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Archive for January 10, 2011

Biometric ATM gives cash via ‘finger vein’ scan

January 10, 2011 1 comment

Poland’s cooperative BPS bank says it’s the first in Europe to install a biometric ATM — allowing customers to withdraw cash simply with the touch of a fingertip.

The digit-scanning ATM, introduced in the Polish capital of Warsaw, runs on the latest in “finger vein” technology — an authentication system developed by Japanese tech giant Hitachi.

The company says that an infrared light is passed through the finger to detect a unique pattern of micro-veins beneath the surface – which is then matched with a pre-registered profile to verify an individual’s identity.

“This is a substantially more reliable technique than using fingerprints,” Peter Jones, Hitachi’s head of security and solutions in Europe, told CNN.

“Our tests indicate there is a one in a million false acceptance rate — that’s as good as iris scanning, which is generally regarded as the most secure method.”

Unlike fingerprints, which leave a trace and can be potentially reproduced, finger veins are impossible to replicate, according to Jones, because they are beneath the surface of the skin.

“And before you ask, no — it doesn’t work with fingers that have been chopped off,” he added.

While the technology represents a step forward in reducing cases of identity fraud, Jones said that this is just one of many factors that have encouraged the Polish bank to adopt it. Read more…

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Obama Eyeing Internet ID for Americans

January 10, 2011 Comments off

STANFORD, Calif. – President Obama is planning to hand the U.S. Commerce Department authority over a forthcoming cybersecurity effort to create an Internet ID for Americans, a White House official said here today.

It’s “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said.

That news, first reported by CNET, effectively pushes the department to the forefront of the issue, beating out other potential candidates including the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The move also is likely to please privacy and civil liberties groups that have raised concerns in the past over the dual roles of police and intelligence agencies.

The announcement came at an event today at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, where U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Schmidt spoke.

The Obama administration is currently drafting what it’s calling the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which Locke said will be released by the president in the next few months. (An early version was publicly released last summer.)

“We are not talking about a national ID card,” Locke said at the Stanford event. “We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.” Read more…

NASA Sold Computer Hard Drives Containing Sensitive Government Info

January 10, 2011 Comments off

Julian Assange may have needed a mole inside the Army to get sensitive government documents for WikiLeaks, but thanks to the lax IT procedures at NASA, it looks like he may have only needed an eBay account.

Due to weak security measures and an agency culture that struggles with properly handling property transfer, NASA sold hard drives to the general public that contained information that could help hackers penetrate the space agency’s computers, according to a new report from the NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The computers were left over from the shuttle program, which NASA sold off publicly after they had been properly sanitized of any sensitive information. However, it seems that a combination of poorly designed procedures and individual failures led NASA personnel to skip that sanitation step. Overall, 10 entires PCs that might have contained IP information and other sensitive data are known to have ended up sold to private citizens.

“During our audit, we discovered significant weaknesses in the sanitization and disposal processes for IT equipment at four NASA Centers – Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers and Ames and Langley Research Centers,” the report reads.

This is not the first time that NASA has come under fire for poor information technology and equipment management. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), NASA misplaced $94 million in equipment between 1997 and 2007, and failed to meet their goals of stopping such losses in six of those ten years.

A 2007 GAO report portrayed a NASA culture where property mismanagement and loss rarely results in punishment. In one instance, a NASA employee escaped punishment despite providing an explanation for losing a laptop consisting of the excuse “this computer, although assigned to me, was being used on board the International Space Station. I was informed that it was tossed overboard to be burned up in the atmosphere when it failed,” the 2007 GAO report said.

Massacre suspect “mentally disturbed,” former teacher says

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Tucson, Arizona (CNN) — The suspect in the weekend massacre in Arizona was kicked out of an algebra class at a community college in June after repeated interruptions and clearly “needed psychological help,” his instructor said Sunday.

Jared Lee Loughner was “physically removed” from the Pima Community College course less than a month after it began, its instructor, Ben McGahee told CNN. McGahee said Loughner sometimes shook, blurted things out in class, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs at times.

“I was scared of what he could do,” McGahee said. “I wasn’t scared of him physically, but I was scared of him bringing a weapon to class.”

Loughner is now accused of opening fire at a Tucson supermarket where U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was hosting a meet-and-greet session with her constituents on Saturday. Six people were killed and 14 others wounded in the shooting. Read more…

Louisiana officials: Parts of coastline still heavily oiled

January 10, 2011 1 comment

More than eight months after an oil rig explosion launched the biggest oil disaster in U.S. history, Louisiana officials say they’re still finding thick layers of oil along parts of the state’s coastline.

