Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More on Stuxnet worm

Stuxnet Worm Virus

A first-of-its-kind computer worm is taking malicious software to an unprecedented level.

As if attempting to steal personal information or inflicting chaos on your laptop isn't bad enough, security experts say the Stuxnet worm is designed to hijack and potentially cripple real-world targets such as nuclear power plants, factories and oil rigs.

Security experts first learned of the new strain of software in June, but only disclosed its ability to infect major industrial systems in recent weeks.

"This is cyber sabotage," said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior researcher for the security firm Kaspersky Labs. "Stuxnet is designed to basically bring down a plant or take down operations."

For several years, the security community has speculated about a worm complex enough to infiltrate a computer system for a nuclear power plant or oil refinery and then modify operations, he said. But they've never actually seen one in the public arena until Stuxnet.

Source: ABC News

Federal News Radio 1500 AM: Federal experts on the trail of the Stuxnet virus

The Homeland Security Department has been tracking one of the most dangerous computer malware attacks since it emerged in July.

And so far, Stuxnet hasn't had any malicious effect on industrial systems and networks in the United States, but DHS knows the potential harm to industrial systems it could cause and that makes it worth watching and tracking very, very closely.

Sean McGurk, director of the Homeland Security Department's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in a briefing with reporters Friday, waved a USB thumb drive hanging from a lanyard on his neck, declaring, "This is actually Stuxnet."

Experts believe Stuxnet is being spread from computer to computer using widely available portable memory devices, and McGurk said he has a copy of the virus on his thumb drive for testing and monitoring purposes.

"Stuxnet is going in and manipulating devices in native code, and by that I mean it actually lets you take control of systems, but more importantly, from an intellectual property standpoint, what Stuxnet enables you to do is let you read at the manufacturing level how things are made," he said.

McGurk likened the abilities of the Stuxnet virus to being able to determine how CocaCola is made, not by reading the formula for mixing the product, but by reading the operating system of the machine that mixes together the ingredients.

Federal News Radio 1500 AM: Federal experts on the trail of the Stuxnet virus

Should I turn off my computer or leave it on

Should I put my computer to sleep or not

Here is a question that I get asked almost every day. Should I have my computer sleep, turn it off or just leave it alone? This question has been asked by millions of people since the beginning of the computer. This is a difficult question, I have asked many technicians over the years about this and I come up with different answers all the time. Probably if asked 100 technicians you would probably see a 50/50 split of leaving the computer on or in sleep mode and the other 50% would say to turn the machine off.

Now for me since I use my machine for downloading, I leave the tower on and shut down the monitor. This technique works best for me. You need to make the decision that is best for you.

Different modes of operation

Sleep Mode

Sleep mode is probably the easiest and safest mode for the computer when not in use. This mode enables the computer to come from the sleep state the fastest and it is the most power saving mode out of all the modes to choose from.

Hibernation Mode

Hibernation is a power-saving state for laptops. While sleep puts your work and settings in memory and draws a small amount of power, hibernation saves your work and then turns off your computer. Hibernation uses the least amount of power.

On a laptop, use hibernation when you know you’re going to be away from the laptop for an extended period of time to save all of the battery power you possibly can.

Hybrid Mode

This is the combination of both Sleep and Hibernation Mode. This stores your open documents but also puts your machine in a very low power consumption mode.

Tweaking your own settings

This is probably the best for the more advanced computer user. This gives you the flexibility to set the computer to your specific settings and will cause the computer to go to sleep when you want it. By you tweaking the settings it may be faster for the computer to recovery from the mode state you put it in.

Friday, September 24, 2010

High-tech start-ups could get a boost

A Cleveland-based nonprofit with a record of success turning that community's medical research into high-tech businesses is joining forces with a consortium of 19 western counties in the state in an attempt to replicate the experience here.

JumpStart Inc. and the Erie County Economic Development Agency are the lead organizations of a project -- the Regional Entrepreneurship Action Plan -- that has received a $445,000 federal economic development grant and raised another $230,000 from area organizations and businesses.

As explained by Al Culliton, CEO of the ECIDA, the purpose of the project is to create a business plan that will give high-tech start-ups from Syracuse to Rochester to Buffalo access to the public and private capital and the management expertise necessary to turn research and ideas into profitable businesses. To get them, he said, "from the napkin stage to sustainability."

The creation of the partnership and the awarding of the grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration were announced at a gathering Wednesday at the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences at the downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Work Out iPhone application

The new Nike Women Training Club applicaiton for iPhone.

Nike Training Club is part of the program for nikewomen.com. Users may begin by first signing up for a free account over at NikeWomen.com. Next, create their own mini (a virtual avatar), choose the workout program and schedule before finally sending out the invite to friends and family members. If you are looking to stay fit and trim this program may be for you. The program is geared towards women just to keep in mind, but men can use it also. There is no sex discrimination here.

The application comes with some great 10 min. workout videos and it uses the dynamic training drill for strengh, balance, cardio and flexibility.

This is a great app for anyone that is looking to strenghen up those areas of their body and tone those muscles or just want to drop a few pounds. Give it a try and see what you think.

Feel free to check the app out, it is currently available for free via the iTunes Store and is compatible with both the iPhone and iPod touch.