Archive for category Security

VeriSign Launch Phish or No Phish Game

phishnophishVeriSign have launched a new game called ‘Phish or No Phish’. It is a game which allows you to test your skills at figuring out whether a site is a phishing scam or not. This game will hopefully bring more Internet users to the attention of phishing scams and try to lower the amount of people who fall victim to such scams.

Phish or No Phish is a game where a user is asked to look at two Web sites and determine which one is supposed to be a real site, and which one is designed to be a phishing site. The user is taken through 5 different phishing scenarios and are then educated about Extended Validation SSL Certificates and how the green address bar EV provides can help them spot a real site. The user then goes through the 5 scenarios again with the green bar present on what is designed to be the real site.

This game is actually very well made and consists of 10 different questions with two images, one of a phising scam site and one of a normal site. It then asks you to choose which one is the phishing scam: (click to make image bigger)

phishnophish2After you have made your choice, you click ‘this one’ and whether you get it correct or wrong it explains how to tell which one is the Phishing scam: (click to make image bigger)

Want to give it a try? Visit and take the test.

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Warning: Twitter Worm is Spreading Through Twitter’s Direct Messages

Twitter users beware! A new worm

is being spread through Twitter’s usersphere through DMs or direct messages where a supposed ‘friend’ will send you the following message and if you click on the link in the message, you will be spreading the worm!What happens if you click on the link is that it takes you to a phishing site which looks exactly like the Twitter login page and once you enter your login details, they will steal them and use your account to continue the worm by sending out more DMs.

This is a bad worm due to the fact that the login page looks VERY convincing and the link supposedly came from your friend.

So, if you recieve the above message do not click on the link! Delete it and possibly inform your Twtter friend that he should change his password.

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Amusing Air Plane Graphics

Are you tired of plane conservative gray color all over the air plane you are boarding. It can really be dull and annoying. If you are afraid of flying this surely does nothing to help you overcome your fear.
Maybe air liners should consider adding a bit of creativity to their plane’s appearance. The results could be very amusing and really fun. I wouldn’t mind if the air plane stuck his tongue out to greet me!

Dog-like plane

Dangerous..Looking for some fun

Cartoon characters. To relax the kids (and some of the parents)

Creative Graphics

Simply cool looking air plane’s

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Russian Special Construction Hardware

Russian construction hardware

Some companies in Russia earn their living by buying cheap old Russian army vehicles and converting them to civil engineering and construction hardware that then is being used at the various construction sites in Russia.

With those it comes like, passing across a place where the new residential complex is being built a big military camouflaged tank can appear from across a corner equipped with a hoe instead of the gun.

Also, it might be handy in exporting to third world countries where the construction areas are sometimes being combined with a battle front. Such construction machinery won’t be an easy target and would be able to continue digging under the light to moderate range fire.

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Abandoned Russian Polar Nuclear Lighthouses

Russian Abandoned Nuclear Polar Lighthouse 1

Russian Northern coast is a vast territory lays for a few thousand of miles and all this coastline is inside the Polar Circle. Long polar winters mean no daylight at all, just one day changes another without any sign of the Sun rising above the horizon. There is only polar night for 100 day a year.

But across this Northern coast there was always a short way for the cargo boats to travel from Eastern part of Russia to the Western. Now this trip can be made fairly easy with the appearance of all the satellite navigation equipment like GPS and others, but during the Soviet Era they had none of this.

So, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided to build a chain of lighthouses to guide ships finding their way in the dark polar night across uninhabited shores of the Soviet Russian Empire. So it has been done and a series of such lighthouses has been erected. They had to be fully autonomous, because they were situated hundreds and hundreds miles aways from any populated areas. After reviewing different ideas on how to make them work for a years without service and any external power supply, Soviet engineers decided to implement atomic energy to power up those structures. So, special lightweight small atomic reactors were produced in limited series to be delivered to the Polar Circle lands and to be installed on the lighthouses. Those small reactors could work in the independent mode for years and didn’t require any human interference, so it was very handy in the situation like this. It was a kind of robot-lighthouse which counted itself the time of the year and the length of the daylight, turned on its lights when it was needed and sent radio signals to near by ships to warn them on their journey. It all looks like ran out the sci-fi book pages, but so they were.

