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  1. A new ingredient Public services grapple with a street drug that is like no other ON A busy street corner in Manchester’s central shopping area, a young man has just collapsed, unconscious. Judging by his grubby clothes, he is one of the many people sleeping rough in the city centre. There is no need to call an ambulance, says a shop assistant, after assessing the situation. “It’s spice,” he explains with a shrug, as he walks back inside, adding that it would be best to stay away, because when the man comes round he may become violent. Spice is the name collectively given to 200-300 synthetic cannabinoids, drugs that hit the same brain receptors as cannabis but are more potent and addictive. The drugs, made mostly in China and illegal in Britain, take the form of chemicals sprayed onto dried plant leaves and smoked. In 2017-18 only 0.4% of 16- to 59-year-olds in Britain used the category of drugs that includes spice, according to the Home Office. But spice has become an epidemic among two groups not covered by these statistics: prisoners and rough sleepers. Over 90% of homeless people in Manchester smoke it, according to one survey, as do many in other cities, including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle. It is “one of the most severe public-health issues we have faced in decades,” wrote 20 police commissioners in an open letter to the Home Office last month. The trouble is that what has been tried and tested for other illegal drugs cannot be readily copied for spice. For a start, its effects on users are unpredictable. One reason is the rapid turnover of the chemicals in the mix. Chinese authorities have been banning individual chemicals found in spice, but the laboratories that make them get round the bans by tweaking the composition of their product. Another worry with spice is that the spraying of the chemicals is uneven, leading to highly variable potency within the same batch. In April last year the concentration of chemicals in spice in Manchester jumped from 1-2% to nearly 20%—possibly because someone missed a decimal point in a recipe found online, says Robert Ralphs, a criminologist at Manchester Metropolitan University. Ambulance crews were overwhelmed, with nearly 60 call-outs for comatose people on the streets in a single day. Smaller spikes in concentration have turned users into what the tabloids call “spice zombies”, for their pale faces, pink eyes and staggering gait. Doctors and paramedics are having to learn on the fly how to treat severe reactions to the many varieties of spice. Psychosis and paranoia are common, which is why users are often aggressive. One hospital doctor, who sees someone high on spice on almost every shift, says that the effects are wildly varied and that it is impossible to predict how long they may take to wear off. One man on spice walked around the ward naked for three hours. “We didn’t know what to do,” the doctor says. “We just locked the door, locking ourselves in with him.” A national network set up last year collects clinical reports about spice users brought to hospital emergency departments. The process is similar to that used to track adverse reactions to medicines. Treatment guidelines are updated online. Prisons are also grappling with new problems caused by spice. Failing a drug test while inside or on parole brings extra time behind bars. But the prisons’ drug-testing kits do not detect synthetic cannabinoids, so many drug users switch to spice in order to hide their habit. “You go in as an alcohol, heroin or crack user and come out as a spice user,” says Mr Ralphs. Peter Morgan, who has worked with vulnerable youths in Manchester for 20 years, says spice has been a “horrific thing” for the homeless. He lays out the problems in “The Spice Boys”, a book about a group of young homeless people hooked on the drug. By making users limp, spice turns them into targets for theft, rape and assault. Outreach workers can usually catch four or five hours of lucidity a day from a heroin addict. With spice, the brain is foggy all the time. “You need to smoke it constantly,” says one former user. Weaning people off spice is also tougher than getting them off other drugs. Some do not consider themselves addicts, a designation they reserve for heroin junkies. Even as they struggle with withdrawal symptoms and resort to selling sex or stealing to get their next fix, they see spice as not much more harmful than cannabis. So far nothing makes an effective substitute for it, as methadone does for heroin. Treatment therefore targets withdrawal symptoms, using drugs that dull pain, stomach problems and psychosis. One thing that those who pick up spice tend to have in common is previous drug use. As spice users become more stigmatised, those on other illegal drugs may be less inclined to switch to it. Even some heroin users are now looking down on spice zombies, says Mr Ralphs. Source
