New malware research from Barracuda Networks highlights the challenge facing Google, Bing and other search engines.
In its Barracuda Labs 2010 mid-year Security Report, which the company will present in Las Vegas at DefCON 18 later this week, Barracuda analysed more than 25,000 trending topics and nearly 5.5 million search engine results across Google, Bing, Twitter and Yahoo during a period of roughly two months.
Overall, Googleleads in malicious search engine results, “turning up more than twice the amount of malware as Bing, Twitter and Yahoo combined when searches on popular trending topics were performed,” Barracuda said on 28 July.
In our leading article today we provide an overview of the nightmare future envisaged by a recentRockefeller Foundation study which describes a global dictatorship tightly controlled by the world’s elite and super rich.
People Begin Living without Electricity and water in California
I couldn’t find statistics for local utility shut offs in my area, but I knew we would start to see more and more of this.
Houses everywhere are going vacant. People don’t say goodbye, they don’t leave a number, they just disappear. With their disappearance we add another vacant house to the street. But families living in housing without utilities is a new sight for me to behold. I spoke recently with a rep from So Cal Edison who, full time contacts residence who have had their electricity turned off due to non payment. She has a negotiator sent in and they work on a reduced payment. It’s amazing to me, that now, it is becoming acceptable in California to camp out in your home.
People are losing their homes, losing their cars and losing their dignity. How are we going to afford kids clothes and school supplies for the coming year? How can we expect families to pay for all these additional costs when the economy is in the shape it in. I ask myself this everyday.
Requests for help paying utility bills surge upward
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Light switches, furnaces and water faucets aren’t the typical gauges of economic health, but at Pikes Peak United Way’s 2-1-1 call center, they tell a tale of people who continue to struggle to pay their bills in a weak economy.
According to a report released Monday by the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Hotline, requests for utility bill assistance in the fiscal year ending June 30 jumped 20 percent from the previous year, outstripping requests for help with food and rent.
“That’s by far the biggest spike in looking at data year-to-year,” said 2-1-1 Center Manager Jessica Johnson-Simmons. “I would guess it would have something to do with recent utility hikes that have gone into effect, but it’s also a case of clients just getting too overwhelmed with their…
I feel horrible; I know my kids must feel horrible,” said Maria Schultheis, who lives in the house with her husband and twin teenage sons. “I’m humiliated because I never had to live like this.”
The town water department shut off the Schultheises’ water about a month ago after the family fell behind on payments on a $1,700 overdue bill. John Schultheis — a computer programmer who has been out of work for three years — watched in disbelief as town workers turned off the water valve near the curb of his three-bedroom bungalow in a quiet middle-class neighborhood in the Lake Hiawatha section of Parsippany.
As the recession continues,utility companiessay a growing number of New Jerseyans are falling behind on their electric, gas and water bills. For many, a flood of emergency funding in state andfederal aidprograms — coupled with a state-imposed moratorium on utility shut-offs during the winter months — has helped keep the lights on and the water flowing over the last few months.
But, with much of the state money gone and the winter moratorium ended, utility officials say more and more families like the Schultheises may be losing their electricity, gas or water service in the coming months.
“I do expect shut-off activity to increase the second part of the year,” said Victor Viscomi,PSE&G‘s director of billing and revenue operations. “Some of the emergency-payment assistance money is drying up.”
PSE&G, the state’s largest utility, has seen a 10 percent increase in families behind on their payments, compared with this time last year, Viscomi said. Many of those are households that had never had a late payment until now.
In the context of the global economic crisis, we are witnessing an important shift in the rhetoric of the media and the elite. Their warnings of riots and social upheaval seem to be implying that harder measures of control will be required; this way, the ‘War on Terror’ has served its purpose as a template for a ‘War on People’.
Contrary to the expectations of its population, the new government of the United States is not moving away from the path set by the Bush administration; the changes so far have only been a matter of appearance.
Making it worse
It is now common knowledge that the global economy – including that of the United States – is in a sorry state. We hear about it in both the mainstream and alternative media. You have probably been reading our economic analyses too. However, the difference is that in many of the mainstream and alternative sources we find much alarmism, confusion and disinformation, and few attempts to analyze responsibly and objectively – which is what we humbly try to achieve here. We suspect that the dark tone of the reports in the media is a significant fact in itself, and here is why:
The media is not just a descriptor of events. It is also a powerful tool of manipulation. It is in fact, so powerful, that it can have a decisive role in the creation of explanations of reality that people rely on for their daily lives. The media is constantly used to shape our assumptions and to direct our focus of attention. People in power know it. If politicians find themselves in hot water because of revelations that harm their image they may try to create a larger issue out of a non-event in order to shift the spotlight elsewhere (see the movie Wag the Dog for an amusing caricature of how it works). Likewise, populist leaders and their allies in the media will seek to spread out the news about governmental deeds or policies that make them look honest, patriotic, strong, smart or capable. This is the general rule.
