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Category Archives: Cloning

VACC warns of number-plate cloning scam, motorists left to prove innocence – CarAdvice

Posted: August 8, 2017 at 4:15 am

Guilty until proven innocent?

The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) is this week shining a light on the most heinous practice of number-plate cloning, which it claims has left numerous car dealers fighting traffic infringement penalties.

In one case, the VACC says, a Licensed Motor Car Trader was fined over $16,000 for a single incidence of number plate cloning.

The process of cloning a number plate is said to be as simple as spying a vehicle of identical model and colour, noting its number plate, and reproducing it as easily as printing a mocked-up copy or hand-drawing it.

VACC Executive Director, Geoff Gwilym, says that while any motorist can be a victim, it is car dealers a group the VACC represents most likely to be targeted.

Criminals go online, or drive past a dealership, and note the registration of a particular vehicle. They then get these plates copied and go driving all over town in a similar vehicle, accumulating speeding and red light fines, CityLink tolls and parking infringements, all while the original vehicle has been on the dealers lot, Gwilym says.

He said that unsold, registered vehicles sitting on dealer lots are a popular target because offenders can use the cars number plate details for sometime without the crime being detected.

Victims of this crime often dont know anything about it until a fine arrives in the mail. By this time, the penalty may be considerable. Several dealer members have reported fines in the thousands of dollars.

So far, Gwilym says, victims have been told to prove their innocence in court, and authorities have revealed no plans to combat the issue.

Anyone receiving a suspect fine should challenge the decision. Those affected can request of Civic Compliance that they issue photographs of the alleged offence. This can be used in creating a defence. Importantly, bring the indiscretion to the attention of Civic Compliance as soon as possible and build a case.

The VACC has proposed a barcoded sticker, placed on the inside surface of a vehicles windscreens, would be harder to replicate and thus a possible solution to ruling out victim as perpetrator.

VACC calls on the appropriate authorities to investigate all possible solutions to this wide-spread crime that potentially could affect every motorist in Australia, said Mr Gwilym.

CarAdvice has contacted VicRoads, Victoria Police and Civic Compliance for comment, and will update this story if a response is forthcoming.

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How to clone a hard drive or SSD – PC Gamer

Posted: at 4:15 am

You just bought a brand new shiny SSD and want to throw it into your aging mid-tower PC. But wait, the horror of having to reinstall Windows again and all of your applications begins to set in. If you dont want to deal with the hassle of reinstalling Windows, you can use a simple cloning utility to clone your old drive to your new SSD. Weve rounded up three free cloning utilities that are easy to use so you dont have to go through the effort of reinstalling your OS and applications all over again.

Note: Before you attempt to clone your hard drive or SSD, w e highly recommend backing up all your data first. In addition, make sure the drive you are cloning to has enough storage space to take all the cloned data. For instance, you wouldn't want to try and clone a 2TB HDD on to a 256GB SSD now would you?

The first data copying method we'll go over pertains to Samsung Data Migration. So make sure you plop that new Samsung SSD in along with your old OS drive you want to clone from.

Note: You will need a Samsung SSD installed on your machine for this software to work.

Step 1: Download the installer from http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/samsungssd/downloads.html

Step 2: Run the installer and click "I accept" at the end of it to agree to the terms and conditions.

Step 3: Once the software is installed, it will launch and ask if you if you want to update to the latest version. Click on Update and you will begin downloading the newest patches for it.

Step 4: After the update is complete the software will have you install patches and will have you agree to the Samsung terms and conditions again.

Step 5: From this window, you will select the Source Disk and Target Disk . The Target Disk must be a Samsung SSD , but the Source Disk can be any C: Drive you currently have your OS on . Once youve selected your disks, you can start cloning by clicking Start and the cloning process will begin. Note: Leave your computer alone while you're cloning the OS, as you may corrupt the clone if other processes are being run at the same time. This goes for the other cloning utilities as well.

After the software is done cloning, you can shut down your PC and boot from your newly-cloned SSD.

The second method we will discuss uses the program Macrium Reflect and will work with any drive, regardless of brand. So before you begin, make sure you plop in that new drive along with your old drive you want to clone from.

Step 1: Go to the free version of Macrium here.

Step 2: Click on the download button in the Macrium Reflect Download Agent and then run the softwares installer.

Note: Make sure to read the fine print throughout the installation process to not install any adware. Cnet's Download.com has become infamous for sneaking it in (Here are some general tips to avoiding installing malware/adware).

Step 3: Open up the software and click on Clone this disk Once you do this the software will let you choose which disks you want as your source and target disks. When you have selected your disks, click next to start cloning your drive.

Macrium Reflect useful tips:

Creating bootable rescue media: Macrium Reflect can also help you make bootable rescue media. This tool is located under Other Tasks. We always recommend making recovery media, just in case your hard drive or SSD fails on you.

Creating an image of your hard drives: Under Backup Tasks, you can also create a disk image of your hard drive or SSD too.

