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Onya Britney

  1. 4,330 Posts.
    TARGET STORES
    Taking a Swipe at the Problem of Coupons
    So, when was the last time you sat down and painstakingly went through all the fliers in your newspaper and cut out coupons? Can’t remember, right? Executives at Target know firsthand that very few people actually clip coupons. To this discount retailer, paper coupons are a waste of money because they’re expensive to produce and even more expensive to distribute.Enter the paperless coupon, which Target claims will revolutionize the way it does business. Here’s how it’s supposed to work. Customers will use their home computer to download offers onto a Target credit card embedded with a computer chip, using a card reader that the chain will provide free of charge. Shoppers can then redeem the electronic discount at their local Target store.The goal is to personalize promotions. If you buy thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics from Target, executives will then reward you with a reduced price on the latest tech gadget as an incentive to spend even more. Buy enough Target clothing and get frequent-flier points. Purchase a phone and earn free cellular minutes. Customers can also let the technology do all the bookkeeping as they rack up points on various reward programs.
    These kinds of promotions will help give Target executives insights into buying patterns. “It’s not just ‘get 30 cents off’,” says Jerry Storch, Target’s vice chairman. “If we give a bunch of people an offer and they use it once and never use the product again, then that’s not a smart offer. The whole point of couponing is to get trial.” Storch adds that the money Target will save by tossing out the old system of paper coupons (98 percent of which are thrown out) can be used to attract partners for special promotions. The savings will also help Target lower prices to survive and thrive in the cutthroat price wars with other discount retailers. “It’s an effort to be constantly lowering prices,” he says.Target has already issued more than 2.5 million of the chip-embedded cards, making it the largest issuer of smart Visas in the country. And while retailers have generally struggled to find a killer app for smart-card technology, Target expects it will be the exception. “Target is the first major retailer that has taken smart cards’ potential and tied it into promoting their products,” says Randy Vanderhoof, the president of the Smart Card Alliance, an industry trade group. “What they are doing is trailblazing.” If Target can really make this new system work, it will earn the familiar bull’s-eye it uses for a logo.
    —Suzanne Smalley

    Smartcard strategy for U.S. Britney Spears





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    http://www.silicontrust.com/home/news.htm
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    The US Army has selected the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as its research base in a move to develop a "modern" soldier. A $50 m research center, to be known as the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, will work on developing aids for the modern warrior. The stated goals of the new institute include methods for accelerated healing, clothing that is nearly invisible and can also become a cast when a limb is broken, and an "exoskeleton" to provide protection from bullets, turn into a surgical cast, or activate an offensive weapon.
    Staffed by 150 people, including 35 MIT professors, 80 graduate students and army experts, the institute's six main areas of research will be:
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    Real-time automated medical treatment
    Enhanced human performance
    Threat neutralization, for example bullet-proof clothing
    Threat detection
    Concealment
    The development of lightweight equipment, reducing the loads a soldier has to carry by up to two thirds.
    There is no doubt that biometrics will be part of this development. There are, for example, already fingerprint-sensitive electronic holsters available for handguns. Recognition of friend or foe by iris recognition methods will no doubt develop, and in the envisaged development-time of a decade, the face, literally and metaphorically, of modern warfare, will change.
    BBC/MIT
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    Chips with Everything
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------Three major companies in the chip manufacturing business, Motorola of the US, Philips of Holland, and the French STMicrolectronics, are to join forces with Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) to develop new generation chip technology. The $US 1.4 billion joint venture is an expansion of a previous agreement to develop CMOS process chip technology at a factory in Crolles in the French Alps.
    The deal at present does not include the joint mass production of chips, despite the fact that the industry is suffering its worst slump in ten years. However, even the pooling of R&D expenses will dramatically reduce costs. Analysts have been urging consolidation for some time among medium sized manufacturers, and a link between ST and Philips' small semiconductor unit is seen as a logical move.
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    US manufacturer Intel continues to dominate the market, despite these agreements.
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    TSMC/STM/BBC
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    Don't Bug Me
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    Security company McAfee , known for its anti-virus programs, has discovered that many companies are not doing enough to protect themselves from virus threats such as Nimda or Code Red. A spokesman for the company, Sal Viveros, said that there were huge differences between claims of preparedness for an attack, and actual damage done by those attacks. He suggested that few small companies employ someone full-time to protect their networks, and that many only worry about malicious programs when they have to.
    McAfee's research showed that only about a third of businesses update their anti-virus software daily. 30% do it weekly, 10%monthly, and 5% only when there is a big outbreak. But things can only get worse, and the number of viruses in circulation is increasing constantly, as is the sophistication of the viruses themselves. Sal Viveros speculates that there will come a time when company security experts will not be able to keep on top of the proliferation of viruses.
