NOW COMPUTERS WILL UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN!


When we are sick, the worst thing that we go through is someone questioning what exactly you are going through… where is it paining and to what extend is it paining… its very irritating… right? In addition, the situation is tougher with infants, elderly, debilitated or unconscious patients.

Pain being considered to be the fifth vital sign, it is considered as one of the key elements of the patient assessment. Doctors completely rely on patients to tell them whether they are in pain. Well, however, gone are the days when we had to keep trying to explain to our doctor how much something hurts on a scale of one to 10. Recently, the Scientists at Stanford University have taken an initiative in creating a new gold standard for assessing pain using computer learning software.

As the research and development continues for this innovation, the scientists have been able to predict most of the time whether the volunteers are experiencing pain or not. Moreover, to get these results, they have combined computer-learning software with a catalogue of MIR brain scans. For the study, the team uses a linear support vector machine – a computer algorithm – to classify patterns of brain activity and determine whether someone is experiencing pain. For this, the volunteers who undergo the brain scans are touched by a mildly heated probe and then again on a painfully hot setting. The computer uses data from these scans to recognise different brain activity patterns that occurs when a person is detecting heat, and which ones detect pain. It is estimated that, in these tests the computer has been more than 80 per cent accurate in detecting which brain scans are of people in pain or not. Conducted in a controlled laboratory environment, the study is said to need a further research to detect if the technology can be adapted to accurately show chronic pain.

Using this neuro-imaging technology, apart from the scale of pain, the team has also been successful in detecting whether the patient is in a state of pain or not. Hence, eventually with the use of this technology, doctors will be able to detect pain better and will be able to give better treatment of chronic pain.

So, the next time when we go to the doctor and he has this question in his mind for us that how much does it hurt, their computer will help them tell how much pain their patients are experiencing.

I agree it is a great innovation, and fingers crossed…. I pray that it meets the standards successfully. However, I would like to make a point that no matter how successful this innovation is, it will not give accurate results if the malware and other viruses affect it. Such malicious creatures have the tendency of disturbing the working of softwares installed in the computer as well as the whole computer rather. Moreover, this will lead to inappropriate treatment, thus increasing the complexities in the patient’s health. Hence, an Anti-Virus is a must for such computers.

Otherwise, how will the computer understand the pain we are going through?

BEWARE! You are spied while banking on internet!


Technology has advanced to such an extent that we now trust our computers in money matters. Coincidently, more than we may trust humans!

It is observed that major internet savvy users have stopped going to bank. Right from filling the forms and online applications to transferring the cash and all the other banking formalities we have started using internet. Let me not talk about the pros of the same. We all are aware of them. However, the overshadowed cons due to favourable pros of this facility need to be brought under notice.

One of the biggest security concerns when using internet banking facility is Keyloggers. In simple words these especially creative people tracking the keys struck on a keyboard from remote, while someone is banking on internet. We might have heard people saying that they have lost money from their account or there are some unknown transactions showing on their bank accounts using their internet banking accounts. This means that their account is being hacked!

Now, a question might arise that how is this possible? This is done secretly so that the person using the keyboard is not aware that his/her actions are being spied on. Key logging can be done from hardware and software-based approaches to electromagnetic as well as acoustic analysis. With is they are able to trace the username, password of the online banking accounts. And can take advantage of that information. It is easily possible by writing simple software applications for key logging. Later, these programs can easily be distributed as a Trojan horse or as part of a virus in the network. To whom-so-ever this virus stuck, is a victim!

Here, something which is not simple for the Keylogger is to install a hidden keystroke logger without being caught and to download the data that has been logged without being traced. Usually these Keyloggers manually connect to a host machine to download logged keystrokes risks being traced. There is always a risk of sending a Trojan to a fixed e-mail address or IP address because it may expose the key logger’s identity. One of the other ways that keyloggers try is by unconditionally writing the crypto Trojan to the last few unused sectors of every writable disk that is inserted into the machine that remain marked as unused, using a USB token. And only the Trojan writer can decrypt the cipher text because only he knows the needed private decryption key.

