Local military blogger helps wounded warrior with national contest

The wife of an East Tennessee wounded warrior is helping others in similar situation through storytelling.
Cheryl Gasner's blog caught the attention of the Yasenak family. That's where they found out about a contest that could help them with their wounded warrior's therapy.
"It started as a way to talk family and it's become a way to reach out to others and let them know that this is what I'm going through and it's normal and here's some resources to help," said Gasner.
Life for her husband is returning to normal after an IED explosion severely injured him in Iraq.
Home Depot selected Cheryl to be a part of their "Giving the Gift of Good" campaign.
She was asked to choose a military family she thought deserved $20,000 dollars of repairs and services to their home. She didn't know, Mary and Nick Yasenak before she read their application, but they knew her.
"I've read Cheryl's blog for three years. I just didn't know she lived in Knoxville," said Mary Yasenak.
The families have a lot in common. After nine years in special ops for the Army, Nick, is disabled from a helicopter crash and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.
"It's stories we can both relate to in different ways," she said.
However Nick finds solace in the care of his animals. He's got several now, but wants to create a mini-farm to help him with is therapy. The fencing is too expensive right now.
"Animals don't demand a lot from you," he said.
They also need help with roof repairs. But these requests are not as important to them as the new friendship they've made.
"It would be awesome if we won but it's better that I found Cheryl," said Mary.
"What's so great is that it turns out that we're friends with this couple and it's so hard for guys that have been injured to make friends so it's an added benefit," said Cheryl.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL join Agari anti-phishing service

The major Web-based e-mail providers are joining forces with an anti-fraud startup, which is launching tomorrow, to help keep phishing messages out of peoples' inboxes.
Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL are providing metadata from messages that get delivered to their customers to Palo Alto, Calif.-based Agari so it can be used to look for patterns that indicate phishing attacks. Agari collects data from about 1.5 billion messages a day and analyzes them in a cloud-based infrastructure, according to Agari CEO Patrick Peterson.
The company aggregates and analyzes the data and provides it to about 50 e-commerce, financial services and social network customers, including Facebook and YouSendIt, who can then push out authentication policies to the e-mail providers when they see an attack is happening.
"Facebook can go into the Agari console and see charts and graphs of all the activity going on in their e-mail channel (on their domains and third-party solutions) and see when an attack is going on in a bar chart of spam hitting Yahoo," for instance, Daniel Raskin, vice president of marketing for Agari, told CNET in an interview. "They receive a real-time alert and they can construct a policy to push out to carriers (that says) when you see this thing happening don't deliver it, reject it."
Agari doesn't collect the actual messages, he said. Some e-mail providers will take a message that is failing authentication and provide the malicious URLs in it to Agari to pass on to the company whose name is being used in the phishing messages, Raskin said. "Other than that we don't want to see the content," he said.
Google expects Gmail users to benefit as more mail senders authenticate their messages and implement block policies.
"Since 2004 Gmail has supported several authentication standards and developed features to help combat e-mail phishing and fraud," Google Product Manager Adam Dawes said in a statement to CNET. "Proper coordination between senders and receivers is the best way to cut down on the transmission of unauthorized mail, and AGARI's approach helps simplify this process."
Agari, which has been operating in stealth mode since October 2009, rejected more than 1 billion messages across its e-mail partners' networks in a year, according to Peterson, who was with the original management team of e-mail security firm IronPort. IronPort got acquired by Cisco in 2007.
Agari protects 50 percent of U.S. consumer e-mail traffic and more than one billion individual mailboxes.
Originally posted at InSecurity Complex

