...will he ever win?

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March 15, 2012


Politics

EFF News: Fake YouTube Site Targets Syrian Activists With Malware

Last week, EFF reported on two instances of pro-Syrian-government malware targeting Syrian activists through links sent in chats and emails. This week, we've seen new Windows malware dropped by a fake YouTube site hosting Syrian opposition videos.

Below is a screenshot of the fake YouTube page, which attacks users in two ways: it requires you to enter your YouTube login credentials in order to leave comments, and it installs malware disguised as an Adobe Flash Player update.

This phishing site has been taken down, but if you encounter a similar page do not enter your YouTube login credentials to comment. If you have already logged in to the site (or a similar site) to leave a comment follow the steps outlined below to see if your computer has been infected, and change your YouTube and Gmail passwords from an uninfected computer immediately. You may also wish to take some additional steps to make sure that your Gmail account is secure, including enabling 2-factor authentication and checking to see if any suspicious forwarding addresses or delegated accounts have been added to your account.

If you encounter a similar page do not click "Install" to update Flash. Clicking "Install" drops a file called setup.exe. This is a .NET file and .NET is required to run it. Once it is installed, the dropper connects back to an address in Syrian IP space and downloads additional malware, which gives the attacker administrative access to your computer.

To see if you have been infected, look for the following files:

These files are "system files" and will not be visible by default. To change your settings to make system files visible in Windows 7, Start-->Control Panel-->Appearance and Personalization-->Show hidden files and folders, then select the radio button called Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives. Remove the checkbox labeled "Hide extensions for known file types." Remove the checkbox labeled "Hide protected operating system files."

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Temp\sysglobl.exe
C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Temp\mscordbc.exe

On Windows 7 systems, you can find them here:

C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Temp\sysglobl.exe
C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Temp\mscordbc.exe

You can see both files in the screenshot below:

What do do if your computer is infected:

If your computer is infected, deleting the above files does not guarantee that your computer will be safe or secure. This attack eventually gives an attacker the ability to execute arbitrary code on the infected computer. There is no guarantee that the attacker has not installed additional malicious software while in control of the machine. The safest course of action is to re-install the operating system on your computer and change all passwords to accounts you may have logged into while the computer was infected.

EFF is deeply concerned about this pattern of pro-government malware targeting online activists in authoritarian regimes. We will continue to keep a close eye on future developments in this area.

Related Issues: 

March 15, 2012 06:49 PM

Clickolinko!: https://opensource.conformal.com/wiki/XXXTerm

not what I thought it would be by the name

March 15, 2012 02:02 AM

Clickolinko!: http://www.hardlogic.com.au/

speaking of text art, this 'working on the website' graphic is pretty cute. Just ignore the eta... http://www.hardlogic.com.au/

March 15, 2012 02:02 AM

Crooks and Liars: Jon Stewart: Fox STFU with How Victimized You Are

Jon Stewart: Fox Needs to STFU With Playing the Victim Card in Defense of Limbaugh

Click here to view this media

Jon Stewart took the talking heads at Fox to task for their defense of Rush Limbaugh and his sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke and the false equivalencies when comparing Limbaugh to Bill Maher and other comedians and the fact that they tried to play off Rush Limbaugh being a comedian with their defense of him.

Stewart had it exactly right with his finish here after he showed some of Sean Hannity's hypocrisy with his love of Ted Nugent:

STEWART: Ted Nugent didn't get boycotted. That was the Dixie Chicks for saying on stage they were ashamed President Bush was from Texas. But that makes sense. The Nug was actually sentenced for his diatribe, to having to jam "Catch Scratch Fever" with Huck.

And by the way, I'm not saying speech should be policed and censored and boycotted or that people don't have a right to say crazy things, or to boycott them. I don't believe that's true. I think speech should be much freer.

But here's the one thing I do believe. Fox... shut the f**k up about how victimized you, and you alone are. Nobody cares!

March 15, 2012 02:00 AM


Games

Grand Text Auto: Why video games are art, by William Wang

When one considers the breadth of new media art that has been popularized in the last several decades, a major trend emerges: they’re about big messages. Famous pieces we’ve examined this term, from Domestic Tension to The French Democracy, all have a serious thematic purpose. Rarely are works intended for fun or entertainment considered legitimate “art,” as though fun and artistic merit are mutually exclusive. Consider Roger Ebert’s assertion that “video games can never be art.” These arguments devolve largely into discussions of semantics, essentially claiming that entertainment is not artistic. But this seems to contradict the most basic idea of art: that which is aesthetically pleasing to behold.

After all, when we first learn about and experiment with art we do not strive to achieve certain thematic effects. A child’s first forays into illustration or painting are only explorations of aesthetics. Though no one would seriously consider a stick-figure house high-quality art, it is nevertheless considered art. If that is the case, why would video games be considered non-art to most beholders? (It is important to point out here that by this essentializing the definition of art in this fashion makes the distinction between “art” and “not art” somewhat subjective.) After all, a variety of artistic elements converge in a video game, in the same way audio and visual elements combine in film, which almost anyone considers art today. Consider one of the most acclaimed games of recent years: Starcraft 2. The game is visually stunning, orchestrating the interaction of hundreds of detailed models and animations, with accompanying music and sound. One could argue that while each constituent element constitutes a work of art, the entire composition does not—that it does not create a “whole greater than the sum of its parts” in the fashion a film might. But aren’t video games just interactive films, in a way, to the point where recent games like Call of Duty or Metal Gear Solid 4 have actually been criticized by the video game community for being too film-like?