Hence, we need an alternative to the conventional computer. In year 2008, IBM engineers invented virtual keyboard also known as laser keyboard. Its primary use is when you need to type without a physical keyboard present. It is also used as an additional safety measure from viruses, Trojan and  that might be present in the computer that logs every keystroke from the keyboard waiting for you to type in your password or credit card number. Virtual Keyboards are the best for internet banking. This online application protects your password from malicious Spyware and Trojan Programs.

Presently, there are several programs available in the market today that can be added to any desktop or laptop system to create a virtual keyboard environment. Also, it can be downloaded from internet. Once installed on your computer, it is easy to access. Some times the original keyboard (hardware) is used to active the virtual component and using mouse virtual keys can be typed. Couple of more alternative devices such as head mouse and eye mouse can also be used. Laser technology can also be used to operate the virtual keyboard.

Apart from Virtual keyboard, the other ways to have a safe banking experience online is by using Anti- Keylogger softwares, Live CD/USB, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Virus programs, Network monitors, Automatic form filler programs, One-time passwords (OTP), Security tokens, On-screen keyboards, Keystroke interference software, Speech recognition, Handwriting recognition and mouse gestures, Macro expanders/recorders and so on!

Well, the fact is that effectiveness of countermeasures varies as keyloggers use various techniques to capture data and the countermeasure needs to be effective against the particular data capture technique. Also, there are always possibilities of the Keylogger software authors updating the code to adapt to countermeasures that may have proven to be effective against them. With the increasing advanced innovations, there are more advanced versions of thefts invented…. Or Visa Versa!

The bottom line is BEWARE!

Hollywood… Forget about Bodyguards… Do you have Anti-Virus?


Celebrities are no stranger to encroachments… privacy has always been a serious issue for them… right from media to the over zealous fans to their jealous competitor costars… all seek unfettered access to their favorite stars. However,Hollywoodnow faces a new, freakish threat to their privacy!

 

After creating havoc in the top level corporations and governments, the known hacker group Anonymous is diverting its attention away towards the Hollywood’s elite. And for this they have honored themselves with a new title – HOLLYWOODLEAKS… thus has declared war on the entertainment industry!

 

Since past few days, Hollywood Leaks has been successfully accessing the private records of celebrities. They are simply facilitating the free flow of information what they find and interestingly, have no qualms about sharing it. They got access and distributed some of the precious data like the confidential script for the new Tom Cruise movie, ‘Rock of Ages’ and phone numbers of celebrities – Ashley Greene, Joey Fatone, Miley Cyrus, Lil Jon, and Mark Cuban. They even leaked Julianne Hough, the singer’s health insurance information, her cell phone number as well as her cell-phone pictures, including pictures of her with boyfriend Ryan Seacrest and even her unreleased album.

 

Eventually, they are also responsible in leaking topless pictures of VMA nominated rapper Kreayshawn and shared them with her some 300,000 odd Twitter followers. Toby Barrett’s twitter account was hacked. And recently, they hacked Gerald Butler’s e-mail address of his Gmail account along with email addresses of rappers Waka Flocka and Lloyd Banks.

 

Just like Anonymous or LulzSec, Hollywood Leaks revealed that they are in it for the Lulz – that is just for the felonious amusement atHollywood’s expense!

The group posted message to YouTube recently – “Attention Hollywood. We are Anonymous. We have been watching you. We have been listening to you. You have been allowed to run free too long. The time of Jew control media is over.” Later, the group tweeted “LOL at people calling us Anti-Semites. It’s for the LULZ.  Get over it.”

 

The hacker group has revealed that its intent is to target celebrities in Film, Television, and Music. And as we see, few top celebrities have already been targeted. The main purpose of these hack attacks seems that the hackers are looking for dirt, such as nude photos, embarrassing e-mails or memos, scripts under wraps, etc. In general, Hollywood Leaks wants to leave a trail of showbiz carnage in its wake.

 

Though it’s not the most devastating list of achievements of the group so far, however, their ominous sign-off:  “We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.” … scares me a bit! I just wonder what next… rather whose next!

 

I am pretty sure thatHollywoodspin machine might be scared by now due to the Hollywood Leak’s operation and have got an idea of the hack group’s potential to wreak havoc on the industry! And it looks like they’ll continue to shake up the industry.

 

According to security experts, Hollywood Leaks have broken into these celebrities accounts may be simply by guessing some bad security questions. So dear allHollywoodmembers… stop only thinking about your physical security… Think about securing yourselves online…. A bodyguard for you online… A good Anti-Virus!

