Was Yahoo Mail Hacked by Chinese Spammers Over the Weekend?

August 25, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: IT News 

This morning, a colleague at work reported that someone had broken into his online Yahoo mail account over the weekend and sent a single spam email to all the people in his contact address book. The message advertised a website and asked people to buy the spammer’s goods.

He asked me to help work out how his account had been compromised.

The spam message remained in his sent box, so I examined the full headers. After doing a reverse lookup of the IP address, I found out that it was sent from a host located in China.

After doing a google search, I discovered that at least one other person had their account misused in the same way – as reported in this post on Yahoo answers dated 22nd August.

So far, I have not found any media coverage of any incident, so I am wondering how widespread this problem is. If you or anyone you know has had their Yahoo mail account misused in this way, please make a comment. Also, don’t forget to report this to Yahoo support.

2008 is the Coldest Year of the 21st Century

August 24, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: International News, Science 

I am sure that this does not come as a surprise to anyone living through the current Australian Winter, but this year, 2008,  has been the coldest this century. So reads a fantastic post at slashdot.

But does this reality make the anthropogenic global climate change believers start having some doubts?

Of course not! It appears that they now say that a combination of phenomena – the La Niña effect and “Atlantic Multidecadal Information” will buy us another decade or so of unusually cold temperatures – plenty of time to concoct a new explanation to resolve their past inconsistencies.

Arab Squatters Imprisoned After Defying Court Order to Vacate Property

The above could be the alternative headline for the emotionally-charged article written by Fairfax Middle-East correspondent, Jason Koutsoukis – “Crunch time as family fights to keep home from Jewish settlers

In summary, a Palestinian Arab man, Khalil Hanun, was imprisoned after refusing to vacate a property that a court ruled, was owned by somebody else. Oh, and the other party happened to be Jewish.

In any normal country, when a squatter or bad tenant refuses to leave following an eviction order, would this person not expect to be arrested, fined or imprisoned? And would this normally be considered newsworthy? No it wouldn’t, but standards are different when the action involves Israel.

The only valid, objective questions essential to resolving this matter are:

1. Did the group of Jewish people purchase the property from the Ottoman Turk authorities who were sovereign at the time? Yes or No?

2. Under what law or capacity did the UN Relief and Works Agency act when giving the Palestinian Arabs  possession of the land, considering that it was occupied by Jordan at the time?

The answers to these two questions are sufficient to determine the outcome of this case, without introducing emotive racist or nationalist arguments.

But if Mr Koutsoukis were truly interested in balance, he may also have wished to mention the following:

  • Jersualem was a united city until one half was captured by Jordan (formerly Transjordan) during the 1948 war, following their decision to take part in the Arab attack on the newly declared state of Israel. Jordan annexed the area in 1949, but this was not internationally recognised, except by Pakistan and Great Britain.
  • The area, Sheikh Jarrah, was historically a Jewish neighbourhood until Arab rioters drove them out in the 1920’s. Jordan drove out the Jewish inhabitants from the remaining part of Jerusalem under their control during the 1948 war.
  • Israel recaptured Jerusalem at the end of the 6-day war in 1967, many of the neighbourhoods that were rebuilt are in fact former Jewish areas.

I do not know all the facts, so I will keep an open mind. I wish Mr Koutsakis and his ilk would do the same.

Updated 8:09pm, 19-8-2008: Other sources on the net refer to them as the ‘Al-Kurd family’.

DSD Offers Pittance for Australian Cyber Defence

August 14, 2008 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Australian News, Humour, IT News 

If you were a top notch IT security expert living in Sydney, would you be enticed by a job offering $52,000-$72,959 in remuneration so you can be subjected to a gruelling interview process that involves digging up your past, being analysed by shrinks, and if you succeed, having to move to Canberra to get bored out of your brain?

The Australian Department of Defence thinks so!

A short while ago, I logged into my gmail account and noticed a banner ad that really caught my eye

“DSD Tech Security Jobs – www.dsd.gov.au – Malicous IFRAMEs? Heap overflows? You’ll love what we do.”

The Australian Defence Signals Directorate (the equivalent of the American National Security Agency), who are a division of the Department of Defence, is recruiting experts to work in Cyber Operations.

The following is quoted from their FAQ:

I’m not sure what level I should apply for, what should I do?

If this is the case, you should apply for all three levels.  If you are a successful applicant you will be offered an APS Position (APS 4-6) commensurate with your performance during the selection process.  If you only wish to apply for a specific level, you must clearly state this on your application form.  

