Saturday, September 12, 2009

Safe Internet Browsing Tips

The Internet has some pretty dark and scary back corners, and sometimes malicious software can pop up where you least expect it. No one can guarantee that you'll be 100% safe, but if you follow these tips and suggestions, you will definitely be safer, and able to browse with a bit more peace of mind.

* Use an outbound traffic analyzer to be notified when an application begins emitting new or unexpected traffic.

* Manually control web cookies while web browsing. The procedure for enabling this setting is different for each World Wide Web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, etc.). In order to enable this setting in Firefox click on "Tools", then "Options", choose the "Privacy" tab at the top then check the boxes "Accept cookies from sites" and "Accept third-party cookies". In the drop down menu below those boxes select "Keep Until: Ask me every time". After setting this option you will be presented with a choice whether to accept or deny cookies for most of the websites you visit. If you deny cookies related to the website you are attempting to visit then the website may not function as intended. Generally, most third party cookies are safe to "deny", but not always.

* Always keep anti-virus software definitions up to date. Upon installation, most antivirus software will ask you if you want definitions updated automatically. It will also be presented as an option within the software itself. Often your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will provide anti-virus software to you at no cost, so check their documentation for more information.

* Practice "defense-in-depth" by installing more than one anti-virus and/or anti-spyware/malware application. Contrary to popular belief, anti-virus vendors often have widely variable delays before a particular signature gets into their database. While they may be effectively the same 30 days after a piece of malware is released, you are most vulnerable in the hours immediately after release, a time at which having multiple anti-virus applications may save you from infection.

* Use a firewall. Firewalls come in many shapes and sizes with varying degrees of functionality and protection. Firewalls can be hardware or software based.

* Remember that everyone on the Internet is exposed to online criminals. Sources of both commercial and free software are targets for hacking, and care should be exercised when downloading and installing Internet-based software.

* Follow Microsoft's best practices for updating various Windows operating systems.

* Never blindly accept a security dialog or execute an unexpected file, even if it comes from a web site that you visit often. Even the largest web sites can be compromised to include malware downloads and other security risks. Always carefully read and evaluate the provided text before making a decision. When in doubt - deny or cancel.

Beat Life's Biggest Little Stressors

Beat Life's Biggest Little Stressors
Feel better fast by squelching these nuisances before they gang up on you.
By Mike Zimmerman, Men's Health

Source: http://health.msn.com/health-topics/mental-health/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100244527&Gt1=31036

Maybe your right eye starts twitching when you glimpse your disappearing 'do in the mirror. Or perhaps you fling sofa pillows across the room every time your team blows yet another 20-point lead. This isn't mere annoyance rearing its head—it's bona fide stress, and proof that real anxiety can spring from far more than relationship angst, finances, and work. "These are the little things that men never think about, but should," says Glenn Good, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in male gender issues at the University of Missouri. "They can be chronic and ugly, and seriously compromise your health as they stack up." Indeed, stressed-out people are 54 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes, a 2008 British study found. And a Swedish study from the same year suggests that stress can double a man's chance of developing diabetes.

We polled more than 1,500 men to find out which stressors lurk in the backgrounds of their lives. Who knew that something as mundane as sharing a checkbook can cause so much tension? Or that simply finding time to exercise can seriously strain your mental muscles? You need a smart strategy to battle these nuisances. Use our tips, provided by experts who sweat the small stuff, so you can focus your energy on what really matters—the rest of your life.

Big little stressor No. 1: Insecurity

Not surprisingly, paying bills, managing debt and sticking to a budget scored highest of all the stressors in our survey. But guess what? It's not about the money, says Thomas Miller, Ph.D., a University of Kentucky psychologist and the author of Handbook of Stressful Life Transitions Across the Lifespan. "Much financial stress actually has to do with uncertainty—about your money situation, yes, but that really means your job. Not knowing specifics about where you stand eats at you like acid."


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Defuse it: Go on a fact-finding mission, Miller says. Demand answers to those elephant-in-the-room questions at work. Ask your boss how you fit into the company's plans, or what you can do to make yourself more valuable. If he pauses or doesn't appear truthful, push him with "Can you be more specific?" or even "So do you think I should be concerned?" "The more answers you're given about your situation, the more clarity you'll have—and clarity equals control," Miller says.

Bonus tip: Worried about your job? Relieve your stress by using these 6 tricks to prevent being laid off.

Big little stressor No. 2: Hair loss

More than half the men in our poll felt stressed about their images, and many specified hair loss as the mane, er, main culprit. They're not alone: A 2005 Mayo Clinic Proceedings review cites multiple studies showing that male pattern baldness negatively affects men's feelings of attractiveness and body image. "For those guys who are feeling judged by their hair loss, the stress is very real," Good says.