Then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unattended automatic lighthouses did it job for some time, but after some time they collapsed too. Mostly as a result of the hunt for the metals like copper and other stuff which were performed by the looters. They didn’t care or maybe even didn’t know the meaning of the “Radioactive Danger” sign and ignored them, breaking in and destroying the equipment. It sounds creepy but they broke into the reactors too causing all the structures to become radioactively polluted.

Those photos are from the trip to the one of such structures, the most close to the populated areas of the Russian far east. Now, there are signs “RADIOACTIVITY” written with big white letters on the approaching paths to the structure but they don’t stop the abandoned exotics lovers.


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Telescopic eye implant from VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies

Technology and medicine have a tight bond and with the development of technology we’re seeing all sorts of different medical improvements. As technology develops we’re seeing medical implants that can improve our health but we were never hoping to see something like this.

Many people are suffering from partial or full loss of vision nowadays. While vision can be corrected with glasses in mild cases, sometimes surgery is required in order to restore the sight of the patients that are suffering from severe loss of vision. In order to avoid dangerous surgeries researches from VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies have developed certain implant that might help people with severe vision loss. Interesting thing is that this device has existed for over a year but FDA has approved it few days ago. This little device is an eye implant and although it looks rather small it’s actually a powerful telescope. I don’t know if you would like to have a telescope inside your eye, but this device is rather effective. According to the manufactures, this implant is intended for patients that are more than 75 years old and that are suffering from the end-stage macular degeneration. Although this device isn’t entirely safe it was able to help people that have damaged vision.

According to the recent survey, 75 percent of 200 people have reported that this implant was able to help them with their sight. We’re waiting for more surveys and results soon enough. As for this eye implant, it cost $15000.

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Future Technology and Aircraft Types

The following discussion is based on a presentation by Ilan Kroo entitled, Reinventing the Airplane: New Concepts for Flight in the 21st Century.

When we think about what may appear in future aircraft designs, we might look at recent history. The look may be frightening. From first appearances, anyway, nothing has happened in the last 40 years!

There are many causes of this apparent stagnation. The first is the enormous economic risk involved. Along with the investment risk, there is a liability risk which is of especially great concern to U.S. manufacturers of small aircraft. One might also argue that the commercial aircraft manufacturers are not doing too badly, so why argue with success and do something new? These issues are discussed in the previous section on the origins of aircraft.

Because of the development of new technologies or processes, or because new roles and missions appear for aircraft, we expect that aircraft will indeed change. Most new aircraft will change in evolutionary ways, but more revolutionary ideas are possible too.

This section will discuss several aspects of future aircraft including the following:

  • Improving the modern airplane
  • New configurations
  • New roles and requirements

Improving the Modern Airplane

Breakthroughs in many fields have provided evolutionary improvements in performance. Although the aircraft configuration looks similar, reductions in cost by nearly a factor of 3 since the 707 have been achieved through improvements in aerodynamics, structures and materials, control systems, and (primarily) propulsion technology. Some of these areas are described in the following sections.

Active Controls

Active flight control can be used in many ways, ranging from the relatively simple angle of attack limiting found on airplanes such as the Boeing 727, to maneuver and gust load control investigated early with L-1011 aircraft, to more recent applications on the Airbus and 777 aircraft for stability augmentation.

Reduced structural loads permit larger spans for a given structural weight and thus a lower induced drag. As we will see, a 10% reduction in maneuver bending load can be translated into a 3% span increase without increasing wing weight. This produces about a 6% reduction in induced drag.

Reduced stability requirements permit smaller tail surfaces or reduced trim loads which often provide both drag and weight reductions.

