Author: Chris Wright

The passing of a true genius and a gentleman

This morning I learnt the sad news that Len Sassaman sadly passed away having taken his own life in an apparent suicide at his home in Leuven, Belgium.

Len was a major advocate for privacy and a great influence on some of my earlier work.  He leaves a great legacy but an even greater void in so many lives.  My thoughts go out to his wife Meredith (L. Patterson), may she have strength and courage through these difficult times.

Depression is the silent killer.

I’m coming to understand that "battle with depression" is sometimes very close in meaning to "battle with cancer."

@maryadydd 04 July 2011

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Len Sassaman (1980-2011)
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Yet more Pipex Woes

Yet another example of bad customer service from Pipex. Pipex, a once great UK ISP, now ruined by the ineptitude of Tiscali and TalkTalk. A great lesson on how to take a great company and run them into the ground.

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Pipex/Tiscali Support Is a Joke

Back around June 2009, Tiscali took over the running of my old Pipex network.  And whereas before I was averaging around 2400Kbps, it all suddenly went pear shaped and dropped to less than 600Kbps for a few days.

Upload/Download Speed Over Time

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Warm As Toast

FireplaceFinally had the chimney swept after the hammering it took last year. Couldn’t book the chimney sweep until Friday last week, by which time all the snow had gone. But saying that, the warmest it reached over the weekend was 2.5deg.

It was minus –8deg on the outside thermometer when I woke this morning, so I quickly got the fire going.  Crumpet, marshmellows and a few chestnuts tonight for supper methinks.

Letter to Home Office – November 10th 2010

Dear Sirs,
I would very much like to show my concern over the current extradition laws, especially with respect to the current state of affairs with the US. Current legislation appears to give a very lopsided difference between the requirements of the UK versus the US in the conditions that are required in
order for extradition to take place. Whilst I realise that this is due to differences between UK and US laws, I would still expect UK citizens to be protected by UK laws at all times.

In abolishing the need for evidence when extraditing to most countries in the world, this has removed the safety net once afforded to UK citizens in that they will always obtain a ‘fair trial’. How is it that the US because of it’s Constitution has a provision that any country requesting the extradition of a persons or people must have evidence of the crime committed by the person being extradited?  All other European and Commonwealth countries signed up to a similar treaty did so on the understanding that we all played by the same rule book. 

For the UK to extradite someone from the US they only need establish ‘probable cause’ of which the US constitution’s fourth amendment has defined as “information sufficient to warrant a prudent person’s belief that the wanted individual had committed a crime”  

  • Whilst it may be impossible for us to create a law that is compliant with both UK law and the US Constitution, all I ask is that they UK Government should introduce the forum bar with respect to extradition.
  • The Home secretary should be given the powers to halt extradition to the US if they feel that their is a lack of evidence. Reasonable cause is not justification enough for people or persons to be extradited to the US.
  • The same should be applied to the European Arrest Warrant.  The UK Government should protect it’s citizens by ensuring that the trial they receive in any Foreign country is at least of equivalent standard to that of which they would expect within the UK.
  • UK citizens have a right to be protected by their UK Government at all times.
  • When a crime is mainly committed in the UK, that person should be tried here.  It is my personal belief that this provides a simple solution to the problem where the victims of
    the crime or the scenes of crime are spread around one or more countries.  If the crime was committed upon UK soil, it should be tried upon UK soil under UK laws. 
  • The US-UK treaty is most definitely unbalanced for the reasons I have previously mentioned above.
  • Requesting countries must provide sufficient evidence in order to prove an allegation. If such allegations are terrorism related for example, the UK already has systems in place to help protect UK citizens and those should be afforded to foreign countries by applying UK law.

Many thanks for allowing me the opportunity to express my views on this matter and I look forward to following the outcome of this review.

Lastly, I would like to add that Home Secretary needs to clearly state that Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the USA until this “Review” has been completed any changes passed in to Law by the UK Government.

The family of Gary McKinnon are being subjected to pressures and events tantamount to torture in not knowing the fate that is to be bestowed upon Gary.

This must be addressed immediately!

Lotus F1 back in 2010

Lotus are to return to Formula 1 for the first time since 1994 after being granted the 13th slot on the grid from next season.
They will line up as one of four new teams for 2010 – alongside Campos Grand Prix, Manor and US F1.

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BLISS – for babies born too soon, too small, too sick

Just a quick post to highlight a worthwhile cause and to ask you to help in
anyway you can.
A friend of mine had reason to make use of BLISS some time ago, and I was recently
reminded of the charity by a tweet by Tess
Morris
.
Tess and her husband (Lee
Morris
) will both be running 10miles in the Great
South Run, and sponsoring them both is a great way to help the charity.
Even if you can’t afford a few pennies at the moment, please donate 5mins of
your time and forward this event on to your friends, family and work colleagues.

From the JustGiving page
set up by Tess
Morris
.

