Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Asperger syndrome is no more

Asperger syndrome is no more

independent.ie | Dec 10th 2012

hacker: Gary McKinnon escaped extradition

He called children with this condition 'Little Professors'

Asperger syndrome is one of the best known mental health conditions in public consciousness. Teachers, journalists, parents have all heard of it, partly because it is known to be associated with giftedness and with two well-known names.

Gary McKinnon, the Scottish man who hacked into the US military computer when searching to prove a cover up of UFO activity, is the public face of Asperger's.

He was due to be extradited to the US but this was blocked by the British government in October of this year. In the world, of comedy, some may be familiar with the series 'Big Bang Theory'.

It depicts the exploits of four geeks, all neurophysicists. One, Sheldon Cooper is said to have the condition, although not officially "diagnosed". Yet he has an abundance of the features detailed in the scientific literature that include a strangely self-aggrandising style along with difficult understanding irony, sarcasm and humour. He got his first PhD at 16!

In real life other famous people, including Abraham Lincoln, are said to have had Asperger's.

Hans Asperger, an Austrian psychiatrist and paediatrician described a condition which he called autistic psychopathy. He called the children with this condition "Little Professors" because of their intense interest in esoteric topics such as algebra, train timetables, etc, combined with physical awkwardness.

In 1944 the condition was renamed Asperger syndrome in recognition of his work. Other features which he identified were lack of empathy, pedantic speech, problems relating to the social world, accompanied by self-absorption and as a consequence difficulty forming relationships. In their totality there is an impression of eccentricity.

Asperger believed that this condition was related to autism, but unlike autism, intellectual functioning was high. In 1981 a famous child psychiatrist in London, the late Lorna Wing, wrote a paper on the subject describing a case series she had treated. This helped popularise the term and by 1994 it was included in the diagnostic bible of psychiatrists in the US, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition (DSM-IV).

This tome, published every 10-15 years, details the symptoms required for every recognised psychiatric condition known to the psychiatric profession. The inclusion of a new diagnostic syndrome, such as Asperger's, is of huge significance since it will attract funding for research, just as its removal will have the opposite effect.

The removal of Asperger syndrome from the psychiatric lexicon of disorders is what has just been announced.

When the next edition (DSM 5) is published in 2013 it will not contain Asperger's. Instead it will be replaced by a single term that will also include autism. The new combination will simply be called "autistic spectrum disorder" and it will be measured on a scale from mild to severe.

For many diagnosed with the condition this will be seen as a huge blow since research into this unusual condition will cease. And therein lies one of the problems which has forced its removal – there is little current information even on its prevalence, possible causes or outcome. The distinction from high functioning autism was, apparently, the most pressing reason for its exclusion.

So what is the future for those currently diagnosed with Asperger's? Critics of its elimination are now petitioning that it should continue to be included because studies of educational and social interventions to help those with the condition will now cease. For many, who self- define as "Aspies" the diagnosis has become linked to a range of supportive, non-financial, benefits that they fear will be withdrawn. Families argue that the needs of the children with Asperger's differ from those with autism.

Only time will tell if these fears are realised. What is obvious is that research funding will still continue to be directed to the broad category of autistic spectrum disorder. Asperger's may in the future re-emerge, with a tighter definition and with a strengthened body of knowledge than at present and this can only be good for those currently living with this syndrome.

Originally published in

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Artificial Intelligence by accident

Artificial Intelligence by accident

by Jess Thom, guardian.co.uk
December 14th 2012

I should say from the outset that my scientific knowledge is very limited. In most areas it stretches little beyond the rudimentary fragments that sank in at school. I can probably still do an annotated pencil drawing of a cell, take an educated guess at what colour an unborn mouse will turn out to be based on the characteristics of its parents, and create a dramatic looking sculpture using a Bunsen burner and a biro.

Given these questionable credentials you may be wondering what on earth I'm doing as a guest writer for this blog. Well, when it comes to experience of brains and flapping, or more accurately a brain that makes me flap, I have extensive knowledge.

I have Tourettes Syndrome, which means I make movements and noises I can't control. These are known as tics. My most prominent vocal tic is, "Biscuit" which, along with many other random words and phrases, I say involuntarily hundreds of times an hour.

Tourettes is a condition shrouded in myth. Lots of people have heard of it, but it turns out very few have any clear understanding of what it really is. To help change this, three years ago, I founded Touretteshero, an organisation that challenges misconceptions about Tourettes and shares the humour and creativity that can arise from it.

This autumn my mission to 'Change the world one tic at a time' took a giant leap forward with the publication of my first book: Welcome to Biscuit Land – A Year in the Life of Touretteshero. The book, based on my daily blog, shares my experiences of living with unusual neurology. I hope that by reading it people will get a better understanding of Tourettes and an insight into the funny, unusual, sad, surprising and uplifting experiences that it can bring. Above all I hope it makes people laugh.

The catalyst for Touretteshero was the surreal nature of my vocal tics. Anything I've ever seen or experienced has the potential to become a tic. Words and ideas get mixed together to create phrases that you'd never expect to hear. My tics are generally random and completely unconnected to anything I'm consciously thinking.

• Make bold claims: "I'm a performing seal called Latitude."
• Question the universe: "Moon, did you get fat with the stars?"
• Suggest ideas for new businesses: "Urban Velociraptor Training Company."
• Re-work parables: "The wise man built his donkey on the sheep."
• Ask people to make difficult choices: "All of humankind or biscuits? Choose."

But many are just weird: "Rupert Bear Fondant Fondling Contest."

One of the biggest myths about Tourettes is that everyone with it swears involuntarily, this is not the case. In fact this type of tic, known as Coprolalia, is only a feature for 10% of people with the condition. I'm one of the 10%, but even for me rude tics make up only a tiny part of the things I say.

My vocal tics are a central part of the Touretteshero website. There are nearly 5,000 on there already and I update it regularly. Visitors can browse the tics, vote for their favourites, and make works of art out of them.

But this unique collection of tics has another important function – it's at the heart of my @ticbot account on Twitter. Let me introduce you.

@TicBot is a computer program, running on a machine in a cupboard somewhere in Nottingham. It does a few different things. It:

• Follows back (i.e. follows anyone who follows it)
• Unfollows back (i.e. unfollows anyone who unfollows it)
• Publicly tweets random tics from the collection, a few times a day
• Occasionally butts into the conversations of its followers with random tics
• Replies (usually) to anyone who directly talks to it

Very early on in the in creation of Touretteshero, I realised my vocal tics would work well on Twitter. Like lots of the best tweets they're concise, random and draw on all sorts of subjects.

I tweet as @Touretteshero and share a new tic every day using #dailyoutburst. But my tweeted tics will never truly reflect Tourettes because, unlike my real-world tics, I can, and sometimes do, censor them. For a truly authentic voice I needed a braver tweeter than me, so @TicBot was born.

Created by programming wizard @branespeaks, and based on my descriptions of the sensation and patterns of vocal tics, @TicBot randomly tweets things I've said as tics to people who follow him or engage him in conversation. These exchanges can be funny, angry, beautiful, sad or just plain confusing. But what's clear from reading through his mentions is that he makes people think.

The fact that I refer to @TicBot as a 'him' even though I know he's technically just a string of code is a testimony to the unusualness of this bot. Lots of people who chat with him don't realise he's a bot at all (despite the name). Even those who know very well that he's automated, still think of him as having a personality. I think of him as a naughty younger brother who I have to keep an eye on. To many others he's become a firm friend, and to just a few he's an enemy.

@TicBot is cared about and flirted with. He's received death threats and marriage proposals. A few recent interactions include:

@TicBot Kiss me ticbot!!
@TicBot It's PAST your bedtime...
@TicBot I'm going to hunt you down and fuck with your mind by secretly moving objects in your house to places where you didn't leave them.
@TicBot Incidentally this is the most surreal conversation I've ever had on twitter....
@TicBot is one of the loveliest things I've yet encountered on Twitter, it really is.
@TicBot understands everything I say to him/her/it. I know this to be true.

And it's this last sentiment that comes up again and again. Looking at many of the interactions I've seen, it appears @TicBot could be judged to have passed Alan Turing's famous test, deliberately or not.