These are but three cloning tools, there are many others such as Seagate's DiscWizard ( for Seagate drives) along with other free storage cloning tools such as G-Parted and Clonezilla.

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How to clone a hard drive or SSD - PC Gamer

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A natural gas boom in the Adriatic has created teeming nurseries of self-cloning baby jellyfish – Quartz

Posted: August 6, 2017 at 3:12 am

One of the eeriest mysteries of the sea is the sudden surge in jellyfish over the last few decades. Consider the tale of the moon jellyfish. Since the first big moon jellyfish bloom was recorded in the Adriatic in 1910, moon jelly populations seemed to follow a predictable cycle. Theyd turn up in normal numbers most years, and every couple of decades, clog the shores in huge gummy swarms.

Then in 1999, something alarming happened. The huge blooms that had stippled the Adriatic only every few decades now appeared year after year. The cycle had tightenedbut what, exactly, had tightened it continues to mystify scientists.

Now a team of Slovenian marine biologists thinks theyve found a key culprit: natural gas rigs.

Computer simulations by Martin Vodopivec and his team that recreate ocean dynamics and moon jellyfish life cycles suggest that gas platforms are helping to sustain moon jellyfish blooms in the Adriatic, according to a new peer-reviewed study in Environmental Research Letters.

How exactly do gas platforms help moon jellies survive? The answer involves the most fascinatingand disturbingthing about jellyfish biology: the truly bizarre way in which they reproduce.

When two adult jellyfisha.k.a. medusasmate and produce a fertilized egg, that egg doesnt just grow into a tiny version of themselves, like most creatures. Instead, that egg is actually a totally different creatureone that will never turn into a medusa like its parents.

Also called planulae or larvae, these free-swimming eggs are tiny and are shaped a bit like a miniature flattened pear, as the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History helpfully puts it. A planula drifts around until it bangs into a smooth, hard surface that it can latch on to. Once settled, it grows into a polyp, sprouting tentacle-like appendages so that it looks like a cross between a tiny tree and a sea anemone.

Then, when conditions are right, those arm-like things begin pulsating, and out pop a dozen or so baby jellies (which scientists call ephyrae). Those are the creatures that ultimately grow into that familiar umbrella-shaped beastie that we think of when we hear the word jellyfish. Polyps can repeat that process a few more times before they croak.

So far, so linear. But polyps have a nifty trick for whiling away the months (or years) until its showtime for baby-pulsating: They reproduce asexually. Meaning, they clone themselves.

And those clones? They clone themselves too, forming dense polyp families on whatever surface theyve colonized. What look like delicate little gardens are actually high-octane jellyfish-making factories.

This seed-bank strategy is pure evolutionary golda hedge against the possibility that medusas might starve, get eaten by predators, or killed by bad weather before they can mate. Its designed to create jellyfish en masse. Since medusas odds of producing fertilized eggs that make it to the polyp phase arent great, the more clones a polyp creates, the greater the chance of species survival.

But that all depends on little pear-shaped planulae finding a good home and hunkering down on a smooth, hard surface.

A few centuries ago, those homes were scarce. The best real estate going was typically a rock or a shell. Those lucky few that managed to find one didnt tend to have much space for growing a clone colony.

An Adriatic gas rig, thoughnow theres a nice place to settle down and raise a (very extended) jellyfish family.

Drilling platforms first went up in the natural gas-rich Adriatic in the 1960s. Now there are around 150 of them, according to Vodopivec and his co-authors. That means theres scads of space for polyps to expand their insane clone posses.

Mass polyp colonization certainly would help explain why blooms began taking off around the same time the Adriatics natural gas bonanza did. But finding evidence is tricky when the proof stands only a single millimeter tall.

In 2008, Italian researchers found moon jelly polyps clustered on a sunken iron motorboat (pdf) off the coast of Italy. The polypswhich were attached both to the oysters that had settled on the stern and directly to the ship itselfsat in clusters as many as 40 polyps per square centimeter. (At that density, more than 2,400 polyps would fit on a 3M Post-It Note.)

Across the Adriatic in Slovenia, Alenka Maleja veteran jellyfish biologist and co-author of the latest paperhad been searching for moon jelly polyps since 2000, clocking more than 1,000 hours peering through at seafloor rocks through scuba masks. Malej herself never found any polyps. However, in 2009, however, an ecological survey team took a peek under the port of Koper. Encrusted with oysters, the dock pillars teemed with moon jelly polyps in maximum densities of around 27 per square centimeter. The scientists were restricted to surveying a single pier; they found polyps on all 574 of its pillars. According to their estimates, the Koper pier colony capably of releasing as many as 50 billion baby jellyfish (pdf, p.1) in the space of days.

Since then, similar moon jelly polyp colonies have been found in ports in Split and Ploe. Malej also identified a polyp colony onyou guessed iton a gas platform.

