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Friday, February 6, 2009

Fake Parking Tickets - Real Viruses

Using a clever bit of social engineering, hackers in in Grand Forks, North Dakota have placed tickets on vehicles citing fake traffic violations and referring the "offender" to a website that claimed to have photos of the alleged violation, but which actually tricked users into downloading a virus.

"According to internet security watchdog The SANS Institute, the website then had photos of cars in various car parks around Grand Forks and instructed users to download a tool bar to find photos of their own vehicle.

But the tool bar was actually an executable file which installed a Trojan virus that then displayed a fake security alert when the PC was rebooted. The fake alert then prompted the user to install fake anti-virus software."

It still amazes me how easily we are duped into falling for these tricks... clever though!

Source: BBC

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Google Latitude - Share Your Location Or Not

Google has unveiled a new Google Maps feature, for your mobile phone, called Latitude. When you opt in to Latitude you can share your current location with those who might care about your whereabouts.

"Latitude is a new feature for Google Maps on your mobile device. It's also an iGoogle gadget on your computer. Once you've opted in to Latitude, you can see the approximate location of your friends and loved ones who have decided to share their location with you... And with Latitude, not only can you see your friends' locations on a map, but you can also be in touch directly via SMS, Google Talk, Gmail, or by updating your status message; you can even upload a new profile photo on the fly."

The nice thing about Latitude is that Google lets you be in control of what everyone sees, with differing degrees of accuracy, and they even allow you to hide if you choose.

Source: Official Google Blog

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Exploring The Ocean Floor With Google Earth

With Google Earth 5.0, Google has filled in the big blue expanses otherwise known as the ocean giving you the ability to dive below the surface and view points of interest.

"...we have a much more detailed bathymetric map (the ocean floor), so you can actually drop below the surface and explore the nooks and crannies of the seafloor in 3D. While you're there you can explore thousands of data points including videos and images of ocean life, details on the best surf spots, logs of real ocean expeditions, and much more."

Additionally you can now get historical views of many landmarks and record your journey for later playback. Check out the video...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Study Shows That As You Read Your Brain Simulates Actions In Stories

Using brain-imaging, researchers at Washington University have found that as you read your brain simulates the actions in the story.

"There has been good evidence for a while that mental simulation — imagination — can improve performance in sport and other skilled behaviours.

This study suggests that readers do mental simulation when they comprehend a story," said Jeffrey Zacks, director of the university's dynamic cognition laboratory.

This would suggest that we can practice skills by reading about them... interesting!

Source: CBC

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Google Hickup

For almost an hour on Saturday morning Google tagged every search result as a possible malware site giving users a message "This site may harm your computer" for every site returned. Here's Google explanation from the Official Google Blog:

"What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search results with the message "This site may harm your computer" if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their computers. We maintain a list of such sites through both manual and automated methods. We work with a non-profit called to come up with criteria for maintaining this list, and to provide simple processes for webmasters to remove their site from the list.

We periodically update that list and released one such update to the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here's the human error), the URL of '/' was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and '/' expands to all URLs."

So they are human afterall!