Cicero Yearly Archives

Computers and Internet

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IBM Brain Chip

IBM DARPA Synapse ChipIBM has unveiled a new experimental computer chip that it says mimics the human brain in that it perceives, acts and even thinks.

It terms the machines built with these chips “cognitive computers”, claiming that they are able to learn through experience, find patterns,
generate ideas and understand the outcomes.

In building this new generation of chip, IBM combined principles of nanoscience, neuroscience and supercomputing.

It has been awarded $21m (£12.7m) of new funding by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the next phase
of the project, which it terms “Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics” (SyNAPSE).

“This is a major initiative to move beyond the von Neumann paradigm that has been ruling computer architecture for more than half
a century,” said Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research.

Source: Stuart Sumner,
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Anonymous Leak Zimbabwean Government Data

Anonymous leaks new batch of government and company data.

Anonymous has leaked more date including the data from the Zimbabwean Government and Viacom

Google+ Takes on Facebook

Google+ – which the search giant says has been in development for over a year – involves a range of connected services that let people share things online with different groups of people.

It includes Google Circles, which lets you group together your friends and contacts into separate ‘circles’, and share and discuss things only with them; Google Hangouts, a group video chat experience that aims to make video calling more casual and fun; and Google Sparks, which brings you shared content from around the web that’s relevant to your interests.

Google appeared to be directly taking on Facebook in the blogpost that announced Google+, discussing at length where they think social networking online currently goes wrong.


The post, by Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering at Google, said: ‘Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools. In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.’

Google have long been rumoured to be working on a new social effort to take on Facebook – including suggestions the project was called Google Me, and some early leaked details of Circles, which was briefly rumoured to be launching at SXSW in March.

In a prepared statement, Facebook said only that ‘we’re in the early days of making the web more social, and there are opportunities for innovation everywhere.’


Google+ is widely seen as Google’s last chance to ‘get social right’, following the failure of previously much-hyped attempts at bringing a Google approach to online social experiences, such as Google Wave and Google Buzz.

Buzz, which launched in 2010, attracted a widespread privacy backlash and forced Google into an embarrassing climbdown in which they said they were ‘very, very sorry’ for the way the service had launched.

And Wave, Google’s attempt to reinvent email for the social networking age, was launched in 2009 on a huge swell of hype – but was then roundly panned for being too confusing, attracted few users, and was finally shut down in August 2010.

Google+ is not currently available to the public – it’s currently in a limited, invite-only beta test phase. You can apply for a Google+ invite by submitting your email to the Google gods here.
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LulzSec announces ‘Bon Voyage’

Lulz Securitry Announces Bon Voyage

Lulz Security the hacker group that attacked several government and commercial websites over the last two months has announced that it is disbanding. It made it’s announcement through its Twitter account, giving no reason for its decision.

A statement published on a file-sharing website said that its “planned 50-day cruise has expired”.

The group leapt to prominence by carrying out attacks on companies such as Sony and Nintendo. It also carried out attacks on US broadcasters Fox and PBS and also the CIA, and the United States Senate. However the group said it plans to release a selection of documents apparently taken from the Arizona police department and the telecom giant AT&T.

Many believe that the group’s announcement may be due the recent police investigations, including the arrest of a British man suspected of links to the group, and efforts by rival hackers to expose them or other members of the hacker “community” who have forced the group into retreat. A document posted online in the last 24 hours purports to be a history of LulzSec, complete with full details on its leaders. . “We’ve been tracking and infiltrating these kids,” says the document, and
goes on to name people in the UK, Amsterdam and New York.

Lulz Security in parting statement read “our crew of six wishes you a happy 2011”, and that it’s last thoughts were to say “bon
voyage…our planned 50 day cruise has expired” it said it hoped it had left a mixture of “hope – inspiration, fear, denial, happiness, approval, disapproval, mockery, embarrassment, thoughtfulness, jealousy, hate, even love” and urged other supporters to carry on begging others for a movement that “manifests into a revolution”.

