Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Good Deeds {video}
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: An uplifting drama about coincidence and courage
Media Alert                                                                  February 9, 2012 Tyler Perry’s GOOD DEEDS Announces Initiative to Support Homeless Youth Tyler Perry’s GOOD DEEDS is very happy to announce Good Deeds:Great Needs, an initiative to support Covenant House, a non-profit organization that provides for homeless youth. Through GiftCardGiver.com, Good Deeds:Great Needs will be collecting unused gift cards and donating all collected to Covenant House.  

In addition, Lionsgate will be making a financial donation to Covenant House for every share of the GOOD DEEDS trailer! So make sure to watch and share the video!



 To learn more and share Good Deeds:Great Needs, visit www.gooddeedsgreatneeds.com  GOOD DEEDS also presents fans the opportunity to win a Valentine’s Date Night! Just head over to the GOOD DEEDS Facebook page and submit your “love story” for the chance to win a $500 Visa Gift Card! Contest can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/GoodDeedsMovie?sk=app_239455529470849 TYLER PERRY’S GOOD DEEDS opens in theaters everywhere on February 24, 2012. The film stars Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, and Beverly Johnson with Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union.  To learn more, visit:Covenant House: http://www.covenanthouse.org/Gift Card Giver: http://giftcardgiver.com/  -----------------------------------------------------SYNOPSIS A successful, wealthy businessman, Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) has always done what’s expected of him, whether it’s assuming the helm of his father’s company, tolerating his brother’s misbehavior at the office or planning to marry his beautiful but restless fiancée, Natalie (Gabrielle Union). But Wesley is jolted out of his predictable routine when he meets Lindsey (Thandie Newton), a down-on-her-luck single mother who works on the cleaning crew in his office building. When he offers to help her get back on her feet, the chance encounter with someone so far outside his usual circle ignites something in Wesley.  This one good deed may finally spark his courage to exchange the life that’s expected of him for the life he’s always really wanted.  A moving, uplifting drama about coincidence, courage, and the defining choices we make on our paths to happiness, TYLER PERRY’S GOOD DEEDS is written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry, and stars Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, Beverly Johnson, with Phylicia Rashad, and Gabrielle Union.-----------------------------------------------------Official Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GoodDeedsMovieOfficial Site: http://www.GoodDeedsMovie.comOfficial Twitter: http://twitter.com/GoodDeedsMovie   For Press Inquiries Contact:Corby Ponscorby@differentdrummer.com323-960-1102                        For Good Deeds:Great Needs Inquiries Contact:Jean-Michelle Lopezjeanmichelle@differentdrummer.com323-960-1102 

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:23 AM PST
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
one-million-dead -- US out of Iraq
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Iraq - Killing Fields - USA leaves over 1 million dead
Topic: WAR
This Article can be found at this original link:

One million dead

Danny Lucia http://socialistworker.org/2012/01/30/one-million-dead

January 30, 2012

OVER A million Iraqis are dead from America's war.

That sentence is a cognitive litmus test. Some people's immediate reaction is, "That can't be right," because the United States couldn't do that. Or because crimes on that scale don't still happen. Or because they do happen, but only in horrible places that the United States hasn't rescued.

One million is a "Grandpa, what did you do to stop it?" number. It's a number that undeniably puts the American state among history's villains. Those who are not willing or able to accept this are physically unable to retain the fact that over a million Iraqis are dead. Their brains expel it like a foreign germ.

Noam Chomsky once wrote [1] that the "sign of a truly totalitarian culture is that important truths simply lack cognitive meaning and are interpretable only at the level of 'Fuck You,' so they can then elicit a perfectly predictable torrent of abuse in response."

That pretty much sums up the how the media reacted to the one million figure in 2007 when it was announced by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB). (In fact, the firm estimated 1,220,580 Iraqis had died [2], confirming and updating a separate study done the year before by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and published in the Lancet medical journal.)

