Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bad Bug...

posted by Scott Roche

I just did hear about a rather nasty bug that some websites are using to download malware and adware. It exploits something that IE uses to display certain vector graphics. That functionality isn't taken advantage of by very many legit sites yet, but as always the cracker community is eager to do whatever necessary to make some cash. It's particularly bad because it doesn't actually require you to download anything and it all happens pretty invisibly.

Thankfully there's a patch out now:
You should run Windows Update to obtain the patch, reboot your machine as Windows Update will require, then re-register the VGX.DLL file if you had previously unregistered it, since Windows Update does not automatically re-register the previously vulnerable DLL file. (See instructions for re-registering the previously vulnerable DLL here.)

You can then verify that your system is no longer vulnerable by displaying this benign VML vulnerability test page, which will use VML to display two red star filled rectangles:

If the DLL is NOT re-registered, you will see a blank space instead of the red-filled rectangles. If the DLL is still vulnerable (the patch didn't "take"), your browser will crash harmlessly.

Courtesy of the Security Now podcast #58

Go do it and don't wait.

NY Post Giggles Over White Powder - Then Goes Back To Snorting It

Posted by codemorse

Sometimes, the "Right Wing" gets me so fucking angry.

Apparently Keith Olbermann, who's a talking-head (and one of the few "liberal" talking heads at that), recieved an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter this week.

Here's how the 'venerable' NY Post characterized the event:

MSNBC loudmouth Keith Olbermann flipped out when he opened his home mail yesterday. The acerbic host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was terrified when he opened a suspicious-looking letter with a California postmark and a batch of white powder poured out.

A note inside warned Olbermann, who's a frequent critic of President Bush's policies, that it was payback for some of his on-air shtick. The caustic commentator panicked and frantically called 911 at about 12:30 a.m., sources told The Post's Philip Messing.

....preliminary tests indicated the substance was harmless soap powder. However, that wasn't enough to satisfy Olbermann, who insisted on a checkup. He asked to be taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn't known.

Tee hee!

And here's 'The Radio Equalizer"'s comment on the subject:

What about a teddy bear? Did he ask for one of those? For police, the toughest question may be in attempting to determine who is the bigger nutcase here: the sender, or the recipient?

Are you kidding me? Ten bucks says that if The Equalizer had opened that envelope he'd have soiled his underwear. Twice. Back and front.

Talk about cowardly hypocrisy...The same people who whine about the necessity of ever-increasing security measures and the ever-scarier danger of terrorism want to pretend like Mr. Olbermann is some sort of sissy for being tested for contamination.

Let's call a spade a spade - The letter wasn't from a brown-skinned man. It didn't proclaim "Death to the West," and so it has no significance to these people. If it's not a Muslim threat, then it's not a serious threat, apparently.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Poseidon

Posted by codemorse

From CNN:

A leading opera house called off a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" that features the severed head of the Prophet Mohammed, setting off a furious debate Tuesday over Islam, freedom of speech and the role of art.

....Kirsten Harms, director of Berlin's Deutsche Oper, announced "with great regret" that she had decided to cancel the three year old production after state security officials warned it could provoke dangerous reactions in the current politically charged climate.

After its premiere in 2003, the production by Hans Neuenfels drew widespread criticism over a scene in which King Idomeneo presents the severed heads not only of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, but also of Mohammed, Jesus and Buddha.

....The leader of Germany's Islamic Council welcomed the move, saying a depiction of Mohammed with a severed head "could certainly offend Muslims."

But in an interview with German radio, Ali Kizilkaya added: "I think it is horrible that one has to be afraid ... That is not the right way to open dialogue."

Right on, Ali. Let's check in with that handy definition of 'terrorism' again, shall we?

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

In a war against something as amorphous and as sinister as an idea, we've handed our enemies victory when we succumb to fear. I'm Christian, and the notion of the "severed head of Jesus" doesn't offend me at all. Do you know why? Because I'm a rational Christian.

