Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If You Get This E-Mail Delete It Immediately

Paypal Email Phishing ScamThe latest attempt to steal your credit card number and personal information comes from a new technique that security experts are labeling "vishing", shorthand for "voice phishing". These con artists are using a combination of telephone and e-mail tricks which are designed to mimic the well known e-commerce business PayPal, and of course, relieve you of your hard earned money.

These e-mails utilize a slick come-on warning you that there is a problem with your PayPal account. However, there is no mysterious link to click which usually raises all kinds of warning flags for regular internet users. Instead, you will be asked to call a phone number where an automated answering machine will ask you for specific account information. This method truly mimics the legitimate way that customers interact with PayPal today. I myself have activated a PayPal credit card through their voice service and never had to talk to a real live person.

Other times the vishing will begin with the scammer calling you. Many people have fallen victim to this type of vishing which can be quite believable. The caller already knows your credit card number which gives the illusion they are a legitimate vendor. The only thing you are asked to provide is the three-digit security code found on the back of the card to confirm whatever it is their clever minds can come up with. "It is becoming more difficult to distinguish phishing attempts from actual attempts to contact customers," Ron O'Brien, a security analyst with Sophos PLC.

Your best bet, should you ever get one of these telephone calls, is to immediately hang up and call your financial institution with the number on the back of your card. If there is a real issue, they will know how to handle it. Remember, in this day and age you can never be to careful with your financial information. Never give anyone your credit card number or even the three-digit security code on the back of the card unless you have initiated the call. However, if you're calling in response to an e-mail that definitely doesn't count as initiating the call!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

IBM Creates Nanoscale Replica of World Map

IBM researchers in Switzerland have developed a patterning technique that lets them create structures as small as 15 nanometers. Using this nano patterning technique, the IBM researchers have created a three-dimensional replica of the Matterhorn, a famous mountain in the Swiss Alps, that's a little more than 25 nanometers high and a scale of 1 to 5 billion. For reference, a single nanometer is one millionth the length of a millimeter and a single human hair is on average 40,000 times wider than that of a nanometer. These researchers have also created a 3-D replica of the world that measures 22 by 11 micrometers which works out to a scale of about 1:11 billion. At this size, 1000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt.

How it Works

Atomic force microscopy is an extremely high-resolution type of scanning microscopy that is used to image, measure, and manipulate matter at nanoscale sizes. This scanning uses a physical probe to make master scans of specimens line by line. The nanopatterning technique used by IBM borrows the nanoscale tip from atomic force microscopy which is 500 nanometers in length and only a few nanometers wide at the tip. The surface of the material is scanned to a precision of a single nanometer and the nanoscale tip is superheated and will chisel out a predefined pattern. The map of the world created by the IBM researchers was carved out in 2 minutes and 23 seconds flat.

IBM hopes that one day nanopatterning will be used in the electronics, opto-electronics, medicine and life sciences industries. As a proof of concept the IBM researchers created a nanoscale pattern in silicone, which is the material used to make chips today. Carl Howe, director of anywhere research at the Yankee Group, sees the many possibilities of using nanopatterning technology in this industry.

"The size of chips is defined by how finely we can make structures on them, and IBM's showing that they can make these structures very fine and in 3-D at very small scales. We're building up more and more layers on a chip to make more and more transistors, so it's not only how wide and tall you can go but how thick you can make a chip,"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Opera Becomes #1 Mobile App Download

Opera Mini Mobile AppToday was the first day that Opera Mini became available for download on the iTunes store and has since received astonishing attention from consumers and has been downloaded over a million times. Earlier this morning Opera Mini reigned king by holding the number one iPhone app spot in the 22 featured Apple App Stores and continues to do so on many of the charts.

Opera Mini is one of the world’s most popular browsers and is capable of bringing the web to nearly any mobile phone. Opera submitted its browser to Apple on March 23 and much to the shock of everyone Apple decided to allow their competition into their app store and be free to download. Many initial reviews of the browser rave about the speed, ease of use, and multitouch features with the consensus being "it kicks Safari out of the water". While some users have small complaints, most are looking forward to the future updates Opera has planned for the app.

“Today iPhone users have a choice, and, as the numbers show, they are eager to explore new and faster ways to surf the Web on the iPhone - especially during heavy Web traffic,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “With any widely available and frequently downloaded Opera product, we are appreciative of all the feedback we are getting, as it helps us to continually improve our product and better meet the needs of our users.”