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    It is a curious facet of the development of the computer both in business and in the home, that viruses have spread, as graffiti has done in cities, and are now accepted as a fact of life. Both have spawned major clean-up industries…
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    McAfee/ICSA Labs/BBC
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    Noodles Chopped
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    As a follow up to the recent revelations about the vulnerabilities of wireless networks, it seems that not even food is safe from being hacked... London noodle house Wagamama has a pretty high tech approach to taking orders, and has recently changed its remote terminals, which used to look state of the art, to Compaq iPaqs. An observant hacker, in for a bowl of noodles, noticed that the iPaqs had Lucent 802.11 wireless network cards attached... whilst waiting for his noodles, he cooked up an experiment with his laptop, and found that that the 802.11 was publicly accessible.
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    The hacker, in an anonynous email to vnunet in London, said that there were no wireless encryption protocols, and no passwords in use. He was able to gain access the entire network, and reckoned that with NMAP or other port scanning software, it was an easy process. The next step would have been changing the bill to suit the financial circumstances of the moment.
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    Paul O'Farrell, Wagamama's commercial manager said that he had not been aware of the problem, and that though access to food orders was not necessarily so important, access to the billing system was. The wireless networks are stand alone in each restaurant, so in theory a hacker could get no further than the branch server. But hackers eat away at problems. Companies which are bigger fish should perhaps take note...vnunet/LBC
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    Wearable Computers
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    US company Cybernaut has introduced a wearable computer to aid children with learning difficulties. Although not a biometric application, development of the technology will undoubtedly move rapidly, and to other applications. At present, the system, which has had promising results in trials at US schools, comes in a small backpack. It has a tough flat-panel screen, portable speakers, and a small processor,and will give a "voice" to children who find it hard to communicate verbally.
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    The touch screen contains icons, which children with celebral palsy or autism, for example, can use to help express themselves. A child with learning or communication difficulties can then take part more easily in classroom activities, or even shop. Not cheap, at nearly $5,000, but with development, and lateral application, prices will drop. Touch and eye sensitive equipment is changing rapidly, as is its uses.
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    Xybernaut/BBC
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    Cyborgs in Trouble
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    Rapid developments in modern technology don't always go hand in hand with an understanding of that technology. Professor Steve Mann of Toronto University is a self-proclaimed "cyborg", and has "worn" a computer system for the last 20 years. The system includes spectacles which connect him to the internet 24 hours a day, and a heart monitor attached to his skin.
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    Professor Mann ran into trouble with Air Canada when he was trying to board a plane in Newfoundland. He was strip searched, his heart monitor was removed, and ultimately delayed for three days. He is now suing the airline for negligence and damage to his computer system. The professor claims that "cyborgs" should be treated in the same way as anyone else with special equipment, such as those in wheelchairs.
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    Although the incident could be considered to be an example of eccentricity run wild, it does have implications for airlines, bearing in mind the rapid development of biometrics, and particularly implants which contain smart chips or transmitters.Airlines, especially those using small airports, will have to make sure that they are aware of current developments, and able to cope with their use. There is, thankfully, no "right" to fly, and as a consequence, airlines will be able to deter the more extreme of our eccentric travellers.
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    BBC/Wearcam
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    Bug Standard
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    A document proposing standards on the reporting of software security vulnerabilities has been withdrawn from the Internet's main standards-setting body. The authors have withdrawn the proposal, which was intended to help resolve disagreements between software vendors and security experts on how problems with software should be revealed to the public, from the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force)
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    The document, called the Responsible Vulnerability Disclosure Process, has met with opposition from leading security firms and security engineers, and the researchers involved have been criticised by the IETF for lack of lateral discussion before the proposed publication.
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    Disagreement between software vendors and security researchers on how much time should be allocated to the solving of software vulnerablities is a major issue. The RVDP proposed that vendors would be given 30 days to resolve a vulnerability, with the possibility of a time extension. Researchers, however, want vulnerabilites to be revealed when they are discovered, in order to force the software makers to come up with a patch.
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    Jeffrey Schiller, area director for security for the IETF also claimed that Microsoft was one of the shakers and movers behind the document, which meant that the company was protecting its interests by proposing a reporting policy which was simply a happy medium. Microsoft has not commented on the proposal, but a spokeswoman confirmed the company supports the need for consensus between security experts and vendors over the discussion of vulnerabilities.
    The authors of the document will continue to push for other options regarding its acceptance.
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    IETF/Computerworld/Bugtraq
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    Linux and Security
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    The Linux operating system, now widely used as an alternative to Windows and Unix because of its cheapness and security, is starting to become a target for hackers. However, the way in which Linux is developed and distributed, through a community of interested parties in particular, has meant that security vulnerabilities are quickly patched or fixed once they have been notified.
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    A vulnerability in a Netfilter firewall component meant that open ports could result, allowing hackers to intrude, was reported last month, and recently the zlib compression file library, used to speed network file transfers, was found to have a security weakness. This would have allowed an attacker to send a malicious code and take root control of a computer.
