WHY DOES OBAMA WANT TO BE BLIND ON IRAN?
There are none so blind as those who will not see, and hardly anyone wants to see Iran for what it is: an evil regime bound and determined to dominate and destroy us, our friends and our allies. The evidence is luminously clear, but most all of our attention has focused, as usual, on the nuclear issue. Did the Iranians promise to stop enriching uranium or "dismantle" some of the components of their nuclear program? How many Western sanctions are being eased or lifted in exchange? And on and on... We can expect the Iranians to prolong and exploit this period to their advantage and our peril. They've already begun. The Iranian regime is expanding its regional and global power, killing its domestic enemies, and subverting and intimidating Middle Eastern nations that are reluctant to bend to its will. These matters require serious Western attention, but they aren't getting much. For us, it's all about nukes and sanctions. Just take a few of their major actions:
A NEW FRIEND
As a firearm enthusiast and life member of the NRA and a member of Gun Owners of America I would like to introduce you to a new firearm . It is the Ruger SR 1911, a 45 caliber pistol:
SOFTWARE THAT PREDICTS THE FUTURE
As someone who has been privileged to attend all ten TTP Rendezvous, I hugely enjoyed the recent Victory Rendezvous in our nation's capital. When I told Jack about "software that predicts the future," he asked me to give a presentation on it - then be sure and write it up so that all TTPers would know. So let me tell you about a small company in Cambridge, Massachusetts called Recorded Future. CEO Christopher Ahlberg, a former Swedish Army Ranger with a Ph.D in computer science, heads a 16-man team that uses extremely efficient data mining to generate a consortium of data points with fascinating predictive power. Here is how it works.
A CYBER FIRST STRIKE
What makes Stuxnet so unique and powerful is the way it has been put together. Infection is accomplished by inserting a host USB drive into a computer and or through networks.
The code is so intricate and professionally packaged that is compartmentalized into encrypted sections., and parts of the executables are written in different programming languages.
What this means is that is that it was created, most likely by a team of coding professionals that might be one of our first examples of cyber warfare. Most of the attacks have taken place in Iran.
It is not clear if the other parts Iran’s nuclear program have been affected by this, however it is possible that this is only the beginning.
It would be naïve for the mullahs to believe that this is all that can be done. Imagine if their financial structure was brought to its knees? Imagine if their meager infrastructure stopped all together?
We have heard many doomsday scenarios regarding our vulnerabilities and it is time for our enemies to understand that the pendulum swings both ways.
PEEKING BEHIND THE “HIRE ACT” CURTAIN
The HIRE ACT is a law passed by congress earlier this year to create jobs. The original idea on paper has been tweaked by labor unions and large construction companies to create revenue streams, using the newly created W-11 form from the IRS.
The specifics of the law can be found below, however sometimes reality is different than it seems. Here is how it is actually is being implemented, by some unions and construction companies.
P2P AND YOUR PRIVACY
t is imperative to know how your personal identity, and that of your business or family, can be comprised and stolen without your knowledge. With the advantage of increased bandwidth in our broadband delivery, it enables the opportunity for faster, deeper theft of your personal files, bank accounts, private documents, business papers etc. Remember, there are no secrets on the internet. If you keep personal data, SSN, bank accounts, tax returns in a digital form on your hard drive then they are potentially bait for theft. If 10,000 SSN'S are stolen and sold at $35 a pop, that's a cool $350K in theft. Starting to see the picture? It's not some kid hacker with a new tool, it's organized criminals from around the globe stealing you blind. The theft has become so efficient that few protective applications will validate or find these intrusions. This is particularly true regarding what are known as P2P, or peer-to-peer networks. You may be connected to one.
TECHNOLOGY TO PROTECT YOU
At the Remember The Alamo Rendezvous, I discussed a number of the latest technologies to protect you. Jack asked me to list them for you with a brief description. I'm happy to do so.
Identity Stronghold is a site that sells RFID protectors for licenses, credit cards etc. They also sell passport protectors and wallets that have RFID protector inserts for the all your Security card needs.
Ixquick is simply the safest search browser to use on the globe. They do not track you and your searches are private as they can be on the web. They also have recently introduced a proxy service which allows you to search the entire web safely. To learn more about the proxy service visit here: Proxy
Locational Privacy learn how your preconceived ideas of freedom moving about the mall, county or country are changing. Do what you can to protect your identity and privacy now.
THE NEXUS ONE PHONE
The Nexus One is the new phone from Google that has what is described as the Android OS. This is an Operating System developed from the ground up by Google. Android runs on a Linux kernel and is written in the Java code language. Anyone interested in detailed explanations of the Android OS can find it here. Android I have had a Nexus One phone for a couple of weeks and can inform you of what my impressions are first hand. Let me start by stating that I cancelled my AT&T contract with the iPhone for the Nexus One. Here are the details.
WILL CHROME REALLY SHINE?
There is a new kid in town and his name is "Chrome OS" as for Google Chrome. It's the new operating system to be interactive with Google Cloud. Google is out to change the world more than they already have, and having applications stored on the Internet in a specified zone, known as a "cloud", is the new way to store information. I have written about the "Cloud" in earlier articles and there is a huge push for this new avenue of computing. If you have all your information stored in the nebulous cloud on the Internet, your going to need a vehicle to connect with it. That vehicle, friends is Chrome, Google's new browser that will do just that. Just what will Chrome do for Google's cloud users? So how is this different from the way we currently compute? A lot.
THE GOOGLE DROID: and Other Thoughts From Scottsdale
Even though I'm on vacation in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona, I can't resist telling you about the latest techie innovations. Recently a new phone was made available to Verizon customers in two models with a new Droid OS from Google. At first look it is quite an impressive smart phone. The two models covered are the Motorola models that flip open to reveal a keypad, and the Eris, which is a touch screen accessible device, similar to the iPhone. The Motorola Droid has a slide out keypad and is presented with 24 bit color ( 16.7 million ) and the Eris has 16 bit colors with ( 65,536 ). The HTC Droid Eris has a 528 MHz MSM7600 processor with 147 MB of memory. The Motorola Droid has the 550 MHz ARM Cortex A8 with 256 MB of memory. It is only a matter of time before different versions of the Droid OS will make it to additional US carriers. Hopefully other carriers will not do what Verizon has handed to their customers.
WINDOWS 7 OR SNOW LEOPARD?
Well, most of you may have heard about the new Operating Systems from Apple and Microsoft, Snow Leopard and Windows 7. The more things change, the closer in convergence these OS's have become over time. First one must realize that Windows 7 is really Vista 2 with a lot of cleanup of the interface and improvements in performance. Internally at Redmond, it's called Windows 6.1, however that would not exactly work for the marketing campaign. Marketing would not be able to get away with charging anywhere from $99.00 to $319.00 depending on which version you choose. There are six, from Starter and Home Basic to Ultimate or Enterprise. Apple's upgrade Snow Leopard, which is actually version 10.6, costs out at a $29.99 per box. Apple decided to waver from introducing lots of new features and instead focused on performance enhancements. They should have also focused on getting rid of all the bugs. One of the undocumented undesired "uh-oh" enhancements was a bug that would wipe out users data, if an upgrade was performed with an existing previously set guest account. Oops...
Just when you think you have seen it all, or most of it, here comes another warning. So you think you have protected yourself by intelligently managing web browser cookies? How about the latest cookie generation known as SuperCookies, which, according to a recent article in the New York Times, have enabled data mining companies like Acxiom to accumulate an average of 1,500 pieces of information on every single American, all 320 million of us? Well, now you can check for Adobe Flash cookies or Local Shared Objects (LSO). I did a check on my computer and found 131 of the little devils. Yes a lot of the web is developed in Adobe Flash these days. Web sites are using LSO to track wherever you go. It gets worse. Flash can also be used to reinstall the regular web cookies that you had previously deleted! Here's how to fix this.
PRIVACY AND PICAROONS
While you were cruising peacefully through life this last week, the picaroons in Washington set new lows for governance of their citizens. "Picaroon" means a pirate, a thieving scoundrel. One example: Zero's Department of Transportation (DOT) is claiming that the computers of car dealers become government property upon participating in the cash-for-clunkers program. It's another object lesson as to the critical importance of achieving and maintaining solid protection and privacy from prying picaroons - for yourself physically and virtually via your computer. Last week we talked about one way to do this with Cryptohippie. Now let's discuss several more ways. First, do you know about RFID?
Everyone once in a while during life you discover something new and genuine that is truly a surprise. This week was just one of those experiences and I would like to share it with you. Amongst our TTPer midst is an entrepreneur who has an amazing company that enhances your personal safety and security. He will remain nameless unless he chooses to reveal his identity to us. Before I tell you more, here's the background. When you log on to the Internet, you do so via an ISP, an Internet Service Provider, whose servers monitor and record all you do - every email, chat, Web page, everything. And if the police or Feds tell your ISP they need to see your record of your online activity, the ISP must provide it. Nervous yet? It gets worse.
PARENTAL INTERNET SAFETY – AND QUESTIONS FOR THE 4TH
TTPer parents have asked me to comment on children's safety on the internet. There are some software applications to trace history of web surfing and to prevent violent or sexual explicit sites from being accessed. I will list a few here that can be explored by interested parties... ...And may I suggest that you take a few moments on our Independence Day to read the entire text of our nation's founding document? It is not only thrilling and inspirational, but provides a certain perspective on the present. How many of the millions of participants in tomorrow's Tea Parties will think this description of the British King applies to today? "A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."
IS YOUR CELL PHONE SPYING ON YOU?
In previous articles we have learned that there is hazard in taking privacy for granted on the internet. Doing so is at your own peril. As we enter deeper into this Orwellian world it becomes more apparent each passing day that privacy, in many aspects of our lives, is a luxury of the past. An ordinary cell phone can steal your privacy, without your knowledge, in some instances. Here is how. Flexispy
Please read the article below and take heed. There are dark clouds on the security horizon and they are blowing our way. This may seem short, however there is a lot of substance in these links. I encourage you to read this for your own security. Everything I have previously written regarding security may be a moot point after this exploit: Invisible Things What has happened in a nutshell is that there is a hole in the Intel processor that may allow a crafty hacker to inject malicious code into your computer with an Intel chip. The exploit attacks a part of the processor utilizing System Management Mode, which just happen to be the most privileged operation mode on the processor. This stealthy attack allows your computer to be compromised without you ever knowing about it. As of now there is no known protection against this exploit, which was just written about on March19 and by now has captured the attention of bad guys. Chinese and Russian intelligence services are working on this as we speak.
TOOLS TO PROTECT AGAINST TYRANNY
It is imperative as we move forward in uncertain times, that we take actions to protect ourselves. One way to accomplish this is by using tools readily available to protect you. One such tool is Proxify, which enables you to surf the Web anonymously, privately, and securely. You can read all about it here: Proxify They have multiple domains scattered around the globe and the service is available 24/7/365. For the best service one must sign up as a paid customer. It is $40.0 US dollars for six months, and if you sign up for automatic renewals your price will never increase, even when the general price goes up. It's a tremendous amount of protection for $80.00 per annum. Another great tool for protection is:
A SERVICE PACK FOR YOUR LIFE
In the Age of Zero, let's talk about protecting your life and various components of it. Let's start with communications. In the past I have written about PGP¸ Kryptel and other applications for security. I would encourage you to take a look at a new secure email web application I came across called 4SecureMail. It's put together on a high-end platform to provide 99.99% uptime using Athlon servers, enterprise-class Cisco networking gear, multiple Tier 1 backbone connections, fully redundant power and all of the usual bells and whistles you would expect to find in a 21st Century secure email provider. These folks have put together a first class secure infrastructure.
Have you heard of the service on the web called Twitter? It's a service for you, your friends, and co-workers to stay connected by exchanging quick frequent answers to one simple question, such as WHAT are you doing? It's marketed as social networking and "micro-blogging," but is also useful for other communications. It is usually limited to 140 characters per string of communication, which keeps it short and simple. Let's say that you and group of colleagues are working on a project that has you scattered over the continent. With Twitter it's possible to update everyone or request a quick answer, pertinent to all with a "tweet." To find out more or actually use Twitter go here: Twitter
UPDATING YOUR SECURITY
If you run Windows OS software on your computer I kindly ask you to read the article linked below for your personal protection. My "Wizard" predecessor Dennis Turner and I have mentioned some of the items listed below, however this is a pretty complete documentation on how to be safe in a dangerous world. How to Secure Your Windows Computer and Protect Your Privacy Last week, Microsoft released Service Pack 1 (SP1) for its Macintosh 2008 Office suite. It has a variety of fixes and changes that have promised to improve performance and security to the suite of apps that closely parallels the Office Suite for Windows users. You can read about it here ... Description of Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 1 (12.1.0) And download it here... Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 1 (12.1.0) If you work in an organization, you may be surprised to find out that the most important factor in attaining organizational security is you. Do you know what your local IT policies or where your IT policies can be found? You can find out, and learn how to be part of the solution rather than any problem by reading: Attaining Organizational Security.
IF YOU’RE SERIOUS ABOUT SECURITY FOR YOUR DATA
In this week's tips, we first talk about a security application that is from the open source community and is cross platform compatible for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX. The name of this application is Truecrypt and it truly is a secure application to store your data. Say you want to create a lock box vault on your hard drive for storing critical files. Possibly examples could be taxes, credit card info, banking or investments and passwords. Other utilities can do this, however Truecrypt allows you to encrypt with several protocols at once. You create a volume of files that is hidden and invisible on your hard disk and you encrypt it with AES, Twofish, Serpent and other encryption protocols. Be sure and click on (and read!) the Protection of Hidden Volumes Against Damage link in Truecypt's left side bar. No other program out there will offer you this kind of protection.