Take Kevin O'Brien, deputy editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer [3]. Upon receiving a media advisory about the findings from ORB, whose clients include the British Conservative Party and Morgan Stanley, this was his response: "Please remove me from your mailing list and spare me your transparent propaganda."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"WE DON'T do body counts," Gen. Tommy Franks once famously answered a reporter's question about civilian casualties. He's not alone.

Amid all the somber reflections last month about the end of the Iraq War, a specific number of how many Iraqis had died was rarely given. Reporters often described the tally of Iraqi casualties as an "untold number," a somber-sounding phrase that reflects the same level of journalistic effort used for finding the death toll of squirrels in a forest fire.

This line from Reuter's Mary Milliken was typical: "[T]oday was about remembering the untold number of Iraqis and nearly 4,500 Americans who died in the war."

How many Americans died, Mary? Nearly 4,500. And how many Iraqis? Oh, you know, lots. A whole bunch.

"Untold number" implies that there are no available estimates of just how many Iraqis died. In fact there are two: an organization called Iraq Body Count [4] (IBC) has tallied about 110,000 deaths, based on media accounts and health ministry records. IBC admits that its total is surely too low since occupying armies and sectarian civil wars are not known for meticulous bookkeeping, but it disputes the higher figures from ORB and Johns Hopkins.

Methodology debates aside, there are numbers on hand to describe the Iraqi death toll. They are "untold" only by reporters like Kevin O'Brien and Mary Milliken.

The silence around numbers is not so much a conspiracy as a reflection of the fact that some information is simply incompatible with the American imperial mindset.

Consider a different grisly number from a previous decade: According to the United Nations Children Fund, 500,000 Iraqi children died in the 1990s due to United Nations sanctions [5] (rammed through by the U.S.) that barred medicines and other basic necessities from entering the country.

In 2000, the UN humanitarian aid coordinator resigned to protest the sanctions [6], two years after his predecessor had done the same [7]. Both of these life-long diplomats later used the word "genocide" to describe the American policy.

If you are ignorant of or forgot this information, you are not alone. So did the people who planned the Iraq War. There is no other way to explain the fact that America's war and occupation strategy rested on the expectation that its soldiers would be greeted as liberators by the parents of half a million dead children. (The sanctions, by the way, weren't imposed in the Kurdish north, the only part in Iraq that did not offer massive resistance to the U.S. occupation.)

It's not by chance that many of the most committed antiwar activists are revolutionaries of one stripe or another. We are able to process and comprehend the staggering evil been done to Iraq because we are radicals. And vice versa.

Revolutionaries face the ironic conventional wisdom that because we want to see society radically transformed, we are ends-justifies-the-means fanatics who think nothing of how much blood might be spilled in the process.

But it was then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who said of the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children [8] that "the price is worth it." And it is current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who used the exact same phrase recently [9] regarding the second invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Those are the words of a fanatical order that anyone should be proud to oppose with all of their being.

  1. [1] http://www.chomsky.info/letters/19900301.htm
  2. [2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/uk-poll-consistent-with-1_b_64475.html
  3. [3] http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3321
  4. [4] http://www.iraqbodycount.org
  5. [5] http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/072100-03.htm
  6. [6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/642189.stm
  7. [7] http://www.news.cornell.edu/chronicle/99/9.30.99/Halliday_talk.html
  8. [8] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4
  9. [9] http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66515
  10. [10] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:04 PM PST
Sunday, 29 January 2012
Mood:  energetic
Topic: MEDIA



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Posted by Joe Anybody at 3:49 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 29 January 2012 3:51 PM PST
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Foxconn - Apple Computers - worker hand crushed and he has never used the i-phone
Mood:  accident prone
Now Playing: foxconn - deaths injuries and under age - did I miss anything?





