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The National Security Agency wants your kids to know that it's cool to be "cyber smart."

As part of the agency's outreach to promote interest in technology and recruit a future generation of computer security experts, the NSA has links on its homepage to two sites targeted at children and adolescents. The "Kids Page," intended for elementary age children, appears to be down at the moment—either that, or the error code reference (Reference #97.887ffea5.1374616699.dc7bfc5) is an encoded message to grade school operatives that it's time to report in.

But the "Change The World" page, targeted at middle and high school students, is chock full of crypto-clearance fun. There's a word search, a PDF to print to make your own letter substitution code wheel, and a collection of tips on how to be a good cyber-citizen. Ironically, some of these tips might be useful for people concerned about how much data is being collected on them through broad metadata collection and FISA Court warranted PRISM probes.

Among the NSA's tips for kids is this sage wisdom: "Be cyber courteous! It is too easy to hide behind a computer! A cyber smart person never says anything online that they wouldn’t say in person. Remember that what you write in an e-mail can usually be retrieved and shared with others, so be responsible with e-mails, chats, and online communications." Especially since those e-mails, chats, and online communications could be getting captured in real-time by one of the NSA's network taps.

The NSA does offer kids some helpful password advice. "Try this: Take four random words…take the first three letters of each word, make some letters upper case and others lower case, then add any two or three numbers and then some character like @#$%&... the password should be at least 14 characters and memorable (or write it down but protect it). You should have a different password for each account that you have!" The NSA also suggests that kids only share their passwords with their parents. "No one else should have them—not your friends, teachers, or other family members."

The NSA wants kids to look out for software trojan horses and to play fair. "Do you download 'cheat' programs that promise information to how to perform better or beat a game?" the site asks. "Sometimes cheat downloads are used to implant a virus or malware on your computer!"

There's also some helpful information on protecting kids' identities online, including how to behave on social networks and in online games. "Do you use an avatar? You should. While cameras and webcams are popular, they also reveal who you are. When gaming, keep your true identity a mystery. Cyber sleuths never reveal their true identity except to trusted adults, like your parents!"

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Mikko Takkunen

Features and Essays

Rena Effendi / INSTITUTE  for National Geographic

Rena Effendi / National Geographic

Rena Effendi: Transylvania Hay Country (National Geographic)  The old art of making hay on the grass-growing meadows of Transylvania | from the July issue of National Geographic magazine | Effendi’s agency

Ami Vitale: Montana Ranch (Photo Booth)  A testament to a disappearing way of life and an ode to its endurance.

Rena Effendi: Spirit Lake (Institute) Located in an isolated and economically languishing area of North Dakota, Spirit Lake is a Sioux Indian reservation home to some 6,200 inhabitants

Raphaela Rosella: Teen Mothers in Australia (Feature Shoot)

Giorgos Moutafis

Giorgos Moutafis

Giorgos Moutafis: Istanbul’s Taksim Square (Photo Booth) Moutafis’s website

Guy Martin: Turmoil in Istanbul: Turkey’s Gezi Park Protests (LightBox) Full edit on Panos Pictures here

Guillaume Herbaut: Unrest in Turkey (Institute)

LouLou d’Aki: Occupy Istanbul: Portraits of Turkey’s Protest Kids (NY magazine)

Enri Canaj

Enri Canaj

Enri Canaj: City of Shadows (Foto8) Athens, Greece

Yannis Behrakis: Homelessness in Greece (Guardian) Related on Reuters photoblog here

Lauren Greenfield: The Fast and The Fashionable (ESPN) In Monaco during F1 Grand Prix

Giovanni Cocco: The Life Of A Sibling With Disability (NPR Picture Show)

Riverboom: Giro d’Italia (Institute)

Robert Nickelsberg: Surviving Cold War (World Policy) Forces from Norway, Britain, and the Netherlands in training in the planet’s harshest climate in the Arctic Circle

Diana Markosian

Diana Markosian

Diana Markosian: My Father, The Stranger (NYT) Markosian writes about her father here | Related on the NYT Lens blog here

Ian Willms: Following in the Mennonites’ Footsteps (LightBox)

Tomasz Lazar: In Kosovo, Bridging an Ethnic Divide (NYT)

Cathal McNaughton: Yarnbombers (Guardian) Photographer Cathal McNaughton has caught up with the Yarnbombers, the guerrilla knitters who plan to target the G8 using knitting or crochet rather than graffiti

