Category Archives: Interesting Items

Things the staff found interesting, or fun.

US Leads the World in Spam

One interesting fact that didn’t make it into this month’s newsletter article on “The Secret Life of Spam” is that the United States leads the world in the overall volume of spam produced. And by a huge margin, too: according to security site Sophos, 24% of all spam generated this spring. That’s nearly a quarter! France and China, the runners-up, come in at less than 7% each. The full results can be accessed here. The results may be surprising because we tend to think of spam originating in Russia or Nigeria, or the actual place where the criminals who generate it live. But spam is a world-wide problem, and one would think the bad guys generally know enough to not spoil their own nests. Instead, the countries which actually generate the most spam are those where the most computers are infected with malware. The US merits the top billing for volume not so much due to poor security practices, but to our large and highly-connected population. When the overall amount is divided by population, the US doesn’t do so badly. In a per-person comparison, we come up merely twelfth, near the bottom with Bulgaria and Belarus being tops at 2.7 and 1.9 times the American rate. However, the US is still spewing a lot of crap messages, and if you’re infected, you’re part of the problem. Once your machine becomes part of a botnet, it’s essentially a zombie out of … Continue reading

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Cool Projects: A Picture Perfect Murder Game

It should come as no surprise that there are a lot of interesting, intelligent people in this area. They’re busy doing some amazingly creative things, which could often use some support. Many of these clever, talented people are members of Southwest Cyberport (naturally), and we thought it would be a good thing to share news of their cool projects. To launch this series of posts, we start with an intriguing video game trying to raise funds with its own Kickstarter campaign: A Picture Perfect Murder. Here’s what they told us about it: Ducks in a Row, Inc., an NM small business and long-time SWCP customer, is creating a casual video game called “A Picture Perfect Murder.”  In the game, you play the part of Chris O’Connor, a former crime-scene photographer who now freelances for travel magazines. The morning after you arrive at your latest venue, one of the staff members is killed. “A Picture Perfect Murder” is a hidden object/adventure game. As Chris, you’ll gather clues in a variety of adventure scenes, hidden-object scenes, and mini-games. You’ll interview the staff and the other guests, paying close attention to the cut scenes.  Finally, you’ll identify the murderer in a complex logic puzzle.  The game will be playable at three levels of difficulty: Innocent, Criminal, and Murderous. As part of this venture, Ducks is creating a game engine, Storm Surge™.  Initially the game engine will primarily support puzzle/adventure games, Ducks plans to … Continue reading

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Snowden Speaks

Almost a year after his name first surfaced in connection with the NSA leaks, Edward Snowden has finally been heard in an interview on American network television. It has not been an easy go. All that time, Snowden has been a man publicly reviled in near-Orwellian terms as someone putting American lives at risk and single-handedly destroying our ability to fight terrorism. Even afterwards, Secretary of State John Kerry, during a live interview on NBC’s TODAY show, made his position known: “Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor, and he has betrayed his country.” Yet Snowden was not what one would expect. Edward Snowden, in his interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, turned out to be a surprisingly level-headed, thoughtful, and soft-spoken young man – hardly a firebrand. And if he is to be believed, a true patriot acting in the highest interests of freedom and democracy. You can see it and judge for yourself here: “Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden“. But what is he really, and what are the issues involved? According to NBC’s own polls, opinions on whether Snowden is a traitor or patriot are still about even. But the issues are deeper than just the legality and ethics of Internet monitoring by the state. The questions reach down to the very bedrock of our values of privacy, freedom, and democracy. They don’t entirely hinge on the government’s secret activities either. The vast, indiscriminate, and totally … Continue reading

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