Thursday, July 24, 2008

Don Nelson Could Be Around For More Then 1 Year


Squall wrote: The Warriors are putting together quite a deep team here. Very interesting. Don Nelson is going to have a lot of chess pieces here to move around to his liking. I still don’t believe this will be Nelson’s last year. Look how many young 20 year olds we have now. How can he walk away from all this potential one year after gelling?

MS: The Warriors do appear to be deep, no doubt. It should allow them to try to play at a faster pace than a year ago, and they won’t have to solely rely on Davis to push it. On the other hand, while depth is nice I’d rather see an impact player on the roster.

I think as the Warriors stand right now, they’re looking at one of those years where they’re hoping to overachieve, stay in the playoff race and maybe get in with 42-45 wins. Is it possible? Yes.

Nelson does love coaching underdog type teams. And this year, he’ll have one. But I agree, it doesn't make sense that this would be his final season. Here's proof.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hackers Becoming Mafia-esque

From Yahoo Article

Cybercrime is evolving. The lone hacker who steals and resells credit card numbers is being replaced by a well-structured business model. The game is no longer simply about hacking for fame, but rather about creating a business where you have frequent customers who buy your stolen product. The latest research report from web security company Finjan gives a peek at what exactly is going on.
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* JavaScript worm from late 2007 happily frolicking in 2008

The company's second quarter 2008 report is based on data from its Malicious Code Research Center (MCRC), which specializes in the detection of dangerous vulnerabilities that could be exploited for malicious attacks. According to Finjan, "cybercrime activities on [the] Internet are booming as never before." The company's employees, masked as potential customers, did some digging while talking to cymbercrime affiliates, and their research showed how the market for pilfered data has evolved over the past couple of years.

In 2006, vulnerabilities were being sold online to the highest bidder. Last year, software packages that provided various ways of attacking websites and stealing valuable data were sold by professional hackers. These toolkits started to contain multiple exploits for new vulnerabilities and became more sophisticated, including update mechanisms for new software flaws and Trojans that adapt to the country of the victim. By the first quarter of this year, criminals began to log into their "data supplier" and could download any information need for their illegal activities.

Now, Finjan claims the situation has gotten even worse. Cybercrime companies that work much like real-world companies are starting to appear and are steadily growing, thanks to the profits they turn. Forget individual hackers or groups of hackers with common goals. Hierarchical cybercrime organizations where each cybercriminal has his or her own role and reward system is what you and your company should be worried about. Targeted attacks against financial institutions, enterprises, and governmental agencies, coupled with excellent management of stolen data, makes these "businesses" highly successful, and makes any organization using the Internet vulnerable.
Bosses, underbosses, and capos

The hierarchy of the digital mob. Image credit: Finjan

Finjan describes the employee structure that these cybercrime companies employ as being similar to the Mafia. In both cases, there is a "boss" who operates as a business entrepreneur and doesn't commit the (cyber)crimes himself, with an "underboss" who manages the operation, sometimes providing the tools needed for attacks. In the Mafia, several "capos" operate beneath the underboss as lieutenants leading their own section of the operation with their own soldiers, and in cybercrime, "campaign managers" lead their own attacks to steal data with their "affiliation networks." The stolen data are sold by "resellers," similar to the Mafia's "associates." Since these individuals did not partake in the actual cybercrime, they know nothing about the original attacks. They do, however, know about "replacement rules" (for example, stolen credit cards that have been reported) and other company-specific policies, just like the sales representatives you talk to in your average store.

Commodities (stolen credit cards and bank accounts) are priced low, while prime articles (stolen healthcare related information, single sign-on login credentials for organizations, e-mail, and FTP accounts) are much more expensive. Not too long ago, credit card numbers and bank accounts with PINs were selling for $100 or more each, but prices have since dropped to $10-20 per item.

Successful attacks can cause long-term damage to the company's victim: loss of valuable data, loss of IP, loss of productivity, impact on profits or stock price, brand damage, law suits, and class actions. Finjan suggests deploying innovative security solutions (such as real-time content inspection) designed to detect and handle recent threats. These solutions analyze and understand what the code intends to do before it does it, without relying on signature updates or databases of classified URLs, therefore assuring that malicious content will not enter the network, even if its origin is a highly trusted site. It's not a surprising suggestion, given that Finjan offers such products, but that said, the company's 21-page report is an informative read, although you'll have to fill out a survey to gain access to it.

Moms Turn Teen Sleepover Into Orgy

Police said two Bucks County moms have been charged after a sleepover involving six teenage boys took an alleged illegal sexual turn.

Angela Honeycutt, 38, and Lynne Long, 45, are facing numerous charges after a series of alleged incidents on April 14.

Authorities said the teens, ages 14 to 16, were attending a sleepover at Long's Lower Makefield home when Honeycutt, a mother of two young children, allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old and performed sex acts with a 15-year-old. Long allegedly watched, listened and instructed the teens not to say anything.