Sebastian Liste / Reportage by Getty Images for TIME

Sebastian Liste / Reportage by Getty Images for TIME

Sebastian Liste: On the Inside: Venezuela’s Most Dangerous Prison (LightBox)

Pietro Paolini: Ecuador: Balance on the Zero (Terra Project)

Elizabeth Griffin and Amelia Coffaro: Capturing Life With Cancer At Age 28 (NPR Picture Show)

Lars Tunbjörk: Cremation: The New American Way of Death (LightBox)

Lucas Jackson: Tornado survivors of Moore (Reuters photo blog) multimedia

Andy Levin: Coney Island (NYT Lens)

Daniel Love: 200 Hours (Guardian)

Robert Herman: New York: A View of Inner Turmoil (NYT Lens)

Reed Young: The Ground Zero of Immigration: El Paso (LightBox)

Sara Lewkowicz: An unflinching look at domestic abuse (CNN photo blog)

Tony Fouhse: The Simple View of Ottawa (NYT Lens)

Justin Jin for the New York Times

Justin Jin for the New York Times

Justin Jin: A Chinese Push for Urbanization (NYT)

Sean Gallagher: Climate change on the Tibetan plateau (Guardian) audio slideshow

Nic Dunlop: On the frontlines of a ‘Brave New Burma’ (CNN photo blog)

Zohra Bensemra: Pakistan’s female Top Gun (Reuters)

Paolo Marchetti: The Stains of Kerala (LightBox)

Behrouz Mehri / AFP / Getty Images

Behrouz Mehri / AFP / Getty Images

Behrouz Mehri: Life in Tehran, glimpsed through the rear window (AFP Correspondent)

Tyler Hicks: A New Strategy on One Syrian Front (NYT)

Laurent Van der Stockt: On The Damascus Front Lines (Le Monde)

Jason Larkin: Suez – Egypt’s Lifeline (Panos Pictures)

Nyani Quarmyne: Bridging Approaches to Mental Illness in Sierra Leone (NYT Lens)

Jake Naughton: Education of Girls in Kibera (Feature Shoot)

David Guttenfelder: Last Song for Migrating Birds (NGM) Across the Mediterranean, millions are killed for food, profit, and cruel amusement.

Nick Cobbing: Follow the Creatures (Photographer’s website) Antarctica

Nelli Palomäki: Portraits of Children (LightBox)

Articles

AP Explore

AP Explore

The Burning Monk 50th anniversary (AP) Malcolm Wilde Browne was 30 years old when he arrived in Saigon on Nov. 7, 1961, as AP’s first permanent correspondent there. From the start, Browne was filing the kind of big stories that would win him the Pulitzer Prize for reporting in 1964. But today, he is primarily remembered for a photograph taken 50 years ago on June 11, 1963, depicting the dignified yet horrific death by fiery suicide of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc.

Malcolm Browne: The Story Behind The Burning Monk (LightBox)

Love struck: Photographs of JFK’s visit to Berlin 50 years ago reveal a nation instantly smitten (The Independent) Photographer Ulrich Mack accompanied Kennedy on the entire trip. The results, published this month as Kennedy in Berlin, have mostly never been seen before

Osman Orsal / Reuters

Osman Orsal / Reuters

Images of Protest in Istanbul: The Woman in Red (No Caption Needed)

Turkey’s “Lady in Red” and the Importance of Professional Photographers (NPPA)

The photo that encapsulates Turkey’s protests and the severe police crackdown (Washington Post)

‘Woman in red’ sprayed with teargas becomes symbol of Turkey protests (Guardian)

Photographer documents Istanbul ‘war zone’ in his own backyard on Facebook (NBC News photo blog)

Photographic Mood, on the Eve of Destruction (No Caption Needed)

Photographer Injured in Istanbul Protests (PDN)

Pixelating the reality? (Al Jazeera: Listening Post) Photography is a subjective medium, and how it is used will always depend on who is using it. | On Paul Hansen’s World Press Photo of the Year and post-processing in photojournalism in general

The Art of War – Ron Haviv (Viewpoint on Vimeo) A documentary from the public television of Greece, year 2013. Language: English | Greek Subtitles

Leading photojournalist captures the beating heart of a brutal world (Sydney Morning Herald) Forty years of covering atrocities has only reinforced James Nachtwey’s faith in humanity

Rita Leistner: Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan (BagNewsNotes)

Profile of a Curatorial Master: Yolanda Cuomo (LightBox)

A Glance at the 2013 LOOK3 Photo Festival (LightBox)

Edouard Elias / Getty Images

Edouard Elias / Getty Images

Two journalists, including photographer Edouard Elias, abducted in Syria (BJP) According to Le Monde and BBC News, the two journalists, Didier François and Edouard Elias, were travelling to Aleppo in Syria when they were abducted by four armed men at a checkpoint 

Syrian teacher turned war photographer (CNN) Nour Kelze describes her transition from English teacher in Aleppo to war photographer in the middle of Syria’s conflict.