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    These vulnerabilities have been quickly identified and updated, largely due to the openness of distribution of Linux. Analysts and security engineers at major companies view this as a most positive aspect of the product. As Linux becomes more widely used, it will more frequently become a target for attackers. However, the fact that commercial sellers of Linux products, such as Red Hat Inc. and SuSE, respond quickly to problems ,is seen as a major benefit.
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    Computerworld/SANS
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    Security Gets Under Your Skin
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    US company Applied Digital Solutions has a product called VeriChip, which was originally intended to be sold to patients who wanted to keep their medical records under their skin. However the company now sees a market worldwide, but particularly in Latin America, for an implantable Global Positioning Satellite(GPS) device, to help foil kidnappers, and save lives. Chips have been used for years in pets and farm animals for identification purposes, but the open use of them in the human population raises many ethical questions.
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    The burgeoning use of smart card technology, and iris and fingerprint recognition systems, has provoked much discussion on privacy issues, but an "ID card" that is under your skin probably could not be bettered. However, the head of Privacy International, Simon Davies, sees the development as "unneccessary and dangerous". Surveillance of an implanted person will be simple. The issue of who does the implanting, and who does the monitoring, is not.
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    As in all technologies, the development of the chip implant is extremely rapid, and the Applied Digital Solutions product is really relatively simple. Recent developments involve chips that monitor blood chemistry, and chips connected to the nervous system to improve the use of artificial limbs or the functioning of a damaged limb. The next stage will be chips that can interpret sensation, and consequently connect people who are physically removed from each other. You will be able to "touch", (or whatever), over the internet.
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    BBC/ADS/BT
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    CeBIT Developments
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    The latest developments in recognition technology are on show at Hanover's CeBIT trade fair. For example, Visionics Corporation's face recognition system. This system, already in use at Iceland's Reykjavik Airport, analyses the bone structure of a person's face. According to Visionics' Frances Zelezny, there are about 80 points of reference on a face, and they only need to identify between 14 and 22 to make a match. The system then offers up the best 10 matches for the face, and if one of those 10 matches is on a list of undesirable or wanted people, the system will alert security or immigration controllers, who can then carry out a full ID check.
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    Visionics' product does not require first class images of people for control. Old photographs, or pictures from security cameras are perfectly adequate. However, Reykjavik Airport has yet to track down any wanted person using the system… It is, nonetheless, relatively cheap, at between $35,000 and $50,000 US. A small price to pay for peace of mind, if it works.
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    Further down the ID line is the Siemens ID mouse, which enables people logging on to a computer to place their finger on a sensor on the mouse instead of having to use a password or PIN (personal identification number). Siemens' Joerg Dahmen von Buchholz-Daburger said that a key market would be in the US, where the law on access to patient data in hospitals and clinics is very strict. He also added that its accuracy was good enough for home banking, and that it can spot the difference between a live finger and a dead finger, or even the finger of someone who had been in the bathtub too long. The thought of being denied access to your bank account because you have been enjoying a long soak doesn't bear thinking about.
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    And if you had been using your broadband connection to gain access to your bank account, you would have been vulnerable to worms or viruses to an even greater degree than with conventional connections. Now anti-virus firm Trend Micro has shown its "Gatelock" device, which sits between the PC and the broadband box which connects it to the Internet. Gatelock regularly updates itself about viruses and hacker attacks, and will warn owners if someone is sending a virus or is trying to scan their PC for vulnerabilities. It will also act as a network hub, and will work with Apple, Linux, and Windows operating systems. Basic price is envisaged to be around $150.
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    Siemens/Visionics/CeBIT/BBC
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    Smart Cards Against Fraud
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    San Francisco company PrivaSys has developed a smart card that generates a new number every time you use it, in a new development to help prevent credit card fraud. Identical in size to normal credit cards, it contains an internal chip, a small LCD screen, a magnetic stripe, and a keypad. It will also have a photograph of the cardholder as additional security.
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    The microchip will contain credit and debit card details, and using PrivaSys patented technology, users enter a four digit pin number when a transaction is made. The card will then generate a one-off, disposable number, unique to that transaction.
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    The card can be swiped through existing reading devices, but in addition, the LCD screeen can show text messages which are relevant to the transaction in progress. For example, while paying for an airline ticket, the airmiles program could offer bonuses for travellers taking flights on specific days.
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    Visa and Mastercard are currently working on their own systems to prevent fraud. Visa users attach a password to their card number, while Mastercard's scheme makes consumers download a software key which would then be used by retailers to verify the identity of the customer. Visa has said that in its experience, the introduction of PIN numbers for card holders had significantly reduced fraud levels, and that chip cards had reduced criminal activity even more drastically.
