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Thu, 09 Feb 2023
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For iPhone and Android Users, This Video Is Absolutely Horrifying

Code Breaking
© Minyanville
Hack be nimble!

No matter how many times they're warned, far too many folks refuse to adopt complicated passwords. Seemingly on a monthly basis, studies find that "Password" and "ABC123" continue to top the list of most commonly used passwords and, in turn, the most commonly hacked passwords. And if you're the type of user who spreads the same password across email, social media, banking, and commerce sites, you've pretty much opened your entire identity to anyone with an internet connection.

Even iPhone users have taken the easy route when choosing a four-digit passcode to unlock their device. According to a study from last June, "1234" is by far the most common iPhone passcode around. (Cue the appropriate Spaceballs quote now.)

And for Android users, gaining full access to a Droid could be as easy as holding the screen up to the light to reveal a smudge pattern.

But those who've adopted unique and complicated, yet memorable, passwords are still not immune from security breaches. As scary as it sounds, one need only physical access to your mobile device -- be it a password-protected iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry -- to gain total control of your phone and the files within. As Swedish security firm Micro Systemation shows in a video, a lightweight program and a USB cable are all anyone needs to access your information.

And that technique is not only being used by ne'er-do-well hackers. It's being used by police and military worldwide.


Chernobyl, 25 years since the nuclear disaster: Striking images of the Chernobyl disaster

© RIA Novosti
Dmitry Dmitriyev, a radiation exposure inspector in the clean-up operation, during rare minutes of rest. This image was published around the world, becoming a symbol of the clean-up workers' heavy burden.

© RIA Novosti
The explosion at reactor four scattered radioactive debris in a large area around the unit, especially the roof of neighboring reactor three. The conscripts who had to clean the roof were given the nickname "biorobots."


California Democratic Treasurer Perpetrated $7M Fraud

© The Associated Press/Henry Vandermeir
Kinde Durkee
US, Sacramento, California - Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee defrauded at least 50 candidates, officeholders and political organizations out of $7 million in a scheme that dates back more than a decade, according to a court filing made Tuesday by federal prosecutors.

The U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento filed the additional charges in federal court, providing the most detailed account to date in a case that has left some Democratic candidates scrambling for campaign cash in an election year.

Such filings typically are a prelude to a plea, but prosecutors would not confirm such a development or offer any further details.

Durkee, who heads Durkee & Associates in Burbank, was arrested in September and charged with suspicion of mail fraud after millions of dollars disappeared from the campaign accounts of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, other Democratic members of Congress and several Democratic state lawmakers.

The filing details a complex shell game in which Durkee shifted campaign money to cover an array of personal and business expenses.


Former Mountie Accuses RCMP of Bullying, Discrimination in Class-Action Lawsuit

© Chad Hipolito / The Globe and Mail
A framed photo of recently graduate RCMP Constable Janet Merlo in August, 1991, seen here at her home in Nanaimo,BC, left the force in 2010 after years of dealing with sexual harassment issues that the force ignored.
Canada: Vancouver, British Columiba - A former Mountie has launched a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP, hoping to purge the "toxic" attitude against women within the male-dominated force, her lawyer says.

David Klein says more than 100 current and former female members from across Canada are preparing to stand behind the lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment.

The suit was filed Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court on behalf of Janet Merlo and alleges she was subjected to persistent and ongoing gender-based discrimination by male members.

The 19-year-veteran spent most of her career at the Nanaimo, B.C., detachment on the east coast of Vancouver Island and said the harassment started in 1992, just months into her job.

The lawsuit alleges she endured a series of sexist comments, sexual pranks, derogatory remarks and double standards.

In one instance, the court documents say she told her supervisor she was pregnant and he yelled at her.

"You had better get your priorities straight. You are either going to have a career in the RCMP, or you are going to pop out kids your whole life," the unnamed officer said. "I have a suggestion for you; next time, keep your (expletive) legs closed."

Arrow Down

Americans Angry with Obama Over Gas Prices

© Reuters/Larry Downing
US - More than two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling high gasoline prices, although most do not blame him for them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Tuesday.

Sixty-eight percent disapprove and 24 percent approve of how Obama is responding to price increases that have become one of the biggest issues in the 2012 presidential campaign.

In the past month, U.S. fuel prices have jumped about $0.30 per gallon to about $3.90 and the Republicans seeking to replace the Democrat in the November 6 election have seized upon the issue to attack his energy policies.

The disapproval reaches across party lines, potentially spelling trouble for Obama in the election, although the online survey showed voters hold oil companies or foreign countries more accountable than politicians for the price spike.

"Obama is getting heat for it but people aren't necessarily blaming him for it," said Chris Jackson, research director for Ipsos public affairs.

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents all disapprove of the president's handling of gas prices, according to the online poll of 606 Americans conducted March 26-27.

Eighty-nine percent of Republicans said they disapproved, as did 52 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents.

"People are unhappy that they are having to pay $3.90 a gallon. They want somebody to be able to lash out at and the president is as good a person as anybody," Jackson said.