Autistic hacker refused bail

Artist impression of Ryan Cleary in Court

Ryan Cleary in Court

Ryan Cleary, the 19 year old arrested last Monday on charges of bringing down the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and possible connection with LulzSec, the hacker group who  claimed responsibility for attacks on US websites including the US Senate and the CIA appeared before the City of Westminster magistrates court on Friday he  to answer only to confirm his name and that he understood the charges against him; he has not entered a plea with regard to the five offenses against him.

Cleary’s lawyer, Ben Cooper, said that his client has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome by a psychologist and that he had concerns about him remaining in custody over the weekend. Cleary had been granted bail but prosecutors have objected.

The court was told that Cleary is “of high intelligence but is agoraphobic and has difficulty interacting with other people.”

He is charged with conspiring with other people on or before 20 June to set up a  network of “botnet” computers to carry out distributed denial of service attacks on various websites

He is also being charged with  attacks against the British and International Phonographic industry websites in 2010.

If Cleary wins bail on Monday, he will be under the following restrictions:

* He will not have access to the internet and will not have in his possession any device which could access the internet.

* Any device capable of accessing the internet from his home address and that he will have to sleep at the address and can only leave his address accompanied with his mother.

Mr Cleary’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome one of many forms of autism, brings to mind the case of Gary McKinnock who is currently fighting a court ruling for extradiction to the US where he would face charges of gaining entry into US military computer systems – at the time Mr McKinnock said he was looking to find evidence of UFOs.

Both men obviously have  classed as also having social interactive disability and Mr Cleary also has phobias around social environment.

The National Autistic Society has expressed concerns that people with autism can be particularly vulnerable within the Criminal Justice system and “may be misunderstood”. To help members of the legal profession it has put out the following guide .

Lulz Security Mastermind Arrested

A 19 year old man from Essex, named as Ryan Cleary has been arrested over hacking into websites. Police have not confirmed the identity of the man however.

It is thought that the man may have been involved with the hacking group LulzSec (Laugh Security) which recently broke into US Government sites; involved in breaking into Sony’s database, PBS Broadcasting, Infragard the FBI affiliated website, (the US Senate website) and Nintendo’s site.

Lulz Sec have succeeded in putting the websites down by DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) where the sites servers are overwhelmed with requests for pages.  The group is also believed to have taken information from various servers and may have broken into the UK Census from the Office of National Statistics.

Yesterday the Serious Organised Crime Agency’s website was compromised and the agency took the website down due to DDoS attack, although a spokeperson confirmed it was their public website and the attack did not compromise any data held by the agency.

Scotland Yard have not confirmed whether the person they have arrested was linked to the Lulz Attack on SOCA but have said the arrest was a”pre-planned intelligence led operation” and that it followed after an investigation into network intrusions and distributed DoS attacks on major business and Government agencies.

LulzSec have recently threatened to attack further Government and Banking systems in what they called AntiSec,  LulzSec on Monday tweeted: “Tango down – in the name of #AntiSec”.

The man has been arrested under the Computer Misuse Act and Fraud Act and is being questioned at a central London police station.

HMRC Warns of Phishing Scam

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is alerting taxpayers to a surge of fake ‘phishing’ emails sent out by fraudsters in the run-up to the tax credits renewal deadline. The email informs the recipient they are due a tax rebate, and provides a click-through link to a cloned replica of the HMRC website. The recipient is asked to provide their credit or debit card details. Fraudsters then try to take money from the account using the details provided. Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold on to other organised criminal gangs.


Technology and Mankind – The Human Factor

Is this the future for mankind?

The following video makes me question our obsession with technology!

Facebook CEO to eat meat he’s killed himself

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

This week Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is making headlines over his decision to eat only animals he kills himself.

His choice comes as part of an annual challenge he poses for himself. Last year’s challenge was to learn Mandarin. This year’s challenge is a little bit different.