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    PrivaSys/BBC/Association for Payment Clearing Services
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    The light in your eyes...
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    German doctoral student Markus Kuhn, a researcher at Cambridge (England) University's computer science lab, reckons that under the right conditions, information could be gathered from the flickering light of the computer screen. Kuhn has found that the intensity of light given off by computer screens (not flat panel monitors) is related to the characters being displayed on that screen. By measuring fluctuations in light, either on the user's face or a wall behind the user, it is possible to recreate everything on a CRT-based computer screen. The technique won't work on liquid crystal displays because all the pixels on the screen are illuminated at the same time.
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    Interviewed by Computerworld Magazine, Kuhn said that "Even if I can't see see your screen surface, as long as your face is illuminated from a distance of 50 metres I can collect the photons from your face into a sensor and I will have a very good chance of turning it into readable text." He also added that compared to other computer security risks, it was a rather exotic form of vulnerability, and that the information available to the unauthorised reader was only that which was on the screen.
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    As a foil to Kuhn's claims, Winn Spartau, president of security firm Interpact Inc. in St.Petersburg, Florida, said that he doubted their veracity,and though he thought it might be possible to collect information from a computer user's glasses, it would require specialist equipment and be very expensive.
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    Kuhn, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D in computer security at Cambridge, will present his research findings at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in Oakland, California from May 12-15.
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    BBC/Computerworld
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    Wireless vulnerabilities
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    Wireless networks are becoming vulnerable to hackers, carrying out what they call "war-driving" expeditions. These networks, installed by many companies because they are cheap and easy to install, are becoming targets for hackers cruising areas with a laptop computer fitted with a wireless network card to find and map out the networks. Wireless networks have an encryption system built into them, but this is not turned on when the basic hardware of the system is set up.
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    Security company i-sec has shown that with the aid of an antenna made from a "Pringles" potato chip can, they were able to discover that more than two thirds of companies were doing nothing to protect themselves. Geoff Davies, the managing director of i-sec , said that 67% of the networks it found on a cruise round a business district of London had their encryption systems turned off, "opening a great big back door into their networks".
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    People going on these "war-driving" expeditions were not necessarily looking to take down corporate networks, merely to use corporate bandwidth, said Davies. However, it would not take much for someone with rather more sinister ideas to create real havoc.
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    Changing default names, moving wireless access points to the centre of a building, and switching off the networks' broadcast functions could significantly improve security in wireless networks. Adirectional antenna made with a "Pringles" can can boost signal strength by up to 15%, significantly improving the chance of discovering a wireless network on a "war-drive", and instructions for making one of these antennae are readily available on the net, for example on a link from the BBC's coverage of this issue…
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    If a number of empty "Pringles" cans are found on the street near your company headquarters, be warned.
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    Privacy and Big Brother
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    The human rights watchdog Privacy International has singled out the British Government for an award over its plans to archive all Internet traffic and e-mail. In 1998, Privacy International established the "Big Brother Awards", which not only honor outstanding contributions to preserving privacy, but also expose state erosions of privacy.
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    T he plans by the National Criminal Intelligence Service, as outlined in the British Government's Anti-Terrorism Act, to store all communication data, won the Most Appalling Project category.
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    The Lifetime Menace Award went to the British Government's plan to introduce national identity cards - a joint project between the state and the private sector.
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    The Most Heinous Government Organization Award went to the Department of Education and Skills for its plan to create a "student-tracking system", and the Norwich Union Insurance Company won the Most Invasive Organization Award for its part in the satellite tracking of vehicles project.
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    Cabinet Secretary Sir Richard Wilson was given the red light over "his long-standing commitment to opposing freedom of information, data protection, and ministerial accountability".
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    The head of Privacy International, Simon Davies, speaking at the award ceremonies at the London School of Economics, said that the erosion of privacy using technology alarmed him. He said, "During the judging process, it has become clear that government agencies and companies have stooped to an all-time low in the willful violation of our privacy. We have been almost overwhelmed this year by a flood of new entries, many of which involve technologies and techniques which are beyond the control of the law and outside the comprehension of policy makers"
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    The positive side of the Big Brother Awards singled out, amongst others, German Green MP Ilka Schroeder for her part in the investigation of the US spying system Echelon. In part due to her work, the European Parliament is now investigating Echelon. Schroeder and four others were given "Winston" awards for their outstanding contribution to the protection of privacy and human rights.
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    BBC/Privacy International
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    Net security will get worse
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    Peter Tippett, computer security pioneer, and co-author of Vaccine, one of the first anti-virus programmes launched in the days when viruses spread through floppy discs, has warned that net security is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Tippett now runs a company called TruSecure which works towards identifying the next big security problem before hackers and vandals get to it. He suggests that there is little co-ordination in internet security, despite the proliferation of experts, companies, software, and hacker groups all dispersing vast amounts of information about security vulnerabilites. Indeed, he says that this information often overwhelms the people who are employed by companies to protect their networks.