Apple's Chinese factories to be audited after violation of working conditions


Local HR practice blamed, but suicides, long working hours and disciplinary wage deductions give cause for concern

The man's hand is twisted into a claw, crushed, he says by a metal press at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, where Apple's luxury electronics are assembled. He is looking at an iPad – he has never seen one switched on. His mangled hand strokes the screen, bringing it to life.

Back at the factory, where the buildings are swathed in nets after 12 workers committed suicides in a single year, a young girl emerges from the gates. Her job is to clean the iPhone screens before they are packaged. She says she is 13.

These are a few of the many shattering images in performer Mike Daisey's account of his 2010 visit to China. After hearing about the Foxconn suicides, he determined to meet members of Apple's largest subcontracted workforce.

What he discovered ultimately led to the firm's announcement this month that it would throw open its factories to independent auditing by the Fair Labor Association (FLA). A non-profit group founded in 1999 after sweatshop scandals, it already audits Nike, Adidas and H&M. Apple is its first tech industry member.

"In high tech to date there hasn't been anything like external independent assessment, which is what makes Apple's decision such big news," says FLA president Auret van Heerden.

Apple has been auditing itself since 2007. Working hours are a major issue. In China, 12 and 16 hour shifts are common. In 2008, 82% of factories violated Apple's limits – a 60 hour week with no less than one day off. By 2011, the number was 68%. In 2008, half violated wages codes by deducting salary as a disciplinary measure, or not providing pay slips. The figure was 30% last year.

Apple has ordered retribution. Factories discovered employing children must return the youngsters to their families, fund their education and continue to pay their factory wage too. Employers have been made to reimburse wage deductions and settle unpaid overtime.

But six active and 13 historical cases of underage labour were discovered at five factories last year. Mandatory pregnancy tests were imposed at 24 Apple facilities.

When Daisey visited, he found worker dormitories where people slept in bunks stacked five or six high, so closely there was no room to sit. There were cameras in the rooms, in the corridors.

He found workers whose hands shook uncontrollably by their late 20s because of repeating the same motions at the same production line post, year after year.

The FLA visited China at Apple's request on a test project in 2010, following the Foxconn suicides. Van Heerden describes what he found: "The whole campus has got excellent facilities. The problem is that [it] still doesn't touch the human being inside. You are at a work station all day – you can't talk to anyone else.

"Then you go back to your dorm and you might not know anyone there either, they might not even speak the same dialect. You are in a situation where you might go days without anything resembling human contact."

He seems to suggest that in China at least, the problem is less about basic human rights and more about HR.

Foxconn has much to learn about human resources, judging by a recent comment from the chair of its parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry. Terry Gou told an end of year party, at which the director of Tapei Zoo was asked to share his management techniques: "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million and as human being are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache".

Managing its supply chain will for now remain one of Apple's biggest headaches.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Sunday, 15 January 2012
Drug War Anaylsis by Lew Rockwell
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: America’s Longest Ongoing War: The ‘Race’ War on Drugs

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

America’s Longest Ongoing War: The ‘Race’ War on Drugs


"The drug war is not to protect the children, save the babies, shield the neighborhoods, or preserve the rain forests. The drug war is a violent campaign against black men and by extension the black family, among many others." ~ Wilton D. Alston, "How Can Anyone Not Realize the War on (Some) Drugs Is Racist?" LewRockwell.com (June 24, 2011)

NORML image
John W. Whitehead
Lew Rockwell

After more than 40 years and at least $1 trillion, America’s so-called "war on drugs" ranks as the longest-running, most expensive and least effective war effort by the American government. Four decades after Richard Nixon declared that "America’s public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse," drug use continues unabated, the prison population has increased six fold to over two million inmates (half a million of whom are there for nonviolent drug offenses), SWAT team raids for minor drug offenses have become more common, and in the process, billions of tax dollars have been squandered.