Twitter Hardens Tweets With Android Security Acquisition

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said buying Whisper Systems was a smart move as more Twitter users rely on mobile devices to send and read messages. Although the solution focuses on Android, that may be the best place for Twitter to start given the reports from security research firms about the security of Android Market. Twitter is showing its followers that it cares about security Relevant Products/Services with its latest acquisition. The micro-blogging service just scooped up Whisper Systems, a small mobile Relevant Products/Services-security software Relevant Products/Services development start-up. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Whisper Systems provides security and management solutions that promise to transform consumer phones and tablets into enterprise Relevant Products/Services-ready devices. That's a big promise considering the malware threats in the wild today, but it's one that Twitter appears to be betting on -- and it looks like company founders, Moxie and Stuart Anderson, will hit the ground running.
"The Whisper Systems team is joining Twitter starting today," Twitter said in a statement. "As part of our fast-growing engineering team, they will be bringing their technology and security expertise to Twitter's products and services. We're happy to have Moxie and Stuart on board."
Targeting Android Relevant Products/Services Devices
Whisper Systems is focusing on an area that got a little controversial last week: Android. Whisper's products include WhisperCore, device Relevant Products/Services and data Relevant Products/Services security for Android, as well as WhisperMonitor, network Relevant Products/Services security for Android. Other Android-targeted products include Flashback for encrypted backups, RedPhone for encrypted voice Relevant Products/Services and TextSecure for encrypted texts.
"We started Whisper Systems with the goal of improving security and privacy for mobile devices," the founders said in a blog post announcing the acquisition. "We were attracted to this not only because we saw it as an opportunity to reinvent the security solutions that never really worked in the PC environment to begin with, but also because the stakes are much higher -- due to the nature of mobile devices themselves -- and we didn't like the way that things were looking."
Whisper Systems ended up tackling the full stack, from app-level solutions down to a hardened version of Android. Whisper even went after kernel modifications at the rock bottom of the stack to develop some of its products. Although the products will live on via Twitter, current customers will have to do without them until the transition is complete.
No Black Eyes
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said buying Whisper Systems was a smart move as more Twitter users rely on mobile devices to send and read messages. Although the solution focuses on Android, that may be the best place for Twitter to start given the reports from security research firms about the security of Android Market. Juniper and Kaspersky Lab both identified Android as more likely to hide malware than Apple's iTunes App Store.
"Twitter is where people tend to learn about events first. I remember learning about the San Francisco earthquake through Twitter. I found about Osama bin Laden through Twitter, as well as the NBA strike. It's a place people go to get information Relevant Products/Services and distribute information," Kerravala said.
"With that in mind, we'll see greater adoption of Twitter through mobile devices. We've seen Facebook integrate some security tools. But we've also seen Facebook get hit with some big security problems. Twitter is trying to avoid those black eyes."

F.T.C. Settles Privacy Issue at Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO — Accusing Facebook of engaging in “unfair and deceptive” practices, the federal government on Tuesday announced a broad settlement that requires the company to respect the privacy wishes of its users and subjects it to regular privacy audits for the next 20 years.
The order, announced by the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, stems largely from changes that Facebook made to the way it handled its users’ information in December 2009. The commission contended that Facebook, without warning its users or seeking consent, made public information that users had deemed to be private on their Facebook pages.
The order also said that Facebook, which has more than 800 million users worldwide, in some cases had allowed advertisers to glean personally identifiable information when a Facebook user clicked on an advertisement on his or her Facebook page. The company has long maintained that it does not share personal data with advertisers.
And the order said that Facebook had shared user information with outside application developers, contrary to representations made to its users. And even after a Facebook user deleted an account, according to the F.T.C., the company still allowed access to photos and videos.
All told, the commission listed eight complaints. It levied no fines and did not accuse Facebook of intentionally breaking the law. However, if Facebook violated the terms of the settlement in the future, it would be liable to pay a penalty of $16,000 a day for each count, the F.T.C. said.
Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, conceded in a lengthy blog post that the company had made “a bunch of mistakes,” but said it had already fixed several of the issues cited by the commission.
“Facebook has always been committed to being transparent about the information you have stored with us — and we have led the Internet in building tools to give people the ability to see and control what they share,” he wrote. By way of example, Mr. Zuckerberg pointed to more explicit privacy controls that the company introduced over the summer.
Facebook has long wanted its users to post content — links, opinions, pictures and other data — on their Facebook pages with minimal effort, or “friction,” as company executives call it. The settlement with the F.T.C. will undoubtedly require it to introduce more such friction.
The order requires Facebook to obtain its users’ “affirmative express consent” before it can override their own privacy settings. For example, if a user designated certain content to be visible only to “friends,” Facebook could allow that content to be shared more broadly only after obtaining the user’s permission.
On Tuesday evening there seemed to be some disagreement about what the agreement entailed. A Facebook spokesman said in response to a question that it did not require the company to obtain “opt in” data-sharing permission for new products.
But David Vladeck, director of the bureau of consumer protection at the F.T.C., said Facebook would have to inform its users about how personal data would be shared even with new products and services that it introduces over the next two decades. “The order is designed to protect people’s privacy, anticipating that Facebook is likely to change products and services it offers,” he said.
Ever since its public release in 2004, Facebook has drawn an ever-larger number of members, even as its sometimes aggressive approach to changes around privacy have angered some of its users.
“We’ve all known that Facebook repeatedly cuts corners when it comes to its privacy promises,” Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, wrote in an e-mail after the announcement. “Like most Internet companies, they thought they could get away with it. They didn’t.”
Facebook is also obliged to undergo an independent privacy audit every two years for the next 20 years, according to the terms of the settlement.
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which is part of a coalition of consumer groups that filed a complaint with the F.T.C., commended the order but said settlements with individual companies fall short of what is needed: a federal law to protect consumer privacy.
“We hope they will establish a high bar for privacy protection,” Mr. Rotenberg said. “But we do not have in the United States a comprehensive privacy framework. There is always a risk other companies will come along and create new problems.”
Several privacy bills are pending in Congress, and Internet companies have stepped up their lobbying efforts. The F.T.C., meanwhile, has ratcheted up its scrutiny of Internet companies. This year alone, it has reached settlement orders with some of the giants of Silicon Valley, including Google.
The order comes amid growing speculation about Facebook’s preparations for an initial public offering, which could be valued at more than $100 billion. The settlement with the F.T.C., analysts say, could potentially ease investors’ concerns about government regulation by holding the company to a clear set of privacy prescriptions.
“When you have an I.P.O. you don’t want investors to be skeptical or jittery,” said Ryan Calo, who leads privacy research at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. “In order for you to be as valuable as possible, you want to make sure the seas are calm. This calms the seas.”

