Friday, April 24, 2009

Nokia 1100 gets highly sought after for its potential criminal use.

One of the most popular handsets in the world - Nokia 1100 has found itself in the middle of a banking fraud scandal, according to a Dutch investigator. Allegedly, criminals are paying an arm and a leg for working second hand units of the once-50-euro handset that are manufactured in Nokia plant in Bochum, Germany.

Investigators are observing huge amounts of money being offered for the outdated handset recently. The largest recorded sum up to now is 25,000 euro (about 32,000 US dollars), which is about 11 times its weight in gold. According to the investigators the criminals are looking to acquire only units that are manufactured in the Bochum plant of the company.

The supposed reason behind this peculiar requirement is that those handset most probably come with flawed software or hardware, which allows them to be hacked and used to make a working copy of someone else's phone line.

When set up this way, the Nokia 1100 receives the same calls and most importantly text messages that the original recipient gets, without them ever suspecting anything.

The loophole that the criminals are allegedly using is that many European banks now send temporary transaction authentication numbers or mTANs as SMS to the account holders as a security feature for authorizing online money transfers.

This is where the supposedly counterfeit-capable Nokia 1100 handsets step in. As they receive the SMS intended for the authorized account holder, criminals can acquire a working mTAN and initiate a transfer after they have stolen the needed online ID credentials in some other way.

At this stage Nokia have refuted those accusations claiming that they have not identified any flaw or wormhole in their phone software that would allow the alleged use cases.

However, the investigations still continue.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2008 Corruption Perceptions Index

Where do you live on this earth? Are you proud of the country you are living in now? See below, the top ten countries percepted as least corruptible in the world!

Facts and figures do not tell lies ;-)

Source: Transparency International

Country Rank Country 2008 CPI Score Survey Used Confidence Range
1 Denmark 9,3 6 9.1 - 9.4
1 New Zealand 9,3 6 9.2 - 9.5
1 Sweden 9,3 6 9.2 - 9.4
4 Singapore 9,2 9 9.0 - 9.3
5 Finland 9,0 6 8.4 - 9.4
5 Switzerland 9,0 6 8.7 - 9.2
7 Iceland 8,9 5 8.1 - 9.4
7 Netherlands 8,9 6 8.5 - 9.1
9 Australia 8,7 8 8.2 - 9.1
9 Canada 8,7 6 8.4 - 9.1
39 Taiwan 5,7 9 5.4 - 6.0
40 South Korea 5,6 9 5.1 - 6.3
45 Bhutan 5,2 5 4.5 - 5.9
45 Czech Republic 5,2 8 4.8 - 5.9
47 Malaysia 5,1 9 4.5 - 5.7
80 Thailand 3,5 9 3.0 - 3.9
141 Philippines 2,3 9 2.1 - 2.5
178 Iraq 1,3 4 1.1 - 1.6
178 Myanmar 1,3 4 1.0 - 1.5
180 Somalia 1,0 4 0.5 - 1.4

Strange facts you might not know! David Lim, Auckland, New Zealand

Cats do not taste sweetness.

Whales still have hip bones.

The glue used on Israeli postage stamps is kosher.

The city of Austin,TX was originally named “Waterloo”.

The 50 tallest mountains on Earth are all located in Asia.

Winston Churchill’s mother was an American born in New York.

Bagpipes weren’t invented in Scotland, but in ancient Persia.

Michelangelo died in 1564, the same year Shakespeare was born.

The human bone most often broken is the clavicle (collar bone).

Marie Osmond goes by her middle name. Her actual first name is Olive.

Contrary to the widely held belief, there are no wild tigers in Africa.

Only one U.S. state has a state flag with a green background: Washington.

Geologists believe that about half the unmined gold in the world is in South Africa.

The toilet featured in Hitchcock’s “Psycho” was the first flushing toilet to appear on-screen.

Elephants are the only animal physically unable to jump. This is because of their enormous weight.

If the tracks on a typical compact disc ran in a straight line, they would travel for about three miles.

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the only U.S. president with a “Gettysburg Address.” Dwight Eisenhower owned a farm in the Pennsylvania town.

The Latin phrase “libra pondo” was used in ancient Rome to indicate weight, which is why today the abbreviation for “pound” is “lb.”

Leatherback sea turtles have fleshy backward-pointing spines in their throats so that jellyfish, their favorite food, can be swallowed more easily.

Plastic bags take up less landfill space than paper bags. According to one study, two plastic bags take up 72 percent less landfill space than one paper bag.

Not only are all automobile taillights in the U.S. red, they’re a specific shade of red (with a specific color wavelength and intensity) mandated by the federal government.

Bridgestone Corporation, maker of the Bridgestone tires, is a Japanese company. The title is derived from founder Shojiro Ishibashi’s last name, which translates literally to “stone bridge”.

The number “five” is important to the Pentagon in many ways. Sure, it has five sides, but the building also has five stories, and the courtyard in the center encompasses an area of five ac

The fortune cookie was invented in the early 20th century by Makato Hagiwara, who designed the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. He intended the cookie to be a snack for people walking through the garden.