Just consider – every 19 seconds, someone in the U.S. is arrested for violating a drug law. Every 30 seconds, someone in the U.S. is arrested for violating a marijuana law, making it the fourth most common cause of arrest in the United States. Approximately 1,313,673 individuals were arrested for drug-related offenses in 2011. Police arrested an estimated 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009. Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 89 percent were charged with possession only. Since 1971, more than 40 million individuals have been arrested due to drug-related offenses. Moreover, since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of 43,266 inmates per year, with about 25 percent sentenced for drug law violations.

The foot soldiers in the government’s increasingly fanatical war on drugs, particularly marijuana, are state and local police officers dressed in SWAT gear and armed to the hilt. These SWAT teams carry out roughly 50,000 no-knock raids every year in search of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. As author and journalist Radley Balko reports, "The vast majority of these raids are to serve routine drug warrants, many times for crimes no more serious than possession of marijuana... Police have broken down doors, screamed obscenities, and held innocent people at gunpoint only to discover that what they thought were marijuana plants were really sunflowers, hibiscus, ragweed, tomatoes, or elderberry bushes. (It’s happened with all five.)"

No wonder America’s war on drugs has increasingly become an issue of concern on and off the campaign trail. Back in 1976, Jimmy Carter campaigned for president on a platform that included decriminalizing marijuana and ending federal criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of the drug. Thirty-six years later, the topic is once again up for debate, especially among Republican presidential contenders whose stances vary widely, from Ron Paul who has called for an end to the drug war, to Govs. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman who have said that states should be allowed to legalize medical marijuana without federal interference, to Rick Santorum who has admitted to using marijuana while in college but remains adamantly opposed to its legalization.

Americans are showing themselves to be increasingly receptive to a change in the nation’s drug policy, with a Gallup poll showing a record-high 50% of Americans favoring legalizing marijuana use, nearly half of all Americans favor legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, 70% favoring legalizing it for medical purposes, and a 2008 Zogby poll which found that three in four Americans believe the war on drugs to be a failure. "As an active duty jail superintendent, I've seen how the drug war doesn't do anything to reduce drug abuse but does cause a host of other problems, from prison overcrowding to a violent black market controlled by gangs and cartels," said Richard Van Wickler, the serving corrections superintendent in Cheshire County, N.H. "For a long time this issue has been treated like a third rail by politicians, but polls now show that voters overwhelmingly agree that the drug war is a failure and that a new direction is sorely needed."

A growing number of law enforcement officials and national organizations are also calling for an end to the drug wars, including the US Conference of Mayors, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former US Secretary of State George Schultz, and former presidents of Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, and the NAACP. In fact, at their national convention in July 2011, the NAACP voiced their concern over the striking disparity in incarceration between whites and blacks, particularly when it comes to drug-related offenses.

In terms of its racial impact, the U.S. government’s war on drugs also constitutes one of the most racially discriminatory policies being pushed by the government in recent decades, with African-Americans constituting its greatest casualties. As the ACLU has reported, "Despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites." Indeed, blacks – who make up 13% of the population – account for 40% of federal prisoners and 45% of state prisoners convicted of drug offenses.

Moreover, a November 2011 study by researchers at Duke University found that young blacks are arrested for drug crimes ten times more often than whites. Likewise, a 2008 study by the ACLU concluded that blacks in New York City were five times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts for simple marijuana possession. Latinos were three times more likely to be arrested. The Drug Policy Alliance and California NAACP released a report claiming that between 2006 and 2008 "police in 25 of California's major cities arrested blacks at four, five, six, seven, and even 12 times the rate of whites."

This disproportionate approach to prosecuting those found in possession of marijuana is particularly evident in California, where black marijuana offenders were imprisoned 13 times as much as non-blacks in 2011. In fact, between 1990 and 2010, there was a 300% surge in arrests for marijuana possession for nonwhites. As the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice concluded, "California’s criminal justice system can be divided into two categories with respect to marijuana: one system for African-Americans, another for all other races."