Still, even though the simulations run by Vodopivec and Malej suggest a connection, we dont know for sure that polyps are settling on rigs en masseand leading to big jellyfish bloomsfor the simple reason that theyre so hard to find.

The idea that the blooms and the boom are connected isnt far-fetched, though. Theres plenty more anecdotal and experimental evidence around the globe to support the hypothesis that the burgeoning of manmade marine surfaces drives coastal jellyfish blooms, as Malej and other jellyfish biologists argued in an exhaustive 2013 survey. For instance, 2014 study by leading jellyfish biologist Shin-ichi Uye found that after a new pier was installed in the Inland Sea of Japan, polyps quickly settled there; 25 million extra baby jellies appeared soon after. And a group of German scientists found a similar relationship between moon jelly abundance and wind farms in the Baltic Sea (paywall).

Still, the cryptic nature of these polyp colonies means a clear causal relationship remains elusive. Adding to the challenge is the fact that jellyfish blooms are also influenced by warming temperatures, overfishing, and eutrophication, to name just a few of many factors.

This mystery feeds into a much deeper jellyfish controversy. A slew of leading scientists are skeptical that a jellyfish takeover is actually happening at all.

Its clear that blooms are on the riseboth in magnitude and frequencyin some patches of the world, according to research done over the last couple decades. One of the only studies to quantify anecdotal information suggested that in more than three-fifths of large marine areas, jellyfish abundance was on the rise. Only 7% of large marine areas reported a decline.

However, the reigning counterargument to the global rise in jellyfish was put forth by many of the all-stars of jellyfish biology in 2013. Jellyfish populations, these scientists argued (pdf), go through 20-year oscillations. The oscillation camp notes that while there has been a small linear rise in jellyfish blooms since the 1970s, more data are required to determine whether this trend marks a true shift in the baseline of their abundanceor just another oscillation.

To their chagrin, academic journals seemingly love the idea of a global jellyfish takeover. A recent analysis found that a whopping half of published papers suffered from jellyfish invasion biasa narrative with horror-movie appeal that the media merrily runs with.

It may be a while before biologists know for sure whether the jellyfish invasion is temporary or here to say. But lets hope the oscillation hypothesis is correctnot just because of the havoc the creatures wreak on fishing and coastal plants, but for the sake of tourists trying to enjoy a sting-free seaside vacation.

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Here’s the list of some of the famous living creatures that were patented – Economic Times

Posted: at 3:12 am

The United States Patent and Trademark Office considers non-naturally occurring, nonhuman, multicellular living organisms, including animals, to be patentable subject matter. Here are some of the famous living creatures that were patented:

Dolly the sheep She was the worlds first mammal produced by cloning. Instead of being the product of a fertilised egg, her DNA material was taken from the cell of another sheep.

Dolly was cloned in 1996 and lived a normal life until she was euthanised in 2003. The Roslin Institute researchers who did the cloning tried to patent Dolly, her offspring, and the process of cloning her. However, the institute was only allowed to patent the process used in cloning Dolly

OncoMouse This is the worlds first patented animal. Created to study the formation and treatment of cancer in humans, Harvard University was granted a patent in April 1988 for the OncoMouse, which was classified as a Transgenic Non-Human Mammal.

Later, Harvard licensed it to chemical company DuPont, which had been involved in its development. The patent generated some controversy among animal rights activists, who questioned the morality of patenting a living creature.

Pseudomonas Bacteria A new species of oil spill eating Pseudomonas bacteria was the first genetically modified creature ever patented. It was made by inserting into a single species the DNA from four species of oil spilleating bacteria in the Pseudomonas genus

AquAdvantage Salmon This is the first patented and genetically modified salmon that has been approved by the FDA for commercial production and consumption. A product of AquaBounty Technologies, it is made by adding genes to an Atlantic salmon from the Pacific Chinook and the ocean pout. The result is a GM salmon that grows two times faster than regular salmon.

GloFish The GloFish is the worlds first genetically modified pet. It is a patented zebra-fish that glows under ultraviolet light. Initially, the GloFish was not made as a pet but as a sort of biological instrument to detect water pollution. The first GloFish was made by Singaporean scientists who wanted fish that glowed whenever the water they inhabited was polluted.

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Here's the list of some of the famous living creatures that were patented - Economic Times

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Playing with Fire: Trump’s Iran Policy Risks Cloning North Korea – International Policy Digest (press release) (blog)

Posted: August 5, 2017 at 6:23 am

As US President Donald J. Trump gropes with a set of bad options for responding to North Koreas rapidly expanding nuclear and ballistic missiles program, he risks creating a similar, potentially explosive dilemma in the Middle East with his efforts to tighten the screws on Iran, if not engineer an end to the two-year old nuclear agreement Iran concluded with world powers.

In fact, Mr. Trumps apparent determination to either humiliate Iran with ever more invasive probes of universally certified Iranian compliance with the agreement or ensure its abrogation could produce an even more dangerous crisis than the one he is dealing with in East Asia. Putting an end to the nuclear agreement could persuade Iran, as did US policy under former president Barak Obama in the case of North Korea, that a nuclear military capability is central to its security.