  2. Chip-and-PIN payment cards are coming to the United States after a long head start as a standard card-present payment method in Europe and Asia. Already, retailer Target accelerated its plan to move its branded debit and credit cards to chip-and-PIN, also known as EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa), in short order following a devastating data breach during the Christmas shopping season. Other retailers are sure to follow, especially with an October 2015 deadline approaching imposed by Visa where it will institute a liability shift where the party causing a fraudulent transaction will be responsible for losses if chip-and-PIN is not part of the transaction. While chip-and-PIN may shore up some of the authentication anxiety surrounding payment card transactions, it’s not a cure-all for fraud, and it does come with its share of security baggage and vulnerabilities. The latest evidence came in a recently published paper by computer scientists at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. The report describes two critical problems, an implementation flaw and a serious issue in the protocol that the researchers say will be much more difficult to fix. The team Mike Bond, Omar Choudary, Steven J. Murdoch, Sergei Skorobogatov and Ross Anderson said that the chip in EMV cards that generates what is supposed to be an unpredictable number, or nonce, for each transaction to ensure its integrity does quite the opposite because of an implementation flaw. “Some EMV implementers have merely used counters, timestamps or home-grown algorithms to supply this nonce,” the paper said. “This exposes them to a ‘pre-play’ attack which is indistinguishable from card cloning from the standpoint of the logs available to the card-issuing bank, and can be carried out even if it is impossible to clone a card physically.” EMV chips are in place largely to ward off card cloning, which is facilitated much easier by cards with just a magnetic strip storing data. The researchers explain in the paper how attacks can be carried out against ATMs and other payment terminals. “We found flaws in widely-used ATMs from the largest manufacturers,” the paper said. “We can now explain at least some of the increasing number of frauds in which victims are refused refunds by banks which claim that EMV cards cannot be cloned and that a customer involved in a dispute must therefore be mistaken or complicit.” As with other random number generators, the predictability of the number is a serious issue for a determined thief. “This might create the opportunity for an attack in which a criminal with temporary access to a card (say, in a Mafia-owned shop) can compute the authentication codes needed to draw cash from that ATM at some time in the future for which the value of the [unpredictable number] can be predicted,” the paper said. The protocol vulnerability, meanwhile, arose out of studying the problem with random nonce generation wherein an attacker can swap out the random number generated by an ATM or payment terminal with one from a cloned card. “This variant of the pre-play attack may be carried out by malware in an ATM or POS terminal, or by a man-in-the-middle between the terminal and the acquirer,” the paper said. An attacker would have to be in a man-in-the-middle position between the card and payment terminal or between the terminal and the acquiring bank. Malware infecting the terminal can attack the EMV protocol as well, the paper said. “The banks appear to have ignored this, perhaps reasoning that it is difficult to scale up an attack that involves access to specific physical cards and also the installation of malware or wiretaps on specific terminals,” the paper said. “We disagree. The Target compromise shows that criminals can deploy malware on merchant terminals widely and exploit it to earn serious money.” Source
  3. Hi Nsane community :hi: , I have MSI gaming notebook with 8 GB of Nanya RAM (4 * 2) .After about eight month of purchasing date , I got a problem with one of the RAM #1 which cause BSOD (MEMORY MANAGEMENT) .I did memory diagnostic on Windows 7 and the result was "Hardware problem was detected .." . Why this happen ? I did't make any thing wrong with my laptop ,(I mean I really care about its temperature and keep it clean from dust ..) By the way The laptop is still working well (running games , programs ,NET ) except sometimes I get the mentioned BSOD. :please: Is there any one knows about or faced like that problem ? And what do you advise me to do about my sick ram ? :( Solved : I brought my laptop to MSI service center to fix it .. Staff there told me that both of RAMs have a problem .They replaced RAMs with new same brand RAM (NANYA) .When I asked them about what was the problem ,they just told me that "Unexpected error occurred !" The important thing my laptop is now working like charm without any annoying BSOD :D
  4. smallhagrid

    Privatefirewall woes.

    I've been using Privatefirewall for a little while now and it's sort of OK...mostly=> but also quite a hassle in some ways. For example, if I want to read any PDF file with Foxit Reader, I have 2 choices AFAIK... Click about 20 firewall queries EVERY time, or click 'details' and then 'train' in that window - EVERY TIME. It is very annoying - it seems to think EVERY single PDF file is a separate security problem to address. I set Foxit as fully allowed too, and that made no difference. There doesn't seem to be any setting for allowing files by type either. Worse still, after a restart it forgets alot of settings. So after Process Hacker had to be killed off and I had to reboot - it asked me all over again if Firefox, Firemin, Thunderbird, my mouse software and a few more things were allowed. It seems to be lightweight and decent in most ways, but if it's going to act quite this stupidly all the time I need to find another light but better firewall to replace it. (Even the ancient Kerio Personal Firewall was WAY easier to get along with than this.) Any suggestions on how to make it behave better somehow ?!? Thanks.
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