Review Category : Security News

Lonely Heart Takes Lives At Local L.A. Fitness

artsodini-1 After three deaths, all that is left is a stream of videos on YouTube to provide a few scattered footprints that tell authorities what led George Sodini to take those first steps into L.A Fitness before his shooting spree.

George Sodini, 48, fatally shot three women on Tuesday upon entering a L.A Fitness before taking the gun upon himself.  Nobody knows exactly what promoted the shootings, nor what happened in the private gym, but clues left by him and inferences by those “close” to him give some insight into this killer’s mind.

Sodini had been attending weekly self-help meetings taught by Erin Micklow, 20, on how to date women.  When questioned, Micklow, a model and actress,  reported that Sodini was the perfect student and described him as “the most studious in the workshops.”  The workshops were designed to teach men how to “pick women’s brains” and to “know what they were thinking” in order to get a girlfriend. Micklow described the other men as much more “loosened up” by the end of the workshops, but Sodini appeared to be just as anxious and nervous as he was when he started.

After the murder, videos made by Sodini surfaced on the Internet.  Some were made as assignments of the workshops, like tours of his home, and others were of the workshop itself.  Online diaries of Sodini’s revealed that he was hopelessly lonely and desperate for companionship.  He seemed completely void of any glimmer of hope that he would be able to attract a women and was quoted saying, “There is something BLATANTLY wrong with me that NO person will tell me what it is.”  The diaries also detailed his plan to attack women in the gym.

The shooting victims were taken to three local hospitals, where three of the women were pronounced dead. Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt says that police have no knowledge of whether Sodini had mental health issues or not, and are still puzzled by the sudden outbreak of violence stating, “I can’t ever make sense of murders.”

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The Silver Alert: Saving the Elderly with GPS Tracking Systems

1225296568-silveralertprofilelogo8_rgb-600x450Silver is the new amber ever since a 77 year old man disappeared into the woods and died.

William Young, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was declared missing after taking the family’s car for a drive and never returning home.  Countless search parties, dozens of worried family members and friends, and 5 days later his car was found in a bay.  The next day his body was found 5 miles from the car, drifting away from the initial point of impact.

William Young’s tragic story broke down the traditional barriers of safety alert systems.  Local police officials responded to the inundation of worry for elders suffering from dementia with a volunteer search and rescue effort, named  “Silver Alert,” honoring Young.   The Silver Alert has already been adopted in several states scattered throughout the U.S, including Florida, North Carolina, Texas.  Imitating the idea of the “Amber Alert,” the “Silver Alert” hopes to get as many elderly people suffering from dementia registered with local authorities, making it much easier for them to distribute information to the public and other authorities in an emergency.

Another vital feature of this program is the use of GPS tracking devices.  With new technology, GPS tracking devices can be placed in family cars or on bracelets or necklaces that can be worn by the elderly.  In cases of missing children, and now, missing elderly people, reaction time is key.  A second can make the difference between finding them at the side of the road and finding them at the bottom of a bay.  GPS tracking devices enables people to find the fastest route available back to their loved ones.

GPS tracking devices can also be used to give elderly more freedom.  Family members can set up a GPS fence around the community or any predetermined area they felt comfortable having their family member roam free in.  If the elderly person left that area, family members would get a text message, and the GPS would help them track down the person.

Had this technology been in place when William Young went missing his family may have been able to save him, and police are doing everything they can to ensure that other families will get the chance that the Young’s didn’t have.

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Hacker's Next Victim: Apple Keyboards

skullsWith technology exploding out of every hole on earth, hackers are finding ways to hack the anything they can get their fingers on and they have found their next victims: keyboards.

In a report written by Digital Society, Apple keyboards are exceptionally easy and vulnerable to infiltrate.  These keyboards may only have a small of amount of actual “technology” in them (8Kb of flash memory and 256 bytes of RAM), but hackers are prepared to delve into the unseen and small crevices of technology to disrupt the lives of users.  It’s like an addiction, at first they were content with hacking computers, then cell phones, and now, they’ll even resort to keyboards to get their fix.

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GPS Based Momo Virtual Girlfriend is Suspicious and Paranoid, Just like The Real Thing

momo_catgirl_3Money can’t buy you love- unless you have an iPhone.

A new application has surfaced that provides you with a virtual catgirl girlfriend, named Momo.  Yes, that is right, this portable girlfriend is there for you any time of the day, waiting to love you right in your pocket.  Using new technology, creators designed Momo to express emotions depending on the time of day.  Another, feature utilizes the iPhone’s built in GPS tracking device to let Momo know when you are out and when you are home.  Just like any girlfriend- you’ll get a moodier, and suspicious Momo when you are out late into the night, and a happier, bubblier side if you spend the night in…with your phone.

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Taconic Car Accident Tragedy Could Have Been Avoided with Technology

26489078781Mumbling into the microphone is the best that she can do to save her five children and herself- little does she know that it’s too late. The dizziness weighs her head down- she is barely able to prop her ear against the phone. Within a matter of seconds it is all over; the damage is incomprehensible, and irreparable.

