Fire burns at Barangaroo construction site, Sydney, Australia

By | June 23, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 

A large fire has started at the Barangaroo construction site overlooking Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia. The construction company said fire broke out at about 2:10pm local time (0310 UTC) and appeared to have been caused by a welding accident in the basement of a building.

All site workers were evacuated without injury, according to Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Ian Krimmer. Large clouds of smoke were continuing to pour out of the building, casting a thick pall of smoke over the city skyline. Some nearby buildings have also been evacuated, including the KPMG building and offices of the Macquarie Bank.

Firefighters reported concern about a tower crane overhanging the building basement site. There were fears that the crane could buckle due to the heat and collapse. Firefighters were working to keep the base of the crane cool, and the stability of the structure was being monitored with lasers.

The Western Distributor motorway was closed to traffic, and Sydney Harbour Bridge partly closed. There had been major disruptions in traffic and multiple roads in the Sydney CBD (Central Business District) were gridlocked. People catching buses were advised to expect long delays.

Social engineering (security)

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Social engineering, in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. A type of confidence trick for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or system access, it differs from a traditional “con” in that it is often one of many steps in a more complex fraud scheme.

The term “social engineering” as an act of psychological manipulation is also associated with the social sciences, but its usage has caught on among computer and information security professionals.[1]

All social engineering techniques are based on specific attributes of human decision-making known as cognitive biases.[2] These biases, sometimes called “bugs in the human hardware,” are exploited in various combinations to create attack techniques, some of which are listed here:

Pretexting (adj. pretextual), also known in the UK as blagging or bohoing, is the act of creating and using an invented scenario (the pretext) to engage a targeted victim in a manner that increases the chance the victim will divulge information or perform actions that would be unlikely in ordinary circumstances.[3] An elaborate lie, it most often involves some prior research or setup and the use of this information for impersonation (e.g., date of birth, Social Security number, last bill amount) to establish legitimacy in the mind of the target.[4]

This technique can be used to fool a business into disclosing customer information as well as by private investigators to obtain telephone records, utility records, banking records and other information directly from company service representatives. The information can then be used to establish even greater legitimacy under tougher questioning with a manager, e.g., to make account changes, get specific balances, etc.

Pretexting can also be used to impersonate co-workers, police, bank, tax authorities, clergy, insurance investigators — or any other individual who could have perceived authority or right-to-know in the mind of the targeted victim. The pretexter must simply prepare answers to questions that might be asked by the victim. In some cases, all that is needed is a voice that sounds authoritative, an earnest tone, and an ability to think on one’s feet to create a pretextual scenario.

Diversion theft, also known as the “Corner Game”[5] or “Round the Corner Game”, originated in the East End of London.

In summary, diversion theft is a “con” exercised by professional thieves, normally against a transport or courier company. The objective is to persuade the persons responsible for a legitimate delivery that the consignment is requested elsewhere — hence, “round the corner”.

Phishing is a technique of fraudulently obtaining private information. Typically, the phisher sends an e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate business—a bank, or credit card company—requesting “verification” of information and warning of some dire consequence if it is not provided. The e-mail usually contains a link to a fraudulent web page that seems legitimate—with company logos and content—and has a form requesting everything from a home address to an ATM card’s PIN.

For example, 2003 saw the proliferation of a phishing scam in which users received e-mails supposedly from eBay claiming that the user’s account was about to be suspended unless a link provided was clicked to update a credit card (information that the genuine eBay already had). Because it is relatively simple to make a Web site resemble a legitimate organization’s site by mimicking the HTML code, the scam counted on people being tricked into thinking they were being contacted by eBay and subsequently, were going to eBay’s site to update their account information. By spamming large groups of people, the “phisher” counted on the e-mail being read by a percentage of people who already had listed credit card numbers with eBay legitimately, who might respond.

