.Now, the testing will expand to Orlando International Airport for flights to Gatwick airport, as well as to JFK airport in New York and Miami International Airport for passengers flying in from Heathrow.The technology used in the biometric screening is produced by SITA and uses facial identification tech similar to that used in smartphones.This addition of biometrics doesn’t eliminate the need for documents entirely, however. Travelers must still display a passport and boarding pass while going through the security process. But once at the gate, no documents are required. According to British Airways, they are now able to board 400 passengers in 22 minutes in Los Angeles.British Airways isn’t alone in their facial recognition endeavor, U.S. Customs is currently testing biometric facial recognition at airports across the U.S., and other airlines, including Delta and Jetblue, are running trials of their own.

Source: British Airways To Expand Boarding Gate Biometrics – Nextgov

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The Hottest Social Scene in Town Isn’t the Singles’ Bar. It’s the Supermarket – WSJ

When Bob Schneider goes out on a Friday night, he no longer heads to the local singles bar. Instead, he goes to the grocery store.“I once dated a woman from the potato section at Mariano’s,” says Mr. Schneider, a 67-year-old semiretired, twice-divorced lobbyist in Oak Brook, Ill. “The next thing you know we’re at the wine bar and then we’re dating.”Bob Schneider says a Mariano’s grocery store in Westchester, Ill., is his favorite place to meet new people. PHOTO: LUCY HEWETT FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNALSupermarkets—those havens of the not-so-scintillating chore of scouring numbered aisles, pushing carts and perusing produce—are finding a new identity as a social hub in communities. Parents now bring their children here to play, retirees gather for Bingo, and singles find romance.Grocery stores are fulfilling the new role as traditional gathering spots, from shopping malls to social clubs like Lions Clubs and Rotary International, continue to shrink from decades-earlier peaks. Malls, in particular, are in danger of extinction. Credit Suisse has projected that up to 25% of malls will close over the next five years, as the internet continues to reshape the way Americans shop.

Source: The Hottest Social Scene in Town Isn’t the Singles’ Bar. It’s the Supermarket – WSJ

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Bono’s ONE charity shame over South Africa staff abuse claims

Workers at a charity founded by U2 singer Bono have been subjected to a ‘toxic’ culture of bullying and abuse.Bosses at the ONE charity have covered up the horrific allegations for years, but a major Mail on Sunday investigation has exposed a catalogue of humiliating incidents that has now sparked a multi-million-pound lawsuit.In the worst case, a married woman says she felt pressured to have sex with an elderly Tanzanian MP. When she refused, she was demoted to receptionist and had her salary slashed, she claims. Taken together, the astonishing complaints depict an organisation driven by intimidation and contempt, with staff belittled and undermined, both in front of colleagues and in public.

Source: Bono’s ONE charity shame over South Africa staff abuse claims | Daily Mail Online

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Less than half of paying ransomware targets get their files back

Paying off a ransomware demand is a great way to end up losing both your money and your files.This according a study from security company CyberEdge, which found that for those hit by a ransomware infection the best bet is probably to just restore from a backup. The survey, based on a poll of information security professionals, found that less than half of those who pay a ransom demand end up getting their data back.The report says that 55 per cent of the people it surveyed reported a malware infection hitting their systems in 2017. Spain had the highest rate, with 80 per cent of respondents reporting malware, followed by companies in China (74 per cent) and Mexico (71.9 per cent.) In the US, 53.8 per cent of respondents were hit by ransomware, while slightly under half of those in the UK, 49.5 per cent, were hit.Overall, 72.4 per cent of those who were infected with ransomware were able to get their data back. Most of those, however, were companies that simply ignored the ransom demands, then restored their systems with uninfected backup copies. The study found that 86.9 per cent of those who refused to pay the demand ended up recovering their data.