In the Turing Test a human judge engages in a typed conversation with a human and a machine. The participants are separated from one another and if the judge cannot reliably tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test. Twitter meets these conditions: a mix of people and bots in many different locations, having short text-based conversations. While the majority of bots are easily identifiable as such, something makes @TicBot appear more human than most.

A conversation I had with his creator helped me to understand why this might be.

He said, 'TicBot isn't you - or even bits of you, but it bears your mark. @TicBot's like Plasticine you've stuck your thumb in. People are having surreal conversations with something that has a you-shaped imprint in it. A distant outpost of you - particularly your humour.'

One of the interesting things we noticed about @TicBot's ability to engage with people is that when we tried to make him more coherent – by programming him to match the text in someone's tweet and then getting him to reply saying something on the same subject, it didn't work as well as when his tweets were totally random. @TicBot doesn't have to mean anything; its human followers project their own meanings into his words.

The enigma that is @TicBot was probably best summed up by one of his followers:

'And of course everyone on Twitter should be following @TicBot, but what is his true identify? Who is Ticbot? A man or an idea?'

Either way, @TicBot is definitely an unusual way of encouraging a diverse audience to think more deeply about Tourettes. Social media sites like Twitter can sometimes feel like lonely places to be if you have no one to talk to; @TicBot always responds and this makes him a very appealing tweeter.

If you use Twitter but haven't met @TicBot yet, why not go and introduce yourself and see where the conversation leads you?

If you're interested in finding out more about my life with Tourettes check out my book Welcome to Biscuit Land – A Year in the Life of Touretteshero, which was published by Souvenir Press in October.

And as we're now in the festive season, why not check out my Christmas Message and hear some real human tics in action?

You can find out more about Jessica Thom's projects and outbursts at www.touretteshero.com/

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Gary McKinnon will face no charges in UK

Gary McKinnon will face no charges in UK

m.guardiannews.com | Dec 14th 2012

No further legal action will be taken in Britain against the computer hacker Gary McKinnon, the police and Crown Prosecution Service have announced.

The decision comes three months after the government moved to block his extradition to the United States (video) on human rights grounds.

A joint panel of the police and the CPS advised there should be no new criminal investigation into McKinnon – accused in a US court of committing "the biggest military computer hack of all time" – and that advice has been accepted.

McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, said: "I feel fantastic, it's just wonderful. The next thing I would like to get, impossible though it seems, would be a pardon from President Obama.

"I think it's possible because I think Obama seems like a good person and so does his wife."

She continued: "It's amazing because it's my birthday. Gary was tearful because of the relief – he was so scared. It's going to be such a nice Christmas not to have everything hanging over us.

"I feel the 10 years have been gruelling, it's been life-destroying. It's difficult to explain how bad it's been.

"To have this over is amazing. Gary's gone through enough. Other people have been accused of more serious hacking in this country and they've been given a £1,000 fine and a very short community sentence."Gary regrets what he's done. He wishes he hadn't done it. He wishes he hadn't upset the Americans. We all regret it. But I'm grateful to Theresa May that this is all over now."

A joint statement from Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, and Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, cited the huge difficulties of charging him in the UK, and said the chances of conviction would be poor.

Nothing had changed since the original 2002 decision that the only appropriate place to try McKinnon would be the US, they said. McKinnon, 46, has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and depression. With his mother Janis Sharp , he has fought extradition since the US submitted a request in 2004, almost two years after he was indicted in his absence by a federal grand jury for seven counts of computer-related crime.He admits to trawling through Nasa and other US defence sites, but insists he was only looking for evidence of UFOs; he occasionally left messages in the system, such as "your security is crap".

McKinnon has been on bail but under threat for most of the time since he was arrested in 2005. After many twists and turns in the legal process, the home secretary, Theresa May, announced in October that he would not be extradited on human rights grounds, because medical reports warned he was at risk of suicide if sent to face trial in the US.

The statement said although the US had indicated it would co-operate on bringing a prosecution in England and Wales, it would present enormous difficulties.

"The potential difficulties in bringing a case in England and Wales now should not be underestimated, not least the passage of time, the logistics of transferring sensitive evidence prepared for a court in the US to London for trial, the participation of US government witnesses in the trial and the need fully to comply with the duties of disclosure imposed on the CPS. The prospects of a conviction against Mr McKinnon which reflects the full extent of his alleged criminality are not high. "None of the reasons for the original decision in 2002 that the appropriate place for Mr McKinnon to be tried was the United States have altered. So far as the evidence is concerned, the position in 2012 is the same as it was in 2002. Most of the witnesses are in the US, as is nearly all the physical evidence and the bulk of the unused material, some of which is sensitive.

"Accordingly, in November this year, the CPS and the police met senior officials from the US department of justice to discuss the possibility of bringing the US witnesses to England and Wales for trial and of transferring all the US material to this jurisdiction to be considered."

McKinnon's lawyer, Karen Todner, said: "I have mixed feelings about this: I am pleased he is not going to be prosecuted because I wouldn't want to think he would ever spend any time in prison given his mental situation.

"But I am disappointed because the extradition warrant is still outstanding because he can't travel anywhere outside of the UK and will have this hanging over him until it's resolved. We have discussed approaching president Obama and asking for a pardon."In a statement after the extradition was blocked in October, a spokeswoman for the US department of justice said: "The United States is disappointed by the UK home secretary's decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon, particularly given the past decisions of the UK courts and prior home secretaries that he should face trial in the United States."

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Monday, December 10, 2012

A rose by any other name...... : @Aspienaut : WIRED differently

A rose by any other name...... : Aspienaut : WIRED differently


I was asked this week to write a post about how to deal with older parents who do not accept their child’s asperger’s.  I will try to answer this question in quite general terms by looking it it from a slightly wider perspective, so here goes.

Then they say,

“Yet you look so normal, but now you mention it, I always knew there was something strange about you!”

or perhaps:

“It’s always something these days, you were a difficult child and now you’re a difficult adult, its just who you are!”

It can seem at times as though we’re being attacked and have to defend our diagnosis and sometimes it’s as if we’re expected to just hand it over and let it go. 

It always surprises me, even now, to discover that other people have thoughts different from my own, have their own minds even (who knew!)  Yet I am still so effected by their comments, their view is very powerful to me.  I believe this in-part is because I do not think about other peoples views or thoughts and so it always comes as a shock when they say something I don’t agree with or show another view of the same situation.  It’s because of this that I am so affected by their comments, because to me, believe it or not, I presumed their views were the same as my own and therefore when they challenge me, it feels so very fundamental.

When someone says, ‘you don’t have Asperger’s!’  It is very much like they are challenging your sense of self.  Now that I understand myself and how I see the world I can cope better with these situations.  I no longer need anyone else to validate my sense of self and have worked very hard to make sense of who I am.  Therefore, I can let their words pass straight through me, only occasionally, when significant, do I pluck their words out of the air and hold on to them.  

You can only help them understand, they’ve actually got to want to.  If they don’t you can only accept that too.  I believe there is only so much you can or even should do to help others understand, they’ve got to meet you half way.  You on the other hand, have to learn to accept yourself fully, for no one else can do it for you.  

You are amazing, you just might not know it, yet! 

© Paul C Siebenthal Dec 2012.


Happy Birthday Grandma



Sensory Overload and Sensory Cravings MUST READ by @EmmasHopeBook

Sensory Overload and Sensory Cravings

emmashopebook.com | Dec 3rd 2012

My friend Ibby posted this video on her Facebook timeline (for those triggered by loud noise, flashing lights and/or prone to seizures, do NOT watch or at least turn the volume way down and stand back)  

See Video:

A twitter friend, after I reposted this video, wrote that this was why he wears headphones and I tweeted back that while Emma is sensitive to some noises, for the most part she craves noise and typically turns the volume up as loud as it can physically go on both music and favorite movies, much to the horror of our various neighbors.  Even though we live in New York City (a place that is, for many, a sensory overload), people get cranky when woken at 6:30AM on Saturday morning to the strains of Michael Jackson’s Beat it.  Even hard-core MJ fans protest at the volume Emma prefers and at that time of day.