Our little girl Eden Summer was born at 29 wks, 11 wks, early by emergency
caesarean at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital, miles away from our local
hospital which didn’t have the facillities to look after a baby so small
. Eden’s incubator was donated to the hospital by Bliss and the intensive
care unit was also referred to as Bliss. I eventually held Eden for the first
time after 4 days and quickly started kangaroo care which Bliss says helps
pre-term babies and parents,it did,after 3 wks Eden was transferred to our
local hospital where she stayed another 3 wks after which we were allowed
to bring her home. It was the scariest time of our lives but the staff at
both hospitals and Bliss were fantastic .The work Bliss does is amazing and
my husband and me are trying to raise as much money as possible for them
to continue their work. So thats why we will be running 10 miles in The Great
South Run so please help us help babies like Eden.

BLISS

For more information on BLISS, you visit their website at http://www.bliss.org.uk

Bliss, the special care baby charity, provides vital support and care to
premature and sick babies across the UK. Founded 30 years ago this year,
we offer guidance and information at a critical time in families’ lives. We
also fund ground-breaking research and campaign for babies to receive the
best possible level of care regardless of when and where they are born

Remember, these babies are too small to be able to help themselves. Help BLISS
give them the best start in life. As I say above, even if you can’t afford
to give a few pennies, then forward this post to everyone you know, or send
them the link to the JustGiving page.

Hotmail Accounts Hacked: New Trojan doing the rounds.

New variant of Trojan via Hotmail Instant Message

Be warned and on the lookout for a new round of Hotmail accounts being hacked
and suspicious links being sent to you from your contacts.
You might receive a message from a known contact that will contain a link to
what initially appears to be a to a profile picture.
What it is actually doing is trying to get you to download a windows Trojan.
Hotmail Message from Hacked Account

The message you will receive could look something like the following:

Hacked Hotmail Account Message | Trojan Dropper

The text will say something similar to the above: "ahha is this you??
hxxp://images-id.com/profile.php?=yahoo:shinerweb@yahoo.com"

How does the attack work?

If you receive the above message or similar, because it has come from a "trusted
friend" in your Hotmail contact list, you are probably likely to believe
the link to have come from them.
Most people will just click on the link, but don’t worry, you haven’t been
hacked just yet. In this case of this attack it actually requires you to install
it, but believe it not, many people will do just that.

In this instance, clicking on the link above will download a self-extracting
zip file to your PC. (Yes, we are talking a Windows Trojan here).
But you still haven’t infected your PC. You now have to actually run the self-extracting
zip file by navigating to the location where it was downloaded and clicking
on it. (Some chat programs allow you to open the downloaded file by simply
clicking on it from within the chat program).
But you still haven’t been infected if you do just that. All you have done
is to extract the actual virus to your PC.
It still requires you to now navigate to where the file was extracted and open
it.
Only now will you have infected your machine.

At the time of writing, only one anti-virus vendor was giving a warning, with
two other vendors marking the file as suspicious.
It will take most of the leading Anti-virus companies up to another 6-12 hours
before they release new definitions to catch this one.
It will probably be a few days before the rest of the bunch catch up with some
taking up to a week.
So even if you have the most up-to-date virus definitions, you are not going
to detect this trojan just yet.

Despite the number of manual steps involved in order to become infected, many
hundreds of thousands of users around the globe will still do just that.
Some will do it primarily because the link and the files came from someone
in their Hotmail contact list that they probably trust.

So why did my Hotmail contact send me this link?

Actually, your contact didn’t. The bad guys have gained access to
your contacts username and password and have control of their account.
There are a number of ways that the bad guys can gain access to these details.

Trojan: The payload in this instance is a trojan that installs
other software to capture personal information from the infected machine. The
user could already have been infected with this trojan or another similar
and the Hotmail account details stolen (via a Keylogger for example).

Phishing: There have been a number of incidents already this
year whereby legitimate sites have displayed adverts or malware inserted by
the bad guys. This presents the visitor with a dialogue box very similar (almost
an exact copy) of the Hotmail Login screen. The user then blindly enters their
Hotmail Username and Password. The bad guys scripts will then usually display
a failure message before redirecting the visitor the genuine Hotmail Login
screen. But by this stage it is too late, they already have your Hotmail account
details.

In this instance, this is what I suspect to have happened in that the user
has fallen foul of a phishing attempt on a site they have recently visited.

The short answer is that your Hotmail contact did not send
you the message. In fact, they probably have no knowledge what-so-ever of any
messages being sent to you.
They will probably tell you that they didn’t even have their computer switched
on at the time so it could not have come from them.
The bad news is that it didn’t need to be. The bad guys already have their
username and password and they use a program of their own to login and send
the messages from any computer they like.

At a later date, I will post an update on how to prevent or reduce the chances
of falling foul of these types of attacks.
Some quick advice though is:

  • Never to trust any files sent by friends
    no matter how much you trust them. It might not be them sending it in the
    first place.
  • Always have your chat program configured to run an anti-virus scan of
    ALL downloaded and transferred files. (Though this would not have protected
    you in this instance).
  • Any file you are not sure of, upload it to Virus
    Total
    and see what they have to say about it.

The information below is the technical information about how the virus works.

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