Therefore, if a certain issue is a matter of concern and the language of the media and the elite tends to stress the negativity, we must ask why. Perhaps the question is even more important for economic issues, given that our capitalist model largely depends on the confidence of consumers, investors and financial speculators. What is said about the economy is a significant fact in itself, quite apart from the economic reality on the ground. If people in power were in agreement to bring the economy back to its pre-collapse state, we would be getting constant reassurances that even if things are a bit tough for the moment, the way back to prosperity is just around the corner thanks to the medicine that has been so well administered by our wise leaders.
In general that is not the message we are getting. So we need to ask where the alarmist and pessimistic atmosphere is leading us, and why.
Where? It is clear that it is leading us into a state of despair and confusion that will accelerate the economic dive.
Why? From what we have seen so far, we can think of two reasons: for the time being, to justify the bailouts that will save the pockets of the elite; and to hystericize the global society about the possibility of riots, looting, the collapse of the social fabric itself and even civil war.
Caption: Wikileaks co-founder John Young outside Next HOPE hacker conference in Manhattan last weekend.
(Credit: Declan McCullagh/CNET)
NEW YORK–John Young was one of Wikileaks’ early founders. Now he’s one of the organization’s more prominent critics.
Young, a 74-year-old architect who lives in Manhattan, publishes a document-leaking Web site called Cryptome.org that predates Wikileaks by over a decade. He’s drawn firefrom Microsoft after posting leaked internal documents about police requests, irked the U.K. government for disclosing the names of possible spies, and annoyedHomeland Security by disclosing a review of Democratic National Convention security measures.
Cryptome’s history of publicizing leaks–while not yielding to pressure to remove them–is what led Young to be invited to join Wikileaks before its launch over three years ago. He also agreed to be the public face of the organization by listing his name on the domain name registration.
Nothing too unusual about that. His company, China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC), has built most of the latest mills in China. But the latest project Shen is eyeing is in Western Australia.
Shen’s problem is he wants to build it cheaply and quickly, something he can only do with imported Chinese labour. To underscore the capabilities of his company, China’s largest industrial infrastructure builder, he upped his offer by saying he could build a city in the Pilbara that could house 400,000-500,000 people.
“Labour is a key issue for us,” he told the Australian China Business Council (ACBC) Business Dialogue in Shanghai last week. “The facilities in Australia mining areas are often inadequate. We could build a town for 300,000-500,000 people with proper facilities,” he said, indicating this would help mining companies better exploit the vast resources in the region and add to Australia’s wealth. The idea would be to bring in cheap Chinese labour purely for the building period, then hand it over to Australian operators, leaving legacy infrastructure for decades ahead.
Goldman Sachs sent $4.3 billion in federal tax money to 32 entities, including many overseas banks, hedge funds and pensions, according to information made public Friday night.
Goldman Sachs disclosed the list of companies to the Senate Finance Committee after a threat of subpoena from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia.
Asked the significance of the list, Grassley said, “I hope it’s as simple as taxpayers deserve to know what happened to their money.”
He added, “We thought originally we were bailing out AIG. Then later on … we learned that the money flowed through AIG to a few big banks, and now we know that the money went from these few big banks to dozens of financial institutions all around the world.”
Grassley said he was reserving judgment on the appropriateness of U.S. taxpayer money ending up overseas until he learns more about the 32 entities.
Goldman Sachs (GS) received $5.55 billion from the government in fall of 2008 as payment for then-worthless securities it held in AIG. Goldman had already hedged its risk that the securities would go bad. It had entered into agreements to spread the risk with the 32 entities named in Friday’s report.
Overall, Goldman Sachs received a $12.9 billion payout from the government’s bailout of AIG, which was at one time the world’s largest insurance company.
Goldman Sachs also revealed to the Senate Finance Committee that it would have received $2.3 billion if AIG had gone under. Other large financial institutions, such as Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, sold Goldman Sachs protection in the case of AIG’s collapse. Those institutions did not have to pay Goldman Sachs after the government stepped in with tax money.