Thus, while the government’s war on drugs itself may not be an explicit attempt to subjugate minority groups, the policy has a racist effect in that it disproportionately impacts minority communities. Moreover, the origins of drug prohibition have explicitly racial justifications. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, prohibitionists clamoring to make drugs illegal tapped into common racial prejudices to convince others of the benefits of drug prohibition. For example, opium imports to America peaked in the 1840s, with 70,000 pounds imported annually, but Chinese immigrants did not arrive in large numbers until after the 1850s. Thus, Americans were using opium in copious amounts before Chinese immigrants arrived. Once they arrived however, they became convenient scapegoats for those interested in making opium illegal. Prohibitionists portrayed opium smoking as a habit below the respectability of "white" men. In a similar manner, marijuana was later associated with blacks, Latinos, and jazz culture, making marijuana an easy target for prohibition.

Yet despite 40 years of military funding to eradicate foreign drug supplies, increased incarceration rates, and more aggressive narcotics policing, the war on drugs has done nothing to resolve the issue of drug addiction. Consumption of cocaine and marijuana has been relatively stable over the past four decades, with a spike in use during the 1970s and 80s. And a European Union Commission study determined that "global drug production and use remained largely unchanged from 1998 through 2007." In fact, the only things that have changed are that drugs are cheaper and more potent, there are more people in prison, and the government is spending more taxpayer money.

So what’s the solution?

As Professor John McWhorter contends, problems of addiction should be treated like the medical problems they are – in other words, drug addiction is a health problem, not a police problem. At the very least, marijuana, which has been widely recognized as medically beneficial, should be legalized. As a society, we would be far better off investing the copious amounts of money currently spent on law enforcement in prevention and treatment programs. Of course, the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want marijuana legalized, fearing it might cut into its profit margins. However, as California has shown, it could be a boon for struggling state economies. Marijuana is California’s biggest cash crop, responsible for $14 billion a year in sales. Were California to legalize the drug (it legalized medical marijuana in 1996) and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale, tax collectors estimate it could bring in $1.3 billion in revenue. Prior to the Obama administration’s crackdown on the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries, which has cost the state thousands of jobs, lost income and lost tax revenue, California had been raking in $100 million in taxes from the dispensaries alone.

As Neill Franklin, the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition who worked on narcotics policing for the Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department for over 30 years, remarked in the New York Times:

In an earlier era it may have been a smart move for politicians to act "tough on drugs" and stay far away from legalization. But today, many voters recognize that our prohibition laws don’t do anything to reduce drug use but do create a black market where cartels and gangs use violence to protect their profits.

While some fear that legalization would lead to increased use, those who want to use marijuana are probably already doing so under our ineffective prohibition laws. And when we stop wasting so many resources on locking people up, perhaps we can fund real public education and health efforts of the sort that have led to dramatic reductions in tobacco use over the last few decades – all without having to put handcuffs on anyone.

I have spent my entire adult life fighting the war on drugs as a police officer on the front lines. I have experienced the loss of friends and comrades who fought this war alongside me, and every year tens of thousands of other people are murdered by gangs battling over drug turf in American cities, Canada and Mexico. It is time to reduce violence by taking away a vital funding source from organized crime just as we did by ending alcohol prohibition almost 80 years ago.

The goals of reducing crime, disease, death and addiction have not been met by the "drug war" that was declared by President Nixon 40 years ago and ramped up by each president since.

The public has waked up to the fact that we need to change our marijuana laws. Savvy politicians would do well to catch up.


Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead [send him mail] is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He is the author of The Change Manifesto (Sourcebooks).

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:44 AM PST
Saturday, 14 January 2012
Be ahead of the crackers and hackers and use good paswords
Mood:  flirty
Now Playing: Password Tips - Security and Peace of Mind

Secure Passwords Keep You Safer

By Bruce Schneier
Wired News
January 15, 2007


Ever since I wrote about the 34,000 MySpace passwords I analyzed, people have been asking how to choose secure passwords.

