SocialMe on Facebook INFECTED

SocialMe on Facebook, exploited with Trojan Virus and Scare Ware –

SocialMe is a small app. on Facebook that lets users see other users SocailMe profile, pics and tag them as they please. The more tags and comments you receive, the more your virtual score increases. It lets people get attention and socialize in a virtual way, which is good.

The bad part – the application is exploited. I discovered this sometime at the beginning of 09, while I was browsing through SocailMe profiles, Firefox blanked out and asked to close the browser as it had detected an intrusion. After that incident, smelling something fishy on SocialMe/ Facebook, I decided to replicate the problem. For security, I installed McAfee Enterprize edition with firewall on my system and went back to browsing on SocialMe. And to focus on my target, I just had Facebook with SocaiMe open. And I used a brand new Windows installed system that had been patched and shielded with latest updates and detection rules.

Surely enough, after an hour of so of browsing on SocialMe, Firefox detected an intrusion and asked me to close, while McAfee displayed a message saying that it had detected and deleted an infection. A Trojan Virus. I left Firefox window open, and McAfee continued to detect and delete the same Virus over and over again.

Report the incident to Facebook help – I reported the incident to SocialMe development team and also in Facebook feedback under help section. I did not hear from SocialMe at all, but Facebook did reply back to me saying that I had to contact the developer of the application as Facebook did not support any third party applications. In other words, Facebook washed their hands off from policing any rogue application that is using their site as a launch pad to spread malicious software? Weird for a big guy like Facebook to shrug the responsibility off from their shoulders, when they have ample resources to stop their site from being exploited and abused. Of course it is not them, but it is someone that is using their site as a launch pad to spread malicious software. If a hacker exploits my site and uses it for malicious intent, it becomes my moral and professional responsibility to clean up and NOT allow that application in again. But I am sure, they have a clause somewhere in the agreement which says that they are not responsible for any damage caused by other third party applications on Facebook. Easy, so now Facebook does not have to police these application that are launched from their site.

Third Attack – After few months of not using SocialMe, I went back to using it again, hoping that they might have fixed the issue. NO, I was so wrong. This time my laptop got infected even though McAfee claimed that it had deleted the Trojan Virus and had cleaned the infection. However, it was a little too tale. This version of the Virus had already become resident to my system and was now replicating itself in any thumb drive that I inserted in my system. My system crashed trying to rid itself of the virus, and I had to reinstall Windows, and format all my drives.

Solution – STOP using SocailMe. Since Facebook is going to leave you in the wet and not take any action against SocailMe, you got to take your own cover. Even if you subscribe to LifeLock or another identity theft protection company, I’d still avoid using SocialMe. I make this suggestion because Trojan Viruses can do more than just help thieves steal your identity; they can also get into your computer and really mess things up for you. Moral: stay away from SocialMe!

It makes my wonder how many such “third party” rouge applications are exploiting good sites like Facebook, Orkut and MySpace? The industry got to change their attitude towards these third party applications, else they will continue to take shelter under these big trees, and keep spreading their nasty poison.

Pranav Mistry reinvents Minority Report

After seeing the movie “Minority Report”, we may have thought that it is another fancy of Science fiction from Hollywood. But sometimes, art inspires science, and more so Hollywood. A lot of things displayed in that movie are quite plausible and in fact are being researched and developed by the brightest minds at MIT. My favorite from the movie is tiny spider like robots that gang up, coordinate autonomously and do reconnaissance mission.

But here is something that is already taking shape. The computer system that takes input from hand gestures rather than keyboard and mouse. Not just that, it sees what you see, records video and sound when you want, displays information when you want, where you want, almost like your computerized “sixth sense”. The brains behind this new device being devoloped is Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry from MIT. Hats off to them!!


Source:http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/481

Follow UP:
At TedIndia, Pranav Mistry did a follow up of his invention and gave us more insight as to what really is the potential of his code and designs. I am super excited thinking and letting my imagination loose. And as he said, your imagination is the limit with this. This has the potential of being the next big leap in computer usage since the dawn of the Internet, and yet he has agreed to provide the source code for free to rest of the world instead of raking millions from his code. Hats off to you Pranav. I wish the big guys in the IT industry thought like you. Well, here is the video of Pranav Mistry, speaking at TedIndia conference and enlightening us with his invention, that will change the way we interact with digital information, forever.


Source: Ted.com

Juan Enriquez forsees Homo Evolutis

I love this guy! He knows what he is talking about and presents his idea with sarcasm and humor. But I love his presentation at Ted for some other reason. Long time back when I was in High School, I had written a paper on future of human evolution, with naive mind set. I was wondering as to what humans would evolve into in the future. The evolution of humans from Apes took about 1.9 million yrs [SD .3 m yrs], which on Earthly time scale is very small. So where to from here?? Juan Enriquez has done a good job in showing a possible direction.


Source: Ted.com

Lets talk TRASH

When are we humans going to STOP raping the Earth?? If you do have a conscience about this and want to start doing your share of “what we should have already done”, then start by – first calculating how much non biodegradable waste you generate in a week, then do a sanity check and see how much of this lands up in the ocean and land fills. Second, multiply the result by 54 weeks and think about it. It is an embarrassing and shameful situation. I will let the video do the talking..