GALAXY: Obama lauds MLS Cup champs

President Obama called Galaxy coach/general manager Bruce Arena in Indonesia on Tuesday to congratulate him and the Galaxy for their MLS Cup triumph nine days ago.

What took so long? Hard to say, since Obama identified himself as a soccer fan. Regardless, it's always nice to get a phone call from the President, whose office released this summary of the call:

“Earlier today, President Obama called Bruce Arena, general manager and head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy, to congratulate him and the team on winning the MLS Cup. The President said, as a soccer fan, he wanted to let Coach Arena know that the team inspired a lot of young soccer players, including his kids. The President congratulated Coach Arena on all that the team has done for the game of soccer and asked him to pass along his congratulations to Landon Donovan, David Beckham and the rest of the team. President Obama invited the Galaxy to the White House to celebrate their championship and wished the coach and the team continued success.”

No date, of course, for a White House visit, but if schedules mesh, L.A.'s trip to Washington to play D.C. United next season -- if they play at D.C. United under the new schedule format -- would work best.

The Galaxy is in Indonesia for the first game on its postseason tour of Asia and Australia. Obama spent part of his childhood in Jakarta, where L.A. will face Indonesia's national team on Wednesday, with a 4 a.m. PT kickoff (Fox Soccer Channel).

Indonesia Stocks: Astra Agro, Benakat Petroleum, Bumi Resources

By Berni Moestafa
Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Shares of the following companies had unusual moves in Indonesian trading. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are as of 9:51 a.m. in Jakarta.
The Jakarta Composite index rose 0.7 percent to 3,713.04, set to rise for a third day. The measure was poised for a 2 percent drop this month.
Energy companies: PT Energi Mega Persada (ENRG IJ), the second-largest listed oil company, advanced 2 percent to 151 rupiah. PT Benakat Petroleum Energy (BIPI IJ) added 1.2 percent to 171 rupiah. Crude oil futures gained 1.6 percent to $99.79 a barrel in New York yesterday, the highest settlement since Nov. 16. Oil was last traded at $99.50 a barrel.
PT Astra Agro Lestari (AALI IJ), Indonesia’s biggest plantation stock by market value, advanced 1.6 percent to 22,150 rupiah, set for the highest close since Nov. 18. Palm oil futures increased as much as 0.9 percent to 3,088 ringgit ($975) a metric ton in Kuala Lumpur, set to gain for the first time in seven days.
PT Bumi Resources (BUMI IJ), Indonesia’s largest coal producer, rose 1.3 percent to 2,025 rupiah. Bumi Plc, a shareholder at the company, expects no slowdown in coal demand next year because of surging consumption in India, Bumi Plc Chief Financial Officer Andrew Beckham said in Hong Kong today. India and China will be the dominant markets for coal exports from Indonesia, he said.
--Editor: Shiyin Chen
To contact the reporter on this story: Berni Moestafa in Jakarta at bmoestafa@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net

