NEWS YOU CAN USE! Brief Blurb

US Power Companies under frequent Cyber-attacks

Now would be a good time to stock up on generators, shotguns, and beef jerky. 🙂

Chinese Hacker’s have backdoors into US Law Enforcement

I personally have no issue with China, however it’s insane for a nation’s (in this case the US) infrastructure and products to largely be made not only outside said Nation, but by a country that openly does not have the best interest of the US in mind.

How the hell is it allowable for everything you get in Walmart and Target to be made in China? Could it be because companies that had their start in the US, and make their money from the US, feel they owe no allegiance to the US in terms of maintaining a strong economic base or paying taxes in the areas they are generating revenue. Increasingly companies view governments, meaning the people, as a means to an end, a sponge they can squeeze when they require lubrication.

And if that sounds vulgar, it is because what companies are doing through lobbying and buying of representatives and mandating of laws… is vulgar.

And bringing it back to a tech bent, IBM/Lenovo is virtually a Chinese company and our Government Infrastructure and Security is dependent on Chinese made computer hardware such as this. How is that conducive to security?

In such an environment China would be stupid not to take advantage of the US’s desire to put greed and low cost above security and a stronger domestic economic base.

Am I advocating buying American? I’m advocating something even more radical. I’m advocating buying and producing locally. I’m advocating the ability of a family to support themselves, regardless of what another City or State or Country does.

I’m advocating a return to local farmers, and local tailors, and local manufacturers.

Radical, isn’t it? 🙂

Okay, that’s all the time for now. More NEWS YOU CAN USE later.

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THE SEARCH ENGINE WARS!? Google vs. Scroogle!??

“There above the dead man’s torn body, man fought with demon under the pale light of the rising moon, with all the advantages with the demon, save one. And that one was enough to overcome all the others. For if abstract hate may bring into material substance a ghostly thing, may not courage, equally abstract, form a concrete weapon to combat that ghost”

—from SKULLS IN THE STARS by Robert E. Howard

One of the best search engines, and my search engine of choice Scroogle.org, and the one I’ve been recommending to people for years, has finally closed up shop.

Scroogle News Story

Owned by privacy advocate Daniel Brandt, Scroogle offered search results gleaned from Google, but minus that site’s cookies and tracking features. So Scroogle more correctly was a search engine plug-in or cleaner; acting as a buffer between Google and the end user. Almost like a proxy.

Google was never happy with Scroogle. And almost from the first the non-profit Scroogle was subject to a variety of questionable harrasment style incidents. From someone buying up Scroogle.com and turning it into a porno site, so heaven help the unwary person looking for the Scroogle search engine, and forgetting to add the Org.

Of late the cold war between Google and Scroogle has escalated into a hot dispute, with Google actively barring traffic for extended periods of time to any of Brandt’s Scroogle servers. Necessitating frequent messages to users that ‘search results are not available and try again in 10 minutes’.

However the final straw came with concentrated, and very proficient denial of service attacks effectively shutting down Brandts Scroogle.org site. After days of fighting Brandt has officially announced he is closing down Scroogle.org and all his related sites and servers.

It’s a devastating blow to privacy advocates everywhere, as Brandt was also responsible for other sites such as Wikipedia Watch.

And the first argument I oft here from the uninitiated is “it’s Google’s info, they should be able to block who they want”. But that’s the rub, the info does not belong to Google, much like Scroogle they are middlemen redistributing other peoples’ site links and info. Scroogle had as much right to re-disseminate that info, as did Google.

But the larger question I have is why would hackers, an anti-big business, pro personal-privacy, bunch… attack the non-profit Scroogle. The simple answer is… they wouldn’t, they would attack Google rather than Scroogle… unless (like the speculated reasons behind Linux open-source attacks) they were hired to attack Scroogle.

Do I think someone paid to setup the pornographic domain Scroogle.com to scare people away from adopting or visiting Scroogle.org? Let’s put it this way, now that Brandt’s Scroogle.org has closed up shop, the pornographic Scroogle.com has also closed up shop.

Do I think someone hired hackers, to commit a crime by performing a DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attack on Scroogle? In effect attacking and shutting down a non-profit company.

Well it happened, so yes I do think it was paid for and premeditated.

And who do I think was behind driving Brandt’s Scroogle.org out of business? The same people you think.

It sends a troubling message across the board and one that will have to be addressed by all of us sooner rather than later. These bullies can’t keep taking our collective lunch money. 🙂 .

In the interim here are a couple quick search engine alternatives to the now departed Scroogle.org. The best way I can see to honor Scroogle’s passing is by having even more people avoid using Google.

Scroogle.org may be dead, but its message seems to have spread to many Google alternatives.

The search engines are:

DUCK DUCK GO– Award winning search engine, it’s quick and easy to use but its results aren’t as accurate as Google’s results. Takes a bit more searching, but I personally don’t mind. Plus that Duck is just sooo CUTE! (Did I say that out loud? Doh!)

YIPPY– My backup search engine is Yippy.com, formerly called Clusty.com. Works great and is as accurate as Google.

A few others are:

IXQUICK

STARTPAGE

Both of the above are owned by the same Dutch company and I’m still testing them, so the jury is out, but so far so good.

Pages helpful in researching this article were the following:

Scroogle demise News Story written by Kelly Fiveash

and

Search engine alternatives by Chetan Pinto

Well that's all for now folks. Come back tomorrow for more news you can use! 🙂 .


“Kane fought with his arms and his feet and his hands, and he was aware at last that the ghost began to give back before him, that the fearful laughter changed to screams of baffled fury. For man’s only weapon is courage that flinches not from the Gates of Hell itself, and against such not even the legions of Hell can stand.”
—from SKULLS IN THE STARS by Robert E. Howard

Epsilon Data Leaks

If you’ve done any business on line, such as buying flowers or books or utilizing job search sites among other activities, more than likely you’ve received an email from various companies saying your data has been exposed.

Why?

The official story is Epsilon, the uber-firm, that contracts with major firms to handle their email correspondence, and by its own estimation sends out 40 Billion email messages on behalf of its powerhouse clients, among them Target, Walgreens Citigroup, was hacked and the email addresses for the clients of these vast firms were… siphoned off.

It amounts to easily millions upon millions of affected customers. And right now all Epsilon is admitting to is the theft of email addresses. Though logically it would occur to me that any hacker group adept enough to smash, hopefully stringent security, walked away with a lot more than just email addresses, up to and including real names, full addresses, and credit card #s for a start.

This is the problem with consolidation, with a monopolistic mindset. Increasingly all our data is congregated through a single provider, which also as this example shows translates into a single point of failure, a potentially catastrophic failure.

So instead of the bad guys having to hack 200 different companies, in the age of information consolidation, and monopolistic data aggregation, all they have to do is get by one company’s defenses… and everything comes tumbling after.

This latest, and arguably greatest, data leak, reinforces the need for more checks and balances, and better and more stringent privacy and information controls. And indeed less consolidation of same. Instead of companies outsourcing everything to increasingly fewer providers, bring these sensitive data services back in house. And besides abuse from without, I’m also concerned of the potential for abuse from within. All that data and info, subject to a single company’s policies can be an unpleasant personal liberty nightmare waiting to happen… again.

I think in an age of FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE and TWITTER we may need to recognize the obvious detriments to such easy dissemination of information and perhaps be a bit more wary about what we share and why. And more importantly what is done, and who controls the things we share. Perhaps be more aware that what we give up in exchange for this ease of online dialog may be nothing less… than ourselves.

Something to consider.