Courtesy Ted.com

Here is what you can do:

  • STOP drinking bottled water. Get a large bottle delivered to you place instead of buying 24 packs.
  • STOP using plastic shopping bags. Do your grocery in few large reusable bags instead of using a dozen plastic bags each time. Most stores sell you reusable bags for under a $
  • Recycle the extra bags/ bottles etc. that somehow cling to you form somewhere
  • STOP getting your coffee/ soda in plastic disposable cups. Keep your coffee mug in your car, work, etc.
  • STOP getting your lunch in disposable boxes, especially at work where you can keep a lunch box/ container and ask the restaurant to pack your food in it.

If you just add all this up, you just reduced your plastic waste by 90%. Think about it. I have done it and we know we all should do it. Do it for your children, do it for the rivers, do it for the seas and above all, do it for our Mother Earth. PLEASE!!

Here is a good tip to get you started. If you live in Orlando, FL and want to recycle stuff like electronic waste, cardboard boxes [flattened of course], paper etc; but you live in an apartment or a place where recycling facility is not available, then you can collect your stuff and then drive to the main landfill in the area [end of Dean rd] where they have separate drop off bins for recycling. This a free service for Orlando residents and I encourage you to use it and recycle more.

Map for Orange county, FL, landfill and recycling facility:
Hrs of Operation: Mon – Sun [8:00 am to 5:00 pm]
Orange County Solid Waste Hotline 407-836-6601


View Orange County solid waste drop off in a larger map

Free Compost is also offered to all Orange County residents, provided they bring their own shovel and container. Residents may take up to one pickup truckload of compost free of charge. Compost can be picked up from landfill and transfer stations, Sun through Sat, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

A BBC reporter covers what is happening to Islands in the Pacific. A window to the biggest human made disaster of the future, evident from this video right now. An entire island of Hawaii is being converted into “Plastic Island” with particles of plastic that have photo degraded over the years and then washed to the beaches.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8639769.stm

Google SMS

Did you know about Google SMS?
If your answer was NO, then don’t be embarrassed as I learned about this cool feature not very long ago.
The only thing is, you must be textually active to use this cool new feature. So here is how it works: you text a simple query to GOOGLE [466453] and it text’s you back with the result. No cost to you other than your text. I am not a big text person, but I think this is going to be useful for even a non textually active person like me. Suppose I am on the road and I need to find the number or address of a local business, or flight information, call Wallgreens to see if they are open etc. and I don’t have a smart phone with data plan, then this is a handy tool to use. Of course, even if you have a smartphone like a T-Mobile Blackberry Bold, you can still download it to your phone. Ok, I will shut up and let this video do the talking.

CarWash for HUNGRY in Haiti

Haiti has been swept by Three major hurricanes in less than one month. This has caused tremendous suffering to the poor in Haiti. Their farmland, houses, livestock and even little ones were all swept away with the flood water. For those who survived, the long wait and suffering was just beginning. Many are reduced to eating clay cookies to subside the pangs of hunger. It is a very sad situation!

Hurricane Aftermath

Hurricane Aftermath

It chokes my conscious to think how the $40 that I would have spent in a pub on booze or the $20 that I would have spent on a movie and the $50 that I might have spend on a Halloween costume could alternatively be used to relieve so many people from the extreme agony of hunger.

So I request all of you to come and join hands in raising some money for the hungry in Haiti by participating in a Car Wash event. All proceeds will be forwarded to FoodForThePoor.Org, which is an International organization working intensively in Haiti to solve the current crisis.

If you feel strongly about helping those who are in dire need, you are most welcome to come and wash cars with me and raise some money for the poor. Or if you want to support the poor and need a car wash, you are welcome as well. It’s an open ended invitation to all. If you have supplies that can be used in the car wash event, and you would like to help, place call me or email me and let me know.

Here is the details of the place and time:

PLACE: Drunken Monkey, 444 N. Bumby Ave., Orlando, FL 32803.

TIME: Sat. Nov. 1st, 2008.    10AM to 5PM

Link to Food For The Poor, Inc. http://www.foodforthepoor.org

Link on my Facebook as an event. If you are on facebook, please cascade and invite your friends. Its an open invite.

Thank You!

My contact: Amit Maskara, Cell# 407-242-1668

email: amitmaskara@gmail.com

Thanks to all the people who made an effort to help feed the hungry and poor. I have sent a check of $220.00 to Food For the Poor, Inc.

Every $12 donated helps feed a family of 4 for a month. So even though we were short handed and could not achieve much, but for the 6 of us that were there, we can be happy that this little money will feed about 70 people for a month.

May God work through you all for a lot more days to come.

Cheers!!

Arctic Ice in death spiral



Reminds of Spielburg’s movie Artificial Intelligence, in which they show Earth at 2040 with depicts a total melt down of poles. NY city is lost to the seas and at the same time, there are “MECA” i.e. robots as intelligent as humans. What looked like science fiction, now appears more and more like reality.