Hackers target UN Development Program website

Hacker group Team Poison is taking credit for the recent hacking of the website for the United Nations Development Program, according to reports on websites devoted to hacking and internet news.
Team Poison said it hacked the UNDP website and leaked thousands of usernames, passwords and emails, posting leaked account details on Pastebin, reports Hacker News.
Softpedia is reporting that the details were leaked as a form of protest and that hackers described the UN as “the bureaucratic head of NATO used to legitimize the Barbarism of Capitalist elite.”
The hackers also wrote: “United Nations, why didn’t you expect us?”
In the statement, Team Poison described the UN as “a senate for global corruption . . . to facilitate the introduction of a new world order and a one world government.”
Team Poison had previously taken credit for hacking into BlackBerry’s blog after its maker, Research in Motion, decided to co-operate with the London police after riots in August. It has threatened to reveal the membership of Lulzsec, another hacking group.
Team Poison announced its attack on its Twitter account.
According to BBC News, a spokeswoman for the UNDP said that “an old server which contains old data” was hacked. Sausan Ghosheh assured the BBC that “UNDP is taking action to close any vulnerabilities on our website.”
Team Poison claimed that it has joined forces with Anonymous, another computer hacking group, on a new initiative dubbed Operation Robin Hood, which is designed to target banks and financial institutions, reports Hacker News.
A You Tube video has been posted to explain the initiative.

Rubbery robots no threat to R2-D2

(CNN) - Not long ago, a pair of Harvard scientists hit on an "aha" moment in the most unexpected place: while waiting in line at a post office.
Robert Shepherd and Filip Ilievski were trying to help the rest of their research team create a new generation of bendable rubbery robots called soft robots.
They already had a design that allowed their bendy robot to undulate, or move in a wavy motion. But they were looking for a design that offered more movement."We knew that nature already has a lot of quadrupeds walking around, and we already had this undulator design," Shepherd said. "We thought, oh, we could just map one onto the other and we would have an undulator and a quadrupedal crawler."
Unprepared for their moment of inspiration at the post office, Shepherd and Ilievski were forced to jot down their ideas on an envelope.
They unveiled their creation in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their team, headed by George Whitesides, has dubbed the invention the multigait soft robot.
Soft robotics, experts say, is the cutting edge of robot design and holds unimaginable promise for several reasons.
First, let's point out the obvious: These are not your grandparents' - or even your parents' - robots.
In other words, this ain't R2-D2.
The Harvard team's soft robot is a white, X-shaped device made of a rubbery polymer called elastomer.
The robot's motion is controlled through many tiny chambers in its body that cause it to move when filled with compressed air. The air is fed through tubes attached to the robot. "They've used a clever system of chambers and shapes, and when you apply pressure, you get the robot to move in predictable ways," says Barry Trimmer, who's developing soft robotics at Tufts University.
It can adjust itself enough to crawl through a gap 2 centimeters (0.79 inches) wide and insert itself into places where metallic or hard plastic robots could never go. It weighs only 1.5 ounces (42.5 grams).
The technology has mind-bending possibilities.
Imagine a tiny twisty robot crawling into your body so your doctor can perform a procedure without surgery.
Larger soft robots could be developed to assist elderly people with common tasks like opening doors, drawing a bath, or helping them stand or walk.
Or, perhaps such a robot could help search-and-rescue squads find victims trapped under rubble from a disastrous earthquake.
Soft robots could be useful in other ways too, like exploring other planets and bomb disposal.
Aside from research and development, this kind of technology is astoundingly inexpensive.
The materials used to create the Harvard robot cost about $5, Shepherd says. After the design was perfected, the prototype was manufactured in about two hours.
Special materials could be developed for different robots, depending on their tasks. Medical robots could be made of proteins, such as silk. Other robots could be built with materials that are biodegradable for convenient and safe disposal.
"It's becoming a major focus of robot research," Trimmer says. "There's increasing investment in Europe in building and developing soft material robots. The U.S. needs to think a lot more about this and put more resources into it."
The Harvard project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon's research think tank.
But scientists still have some big hurdles ahead. One of the most challenging, Trimmer says, is designing a soft robot that is independent and autonomous.
The Harvard robot can't move without compressed air, which is fed through tubes attached to its body. "Usually, if you want to build a device to do something useful, you don't want it to be tethered," Trimmer says. "If you want it to travel somewhere, you don't want it to be trailing wires or tubes."
Scientists also hope to develop soft robots that are much larger and much smaller.

