Our sales system is really pissing me off today. not sure how you can build a computer up from scratch, it work, then the next day the database is so hosed and oracle is so screwed, that I have to re-build the system from scratch… again! blagh!
This is just a quick test of the new p2 theme/posting thingy.
Jacqui Cheng, Ars Technica:
Variations of the Flashback trojan have reportedly infected more than half a million Macs around the globe, according to Russian antivirus company Dr. Web. The company made an announcement on Wednesday — first in Russian and later in English — about the growing Mac botnet, first claiming 550,000 infected Macs. Later in the day, however, Dr. Web malware analyst Sorokin Ivan posted to Twitter that the count had gone up to 600,000, with 274 bots even checking in from Cupertino, CA, where Apple’s headquarters are located.
Cheng links to F-Secure, who has instructions for checking if your system is infected. If you don’t have Java installed (or have it installed, but keep it disabled in your web browsers) you should be safe.
The weird thing to me is that if true, this sounds like the worst malware problem Mac OS X has ever seen — yet there doesn’t seem to be any hysterical media coverage about it. Hypothetical Mac security problems often get hysterical coverage; now we apparently have an actual security problem and it’s no big deal?
Update: I’m curious to hear from any readers who determine that their system’s been infected by this thing.
Update 2: Via email and public Twitter replies, I’ve seen reports from about a dozen or so DF readers who’ve been hit by this. And they all seem like typical DF readers — sophisticated, experienced, if not downright expert Mac users. It’s not an epidemic, but it’s definitely real, and insidious.
And regarding the lack of hype surrounding Flashback, DF reader Paul Hoffman (via email) has a theory:
I suspect that there hasn’t been that much hype is that the hype is normally generated by the anti-virus companies, and (from what I have heard) none of the Mac AV software caught this until yesterday. Whoopsie.
To cheer up exhausted parents with an over-energetic child or collicky baby, Akashic Books will publish “Go the F*** To Sleep in October.
What do you think? Author A.J. Jacobs called it “the most honest children’s book ever written.” Adam Mansbach (The End of the Jews) wrote the book and Ricardo Cortes illustrated.
Here’s more from Amazon: “a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing off to dreamland. Honest, profane, and affectionate, Adam Mansbach’s verses and Ricardo Cortés’ illustrations perfectly capture the familiar—and unspoken—tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night, and open up a conversation about parenting in the process.” (Via Buzzfeed)
A Long Island mansion said to have inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald in writing his classic American novel “The Great Gatsby” has poured its last drink, rolled up the dance floor and kicked out the guests for good. No more parties, no more gazing out of windows. Heck, no more windows. The once-elegant mansion has been razed.
The House of Lunduke BBS launched October 19th, 2010 (just a few short months ago)… and we have just passed the 4 thousand call mark. Which rules.
(You can connect to the house of Lunduke via telnet at bbs.lunduke.com or via the Flash terminal.)
To celebrate, I’m doing a few new things on the little BBS that could:
1) We’re going to have our first TradeWars 2002 tournament. The start date is set for April 25th. If you want to influence the tournament settings at all, head on in to the BBS and make your requests in the “TW” message base.
2) I’ve reset the current TradeWars game to be a 5,000 sector game with no turn limits. None at all. This instance of the game is run completely independently of the upcoming tournament and is designed to run very long term.
3) I will begin hosting files in the file area of the BBS. These will be files specific to running and connecting to BBS’s.
4) RetroNet. I’m looking at starting a BBS message network. Want to join your current BBS? Want to start a new BBS and join up? Jump on in to the House of Lunduke and head in to the “RetroNet Discussion” message base.
Why am I doing all this you ask? Because it’s a blast. See more of my thoughts on the matter here.
In a blind taste test, volunteers were unable to distinguish between expensive and cheap wine
An expensive wine may well have a full body, a delicate nose and good legs, but the odds are your brain will never know.
A survey of hundreds of drinkers found that on average people could tell good wine from plonk no more often than if they had simply guessed.
In the blind taste test, 578 people commented on a variety of red and white wines ranging from a £3.49 bottle of Claret to a £29.99 bottle of champagne. The researchers categorised inexpensive wines as costing £5 and less, while expensive bottles were £10 and more.
The study found that people correctly distinguished between cheap and expensive white wines only 53% of the time, and only 47% of the time for red wines. The overall result suggests a 50:50 chance of identifying a wine as expensive or cheap based on taste alone – the same odds as flipping a coin.
Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at Hertfordshire University, conducted the survey at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
“People just could not tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine,” he said. “When you know the answer, you fool yourself into thinking you would be able to tell the difference, but most people simply can’t.”
All of the drinkers who took part in the survey were attending the science festival, but Wiseman claims the group was unlikely to be any worse at wine tasting than a cross-section of the general public.
“The real surprise is that the more expensive wines were double or three times the price of the cheaper ones. Normally when a product is that much more expensive, you would expect to be able to tell the difference,” Wiseman said.
People scored best when deciding between two bottles of Pinot Grigio, with 59% correctly deciding which was which. The Claret, which cost either £3.49 or £15.99, fooled most people with only 39% correctly identifying which they had tasted.
In 2008, a study led by Adrian North, a psychologist at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, claimed that music helped boost the flavour of certain wines. North, who was commissioned by a Chilean winemaker, reported that Cabernet Sauvignon was most affected by “powerful and heavy” music, while Chardonnay benefited from “zingy and refreshing” sounds.
We recently came across a ransom trojan that prompts the following:
“Windows license locked!“
The trojan claims that “you should complete activation” and provides several phones numbers.
While these numbers may look like generic service numbers, they aren’t. They go to various countries (“00” is the prefix for international dialing). The countries are: São Tomé and Principe (239), Denmark (45), Madagascar (261) and Globalstar Mobile Satellite Service (8819).
The trojan claims that the call is “free of charge” but it isn’t, and the trojan author will earn money from the call via a technique known as short stopping. This method involves rogue phone operators who route the expensive calls to cheaper countries.
After three minutes or so, the caller is given this unlock code: 1351236.
The unlock code appears to be the same every time the number is called.
It’s a pretty clever bit of social engineering and some victims may never even realize that they’ve been scammed.
Here’s a video demonstration on the Labs YouTube channel, which also includes some discussion of other ransom trojans.
We detect this trojan (md5: 9a6f87b4be79d0090944c198a68012b6) as Trojan.Generic.KDV.153863.
A full audio recording of our call to the ransom number is here (MP3, 4 minutes).
On 11/04/11 At 02:57 PM
The valiant rescue of Princess Leia takes a turn for the worse when our heroes evade onrushing Stormtroopers by jumping down a garbage shoot. The situation turns grim when the dianoga garbage squid shows up and the garbage compactor’s walls begin to close in!