Phone phishing (or “vishing”) uses a rogue interactive voice response (IVR) system to recreate a legitimate-sounding copy of a bank or other institution’s IVR system. The victim is prompted (typically via a phishing e-mail) to call in to the “bank” via a (ideally toll free) number provided in order to “verify” information. A typical system will reject log-ins continually, ensuring the victim enters PINs or passwords multiple times, often disclosing several different passwords. More advanced systems transfer the victim to the attacker posing as a customer service agent for further questioning.

Baiting is like the real-world Trojan Horse that uses physical media and relies on the curiosity or greed of the victim.[6]

In this attack, the attacker leaves a malware infected floppy disk, CD-ROM, or USB flash drive in a location sure to be found (bathroom, elevator, sidewalk, parking lot), gives it a legitimate looking and curiosity-piquing label, and simply waits for the victim to use the device.

For example, an attacker might create a disk featuring a corporate logo, readily available from the target’s web site, and write “Executive Salary Summary Q2 2012” on the front. The attacker would then leave the disk on the floor of an elevator or somewhere in the lobby of the targeted company. An unknowing employee might find it and subsequently insert the disk into a computer to satisfy their curiosity, or a good samaritan might find it and turn it in to the company.

In either case, as a consequence of merely inserting the disk into a computer to see the contents, the user would unknowingly install malware on it, likely giving an attacker unfettered access to the victim’s PC and, perhaps, the targeted company’s internal computer network.

Unless computer controls block the infection, PCs set to “auto-run” inserted media may be compromised as soon as a rogue disk is inserted.

Hostile devices, more attractive than simple memory, can also be used.[7] For instance, a “lucky winner” is sent a free digital audio player that actually compromises any computer it is plugged to.

Quid pro quo means something for something:

An attacker, seeking entry to a restricted area secured by unattended, electronic access control, e.g. by RFID card, simply walks in behind a person who has legitimate access. Following common courtesy, the legitimate person will usually hold the door open for the attacker. The legitimate person may fail to ask for identification for any of several reasons, or may accept an assertion that the attacker has forgotten or lost the appropriate identity token. The attacker may also fake the action of presenting an identity token.

Common confidence tricksters or fraudsters also could be considered “social engineers” in the wider sense, in that they deliberately deceive and manipulate people, exploiting human weaknesses to obtain personal benefit. They may, for example, use social engineering techniques as part of an IT fraud.

A very recent type of social engineering technique includes spoofing or cracking IDs of people having popular e-mail IDs such as Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. Among the many motivations for deception are:

Organizations reduce their security risks by:

Reformed computer criminal and later security consultant Kevin Mitnick points out that it is much easier to trick someone into giving a password for a system than to spend the effort to crack into the system.[12]

Christopher Hadnagy is the security professional who wrote the first framework defining the physical and psychological principles of social engineering.[13] He is also the author of the book “Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking,” [14] “Unmasking the Social Engineer: The Human Element of Security” and numerous podcasts and newsletters at Security through Education (a free online SE resource). He is the creator of the DEFCON Social Engineer Capture the Flag and the Social Engineer CTF for Kids.

Brothers Ramy, Muzher, and Shadde Badir—all of whom were blind from birth—managed to set up an extensive phone and computer fraud scheme in Israel in the 1990s using social engineering, voice impersonation, and Braille-display computers.[15]

The white hat hacker, computer security consultant, and writer for Phrack Magazine, Archangel (nicknamed “The Greatest Social Engineer of All Time”) has demonstrated social engineering techniques to gain everything from passwords to pizza to automobiles to airline tickets.[16][17][18][19][20]

Security Consultant for Secure Network Technologies. Inventor of the USB thumb drive test where USB sticks contained exploits to test if employees would run them from within their business environments. This attack is now one of the most popular social engineering techniques in existence and is used to test the human element of security around the world.