IF JUNK… JUST BUNK…


Many a times we have received an e-mail that says something like: “Forward this e-mail on to 10 people and receive good luck for a month!” Or “If you forward this to 10 people, you’ll see something funny on your screen after you send it or forward this on to ’10’ of your friends” or “sign this petition” or “Forward this mail to 10 people or you’ll get bad luck,” or ” Forward this mail to 10 people and you’ll get good luck,” or “you’ll see something funny on your screen after you send it” or the very famous ‘Microsoft Email Lottery’!

I am sure almost 99% of the “Please forward this to everyone” emails we get almost regularly contain at least some misinformation. Rather sometimes, the entire email is completely a hoax. Even the one trying to warn us of some great peril are usually worthless, like HIV infected needles in coin return slots, gang member initiation rituals, kidnap attempts in parking lots, or simple procedures that will save someone in an emergency medical situation, at times are outrightly dangerous (if they contain virus).

Also, the e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to the mass letter. Many of us must have also received emails that say that “you can do your friends and family members a great favor by sending this information to them. You will be providing a service to your friends.”

I have also received many of the emails that try to play with our conscience by saying that “send this e-mail to 10 people… if you’re not ashamed of God/Jesus” or also the e-mails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease, “how would you feel if that was your child”…

I know these mails are received by many of us quite occasionally. My question is that how many of us respond to such mails as instructed? And what happens when we do so?

If I am not mistaken, the answer is NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS! True… we neither win any lottery… nor do something good or bad happen with us! So what is the purpose of these chain mails? When no one gets anything out of it… why do these mails… sorry chain mails keep knocking our inboxes?

Well, as it is said that in today’s world nothing happens without a reason… same applies for internet world!

These chain mails have tracker programs attached to its e-mails that track the cookies and e-mails of those whom you forward them to. It is one of the ways to get names and cookie tracking information for telemarketers and spammers. This activity helps them to validate the active e-mail accounts for their own profitable purposes. It so works like this that every time the mail is forwarded, the host sender gets a copy and then he is able to get lists of ‘active’ e-mail addresses to use in spam e-mails or sell to other spammers. In some cases, such mails also waste bandwidth and clog ISP’s mail servers.

Yes… it’s true…! The fact is that these spammers really don’t care about how they get our e-mail addresses as long as they get them.

Well, all I would say is that do a favor for yourself by stop adding your names to such types of listing… no matter how real they might sound, making you feel guilty that if you don’t…. just ignore them and do not participate!

In case we follow the instructions thinking that somehow, somewhere we are supporting a great cause, actually we are not! Just remember that such mails are all about getting e-mail addresses and nothing more! Rather we are inviting tons of junk mail in our inbox that may bring lots of deadly viruses to your computer! As apart from such emails firing up a program that can track where an email has gone and report back to a marketer, they can launch a program that installs itself on your computer to do all kinds of nasty things like, pop-up ads, using your computer to send out spam, or keyboard watchers, etc.

When someone sends one of such mails to us and 20 other people, our email address with such activity gets on the machines of 20 people. If 5 of them forward to 20 more people then our email address is now on about 100 different computers. The reason is that by default, most email programs include the entire list of people the original was sent to when it creates the forwarded copy. And if this activity is repeated a few more times, congratulations as without you doing anything, your email address is on thousands of computers!

Apart from ignoring such emails, the other best way to save you is to have an updated Anti-Virus. Never open an email attachment that you were not expecting. If an email comes through with an attachment, always check with the sender before opening, even if it’s someone you trust. The best idea is to just click the button marked Delete. Don’t click the Spam button as this will add the senders e-mail address to the spam list, and other genuine e-mails the person sends you could also get treated as spam. Also, the sender’s e-mail could get added to the companies black list, which may result in most of their e-mails also being treated as spam to other people they are e-mailing as well. This might not just affect us but others too!

So, conclusion is that by forwarding e-mails just can’t bring us luck or bad luck… if we don’t forward! And, above all the pain and suffering we go through; we are actually helping those spammers to get rich! Let’s not make it easy for them!