Defuse it: Reframe the problem as a medical issue, Good suggests. Treating hair loss with transplants costs $4,500 on average, while drug treatments can cost as much as $60 a month, for decades. Then run the numbers and decide if the expense is truly worth it to you, Good says. If it is, then go for it. But if you think you can deal with it as a mere medical inconvenience, you'll be more easily able to snuff out this stressor.

Bonus tip: Find out which hair-loss treatments work best—and which you shouldn't waste your money on—here.

Big little stressor No. 3: Exercise

How's this for a bitter irony: Exercise is a well-known stress buster, yet nearly a third of the men in our poll rated sticking to an exercise program a 7 or higher on a 10-point stress scale. First, you stress about missing a workout or not exercising at all. Second, as you attempt to carve out time to exercise, your stress skyrockets as you cram in all the other things you need to accomplish that day. "That struggle may affect how and what you're eating," Miller says, "and now your food intake becomes a stressor."

Defuse it: Miller suggests portion control—for your workout schedule. Shrink your exercise "portions" by boosting intensity: Turn your cardio routine into a shorter interval workout that alternates sprints with your normal pace. (You'll also boost fat-burning this way.) If you're lifting weights, cut your between-set rest in half—go from a minute to 30 seconds between each of 12 sets, and you'll save six minutes. Then look for ways to condense other activities: showering, cooking, surfing the Web, and so forth. You have the time. You simply have to own it.

Bonus tip: Always have a workout on hand with the upgraded Men's Health iPhone app. It's like having your own personal trainer, 24/7, wherever you go.

Big little stressor No. 4: Co-managing the cash

Financial stress can be much worse for men when they're in a relationship, because a man's view of the situation is often different from a woman's. "Sometimes the views are diametrically opposed," says Jay Zagorsky, Ph.D., an Ohio State University economist. His research, published in the Journal of Socio-Economics, found that men tended to report much higher values for assets, such as a home or car, while women inflated debt totals. (Estimates of income and net worth varied, too.) This also shows that couples often don't know how much money they have, or won't talk about money honestly, Good says. "They refuse to address it because it's awkward or embarrassing or there's so much baggage that they don't want to bring it up," he says. Stress builds until the two of you collide over something like spending habits or large purchases. Then it explodes.

Defuse it: Take 15 minutes over a weekend breakfast to write down your estimated assets, debts and net worth, Good suggests. Do this separately, and then compare your numbers with recent statements. If you share long-term financial goals and understand that you also share the day-to-day responsibility to work toward them, then the obvious imbalances in spending—you spend $50 more each month on coffee than she does, for instance—become easier to renegotiate. A sense of mutual fairness allows your stress level to drop, Good says.

Bonus tip: Your relationship isn't the only thing that causes anxiety about money. Here's how to solve your six biggest money worries.

Big little stressor No. 5: Your team

One in four men in our poll rated watching their team lose a 7 or higher on the stress scale. Research shows that the deeper our dedication to a team or a player, the more likely we are to transform emotional reactions into hostility—and that anger takes a toll on your health big time. You rip open the sofa pillow, your day turns sour and friends and family hide. Miller, who's also a sports psychologist, knows the feeling: He's a Cincinnati Reds fan.

Defuse it: Find an online forum that discusses your favorite team, and dump your bile there. A University of Mississippi study found that fans posting on online message boards after their team lost a championship game posted "aggressive" comments, but the researchers argue that virtual venting may be a good thing. "Blogs and forums offer a place for socially acceptable displays of aggression," writes Brad Schultz, Ph.D., the study's lead author. "The language may be rough and the attitudes tough, but the losers can commiserate, and no one is hurt physically. Above all, it gives fans a place to go and share their experiences and look for understanding with other like-minded individuals."

Bonus tip: Stress can strike when you're playing sports, too. Here's how to de-stress your day—including that moment when you're standing over a putt.

Big little stressor No. 6: Morons

One guy summed up the problem in two words: "stupid people." Simply living your life means dealing with inconsiderate people, crappy service and the general cloggers of society's arteries. Remember, Miller says, you can't influence them: "You see that these people aren't making the best decisions and think you can do better. As a result, you feel less in control, and that's a serious hidden stressor."

Defuse it: Don't become embroiled in the morons' messes. "I experience their nonsense every single day," says business consultant Larry Winget, host of A&E's Big Spender and the author of People Are Idiots and I Can Prove It. "Two things tend to bring me comfort. First, knowing that sometimes I'm an idiot, too. I also remind myself of a quote I heard many years ago: 'When you give someone a piece of your mind, you've given up your peace of mind.' If you try to influence them, you give them control over you. I've driven myself crazy trying to fix people I know cannot be fixed, and don't want to be fixed. Now, I refuse to do that. It's more fun if I just find them entertaining."

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

In 2 years, 2 billion will get swine flu- WHO

In 2 years, 2 billion will get swine flu- WHO
Kounteya Sinha, TNN

NEW DELHI- Two billion - that's the number of people that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated will get infected with the deadly H1N1 influenza virus in the next two years. Earlier pandemics have infected one-third of the world's population. But this virus is especially dangerous.