Google Maps for Android Heads Indoors With Ikea, Macy's

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps, the online location application that helps millions of users get directions and other geographical information from all over the world, is headed indoors at select shopping malls, retailers and airports.
The search engine provider upgraded Google Maps for Android to let smartphone and tablet users in the United States and Japan see where they are and what places they might want to check out while they're indoors. Google is comparing the new directions to the physical map directories that shoppers find in malls, or those that travelers use to find their way inside airports.
Here's how it works. Google Maps 6.0 for Android will display detailed floor plans when a user is looking at a map on the app and zooms in on a building where an indoor map is available. Users' approximate locations will be indicated with a blue dot icon within several meters.
Google Maps for Android also uses the Android phone's location detection capabilities, which tap GPS, cell towers and WiFi hubs for data and communicate it to Google's location servers, automatically updating the map layout as users move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors.
Imagine being able to find the food court in a massive mall, or finding a specific gate or restaurant in an airport, by looking at Google Maps on an Android phone. See what the indoor maps look like in Google's corporate blog post.
Participants in the indoor mapping app include Mall of America in Minneapolis and retailers Ikea, The Home Depot, Macy's and Bloomingdale's in the United States. In Japan, participating parties include Daimaru, Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi locations and more.
Airports involved with the new program include San Francisco International Airport in Google's home state, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago's O'Hare, Narita International in Japan, and plenty more airports.
Google, which will add new indoor maps, invited business owners to participate in its program by submitting their floor plans. The effort is an extension of Google's bid to organize the world's information online for the purpose of leveraging it for ad dollars. Squeezing more ad money via mobile devices is a company priority.
The tricky part about mapping indoor stores and other locations is that Google must get permission first, which can be challenging. Google will have to find ways to coax intensely private states or countries to let it use its topographic information and other data online for the whole world to see.

Letizia Filippi

2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize

The Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist has been released and the jury is deciding which five books should advance to the shortlist.

CBC Books wants to know from you which books would be on your shortlist. Send your top five picks to the CBC and you could win some fantastic prizes!

How to participate:

Check out this year's longlist and tell the CBC which five books should be included in the Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist and your reasons why.

If you post your complete answer in the comments section (link below) by Sept. 30, you'll have a chance to win great prizes. The CBC is presenting:

•A weekly draw for a Kobo eReader, courtesy of Kobo, along with a $50 gift card to Chapters Indigo, courtesy of Scotiabank

•A weekly draw for a set of the longlisted books

•A grand prize draw for a $1,000 gift certificate to Chapters Indigo so you can build your dream home library courtesy of Scotiabank!

So Select Your Shortlist for a chance to win!

The 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist

The Antagonist by Lynn Coady
The Beggar's Garden by Michael Christie
Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Extensions by Myrna Dey*
The Free World by David Bezmozgis
A Good Man by Guy Vanderhaeghe
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Into the Heart of the Country by Pauline Holdstock
The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott
The Meagre Tarmac by Clark Blaise
Monoceros by Suzette Mayr
The Return by Dany Laferrière
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
Solitaria by Genni Gunn
Touch by Alexi Zentner
A World Elsewhere by Wayne Johnston

For the Select Your Shortlist rules and regulations

For additional info: