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Twitter Hacked in “Sophisticated Attack”

“Not the work of amateurs”
Technology • Views: 34,277

Twitter announced tonight that some of their systems were compromised, in what they described as “a sophisticated attack.”

Information for about 250,000 Twitter users was apparently stolen in the attack, including usernames, email addresses, and encrypted passwords. The post on the official Twitter blog has more details, including a warning about disabling Java in browsers. (Note: they’re not referring to Javascript, a totally different language.)

This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information - usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords - for approximately 250,000 users.

As a precautionary security measure, we have reset passwords and revoked session tokens for these accounts. If your account was one of them, you will have recently received (or will shortly) an email from us at the address associated with your Twitter account notifying you that you will need to create a new password. Your old password will not work when you try to log in to Twitter.

Though only a very small percentage of our users were potentially affected by this attack, we encourage all users to take this opportunity to ensure that they are following good password hygiene, on Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet. Make sure you use a strong password - at least 10 (but more is better) characters and a mixture of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols - that you are not using for any other accounts or sites. Using the same password for multiple online accounts significantly increases your odds of being compromised. If you are not using good password hygiene, take a moment now to change your Twitter passwords. For more information about making your Twitter and other Internet accounts more secure, read our Help Center documentation or the FTC’s guide on passwords.

We also echo the advisory from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and security experts to encourage users to disable Java on their computers in their browsers. For instructions on how to disable Java, read this recent Slate article.

This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked. For that reason we felt that it was important to publicize this attack while we still gather information, and we are helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all users.

Arizona Group Seeks to Ban Destruction of Guns Turned in by Owners

A bill sponsored by 16 Republicans and one Democrat
LGF • Views: 28,359

Last month’s destruction of hundreds of guns turned in at a [Tucson] city buyback event may be the last.

A gun-rights group is pressing the Legislature to block municipalities from destroying guns voluntarily turned in to police departments.

The Arizona Citizens Defense League requested a change in the law adding guns “surrendered” willfully by the owner to the list of firearms police departments must recirculate back into the market.

[…]

Heller said if another “buy-up” occurs, the new language would make it clear the weapons must be sold to a licensed dealer.

“What that does is, it takes them out of the hands of a person who doesn’t want it, and puts it in the legitimate hands of someone who does,” Heller said.

Councilman Steve Kozachik said the bill underscores an inconsistency among folks who would normally champion property rights.

“This bill clearly illustrates that some people don’t view guns like toasters. When it comes to guns, it’s as though they hold some magical or sacred designation in their lives,” Kozachik said. “They go around proclaiming to be for private property, but civil liberties are out the window when it comes to guns. I guess the message is, we can’t do what we want with our property in this state if that property is a firearm.”

[…]

The practical impact of the law is unclear. No more gun buybacks are planned, and TPD spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke said the department doesn’t currently tally or track other guns that are voluntarily turned in.

She said they are logged into evidence under the classification of “safekeeping,” which is similar to guns found by officers or citizens and turned in to the evidence section.

Hawke said once those guns are cleared, they are turned over to a local company TPD contracts with where the guns are destroyed. She said she couldn’t reveal the company’s information for security reasons.

[…]

More: Group Seeks to Ban Destruction of Guns That Owners Turn In

Links to the bill and its sponsors can be found here.

Tennessee Republicans Trying to Legislate Away the Gay

Forcing teachers to out gay students
US News • Views: 29,126

Tennessee legislators are back at it. They’re looking to enact legislation that would ban the word “gay” from school classrooms. They’ve tried for the last few years, but have fallen short each time. It hasn’t stopped them from trying again though.

This time, they’re not only looking to ban the word, but they’re going to require teachers to out their gay students to their parents.

Among the provisions of SB 234:

At grade levels pre-K through eight (pre-K-8), any such classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction shall be classified as inappropriate for the intended student audience and, therefore, shall be prohibited.

The preceding passage would also seem to indicate that talk of contraceptives is inappropriate, since it’s inconsistent with natural human reproduction. Moreover, it would seem to prohibit discussion of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The provision that requires counseling seems innocuous on its face, until you realize that if a school counselor or other administrator learns a student is gay during counseling, that person must inform the parents:

(2) A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and wellbeing of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student’s parents or legal guardians. Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred;

Parents wouldn’t need to be informed if the school official believes that the parent or guardian is in any way responsible for the sexual abuse of the student.

Campfield has tried this act before, and was even featured in 2008 in a fauxtography scandal when locals altered a photo to show him holding a bumper sticker saying confederate values.

Campfield’s positions have been highlighted here in the past as well. He’s previously been noted as being a birther.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Campfield’s focus on gayness is in part due to misguided notions about AIDS as well.

That Campfield construes gayness to be a dangerous act may be rooted in his faulty understanding of HIV and AIDS. ‘My understanding is that it is virtually—not completely, but virtually—impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex,’ he said during a radio interview last year. ‘Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community—it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, I believe.’

(Renowned scientist Jacques Pepin’s book The Origin of AIDS differs greatly from Campfield’s account.)

True to the wording of his bills, Campfield does find homosexuality unnatural. Homosexuals ‘do not naturally reproduce,’ he says. ‘It has not been proven that it is nature. It happens in nature, but so does bestiality. That does not make it right or something we should teach in schools.’ And he does find homosexuality dangerous: ‘What’s the average lifespan of a homosexual? It’s very short. Google it.’

Amazon Deal of the Day: Valentine’s Day in Car Electronics

Great prices on a wide variety of auto electronics
Great Deals • Views: 26,099

Valentine’s Day in Car Electronics

Show some love for your ride this Valentine’s Day and save up to 60% on select car receivers, speakers, amplifiers, and remote starters. Features like Bluetooth connectivity and iPod connectors will keep you connected to your sound, while security systems with remote starters will keep your vehicle safe.

More: Valentine’s Day in Car Electronics

One example is this Python 5303P 2-Way LCD Security System with Remote Start for 74% off.

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 Frank says:

On a personal level, Freaking Out is a process whereby an individual casts off outmoded and restricting standards of thinking, dress, and social etiquette in order to express CREATIVELY his relationship to his immediate environment and the social structure as a whole. -- from the liner notes of Freak Out.