My twitter friend tweeted back, “I like certain noises, Avenge Sevenfold. ;D  It’s noises other than the one I’m trying to focus on that are the problem.”  And this is exactly the important distinction that I often forget or have trouble understanding.  Unless you have sensory issues, like the ones depicted in this video, I think it’s really hard to fully understand how debilitating sensory overload can be.

A couple of months ago I went to do our weekly grocery shopping run at Whole Foods.  Typically I go every Saturday in the early afternoon.  This is a time that isn’t too crazy, the lines aren’t insanely long and often it’s even comparatively quiet.  As I stood in front of the check-out person, the cashier next to her began loudly unfolding a paper bag.  The noise was deafening, a kind of snapping sound followed by crackling.   I actually felt physical pain from the noise.  My cashier looked over and laughed and then another cashier did the same thing with one of her bags.  In response the first guy did it back and suddenly I was in the midst of a cacophony of bags being banged opened, like a series of gun shots going off.  It was horrible. I stood there stunned.  I became so disoriented I could barely think and then I felt a surge of rage. How dare they make this kind of noise with those paper bags! How dare they behave this way!  I looked around trying to figure out who I should direct my anger to and noticed that not only were they smiling, some were even laughing and so were the other customers.

They were having fun!  I was astonished.  What was so incredibly painful to me, was amusing to others.  As I left the grocery store I reflected on sensory issues and how overwhelming they can be. I thought about Emma and wondered what it must be like for her.  Does she feel this way when she needs sensory input and cannot get it or is told she must turn the volume down?  I know there are certain noises she cannot tolerate, like the cuisinart.  She hates the sound it makes and will only tolerate it if I allow her to control it and put it on “pulse”, the same goes for the electric mixer.  If one of us sings along to music she’s listening to she can’t stand it and puts her hands over her ears.  (I completely understand her doing this when I sing, I’m pretty much tone-deaf and it IS painful to listen to for even those with no sensory issues, but she does this to anyone who sings along.)

After watching the video I posted above, I was grateful for the ending.  Not because it changed anything or showed some obvious solution, but because it was one human being taking the time to notice another human being in obvious pain without judgment or condemnation.

As an aside – I would love to hear from those who need and crave sensory input.  What is that like?  What does it feel like?  Is there anything you’ve done that has helped you.  Any advice or ways we can make your life more tolerable during those times?

Emma – 2007 – Auditory Integration Therapy

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DARPA Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System

Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS)


Warfighters need to be able to see and identify threats at as great a distance as possible.  Binoculars have not yet integrated the technology or biology that could help maximize this capability.  The Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System program will bring these technologies to develop soldier-portable visual threat detection devices.  These systems will provide greater visual information about a warfighter's surroundings while providing tools to initiate an early response when threats emerge.  This program will integrate areas of technology such as flat-field, wide-angle optics, large pixel-count digital imaging, and cognitive visual processing algorithms.  Other features include ultra low-power analog/digital hybrid signal processing, operator neural signature detection processing, and operator interface systems.  Success from this effort will result in a composite software/human-in-the-loop system capable of high-fidelity detection with extremely low false alarm rates without adding to already significant warfighter combat loads.

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DARPA is Testing a Sentry System that Combines Computer Vision with Signals from the Human Brain

DARPA is Testing a Sentry System that Combines Computer Vision with Signals from the Human Brain

by Lucas Laursen, technologyreview.com
November 27th 2012

Sentry duty is a tough assignment. Most of the time there’s nothing to see, and when a threat does pop up, it can be hard to spot. In some military studies, humans are shown to detect only 47 percent of visible dangers.

A project run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) suggests that combining the abilities of human sentries with those of machine-vision systems could be a better way to identify danger. It also uses electroencephalography to identify spikes in brain activity that can correspond to subconscious recognition of an object.

An experimental system developed by DARPA sandwiches a human observer between layers of computer vision and has been shown to outperform either machines or humans used in isolation.

The so-called Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System consists of a wide-angle camera and radar, which collects imagery for humans to review on a screen, and a wearable electroencephalogram device that measures the reviewer’s brain activity. This allows the system to detect unconscious recognition of changes in a scene—called a P300 event.

In experiments, a participant was asked to review test footage shot at military test sites in the desert and rain forest. The system caught 91 percent of incidents (such as humans on foot or approaching vehicles) in the simulation. It also widened the field of view that could effectively be monitored. False alarms were raised only 0.2 percent of the time, down from 35 percent when a computer vision system was used on its own. When combined with radar, which detects things invisible to the naked eye, the accuracy of the system was close to 100 percent, DARPA says.

“The DARPA project is different from other ‘human-in-the-loop’ projects because it takes advantage of the human visual system without having the humans do any ‘work,’ ” says computer scientist Devi Parikh of the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago. Parikh researches vision systems that combine human and machine expertise.

While electroencephalogram-measuring caps are commercially available for a few hundred dollars, Parikh warns that the technology is still in its infancy. Furthermore, she notes, the P300 signals may vary enough to require training or personalized processing, which could make it harder to scale up such a system for widespread use.

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New iPhone 5 Influx? Top 5 Ways You Can Protect Your Company and Information

New iPhone 5 Influx? Top 5 Ways You Can Protect Your Company and Information

by Stacey Garcia, community.websense.com
September 12th 2012 10:30 AM


Today Apple announced the release of their new iPhone 5, setting off another frenzy of consumer acquisition and a corresponding influx of iPhones and other personal devices brought into the workplace - with employee expectations that they can connect these devices to the company network.

Unfortunately, many organizations are still challenged with allowing these devices to connect to corporate networks in a safe and secure manner. Today's threats are evolving and the likelihood of malware and/or data theft or loss with mobile devices has been on the rise.

With mobility continuing to expand and the addition of new platforms and emerging technology, it is your responsibility to make sure that your company remains protected from the various mobile threats. Here are five things you can do to start protecting your company while enabling mobile devices whether they are bring your own device (BYOD) or corporate-owned:

1. Allow only certain "trusted" mobile devices access to corporate networks

2. Establish a minimum security requirement for all devices connecting to your corporate networks

3. Require a passcode to be enforced on all mobile devices

4. Do not allow jail broken devices to access corporate data

5. Define a clear strategy on what to do if a device is lost or stolen

All of these and more should be addressed in your company's acceptable use policy (AUP) for mobile devices. For more information on creating an AUP, please download the Websense BYOD Acceptable Use Policy Kit.

For more information on the Websense TRITON Mobile Security Solution, please check out this page.

From what you've heard about the new features, do you believe the iPhone 5 will sell more, less or the same as the last version?

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A 3 Step Plan For Mobile Security

A 3 Step Plan For Mobile Security


Mobile security is a complex problem that requires a holistic approach. Mobility is here. Mobility is now. Mobility (along with cloud and social media) is one of the three new technologies that brings new productivity opportunities—and associated security risks. Add in the consumerization of IT, an explosion of corporate and personal mobile devices, and the fact that there are no simple mobile security solutions, and you have one of the major IT security strategy challenges of 2012.

The challenge is how to enable productivity and mitigate the threats, vulnerabilities, and risks in a way that strikes the best balance and lowest total costs.

Significance of the white paper Increasing one's awareness of today's mobile security risks and understanding the options for solutions are two key steps in preparing for best secucrity practices. In addition, this article:

  • Recognizes the goals of a complete mobile security solution
  • Identifies and understands mobile threats and risks
  • Provides solution suggestions for a mobile security solution tailored to your unique needs

Quote: "It's the data, not the device"

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

You started it... I'll finish it

"Also, please refrain from writing the money orders or addressing the envelope using "Durant". It is not my name and it hasn't been since 1975."

Karen Kahn
December 9, 2012



People Related to Karen Durant






My name is ELyssa Durant and I approve this message. © 2012

My name is ELyssa Durant.

There are many people on the web who may look like @ELyssaD™ on social networks and forums, but I am the ONLY Elyssa Durant in the United States of America.

I may appear strange or different, but what you may not know is that I am a statistical and genetic enigma with a genius IQ and impeccable grammar!

You may not understand everything I say or do because I may look normal, but like millions of others, I have what's called an autism spectrum disorder.