The current salary ranges are:

APS 4 – $52 009 – $57 094
APS 5 – $58 009 – $62 135
APS 6 – $63 550 – $72 595

These rates will increase by 3.1% on Christmas day (2008).  Superannuation is in addition to this!

We will be holding assessment centres in Canberra during the week of 8 September. The 2 day process will involve an individual technical assessment and interview, some group based exercises, some paperwork and an interview with our friendly psychologists. Don’t stress too much.

What other benefits are there in working for DSD?

  • Generous superannuation (15.4%)
  • Free gym
  • Free parking
  • Opportunities to salary package
  • Flexible working conditions
  • Generous study provisions and developmental opportunities.

OK, I was a bit too hasty – there is free parking, as we all know about the terrible shortage they have in Canberra. The gym is also good – when you’re bored of Canberra life, you can vent your frustration by pumping iron. Oh yes, and the job is secure.

But seriously, it troubles me that the sort of people are prepared to work for peanuts are going to be on the front lines of our country’s cyber defence. I know a number of programmers in Sydney who get over $90,000 (plus super) for far more trivial activities.

Furthermore, when I think of true security experts, I think of reformed hackers, like Kevin Mitnick and Kevin Poulsen. Would they pass a security clearance?

Of course, there may be a reason for the low pay. Perhaps our country is not really under threat, and the job consists of merely watching packet dumps scrolling down a monitor or playing network computer games? I really don’t know – it’s all classified.

Bangladeshi Editor May Be Executed for Advocating Ties with Israel

The Jerusalem Post reports – a Bangladeshi newspaper editor, Salah Choudhury, is on trial for sedition charges, largely for advocating ties with Israel. If he is found guilty, he may face the death penalty.

In November 2003, he was arrested at the airport, as he was leaving Bangladesh on his way to a conference in Israel promoting co-existence between Muslims and Jews, and has been imprisoned ever since.

His has been accused of being “anti-Islamic” and “defaming Bangladesh”. Anti-Israel sentiment is strong in this impoverished country, despite the fact that Bangladesh has little to do with Israel, neither sharing any borders, nor being an Arab country.

I hope those civil rights advocates in the mainstream media who rush to defend the rights of captured Al-Qaida members and other fanatics, may spare just a few words for Mr Choudhury.

Nurofen Plus to Remain on Sale

August 11, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Australian News, Medicine, Uncategorized 

The Australian reports that the popular over-the-counter pain reliever, Nurofen Plus, will remain on sale.

Earlier this year, there was talk that this medicine was going to be rescheduled as a prescription drug, due to reports that people were consuming whole packs to get high.

The active ingredients in Nurofen Plus are ibuprofen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) and a small quantity of codeine (an opiate closely related to morphine). Taking a whole pack would deliver enough codeine to get one high, but the excessive dose of ibuprofen could lead to a number of adverse reactions, potentially harming parts of the digestive system.

Nonetheless, it is a very effective medicine for headaches and muscular pain and it would be wrong to deprive the vast majority of people due to a few idiots, who are always going to be around, so I fully support the decision to keep it over-the-counter.

I Am Rich!

In these difficult economic times, people have to be creative to get ahead.

An enterprising fellow by the name of Armin Heinrich, capitalised on conspicious consumption centred around Apple’s much-hyped iPhone, released last month.

He created an iPhone application named “I Am Rich”, whose sole function is to display a computer-generated image of a glowing red ruby, as a status symbol in order to flaunt the wealth of the owner.

Apparently, 8 people purchased this application, for the listed price of $999.99, before it was removed by Apple, following a complaint from a purchaser who claimed he accidentally clicked on the buy button.

The LA Times has a fantastic article, with pictures of the Apple store advertisement and an application screenshot.

WA Opposition Leader Troy Buswell Steps Down

August 5, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Australian News, Australian Politics 

Yet another politician’s career has been ended by committing a social faux-pas. In this case, the WA Liberal Opposition Leader, Troy Buswell, was forced to step down, due to a chair-sniffing incident with a female colleague back in 2005.

His colleagues may have had good reason to take offence, but it was a private matter that should not have concerned the media or the public, and they should have been able to resolve it between themselves.

Why this had to resurface 3 years later is anyone’s guess. I wish we lived in an age where politicians were forced to step down due to their incompetence, poor planning or managerial skills – things that actually affect the electorate!

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