Frontline Freelance Register created to help freelance war reporters (BJP)

Margaret Bourke-White’s Damaged Negatives From a Classic Assignment (LIFE)

A Paean to Forbearance (the Rough Draft) (NYT) The origins behind James Agee’s 1941 book, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” a literary description of abject poverty in the South, accompanied by Walker Evans photographs.

In pictures: Saul Leiter’s pioneering colour photography (BBC)

Ageing and creative decline in photography: a taboo subject (BJP)

The Woman in a Jim Crow Photo (NYT Lens)

Abigail Heyman, Feminist Photojournalist, Dies at 70 (NYT) Related

Denver photographer Steven Nickerson who shocked, awed, dead at 55 (Denver Post)

Bolivar Arellano’s Photos for El Diario-La Prensa (NYT Lens)

Nelson Mandela: a life in focus (Guardian) Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Greg Marinovich reflects on a legend of our time

Eman Mohammed in the Gaza Strip (Denver Post Plog)

Robert Capa’s vintage prints on show (BBC) To mark what would have been the 100th birthday of photographer Robert Capa, the Atlas gallery in London is holding an exhibition of his work. It comprises a wide range of prints from his time in Spain during the Civil War through World War II, and ending with the Indo China conflict where he lost his life.

Uzbek migrant workers in Kazakhstan

Chloe Dewe Mathews

Chloe Dewe Mathews’s best photograph – Uzbek migrant workers (Guardian)

Featured photographer: Scout Tufankjian (Verve Photo)

Featured photographer: Carlo Gianferro (Verve Photo)

Featured photographer: Antonia Zennaro (Verve Photo)

Deutsche Börse photography prize 2013 won by Broomberg and Chanarin (Guardian)

American Girls: Photographs Offer Vision into American Girlhood (Daily Beast) Polish photographer Ilona Szwarc’s new exhibit captures 100 kids with their cult-classic toy, the American Girl doll.

Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography by Colin Graham – review (Guardian) This catalogue of recent Northern Irish photography shows a determination to leave the documentary style of the Troubles behind

After Lowry (FT magazine) Landscape photographer John Davies takes a series of pictures in the northwest of England inspired by the work of LS Lowry

Eric Maierson: This is what editing feels like (MediaStorm blog)

Yunghi Kim: Protecting Our Images (NPPA)

I Spy: Photographer who secretly snapped neighbors goes to court (Yahoo)

Beyonce Photoshopped Into Starvation for Latest Ad Campaign (PetaPixel)

Interviews and Talks

C-SPAN

C-SPAN

Rodrigo Abd and Javier Manzano (C-Span)

Carolyn Drake (cestandard) An interview with Carolyn Drake, author of Two Rivers

Paul Conroy (Amanpour) The deadliest country on earth for journalists | Conroy on Marie Colvin’s last assignment

Alex Webb (LA Times Framed)

Christopher Anderson (GUP magazine)

Stuart Franklin (Vice) There’s More to Stuart Franklin Than the Most Famous Photo of the 20th Century

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Paula Bronstein (ABC Radio National Australia) Internationally acclaimed US photo journalist Paula Bronstein talks about bearing witness to human suffering through her photo essays.

John H. White (NPR Picture Show) Photo Staff Firings Won’t Shake Pulitzer Winner’s Focus

Joe McNally (NYT Lens) Photographing on Top of the World

David Guttenfelder (NGM) Photographer David Guttenfelder reflects upon why taking pictures of the slaughter of songbirds is like covering a war.