Principal Consultant for Bancsec, Inc., and one of the world’s top experts in banking cybersecurity, developed and proved in over 50 U.S. bank locations “the most efficient social engineering attack in history.” This attack vector, primarily utilizing email, allows a social engineer to make unauthenticated, unauthorized, large cash withdrawals from bank branches[21] with an extraordinarily high success rate (over 90%) while enjoying low probabilities of immediate detection or subsequent incarceration. Among his other successful bank social engineering test accomplishments is wire transfer through a combination of emails and telephone pretexting.

Security consultant for IOActive, published author, and speaker. Emphasizes techniques and tactics for social engineering cold calling. Became notable after his talks where he would play recorded calls and explain his thought process on what he was doing to get passwords through the phone.[22][23][24]

Notable Social Engineering Consultant, runs talks and contests and is a known speaker for conferences like RSA and Besides on social engineering tactics. He also runs Squirrelsinabarrel.com which is a platform for learning about social engineering and teaches several classes on social engineering to companies and the general public.[25][26]

Other social engineers include Frank Abagnale, David Bannon, Peter Foster, Alexander “Frank”, Chaim Dönnewald, Steven Jay Russell.

In common law, pretexting is an invasion of privacy tort of appropriation.[27]

In December 2006, United States Congress approved a Senate sponsored bill making the pretexting of telephone records a federal felony with fines of up to $250,000 and ten years in prison for individuals (or fines of up to $500,000 for companies). It was signed by President George W. Bush on 12 January 2007.[28]

The 1999 “GLBA” is a U.S. Federal law that specifically addresses pretexting of banking records as an illegal act punishable under federal statutes. When a business entity such as a private investigator, SIU insurance investigator, or an adjuster conducts any type of deception, it falls under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This federal agency has the obligation and authority to ensure that consumers are not subjected to any unfair or deceptive business practices. US Federal Trade Commission Act, Section 5 of the FTCA states, in part: “Whenever the Commission shall have reason to believe that any such person, partnership, or corporation has been or is using any unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice in or affecting commerce, and if it shall appear to the Commission that a proceeding by it in respect thereof would be to the interest of the public, it shall issue and serve upon such person, partnership, or corporation a complaint stating its charges in that respect.”

The statute states that when someone obtains any personal, non-public information from a financial institution or the consumer, their action is subject to the statute. It relates to the consumer’s relationship with the financial institution. For example, a pretexter using false pretenses either to get a consumer’s address from the consumer’s bank, or to get a consumer to disclose the name of his or her bank, would be covered. The determining principle is that pretexting only occurs when information is obtained through false pretenses.

While the sale of cell telephone records has gained significant media attention, and telecommunications records are the focus of the two bills currently before the United States Senate, many other types of private records are being bought and sold in the public market. Alongside many advertisements for cell phone records, wireline records and the records associated with calling cards are advertised. As individuals shift to VoIP telephones, it is safe to assume that those records will be offered for sale as well. Currently, it is legal to sell telephone records, but illegal to obtain them.[29]

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Kalamazoo, Michigan), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, expressed concern over the easy access to personal mobile phone records on the Internet during Wednesday’s E&C Committee hearing on “Phone Records For Sale: Why Aren’t Phone Records Safe From Pretexting?” Illinois became the first state to sue an online records broker when Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued 1st Source Information Specialists, Inc., on 20 January, a spokeswoman for Madigan’s office said. The Florida-based company operates several Web sites that sell mobile telephone records, according to a copy of the suit. The attorneys general of Florida and Missouri quickly followed Madigan’s lead, filing suit on 24 and 30 January, respectively, against 1st Source Information Specialists and, in Missouri’s case, one other records broker – First Data Solutions, Inc.

Several wireless providers, including T-Mobile, Verizon, and Cingular filed earlier lawsuits against records brokers, with Cingular winning an injunction against First Data Solutions and 1st Source Information Specialists on 13 January. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) introduced legislation in February 2006 aimed at curbing the practice. The Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006 would create felony criminal penalties for stealing and selling the records of mobile phone, landline, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) subscribers.