Despite its 6.5 million square feet of floor space, the Pentagon in Washington was constructed in such a way that no point in the building is more than seven minutes’ walk from any other point in the building.

Built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was lambasted by Parisians for its industrial ugliness. The only thing that saved it from being demolished in 1909 was its potential use as a radio tower during World War I. Luckily, by the end of the War, it had won over enough hearts to stay.

Comments from teachers on students' performance, wicked! David Lim, Auckland

Comments allegedly made on under-performing students' report cards by teachers in New York City.

* Since my last report, your child has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.

* I would not allow this student to breed.

* Your child has delusions of adequacy.

* Your son is depriving some village of an idiot.

* Your son sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

* The student has a 'full six pack' but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together.

* This child has been working with glue too much.

* When your daughter's IQ hits 50, she should sell.

* The gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.

* If this student were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.

* It's impossible to believe the sperm that created this child beat out 1,000,000 others.

* The wheel is turning but the hamster is definitely dead.

(Source: Ebaum's World)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Skill Migrant Application to New Zealand: General information, Auckland

A mate emailed this information to me and hope it will be helpful to those who needs it. Any way, please double check with the New Zealand Immigration Website on the latest news annoucement and skilled migration points.

1. Do a "quick check" and test your points for the Expression of Interest (EOI).

You need at least 100 points to apply, but criteria can change at any time. Currently, you also need a job offer, unless you have 125 points or more. 140 is the "magic number" for automatic selection, under the current set of criteria. Big changes may be in the works, for better or worse...

2. Submit your EOI, either online or with a paper form. It's best to do this online at the immigration website, because the fee is lower ($300 NZD). You need a credit card to do it online. Your partner and dependent children can "tag along" on the application, so only one person's points are considered.
The first step to submitting online is to register with "online services," which will create sort of a personal immigration homepage:

3. Your EOI is added to the "pool" of applicants, unless you messed up and misunderstood your eligibility. The EOI stays in the pool for up to six months. Your EOI can be selected at any time during these six months - there are selections made twice a month.

4. Once your EOI is selected, there is a preliminary verification process. I'm not sure what this entails, probably some kind of basic fraud screening. Once this is complete, you will see "Decision Successful" on your immigration home page (the one you created when you registered with online services). This can take 9-12 weeks or more? Seems to depend on which office is dealing with your EOI and how backlogged they are.

5. After the verification process for the EOI results in "Decision Successful," you will be mailed an "Invitation to Apply" packet (ITA), which is the actual application for residence.

6. You have up to 4 months to gather all the documentation needed to back up the info in your EOI, prove that you meet health and character standards (that is, not a burden to their health care system, and not a criminal) and turn in your application, along with another fee. Here's the checklist:

The fee depends on where you are located, and your nationality.

Many people advise getting your police check underway the moment your EOI is selected from the pool, as this can take months to process. Seek advice on your specific situation to find out what documentation you need (medicals, proof of qualifications, etc) well in advance so you don't miss your ITA deadline.

7. Once your ITA has been received, you will be assigned a Case Officer (CO). Some people report waiting weeks before hearing from their CO. They will schedule a telephone interview for a convenient time, so they can get a better idea of how well they think you will settle in. The idea here is to admit migrants who aren't going to realize they made a mistake after only a few months, and fly away home again.

8. The phone interview usually takes place within a month or two of the ITA being accepted, and has been reported to last between 10-60 minutes. The questions vary, but it's supposedly pretty friendly, not like they are trying to grill you. They will ask "Why New Zealand?" and a bunch of things about your plans, whether you have any social support in NZ, what you would do if you can't find a job right away, etc etc...

9. If your case officer is satisfied with everything, they will recommend that you be granted Permanant Residence (PR). Then this is approved by someone else I guess? i'm a little foggy on how long this step takes. It probably depends on how high of a priority they think you are. If you have a job offer you are fast-tracked through the entire process, I think?

If you are not granted PR, you may be given an alternative such as "work to residence," or else you will simply be turned down. :-(

10. Once you have PR, you will be issued a Residence Visa, which is valid for 12 months. When you arrive in NZ, your Residence Visa becomes a Residence Permit. You pay the "Migrant Levy" at this point, which is $300 NZD per person, up to $1200 total for a family.

This allows you to stay in NZ indefinitely, HOWEVER it expires if you leave NZ. So, in order to be able to travel, you will need a Returning Resident's Visa. Fortunately, if you have a valid Residence Permit, you are automatically entitled to a Returning Resident's Visa (RRV).

The RRV is good for 2 years. So, theoretically you could get PR, receive your Residence Visa, travel to NZ within 12 months, get your Residence Permit and RRV, then leave NZ right away without losing any of your hard-earned residency rights. The only thing to keep in mind is that once your RRV expires after 2 years, in order to get a new one, you have to prove some kind of commitment to NZ. The easiest way to prove this is having been in NZ for 184 days out of EACH of the 2 years. There are other ways to prove a commitment to NZ as well...

11. Once you are in NZ with PR, you have all kinds of rights, even voting and health care. So, it doesn't seem quite so bad that you have to be in NZ for 5 years before applying for citizenship :-)