Don’t Get Caught In The Crossfire

The Duqu virus is squarely aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. Unless you’re connected with Iran’s nuclear program, your chances of being directly targeted are extremely low. However, Microsoft was freaked out enough to issue a security bulletin for Windows users. So, better safe than sorry, protect yourself against the possibility of becoming collateral damage in an epic, upcoming attack.

Microsoft issues Duqu virus workaround for Windows

Microsoft has issued a temporary fix to the pernicious Duqu virus — also known as “Son of Stuxnet” — which could affect users of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 as well as Windows Server 2008.

The company promised the security update earlier this week as it races to deal with the virus, which targets victims via email with a Microsoft Word attachment. The virus is not in the email, but in the attachment itself. A Symantec researcher said if a user opens the Word document, the attacker could take control of the PC, and nose around in an organization’s network to look for data, and the virus could propagate itself.

See also:
Microsoft Security Advisory (2639658)
Microsoft software bug linked to ‘Duqu’ virus
Microsoft Provides Workaround Patch for Duqu Malware
Microsoft announces workaround for the Duqu exploit
Microsoft Issues Temporary Duqu Workaround, Plans 4 Patch Tuesday Fixes
Six Ways to Protect Yourself from Duqu
Microsoft Airs Temporary Fix to Defeat Duqu Worm
Microsoft Releases Temporary Plug For Duqu
Duqu exploits same Windows font engine patched last month, Microsoft confirms
5 Things To Do To Defend Against Duqu
Microsoft issues temporary ‘fix-it’ for Duqu zero-day
Patch Tuesday: Fix for ‘Duqu’ zero-day not likely this month

Is it just me or doesn’t it seem a bit more than odd that Microsoft, a company with close ties to and a past history of working with U.S. intelligence agencies, would publicly issue a workaround to defend against a specific piece of malware that, by many accounts, is being actively and currently used by U.S. intelligence agencies to set up and facilitate an upcoming attack, in cyberspace or otherwise, against Iran’s nuclear program? I mean, it’s not like the Iranians can’t read English, why help them defend against Duqu? Hmmm, something’s not quite right here.

/whatever’s going on, and something is going on, it’s way above my pay grade, but when the endgame comes, don’t forget to duck

Are You Ready For Some Hitler?

Hank, Hank, Hank, bad move, it’s just not politically correct or acceptable to associate Obama with Hitler. It’s only okay to compare Bush to Hitler

ESPN drops Hank Williams Jr. from ‘Monday Night Football’

After ESPN dropped Hank Williams Jr. from opening Monday Night Football tonight after Williams’ controversial comments Monday about President Obama, the singer now says he was “misunderstood.”

Says ESPN, in a statement: “While Hank Williams Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize he is closely linked to our company through the opening to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”

Williams, perhaps best known for his “are you ready for some football?” lead-in to ESPN’s Monday Night Football, Monday compared this summer’s so-called golf summit between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner as “one of the biggest political mistakes ever.”

As Williams put it on Fox News’ Fox & Friends: “It would be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli leader) Benjamin Netanyahu.”

See also:
ESPN pulls Williams from MNF opening
‘Monday Night Football’ intro pulled after Hank Williams Jr. comments
ESPN Pulls Hank Williams Jr. Intro After He Compared President Obama to Hitler
Are You Ready For Some Führer?ESPN pulls NFL song after Hitler analogy
ESPN pulls intro after Hank Williams’ Obama comments
ESPN not ready for Hitler analogy
ESPN pulls intro after Williams’ Obama comments
Hank Williams Jr. Intro Dropped from ‘Monday Night Football’
Hank Williams Jr. Says Obama Like Hitler; Likes Herman Cain
Hank Williams Jr. Pulled From ‘Monday Night Football’ After Comparing Obama to Hitler
ESPN Cans Hank Williams Jr. Over Anti-Obama Comments
ESPN pulls Hank Williams Jr.’s ‘Are you ready for some football?’ song from Monday Night Football
How are we supposed to get ready for some football now?

Can you say overreaction by ESPN? Putting aside for a minute that Hank never actually, directly compared Obama to Hitler, if you watch the video it’s pretty obvious that Hank is high on something more than just life. Cut the dude some slack, he’s survived a traumatic brain injury, he’s a musician, musicians spout all sorts of bizarre thoughts aloud. Bring the song back, it’s a decades long tradition, Monday Night Football is pretty lame without it.