A battle in Starcraft 2, combining numerous artistic elements in an interactive medium.

In fact, it seems as though the only major distinction between film and games as mediums is the interactivity. And if anything, this interactivity should give a game more artistic merit. In the context of a film, the audience is guided in a specific direction by the director. The supreme court agrees that interactivity does not preclude video games from artistic distinction. If anything, by allowing the audience to take part in the progression of plot, the artist (game studio) simply wields a greater range of options for expressing thematic elements. For example, video games can explore themes of cooperation, risk analysis, or geographies of power (just to name a few) in more visceral ways than other mediums. A film or novel can show us people grappling with issues of cooperation, for example. And this idea is emphasized in fiction writing, to show, not tell. Then isn’t interactivity just taking it another step further, by making the audience experience rather than witness?

 

March 15, 2012 01:49 AM


Tech

Gizmag: New tech could allow drone aircraft to recognize deck crews' arm signals

Aircraft carrier deck crews may one day be able to direct autonomous drones, using standar...

We’ve all seen footage of flight crews on the decks of aircraft carriers, directing taxiing planes using arm signals. That’s all very well and good when they’re communicating with human pilots, but what happens as more and more human-piloted military aircraft are replaced with autonomous drones? Well, if researchers at MIT are successful in one of their latest projects, not much should change. They’re currently devising a system that would allow robotic aircraft to understand human arm gestures... Continue Reading New tech could allow drone aircraft to recognize deck crews' arm signals

Section: Robotics

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March 15, 2012 01:45 AM


Main

Laughing Squid: Southwest Flight Attendants Make Galley Food Recipes with Passengers

Southwest flight 1200 Airplane Food Recipes

Flight attendant Mandy showing off a finished “Key Lime Cookie Dough Sort Of” recipe on Southwest flight 1200

On my Southwest Airlines flight to SXSW 2012 conference, I snagged the front row bulkhead seat. Little did I know, I would soon be in the middle of a very fun experiment put on by our flight attendants, Mandy and LaDonna. My seatmate Susan and I watched as they filled up ten vomit bags with various food items found in the plane’s galley. Mandy then announced that she wanted volunteers as she had been wanting to try out airplane food recipes with passengers for a long time. Volunteers were chosen (including my seatmate) and she began to tell us how to prepare the recipes.

Mandy called the first recipe “Key Lime Cookie Dough Sort Of” and it consisted of crushed airplane-shaped cookies, Coffee Mate creamer and a wedge of lime. The next was simply peanut butter and several passengers attempted to crush peanuts to a smooth consistency. It got even better when the pilot came out and offered up an unexpected suggestion: Chocolate Mousse. It was a simple recipe made of powdered hot chocolate mix and Coffee Mate creamer. We ended up dipping our mini pretzels into the (somewhat delicious) finished “mousse”. Winners were announced and much fun was had by all involved. In fact, it may have been the most fun I’ve ever had on a commercial flight.

Here are some of the images from that fun flight and the rest can be found here:

Southwest Airlines Flight 1200 Airplane Food Recipes

Yours truly trying out the finished “Key Lime Cookie Dough Sort Of” recipe

Southwest Airlines Flight 1200 Airplane Food Recipes

Flight attendant LaDonna showing the bag of Plane Cookies needed for the “Key Lime Cookie Dough Sort Of” recipe

Southwest Airlines Flight 1200 Airplane Food Recipes

My seatmate Susan making the “Key Lime Cookie Dough Sort Of” recipe

Southwest Airlines Flight 1200 Airplane Food Recipes

Passengers making peanut butter

Southwest Airlines Flight 1200 Airplane Food Recipes

Mandy and the pilot checking out the flight-made peanut butter

Southwest Airlines Flight 1200 Airplane Food Recipes

My seatmate Susan dipping a pretzel into the finished “Chocolate Mousse” recipe

photos by Rusty Blazenhoff and Susan Taylor

Special thanks to Mandy and LaDonna!

March 15, 2012 01:31 AM

Crooks and Liars: Anonymous Documentary 'We are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists' Premieres at SXSW

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists,” a documentary covering the hacking collective Anonymous, premiered March 11th at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

The film takes us inside the world of Anonymous, the radical "hacktivist" collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. The film explores early hacktivist groups like Cult of the Dead Cow and Electronic Disturbance Theater, then moves to Anonymous' raucous beginnings on the website 4chan.

Through interviews with current members, people recently returned from prison or facing trial, writers, academics, activists and major players in various "raids," the documentary traces Anonymous’ evolution from merry pranksters to a full-blown movement with a global reach, the most transformative civil disobedience of our time.

More showings this week (For those of you in the Austin area):

Wednesday, March 14
5:00PM - 6:29PM

Venue: SXSatellite: Alamo Slaughter

Friday, March 16
4:15PM - 5:44PM

Venue: Alamo Lamar B

The award winner will be announced on Saturday, March 17th,

March 15, 2012 01:00 AM


Tech

Linux Weekly News: [$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for March 15, 2012

The LWN.net Weekly Edition for March 15, 2012 is available.

March 15, 2012 12:38 AM

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