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    The problem of employees using unattended terminals to damage a company network, or commit a crime is, according to Tippett, far greater than that of vulnerable passwords, and he also says that whilst companies are spending more and more on security, that security is in fact more and more vulnerable.
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    TruSecure estimates that in 1999, 15 websites were defaced every day. In May 2001, this number had risen to 580. In addition, virus outbreaks hit Western companies hard - roughly 68% were affected by the Nimda worm, for example, although most of TruSecure's clients avoided this. The company monitors the activity of approxiamately 800 hacker groups, and collects about 200 gigabytes of net traffic every day in order to try to predict what the next big threat will be.
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    Tippett suggests that there is a great need for government organisations which would co-ordinate and monitor security programs, and distribute information about their safety and effectiveness. He likens this to air traffic regulation, where, in the early days of flight, there was little control. Now it is rigorously controlled and monitored worldwide.
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    TruSecure itself is working with many governmental groups to disseminate information about the fundamental things that companies can do to protect themselves, and also to ensure that when threats emerge, key people are informed promptly.
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    BBC/TruSecure
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    New Mode i mode
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    Despite huge usage of mobile telephones in Europe, the actual technology has up to now lagged behind that of Japan. From March, all that is about to change. Japanese company NTT DoCoMo announced on Monday that it has signed a deal with mobile operator E-Plus to bring its "i-mode" mobile internet service to Germany. The Netherlands and Belgium have already been offered the service, starting in the spring, in conjunction with KPN Mobile, who own E-Plus. NTT DoMoCo is the world's second largest mobile operator, behind Vodafone, and it owns 15% of KPN Mobile.
    "i-mode" has been an enormous success in Japan. There are thousands of sites which consumers can access, with hugely varying content, from news to games. It is fast, and makes current European technology seem dated. When it is launched in Europe, NTT DoMoCo will initially use the GPRS (general packet radio service) technology which is making its way onto European networks, and will provide E-Plus with the i-mode service under a nine year deal.
    European handset manufactures can also expect huge competition from Japanese companies such as Toshiba, which already supplies NTT DoMoCo in Japan.
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    Despite initially using the GPRS system, and despite the GSM Association (the organisation representing Europe's operators and manufacturers using current technology) introducing "m-services" last year as an answer to i-mode, NTT DoMoCo will eventually run i-mode on the 3G network, introduced in Tokyo last October.
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    All this sounds the death knell for WAP, already dying, and makes predictions about GPRS look optimistic. SMS (short message service), the youth cult, will soon have a competitor in MMS (multimedia messaging service). This will provide pictures, sounds, and even video clips. Whether adults and the business world will take to all this new technology remains to be seen.
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    Souce: NTT DoMoCo/Press/GSM Association
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    Smartcard Passports for the UK
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    The head of the UK passport office, Bernard Herdan, announced today (21st February 2002) that Great Britain could have smart card passports within four years. The cards would have fingerprint and iris recognition technology, and the claim is that security, safety, and efficiency would all be improved.
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    Herdan said that the idea could link with the controversial proposition of Home Secretary David Blunkett to have an "entitlement" standing in the UK. This is seen as a move towards compulsory ID cards.
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    Herdan stated "Our advice is that if you want very secure personal identification, a database linked to a biometric system is the way to go." He added that the move is a big step, but that it is being considered by many nations. He also told "Computing" magazine that "this is about allowing people to assert their own ID, preventing fraud, and stopping ID theft. It's not about big brother."
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    Asylum seekers in the UK were issued with such cards last month, carrying family details, nationality, date of birth, and other data.
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    There is opposition to the "smart passports" from civil liberties groups, and within the Home Office, minister Mike O'Brien estimates that costs of up to one billion pounds are too expensive and too unwieldy. In addition, smart passport holders would still have to carry conventional passports when travelling to countries which still have the conventional identification documents.
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    Source: BBC/UK Passport Office
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    Security and Air Travel
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    Security related technologies are booming in the air travel business. Both airports and individual airlines are now operating, or running trial schemes to quickly and accurately identify passengers.
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    Iris recognition is being tested at Schiphol (Amsterdam) in conjunction with Joh. Enschede BV, the iris-recognition technology supplier. About 1200 frequent flyers have been issued with special passes for the system, called Privium. Users of the system bypass the normal security controls, and instead go through a special control, where their iris geometry is compared with the information stored on their passes. If the information matches, a control gate opens automatically. Schiphol Group spokeswoman Marianne de Bie has said that outside interest is enormous, and that joint ventures between the Schiphol Group and Joh.Enschede BV are planned.