These are only speculative snapshots of the last moments in the car of Diane Schuler. There is no way of knowing exactly what happened in those last moments. What we do know is this: she was driving on the wrong wide of the Taconic Highway and within seconds crashed into an innocent, unsuspecting driver, taking the lives of the people in both cars. The aftermath of the tragic story is a turbulent ocean of emotions and there is a tall wave, about to come crashing down, asking how it could be been prevented.

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Attendee Discovers Fake ATM at Defcon

atm-machineThe next time you go to get money out of the ATM machine, think again because you might be giving away your identity.

An attendee of the Defcon conference on cybersecurity, found a breach of security in the very hotel- The Riviera Hotel- the conference was being given: a fake ATM machine. A computer that was hidden inside the ATM was designed to scan debit cards when they are swiped through the machine, said officials who came to retrieve the suspicious machine.

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Record Number of Site Visitors Follow Boat Race Using GPS Tracking

pure-michigan-bayview-mackinac-race-sailingGPS tracking devices have championed in catching criminals and finding lost children, but they have proven successful in another, unsuspecting arena – marketing. By placing GPS tracking devices on more than 200 boats racing in the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race, and airing their positions in real time on their website- Michigan.org was able to direct traffic to their website in record numbers.
With the number of viewers reaching well over 250,000 in just 3 short days, the rouse was a huge success. Over 36% of the viewers on the website were directed there becuase of the GPS race. The real time feedback gave viewers the illusion that they were going along the race with the boats. Feeling involved was fostered by being able to visually see where boats were on a map in real time. Without GPS trackers there was no way this project could be have completed.

Vice President George Zimmermann admitted, “One of our strategies for our sponsorship of the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race was to drive large numbers of potential visitors to Michigan.org, and expose them to information about the state for future vacation planning.”

With the air saturated with success, it seems that GPS trackers have found yet another niche to live in. (Via Crains Detroit)

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Security Experts Hack "Impenetrable" Digital Safe Lock – AGAIN!

Promised to be “impenetrable” according to the manufacturer and retailing at a painful $600 a pop, the CLIQ electro magnetic digital lock better be good.

Three security experts who previously gained notoriety when they quickly and easily picked what was also considered an “impenetrable” lock, put this assumption to the test when they set out to pick the CLIQ lock. This is the very lock used in banks, government buildings, water and power plants and transportation facilities – including the Swiss Federal Railway System and the Ottawa International Airport.

And guess what? They’ve done it again.

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Spammy Army of Computer Security Threats Increasing Steadily

As our modern world becomes ever more tied to computers and the systems that run it, our computer networks are constantly under the threat of hackers, spam and malware. We may be living in a constantly connected, dynamic society, but the benefits of the modern world’s dynamic nature are coming at a price to people’s person information security. Recent developments in the field of computer security have shown just how large of an uphill battle the public and our institutions are fighting against the unseen forces that endanger our computer networks.

The problem of spam and malware has increased a whopping 80% since last quarter, partly attributed to the advent of new procedures online including shortened URLS, frequently used on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.spam

When it comes to condensed URLs used on Facebook and Twitter shortened links, “The caution that users usually apply when they view search results and news links disappears behind the obfuscating address,” the a McAfee security report notes.

According to a report issued at the recent Black Hat security conference, another recent computer security threat is that of the Machiavelli technique, in which hackers take control of already victimized Macintosh computers and steal protected data. This technique takes control of the Safari browser before gaining data to protected information such as financial records.

mac1Macs are the apple’ of the public’s eye due to their impressive applications and high-end computers, but according to security expert Dai Zovi and others, who authored the report on the technique, attacks on Macs will rise as they gain market share on PC’s running Windows. Mac’s operating system will be easier to attack for hackers because it has much more code, therefore allowing them to have a larger affect on the system.

People today are constantly under the threat of malware posing as antivirus software. Many have experienced the hassles and sometimes truly dangerous consequences of fake antivirus software, but many people probably do not realize just how prevalent and resourceful this army of malware really is. According to PandaLabs, the samples of fake antivirus software have been reproducing like crazy and grew to 374,000 by the second quarter of 2009. The company estimates that as many as 35 million computers per month are infected by rogue antivirus programs, mostly due to users who are not diligent enough in checking out the programs they pay for. These samples are a big family to feed, and they will feed on the inattentive and uninformed.

Although it is a challenging battle, there are a few methods by which you can fight these forces.

1) Don’t always provide your e-mail address and apply strong caution when opening a suspicious e-mail sent to you.

2) Be careful when following links on social networking sites. If there’s a tag to the link, pay attention to what it says before clicking.

3) Don’t download pirated software or media: For hacking techniques such as Machiavelli, do as much as possible to avoid downloading pirated software and avoid pirated media that will put you at serious risk.

(via Wired, Cnet and News.com.au)

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