In addition to the alleged sexual assault, detectives said Honeycutt exposed her breasts to the teens; open-mouth kissed some of the minors, entered a shower with a juvenile and engaged conversation of a sexual nature.

"What is so particularly outrageous about this is the violation of trust," said Lower Makefield Twp. Police Chief Ken Coluzzi.

Authorities learned of the alleged sexual sleepover when one of the boys involved told his parents, who then went police.

"You think you've seen everything and then all of a sudden, another report of an outrageous crime comes in," said Chief Coluzzi.

As word of their arrest spread through the suburban community, neighbors reacted in disbelief. "It's shocking and it is a shame."

Honeycutt is facing charges of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and other related charges. Long is facing charges of endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors.

Both women surrendered to authorities Wednesday and were released after being permitted to sign their own bail.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dr. Steve Brule

Monday, July 7, 2008

Elton Brand Selling His LA Home...Golden State Warriors Excited?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Complete Analysis of Game 6 2002 LA/Sac: The Donaghy Rigged Game

Roland Beech of has spent serious time detailing every single call of the notorious Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

That's the game convicted former referee Tim Donaghy has said was essentially rigged, by the NBA, to be a Laker victory.

Beech found all kinds of stuff.

He found that the questionable, or to his eyes, flat out incorrect, calls favored the Lakers not in huge numbers (nine total calls), but a very lopsided (7-2) rate.

Beech did some very intelligent guesswork as to how many points the referees' dubious calls may have unfairly cost the Kings six points.

The Lakers won by four.

So, Sacramento, permission granted to freak out.

But ...

Beech also looked for any and all evidence to support Donaghy's claim that two of the referees were "company men" who did the NBA's bidding. It was hard to see that in how each referees calls broke down. Referee Bob Delaney, Beech found, called the game quite evenly. Ted Bernhardt's calls slightly favored the Lakers, and Dick Bavetta's calls, especially late in the game, were more in favor of the Lakers than anyone.

Through it all, however, Beech finds it very tough to support the notion that the game was rigged. He just does not see it. I recommend you read his entire, very sober explanation. (And remember, Beech is no company man. He created what is, to me, one of the most damning referee critiques on record, which prompted lots of follow-up.)

Here is just some of Beech's rationale for concluding that the game was not likely rigged.

Yes, at a glance you can see the Lakers got some advantage from the calls down the stretch, but if Bavetta was really trying to rig the game, would he have called a tie up jump ball at the 3:26 mark (and subsequently had a bad toss that gave the ball to the Kings) with the Kings ahead by two when he could have called a foul on Divac? Would he have called the foul on Fisher at 1:27 that helped bring the Kings back within a point with plenty of time left? Would he have called the blocking foul on Fox with 0:20 when an offensive foul would have basically sealed the game? Doubtful.

Bernhardt made no foul call on Christie's block of Kobe with the game tied at 3:56, gave Bibby a bailout call with the shot clock winding down at 2:34 with the game tied, and didn't call Webber for a foul on Shaq's basket at 0:52 which could have fouled out C-Webb and given the Lakers a look at a four point lead.

Delaney wasn't very active in the waning minutes, with one no call where Bibby looked for a foul at the 0:43 mark. The other notable non-call which I rated an "all refs" situation was on the inbounds at 0:12 where Kobe knocked Bibby to the floor with an elbow to the face, but Bibby was also grabbing Kobe at the time it happened so both were really guilty of infractions to some extent. Still an offensive foul on Kobe there could have changed the outcome!

As a whole, these plays suggest to me the refs were calling the game honestly, if perhaps not well.

Now Bernhardt did have the arguable turning point call of the game as it turns out at the 3:06 mark when Webber moved into the paint and made a basket only to have the shot wiped out with an offensive foul call. At first I was in agreement with Bill Walton that this was a "terrible call" but having watched the play over ten times in slow motion I changed it from 'dubious' to 'maybe' in my grading since it's one of those plays where I believe a case could be made for a defensive foul, an offensive foul, or even a dual fault let them play no call. If pressed I'd still rate it a Horry foul which would have given a basket and the and one shot to Webber and the Kings a possible four or five point lead. Yet there is a fair amount of left arm push off from Webber and Bernhardt was right on top of the play with a good angle.

This gets to the heart of the matter to me: despite the NBA's official claim that 95% of calls are correct over a season, there are just too many plays that are far from being clear cut wrong/right and many that fall into a gray area where even watching a play many times in slow motion you can make a case for different verdicts. The block/charge/no call situation is also about the worst of these in that it's such a snap judgement with significant effect.

Before you decide what you think about Beech's critique, please do read the whole thing. He has not only logged every single call, and anticipated just about every objection you might have, and has addressed them. You might as well get his take before weighing in on the quality of his work.