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    Meanwhile, at London's Heathrow Airport, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are launching an iris-recognition trial, which began on February 8th and is jointly administered by IATA (International Air Transport Association), and Eye Ticket. Eye Ticket's technology, known as "JetStream", and licensed from Iridian Technologies in New Jersey, works in a manner similar to the Dutch system, with a passenger's iris pattern being captured by a digital camera, and then compared to existing information (iris pattern, passport number, frequent flyer number, etc.). Virgin Atlantic's spokeswoman Wendy Buck said that the object of the trial was to make the immigration procedure easier for "Fast Track" passengers at Heathrow.
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    A pilot program for 2000 frequent fliers has been in use with Deutsche Lufthansa's FreedomPass biometrics program on the heavily subscribed Munich-Frankfurt route since May 2001, preceding the scramble for better security since September 11th.
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    In an alternative development, Billund Airport in Denmark has had a Bluetooth network installed by Red-M, a British company. Red-M's "Genos" operating system supports both Bluetooth and the 802.11-standard wireless technology. The network will be operated in conjunction with BlueTags A/S, a Danish manufacturer of Bluetooth compliant devices, based in Aalborg.
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    The trial will involve up to 500 passengers being issued with Bluetooth compliant "Bluetags" i/d, which can be read by Red-M access points up to 100 meters away. The passengers can pass checkpoints and have their location pinpointed throughout the airport. Consequently, the technology can be used to find a passenger whose luggage is on an aircraft, but who has not gone on board himself, or to track passenger movement and better regulate the flow of passengers through check-in and security. The system can also utilize the SMS system on mobile telephones, to tell passengers where the nearest space is in a parking garage, for instance, or to advise them on promotions at duty free shops.
    The trial has been running for a few days problem free, and should be complete in a few weeks, said Anders Nielsen, property manager and technical director at Billund.
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    These technologies are not in their infancy, but the use of them is. We can expect (or hope for) rapid rationalization of systems worldwide, compatibility being the watchword. In a very short space of time, check-in and security controls at major international airports will be radically different experiences. They should be much safer, and much faster. The problems will come with integrating smaller airports, airlines, and countries, into one unified system.
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    Source: BBC/computerworld/press
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    Britain catches up ...
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    Britain's banking industry trade body, APACS, said on February 8th that in an effort to counteract huge fraud losses, all UK credit and debit card transactions will be authorized by personal identification numbers (PIN) rather than by signature in the future. Fraud in the UK is currently estimated at around $600 million per year.
    The introduction of these changes, which will involve card reading and PIN entry terminals being installed at checkout tills, has been met with some resistance by smaller retailers, wary of the considerable setup cost. These are estimated at around $500 million for installation, but will bring Britain into line with many other European countries where such schemes are already in use. Major high street retailers such as Dixons (electrical goods), and Tesco (supermarkets) are expected to announce trials later this year.
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    Source: Press/BBC
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    Who is watching you? Auto ID ...
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    Sun Microsystems has joined the Auto-ID program at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), which enables wireless digital identification tags to be built into every conceivable consumer good, announced chief executive Scott McNealy on February 7th. The MIT program is funded by retail giants Unilever, Wal-Mart, Tesco, Gillette, Proctor & Gamble, and Target, among others.
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    The plan is to fit every item the consumer selects in a store with tag containing a miniature chip and enough memory (96bits) to keep track of a digital identity. The consumer's credit card will then be debited with the appropriate amount on passing through a checkout area, which simultaneously "tells" the store what to restock.
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    Gillette spokesman Steve Brayton said that the main aim of the program is to keep store shelves full, adding that, at present, 8% of items that consumers are looking for are out of stock on a weekday afternoon; 11% on a Sunday. He also thought that the technology would reduce theft. At present, Wal-Mart has a pilot project to test the technology on Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Brayton suggested that there would be early interest in the next two to three years, widespread use within the next ten.
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    A barrier to widespread adoption at the moment is cost. With existing technology, a tag costs about 50cents, which is a lot to add onto low-cost consumer items such as soft drinks, for example. Gillette expects the investment to pay off in the long run, but in the meantime, researchers at Auto-ID Center are working on the goal of a 5-cent tag. Research Director Sanjay Sarma produced a paper in February that describes a plan to build a low cost prototype within the year.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another barrier to widespread adoption is privacy. This is a major concern with many modern technologies. What and where products are bought, and by whom, are now relatively private and discrete transactions. They could be put under central surveillance with this new technology, however. And the original use of the technology has a habit of changing. For example, the transponders used for billing motorists when they drive through electronic tollbooths are now used, in combination with timing analysis, to send out speeding tickets.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Next time you buy that bottle of wine, or tube of suntan lotion, big brother may be "watching"…
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: Press/zdnet/Gillette
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    The killer smart card
    app ...