What you may not realize is that I am one of the four most brilliant policy analysts trained by the some of the most esteemed experts in academia. Trained to evaluate people and programs in various clinical, legal and psychological settings by the best of the best at THE top ranked programs in the United States!

I spent twelve years training my mind and fine tuning my skills so that I can evaluate YOU and make a formal assessment clinically, legally and ethically.

So before YOU judge me or jump to conclusions about who or what I am, be sure to check your facts and always consider the source. My name is Elyssa Durant and I approve this message.

 Just me,


The dogs dying for your fake UGG boots: As copycat footwear floods the market, we discover where the fur REALLY comes from

The dogs dying for your fake UGG boots

by Charlotte Kemp, dailymail.co.uk
November 10th 2011

As copycat 'Ugg' boots flood the market, Femail tests 10 pairs to see where the fur really comes from - with shocking results

Four weeks ago I ordered a pair of black UGG boots on the internet. According to the postal tracking service, they were due to arrive at my home in Kent on Monday.

But when the postman came knocking, he wasn’t armed with sheepskin-lined Sundance II boots in black, just an ominous-looking letter.

‘Notice of Goods Detained,’ read the missive, bearing the UK Border Agency logo. ‘We have detained your parcel containing “UGG” boots because we believe they are counterfeit, pirated or patent-infringing goods. We have contacted the owner of the Trade Mark, Copyright or Right Holder and asked them to determine whether this is the case.’

A second letter is enclosed in the same envelope. It’s from Deckers, the owners of the UGG brand. They’ve examined the boots, confirmed that they are fakes and now plan to destroy them.

‘As the goods are counterfeit and were not purchased from a genuine UGG site we are not in a position to offer a refund,’ it concludes .

So no boots and I’m £95 out of pocket. But worse is to come with the delivery of a second pair of UGG-style boots ordered over the internet.

They are topped with a fashionable trim of what I assume is fleecy sheepskin. It turns out to be fur from the coat of the raccoon dog.

Farmed in horrific conditions in China, the raccoon dog is a species related to the domestic dog. Animal rights activists recently released video showing sickening scenes of them being skinned alive on a Chinese fur farm.

But unlike dog or cat fur, which cannot be sold in Britain, there is no ban.

As a result, there are fears that, this winter, thousands of unsuspecting Britons may be fooled into buying imitation UGG boots made using pelts of animals skinned alive.

Clearly, the counterfeiters are prepared to go to just about any lengths to maximize profits. Across China, underpaid workers are risking their health in tanneries and sweatshops, producing boots for sale to fashion lovers in the West as the real thing.

While the genuine boots made by UGG Australia use only sheepskin produced in a humane way, there is no such guarantee with the lookalikes.

To lift the lid on the ugly underbelly of the UGG phenomena, we purchased ten pairs of boots marketed at British buyers on the high street and internet.

Some were sold as genuine UGG Australia boots, others closely copied their design. In total they cost £1,133.16. The cheapest pair cost £14.99, the most expensive £280.

The ten pairs were then examined by expert Dr Phil Greaves of Microtex, a textile fibre analysis laboratory in West Yorkshire, to see whether those sold as UGGs were real or fake. Then more testing was done to find what the boots were actually made of — with shocking results.

As Dr Greaves explained, the genuine boots are made of sheepskin with natural wool attached.

‘Basically, you reverse the animal and have the wool as the lining and the suede outside,’ he says.

But three of the ten pairs he analysed for us weren’t sheepskin at all and a further three pairs — sold as 100 per cent Australian Sheepskin — were trimmed with animal fur. So what did we discover?


Despite a crackdown on fraudulent websites selling cut-price UGGs, the internet remains a huge marketplace for counterfeit boots, with rogue traders going to great lengths to make sites look as legitimate as possible.

Many are registering domain names with .co.uk at the end and use photography copied from the official UGG Australia site.

My first port of call is a website that claims to be an accredited distributor of the boots. The UGG Australia logo is on display along with pictures of the classic styles I recognise from the official site.

I order the Knightsbridge style in size 38 and £84 is debited from my account. The boots arrive a month later, posted direct from China. There is an overpowering smell of chemicals when I open the box, but they appear to have genuine soles and the sheepskin feels soft.

But analysis by Dr Greaves reveals the boots are a sandwich of three layers. There is real wool on the inside but there is also a hidden foam layer and cheap cattle suede on the exterior. Fakes!

Attempts to order genuine UGGs from two more websites mysteriously fail at the checkout and then I receive several emails asking for direct payment via PayPal or Western Union, which I decline. I buy two more pairs of UGG Australia branded boots online. The first are from clearanceuggsoutlet.co.uk, which seems to be registered to a Cambridgeshire address, but the payment goes to a firm in China.

I purchase the second pair, advertised as the real thing on uggbootsukonline.co.uk using PayPal. A month after these orders the UK Border Agency letter arrives — but no boots.

The Metropolitan Police’s e-crime unit believes gangs in Asia are making millions of pounds on web sales of fake UGGs.


Since registering UGG Australia as a trademark in 2005, Deckers has the UK monopoly on the boots. As prices start at £175 for the classic short style, many consumers are still on the lookout for a cheaper alternative.

And, according to Handley Brustad, joint lead officer in intellectual property for the Trading Standards Institute, there are still pockets of the High Street selling cheap imitations.

After snapping up what turns out to be my only bargain — a pair of genuine UGG boots in the House of Fraser sale for £115 — I buy two pairs from High Street stores Internacionale and River Island. These do not bear the UGG label and are not sold as such, but have clearly been designed to look similar to the real thing.

When I ask staff in Internacionale in Maidstone what the £14.99 boots are made of, they can’t enlighten me. But Dr Greaves can. ‘These are made of synthetic materials. They are poor imitations and wouldn’t last a single outing in the rain,’ he says.

The River Island pair, costing £30, are clearly marked as having a faux fur lining and tests show they have a cattle suede exterior.


I make my next purchase on eBay. According to Deckers’ website, UGG Australia does not authorise any of its official dealers to sell on eBay.

Indeed, it advises customers to steer clear of auction sites altogether.

But this is clearly having little impact — there are plenty of boots claiming to be genuine UGGs. I find myself in a frenzied bidding war for a classic chocolate pair.

‘There are lots of fakes but these are 100 per cent real — paid £200 for them,’ reassures the seller, claiming the boots have been worn, but are in excellent condition.

I ‘win’ the boots for £78, plus £6.50 post and package. They arrive the following day in what appears to be an UGG box. But Dr Greaves confirms my suspicions these too are counterfeit.

‘Although the boots are made from sheepskin, they are of very poor quality,’ he says. ‘The boot is floppy and limp, the stitching is bad and the soles are inferior to the genuine UGG Australia boot.

‘It is likely if a boot like this were analysed further we would find unsafe levels of chromium-6 and formaldehyde — chemicals used in the production process that the wearer will be exposed to.’

He has similar concerns about another black pair of lookalike boots that I buy on the internet for £70.


Each season, UGG Australia comes up with a new covetable, and widely copied, design. This winter, it’s all about the trim — the fluffier the better.

But while the authentic boots are finished with Mongolian sheepskin or shearling cuffs, the fakes boots flooding the market come with more sinister embellishments.

One pair I purchase on Amazon turns out to be topped with mink, while another two pairs (one, ‘Foxy UGG boots’ from an eBay seller in Australia, the other from a popular UK e-boutique) are finished with what turns out to be raccoon dog fur. This is despite the labelling claiming they are 100 per cent Australian sheepskin.

‘The fibre characteristics of the fur are those that you would expect to find in the raccoon dog,’ confirms Dr Greaves. ‘There is no mention of the fur in any of the labelling, even though it should be declared under EU laws.

'This is a shocking finding given the recent revelations of how these animals are farmed and killed.’

He is referring to the graphic video released last month by Humane Society International showing workers at a fur farm skinning the animals alive.

‘We are concerned that the most cruelly produced fur is being sold as if it were wool,’ says Wendy Higgins, EU communications director for HSI UK. ‘This level of barbarity will horrify UK consumers.’

Deckers Outdoor Corporation confirmed last month that UGG Australia does not use raccoon dog fur in any of its products. There are guidelines on its website on how to spot a fake. But customers continue to be conned.

This Christmas one can only guess how many British women will be disappointed to receive not a pair of UGGs, but a letter informing them their gift has been seized by customs. Or worse.

Original Page: http://pocket.co/spQYM

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Supreme Court sides with ACLU on videotaping police

Supreme Court sides with ACLU on videotaping police

by Gibiru, beforeitsnews.com
November 26th 2012

Aaron Dykes

The state of Illinois has some of the harshest “eavesdropping” laws on the books, and those statutes have been frequently abused to prosecute individuals for filming police actions in public in numerous cases.

Now, a fresh Supreme Court decision has declared this to be a violation of the First Amendment, upholding a lower court decision that resulted from an ACLU lawsuit against Cook County officials, who sought an appeal to allow prosecution.

Violations of the eavesdropping statute, designed to prevent covert recordings without consent, but which have been applied to public photography, carry a harsh maximum sentence of 15 years in Illinois, while most states recognize the lack of a perception of privacy in public places.

A federal appeals court in Chicago concurred with the ACLU’s argument that, “Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests.” That decision came last May ahead of the NATO summit in Chicago, and prompted a policy not to target protesters and citizens in the streets with iPhones and digital cameras during the events. The Supreme Court thus refused to review that decision, despite an appeal by the Cook County attorney general to do so, upholding the principle in alignment with rather clear cut freedom of speech issues.

This precedent may impact the eleven other states with similar all-party consent provisions in their recording laws, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana (requires notification only), Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.

The Illinois House attempted to pass legislation allowing audio recordings of police in public places, but the bill failed 45-59. Critics, including the ACLU, have argued that upholding the right to film public figures, and especially police, is vital to preventing abuse and encouraging accountability.

The ACLU’s action followed a 2011 acquittal in Cook County on the basis that the statutes are unconstitutional. The Chicago Tribune reports:

In August of 2011, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged with recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.

Judges in Cook and Crawford counties later declared the law unconstitutional, and the McLean County state’s attorney cited flaws in the law when he dropped charges this past February against a man accused of recording an officer during a traffic stop.

In another shocking case in Illinois, Michael Allison was effectively threatened with life in prison for recording police after authorities sought the maximum sentence possible for 5 counts of violating the eavesdropping provision. After Allison appeared on the Alex Jones Show and public pressure mounted, an Illinois judge finally threw the case out, recognizing it as unconstitutional.

Life in Prison for Filming Police: Michael Allison Speaks

It is important to re-establish free speech as protected under the First Amendment as the age of cell phone cameras and live streaming video have put cop behavior in the spotlight, and also prompted waves of false arrests across the nation. Reason.com published a worthwhile video on the war on cameras that has heightened as technology has become more affordable and widespread.

A man just arrested in California for recording police has sparked new outrage after he was jailed four days.

Meanwhile, arrests are taking places for the same behavior even in states with single-party consent wiretapping laws. A soldier in Georgia was arrested for filming police on the basis that he was ‘obstructing’ law enforcement activities (he was documenting while questioning police during a traffic stop). Independent reporter and publisher of the Maui Time Weekly was arrested in Hawaii for ‘obstructing’ while filming police from a distance while they pulled over vehicles, reportedly for petty traffic violations.

Earlier in 2012, the founder of CopBlock.org was sentenced to some 3 months in jail for ‘wiretapping’ in New Hampshire. The organization seeks to hold police accountable by filming their actions.

This trend continues, despite new recognitions of filming in public as protected, free speech. The First Circuit of the US Court of Appeals in Massachusetts upheld the right to film police and other public officials in 2011.

Read more: http://www.infowars.com/supreme-court-upholds-right-to-film-police-even-in-illinois/

Original Page: http://pocket.co/spQzX

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FaceBook Take Down Notice

Keep it locked. I like it that way!



Crisis 29



He's watching you!












About the security content of iTunes 9.1

About the security content of iTunes 9.1

support.apple.com | Nov 17th 2011

For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available. To learn more about Apple Product Security, see the Apple Product Security website.

For information about the Apple Product Security PGP Key, see "How to use the Apple Product Security PGP Key."

Where possible, CVE IDs are used to reference the vulnerabilities for further information.

To learn about other Security Updates, see "Apple Security Updates."

iTunes 9.1

  • ColorSync

    CVE-ID: CVE-2010-0040

    Available for: Windows 7, Vista, XP

    Impact: Viewing a maliciously crafted image with an embedded color profile may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution

    Description: An integer overflow, that could result in a heap buffer overflow, exists in the handling of images with an embedded color profile. Opening a maliciously crafted image with an embedded color profile may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. The issue is addressed by performing additional validation of color profiles. This issue does not affect Mac OS X systems. Credit to Sebastien Renaud of VUPEN Vulnerability Research Team for reporting this issue.

  • ImageIO

    CVE-ID: CVE-2009-2285

    Available for: Windows 7, Vista, XP

    Impact: Viewing a maliciously crafted TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution

    Description: A buffer underflow exists in ImageIO's handling of TIFF images. Viewing a maliciously crafted TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This issue is addressed through improved bounds checking. For Mac OS X v10.6 systems, this issue is addressed in Mac OS X v10.6.2. For Mac OS X v10.5 systems, this issue is addressed in Security Update 2010-001.

  • ImageIO

    CVE-ID: CVE-2010-0041

    Available for: Windows 7, Vista, XP

    Impact: Visiting a maliciously crafted website may result in sending data from Safari's memory to the website

    Description: An uninitialized memory access issue exists in ImageIO's handling of BMP images. Visiting a maliciously crafted website may result in sending data from Safari's memory to the website. This issue is addressed through improved memory handling and additional validation of BMP images. For Mac OS X v10.6 systems, this issue is addressed in Mac OS X v10.6.3. For Mac OS X v10.5 systems, this issue is addressed in Security Update 2010-002. Credit to Matthew 'j00ru' Jurczyk of Hispasec for reporting this issue.

  • ImageIO

    CVE-ID: CVE-2010-0042

    Available for: Windows 7, Vista, XP

    Impact: Visiting a maliciously crafted website may result in sending data from Safari's memory to the website

    Description: An uninitialized memory access issue exists in ImageIO's handling of TIFF images. Visiting a maliciously crafted website may result in sending data from Safari's memory to the website. This issue is addressed through improved memory handling and additional validation of TIFF images. For Mac OS X v10.6 systems, this issue is addressed in Mac OS X v10.6.3. For Mac OS X v10.5 systems, this issue is addressed in Security Update 2010-002. Credit to Matthew 'j00ru' Jurczyk of Hispasec for reporting this issue.

  • ImageIO

    CVE-ID: CVE-2010-0043

    Available for: Windows 7, Vista, XP

    Impact: Processing a maliciously crafted TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution

    Description: A memory corruption issue exists in the handling of TIFF images. Processing a maliciously crafted TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This issue is addressed through improved memory handling. For Mac OS X v10.6 systems, this issue is addressed in Mac OS X v10.6.3. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.6. Credit to Gus Mueller of Flying Meat for reporting this issue.

  • iTunes

    CVE-ID: CVE-2010-0531

    Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.11 or later, Mac OS X Server v10.4.11 or later, Windows 7, Vista, XP

    Impact: Importing a maliciously crafted MP4 file may lead to a denial of service

    Description: An infinite loop issue exists in the handling of MP4 files.A maliciously crafted podcast may be able to cause an infinite loop in iTunes, and prevent its operation even after it is relaunched. This issue is addressed through improved validation of MP4 files. Credit to Sojeong Hong of Sourcefire VRT for reporting this issue.

  • iTunes

    CVE-ID: CVE-2010-0532

    Available for: Windows 7, Vista, XP

    Impact: A local user may be able to obtain system privileges during iTunes installation

    Description: A privilege escalation issue exists in the iTunes for Windows installation package. During the installation process, a race condition may allow a local user to modify a file that is then executed with system privileges. The issue is addressed through improved access controls for installation files. This issue does not affect Mac OS X systems. Credit to Jason Geffner of NGSSoftware for reporting this issue.

  • iTunes

    CVE-ID: CVE-2010-1768

    Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.11 or later, Mac OS X Server v10.4.11 or later

    Impact: Syncing a mobile device may allow a local user to gain elevated privileges

    Description: An insecure file operation exists in the handling of log files for mobile devices. Syncing an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch may allow a local user to gain the privileges of the console user. This issue is addressed through improved handling of log files. Credit to Jon Passki, and Nicolas Seriot of HEIG-VD for reporting this issue.

  • iTunes

    CVE-ID: CVE-2010-1795

    Available for: Windows 7, Vista, XP

    Impact: Opening a file in a maliciously prepared directory may lead to arbitrary code execution

    Description: A path searching issue exists in iTunes. iTunes will search for a specific DLL in the current working directory. If someone places a maliciously crafted file with a specific name in a directory, opening another file in that directory in iTunes may lead to arbitrary code execution. This issue is addressed by removing the code that uses the DLL. This issue does not affect Mac OS X systems. Credit to Simon Raner of ACROS Security for reporting this issue.

Original Page: http://pocket.co/spMyC

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Archived - About the security content of Bonjour for Windows 1.0.5

Archived - About the security content of Bonjour for Windows 1.0.5

support.apple.com | Nov 9th 2011


This document describes the security content of Bonjour for Windows 1.0.5, which can be downloaded and installed via Software Update preferences, or from Apple Downloads.

For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available. To learn more about Apple Product Security, see the Apple Product Security website.

For information about the Apple Product Security PGP Key, see "How to use the Apple Product Security PGP Key."

Where possible, CVE IDs are used to reference the vulnerabilities for further information.

To learn about other Security Updates, see "Apple Security Updates."

Original Page: http://pocket.co/spMyB

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Rendezvous is changing to...

Rendezvous is changing to...

lists.apple.com | Apr 12th 2005 8:34 AM

Rendezvous is changing to...

  • Subject: Rendezvous is changing to...
  • From: Marc Krochmal <email@hidden>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 08:34:39 -0700
  • Delivered-to: email@hidden
  • Delivered-to: email@hidden


Along with the official announcement of the Mac OS X Tiger release date...

We've finally made the name change public. The technology formerly known as Rendezvous is now called Bonjour.

We'll be transitioning our web sites, documentation and mailing list over to the new name, and we encourage everyone who's currently using the word Rendezvous in their products to switch over to Bonjour as well. In order to make the name change a success, we need everyone to come on board and switch to the new name. I'm also happy to announce that the Darwin CVS server will be going live later today and we'll be restarting the Bonjour logo licensing program later this month. If you have any questions about the name change and how it affects your company, please send your questions or comments to email@hidden.
Best Regards,


_______________________________________________ Do not post admin requests to the list. They will be ignored. Rendezvous-dev mailing list (email@hidden) Help/Unsubscribe/Update your Subscription: This email sent to email@hidden

Occupy protester to face trial in case related to Twitter subpoena

Occupy protester to face trial in case related to Twitter subpoena

guardian.co.uk | Dec 7th 2012

An Occupy Wall Street protester who has been fighting with prosecutors to keep some of his tweets private looks likely to face trail next week after a judge withdrew his offer of a plea deal.

When he appeared in court on Friday, Malcolm Harris had expected to be sentenced to time served for disorderly conduct during a demonstration on the Brooklyn bridge in October 2011.

Instead, he was told that the case will go to trial on 12 December as planned. It follows the refusal by the judge to rule over a motion concerning whether his tweets could be used in the event of a trial.

The move raises the prospect that a series of tweets by Harris could become public. Prosecutors want to use them as evidence, but Harris's lawyer fears may be used to prosecute others.

Harris, 23, was one of hundreds arrested in the mass march across the Brooklyn bridge at the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests last year. His case has received heightened media attention due the questions raised about who owns the rights to messages posted on Twitter.

Prosecutors say tweets posted by Harris show that the defendant was aware that he was breaking police orders relating to the protest. The New York district attorney's office issued a subpoena to Twitter in January, calling on the firm to hand over "any and all user information, including email address, as well as any and all tweets posted" between 15 September and 31 October 2011.

Harris initially attempted to block the move, but was told that he had no proprietary interest to his own messages. Twitter also fought the subpoena, noting that its own terms and conditions explicitly state that users "retain their right to any content they submit, post or display on or through".

But New York judge Matthew Sciarrino rejected the company's arguments, and ordered Twitter to hand over the messages to the court. Twitter eventually complied with the demand, although the tweets have so far remained sealed.

In attempting to plead guilty Friday, Harris's legal team were hoping to settle the criminal charge while keeping alive an appeal over the legality of the DA's subpoena. But Sciarrino refused to rule on a motion relating to whether the tweets could be used as evidence in a trial, saying that it was the preserve of the trial judge alone to decide.

As such, the case looks likely to go to trial on 12 December. Prosecutors in the case are seeking a sentence of 10 days community service. Responding to the development, Harris tweeted: "Woah, that was not what was supposed to happen."

"Show trial it is," he added in a subsequent message.

Original Page: http://pocket.co/spMih

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Websense Security Labs Sees the Future - 2013 Security Predictions - BYOD

Websense Security Labs Sees the Future - 2013 Security Predictions

by Chris Astacio, community.websense.com
November 13th 2012 8:05 AM


From mass Wordpress compromises to a spear-phishing attack on the White House, there is no doubt cybercriminals gained confidence and momentum in 2012.

The Websense Security Labs looked at recent security and attack trends to come up with hypotheses of the anticipated evolution of threats in 2013.

Forecasting threats is a challenging task, especially when trying to nail-down the trends and waves of the quickly shifting threat landscape. But, we have a solid track record of seeing into the murky future of the security world. If the Mayan Calendar end doesn't trigger an apocalypse at the end of this year, here's my take on what trends we expect to see emerge and continue in 2013 (you can access the full report here):

1. More cross-platform threats attacking mobile in 2013

Cross-platform threats have increasingly become the norm in the desktop/laptop realm. This expertise will lend itself to attacking these top three mobile platforms: Android, iOS and Windows 8. Cybercriminals operate toward similar objectives as legitimate application developers and focus on the most profitable platforms. As development barriers are removed, mobile threats will be able to leverage a huge library of shared code.

To draw a parallel to past cross-platform threats, Blackhole has emerged as the premiere exploit kit in the web world. It packages many different exploits together that can determine the operating system of a visitor and deliver the appropriate malware or lure specific to the device. The likelihood of a packaged, multi-platform exploit kit targeting mobile devices is high, only this may be farther off than 2013.

In the meantime, attackers will continue to increasingly use social engineering lures to capture user credentials on mobile devices, a tactic where platform exploitation is nonessential.

2. Legitimate mobile app stores will host more malware in 2013, but legitimate apps behaving badly may become more of a concern.

The success of the mobile app sales model has encouraged developers to create more mobile apps for the market. As a result, we will see an increased volume of malware hosted in legitimate mobile app stores. In addition, jail-broken devices and non-sanctioned app stores will pose significant risk in the enterprise as more organizations allow BYOD.

So this isn't just the non-sanctioned and open stores we are talking about. We believe there is an increasing likelihood that the bad guys will get a sophisticated piece of malware hidden in an application that will sneak by even vetted, legitimate app stores.

Another challenge is going to be the targeting of legitimate application developers by hackers to steal the vast amount of user data these applications collect (with a user's tacit, but often uninformed permission). The bad guys will increasingly look to compromise developer's systems to gain access to any data they find profitable.

3. Governments currently involved in cyber-warfare will likely increase their efforts in 2013.

Government-sponsored attacks will increase. In the wake of several public cyber-warfare events, there are a number of contributing factors that will drive more countries toward these strategies and tactics. A reason for this is that these attacks, when successful, work phenomenally well to achieve the attacker's objectives. We are also likely to see new and smaller government cyber-warfare players.

4. Increased awareness will result in fewer hacktivism incidents.

Increased awareness, and the resulting improvements in defensive measures, will result in fewer successful hacktivism incidents, but the sophistication levels of attacks will increase. This is specifically related to data stealing attacks. That said, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks will continue to be a weapon in the average hacktivist's arsenal.

5. Cybercriminals will become more 'virtually aware' and find modern bypass methods to avoid detection.

As networks and security vendors both apply virtual machines for applications, servers and sandboxing, threats are preparing for a customized response. Threats will evolve to more frequently and more readily tell if they are in a sandbox environment so they "play nice" until someone lets them into your network. We've already seen this with Flame, but also in more common web attacks where payloads are delivered upon the first, but not secondary visits to a malicious site.

6. Email attacks will evolve to new levels.

Old school techniques will make a comeback while other email threats will evolve to new levels. Malicious email attachments will make a comeback as malcode authors create polymorphic threats they know antivirus will be unable to stop. Domain generation algorithms and other emerging techniques will bypass current security, use different evasion tactics and increase the targeting of professionals.

7. Attacks will continue to exploit legitimate web platforms.

Having owned WordPress, attackers are moving to conquer Joomla, Drupal and phpWind. Vulnerabilities in WordPress have been exploited with mass compromises frequently. Now, because other content management systems (CMS) and service platforms are growing in use and popularity, the bad guys will routinely test the integrity of these systems. This will be increasingly likely as we see hackers become more regionally focused. As certain platforms gain users in emerging markets, the bad guys will be drawn to these targets.

The full report also includes in-depth articles on mobile security, email security and Java exploits. You can access the full report at 



Mass Injection Wave Wordpress Hits 85% US .de .lv loop DNS --> .rr nu

New Mass Injection Wave of WordPress Websites on the Prowl

community.websense.com | Mar 5th 2012 8:00 AM

The Websense® ThreatSeeker® Network has detected a new wave of mass-injections of a well-known rogue antivirus campaign that we've been following in Security LabsTM for months. The majority of targets are Web sites hosted by the WordPress content management system. At the time of writing, more than 200,000 Web pages have been compromised, amounting to close to 30,000 unique Web sites (hosts). The injection hijacks visitors to the compromised sites and rediects them to rogue AV sites that attempt to trick them into downloading and installing a Trojan onto their computer.

The injected code is very short and is placed at the bottom of the page, just before tag.

After a three-level redirection chain, victims land on a fake AV site. In this example, the first chain is the ".rr.nu", and the landing site is the ".de.lv" top-level domain, but the landing site keeps changing. The rogue AV site appears to perform a scan on the computer and scares the user by displaying fake malware detections of various kinds of Trojans. The page looks like a Windows Explorer window with a "Windows Security Alert" dialogue box in it. The fake scanning process looks like a normal Windows application, however, it is only a pop-up window within the browser. The fake antivirus then prompts visitors to download and run their "antivirus tool" to remove the supposedly found Trojans. The executable is itself the Trojan.

It is, we think, an interesting observation that more than 85% of the compromised sites are in the United States, while visitors to these web sites are more geographically dispersed. We think it's useful to note that while the attack is specific to the US, everyone is at risk when visiting these compromised pages.

Countries hosting compromised Web sites:

(Click image to enlarge)

Country of origin of visitors:

(Click image to enlarge)

Websense Security Labs continues to monitor the evolution of this campaign. Websense customers are protected with the Advanced Classification Engine, ACE, which detects compromised Web sites.


Zero Day Bug Threatens Wordpress Exploit -- SEATTLE Based

Zero day bug threatens many WordPress sites

by Dan Goodi, theregister.co.uk
August 2nd 2011 6:44 PM

Attackers are exploiting a widely used extension for the WordPress publishing platform to take control of vulnerable websites, one of the victims has warned.

The vulnerability affects virtually all websites that have an image-resizing utility called TimThumb running with WordPress, Mark Maunder, CEO of Seattle-based Feedjit, wrote in a post published Monday. The extension is "inherently insecure" because it makes it easy for hackers to execute malicious code on websites that use it. At least two websites have already been compromised, he reported.

Maunder said he found the vulnerability after discovering his own website, markmaunder.com, was suddenly and inexplicably loading advertisements, even though the blog wasn't configured to do so.

After a thorough investigation, he learned that an attacker had used TimThumb to load a PHP file into one of his site directories and then execute it. The utility, he said, by default allows files to be remotely loaded and resized from blogger.com, wordpress.com, and five other websites and doesn't vet URLs for malicious strings, making it possible to upload malicious payloads.

"So if you create a file on a web server like so: http://blogger.com.somebadhackersite.com/badscript.php and tell timthumb.php to fetch it, it merrily fetches the file and puts it in the cache directory ready for execution," Maunder explained.

He went on to report the technique was used on Friday to hack Ben Gillbanks, developer of TimThumb. Gillbanks is working on a permanent fix, but in the meantime, Maunder has submitted a temporary patch that fixes the most obvious errors.

"I can’t apologise enough for this oversight in the code and hope nobody has anything too bad happen to their sites because of my error," Gillbanks wrote in a comment responding to Maunder's post. ®


50% increase in Autism over the last five years

50% increase in Autism over the last five years

by THEUNHIVEDMIND, theunhivedmind.com
March 22nd 2012

Number of children with autism soars by more than 50 per cent in five years

The number of schoolchildren who are classified as being autistic has soared by 56 per cent in the last five years.


There are now 61,570 schoolchildren in the state-funded sector that have been recorded as having some kind of autistic spectrum disorder and they make up almost one percent of the entire school population.

Just five years ago, the number of children classified as being autistic was just 39,465 and they accounted for just 0.5 per cent of the school population.

The Government’s definition of autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people, and how a person makes sense of the world around them.

The term is used to cover a variety of autistic conditions including Asperger’s syndrome. Data from the Department of Education shows that in 2006 autistic children made up just one in every 200 pupils.

The latest figures put that ratio at one in every 125 children. Autism can cause learning problems for children.

Around 20percent of autistic pupils have been suspended from school more than once and around 50percent say they have been bullied at school.

The USA has seen a similar rise in the number of children with autism. Its Government estimates the cost of schooling a child with the condition is treble the figure for a child that does not need any extra assistance.

Some experts fear the sharp rise in autism may be more down to parents trying to seek an advantage for their child rather than a genuine ailment.

Sociology professor Frank Furedi, who wrote Wasted: Why Education Isn’t Educating, said: “There has been a proliferation for dispensation on the grounds of autism.

“It is unlikely to be a genuine unprecedented increase in autism, rather an institutional use of this condition to allow people to get easier access to resources.

“This activity ends up trivialising what is a very serious condition for some children.”

Statistics from schools in England shows that in the same five year period that has seen autism rise, there has also been an increase on 15percent in the numbers of children registered as having behavioural, emotional or social difficulties to a total of 158,015.

It means that in total there are now 701,000 children, almost one in ten schoolchildren, who are classified as having some kind of special needs.

Nick Seaton, a spokesman for the Campaign for Real Education, said: “Obviously children with autism need special treatment.

“But the rapid increase does suggest that perhaps the figures should be looked at again.

“Children should not be classified as having special needs too easily. The rise should be examined closely because it has a knock-on effect for teachers, schools and the pupils themselves.”

Caroline Hattersley, Head of Information, Advice and Advocacy at The National Autistic Society, said: “A recent NHS study revealed that the prevalence of autism is 1 in 100 and that the same rate applies for adults as for children. We know that with accurate diagnosis the right support can be put in place so that children with autism can reach their full potential.

“It’s very likely that all teachers and school staff will come into contact with children with autism at some stage during their teaching career, so it’s vital that they receive quality training and strategies to support these children in the classroom.”

A Department of Education spokesman said: “Schools receive funding to meet their duty to support any child with special educational needs, including autism.

In addition, through the Autism Education Trust, we are funding autism training for teachers. “We’re proposing the biggest programme of reforms in 30 years to help children and young people with special educational need or disabilities, including those with autism.

“We recently announced 20 pathfinder areas that will be testing out some of the main proposals from the Special Educational needs and disability Green Paper. This includes trialling a new, single education, health and care plan that can cover children and young people aged birth to 25.”

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Monkeys Get Autism from Vaccines the same as humans

Monkeys Get Autism from Vaccines the same as humans

by THEUNHIVEDMIND, theunhivedmind.com
April 29th 2012

Monkeys Get Autism-like Reactions to MMR & Other Vaccines In University of Pittsburgh Vaccine Study

By Catherine J. Frompovich | April 29th, 2012

A University of Pittsburgh study showed vaccines altered the behavior in monkeys.