Such systems may also enable new configuration concepts, although even when applied to conventional designs, improvements in performance are achievable. In addition to performance advantages the use of these systems may be suggested for reasons of reliability, improved safety or ride quality, and reduced pilot workload, although some of the advantages are arguable.

New Airfoil Concepts

Airfoil design has improved dramatically in the past 40 years, from the transonic “peaky” sections used on aircraft in the 60’s and 70’s to the more aggressive supercritical sections used on today’s aircraft. The figure below illustrates some of the rather different airfoil concepts used over the past several decades.

Continuing progress in airfoil design is likely in the next few years, due in part to advances in viscous computational capabilities. One example of an emerging area in airfoil design is the constructive use of separation. The examples below show the divergent trailing edge section developed for the MD-11 and a cross-section of the Aerobie, a flying ring toy that uses this unusual section to enhance the ring’s stability.

Flow Near Trailing Edge of DTE Airfoil and Aerobie Cross-Section

Flow Control

Subtle manipulation of aircraft aerodynamics, principally the wing and fuselage boundary layers, can be used to increase performance and provide control. From laminar flow control, which seeks to reduce drag by maintaining extensive runs of laminar flow, to vortex flow control (through blowing or small vortex generators), and more recent concepts using MEMS devices or synthetic jets, the concept of controlling aerodynamic flows by making small changes in the right way is a major area of aerodynamic research. Although some of the more unusual concepts (including active control of turbulence) are far from practical realization, vortex control and hybrid laminar flow control are more likely possibilities.


Structural materials and design concepts are evolving rapidly. Despite the conservative approach taken by commercial airlines, composite materials are finally finding their way into a larger fraction of the aircraft structure. At the moment composite materials are used in empennage primary structure on commercial transports and on the small ATR-72 outer wing boxes, but it is expected that in the next 10-20 years the airlines and the FAA will be more ready to adopt this technology.

New materials and processes are critical for high speed aircraft, UAV’s, and military aircraft, but even for subsonic applications concepts such as stitched resin film infusion (RFI) are beginning to make cost-competitive composite applications more believable.


Propulsion is the area in which most evolutionary progress has been made in the last few decades and which will continue to improve the economics of aircraft. Very high efficiency, unbelievably large turbines are continuing to evolve, while low cost small turbine engines may well revolutionize small aircraft design in the next 20 years. Interest in very clean, low noise engines is growing for aircraft ranging from commuters and regional jets to supersonic transports.

Multidisciplinary Optimization

In addition to advances in disciplinary technologies, improved methods for integrating discipline-based design into a better system are being developed. The field of multidisciplinary optimization permits detailed analyses and design methods in several disciplines to be combined to best advantage for the system as a whole.

The figure here shows the problem with sequential optimization of a design in individual disciplines. If the aerodynamics group assumes a certain structural design and optimizes the design with respect to aerodynamic design variables (corresponding to horizontal motion in the conceptual plot shown on the right), then the structures group finds the best design (in the vertical degree of freedom), and this process is repeated, we arrive at a converged solution, but one that is not the best solution. Conventional trade studies in 1 or 2 or several parameters are fine, but when hundreds or thousands of design degrees of freedom are available, the use of more formal optimization methods are necessary.

Although a specific technology may provide a certain drag savings, the advantages may be amplified by exploiting these savings in a re-optimized design. The figure to the right shows how an aircraft was redesigned to incorporate active control technologies. While the reduced static margin provides small performance gains, the re-designed aircraft provides many times that advantage. Some typical estimates for fuel savings associated with “advanced” technologies are given below. Note that these are sometimes optimistic, and cannot be simply added together.

Active Control 10%
Composites 20%
Laminar Flow 10%
Improved Wing 10%
Propulsion 20%
Total 70%

New Configuration Concepts

Apart from evolutionary improvements in conventional aircraft, revolutionary changes are possible when the “rules” are changed. This is possible when the configuration concept iteself is changed and when new roles or requirements are introduced.