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ... we've all been waiting for! Check out the banner at the upper right of the www.britneyspears.com website. What's behind the "Britney Smartflash™ Collectible Cards"? They're "…your key to unlock[ing] Britney's virtual private world - exclusive photos… videos… and offers only available to the Britney SmartFlash Community." When these cards become available, teen buyers will be purchasing a smart card and reader for access to everything they wanted to know about Britney (but were afraid to ask). Not only that, the smart card is available with a variety of pictures on the front. Even before the cards can be bought, site visitors can now vote on which design they like most. And the Britney Smartflash™ is apparently only the first of its kind - similar offers featuring other celebrities are expected to follow.
    Though the Britney cards have not shipped yet, StatCard Entertainment Inc. (www.statcard.com) started selling its so-called Smart Trading Cards, which are aimed at skateboard enthusiasts. These cards will give kids access to protected areas of the company's site and enable them to find out about their favorite skateboarders, play a variety of games, and increase the value of their cards by playing (and, we assume, winning) site games.
    Maybe this modern version of "baseball cards" is all that is needed to make kids familiar with smart cards, in the expectation that as adults, they won't be willing to do without smart card advantages. Look for other smart card apps targeting teens during the next year… Now if only the folks at www.StarTrek.net would jump on the bandwagon and get older folks into smart cards…
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mobile and wireless applications revisited
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Although mobile and wireless apps are often considered to be one monolithic market, Gartner (www.gartner.com) corrects a number of mistaken impressions in a recent article. First of all, this market is actually comprised of a wide variety of software and applications, from very simple to very complex, for all types of devices, not just cell phones. Secondly, there are only three basic applications: mobile, wireless, and wireless Internet. Thirdly, such applications are not just consumer items - here, too, there is a wide span of user segments which take advantage of such technology.
    Gartner suggests that several of these segments are promising, while others are overhyped. The former category includes personal, customer-to-customer, and business-to-employee apps; the latter includes business-to-consumer and business-to-business uses. To explain, for example, why business-to-consumer applications are not growing as fast as some might have expected, Gartner makes a simple point: people don't tend to connect with strangers - they connect to their friends or play games or use other services alone. As an extension of this, connecting to friends is driving the C2C segment, which means SMS in Europe and e-mail in the United States. And because business use of laptops and applications for employees in the field is high, and stable as well, applications for this segment are also expected to grow. The issue of security for such applications remains extremely important - data theft continues unabated - keeping IT companies who provide encryption or disk protection services in the right niche.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Users of MP3 Internet music file swapping services may be vulnerable to hackers Since the demise of "Napster", shut down in July by US courts for breach of copyright, listeners have taken to using the file-swapping program Morpheus, which is legal at present because there is no server storing the files. Instead, using the program, users contact each other to copy music files.
    Sources say that hackers can gain access to the hard drives of people using the Morpheus program as well as a random list of people using the service, and then obtain and copy any files on the victims' hard drive.The consequence, if security is not tightened up, is that virtually every Morpheus user's computer is vulnerable to anyone ingenious and dishonest enough to want to gain access to it. Approximately two million people use Morpheus. It takes little imagination to see the implications of this...
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: Internet resources/BBC
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Biometrics market expected to explode
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Consumer insecurity after 9/11, the growing frequency of identity theft, and financial losses due to credit card fraud are all contributing to greater investments in and acceptance of biometrics. A number of major banks, including Citibank and Huntington Bancshares Inc. are considering biometric technology for future customer identification. Citibank and Deutsche Bank already use this technology for positive identification of employees working in sensitive areas.Identity theft is increasing more rapidly than any other crime in the US, accounting for 42% of over 200,000 complaints filed last year. This factor is slowly changing consumers' minds about biometrics, because they are starting to see biometrics as one possibility for combating this crime. Banks, some of whom put their efforts to install biometric technology on ice several years ago, are also beginning to see biometrics as an effective way of fighting credit card fraud, which cost them almost $9 billion in 2001.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: Computerworld
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Internet security in a worrisome state
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Riptech, a US American security consulting company, has just released a major report quantifying Internet attacks during the second half of 2001. Such attacks increased dramatically during this period, increasing by 79%. Hackers spent considerable energy attacking the high-tech, financial services, and power and energy industries. One interesting find is that attacks from Asian countries tend to target the financial services industry whereas attacks from the Middle East concentrate on the power and energy industry. The authors also say that 70% of all attacks come from 10 countries. Although the US is the top attack source in sheer numbers, when the figures are broken down according to the number of attacks made per 10,000 Internet users, a very different result comes up. Israel leads by a wide margin, according to Riptech. Report authors claim that their investigation is more accurate - and depressing - because it is based on the analysis of vast amounts of empirical data collected over a long period of time, rather than just being a survey of network administrators.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: www.e-smartransaction.com and www.riptech.com
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    VeriSign and IBM cooperate on Internet security