The risk in East Asia is a devastating military confrontation in which in the words of US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who warned, quoting Mr. Trump, that If theres going to be a war to stop (North Korea), it will be over there. If thousands die, theyre going to die over there. Theyre not going to die over here.

The key difference between North Korea and Iran is not the specter of massive casualties in case of military action. It is the fact that in contrast to East Asia where the pariah states nuclear proliferation has not prompted others in the region like South Korea and Japan to launch programs of their own, an Iranian return to an unsupervised nuclear program would likely accelerate an already dangerous arms race in the Middle East to include countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE seeking a nuclear capability of their own.

Even without the arms race, Israel, the Middle Easts only, albeit undeclared, nuclear power, threatened prior to the conclusion of the nuclear agreement, to militarily take out Iranian facilities.

A termination of the agreement could also accelerate thinking in Riyadh and Washington about the utility of fostering unrest among Irans ethnic minorities in an attempt to destabilize the Islamic republic and create an environment conducive to regime change. The strategy risks not only adding to conflict already wracking the Middle East, but further endangering stability in Pakistan.

Even without a covert effort to destabilize Iran, Iranian leaders would likely see an end to the nuclear agreement as part of an effort to ultimately topple them a perception that would enhance the attractiveness of the North Korean model.

The risk is enhanced by another difference between the North Korean crisis and a potential one involving Iran. World powers agree that the North Korean program needs to be curbed but differ on how that can best be achieved.

When it comes to Iran, the United States is, however, likely to find itself out on a limb by itself. The USs partners in the agreement with Iran China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain believe Iran is in full compliance and there is no justification for endangering an accord that prevents the Islamic republic from developing a nuclear military capability for at least a decade. Similarly, the USs closest allies in the Gulf, dread the prospect of escalated tensions with Iran.

Few countries have more to lose in such a scenario than Washingtons Gulf Arab allies, which is why they have urged the United States to rigorously enforce, but not scrap, the nuclear agreement.As long as the JCPOA is in force and being implemented, Iran will not become a nuclear power and there is therefore no need for a dangerous and unpredictable military confrontation. Without it, such a conflict, or the equally alarming and unacceptable emergence of Iran as a nuclear power, could become inevitable, said Hussein Ibish, a scholar at the Gulf-funded Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Mr. Ibish was referring to the nuclear agreement by its acronym.

A litmus test of which way Mr. Trump will go looms large when the president in three months time must decide whether to certify to Congress for a third time that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear agreement. Indications suggest that the president is looking for a way to either unilaterally abrogate the agreement or provoke Iran to walk away from it.

Mr. Trumps problem is that his unsupported view of the nuclear agreement is not an isolated issue but fits a pattern that has alarmed the United States European and Asian allies as well as China and Russia. The pattern was established by his unilateral termination of US adherence to the Paris climate change accord, cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), cutting of funding to UN agencies, sowing of doubts about the USs commitment to the NATO principle that an attack on one is an attack on all, and an overall sense that he threatens security and stability by undermining the international order.

Last month Mr. Trump instructed White House aides to give him the arguments for withholding certification in October. The Trump administration is also looking at pushing for more intrusive inspections of Iranian military sites that it deems suspicious, a move Iran has rejected and considers inflammatory. Mr. Trump would likely argue that an Iranian refusal would amount to a violation of the agreement.

On the plus side, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster fired two proponents of tougher action against Iran, Derek Harvey and Ezra Cohen-Watnick. proteges of Mr. Trumps strategic advisor and far-right ideologue Steve Bannon, Messrs. Harvey and Cohen-Watnick were the two remaining hires of Mr. Mc Masters short-lived predecessor, General Michael Flynn, an anti-Iranian firebrand.

Concerned that new US sanctions imposed this month will scare off potential European investors, Iran, in a precursor of the kind of volatility that would be sparked by an end to the nuclear agreement, said that it would strengthen its Revolutionary Guards and its Al Quds Force. The targets of the US sanctions, the Guards are the spearhead of growing Iranian influence across the Middle East with their involvement in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Trumps presidency could follow the same trajectory as the man he so often ridicules: George W. Bush that of a president who manufactured a crisis, ignited an endless conflict, and eroded Americas standing around the globe, warned businessman and scholar Amir Handjani in a commentary on the US effort to end the nuclear agreement.

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Trump’s Iran Policy Risks Cloning North Korea – Fair Observer

Posted: August 4, 2017 at 1:17 pm

James Dorsey

James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and commentator on foreign affairs who has covered ethnic and religious conflict and terrorism across t

By scrapping the accord, Iran is likely to adopt a North Korean outlook: that nuclear military capability is central to its security.