So if you are still someone who continues to forward the chain e-mails expecting any luck or due to the fear of bad luck, I urge you to stop this practice… If any junk mail in your inbox… just bunk it!

Take care of your Lifeline…!


When we say the advancement of technology has influenced humanity in the various aspects of life that governs almost all acts of man… out of some of the few important inventions, I find Credit Cards as the prominent.

Just because you don’t have cash so don’t pay cash… but still you buy and when you use this credit card, with just that one swipe… assures that you have paid the bill. See it builds that trust… though no actual hard cash transaction!

I call Credit cards as ‘The Financial Lifeline’ because of their ability to pay for us when we don’t have cash. One of the laws of nature that we all have noticed or rather experienced is that, when we have something valuable, people around try to take advantage of that and if it is not possible directly, they try fraudulent ways. Isn’t it?

Well, that’s the same case with Credit Cards also. Every now and then we hear criminals behind the credit card, some or the other ways.

You may find some one calling from FBI, law firms, banks and other legitimate-sounding agencies and trying to obtain credit card information. On this Phishing call, they try to collect on loans and ask you to fax your important information to pay the debt. And if not you are not co-operative, chances of being threatened with legal action, arrest, and in some cases, physical violence are possible. Sometimes all this is done by the automated phone messages, also known as ROBOCALLS, which serves as a reminder to us to pay off our debt.

At times we think that, “Why me?” or “Why is someone behind my credit card information?” But let me tell you, all these Phishing scam artists aren’t targeting any one person in particular, rather they send out mass emails, make mass robocalls, or mail out mass letters in hopes of getting someone to bite on their scam. To prove their fraudulent activity legitimate, they will usually mention the name of an actual bank, hoping that you are the customer of this bank. They scare us into giving out our information by claiming there’s a problem with our account and then asking for our account information. Sometimes, a sales pitch outlining lower credit rates is summarized over the telephone. To receive these great rates, all you have to do is give your credit card number to the unknown caller. And if you question the caller, all you get is a ‘click’ and a dial tone as the swindler promptly hangs up!

And one of the recent phishing scam is the use of the unsolicited text messages to get you to provide credit card information to scammers. You receive a text message that appears to be legitimately linked to your bank or credit card lender. The text message informs you about some sort of discrepancy with your credit card account and asks you to send text message or call a phone number that is provided in the message, in order to be able to clear up the confusion. And now, when you do so, you are asked to enter your credit card account information including the security code on your credit card. You may also be asked to provide other identifying information. Of course, the scam is that this text message isn’t coming from your bank at all but rather is a phishing scam designed to fool us to provide credit card information to the one who then plans to use that.

I feel that, scam artists are getting more and more creative day-by-day with their methods of taking advantage of credit card holders. You may have noticed that you have been asked for the three digits on the back of your card, which ensures that you actually have the card in your possession. We feel safe giving out these numbers as these numbers cannot be lifted with skimming or other electronic scamming devices. Though, scam artists know they need to get them if they hope to make any purchases with our card, particularly for making online purchases. So now, with this new scam, the scam artist calls and tells you about some suspicious activity on the card and when you deny those purchases, you are asked to confirm your address and later promised to begin a fraud investigation too. So they over your trust and confidence. And now, you are provided some instructions to call the 800 number on the back of their credit cards and to direct any further questions to the security department. Before finishing the call, however, the scammer will ask you to verify possession of the card by giving the three digit security code on the back of the card. Once you do so, the scammer finally has what he wants! Well, I know, this is particularly troublesome as it is not unusual for a credit card company to contact you if any suspicious activity is observed on the card.

At times the scammer may call you claiming to be working for the fraud department for your bank and tell you that your card was flagged because of an unusual purchase pattern. He may tell you some names the bank that the card is issued through and later ask you if you made the purchase of some ‘X’ amount with a marketing company. When you deny, you will be told that your credit will be sent to you through the mail, and also he verifies your address, adding to his genuinity. This is because he already has all of the credit card information he needs – except for the last three numbers that are located on the back of the card.

And after Phishing, now there is Vishing Scam also for which VoIP services are used to call people and asking them to call the local Central Bank with a toll free number. Once you dial the toll free number, you are asked to provide personal information in order to avoid account deactivation. In case, you blindly do so, Sorry to say that your information is in danger!