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    The two giants signed an agreement on January 22nd whose goal is to promote trusted Internet communications. Security is the keyword here. Together, the two companies hope to integrate key products and technologies which will increase security especially for business customers. VeriSign, as the leading provider of digital trust services and IBM as the leading infrastructure and technology provider intend to draw up a plan for the future of Internet e-business. This plan includes developing standards-based solutions for secure e-business, such as secure messaging, secure extranets, intranets, e-commerce sites, and secure document management. A so-called Entitlements Management Service will combine online authentication, single sign-on, digital identification services and signatures, and various other features with dynamic updating of user information. John Pescatore, Gartner Inc. VP and research director of network security, says that this deal may make things tough for stand-alone PKI vendors, but he hopes that it will get the B2B marketplace going again.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: www.verisign.com and www.computerworld.com
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    German government increases e-sig-support
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    By 2005, the German government hopes to be able to offer all its services to citizens via Internet. All documents will be able to be downloaded, filled in, signed electronically, and returned to the agency in question. The most important step is to equip all federal agencies with the necessary hard- and software, which is expected to be completed by 2003. The government will concentrate first on making all public invitations for bids available in the Internet. Secretary of the Interior Brigitte Zypries said that the German government hopes its actions will contribute to a breakthrough for digital signature technology in both the public and private sectors. Officials assume that there is an enormous potential for growth in this area. It is also expected that regions and communities will follow suit, putting the entire country online within the decade.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Airline (in-)security?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    The US-American airline industry is up against a deadline this week - by January 18th, the government is requiring that every bag destined to travel by aircraft be screened for explosives. Unfortunately, however, airline security systems are more often than not in a state of disarray. The demands made on them since 9/11 include positive bag-matching, explosives-detection, and verification that passenger identification documents haven't been forged. And all with no clear direction about technologies to be implemented or interoperability. An additional concern is the insecurity of wireless LANs used by a number of airlines to transmit information about bags and curbside customer check-in to other areas of the airport. In a number of documented cases, this information is not even rudimentarily encrypted, making it easy for hackers to obtain and possibly manipulate information. Federal agencies, security companies, and airlines are scrambling to get better standards, technology, and procedures in place, but this week's deadline will be long past by the time the situation is noticeably improved.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: Computerworld
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Security is top priority in 2002
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gartner released its Top 10 business predictions for 2002 last week. While the overall tenor of this forecast is that the IT industry will continue to be faced by tough challenges, security - of people, places, knowledge, and systems - will be a top concern. Events of the past year have caused changes to the way people view the IT world. This is causing spending to be under tight scrutiny, but Gartner experts say this is not necessarily bad. Especially in the security branch, 2002 is expected to be a year in which government, public-sector, private, and military institutions assess their security situations and take concerted action to increase safety and security - as well as privacy. The Gartner report suggests that individuals responsible for security within organizations can virtually "write their own tickets". While cautioning that business travel may decrease, the report suggests that remote-work situations may increase, which will also increase the demand for highly secure information-sharing systems.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: Gartner
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Still Unprepared?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), a division of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., reports that U.S. companies are not taking the steps they should to ensure the security of their computer systems. The benefits from security investments can't necessarily be seen, so companies tend to skimp in this area. The CSTB recommendations include that companies make sure they have the right security tools, that employees know how to use these, that frequent, unannounced tests of IT-systems are made to check for vulnerabilities, and that strong authentication mechanisms are installed to protect information and systems. The subtitle of the CSTB's report is "Pay Now or Pay Later" - and it's implicit that paying now may be a lot more economical than having to pay later.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: National Academy of Science / National Academy Press (www.nap.edu)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Giesecke & Devrient and Siemens to supply smart ID cards to Macao
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) has been subcontracted by Siemens to manufacturer smart ID cards for citizens of Macao. Up to 540,000 residents of this country will receive an ID chipcard with a variety of functions: biometric identification, digital signature, and payment services. The card can also serve as a driver's license.
    This contract is a world-premiere - the first time anywhere that a multifunction card will be used as an ID card.
    G&D will supply the card body, the chip operating system, and the basic applications such as the digital signature, biometric features, personalization equipment, and the complete data logistics functions - which amounts to 80% of the total solution.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: www.gieseckedevrient.com
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    PSE wins MERCUR award for [email protected]
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    The MERCUR awards were instituted over ten years ago by the Vienna Economic Chamber to encourage and honor innovative efforts by Austrian companies. PSE was recently awarded two prizes for its innovative work, one for its product [email protected], produced jointly by PSE and EWW (Elektronikwerk Wien -Vienna Electronics Plant). [email protected] enables the creation and verification of electronic signatures in compliance with the ITSEC E2 assurance level ("high"). The device has completed certification and will play an important role in the development of the "paperless" office. [email protected] is the first terminal approved in Austria according to section 18(5) of the Austrian Signature Act and will provide support to Austrian government bodies for their e-government activities as well as to business enterprises, especially banks and insurance companies, for their e-business activities.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: www.pse.siemens.at
 
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