The following images give some idea of the range of concepts that have been studied over the past few years, some of which are currently being pursued by NASA and industry.

Blended Wing Body

The BWB design is intended to improve airplane efficiency through a major change in the airframe configuration. The thick centerbody accommodates passengers and cargo without the extra wetted area and weight of a fuselage. Orginally designed as a very large aircraft with as many as 800 passengers, versions of the BWB has been designed with as few as 250 passengers and more conventional twin, podded engines.

Joined Wing

The joined wing design was developed principally by Dr. Julian Wolkovitch in the 1980’s as an efficient structural arrangement in which the horizontal tail was used as a sturcural support for the main wing as well as a stabilizing surface. It is currently being considered for application to high altitiude long endurance UAVs.

Oblique Flying Wing

One of the most unusual concepts for passenger flight is the oblique wing, studied by Robert T. Jones at NASA from 1945 through the 1990s. Theoretical considerations suggest that the concept is well suited to low drag supersonic flight, while providing a structurally efficient means of achieving variable geometry.

New Roles and Requirements

In addition to new configuration ideas, new roles and requirements for aircrafrt may lead to new aircraft concepts. Some of these are summarized below.

Pacific Rim Travel

As global commerce continues to increase, the need for passenger and cargo transportation grows as well. Many have speculated that growth in pacific rim travel may be the impetus for high speed aircraft development. The figure above suggests how the time required for flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo varies with cruise Mach number. (The somewhat facetious Mach 8 aircraft requires extra time to cool off before passengers can deplane.)

Supersonic transportation (Boeing High Speed Civil Transport Concept)

Ground Effect Cargo Tranport Concept

Vehicles designed for missions other than carrying passengers include military aircraft with new constraints on radar detection (low observables), very high altitude aircraft, such as the Helios solar powered aircraft intended for atmospheric science and earth observation studies, and vehicles such as the Proteus, designed as a communications platform.

Low Observables (B2 Bomber)

Autonomous Air Vehicles (Pathfinder: a prototype for Helios solar UAV)

Halo Autonomous Air Vehicle for Communications Services (an AeroSat)

Finally a new class of air vehicles intended to provide lower cost access to space is under study. The near-term future of such designs depends on the economic health of the commercial space enterprise and it presently appears that these concepts are not likely to be seen soon.

Access to Space


  • Improved understanding and analysis capabilities permit continued improvement in aircraft designs
  • Exploiting new technologies can change the rules of the game, permitting very different solutions
  • New objectives and constraints may require unconventional configurations
  • Future progress requires unprecedented communication among aircraft designers, scientists, and computational specialists

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HomePlug Alliance teases AV2 high-speed standard

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance – the group behind the popular networking-over-powerline standard of the same name – has finally announced the feature set due to hit the market early 2011 as the HomePlug AV2 standard.

For those not familiar with the standard, HomePlug is designed as an alternative to wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi networking in the home: rather than wireless signals or dedicated cabling, HomePlug is one of several competing standards which allows data traffic to be routed over a home’s existing electrical cabling using small adapter boxes – making it a simple case of ‘plug-and-play’ for anyone wanting to add networking to their home.

The group promises that this latest release of the standard – currently being finalized by the Technical Working Group – is set to include an impressive speed boost thanks to the use of Multiple-Inputs-Multiple-Outputs (MIMO) technology similar to that used in 802.11n Wi-Fi networking. As well as improving the speed, the group claims that the MIMO technology will “increase capacity and enable more reliable and expanded home coverage.”

Further increases in performance – up to five times, according to the Alliance’s tests – have been promised as a result of the specification expanding into a larger operating spectrum: with more frequencies to play with, increased bandwidth will mean larger quantities of data can be squirted down the wire at ever faster rates.