I understand that art's primary function is to comment on life. And religion is a part of life. In life, and in a free society, we will be exposed to art we disagree with; art that makes us profoundly uncomfortable. But in that situation, we have choices. We can confront our feelings and the art in question by reflecting on it rationally and emotionally. We can walk out of the Opera house when we're offended and "vote" our opinion with our feet and our wallets. We can do violence to the people who make art.

Or we can become so afraid of violence that we stop making art that means anything. We can convince ourselves that the threat to security is far moree important than some stupid Opera.

And when we've done that - when we've removed everything 'offensive' from display and replaced it with banal and safe pageantry - then the terrorists will have won.

And we'll have fought their battle for them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Dramatization. Do Not Attempt"

Posted by codemorse

If you've watched a television commercial in the past five years, you probably recognize the title of this post. "Dramatization. Do Not Attempt" is usually printed in small white-colored words at the bottom of the television screen during 'kooky' and usually seemingly-dangerous physical stunts.

It's essentially a way for companies to cover their ass(et)es. If they display those words, then they can't be held responsible when some idiot decides that driving his SUV through the swamp at speeds of 100 mph seems like a cool idea.

But enough is enough.

During the premiere of "Heroes" (good, not great - but eminently watchable), Nissan unveiled the 'Versa' automobile. It's designed, apparently, to give you more space. During the first minute of the ad, those familiar words ran constantly at the bottom of the screen: "Dramatization. Do Not Attempt."

And what was it that we, the audience, were being warned not to attempt? Apparently, we were being warned not to bite our steering wheels comedically. Or to look frustrated while in the driver's seat of our car. Because that's literally all the commercial showed: A bunch of people looking upset/frustrated/cramped in their 'tiny' cars.

Maybe I'm a little...slow, but where's the danger in that?

Ironically, once the commercial began to show a vehicle in actual motion (lazy, easy-sunday-driving slow-motion, actually; the kind of driving your grandparents probably do) the 'warning' on the screen disappeared.

What's my point, you ask?

It's ridiculous what a Nanny-based society we've become. In the name of safety and security, we're allowing companies to treat adults like children. When I enter my car, do I really need a loud and increasingly-fast beeping sound to remind me that I haven't fastened my seat beat - in the passenger seat?

Do I really need to be told that biting my steering wheel is 'dangerous'?

Societies continue to grow and change because people take risks. And risk is a dangerous, but essential, part of life. As a culture, we've become so risk-averse that we've begun to stagnate. Lewis and Clark would never have set out into the West if they'd been as coddled and as nannied as the adults of today. Shackleton never would've braved the Artic.

But Lewis and Clark weren't consumers - the primary function of every present-day American. Their generation's notions of accomplishment didn't revolve entirely around the acquiring of meaningless status symbols. They revolved around acheivements that had nothing to do with buying a new car.

Oh, Condi, Condi

Posted by codemorse


From the New York Post - aka Spin Magazine:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Bill Clinton of making "flatly false" claims that the Bush administration didn't lift a finger to stop terrorism before the 9/11 attacks.

...."The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.

9/11 Report cites many warnings about hijackings

January, 2001 Richard Clarke Memo to the Administration on the need for an "immediate meeting of the National Security Council's Principals Committee to discuss broad strategies for combating al-Qaeda"

The Timeline leading up to 9/11, including verifiable stories on financial aid given to the Taliban in 2000 and 2001 by the Bush Administration.

The U.S. Given a failing grade by bi-partisan 9/11 commission.

But Condi's just so well-spoken! And she likes classical music!

And Clinton's such a scoundrel! Tee hee!

"Orlando! Do You Like It? It's October Surprise!"

Posted by codemorse

From the Raw Story:

According to two conservative websites, White House political strategist Karl Rove has been promising GOP insiders that there will be an "October surprise" before the midterm elections.

"In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an 'October surprise' to help win the November congressional elections," reports Ronald Kessler for Newsmax.

Gee, do you think that the "October surprise" might revolve around gays?

Or the callous political manipulation of terrorist fears?

When did I become so cyncical?

Probably right around the time that my government decided that I had the intelligence of a four year old.

Save us, Karl Rove! Save us from the scary Democrats!

(weeps and hides under my desk)