Sunday, August 1, 2010

World’s Oldest Living Species Found in Scotland | Care2 Healthy & Green Living

Jake Richardson

World’s Oldest Living Species Found in Scotland

posted by Jake Richardson Jul 30, 2010 2:03 pm
World’s Oldest Living Species Found in Scotland

The tadpole shrimp Triops cancriformis has been found in the Caerlaverock nature reserve in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. It is considered to be possibly the oldest living species in the world, because it has remained nearly unchanged for an estimated 220 million years. (Another reference states tadpole shrimp may have been living for 300 million years.)

Scientist Larry Griffin who has studied the rare shrimp, said, “Triops matures rapidly and produces hundreds of eggs in just a couple of weeks. The pond they live in may dry out, but the eggs can survive in the mud for many years.”

Not only are the shrimp unique for having survived several major extinctions, they also can  have both male and female reproductive parts so just one can generate a new colony. Tadpole shrimp live in seasonal, freshwater ponds. Their eggs are very tough. They can resist high temperatures (almost boiling), dryness and even consumption by birds. It is thought they also can remain in a dormant state for years, or even centuries until favorable conditions occur, and then they hatch. Tadpole shrimp have outlived dinosaurs, trilobites and mammoths. They are endangered and protected by law in Scotland.

Tadpole Shrimp Video

Image Credit: Public Domain

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Hacker Spoofs Cell Phone Tower to Intercept Calls | Threat Level

A directional antenna is set up for a demonstration by security researcher Chris Paget, center. (Photo: Dave Bullock)

LAS VEGAS — A security researcher created a cell phone base station that tricks cell phones into routing their outbound calls through his device, allowing someone to intercept even encrypted calls in the clear.

The device tricks the phones into disabling encryption and records call details and content before they’re routed on their proper way through voice-over-IP.

The low-cost, home-brewed device, developed by researcher Chris Paget, mimics more expensive devices already used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies – called IMSI catchers – that can capture phone ID data and content. The devices essentially spoof a legitimate GSM tower and entice cell phones to send them data by emitting a signal that’s stronger than legitimate towers in the area.

“If you have the ability to deliver a reasonably strong signal, then those around are owned,” Paget said.

Paget’s system costs only about $1,500, as opposed to several hundreds of thousands for professional products. Most of the price is for the laptop he used to operate the system.

Doing this kind of interception “used to be a million dollars, now you can do it with a thousand times less cost,” Paget said during a press conference after his attack. “If it’s $1,500, it’s just beyond the range that people can start buying them for themselves and listening in on their neighbors.”

Paget’s device captures only 2G GSM calls, making AT&T and T-Mobile calls, which use GSM, vulnerable to interception. Paget’s aim was to highlight vulnerabilities in the GSM standard that allows a rogue station to capture calls. GSM is a second-generation technology that is not as secure as 3G technology.

Encrypted calls are not protected from interception because the rogue tower can simply turn it off. Although the GSM specifications say that a phone should pop up a warning when it connects to a station that does not have encryption, SIM cards disable that setting so that alerts are not displayed.

“Even though the GSM spec requires it, this is a deliberate choice on the cell phone makers,” Paget said.

The system captures only outbound calls. Inbound calls would go directly to voicemail during the period that someone’s phone is connected to Paget’s tower.

The device could be used by corporate spies, criminals, or private investigators to intercept private calls of targets.

“Any information that goes across a cell phone you can now intercept,” he said, except data. Professional grade IMSI catchers do capture data transfers, but Paget’s system doesn’t currently do this.

His setup included two RF directional antennas about three feet long to amplify his signal in the large conference room, a laptop and open source software. The system emitted only 25 milliwatts, “a hundred times less than your average cell phone,” he said.

Paget received a call from FCC officials on Friday who raised a list of possible regulations his demonstration might violate. To get around legal concerns, he broadcast on a GSM spectrum for HAM radios, 900Mhz, which is the same frequency used by GSM phones and towers in Europe, thus avoiding possible violations of U.S. regulations.

Just turning on the antennas caused two dozen phones in the room to connect to Paget’s tower. He then set it to spoof an AT&T tower to capture calls from customers of that carrier.

“As far as your cell phones are concerned, I am now indistinguishable from AT&T,” he said. “Every AT&T cell phone in the room will gradually start handing over to my network.”

During the demonstration, only about 30 phones were actually connecting to his tower. Paget says it can take time for phones to find the signal and hand off to the tower, but there are methods for speeding up that process.

To address privacy concerns, he set up the system to deliver a recorded message to anyone who tried to make a call from the room while connected to his tower. The message disclosed that their calls were being recorded. All of the data Paget recorded was saved to a USB stick, which he destroyed after the talk.

Customers of carriers that use GSM could try to protect their calls from being intercepted in this manner by switching their phones to 3G mode if it’s an option.

But Paget said he could also capture phones using 3G by sending out jamming noise to block 3G. Phones would then switch to 2G and hook up with his rogue tower. Paget had his jammer and an amplifier on stage but declined to turn them on saying they would “probably knock out all Las Vegas cell phone systems.”

Photo: Dave Bullock

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Lisa Simpson is getting married today! #TheSimpsons #LisaSimpson

Guinness Perfection at Fado

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Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Major Corporations Are Downloading Those 100 Million Facebook Profiles off BitTorrent

Major Corporations Are Downloading Those 100 Million Facebook Profiles off BitTorrent

Major Corporations Are Downloading Those 100 Million Facebook Profiles off BitTorrent

Remember that torrent yesterday that contained the personal information off of 100 million scraped Facebook profiles? I thought it was strange that the guy didn't sell this information, since many companies would be interested. Turns out they are interested.

Reader Clint discovered that all you had to do is use something like Peer Block, which grabs the IPs of the other users also downloading the torrent and identifies which company or university or organization they belong to. You can check this yourself by hopping on the torrent and doing the same thing.

Here are the major companies that are downloading the torrent. A couple caveats to these. Just because a company is on the list, doesn't mean that it's a sanctioned download by the company itself to grab the user information for some purpose. It could easily just be some dude at the company who wanted to download the torrent himself to check it out. Also, the IP addresses assigned to a company might fluctuate (they usually don't, much, unless major companies change their connection to the internet, so it should be mostly accurate).

A.C. Nielsen
Agilent Technologies
AT&T - Possible Macrovision
Baker & McKenzie
Bertelsmann Media
Church of Scientology
Cisco Systems
Cox Enterprises
Davis Polk & Wardwell
Deutsche Telekom
Ernst & Young
Goldman Sachs
HBO & Company
Hilton Hospitality
Levi Strauss & Co.
Lockheed-Martin Corp
Lucent Technologies
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co
Northrop Grumman
O'Melveny & Myers
Oracle Corp
Pepsi Cola
Procter and Gamble
Random House
Road Runner RRWE
Siemens AG
Sun Microsystems
The Hague
Time Warner Telecom
Turner Broadcasting system
Ubisoft Entertainment
United Nations
Wells Fargo
Xerox PARC

Illustration by Sam Spratt. Check out Sam's portfolio and become a fan of his Facebook Artist's Page.

Send an email to Jason Chen, the author of this post, at

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Do Not Call List Tops 200 Million, Some Scammers Still Ignore It | Epicenter 

Before the ban, telemarketers portrayed their calls as Constitionally protected 'unpopular' free speech.

The Federal Trade Commission announced a milestone this week: its Do Not Call registry has just passed 200 million numbers.

It’s quite amazing that any of this came to pass, really. When the registry was being considered back in 2002, telemarketing opposition was fierce, and for obvious reasons. The industry was large, powerful, and willing to be unbelievably annoying. It also saw quite clearly that a tough Do Not Call rule would chop off its business at the knees.

So, when the time came to object to the rules being drafted, every card was played: First Amendment rights, the jobs that telemarketing offered to “patriotic” Americans, and dire warnings about “unintended consequences” and regulatory overreach. In fact, it was argued, telemarketers were really an unpopular minority whose rights were being trampled.

“First, let’s be honest here,” said one telemarketing executive at a 2002 FTC meeting in which the registry was being considered (read the transcript [PDF]). “This is a proposal not to regulate but to prohibit speech, not because it’s deceptive or abusive, but because it’s unpopular. As was said here, there is public sentiment against telemarketing, per se. Some people are mad. Some people are fed up. Some people just hate such calls, but freedom of speech, our most cherished freedom, means the freedom to speak when it’s against public sentiment.”

For good measure, the same speaker later switched gears and praised the millions of people employed in telemarketing (many part-time), saying that “the overwhelming number who are employed in this business are lawful, patriotic and normal Americans, and for the Government to cut out a series of these jobs is a very serious matter.”

These Americans might have been “normal” and “patriotic,” but the rest of the country just wanted to eat in peace. Testimony at the same hearing from one aggrieved mother conjured up the specter of those dark days, back before the federal list existed and rules governing telemarketing were loose. (One could ask companies not to call again, but that was about it.)

It all began with some calls about vinyl siding.

My name’s Diana Mey. I’m a housewife and stay-at-home mom. I have three teenaged sons. I live in Wheeling, West Virginia. Telemarketing impacted me about two years ago when I had, as I said, three sons and we were running in a bunch of different directions, and I was wanting to get us all together at one time to have dinner together at night, and I found that with increasing frequency our dinners were being interrupted by telemarketing calls, and I heard about the law that regulated telemarketing, and I thought this would be a way that I could — I didn’t want to be rude, but I thought the law would be my best answer.

So, I tried to enforce the law, asking companies to not call me back, and over a period of about six months, I had a telemarketer for Sears call me repeatedly over and over despite my request to stop calling. To make a long story short, I filed a small claims suit after writing to the company, and they continued to call. In fact, the last call they placed to my home, I grabbed a tape recorder and I taped it and I wrote the company, I told them, I said, look, you know, you keep calling, I can prove it, I’ve got the proof.

I filed a small claims suit, and the next thing I knew, Sears’ lawyers turned around and countersued me for $10,000 saying I violated state and federal wiretap statutes — and by the way, it is legal in my state to tape my own calls. They also threatened punitive damages.

I was very afraid. I ended up having to get a lawyer, got the dispute dismissed.

Mey’s story landed her on national TV (Matt Lauer interviewed her on the Today Show, for instance) and Sears eventually flew someone to her town to apologize to Mey in person. According to her website, where she later kept up the fight against telemarketers, Mey was paid $4,000 by Sears, some of it in the form of gift cards. As she told the FTC, when her husband used the cards to buy an air compressor at Sears… the company started calling again.

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Posted via email from Tony Burkhart