My piece aside, there's been a lot written on this topic over the years -- both serious and humorous -- but most of it seems to be based on anecdotal suggestions rather than actual analytic evidence. What follows is some serious advice.

The attack I'm evaluating against is an offline password-guessing attack. This attack assumes that the attacker either has a copy of your encrypted document, or a server's encrypted password file, and can try passwords as fast as he can. There are instances where this attack doesn't make sense. ATM cards, for example, are secure even though they only have a four-digit PIN, because you can't do offline password guessing. And the police are more likely to get a warrant for your Hotmail account than to bother trying to crack your e-mail password. Your encryption program's key-escrow system is almost certainly more vulnerable than your password, as is any "secret question" you've set up in case you forget your password.

Offline password guessers have gotten both fast and smart. AccessData sells Password Recovery Toolkit, or PRTK. Depending on the software it's attacking, PRTK can test up to hundreds of thousands of passwords per second, and it tests more common passwords sooner than obscure ones.

So the security of your password depends on two things: any details of the software that slow down password guessing, and in what order programs like PRTK guess different passwords.

Some software includes routines deliberately designed to slow down password guessing. Good encryption software doesn't use your password as the encryption key; there's a process that converts your password into the encryption key. And the software can make this process as slow as it wants.

The results are all over the map. Microsoft Office, for example, has a simple password-to-key conversion, so PRTK can test 350,000 Microsoft Word passwords per second on a 3-GHz Pentium 4, which is a reasonably current benchmark computer. WinZip used to be even worse -- well over a million guesses per second for version 7.0 -- but with version 9.0, the cryptosystem's ramp-up function has been substantially increased: PRTK can only test 900 passwords per second. PGP also makes things deliberately hard for programs like PRTK, also only allowing about 900 guesses per second.

When attacking programs with deliberately slow ramp-ups, it's important to make every guess count. A simple six-character lowercase exhaustive character attack, "aaaaaa" through "zzzzzz," has more than 308 million combinations. And it's generally unproductive, because the program spends most of its time testing improbable passwords like "pqzrwj."

According to Eric Thompson of AccessData, a typical password consists of a root plus an appendage. A root isn't necessarily a dictionary word, but it's something pronounceable. An appendage is either a suffix (90 percent of the time) or a prefix (10 percent of the time).

So the first attack PRTK performs is to test a dictionary of about 1,000 common passwords, things like "letmein," "password1," "123456" and so on. Then it tests them each with about 100 common suffix appendages: "1," "4u," "69," "abc," "!" and so on. Believe it or not, it recovers about 24 percent of all passwords with these 100,000 combinations.

Then, PRTK goes through a series of increasingly complex root dictionaries and appendage dictionaries. The root dictionaries include:

  • Common word dictionary: 5,000 entries
  • Names dictionary: 10,000 entries
  • Comprehensive dictionary: 100,000 entries
  • Phonetic pattern dictionary: 1/10,000 of an exhaustive character search

The phonetic pattern dictionary is interesting. It's not really a dictionary; it's a Markov-chain routine that generates pronounceable English-language strings of a given length. For example, PRTK can generate and test a dictionary of very pronounceable six-character strings, or just-barely pronounceable seven-character strings. They're working on generation routines for other languages.

PRTK also runs a four-character-string exhaustive search. It runs the dictionaries with lowercase (the most common), initial uppercase (the second most common), all uppercase and final uppercase. It runs the dictionaries with common substitutions: "$" for "s," "@" for "a," "1" for "l" and so on. Anything that's "leet speak" is included here, like "3" for "e."

The appendage dictionaries include things like:

  • All two-digit combinations
  • All dates from 1900 to 2006
  • All three-digit combinations
  • All single symbols
  • All single digit, plus single symbol
  • All two-symbol combinations

AccessData's secret sauce is the order in which it runs the various root and appendage dictionary combinations. The company's research indicates that the password sweet spot is a seven- to nine-character root plus a common appendage, and that it's much more likely for someone to choose a hard-to-guess root than an uncommon appendage.