Patricia Dunn, former chairwoman of Hewlett Packard, reported that the HP board hired a private investigation company to delve into who was responsible for leaks within the board. Dunn acknowledged that the company used the practice of pretexting to solicit the telephone records of board members and journalists. Chairman Dunn later apologized for this act and offered to step down from the board if it was desired by board members.[30] Unlike Federal law, California law specifically forbids such pretexting. The four felony charges brought on Dunn were dismissed.[31]

Ecofriendly Your Cleaning Routine : The Hidden Dangers Hiding Under Your Kitchen Sink

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Submitted by: Gio Calvert

It is actually amazing the way the green revolution is promoting existence. We split our garbage, carpool in order to work, and even think about buying hybrid cars simply to help save Nature. Ironically, most of the everyday home cleaning products we nevertheless use contain dangerous chemical substances that are certainly not eco-friendly. The good thing is that nowadays there are an increasing number of more secure alternatives that can keep the home sparkling as well as your mind comfortable. When you become depleted to the shop to find these brand new innovative products, it will help to know just a little about what unpleasant chemicals may be stalking in the cleaners you might have under your kitchen sink right now, so that you can make sure to pick healthier replacements that will buy the job carried out. ? The Nasal area Knows inescapable fact regarding Common Cleansing Supplies ? Consider probably the most popular cleaning products such as all-purpose glass and surface area cleaners, bath and ceramic tile cleaners, mildew and mold removers, flooring waxes, laundry detergents, and also oven cleansers. If you are using any one of these, then if you’re probably well aware from the strong and frequently sickening chemical odours these products frequently have. On the years, we’ve visit erroneously equate these types of smells with strength and also effectiveness. Remember the ad slogan regarding Ajax? “Stronger compared to Dirt” made up a whole campaign with this company that assisted shape beliefs about some other cleaners. Specifically, if this doesn’t have a solid chemical smell it should not be performing. ? The simple truth is that the chemical substances that give these items their noxious odours are not only dangerous to inhale however in some cases may even you do not. Have a common and popular product such as Windex for instance. This can be a product a lot more employed for generations, but are you aware that it includes ammonia? Hydrogen is a dangerous chemical substance that can easily cause you to pass out in case you breathe an excessive amount of it and also potentially lethal when coupled with something like lighten. This appears like a steep cost to pay for thoroughly clean mirrors and windows but many people put it on or similar items liberally and frequently with no second believed. ? Everyone understands how dangerous and also toxic an impression or mildew pests can be, therefore it only seems organic that we would purchase a simple spray to avoid it from occurring. However, a twig like Tilex could be even worse so that you can inhale than the form it is eliminating. That’s since it contains focused bleach, which means it could stain whatever isn’t white, may burn your lungs nearby cover your own nose and mouth when you spray it, and is quite severe if it touches the skin. ? Speaking associated with cleaners that stink the entire home, stove cleaners are notorious to make your eyes drinking water and your skin prickle. Products like Simple Off contain ingredients such as Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether, salt hydroxide and other chemical substances that cause kidney harm in humans, create chemical substance burns, and may cause loss of sight in some instances. ? Even your own laundry detergent or meal soap can be difficult. Environmental activist Craig Commoner did a process of research that demonstrated the rise in phosphates present in one city’s sewage from 20,000 tons within 1940 to 150,000 lots in the 1970s. Phosphates, although made from natural minerals can break the degree of oxygen within the water, which inturn has devastating effects on fish and also plants alike. And also the extra fragrances which are typically built into both detergents and also dryer sheets often consist of phthalates – chemicals utilized by industry to become softer plastics. Studies claim that these toxins can impact brain development within children, and a lot more. ? A Much better Way: The Green Thoroughly clean Difference ? Thankfully, organic cleaners have made many advances in the usa and also abroad so you no more must travel to specialized stores to find all of them. Most major food market chains carry a minumum of one model of all natural cleansing products. But can you be sure what things to choose? Here are a few general tips about what to appear for:Phosphate-Free & Bleach-Free Clothing Detergents. Phosphates are usually water-softening mineral additives as soon as widely used in liquids to enhance their particular stain-removing capabilities. Along with threatening marine and plant life, they are able to cause nausea, throwing up and diarrhea in the event that ingested, and skin discomfort due to their rust nature. Bleach is actually harmful to your bronchi and mucous membranes and also produces trihalomethanes – harmful toxins linked to cancer — as well as buvable organic halides, that are harmful to underwater organisms. Search for dish and washing detergents that are free from both phosphates and also bleach. ? Chlorine-Free Dishwasher Cleaning agent. Just as a lot of chlorine inside your pool can annoy your lungs and also eyes, chlorine fumes within steam that leaks through dishwashers can irritate your own eyes and make this harder for you to definitely take in air. Chlorine also has a tendency to contain organocholorines, that have been seen to cause cancer and also leave a chemical deposits on your dishes that may transfer for your food ? Ammonia-Free Restroom Cleaners. As stated earlier, ammonia could be harmful to your own lungs in addition to an annoyance to eyes and also skin, which frequently touches restroom fixtures which have been cleaned by using it. You’re best with an 100% natural cleaner that uses veggie enzymes or natural vitamin polishers like borax or even an old standby such as Bon Amiperfecting cleanser. ? Plant-Based Multi-purpose Cleaners. Search for plant-based cleaners as they are biodegradable this means they could be converted through fungus, bacteria, or some other naturally occurring organisms, and are also safe to discharge into the atmosphere. Look for cleansers with surfactants created from natural sources such as coconut or even olive oil, and utilize citrus essential oils instead of “fragrances” that odor like citrus that could combined with dangerous chemicals such as ethoxylates, butyl cellusolve (a skin-penetrating neuro-toxin) or even ortho-phenylphenol (a harsh vision and epidermis irritant).The key along with any green cleaner would be to carefully go through the ingredients and also claims involved. If you are coping with cleaner which is made primarily through harmful chemicals rather than organic extracts, natural and organic oils, or things such as baking soda and also calcium carbonate, you should be buying better choice. Remember that couple of cleaning products actually give a list of components on the container. Don’t be confused by claims such as “Citrus Power” or even “Oxy Active.” It could have natural promises on the label with no actually being a organic product, or being usually the case, it might contain a mixture of natural ingredients and also harsh chemicals. If you wish to in order to all natural, planet friendly cleaning one step further, consider producing your own green cleansing supplies from home. ? Copyright the year 2010 Dropwise Essentials