Why? Because it is brand new, one nobody has seen before. And this means that everyone on this planet is immunologically vulnerable. The threat is clear from the way the virus has spread till now. Over 160 countries have already confirmed over 130,000 cases, with the virus spreading as much in less than six weeks as past pandemic flu viruses spread in more than six months.

WHO has already designated this as the "planet's fastest-moving pandemic". In most countries, those mostly infected belong to the age group of 12 to 17 years. However, persons requiring hospitalization and patients with fatal illness have been found to be slightly older. Almost 800 people have died from it in the past four months - more than what the H5N1 bird flu strain has killed in six years.

India is now worried and says it's just a matter of time before the country starts to see large scale community clusters of the virus.

According to Randeep Guleria, professor of medicine at AIIMS, who has also helped prepare India's treatment protocol, weather conditions like the end of monsoon and the winter months will be perfect for the H1N1 virus to thrive. "The current strain of H1N1 has high transmissibility rate which the H5N1 bird flu virus did not. Overcrowding in India will see the H1N1 virus spread very fast in the community in the post-monsoon months. And since it is a new virus, there is no herd immunity against it," Dr Guleria said.

An internal government estimate says that 3-5 million people will be required to be vaccinated soon after the full-fledged pandemic hits India.

"This would include health workers, police, customs and emergency relief workers - those who will work towards containing the pandemic. Then will be the high risk groups - the aged and those with underlying health conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardio-vascular disease," a health ministry official said. Globally, experts have reported five isolated cases of the H1N1 virus showing resistance to Tamiflu, the anti-viral of choice. But no changes to the virus' behaviour have been detected for now.

"But how it could potentially change and whether it mutates to become worse over the coming weeks is still unknown," WHO's spokesperson Gregory Hartl said.

Health officials in India are trying to determine which groups are most likely to get severely ill so measures to best protect them can be taken. A crucial meeting is scheduled next week to finalise the priority list. Drug makers in India have also started working on a vaccine to fight the scourge.

The Drug Controller General has given licence to three vaccine manufacturers to import WHO released seed strains for producing the H1N1 vaccine. "Serum Institute, Panacea and Bharat Biotech are the three companies working in India to make a vaccine against H1N1," NICD director Dr Shiv Lal said. WHO is, meanwhile, supporting three other companies in three countries - India, Thailand and Indonesia - to make an H1N1 vaccine.

Hackers turn attention to ATMs

Experts urge banks to re-examine the security of their back-end infrastructure

Phil Muncaster

V3.co.uk, 07 Sep 2009

Original Source: http://www.v3.co.uk/v3/news/2249021/hackers-turn-attention-atms

A new report into ATM crime from European security agency Enisa released today sheds worrying new light on the scale of threats facing banks on the high street.

While the rise in attacks on internet banking systems is well documented, the ATM Crime (PDF) research points to a 149 per cent rise in ATM attacks last year, including 10,302 so-called 'skimming' incidents.

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Skimming involves the use of tiny spy cameras, false PIN overlays and even entire fake machines, often using Bluetooth wireless technology to transmit card and PIN details to a nearby laptop.

More worryingly, hackers are increasingly looking to launch attacks on the networks used by banks to connect ATMs with back-office systems, or on the operating systems and hardware used to run ATMs, in order to install software that collects customer PIN data.

Another tactic revealed by Enisa involves criminals hacking into bank systems to obtain card numbers from ATM databases.

"The thieves collect card numbers and, if necessary, alter the PIN for the cards they are planning to use. The thieves then sell the cards and their data to other thieves," the report said.

"Those thieves create ATM cards using the stolen information, and use the cards to withdraw cash from the accounts. The original thieves usually receive a percentage of the proceeds."

Enisa executive director Andrea Pirotti hopes that the report will go some way to raising awareness of the growing problem of ATM crime.

"ATM crime is likely to become even more attractive as the latest generation of ATMs is designed to dispense other services and products, such as phone top-ups and stamps," he said.

William Beer, head of the OneSecurity team at consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, argued that financial institutions need to wake up to the fact their ATM systems are now more easy for criminals to hack.

"Once upon a time they were running proprietary hardware and using operating systems and network protocols that were definitely not off-the-shelf, and these were difficult for the common criminal to replicate," he said.

"The fact that they've now moved to off-the-shelf hardware, standard operating systems and open network protocols makes the end game easier for the criminals – there needs to be a clearer recognition that these systems are vulnerable."

He added that banks need to be aware that such attacks, along with those launched on their internet channels, will seriously impact consumer confidence.

But there is also an opportunity for those who address these issues to differentiate by offering secure services, as long as they get their messaging right, he explained.

“My Dying Conscience”: Lovely poem by Reshmi Trivedi

Lovely poem by Reshmi Trivedi —————————————— Sometimes in the dark of the night, I visit my conscience   To see if  it is still breathing, F...