Normally, PRTK runs on a network of computers. Password guessing is a trivially distributable task, and it can easily run in the background. A large organization like the Secret Service can easily have hundreds of computers chugging away at someone's password. A company called Tableau is building a specialized FPGA hardware add-on to speed up PRTK for slow programs like PGP and WinZip: roughly a 150- to 300-times performance increase.

How good is all of this? Eric Thompson estimates that with a couple of weeks' to a month's worth of time, his software breaks 55 percent to 65 percent of all passwords. (This depends, of course, very heavily on the application.) Those results are good, but not great.

But that assumes no biographical data. Whenever it can, AccessData collects whatever personal information it can on the subject before beginning. If it can see other passwords, it can make guesses about what types of passwords the subject uses. How big a root is used? What kind of root? Does he put appendages at the end or the beginning? Does he use substitutions? ZIP codes are common appendages, so those go into the file. So do addresses, names from the address book, other passwords and any other personal information. This data ups PRTK's success rate a bit, but more importantly it reduces the time from weeks to days or even hours.

So if you want your password to be hard to guess, you should choose something not on any of the root or appendage lists. You should mix upper and lowercase in the middle of your root. You should add numbers and symbols in the middle of your root, not as common substitutions. Or drop your appendage in the middle of your root. Or use two roots with an appendage in the middle.

Even something lower down on PRTK's dictionary list -- the seven-character phonetic pattern dictionary -- together with an uncommon appendage, is not going to be guessed. Neither is a password made up of the first letters of a sentence, especially if you throw numbers and symbols in the mix. And yes, these passwords are going to be hard to remember, which is why you should use a program like the free and open-source Password Safe to store them all in. (PRTK can test only 900 Password Safe 3.0 passwords per second.)

Even so, none of this might actually matter. AccessData sells another program, Forensic Toolkit, that, among other things, scans a hard drive for every printable character string. It looks in documents, in the Registry, in e-mail, in swap files, in deleted space on the hard drive ... everywhere. And it creates a dictionary from that, and feeds it into PRTK.

And PRTK breaks more than 50 percent of passwords from this dictionary alone.

What's happening is that the Windows operating system's memory management leaves data all over the place in the normal course of operations. You'll type your password into a program, and it gets stored in memory somewhere. Windows swaps the page out to disk, and it becomes the tail end of some file. It gets moved to some far out portion of your hard drive, and there it'll sit forever. Linux and Mac OS aren't any better in this regard.

I should point out that none of this has anything to do with the encryption algorithm or the key length. A weak 40-bit algorithm doesn't make this attack easier, and a strong 256-bit algorithm doesn't make it harder. These attacks simulate the process of the user entering the password into the computer, so the size of the resultant key is never an issue.

For years, I have said that the easiest way to break a cryptographic product is almost never by breaking the algorithm, that almost invariably there is a programming error that allows you to bypass the mathematics and break the product. A similar thing is going on here. The easiest way to guess a password isn't to guess it at all, but to exploit the inherent insecurity in the underlying operating system.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:38 PM PST
Saturday, 31 December 2011
What is a wish but a wish to build a dream on
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: Holy Wish List Batman
Topic: MEDIA
Solidarity 2012 Wish List - Donate with WePay

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:35 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2011 7:51 PM PST
Sunday, 25 December 2011
Zen Christmas - A Story Zen Style
Mood:  special
Now Playing: Merry Zen Christmas

A Christmas Story: Zen Style


It seems in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, there is a small monastery where the master is illiterate. The teacher was a farmer’s son and he had been taken to the temple when he was very young. He had never learned to read or write but he completed the koan study and came to complete enlightenment.

The teacher didn’t really know other religions except Buddhism, he scarcely realized until he heard the monks discussing Christianity. One of the monks had been to the University of Tokyo and the teacher asked him to explain Christianity.