“This year, my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have. This year I’ve basically become a vegetarian since the only meat I’m eating is from animals I’ve killed myself. So far, this has been a good experience. I’m eating a lot healthier foods and I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals,” wrote Zuckerberg in a letter to Fortune.

He started off with a lobster, moved on to a chicken, then proceeded to kill a pig and a goat. He’s being walked through the process by Jesse Cool, owner of the Flea Street Café, who has been introducing Zuckerberg to farmers and educating him on slaughter methods, which for Zuckerberg, involves slitting throats. According to Cool, this is the most “kind” way to do it.

“I started thinking about this last year when I had a pig roast at my house. A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn’t want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive. That just seemed irresponsible to me. I don’t have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from,” he also stated in his letter.

Source :


PSN to relaunch today in Japan & Asia

Sony Corp. is to start restoring its PlayStation network in Japan and elsewhere in Asia today. This follows after it’s massive security breach last month wherehackers stole personal registration and financial details on tens of millions of accounts.

The Japanese firm also said that it plans to testify before U.S. courts at a data security hearing in Washington on June 2 where it will address was the biggest Internet security breach in history.

Hackers break into Lockheed Martin defence

By Jim Finkle and Andrea Shalal-Esa

BOSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Unknown hackers have broken into the security networks of Lockheed Martin Corp and several other U.S. military contractors, a source with direct knowledge of the attacks told Reuters.
They breached security systems designed to keep out intruders by creating duplicates to “SecurID” electronic keys from EMC Corp’s RSA security division, said the person who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
It was not immediately clear what kind of data, if any, was stolen by the hackers. But the networks of Lockheed and other military contractors contain sensitive data on future weapons systems as well as military technology currently used in battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Weapons makers are the latest companies to be breached through sophisticated attacks that have pierced the defenses of huge corporations including Sony, Google Inc and EMC Corp. Security experts say that it is virtually impossible for any company or government agency to build a security network that hackers will be unable to penetrate.
The Pentagon, which has about 85,000 military personnel and civilians working on cyber security issues worldwide, said it also uses a limited number of the RSA electronic security keys, but declined to say how many for security reasons.
The hackers learned how to copy the security keys with data stolen from RSA during a sophisticated attack that EMC disclosed in March, according to the source.

BT and Talk Talk to appeal over Digital Economy Act court ruling

Following telecoms firms BT and Talk Talk requesting a High Court in 2010 for a review over what the companies regarded as the Digital Economy Act breaking European law which the UK had a duty to uphold both companies are now appealling against the High Court rejection of a judicial review.

The clauses that BT and Talk Talk wanted the court to consider obliged internet service providers to co-operate with record labels and film studios who wanted information that identifies those dealing in pirated music and films. The courts looked at who would pay for the cost of the Acts requirement for this.

BT and Talk Talk felt that the Digital Economy Act received “insufficient scrutiny” when originally passed prior to the 2010 general election claiming that the Act violated European laws on commerce and privacy.

Both companies now plan to take their case to the Court of Appeal on the premice that the Act contradicts European directive dealing with e-commerce, privacy technical standards & authorisation

SDMX Conference 2nd May Washingtob DC

The third SDMX Global Conference took place in Washington during May 2-4, 2011. Hosted by the World Bank and IMF, the conference was attended by more than 200 officials from 90 countries, as well as all major international agencies and six vendors including Google.

The Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange, also known as SDMX, is the electronic exchange of statistical information and is sponsored by the BIS, ECB, Eurostat, IMF, OECD, UN and the World Bank. Its goal is to develop and promote technical standards, content-oriented guidelines and related implementation tools to foster greater efficiencies and reduce reporting burden associated with the exchange of statistical information

Modeling and Simulation for Defense Demand Expands as Budgets Tighten

May 20 — A $2.5 billion contract to provide planning, modeling, simulation and training solutions to the Army and Department of Defense (DoD) has been awarded to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

This contract signifies the growing need for simulation training to prepare troops for combat. Despite budget constraints, Modeling and Simulation (M&S) is expanding as technological improvements develop. M&S is the more viable and cost-effective option for tomorrow’s armed forces.