Alexandra Avakian / Contact Press Images

Alexandra Avakian / Contact Press Images

Jean-François Leroy (BJP) Visa pour l’Image organizer on the festival’s editorial line and the cost of covering war

Jean-François Leroy (BJP) Visa pour l’Image organizer on social media, the future of photojournalism and the need for greater cooperation

Marco Di Lauro (Image Deconstructed)

Evgenia Arbugaeva (Leica blog) Leica Oskar Barnack Award Winner 2013

Jenn Ackerman (PBS NewsHours) One Photographer’s Experience Documenting Mentally Ill Inmates

Richard Misrach (PDN Pulse) Misrach on Documentary vs. Art, the Complications of Portraiture, and Digital Photography

Daniel Etter / Redux

Daniel Etter / Redux

Daniel Etter (LightBox Tumblr)

Espen Rasmussen (Panos Social)

Michael Christopher Brown (Window magazine)

Terry O’Neill (WSJ) The photographer on starlets, the Stones and Sinatra

Ewen Spencer (Vice) The Soul of UK Garage, As Photographed by Ewen Spencer

Mikko Takkunen is an associate photo editor at TIME.com. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

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Sean Gallagher


NSA Headquarters in Fort Meade, MD.

mjb

One organization's data centers hold the contents of much of the visible Internet—and much of it that isn't visible just by clicking your way around. It has satellite imagery of much of the world and ground-level photography of homes and businesses and government installations tied into a geospatial database that is cross-indexed to petabytes of information about individuals and organizations. And its analytics systems process the Web search requests, e-mail messages, and other electronic activities of hundreds of millions of people.

No one at this organization actually "knows" everything about what individuals are doing on the Web, though there is certainly the potential for abuse. By policy, all of the "knowing" happens in software, while the organization's analysts generally handle exceptions (like violations of the law) picked from the flotsam of the seas of data that their systems process.

I'm talking, of course, about Google. Most of us are okay with what Google does with its vast supply of "big data," because we largely benefit from it—though Google does manage to make a good deal of money off of us in the process. But if I were to backspace over Google's name and replace it with "National Security Agency," that would leave a bit of a different taste in many people's mouths.

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A frame of Timelapse's view of the growth of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Google, USGS

This story has been updated with additional information and corrections provided by Google after the interview.

In May, Google unveiled Earth Engine, a set of technologies and services that combine Google's existing global mapping capabilities with decades of historical satellite data from both NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS). One of the first products emerging from Earth Engine is Timelapse—a Web-based view of changes on the Earth's surface over the past three decades, published in collaboration with Time magazine.

The "Global Timelapse" images are also viewable through the Earth Engine site, which allows you to pan and zoom to any location on the planet and watch 30 years of change, thanks to 66 million streaming video tiles. The result is "an incontrovertible description of what's happened on our planet due to urban growth, climate change, et cetera," said Google Vice President of Research and Special Initiatives Alfred Spector.

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MWE Lab's Emperor 1510 LX—don't call it a chair.

MWE Labs

Science fiction is filled with cherished seats of power, workstations that put the universe a finger-touch or a mere thought away. Darth Vader had his meditation pod, the Engineers of Prometheus had their womb-like control stations, and Captain Kirk has the Captain's Chair. But no real-life workstation has quite measured up to these fictional seats of power in the way that Martin Carpentier's Emperor workstations have.

The latest "modern working environment" from Carpentier's Quebec City-based MWE Lab is the Emperor 1510 LX. With a retractable monitor stand that can support up to five monitors (three 27-inch and two 19-inch), a reclining seat with thigh rest, a Bose sound system, and Italian leather upholstery, the Emperor 1510 LX looks more like a futuristic vehicle than a workstation.  And it's priced like a vehicle, too—it can soon be yours for the low, low price of $21,500.

Tale of the Scorpion

In 2006, Carpentier was slaving away as a web designer when he reached a breaking point. He was tired of his tangle of cables, the struggle to manage multiple monitors, and the horrible ergonomics that came with a standard computer desk. Inspired by the emperor scorpion, Carpentier modeled his workstation after its tail, with the monitors suspended at the stinger.

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Sean Gallagher


Alpha.data.gov, an experimental data portal created under the White House's Open Data Initiative.

Data.gov

President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that aims to make "open and machine-readable" data formats a requirement for all new government IT systems. The order would also apply to existing systems that are being modernized or upgraded. If implemented, the mandate would bring new life to efforts started by the Obama administration with the launch of Data.gov four years ago. It would also expand an order issued in 2012 to open up government systems with public interfaces for commercial app developers.

"The default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable," the president's order reads. "Government information shall be managed as an asset throughout its life cycle to promote interoperability and openness, and, wherever possible and legally permissible, to ensure that data are released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible, and usable." The order, however, also requires that this new "default state" protect personally identifiable information and other sensitive data on individual citizens, as well as classified information.

Broadening the “open” mandate

The president's mandate was initially pushed forward by former Chief Information Officer of the United States Vivek Kundra. In May of 2009, Data.gov launched with an order that required agencies to provide at least three "high-value data sets" through the portal.