“I don’t know that much about it,” the monk said. “But I will bring you the holy book of the Christian religion.”

The master sent the monk to the nearest city and the monk returned with the Bible.

“That’s a thick book,” the master said, “and I can’t read. But you can read something to me.” The monk thumbed through the pages and started with the story of baby Jesus and the three wise men.

The monk knew the Bible and then read the Sermon on the Mount. The more he read the more the master was impressed. “That is very beautiful,” he kept saying. “That is very beautiful.” When the monk finished the sermon the master said nothing for a while. The silence lasted so long that he monk put the Bible down, got himself into the lotus position and started meditating.

“Yes,” the teacher said finally. “I don’t know who wrote that, but whoever he was, he was either a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. What you read there is the essence of everything I have been trying to teach you here.”



moral: we become what we have been subjected to. We are who we are as a direct influence of our environment growing up. We later learn of other cultures and religions, traditions and ways of life. By this time we are pretty much set in our ways but can always learn from what others do. Be open minded.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 1:48 PM PST
Friday, 23 December 2011
Veterans Peace Teams to stand with Occupy Movement
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Vets and Peace and the fact that police are hurting occupiers

News from

Veterans For Peace

216 S. Meramec Avenue St. Louis, MO 63105 (314) 725-6005  12/22/11



Veterans Peace Teams to stand with Occupy Movement

People of color, including Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, and working class communities in America have long been on the receiving end of police brutality.

Now with the recent police violence directed toward the Occupy movement, the country at large is waking up to the unpleasant reality that the violence of the system can and will target anyone who stands up for justice and opposes the exploitation of the 99 percent by the 1 percent.

The Veterans For Peace mission statement states that we pledge to work for peaceful conflict resolution and the elimination of war—the ultimate violence. As veterans of conscience, we are compelled to take a stand against police violence toward the national Occupy movement.

Veterans For Peace will establish Veterans Peace Teams to be made available as we can, to those Occupy sites where the local general assemblies feel our participation would be helpful. We propose that these nonviolent Veterans Peace Teams act as a buffer between Occupy protesters and police violence and ask any and all military/law enforcement veterans to join us in this endeavor.

As veterans, we stand with the Occupy movement as members of the 99 percent and oppose any and all use of force by police against peaceful protesters exercising their right to peaceably assemble to seek redress of grievances as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

We also stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tahrir Square and worldwide, standing up courageously, leading and often dying in the struggle for equality and justice as they are exposed to massive state-run police and military violence. We recognize that our common enemy is the wealthy power elite, those who control, ravage and exploit.

Excessive use of force by police toward those in the Occupy movement has led to arbitrary arrests, a fractured skull for one veteran and a ruptured spleen for another, near-asphyxiation and trampling of peaceful protesters and pepper-spraying of students sitting peacefully on a sidewalk obstructing nothing at all, among many abuses and injuries. Pepper spray, tear gas, bean bag projectiles, rubber bullets, tasers and other weapons—all of which can cause grave injury and death—have all been deployed against peaceful U.S. citizens.

This abuse of unarmed civilians exercising their constitutional First Amendment rights must cease.

As veterans and as citizens, we implore individual officers, police agencies, elected officials and government agencies to use restraint, negotiation and common sense when dealing with peaceful protesters. We will continue our efforts to convince law enforcement to avoid excessive force, brutality and injury to all involved. We also oppose the increased militarization of police agencies.

We seek to prevent deaths and additional injuries in domestic protests of governmental policies. We realize that those employed in law enforcement are part of the 99 percent, and we call upon all police personnel not to be a domestic front line force for the 1 percent—but to honor and perform their duty to serve and protect the people.

Veterans For Peace

Contact: veteranspeaceteam@gmail.com

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:45 AM PST
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Information [links] from "Diary of a Waking Buterfly"
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: Links and Tags
Topic: MEDIA



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Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:45 AM PST

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