This week we shall explore some of the research that is being undertaken for a variety of maladies. Also research that includes further understanding of the human genome and physiology generally. First is the new research of malaria taking place. With the help of x-ray microscopy at Berkeley's Advanced Light Source lab, one of the world's oldest diseases has a map of how the plasmodium parasite infects the body. The brilliant detective work being done by these researchers is so remarkable it may finally "tame the ancient beast" of malaria that still kills millions of people every year. Then there's my friend who works at Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. Some of the current research taking place here is taking a deeper look at diabetes. Broad's scientists have discovered the genes linked to height. And, in a step towards personalized prevention, Broad has a panel of genetic variants found to predict both cholesterol and heart disease risk.
TREETOPS OF TECHNOLOGY
Let's skip across the treetops of technology this week. Thanks to a Navy TTP reader who notified Bill Gregory who then notified me of a new technology via Google. Its called Goolgle-411, simply enough and it is pretty slick. You pick up your cell phone and dial 800-Goog411 (466-4411) and you speak your location into the phone. Next tell the phone what you are looking for and voila, the business, restaurant, or site of interest is served up to you promptly free of charge... ... Some new digital cameras are showing up with an interesting addition to their already amazing qualities. Facial recognition software is being included with a number of models... ...Then there's this trio of tidbits, plus a glorious technological surprise...
MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM A PC TO A MAC
Lots of folks today are considering moving from a Microsoft Windows PC to an Apple Macintosh or Mac. If you are one of them, I put together a starter course to make the transition easy for you. Here we go...
A WARNING AND A THANK YOU
This is a quick warning and a long thank you. First, I need to warn you about a very dangerous new computer virus, a "trojan horse" or "worm" traced to a group of malicious hackers in China. It's called Mocmex and it can destroy your PC Windows computer. Another good reason to get a Mac! Read the link to see how you can protect yourself. Second, we'll get back to transistors and electrons next week, but I am still coming down from the wonderful time I and my fellow TTPers had in Sarasota. So pardon me if I wax philosophical and take the time to share our blessings. This being a techie column, let me put it in techie terms. If life were a technological device, what would be yours?
Your email or "mail pop accounts" are out there in the naked with no protection. As it passes many hops and bounds on its way to its intended destination, it can be intercepted and sniffed by numerous people on its way. It's your data, you can do what you want with it, but it might be a prudent thing to think about your security. Further, just like there are wired network tools for snooping there are also wireless sniffing devices that can rob you blind. So, fellow TTPers, if you have a wireless network, and if you want to protect your email, please do this:
OVERCOMING VISTA BLUES
If you got a new Windows computer for Christmas, odds are very high it uses the new Vista operating program. Odds are also very high you'll find moving stuff from your old XP computer into Vista annoying, if not downright infuriating. It's called the Vista Blues, and I'll do my best to help you overcome them. One example: Moving mail from an XP "Outlook Express" to a Vista "Mail" program may become a small nightmare since "Outlook Express" is not one of the options that can be utilized (!). There are options for this lack of a conduit. A solution is Thunderbird, the free mail application from www.mozilla.com will allow you to import from Outlook Express with ease. The latest version is 18.104.22.168.
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR YOUR PC
[Mark Gilligan is TTP's own "Marco," known to all participants in the TTP User Forum. His first column appeared last month: Marco The Wizard? His column will be a regular feature in 2008.] It's the gifting time of the year and for your technological needs we have some suggestions that may make your life easier and your wallet less depleted. Here are a few... The anti-virus software package offered by AVG is one of the best available - and it's free! If you want the full capacity of Adobe's Acrobat Professional Apps and don't have the several hundred dollars in the budget, you can get its equivalent for only $9.95 at pdf995.com.
MARCO THE WIZARD?
[With the passing of Dennis Turner, author of TTP's Dennis The Wizard column, last June, TTPer Mark Gilligan - known to denizens of our User Forum as "Marco" - has stepped up to the plate. For those of you who have met him at a TTP Rendezvous, you know Marco is one of those fellows for whom it is impossible not to like. We at To The Point are so appreciative of his support. Let us know what you think of his explaining the iPhone. Thanks, Marco!] This article will attempt to inform you about the relatively new device from Apple called the iPhone. Some would call it a smart phone, a Palm/Treo-like PDA phone. This is not exactly true, although the iPhone does have the capability to store different types of information, like multiple email accounts, stock data, movies, pod casts and sms messages. It also has an interactive calendar, a photo storage area, and a 2 megapixel camera. There is a weather button available and of course an alarm clock and calculator button. A web based browser called Safari is also included along with an iPod button to store digital audio and visual. An iTunes button is included for connection to Apple's iTune store.