“Every day, this shoreline is moving inland,” lessening flood protection for residents, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said.

On Friday, Robert Barham, secretary of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, joined Nungesser on a tour of portion of Louisiana’s coastline still heavily oiled by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a statement from the wildlife and fisheries department.

“It has been eight months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, and five months since the well was capped. While workers along the coast dedicated themselves to cleaning up our shores there is still so much to be done,” Barham said in the statement.

During a walking tour of an area called Bay Jimmy, Nungesser said oil can be seen from a distance.

“When the tide is out … you can see thick oil onto the water for 30, 40 feet out,” the parish president said. “There’s been no mechanism to clean that up thus far.” Read more…

Why Americans are so angry

January 10, 2011 1 comment

By Linda Feldmann, / Staff writer
posted March 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm EST

Heather Gass always felt she had to suppress her conservative views, living as she did in the liberal San Francisco Bay area. A year ago that all changed.

CNBC financial reporter Rick Santelli had just blasted the Obama administration’s plan to help homeowners facing foreclosure, and called for a “tea party” protest in Chicago. The idea caught fire around the country, and soon Ms. Gass, a 40-something real estate agent, was organizing weekly street-corner demonstrations in her hometown of Orinda, Calif.

Her focus was fiscal discipline, aimed not just at the $75 billion mortgage bailout but also the administration’s $787 billion stimulus package and President Obama’s budget. She remembers her first signs well: “Stop printing money” and “China owns us.” By Congress’s summer recess, when opposition to Mr. Obama’s healthcare plan burst forth, she had 100 people protesting on street corners, she says.

Fast-forward to February 2010. Gass is still out there every Friday, her 6-year-old son in tow. Political operatives are calling her up for advice. Her roster of influential tea party activists – “Heather’s list,” as local politicos call it – is creating buzz. “We’re not dangerous,” says Gass. “We’re your neighbors. But we’ve been underground. We’re not underground anymore.”

Gass says she’s beyond anger over the direction of the country and is in “action mode.” Whatever it’s called, that intensity of feeling – the passion that led her to travel last month to the Tea Party Convention in Nashville and that drives her to tears when she worries out loud about the America her son’s generation will inherit – is unmistakable. Read more…

Early Cancer Screening Could Cause Millions of Deaths

January 10, 2011 Comments off

The Liberty Doctor
Infowars.com
January 9, 2011

infowars
Despite well-meaning warnings in government propaganda, early detection via full body scanning can pose a greater risk to radiation-borne cancers.

My early training was in biochemistry. I did several years of rotations through the department at MD Anderson that did human testing and development of new chemotherapeutic agents such nucleoside analogs. This department is called “Developmental Therapeutics”.

Part of our interdepartmental philosophy was to have brainstorming meetings with premiere researchers and clinicians from all over the world almost every day. One of the things that all these fathers and mothers of the chemotherapeutic industry agreed on was a particular “Cancer Model.” The model was essentially that cancer arises when cells get deranged by having their genetic programming changed in expression (covering and uncovering areas on the genes) or from actual mutation of the code and in some cases modification of the code by viruses (plasmid injection).

Most agreed that every man, woman and child under this model would develop cancers somewhere in their bodies every year several times (but they normally go away). Fortunately, the most common thing that happens to a cell when it is modified is for it to die (rather than it losing its inhibition to grow greedily into its neighbors and stimulate capillaries to support it and become a malignancy). Most mutations are non-viable. In addition, our cells have very aggressive repair mechanisms that fix transcription errors on a genetic level. In the event that the error is not fixed and some cells do grow, the immune system recognizes the cells as foreign and kills them.

My concern is that early detection of cancer at the cellular level will have us aggressively looking for the location of these early cancers. The main tool for finding early cancer location when you don’t know if it is in the lung, liver, colon, prostate, mouth or wherever is full body scanning. If you check out background radiation experience and compare it to other radiation experience you will find (on Wikipedia for example) that most of our exposure, other than background, is occupational or from medical testing and therapy. 75% of our exposure is from CAT scans.

It is very likely that aggressive use of scanning technology will double or triple the incidence of radiation-caused cancers in the diagnostic patient’s future. It is also likely that in cases the cancer cannot be found (it is occult), it is because it has already been destroyed by natural process or has died on its own. People will be encouraged to undergo “preventive regimes” of chemotherapy which also will cause a direct increase in other forms of cancer.