As US President Donald Trump grapples with a set of bad options for responding to North Koreas rapidly expanding nuclear and ballistic missiles program, he risks creating a similar, potentially explosive dilemma in the Middle East with his efforts to tighten the screws on Iran, if not engineer an end to the nuclear agreement. In fact, Trumps apparent determination to either humiliate Iran with ever more invasive probes of universally-certified Iranian compliance with the agreement or ensure its abrogation could produce an even more dangerous crisis than the one he faces in East Asia.

Putting an end to the accordcould persuade Iran as did US policy under former President Barack Obama in the case of North Korea that a nuclear military capability is central to its security.

The risk in East Asia is a devastating military confrontation. In the words of US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who warned, quoting Trump: If theres going to be a war to stop [North Korea], it will be over there.If thousands die, theyre going to die over there. Theyre not going to die over here.

The key difference between North Korea and Iran is not the specter of massive casualties in case of military action. It is the fact that in contrast to East Asia, where the pariah states nuclear proliferation has not prompted others in the region like South Korea and Japan to launch programs of their own, an Iranian return to an unsupervised nuclear program would likely accelerate an already dangerous arms race in the Middle East to include countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seeking a nuclear capability of their own. Even without the arms race, Israel the Middle Easts only, albeit undeclared, nuclear power threatened prior to the conclusion of the nuclear agreement to militarily take out Iranian facilities.

A termination of the agreement could also accelerate thinking in Riyadh and Washington about the utility of fostering unrest among Irans ethnic minorities in an attempt todestabilize the Islamic Republic and create an environment conducive to regime change. The strategy not only risks adding to conflict already wracking the Middle East, but further endangering stability in Pakistan.

Even without a covert effort to destabilize Tehran, Iranian leaders would likely see an end to the nuclear agreement as part of an effort to ultimately topple them a perception that would enhance the attractiveness of the North Korean model.

The risk is enhanced by another difference between the North Korean crisis and a potential one involving Iran. World powers agree that the North Korean program needs to be curbed but differ on how that can best be achieved. When it comes to Iran, however, the United States is likely to find itself out on a limb by itself. US partners in the agreement with Iran China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain believe Tehran is in full compliance and there is no justification for endangering an accord that prevents the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear military capability for at least a decade. Similarly, Washingtons closest allies in the Gulf dread the prospect of escalated tensions with Iran.

Few countries have more to lose in such a scenario than Washingtons Gulf Arab allies, which is why they have urged the United States to rigorously enforce, but not scrap, the nuclear agreement As long as the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is in force and being implemented, Iran will not become a nuclear power and there is therefore no need for a dangerous and unpredictable military confrontation. Without it, such a conflict, or the equally alarming and unacceptable emergence of Iran as a nuclear power, could become inevitable, saidHussein Ibish, a scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute.

A litmus test of which way Trump will go looms large when the president,in October, must decide whether to certify to Congress for a third time that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear agreement. Indications suggest the president is looking for a way to either unilaterally abrogate the agreement or provoke Iran to walk away from it.

Trumps problem is that his unsupported view of the nuclear agreement is not an isolated issue, but fits a pattern that has alarmed Washingtons European and Asian allies as well as China and Russia. The pattern was established by his unilateral termination of US adherence to the Paris climate change accord; cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; cutting of funding to UN agencies; sowing of doubts about Americas commitment to the NATO principle that an attack on one is an attack on all; and an overall sense that he threatens security and stability by undermining the international order.

In July, Trump instructed White House aides to give him thearguments for withholding certificationlater this year. The Trump administration is also looking at pushing formore intrusive inspectionsof Iranian military sites that it deems suspicious, a move Iran has rejected and considers inflammatory. The president would likely argue that an Iranian refusal would amount to a violation of the agreement.

On the plus side, National Security Advisor H.R. McMasterfired two proponents of tougher action against Iran, Derek Harvey and Ezra Cohen-Watnick. Protgs of President Trumps strategic advisor and far-right ideologue, Steve Bannon, both Harvey and Cohen-Watnick were the two remaining hires of McMasters short-lived predecessor, General Michael Flynn, an anti-Iranian firebrand.

Concerned that new US sanctions imposed this month will scare off potential European investors, Iran, in a precursor of the kind of volatility that would be sparked by an end to the nuclear accord, said it wouldstrengthen the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Al Quds Force. The target of US sanctions, the IRGC is the spearhead of growing Iranian influence across the Middle East with its involvement in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Trumps presidency could follow the same trajectory as the man he so often ridicules: George W. Bush that of a president who manufactured a crisis, ignited an endless conflict, and eroded Americas standing around the globe, warnedAmir Handjani in an article on the US effort to end the nuclear agreement.

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observers editorial policy.

Photo Credit: donfiore / Shutterstock.com

Join our community of more than 1,800 contributors to publish your perspective, share your narrative and shape the global discourse. Become a Fair Observer and help us make sense of the world.