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Original photo by Michael Kappel / Remixed by Aurich Lawson

Have a plan to steal millions from banks and their customers but can't write a line of code? Want to get rich quick off advertising click fraud but "quick" doesn't include time to learn how to do it? No problem. Everything you need to start a life of cybercrime is just a few clicks (and many more dollars) away.

Building successful malware is an expensive business. It involves putting together teams of developers, coordinating an army of fraudsters to convert ill-gotten gains to hard currency without pointing a digital arrow right back to you. So the biggest names in financial botnets—Zeus, Carberp, Citadel, and SpyEye, to name a few—have all at one point or another decided to shift gears from fraud rings to crimeware vendors, selling their wares to whoever can afford them.

In the process, these big botnet platforms have created a whole ecosystem of software and services in an underground market catering to criminals without the skills to build it themselves. As a result, the tools and techniques used by last years' big professional bank fraud operations, such as the "Operation High Roller" botnet that netted over $70 million last summer, are available off-the-shelf on the Internet. They even come with full technical support to help you get up and running.

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The MT.Gox lookalike site that delivered malware to unwitting Bitcoiners.

In another example of the security mantra of "be careful what you click," at least one Bitcoin trader has been robbed in a forum "phishing" attack designed specifically to ride the hype around the digital currency. The attack attempts to use Java exploits or fake Adobe updates to install malware, and it's one of the first targeted attacks aimed at the burgeoning business of Bitcoin exchanges.

The bait for the attack was a post to a Bitcoin traders' forum announcing that MT.Gox was going to start handling exchanges of Litecoins, a Bitcoin alternative. The post advertised a live chat on the topic at a link provided to mtgox-chat.info. That site, which used stolen code and style to masquerade as the legitimate MT.Gox site, then prompted victims to update their Java plugin and offered a forged Adobe updater.

The scam was first reported on reddit earlier this week, when a redditor reported spotting the fake site and its attempt to drop malware. While the attack was originally described by one of its victims as a "Java zero-day" exploit, it actually uses either a Java exploit or a fake Adobe updater to deliver its malware payload. That payload is DarkComet, a fairly common "remote administration tool" and keylogger. The attackers not only stole credentials for the victim's MT.Gox account, but they took other passwords as well.

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Think mobile devices are low-power? A study by the Center for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications—a joint effort between AT&T's Bell Labs and the University of Melbourne in Australia—finds that wireless networking infrastructure worldwide accounts for 10 times more power consumption than data centers worldwide. In total, it is responsible for 90 percent of the power usage by cloud infrastructure. And that consumption is growing fast.

The study was in part a rebuttal to a Greenpeace report that focused on the power consumption of data centers. "The energy consumption of wireless access dominates data center consumption by a significant margin," the authors of the CEET study wrote. One of the findings of the CEET researchers was that wired networks and data-center based applications could actually reduce overall computing energy consumption by allowing for less powerful client devices.

According to the CEET study, by 2015, wireless "cloud" infrastructure will consume as much as 43 terawatt-hours of electricity worldwide while generating 30 megatons of carbon dioxide. That's the equivalent of 4.9 million automobiles worth of carbon emissions. This projected power consumption is a 460 percent increase from the 9.2 TWh consumed by wireless infrastructure in 2012.

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Over a year after the arrest of eight of its members in Russia, the alleged leader of the original Carberp botnet ring that stole millions from bank accounts worldwide has been arrested, along with about 20 other members of the ring who served as its malware development team. The arrests, reported by the news site Kommersant Ukraine, were a collaboration between Russian and Ukrainian security forces. The alleged ringleader, an unnamed 28-year-old Russian citizen, and the others were living throughout Ukraine.

Initially launched in 2010, Carberp primarily targeted the customers of Russian and Ukrainian banks and was novel in the way it doctored Java code used in banking apps to commit its fraud. Spread by the ring through malware planted on popular Russian websites, the Carberp trojan was used to distribute targeted malware that modifies the bytecode in BIFIT's iBank 2 e-banking application, a popular online banking tool used by over 800 Russian banks, according to Aleksandr Matrosov, senior malware researcher at ESET. The botnet that spread the malware, which was a variant of the Zeus botnet framework, also was used to launch distributed denial of service attacks.

In February of 2011 the group put its malware on the market, selling it to would-be cybercriminals for $10,000 per kit—but it pulled the kit a few months later.

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