ALERT: Fruitfly/Quimitchin malware for Mac in the Wild

darkreading malware for mac article

Mac users, particularly in academia or the biomedical or academic field. Be aware of the Fruitfly/Quimitchin malware. It includes a keystroke logger, accesses your cam, takes screenshots of your desktop frequently which are then  uploaded, and more. What to do:

  1. Learn about Quimitchin malware at–mac-malware-targeting-biomedical-research-centers/a/d-id/1327953
  2. Put a sticker over your camera when not in use. I am a member of EFF and put one of their stickers over your camera.
  3. Install an antivirus like Avira Antivirus for Mac (only from official site or app store). If you can afford it, support them by buying their products.
  4. Install Malwarebytes or a similar anti-malware program (only from official site or app store)
  5. Use different passwords on different sites. Variations on a password like “Smoking Chair Hat5!” is far better than “zds9bhy4@”. It’s just statistics, you won’t use the second one because you can’t remember it. Just change the first one a bit every time for each site. Password crackers can’t “partially” crack a password. Plus we use Rainbow tables anyway.
    1. Remember, if you have a keystroke logger installed, then how complex your password is, well, irrelevant. Therefore first clean the computer. Don’t think Macs or Linux can’t be infected – they can and frequently ARE.
  6. Use common sense and DON’T CLICK THAT LINK IN YOUR EMAIL.

Stay alert folks. Because they really are out to get you. That’s not paranoia, it’s just reality unfortunately.


Amazon Glacier – dirt cheap backup storage if you can wait a few hours to retrieve it

Amazon Glacier looks pretty darn awesome to me. Cheap secure data storage. .01 cent per gigabyte per month.

The only down side is that this is like a safety deposit box at the bank. You have to wait until Monday, or one of the two or three Mondays out of the year that bankers actually work, to access your assets. But you knew that ahead of time.

The good news is that the cost of using Amazon Glacier for long term large scale data storage looks very low at .01 cent per gig per month. So a photographer with 6 TERABYTES of data, hypothetically speaking, would pay a mere $61.44 per month to safely store that data. And you wouldn’t put it all in one vault as a six terabyte download would be a pain. Maybe keep everything under 300 gigs and organized. That would make retrieval reasonable IMHO. Amazon says “4 hours to retrieve or more” which given the low price seems fair.

Jeff Bezos is one smart man. Smart enough to hire Werners Vogel for one, Werner Vogels @ eTech 07 who was brilliant when I saw him speak at eTech in 2007. I didn’t understand then when Jef and Werners moved into the “software as a service” as a commodity at eTech all of those years ago. Now I send them large checks every month on behalf of our company and our clients. Well played and a great value for all of us. Tip of the hat to a visionary.

group cohesion

Despite the limitation on oxytocin’s social reach, its effect seems to be achieved more through inducing feelings of loyalty to the in-group than by fomenting hatred of the out-group. The Dutch researchers found some evidence that it enhances negative feelings, but this was not conclusive. “Oxytocin creates intergroup bias primarily because it motivates in-group favoritism and because it motivates out-group derogation,“ they write.
Oxytocin has been described as the hormone of love

best scientific papers – great source for ideas

Looking for a new business idea? Try feeding your brain with this list of the best technical papers of the last few years. Via slashdot.

imjustatomato writes  “Top computer science conferences typically have an award given to the best paper submitted to that conference.  This web page compiles the best paper awards for 16 conferences since 1996, in artificial intelligence, HCI, databases, information retrieval, and theory. Link to Original Source

Yali’s Question: why we had so little cargo of our own?

Yali’s famous question from the book Guns, Germs, and Steel:

“All of those things must have been on Yali’s mind when, with yet another penetrating glance of his flashing eyes, he asked me, “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?“ ““ pg 14


“The, questions about inequality (Yali’s question) in the modern world can be reformulated as follows. Why did wealth and power become distributed as they are now, rather than in some other way? For instance, why weren’t Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians the ones who decimated, subjugated, or exterminated Europeans and Asians?“ ““ pg 16

and the conclusion

“Yali’s question went to the heart of the current condition, and of post-Pleistocene human history”¦ how shall we answer Yali? I would say to Yali: the striking differences between the long-term histories of peoples of the different continents have been due not to innate differences in the people themselves but to differences in their environments.“ ““ pg 405

Ecosystems matter. Our environment matters. And in fact it becomes a matter of human rights in the long term. Yali was a wise man.

Relativity Drive – I hope it works!

From the New Scientist magazine there is an article worth reading. The headline is a bit of an over-the-top tease but the concept is real. It is about a scientist named Roger Shawyer in the UK.

Relativity drive: The end of wings and wheels?

(snip) Key is the fact that the diameter of a tubular cavity alters the path –
and hence the effective velocity – of the microwaves travelling through

The short version is microwaves are shot into a tube. The tube is shaped like a cone with one end smaller than the other. This causes more force to be directed against the large end of the cone than the smaller end. That force difference creates propulsion which can be used for space craft. If it works….

Visual of the relativity drive here.

The only thing people fight about more than energy is God. Increases in efficiency and alternatives are a good thing. Via digg.

The Long Now – a 10k year clock

From a friend at SolarTurbines, I too find this clock strangely appealing.  Excerpt:

ClockstandSOMETIMES, WHEN THINGS GET SUFFICIENTLY WEIRD, SUBTLETY NO longer works, so i’ll be blunt:  The gleaming device I am staring at in the corner of a machine shop in San Rafael, California, is the most audacious machine ever built. It is a clock, but it is designed to do something no clock has ever been conceived to do””run with perfect accuracy for 10,000 years.