To make matter worse, it is a relatively easy scam to pull off. All the scam artist needs is specialized equipment or access to an online service that manipulates caller ID information by making a fake number appear on the recipient’s caller ID. It is easy to get a hold of this machine as it is quite cheap and easily available in the market. On the other hand, selling these cards is perfectly legal because they are sold under the impression that they are to be used for entertainment purposes or personal use. To add to it, the company says it will surrender all documents of users if subpoenaed. All good, however, it does little for the unsuspecting person that receives one of these spoof phone calls and believes it to be legitimate because of the number appearing on the caller ID.

After knowing all this, we feel quite insecure of having a credit card. However, I am sure we cannot just avoid them in our lives. In this case, I feel all we can do is to be quite cautious, as far as out credit card information is concerned.

With credit card phone scams on the rise, its better to avoid rather decide never give credit information over the phone. Rather, tell the caller you will be returning their call via the phone number on the back of the card. Also make sure that you do not reply any emails or pop-up message or telephone call requesting personal or personal financial information such as banking account numbers, or card numbers. If you have received a phishing phone call, contact your bank as well as the local law enforcement agency and provide as many details as possible about the call itself.

In case of receiving Phishing emails, contact the governmental organizations that collects phishing email information in order to help protect the general public or contact Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). Also, avoid sending you personal or personal financial information through emails. Always use Anti-Virus software which filters the phishing emails. If possible, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about it as well and get the emails blocked from being sent out or by directly sending out a warning to all of their account holders who might be affected. Social media is a great source where we can express our civic responsibility. Hence, try to inform others to help stave off from this type of crime with the help of  Twitter, Google+, etc.  Every little bit helps… isn’t it?

Use some common sense and be a smart Credit card user. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to dealing with credit card security. It becomes our responsibility to take care of this lifeline when it takes care of us during rough times… right?

AntiSec movement ENDED or begins NOW…!


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Hi, I am LIKE!


There is this known dialogue I have heard many times, naam mein kya rakhkha hai?’ (What is in the name?)

Well, well, well…. But it seems there is lot in this name game….

Naming your baby is considered to be one of the exciting tasks for any couple. It is said that the beauty of baby names is the prayer of parents. Names play an impressive role in creating the first impression to child in his future. I have observed that earlier couples preferred to have their baby’s names ethnic, based on cultural background, with a belief that by naming your child, you are setting in the foundation of child’s personality, the thinking patterns and nature too!

However, with the changing trend, these days’ parents just give so-called unique names to their babies, without thinking much about the meaning or its impact on the child. Now, when you search for baby names, you will get one more unique name ‘Like’ which may too appear in the list of funny or weird names!

Recently, an Israeli couple, Lior and Vardit Adler named their child ‘Like’ inspired from Facebook’s ‘like’ button. Initially, it seemed to one of the Facebook’s publicity stunt. However, I doubt that does Facebook really need publicity?

Well, despite of plenty of criticism, Lior and Vardit Adler wanted to call their daughter ‘something unique’ and hence didn’t change the name. I am just wondering, in case they plan their next baby, what will be the name!

With this name game there are some UNIQUE baby names coming to my mind like SEND, COMMENT, SHARE, POKE, TWITTER, TWEET, TAG, ORKUT, CHAT……………… and the list goes on!

Well, when I say name game I am talking about something in terms of business, names that are associated with brands is nothing new. Celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their daughter ‘Apple’. Some time back, an Egyptian couple went the distance and named their daughter ‘Facebook’, a Romanian couple named their daughter named ‘Yahoo’ and a Swedish couple named their son ‘Oliver Google Kai’. There has been news about some parents who try to find out ways to pay homage to corporate brands without saddling their children with so clunky a name, just like the Adler’s recent homage to ‘like’ tab. Few other examples of unique aka wierd names could be David Duchovny’s son ‘kyd’, Jermaine Jackson’s son ‘Jermajesty’, U2 guitarist The Edge’s daughter ‘Blue Angel’, Magician Penn Jillette’s daughter ‘Moxie Crime Fighter’.

Imagine someone naming their child after a popular computer program, software or an Anti-Virus!

I wonder how these babies will react to their names when they grow up. At this stage wondering how will Adler’s daughter introduce herself, “Hi I am Like!”

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