IPv6 Internet Addresses – Coming Sooner?

The internet is Full - The Birth of IPv6 Addressing on the Internet

New IPv6 Addressing on the Internet

THE internet is full — and will run out of addresses this September, experts are warning.

The global authority responsible for new addresses will hand out the last remaining batches this month.

Today in Miami the Internet Ad­dress and Naming Agency is expected to say that, at the current rate of use, old-style addresses will be used up by September.

The 1996-era address system, known as IPv4, can hold about 4.3billion ad­dresses assigned to computers and websites. But it has virtually run out as smart-phones, laptops, tablets and Macbooks go online.

However, progress adopting the new IPv6 system, which can hold 340 trillion addresses, is slow and the two systems are not directly compatible. Computers using older software such as Windows XP and many household broadband modems cannot read IPv6. That means that when IPv4 addresses run out, websites with new‑style addresses may not be accessible to many users.

IPv6 Ready Logo

IPv6 Ready Logo - Will we see this on software soon?

It could even mean users cannot get online unless other users get offline first. The 6UK group, an initiative set up to encourage businesses to convert to new addressing, has said new broadband customers will have to be turned away unless action is taken. Adrian Kennard from UK internet service provider Andrews & Arnold told Metro all ISPs will be affected.

`This marks a key milestone where we are being made aware of the issues. Unless ISPs have got plans now to introduce IPv6 they are going to hit a brick wall. `Ultimately, to be on the internet you’ll need new-style addresses. The growth of the internet will suffer.’

Only a small minority of businesses and ISPs, and a few countries such as China, have made any progress im­plementing IPv6.

Source : Fred Attewell – Metro Newspaper 03/02/2011

Julian Assange on Interpol Most wanted

Interpol’s most wanted list today includes Julian Assange, after Swedish authorities have applied for a European Arrest Warrant to question him over two alleged rape charges. The Swedish Supreme Court has upheld a court order to detain Mr Assange.

Currently the Wikileaks website has also had to change it’s domain after terminated it’s services they said due to experiencing massive cyber attacks.

Also further leaks today have called into account the effectiveness of the British army in Afghanistan after comments emerged from the president of Afghanistan

Internet For Peace Campaign

"We have finally realized that the Internet is much more than a network of computers.It is an endless web of people. Men and women from every corner of the globe are connecting to one another, thanks to the biggest social interface ever known to humanity."

Thus begins the new video, for the Internet for Peace campaign (video : above right); the basic idea is that, being available to everyone and conveying
messages of sympathy and humanity, the Internet really is a great tool
for democracy, and Wired‘s project, Internet for Peace, aims at nominating the Net
for the next Nobel Peace Prize to find out more information on the project you can either go directly to  or on
Youtube @ internetforpeace

Milo – Microsoft Xbox unveil virtual human

Microsoft has shown off its "virtual human" that
reacts to a person’s emotions, body movements and voice.Milo, as he is known, is designed for use with the firm’s
hands-free Xbox 360 motion controller called Kinect.

The technology is the brainchild of veteran UK games designer
Peter Molyneux."I want to introduce a new revolution in storytelling," he
told the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Global conference in

"Films, TV, even hallowed books, are just rubbish because
they don’t involve me," he said. "It’s a sea of blandness." Mr Molyneux said that he wanted to create a character "that
seemed alive, that would look me in the eyes, and feel real".

Hidden technology

Milo was
first shown off in a demo at the E3 expo in 2009, but has not been seen
since."There was a huge row online about that with people saying
‘this can’t be real’," Mr Molyneux said.The live demonstration used Microsoft’s soon-to-be released
Kinect controller, which uses a series of sensors, cameras and microphones to interpret a player’s intentions.


World Animal Protection – The Life of an Animal

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