/I predict that ESPN will cave and the song will be back next week

Ghost Of The Sea

Is this the U.S. Nay’s follow on to the $195 million Sea Shadow program, the Sea Shadow that’s currently floating on the scrap heap, waiting to be dismantled?

New Stealth Boat Glides Over Gas Layer

A new kind of boat is designed to move quickly and stealthily through water by generating a layer of gas around its underwater surfaces.

The design reduces friction by a factor of 900, according to the New Hampshire company that produced the boat. Its smooth speed makes it ideal for special operations. It could also revolutionize shipping.

Juliet Marine recently unveiled the Ghost, a ship it says can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. The shape of the craft is similar to earlier attempts at making watercraft less visible to radar — notably the Navy’s “Sea Shadow” project of the 1980s.

The phenomenon is called supercavitation. Supercavitation occurs when a projectile moving through water generates a low-pressure zone around its surface. Go fast enough and the low-pressure zone becomes a layer of gas. In that respect the Ghost is similar to a Russian-made torpedo (called the “Shkval,” or squall), though the underwater portion of the boat’s twin hulls are a new design.

See also:
Juliet Marine Systems, Inc. Announces the First Super-Cavitating Ship, GHOST
Stealth Boat Glides Over Gas Layer
‘Ghost’ craft comes into view
Ghost ship unveiled: Stealth vessel is ‘virtually unstoppable
GHOST Boats Will Prey on Pirates
Pirate-fighter vessel revealed by Juliet Marine
Juliet Marine Develops Offshore Anti-Piracy Platform
“Stealth” Boat Could Revolutionize Naval Warfare
Juliet Marine Systems

Given the massive debt hole the U.S. is already in and that the Sea Shadow ended up being scrapped, I’m not sure the Navy really needs a new “stealth boat” like the Ghost, especially if it’s primary purpose would be to combat pirates. Pirates, for the most part, don’t have radar. The problem isn’t sneaking up on them, the problem is finding them in the first place and we don’t need a “stealth boat” for that.

/the supercavitation technology does, however, appear to be extremely promising in terms of possible commercial shipping applications where time and fuel are money

Famous Last Words

And for some bizarre, unexplained reason, Tim Geithner is still the U.S. Treasury Secretary.

Credit rating downgrade hits markets

U.S. stocks tumbled, following the biggest weekly drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 2008, amid concern that a downgrade of the nation’s credit rating by S&P may worsen an economic slowdown.

The U.S. credit rating downgrade extended a rout that wiped out $1.94 trillion in market value from the country’s stocks. S&P lowered the U.S. long-term rating one level to AA+ after markets closed on Aug. 5 while keeping the outlook at “negative” as the company becomes less confident that Congress will end Bush-era tax cuts or tackle entitlements.

See also:
The Impact Of The S&P U.S. Credit Downgrade On Small Businesses
sting Icons Weigh In On U.S. Credit Downgrade
2ND UPDATE: Goldman Sachs: S&P’s US Downgrade May Be ‘Material And Adverse’ -Filing
U.S. Credit Downgrade Leaves ‘Horrible Impact’
Wall St. panics as Washington dawdles and the wheels come of the economy
GOP candidates slam Obama on US credit downgrade
Senate panel reviewing S&P downgrade
Was S&P downgrade an act of revenge?
Rating Agencies in Spotlight Following Downgrade

Of course, the Democrats got their talking points together and tried blaming the Tea Party.

Seriously, blaming the Tea Party is about as ridiculous as blaming the fireman for starting the fire.

/the obvious problem, to any sane observer, is that Obama and the Democrats just spend too damn much money

The “Stimulus” That Keeps On Sucking

It’s bad enough that we borrowed a trillion dollars from China to waste on a “stimulus” program that actually destroyed 595,000 jobs, but it turns out that we lavished $24 billion of the massively useless pork potpourri on tax criminals! How cool was that?

Stimulus recipients found to be tax cheats

One construction company that won multiple awards of money under President Obama’s 2009 stimulus program was delinquent on its federal tax bill to the tune of $700,000, even as a company executive was blowing hundreds of thousands of dollars at casinos.

Yet another company failed to pay taxes, entered into a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service, and then repeatedly defaulted on that agreement – and still won stimulus contracts worth more than $1 million, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday.

All told, government investigators found that during the period they examined, one out of every six stimulus contract or grant dollars went to a known tax cheat, according to Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican who, along with several colleagues, requested the GAO review.