Magic Hat

Conspiracy charges dropped against Mich. militia


The trial of seven Hutaree militia members arrested for allegedly plotting to launch an insurrection against the government begins in Detroit.
A federal judge dismissed the most serious charges Tuesday against seven members of a Michigan militia who were rounded up as homegrown extremists accused of plotting war against the U.S., saying their expressed hatred of law enforcement didn't amount to conspiracy against the government.

The decision is an embarrassment for the government, which secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia four years ago and claimed members were armed for war in rural southern Michigan.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts granted requests for acquittal on the most serious charges: conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the U.S. and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. Other weapons crimes tied to the alleged conspiracies also were dismissed.

"There are very few judges that have this kind of courage," defense lawyer Michael Rataj said.

The trial, which began Feb. 13, will resume this week with only a few gun charges remaining against militia leader David Stone and son Joshua Stone, both from Lenawee County, Mich.

"The court is aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient to show a conspiracy. In this case, however, they do not rise to that level," the judge said.

Comment: Mixed nuts anyone?


High school expels student for tweeting f-word

An Indiana high school expels a student for a silly, profane tweet, even though it seems to have been sent at 2:30 a.m. The school suggests that it may track all of its students' tweets, regardless of what time or where they were sent.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
© Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
I am sure that the people who run Garrett High School in Indiana radiate intelligence.

Perhaps, though, they have tossed a little inkblot onto their pristine record with the expulsion of senior Austin Carroll. He didn't assault anyone. He didn't toss a projectile, nor brandish a knife. No, it seems that he merely tweeted.

Please prepare your best judgmental pose while I transcribe (mostly) his supposedly most offensive tweet: "F*** is one of those F****** words you can F****** put anywhere in a F****** sentence and it still F****** makes sense."

There, how did that feel? Juvenile? To some, perhaps. Amusing? Mostly to his peers, surely. But offensive? Offensive enough to get him thrown out of school, with a mere three months of his time there left to serve? With this, some might struggle.


War On Words: New York City Dept. Of Education Wants 50 'Forbidden' Words Banned From Standardized Tests

Dennis Walcott
© Marla Diamond/WCBS 880
Dennis Walcott

'Dinosaur,' 'Birthday,' 'Halloween,' 'Poverty,' 'Divorce' Among Those Suggested

New York - George Carlin is rolling over in his grave.

The New York City Department of Education is waging a war on words of sorts, and is seeking to have words they deem upsetting removed from standardized tests.

Marla Diamond Talks To Walcott, Student About Banned Words

Fearing that certain words and topics can make students feel unpleasant, officials are requesting 50 or so words be removed from city-issued tests.

The word "dinosaur" made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported. "Halloween" is targeted because it suggests paganism; a "birthday" might not be happy to all because it isn't celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses.


Update: JetBlue Captain Subdued After Erratic Behavior on Flight

© The Associated Press/Steve Douglas
Emergency workers tend to a JetBlue captain during a Las Vegas-bound flight from JFK International airport Tuesday in Amarillo, Texas.
It was an extraordinarily rare incident in the air - and a frightening one for passengers: A JetBlue captain was locked out of the cockpit and wrestled to the floor by passengers after screaming about a bomb during a flight from New York to Las Vegas.

JetBlue said that the captain of Flight 191, which was diverted to Texas on Tuesday morning, had a "medical situation" and that an off-duty captain traveling on the flight entered the cockpit before the landing "and took over the duties of the ill crewmember once on the ground" in Amarillo.

The co-pilot became concerned that the captain was behaving erratically during the flight, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating in coordination with the FBI, the Transportation Security Administration and Amarillo police.

"The captain had exited the cockpit during the flight, after which the co-pilot locked the door," said Brie Sachse, an FAA spokeswoman. "When the captain attempted to enter the locked cockpit, he was subdued by passengers."

Tony Antolino, a security executive from Rye, N.Y., realized something was wrong on the flight when the captain left the cockpit and starting walking erratically through the cabin, drinking water and becoming agitated.

Comment: See this report of a similar incident involving the American Airlines flight attendant: Passengers' terror as flight attendant screams 'We're going to crash!' and rants about 9/11 before being wrestled to the ground by colleagues

Bizarro Earth

Trayvon Protesters Ransack Store

North Miami Beach Walgreens incident caught on video

US, Florida - North Miami Beach police said surveillance video shows dozens of high school students demonstrating in the Trayvon Martin case Friday ransacking a Walgreens store.

The incident occurred during a walkout from North Miami Beach Senior High School in support of Martin, 17, who was fatally shot in Sanford. Protesters have been calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, 28, who has not been charged because he claimed self-defense in the shooting, according to police.

Minutes after walking out of their school Friday, a large group of students walked through the streets of North Miami Beach. Along the way, they stopped at a Walgreens at 163rd Street and 15th Avenue at about 10:40 a.m.

Surveillance video shows dozens of teenagers running through the store. Police said about 80 to 100 students stormed in, ransacking the shelves, before the school's vice principal ordered everyone outside.

North Miami Beach police said students damaged items worth about $150.