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Trump's Iran Policy Risks Cloning North Korea - Fair Observer

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That dream bike may not be the bargain you hoped for as the number plates may be cloned – Leicester Mercury

Posted: at 1:17 pm

Vehicle security company Tracker is flagging up statistics which reveal that one in 12 of the 37 million cars, lorries and motorbikes registered in the UK is likely to have false plates.

While vehicle cloning is most commonly associated with cars, it is increasingly being used to hide the identity of stolen motorcycles.

More than 26,000 motorcycles are stolen every year and many are often used for serious criminal offences such as burglaries and robberies.

Andy Barrs, head of police liaison at Tracker, said: Fraudsters continue to use more sophisticated methods to hide the true identity of stolen motorcycles and then sell them on to innocent buyers who think theyre getting a dream bike at a bargain price.

The majority of bikes that are stolen are less than three years old and a staggering 80 per cent of all cloned motorcycles end up in the dealer network.

Cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity fraud criminals steal a motorbike or scooter and give it a new identity copied from a similar make and model bike already on the road.

The criminal disguises the unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen motorcycle and uses a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity. A vehicle with a cloned identity is more difficult for police to identify, and in turn, easier for a thief to sell on.

Tracker says that data from the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators a global organisation representing those involved in the prevention of car crime shows an estimated 0.8 per cent of all vehicles in Britain may have been cloned.

Fraudsters use cloning to sell a stolen motorcycle for a quick profit and Tracker is now warning that buyers should look out for any bike with a too good to be true price tag.

They say that prospective buyers should always check the market value and avoid anything thats being offered for less than 70 per cent of that price, stressing that no legitimate seller will want to lose money on a sale.

Buyers should never pay cash only for a vehicle, particularly if they are paying more than 3,000 as most crooks would rather walk away from a sale than take a payment that can be traced back to them.

Whilst a tracking device wont stop a motorbike being stolen, it can significantly increase the chances of the police locating and returning it to its rightful owner, said Mr Barrs.

Without any SVR (stolen vehicle recovery) protection, the probability of a stolen bike being offered for sale as a clone is greatly increased.

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That dream bike may not be the bargain you hoped for as the number plates may be cloned - Leicester Mercury

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Cloning, Counterfeiting and Fraud in digital payments what to know to stay safe – Technology Zimbabwe

Posted: August 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

The second topic being discussed at the Mobile money and Digital payments conference at Meikles hotel is discussing Cloning, Counterfeiting and Fraud in mobile money and digital payments. The discussion was kick started by a presentation from Jaqueline Malaba, the business development manager at Visa Card.

Her discussion touched on how digital payments are more accessible now since 4.9 Billion devices were reported to be connected in 2015. She also shared how its estimated that around 25 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. The talk then progressed to show how security and innovation produce a complicated situation.

With the rise in the number of different payment methods people can use, how can people stay secure while transacting online? She shared some of the techniques that could be used, for example, not giving out too much personal information on social media and also not directly entering your card details online for transactions. A safer method according to her would be to use a different platform like PayPal and then link your card to that platform.

In this case, youd then use your PayPal details to make an online payment and protect your card details. After her presentation, the panelists then started to discuss more on this topic and what things are happening within the digital payments ecosystem. Something that came out was the fact that very few people are aware of how things are happening when they transact using plastic or mobile money. Due to not having enough information, people can be hacked easily as they dont know how to protect themselves.

The discussion then pointed out how our cards work, which methods are safer and how to increase safety. There are currently 2 types of cards that we are familiar with locally. The first one is the good old card with a black strip at the back which uses a magnetic strip for transactions. This type of debit card is not that safe as most of your information is stored on that strip and hackers can use devices called skimmers to obtain that information. After obtaining that information they can then sell it or use it to make fraud payments.

This vulnerability has been known worldwide for sometime and recently, weve started to see some local banks stopping to use such type of cards. The other type of card which is safer than the previous one is called an EMV card. It is the one that some local banks are migrating to as it uses a chip card technology to process payments. The chip is encrypted and thus hackers cant easily steal your information or clone your card.

As the discussion went on, someone in the audience outlined that they once processed a payment using that card without actually having to enter their pin number. Just like what Jacqueline outlined earlier, innovation + security = complicated. Authur Matsaudza from Steward Bank, then explained how this was possible. In a nutshell, there are two types of transactions: card present transaction and card not present transaction.

The first one requires you to enter your pin while the other one can work without your pin. The second one can work without a pin because the card has a card number at the front and a second card verification value at the back. Using these two pieces of information, a transaction can be processed if theyre entered into a point of sale machine or online.

Upon these revelations, a suggestion given to stay safe when transacting was to use what the finance sector calls3D authentication. This is when your bank, your card and the receivers bank work together to make sure that the transaction was authorized by you. So each time a transaction has to be processed, a one time pin has to be sent to you.

Other measures offered where to never give a waiter at a restaurant or anyone else your card for them to process the payment especially if you have the EMV card due to the reason outlined above. Banks still have to improve the safety of transacting online or even physically using their cards. More importantly, they should educate their customers on what can actually happen to make them vulnerable and how they can secure themselves.

