Thursday, November 24, 2005

A New Computer Worm Poses as E-Mail from FBI that warns users about "illegal" net use is spreading online...

This malicious code bearing e-mail message claims to be coming from either the FBI, CIA or German BKA police agency. It warns users they have been detected visiting illegal sites and asks you to open an attachment to answer some official questions. Those opening this questionnaire will be infected by a variant of the well-known 'Sober virus'.
It's being called the worst computer worm of the year, as reported by The Washington Post. Anti-virus firms have caught millions of copies of the malicious program, suggesting a lot of people have fallen for the fake warning.
The worm - named "Sober X" - has spread so far so fast that the CIA and the FBI have put prominent warnings on their Web sites, making clear that they did not send out the e-mail and urging people to not open the attachment. The FBI is currently investigating the source of the attack.
"Sober X" upon infection, disables security and firewall programs and blast out similar e-mails to contacts in your address book. It can also prevent you from connecting to computer security Web sites that might help to fix the problem, and it may open up your computer to intruders who can steal your personal data and information.
Sober is known to affect only those computers running the Windows operating system. It appears that Apple and Linux computer users were not affected.

Read more Articles on this:
Fake FBI virus catches net users
BBC News [Thursday, 24 November 2005]
Computer Worm Poses as E-Mail From FBI, CIA
Washington Post [Thursday, November 24, 2005]
Latest Sober threatens e-mail gateways
ZDNet News [November 23, 2005]
FBI warns about sober variant email scam
Xinhua News Agency [2005-11-24]

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The first commercially produced sound recordings are Online

Cylinder recordings are the first commercially produced sound recordings and are a snapshot of musical and popular culture in the decades around the turn of the 20th century.

The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project under The Department of Special Collections at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Davidson Library has recently placed online amazing collection of over 5000 Cylinder recordings from the late 1800s and early 1900s, all transferred from Edison cylinders. The restored recordings are in 'MP3' format while the unrestored digitization's available in large 'WAV' files format. They can be freely downloaded or streamed online.
On this site you will have the opportunity to find out more about the cylinder format, listen to thousands of musical and spoken selections from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and discover a little-known era of recorded sound. Click the search button to begin, or sample some of our favorite selections in the Featured Cylinder section. Browse the collection. Listen to a 1902 track by Geroge W. Johnson, the first African-American phonograph star, and one from 1914 by Henry Burr, the biggest Canadian star of the era or try dance-type jazz, like 1920's 'Peggy' by Lopez and Hamilton's Kings of Harmony Orchestra........

Friday, November 18, 2005

Gene removal makes flies live up to six times longer, study finds....

World Science ( is reporting that scientists at the University of Southern California found that removing some gene makes fruit flies live up to six times longer than normal. Experiments have produced one of the longest recorded life-span extensions in any organism and opened doors for anti-aging research in humans, researchers say....

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

How to identify a Hoax?

What is a Virus hoax?
Virus hoaxes are false reports about non-existent viruses, often claiming to do impossible things. Unfortunately some recipients occasionally believe a hoax to be a true virus warning and may take drastic action (such as shutting down their network).
Typically, hoaxes are emails, which describe a dangerous new undetectable virus, usually using bogus technical terms. Hoaxes often ask you to avoid reading or downloading emails that have a particular subject line.

How do hoaxes cost money?
Although no official research has been done on the subject, it is estimated that hoaxes can cost you even more than a genuine virus incident. After all, no anti-virus will detect hoaxes because they aren't viruses. Some companies panic when they receive a hoax virus warning and assume the worst - making the situation much worse.
The amount of email that a typical hoax can generate is also a cost to organizations. Once a few people in your company/institution have received a warning and mailed it to all their friends and colleagues, a mail overload can easily result and at the extreme, downing the bandwidth (Speed) and even the whole system.
Many virus hoaxes:
    * Falsely claim to describe an extremely dangerous virus
    * Use pseudo-technical language to make impressive-sounding (but impossible) claims
    * Falsely claim that the report was issued or confirmed by a well-known company
    * Ask you to forward it to all your friends and colleagues
As usual, you are urged not to pass on warnings of this kind, as the continued re-forwarding of these hoaxes simply wastes time and email bandwidth.
It is possible that you may receive a hoax via email with a file attached. Obviously, such file attachments should be treated with caution, as they may be virus infected. So better delete virus hoax emails, whether they contain file attachments or not.

It is usually easy to nail down a HOAX, if we go through the content carefully. Most of them will have some spelling mistakes/contradicting statements/incomplete info. etc.
More How to 's to identify a HOAX:
1.   Note whether the text you've received was actually written by the person who sent it. Did anyone sign their name to it? If not, be skeptical.
2.   Look for the telltale phrase, 'Forward this to everyone you know!' The more urgent the plea, the more suspect the message.
3.   Look for statements like 'This is NOT a hoax' or 'This is NOT an urban legend.' They typically mean the opposite of what they say.
4.   Watch for overly emphatic language, as well as frequent use of UPPERCASE LETTERS and multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!
5.   If the text seems aimed more at persuading than informing the reader, be suspicious. Like propagandists, hoaxers are more interested in pushing people's emotional buttons than communicating accurate information.
6.   If the message purports to impart extremely important information that you've never heard of before or read elsewhere in legitimate venues, be very suspicious.
7.   Read carefully and think critically about what the message says, looking for logical inconsistencies, violations of common sense and blatantly false claims.
8.   Look for subtle or not-so-subtle jokes - indications that the author is pulling your leg.
9.   Check for references to outside sources of information. Hoaxes don't typically cite verifiable evidence, nor link to Websites with corroborating information.
10.   Check to see if the message has been debunked by Websites that debunk urban legends and Internet hoaxes (see below).
11.   Research any factual claims in the text to see if there is published evidence to support them. If you find none, odds are you've been the recipient of an email hoax.

1) Virtually any email chain letter you receive (i.e., any message forwarded multiple times before it got to you) is more likely to be false than true. You should automatically be skeptical of chain letters.
2) Hoaxers usually try every means available to make their lies believable - e.g., mimicking a journalistic style, attributing the text to a 'legitimate' source, or implying that powerful corporate or government interests have tried to keep the information from you.
3) Be especially wary of health-related rumors. Most importantly, never act on 'medical information' forwarded from unknown sources without first verifying its accuracy with a doctor or other reliable source.

  You can also use other resources available online like:
My advises to any recipient of an email hoax is:  "JUST IGNORE IT & NOT FORWARD it to anyone else."