As well as being used to provide networking between computing devices in the home – and as an easy way to share a broadband connection between devices located in different rooms – the new HomePlug standard looks to be the solution to all your audiovisual needs: the Alliance claims that the standard will be robust enough to cope with “multiple streams of 1080p HD video and emerging 3D and 4K HD,” allowing a single HD device to stream to any compatible display anywhere in the home.

Home security is also a consideration, with the Alliance pointing out that the ability to stream video over your electrical wiring makes the installation of security cameras significantly easier.

With HomePlug devices accounting for around 80 percent of the world’s powerline networking market – and with over 45 million such devices already shipped – it’s clear that the latest version of the standard could finally spell the end of dedicated cable runs – in the home, at least.

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Hacker Demonstrates Powerful Mobile Interception at Minimal Expense

A hacker has conducted a demonstration on how to intercept mobile phone calls using equipment that costs no more than $1500. This show-and-tell session took place in front of more than a thousand people at a DefCon conference in Las Vegas, and as an added bonus – he didn’t even get arrested.

While scanning mobile phone calls is not unknown in some circles, and the interceptors used are even available for purchase in Canada and England, the method used in this demonstration was quite advanced in respect to the cost of the technology involved. Chris Paget was the man in the hot seat, saying somewhat proudly that “I can intercept cell phone calls with 1,500 dollars worth of radio gear and a laptop”.

With the use of a simple antenna and some basic radio equipment, Chris Paget demonstrated how he could broadcast a GSM signal and pretend to be a telecom service provider. Once this clever trick has taken place, it is then possible for a hacker to forward their own calls and listen in on practically any conversation that takes place within a specific network.

While this demonstration used a method that is limited to GSM networks, Paget then went on to describe just how easy it would be to also cause disruption to 3G mobile networks. Through the use of a simple noise generator and a power amplifier, Paget claims that 3G networks could easily be jammed, in which case most of them resort back to GSM networks – which is where we began.

While some people were calling for his arrest prior to the demonstration, and even Chris himself was a little nervous about this possibility, it seems the US Federal Communications Commission decided to take it easy on him. After all, despite the undeniable damage that technology like this can cause, it is people like Chris Paget who are likely to be leading the way in mobile security in future years.

When it comes to technology, only those who can break it really have any chance of coming up with new and innovative ways to put it together again. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mr Paget found himself with a few job offers from both federal and commercial security enterprises following his DefCon demonstration.

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Security geek explains why he leaked Facebook data online

A security consultant has posted the personal details of over 100 million Facebook users in one downloadable file online.

The file is available from the popular file sharing site Pirate Bay and already thousands of users have downloaded it.

Ron Bowles, the guy who was responsible for leaking the data he collected from Facebook has now explained to the BBC how he got the data and why he did what he did.

Using a simple piece of code, he scanned all the Facebook profiles to collect data on everyone who didn’t have their privacy settings set to private, and this data would then form the basis of a useful tool for testing security systems.

Mr Bowes told the BBC that his original plan was to “collect a good list of human names that could be used for these tests”.

However, once he’d done it, he realised that others would be interested in the data and that if he could get hold of it, so could anyone else, and perhaps not for good reasons either. So Bowes decided to release it online to highlight the security issue.

Bowes is keen to point out that many people might be unaware that this data is already available publicly for anyone who wants it, all he did was “compile public information into a nice format for statistical analysis” he said, and likened it to the information available in a telephone directory.

Simon Davies from Privacy International told the BBC that what Bowes did was an “ethical attack” and said that it was an issue for Facebook now and that they have a responsibility to do something beyond the bare minimum about security.

This latest leak is bound to throw fuel on an already raging fire despite assurances from the popular social networking site who said in a statement to the BBC that “no private data is available or has been compromised” by the information.

Mr Bowes says he made it available to highlight the risks that Facebook users are taking.

“Since this is already public information, I see very little harm in disclosing it” he said.

Personally I think there are far greater security issues online that could have much more devastating consequences than what amounts to a list of Facebook users, it’s just the size of that list that’s disturbing.

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