The review found that at least 3,700 stimulus recipients owed a total of more than $757 million in taxes, but were awarded $24 billion in stimulus money.

Read the report:

Thousands of Recovery Act Contract and Grant Recipients
Owe Hundreds of Millions in Federal Taxes

See also:
Report: Stimulus recipients owe $750 million in taxes
Companies that got stimulus money owe millions in back taxes
Stimulus contractors owe millions in back taxes
Stimulus Recipients Owe Back Taxes
Report: Stimulus Recipients Owe Hundreds Of Millions In Taxes
Stimulus money recipients owe billions in US taxes-GAO
GAO Report: 3,700 Stimulus Fund Recipients Owe Millions in Taxes
GAO Voices Concerns (Again) About Contracts, Grants Awarded to Delinquent Taxpayers
Senators: Tax delinquency issue larger than stimulus
Report: Tax dodgers pocketed $24B+

Now, you need to ask yourself, if the Obama administration was this incompetent that they gave $24 billion to known tax cheats, just how inept were they in frittering away the rest of the trillion dollars? If they couldn’t even catch the obvious gaming of the “stimulus” program, how much more undetected abuse and fraud is out there? I bet it totals in the hundreds of billions. And you, your children and grandchildren will get stuck paying for Obama’s “stimulus” folly, because we borrowed the trillion he wasted.

/Obama, putting the boon in boondoggle

Oops, They Did It Again!

Despite having nearly an entire month to get their act together, Sony’s apparently still wearing their security pants down around their ankles.

Sony Hacked Yet Again

Hard as it may be to believe, Sony has been hacked yet again.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, So-net Entertainment Corp., a Japanese ISP owned by the technology giant, said that hackers accessed its customer rewards site earlier this week and stole customers’ redeemable gift points worth about $1,225.

The incident is the latest in a weeks-long string of hacks and breaches of security for Sony. The trouble began on April 19, when the company began investigating and ultimately discovered a massive breach of security on its PlayStation Network, a cyberscandal that compromised the personal information of more than 100 million users.

See also:
Sony’s Security Nightmare Not Over, Hacked Again
Fresh security glitch adds to Sony’s woes
Sony hit again with two hacks
Sony hacked twice in one day, this time $1225 was stolen from accounts in Japan
Sony subsidiary So-net reports data breach
Yep, Looks Like Sony’s Been Hacked Again
Sony Faces Another Hack Attack
Sony hacked again
Sony Hacked Again, Server Hosting Credit Card Phishing Site
Do You Own A Sony HackStation?

And if all this hacking wasn’t bad enough . . .

Sony Can’t Guarantee PlayStation Network Security

Sony CEO Howard Stringer says he cannot guarantee the security of his company’s videogame network. . . . maintaining security is a “never-ending process,” and he cannot say that anyone is “100 percent secure.”

/not exactly confidence inspiring, I’ll be taking a pass on Sony products for the foreseeable future

Do You Own A Sony HackStation?

You’ve probably already noticed that your Sony PlayStation won’t connect to the online network, but do you know that hackers probably stole all your personal data, including your credit card number, too?

User data stolen in Sony PlayStation Network hack attack

Sony is warning its millions of PlayStation Network users to watch out for identity-theft scams after hackers breached its security and plundered the user names, passwords, addresses, birth dates, and other information used to register accounts.

The stolen information may also include payment-card data, purchase history, billing addresses, and security answers used to change passwords, Sony said on Tuesday. The company plans to keep the hacked system offline for the time being, and to restore services gradually. The advisory also applies to users of Sony’s related Qriocity network.

See also:
Sony Warns Online Hacker May Have Stolen Credit Card Data
Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity hacked
77million PlayStation accounts hacked
Breach at Sony may include profiles
Massive data breach suspected in Sony PlayStation hacker attack
Sony: Card details may be compromised
Millions of PlayStation user’s information hacked
PlayStation Network hacked, data stolen: how badly is Sony hurt?
Sony’s PlayStation Network Hacked, User Data Stolen
Sony Explains Delayed Response to Hacked PSN Accounts
Sony’s PlayStation Network Is Hacked

With 77 million potential victims, this could wind up being the largest data theft in history. If you own a PlaySyation, make sure you keep an eye on your credit card account for any unusual activity and change your passwords and probably as much other PlayStation Network account information as you can as soon as the system goes back online.

/and watch out for phishing attacks, if Sony contacts you, make damn sure it’s actually Sony