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Over 200 skiers trapped as lift breaks at Maine resort

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010 

Rescue efforts are underway to free more than 200 skiers trapped Tuesday at Maine’s Sugarloaf ski resort, which is located 120 miles north of Portland. Several injuries were reported after a ski lift broke down; an employee at the resort said this caused several people to fall to the ground.

The Spillway East lift reportedly came to a halt during high winds due to a derailment. Around 10:30 a.m. ET, a cable slid over one tower’s pulley leading to five chairs falling about 30 feet.

Ethan Austin, a resort spokesperson, revealed that several individuals were taken to near-by hospitals with non-life-threatening conditions. At the time, winds originating from this month’s blizzard were blowing up to 43 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. Austin confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the lift was carrying around 220 people at the time of the breakdown.

Efforts to remove trapped skiers are in progress Tuesday afternoon.

Reports: Design flaw caused Minneapolis, Minnesota bridge to collapse

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Thursday, August 9, 2007 

Investigators say that flaws in the design of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota may have caused it to collapse and that the design flaw is not “unique” to the Minneapolis bridge.

According to an ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the flaw was found in the steel plates connected to girders, which are large support beams used in construction and connect the plates together. It is reported that extra stress from construction equipment might have caused the plates to separate, causing the bridge to collapse.

The flaw has not yet been confirmed to be the source of the disaster, and the NTSB says that the investigation could take several months to fully be completed.

At least six people were killed and at least eight are missing, whilst over 100 are injured after the bridge collapsed on August 1.