Source: Less than half of paying ransomware targets get their files back • The Register

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Cost for California bullet train system rises to $77.3 billion

The price of the California bullet train project jumped sharply Friday when the state rail authority announced that the cost of connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco would be $77.3 billion and could rise as high as $98.1 billion — an uptick of at least $13 billion from estimates two years ago.The rail authority also said the earliest trains could operate on a partial system between San Francisco and Bakersfield would be 2029 — four years later than the previous projection. The full system would not begin operating until 2033.The disclosures are contained in a 114-page business plan that was issued in draft form Friday by the rail authority before public hearings and formal submission to the Legislature in about 60 days.The new estimates will force California’s leadership to double down on its political and financial commitments if it wants to see the system completed, against a backdrop of rising costs, years of delays, strident litigation and backlashes in communities where homes, businesses, farms and environmental preserves will have to give up land to the rail’s right-of-way.

Source: Cost for California bullet train system rises to $77.3 billion

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Poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal was close to consultant who was linked to the Trump dossier 

A security consultant who has worked for the company that compiled the controversial dossier on Donald Trump was close to the Russian double agent poisoned last weekend, it has been claimed.The consultant, who The Telegraph is declining to identify, lived close to Col Skripal and is understood to have known him for some time.Col Skripal, who is in intensive care and fighting for his life after an assassination attempt on Sunday, was recruited by MI6 when he worked for the British embassy in Estonia, according to the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency.

Source: Poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal was close to consultant who was linked to the Trump dossier 

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FBI Director Says It’s ‘Not Impossible’ To Create Compromised Encryption That’s Still Secure

FBI Director Chris Wray was back on the “going dark” stump this week. In a speech [PDF] at Boston College, Wray again stated, without evidence, that it wasn’t impossible to create weakened encryption that isn’t weakened. (via Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica)We have a whole bunch of folks at FBI Headquarters devoted to explaining this challenge and working with stakeholders to find a way forward. But we need and want the private sector’s help. We need them to respond to lawfully issued court orders, in a way that is consistent with both the rule of law and strong cybersecurity. We need to have both, and can have both. I recognize this entails varying degrees of innovation by the industry to ensure lawful access is available. But I just don’t buy the claim that it’s impossible.It really doesn’t matter whether or not Wray “buys” this claim. If you deliberately weaken encryption — either through key escrow or by making it easier to bypass — the encryption no longer offers the protection it did before it was compromised. That’s the thing about facts. They’re not like cult leaders. They don’t need a bunch of true believers hanging around to retain their strength.Yet Wray continues to believe this can be done. He has yet to provide Senator Ron Wyden with a list of tech experts who feel the same way. The “going dark” part of his remarks is filled with incongruity and non sequiturs. Like this, in which Wray says he doesn’t want backdoors, but rather instant access to encrypted data and communications… almost like a backdoor of some sort.

Source: FBI Director Says It’s ‘Not Impossible’ To Create Compromised Encryption That’s Still Secure | Techdirt

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Hatred Against Germans Is Increasing in Berlin, Says City’s Interior Minister 

Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s interior minister, said on Wednesday that hatred towards Germans was on the rise in the capital, but cautioned that it was still far from the norm.“I have heard that [reports of hatred against Germans]. It is not the norm but it is becoming more common — to keep quiet about it would be wrong,” Geisel told daily newspaper Tagesspiegel.“What can we do about it? It is clear that we need to intensify our efforts to integrate people. That includes German and ethics courses for refugees, optimally for all of them,” the Social Democrat added.The interior minister was responding to a long report published by Tagesspiegel on Tuesday which asked whether Berlin was becoming “a place of fear.”The newspaper reported on the individual experiences of various Berliners who had contacted the newspaper to argue that the city was becoming a place of “increased aggression and and an intensified feeling of fear. And this feeling has something to do with the arrival of refugees.”

Source: Hatred Against Germans Is Increasing in Berlin, Says City’s Interior Minister – American Renaissance

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Woman tries to trick authorities with prescription for ‘medical meth’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Everyone’s heard of medical marijuana, but one Albuquerque woman claims she had a prescription for medical meth.Authorities didn’t buy it.Ginger Sharpe was arrested for a probation violation after her parole officer said she tested positive for the drug. However, according to court documents, Sharpe said she was prescribed the meth by a doctor in Farmington, and even had a prescription bottle with a label for meth tablets.That bottle, it turns out, was an elaborate fake.Sharpe is being charged with forgery and identity theft.

Source: Woman tries to trick authorities with prescription for ‘medical meth’ | KOB 4

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