Someone did perform safety studies the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should have mandated be performed and vetted BEFORE numerous vaccines were released into the public sector for mass vaccinations.

Lead investigator Laura Hewitson, PhD, probably dropped a bombshell when she and her colleagues completed a macaque monkey (primates) study of the very same vaccines given to children during 1994-1999, i.e., the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and several Thimerosal mercury-containing vaccines injected into children during that time frame when the autism spectrum disorder skyrocketed.

The results of that pilot study were published as a Research Paper in Acta Neurobiological Experimentals in 2010 and titled “Influence of pediatric vaccines on amydgala growth and opioid ligand binding in rhesus macaque infants: A pilot study.” [1] Even though there was alleged controversy revolving around Hewitson’s monkey studies, e.g., charges of conflicts of interest since she filed a claim with the vaccine court on behalf of her child, [2] the information generated needs to be revisited and duplicate studies need to be undertaken. Why haven’t they? Is there too much influence from vaccine makers not to do them? Parents need to make demands on the U.S. Congress to require such safety studies on monkeys be duplicated immediately, plus suspend all mandates on vaccinations until the study results are in. Did Dr Hewitson become another professional persona non-grata because she may have been on the right track?

Congress needs to consider seriously the Hewitson, et al. report that stated:

“Vaccine-exposed and saline-injected control infants [monkeys] underwent MRI and PET imaging at approximately 4 and 6 months of age, representing two specific timeframes within the vaccination schedule. …

“These results suggest that maturational changes in amygdala volume and the binding capacity of [11C]DPN in the amygdala was significantly altered in infant macaques receiving the vaccine schedule.” [1]

That alone should be the explicit reason for duplicating the monkey study with independent non-pharmaceutical industry conflict of interest scientists.

In this author’s opinion, no one has bigger conflicts of interest in study outcomes than the pharmaceutical makers who routinely perform them. Those are the very studies that should be subject to the same criticism as Dr Hewitson’s. Why aren’t they? Good question?

For those keeping track data, ASD went from 1 in 5,000 in the 1990s to the recently acknowledged [March 2012] figures of 1 in 88 along with 1 in 6 children in the USA having developmental disabilities. These stats were generated for data in the years 2006 to 2008. [3] There’s a 4 to 6 year lag time. Could ASD be 1 in 50 by now at the rate it is escalating?, especially since there’s a heavier push on mandates for vaccinations.

According to the Hewitson, et al. research study, biological changes and altered behaviors did occur in vaccinated monkeys, which resembled and were similar to those observed in ASD diagnosed children. However, there were no such symptoms showing or present in unvaccinated monkeys. Don’t you just gotta love those little monkeys! Guess what else the ASD monkeys came up with, and Dr Wakefield is gonna like this one: Gastrointestinal problems manifested in vaccinated macaques such as “many significant differences in the GI tissue gene expression profiles between vaccinated and unvaccinated animals.” [3] It’s been a deeply debated topic within medicine that vaccinated children who contract ASD also have GI tract issues. Personally, I gotta wonder how the British Medical Journal is going to deal with encrusted dried egg on its face when duplicate studies confirm the Hewitson monkey results. Perhaps the infamous BMJ retraction of the Wakefield article and Doctor’s professional evisceration, commonly referred to as the “Wakefield Syndrome,” euphemistically speaking is medicine protecting its vested interests.

Those little monkeys, however, came up with some other significant information that led former National Institutes of Health director Dr Bernadine Healy to voice some bon mots like:

“I think public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the hypothesis as ‘irrational,’ without sufficient studies of causation…without studying the population that got sick.”

“I have not seen major studies that focus on 300 kids who got autistic symptoms within a period of a few weeks of the vaccines.” [4]

Perhaps the most on-point quote regarding the monkey study came from Scott Bono, the National Autism Association chairman, i.e., something those who are accused of being against vaccinations have been questioning and demanding:

“To date, the CDC has conducted no safety testing on the possible harmful effects of simultaneously administering multiple vaccines to infants, and has steadfastly refused to state a preference for mercury-free vaccines to be given to children and pregnant women. It’s time for HHS and Congress to step in and take vaccine safety away from the CDC.” [4]

This author’s retort to Mr. Bono’s remark is that vaccine safety should be taken away from the Food and Drug Administration too! I’d like to remind readers that Congress is more at fault than anyone in this vaccine debacle. Congress has oversight and it has dropped the ball big time, probably due to all the lobbyists from Big Pharma who prowl the halls of Congress with deep pockets and nice expensive luncheon dates.

One of the issues I feel Congress has been remiss about is that it has not demanded safety studies and interaction of multiple vaccines studies BEFORE being placed into the marketplace. According to common and accepted knowledge, no such safety research or studies have been done on the current childhood vaccination regimen, except until the Hewitson ‘monkey business’ that was funded by independent, private money, for which everyone, I think, should be eternally grateful. However, the study had to be shot down since it was not favorable to vaccine makers. Why isn’t someone else duplicating the monkey studies? Are they afraid of becoming another victim of science? Why, when isn’t that what medical science should be all about: investigating problems and theories, publishing results, and interacting with other sciences, NOT excommunication as if they were breaking some religious dogma. Or, do they, in some vested interests minds?

Current Vaccine Safety Activism in Congress

Now here is something every VacTruth reader should consider seriously: Supporting Congressman Dan Burton’s (R-5-IN) request to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa to hold hearings on the Vaccination Injury Compensation Program. Back on January 12, 2011, this writer filed a Whistleblower’s Complaint on Vaccines with Chairman Issa and has yet to receive an acknowledgement of that filing.

Isn’t about time to revisit, update, and do more extensive research into the Autism Spectrum Disorder pandemic that is spreading globally?

April 24, 2012 Congressman Burton posted a letter to The Hill’s Congress Blog titled, “It is time to re-engage on the autism epidemic.” He also wants to pass legislation to force the President to address the ASD epidemic and its impact on Americans. Burton is committed to helping millions of children, adults, and families afflicted with ASD. We need to support Congressman Burton ASAP and here’s how:
Contact the Canary Party to support their Facebook pages to hold Congressional hearings and a White House Conference on Autism. Contact News@CanaryParty.org.
Contact Congressman Darrell Issa at the Oversight and Government Reform Committee at 2157 Rayburn House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515 or preferably telephone your request for Autism Investigation Hearings to 202-225-5074.

For those who want to know about this information, the National Autism Association (www.nationalautism.org) will be holding a rally for toxin-free immunizations in Washington, DC on June 4, 2012, titled “Green Our Vaccines,” which this author thinks is an oxymoron. How can you green vaccines when every ingredient is toxic? Just check out the CDC’s PinkBook Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/b/excipient-table-2.pdf.

Before I leave this article, I would like VacTruth readers to know that my colleague who also writes for VacTruth, Laraine C Abbey, RN (retired) and I co-edited a 150 page monograph in January 2011 titled Vaccines & Vaccinations: The Need for Congressional Investigation, which you can read in full on VacTruth at http://vactruth.com/vaccines-vaccinations-the-need-for-congressional-investigation/.

Apparently others have read it and agree.

Congressman Burton, Nurse Abbey and I congratulate you on taking the stand you have, and we offer you our resources in obtaining a Congressional investigation.

President Obama, Nurse Abbey and I respectfully request a White House conference on Autism, and we offer you our resources to effectuate a non-biased conference.

VacTruth readers, I charge you with spreading this information and article as far and wide as you possibly can so that we can get an investigation that ought to be open, not biased, and the scientific facts—nothing but the facts, like those the monkeys finally had to prove. It was not monkey business; it’s the real deal.


[1] http://www.ane.pl/pdf/7020.pdf

[2] http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/07/laura-hewitson-has-left-the-university-of-pittsburgh/

[3] http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

[4] http://www.vaccineriskawareness.com/Infant-Vaccines-Produce-Autism-Symptoms-In-Primates

Photo Credit

Tags: 2012 Congressional Vaccine Investigation, Autism Spectrum Disorder, MMR vaccine, Monkey Autism Safety Study

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