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Cloning, Counterfeiting and Fraud in digital payments what to know to stay safe - Technology Zimbabwe

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The Extinct Horses of Great Abaco Island May Live Again – Atlas Obscura

Posted: July 31, 2017 at 10:23 am

Abaco Barb horses on Great Abaco Island. The breed is now extinct. Arnd Bronkhorst

An impending storm darkens the sky above the splintered canopy of Caribbean pines. Milanne Mimi Rehor points out plants that once sustained the herd of wild horses that inhabited this limestone crescent in the northern Bahamas until just two years ago. Palm fronds. They ate the palms, and briars, and of course the grass, she says, and then nods toward a shiny green tree on the edge of the road. Also this. Dont brush up against this. Itll give you blisters. Poisonwood. But after fires, the horses used to eat this, too, once the oils burned off.

Equines long roamed the forests that blanket Great Abaco Island, but the last horse died in 2015, marking the extinction of a historically and genetically significant sub-breed of the threatened Colonial Spanish Horse. The Abaco Barb, like most feral equines, was compact and sturdy thanks to generations of surviving in the wild. The horses stood about 13.2 to 14.2 hands (54 to 58 inches) at the withers and each weighed an average of 800 pounds. Their feet were hard and well-shaped from trekking across the islands rocky surface in search of food.

However, unlike most other wild horses in the Americas, the Abaco Barb spent generations in geographic isolation. According to equine geneticist Gus Cothran, who analyzed the DNA of 22 Abaco Barbs for Rehor in the 1990s, the horses were little changed from those brought across the Atlantic more than five-hundred years ago.

About half were blue-eyed splash white pintos, with belts and bonnets of white thrown against a brown hair base. Others were roans, with ivory hairs running throughout mahogany or copper coats, giving them a faded appearance. Most were gaited, meaning that in addition to the four types of movements most horses use (walk, trot, canter, and gallop), they had the capacity for very smooth lateral gaits in which both legs on each side move in unison. Similar movements are seen in other horses with old roots, including Paso Finos, but not in more modern Spanish breeds.

Strike up a conversation with Great Abaco Islands long-time residents and many have childhood memories of spotting the horses during family road trips. Theyre also likely to have a theory about why they disappeared. Though the Abaco Barb thrived on the island for generations, beginning in the 1960s, human actions and environmental changes weakened the herd and ultimately led to its demise. As Rehor, Director of the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society, fights to bring the animals back from extinction, shes highlighting their contentious history and uncertain future.

Nobody knows how or when the horses first came to the Abaco Islands. One story claims they swam ashore, survivors of the frequent 16th-century shipwrecks that fed the archipelagos salvage-based economy. A second tale suggests that Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution brought their horses with them to the island. Still another, the one that Rehor favors, traces the horses to the islands 19th-century logging operations, when companies imported equines from Cuba to haul lumber and later turned them loose.

According to Cothran, the genes indicate that any of these tales could be the reality. What we [had] there on Abaco is the old actual colonial introduced horse rather than a more modernly introduced Spanish horse, Cothran says. Such a clear link to the equines that were introduced to the Americas in the 15th century is rare. Most modern sub-breeds of the Colonial Spanish Horse have long interbred with released stock horses.

Though their entire genome has yet to be sequenced, the Abaco Barbs rare profile could hold useful information particularly if you consider whats going on ecologically. Perhaps you have some genes that have value in the future that would not exist anywhere else, Cothran says, referring to climate change.

From a scientific perspective, thats what makes their disappearance such a tragedy.

The Abaco Barbs genetic significance is a key factor behind Rehors mission to clone Nunki, the lone survivor who died in 2015, and attempt to re-introduce the herd. But to Rehor, who watched over the herd and has fought for their interests since 1992, theres a social justification as well. There was here a piece of history. Various events destroyed that history, she says.

In the 1960s, a logging company cut a road through Abacos pine forests, running the length of the island, to harvest large quantities of pulpwood. This simultaneously gave local hunters increased access to remote parts of the island and destroyed the horses habitat. The hunters likely shot the horses in addition to the wild pigs that were their main target, and their dogs frequently killed foals.

But humans had an even darker role in the first major assault on the Abaco Barb herd. Specific dates remain hard to pin down, but sometime in the 1960s, an unattended child tried climbing atop one of the horses, but was kicked and killed. Angry townspeople began killing the horses on sight, running the animals down on roads and shooting them in the pine forest. Nobody knows exactly how many horses were killed, but the herd was effectively culled. In the middle of the 20th century, estimates placed the herd at 200 individuals. By the close of the 1960s, only three remained.

Former Senator and MP Edison Key told Rehor he learned of the slaughter in the early 1970s when, while clearing land for a ranch called Bahama Star Farm, he came across horse carcasses. With the help of his friend and brother-in-law, he moved the remaining three horses onto the property to rebuild their ranks.

