Meet the scientist infected with computer virus

London:A British researcher has successfully infected himself with a computer virus and claims to be the first of its kind.
Scientist Mark Gasson, contaminated a tiny, radio frequency identification (RFID) chip with a virus and placed it under the skin on his hand. He uses that chip to activate his cell phone, as well as open secure doors, reports

The chip which is an advanced version of ID chips used to locate animals, enables him to pass through security doors and activate his mobile phone.

Gasson, senior research fellow at the University of Reading, introduced a computer virus into an electronic chip that had been implanted into his left hand last year, so that he can study its effects.

The study revealed that in future, human implants like this could contaminate complex medical devices such as pacemakers and cochlear implants.

"With the benefits of this type of technology come risks. We may improve ourselves in some way but much like the improvements with other technologies, mobile phones for example, they become vulnerable to risks, such as security problems and computer viruses," he said.

Raising an alarm about the possible cyber attacks in future on advanced medical implants such as pacemakers, Professor Rafael Capurro of the Steinbeis Transfer-Institute of Information Ethics in Germany said: "If someone can get online access to your implant, it could be serious".

Implanted technology has become increasingly common in the United States, where medical alert bracelets can be scanned to bring up a patient's medical history.

"From an ethical point of view, the surveillance of implants can be both positive and negative. Surveillance can be part of medical care, but if someone wants to do harm to you, it could be a problem," he added.

However, Gasson believes that there will be a demand for these non-essential applications.

"If we can find a way of enhancing someone's memory or their IQ then there's a real possibility that people will choose to have this kind of invasive procedure," he said.
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Cyber crime expands: Hackers can rent Botnets

Bangalore: If the unlimited virus concerns are troubling you, then there's more. Now, botnets are available on rent for as cheap as $67 for 24 hours or $9 for an hour. This empowers anyone to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, sell fake antivirus software and relay spam to unsuspecting email users via millions of compromised PCs.

The cyberpunks are unanimously, hawking their wares via online forums and banner advertising. This readily reduces the barriers to entry for criminals who can't code, empowering relatively unskilled cyber criminals to inflict major damage and financial loss. "Organizations need to be wary of the fact that their critical online applications or services could be taken down in under a day by a criminal renting services from bot herders," said Rick Howard, director of intelligence at iDefense, a VeriSign's security intelligence service. It was an iDefense report that highlighted the entire botnet selling picture.

The business impact is witnessed when it's revealed that Zeus, a botnet which is around 3.6 million compromised PCs in the U.S.alone, is sold in the criminal underground as a kit for around $3,000-4,000. In June 2009, security company Prevx discovered that Zeus had compromised over 74,000 FTP accounts on websites of such companies as the Bank of America, NASA, Monster, ABC, Oracle, Cisco, Amazon, and BusinessWeek The full-fledged botnet comes with different add-ons and price tags for, instance an upgrade for attacking Windows 7 or Vista is priced at $2,000 or for Jabber IM broadcasting to receive stolen data in real time it costs $500. So, soon any whiz kid, who wants to opt for easy money can ease his appetite with a little cash, at the cost of financial security of others.
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Politics, frustration make top govt. officers consider quitting

Bangalore: The first government commissioned Civil Services Survey has revealed that, one out of three top officers in Indian Civil Services desire to quit their job. Political interference, harassment, frustration at being unable to contribute and the big money in the private sector were some reasons which is pestering them to leave the job ubder the government, reports Aloke Tikku from Hindustan Times.

4,800 of out 18,000 officers from various central services like Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service, the Indian Foreign Service responded to the questionnaire sent to them. The survey revealed that, the officers faced several problems in their service to their office, political interference being one of them.

"It appears that performance appraisals, posts and transfers, opportunities for deputation, political interference and timely promotion rank very high among the concerns of civil servants," Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar acknowledged in his foreword to the report.

Most of the officers feel that their colleagues try to get good posting by pulling strings of favorable authorities. One out of three IAS and every second IPS officers believe this and one in four civil servants believe very few officers maintained integrity at their job.

"Perception of the IAS and IPS officers about the prevalence of unethical practices in their services in highest," the report, that also recorded the perception among non-IAS officers that the IAS officers keep the best deals for themselves, said.

This survey was commissioned by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) to reach to census of the perception of the men and women who lead India"s Civil Service.The report of the survey conducted last month, where more than 4,800 officers had participated, has been circulated to state governments and central departments such as the Home Ministry.

"The government intends to make this survey an annual practice. This survey would act as a baseline and tell us how the corrective steps taken are perceived," a DARPG official said.

A senior government official said he wasn't surprised at most of the findings. "In fact, I expected it to be worse though it is bad enough," the official said.
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The Real Cost of Software Piracy

Help Combat Piracy
Software piracy is the illegal copying of software for distribution or resale, to friends, colleagues, or online. Arguably, the most dangerous form of software piracy relates to what many people consider simple personal use; buying a software program and then installing it on more than one personal machine. Many people are not even aware that what they are installing is technically pirated software!
People may not know the real risk that pirated software poses to your online safety. If someone isn’t running a legitimate version of their software, he or she is denied access to crucial updates. Software manufacturers issue these updates, called patches, on a regular basis to fix security flaws before they can be widely exploited by criminal hackers. Skilled hackers can manipulate the flaws to spread viruses, which can corrupt data or impede a system’s performance, or install trojans, which allow cybercriminals remote access to a machine.
In a quest to save money or beat release dates, people might try downloading software from unauthenticated websites claiming to provide it for free. They may think they’re getting a bargain, but are they aware of the legal and financial costs they might have to pay for unintentionally using pirated software? Not only are there implications to being caught, but the software could be lacking critical updates and risks exposing their personal identity, finances and sensitive information to theft and malware.
Registered software users are kept informed of upcoming patches. Regular scans will ensure the speedy recognition of malware in the case of a zero-day attack, a type of attack that exploits a hole about which the software vendor is not yet aware.
Tips to ensure you are using legitimate software:
  • Download software from credible and authorized online shops. Better still, purchase directly from the publisher’s website
  • Register your software with its maker to receive critical updates to your program, including patches to security flaws that are discovered by the software publisher
  • Don’t install the software on more than the licensed number of PC’s. For example, a 3 PC license product should only be installed on up to 3 PC’s.
  • Always check the software version you have purchased or installed to verify it is not a promotional or demo version
  • Check the ‘trust mark’ as well as the retailer’s record while purchasing software online. If there is any doubt, conduct web searches about the site or the vendor to determine its legitimacy
  • Look for proof of authenticity, such as original disks, manuals, licensing agreements, service policies, warranties and a security seal
  • Make sure that you’re also running legitimate security software, like PC Tools’ Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus, to stay protected against known and unknown threats
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