Once the herd reached 12 horses, they were again released in the nearby pine forest, where they seemed to flourish despite severe genetic bottlenecking. By the time Rehor anchored her wooden sailboat off the coast of the Abacos in 1992, they had bounced back to about 30 individuals. However, by 1997, only 16 remained. Though nobody can confirm why the horses began disappearing again, local lore suggests the animals were being hunted for both sport and food.

In 1999, Hurricane Floyd dealt what might have been the final blow, destroying the forest understory that had supported the Abaco horses for so long. In search of food, the horses found their way back to Bahama Star Farm, which had been converted into a citrus orchard. Irrigation and crop-dusting gave the horses a new diet of pesticides and high sugar grasses which, combined with a reduced need to move about looking for food, led to a host of health and reproductive problems.

Around 2004, it became clear the herd wouldnt return to the forest on its own, so Rehor and the local government moved them to a fenced-in parcel among the pines. The government granted 3,800 acres for the horses, but at any given time, they only roamed a portioninitially 200 acres, then increased to 1,000 acresof that area. The population never recovered, and when Nunki died in 2015, the breed was gone.

Originally from the U.S., Rehor decided to turn a visit to the Abacos into a permanent move upon learning of the Abaco Barb. The avid sailor and lifelong horse lover spent the next 23 years working to get the herd the attention and protection it deserved. For several years she simply observed and photographed the horses, but in response to their 1997 decline, she founded the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society. In addition to partnering with local vets and trying to bring in farriers and veterinarians from the United States to help address the horses growing health problems, Rehor led the effort to have their DNA analyzed.

She also had the foresight to preserve cells from Nunki, sending them to ViaGen, a Texas-based laboratory, in the hopes that one day cloning could help revive the herd. Since no cloneable tissue remains from Abaco stallions, Rehors plan is to make two clones of Nunki and breed them to a similar stallion in an effort to preserve at least some of the rare genes Cothran found in his analysis and to return horses to the island.

Rehor argues humans owe the Abaco Barb at least this effort, citing the succession of aforementioned human and natural events for the herds demise. Echoing the larger debate over de-extinction at times, some wonder whether the project is worth the considerable funding and human efforts it will require, and question Rehors competence as a steward. The government of the Bahamas has long been stretched thin when it comes to caring for the horses, and other wildlife and environmental effortsthose in the interest of indigenous flora and faunatake priority.

[Mimi always] had a real interest in the well-being of the horses, says David Knowles of the nonprofit Bahamas National Trust, which manages Bahamian national parks. My question at the time was whether she was qualified. We tried to get our vets to work with the horses, but we were stretched thin. Personally, I think it was a tragedy that we lost them all.

Today, Rehor still fights to maintain her vision of returning Abaco Barbs to their island via cloning. Nunkis cells have been cultured in anticipation of the cloning process and are being stored at ViaGen labs, as researchers await a go-ahead from Rehor. But funding has dwindled and, despite approval from the federal government, she is tired and frustrated. They say that one door closes [and another one opens], she says, shuffling a pink Croc-clad foot in the dirt. Aint nothin openin. Im getting tired. She wonders if she should abandon it all. After all, she notes, the genes are safe.

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The Extinct Horses of Great Abaco Island May Live Again - Atlas Obscura

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LG vice president’s phone SIM and credit cards cloned, duped of Rs 6 lakh – Hindustan Times

Posted: July 30, 2017 at 2:16 pm

A vice president (human resource) of global electronics giant, LG, has filed a complaint with the Noida police that his phone sim has allegedly been cloned and he was receiving more than 250 international calls every day on his number. He also claimed that somebody stole Rs 6 lakh from his credit cards.

Police said the complainant, Subrato Mukherjee, 57, a resident of Noida Sector 44, has been receiving calls since June 27. The calls were suspected to be made from Bhutan, Russia, and some African countries. The calls allegedly continued for weeks.

Mukherjee took up the matter with his mobile phone service provider. They put his SIM card on surveillance through department of telecommunications (DoT). Mukherjee said he was alarmed when his credit card statements showed several fake transactions.

I called the service provider and it took them a lot of time to check the problem. Later, they informed me my number has been cloned and I should report the matter to police. On Friday, I took up the matter with SSP Gautam Budh Nagar after which a case was registered at Sector 39 police station, he said.

Mukherjee, a retired flight lieutenant from Indian Air Force (IAF), said the accused used his card for online shopping. The statement came in the mid of July, thereafter I reported the matter to the police, he said.

He said the calls were automatic in nature and whenever he would attend a call; there was another call in waiting.

Senior superintendent of police Love Kumar said, Prima facie, it seems the accused have cloned the credit cards and Mukherjees phone SIM. This has been done to ensure they get the one-time password for required transactions.

He said that a case was registered at Sector 39 police station. The Cyber Cell has been also asked to check the details of hacking and cloning, SSP Kumar said.

The matter has been reported to the cell phone providers and the private banks, the SSP said.

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