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pEDo: April 2009 - The other side of my cerebro.


Piraso ng kung ano-ano!

I saw this video from one of the Yahoo groups. It is an entry for the 56th Berlin Film Festival, and it showcases a real story about hunger in the Philippine settings.

There is no real happiness such as the self-happiness you will feel when you have Charity for your neighbor.
Read More “Culture Unplugged Video - Chicken Ala Carte”
What are cookies?

When you browse the Internet, information about your computer may be collected and stored. This information might be general information about your computer (such as IP address, the domain you used to connect (e.g., .edu, .com, .net), and the type of browser you used). It might also be more specific information about your browsing habits (such as the last time you visited a particular web site or your personal preferences for viewing that site).

Cookies can be saved for varying lengths of time:

· Session cookies - Session cookies store information only as long as you're using the browser; once you close the browser, the information is erased. The primary purpose of session cookies is to help with navigation, such as by indicating whether or not you've already visited a particular page and retaining information about your preferences once you've visited a page.

· Persistent cookies - Persistent cookies are stored on your computer so that your personal preferences can be retained. In most browsers, you can adjust the length of time that persistent cookies are stored. It is because of these cookies that your email address appears by default when you open your Yahoo! or Hotmail email account, or your personalized home page appears when you visit your favorite online merchant. If an attacker gains access to your computer, he or she may be able to gather personal information about you through these files.

To increase your level of security, consider adjusting your privacy and security settings to block or limit cookies in your web browser. To make sure that other sites are not collecting personal information about you without your knowledge, choose to only allow cookies for the web site you are visiting; block or limit cookies from a third-party. If you are using a public computer, you should make sure that cookies are disabled to prevent other people from accessing or using your personal information.
Read More “Browsing Safely: Understanding Cookies”
4/23/2009 02:02:00 PM

Permanent Plans Suspended by SEC | 04/21/2009 8:00 PM

The pre-need industry's most vocal advocate admitted Tuesday that the once lucrative industry is no longer viable.

In a statement, Philippine Federation of Pre-need Plan Companies president Juan Miguel Vazquez said, "Permanent Plans no longer believes in the viability of the pre-need pension industry as currently set up and given the adverse operating environment it finds itself in." Vazquez is the president of Permanent plans.

Vazquez also admitted that Permanent Plans is in financial trouble. He said the global financial crisis has slashed their trust fund--the amount the company has set aside and invested to meet future obligations to clients--by up to 35 percent. He did not indicate the specific period the company has realized this loss.

Based on SEC documents, Permanent Plans' trust fund was worth P445 million as of June 30, 2008. This was more than the required P402 million "pre-need reserves"--the amount the company should be aiming to meet clients' needs at any one time.

However, Permanent Plans' trust fund was only growing by 1.87 percent at the time. This was one of the lowest investment returns being realized by the country's 24 pre-need companies. This was even before the US-led financial crisis swelled to a worldwide scale in September 2008,

Industry observers said Permanent Plans must have been experiencing slower sales. Its trust fund was reduced to P445 million in June 2008 from P531 million in December 2007, while its pre-need reserves decreased to P402 million from P407 million in the same period.

Gerard Lukban, spokesperson of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), confirmed with ABS-CBN News that the pre-need industry's regulator has suspended the dealers' license of Permanent Plans. Pre-need companies need to comply with SEC documentary requirement before they are granted dealers's license, or the permit to sell new plans.

Vazquez said in the statement that the SEC need not have suspended their license since Permanent Plans had already volunteered to stop selling new pension plans. Instead, Vazquez said they have limited themselves to just servicing the claims of their clients.

On April 15, the deadline set by the SEC for financially troubled pre-need companies to submit their proposal to plug the deficiencies in their trust fund and capital funds, Vazquez said Permanent Plans decided not to submit one. Instead, he said they formally informed SEC that they have opted to "avail of the early and orderly settlement of claims option."

SEC's Lukban said Permanent Plans proposed to pay their obligations to their plan holders not with cash but through an "alternative settlement." Lukban said this "alternative" includes properties, which "the SEC did not approve."

In his statement, Vazquez said that instead of filing a rehabilitation case with the court, which would just "take time and delay the payment to plan holders," they have proposed a 4- to 6-month leeway to make up for the trust fund losses. He added that they need this period "in order to settle fully all the claims of our plan holders, which we will pay in the form of cash and other assets."

He added, "Our concern is the protection of all our plan holders and settle promptly and efficiently their claims."

- with Lala Rimando, and Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV
Read More “Permanent Plans Suspended by SEC”
Many people browse the Internet without much thought to what is happening behind the scenes. Active contents are common elements that may pose hidden risks when viewed in a browser or email client.

What is active content?

To increase functionality or add design embellishments, web sites often rely on scripts that execute programs within the web browser. This active content can be used to create "splash pages" or options like drop-down menus. Unfortunately, these scripts are often a way for attackers to download or execute malicious code on a user's computer.

· JavaScript - JavaScript is just one of many web scripts (other examples are VBScript, ECMAScript, and JScript) and is probably the most recognized. Used on almost every web site now, JavaScript and other scripts are popular because users expect the functionality and "look" that it provides, and it's easy to incorporate (many common software programs for building web sites have the capability to add JavaScript features with little effort or knowledge required of the user). However, because of these reasons, attackers can manipulate it to their own purposes. A popular type of attack that relies on JavaScript involves redirecting users from a legitimate web site to a malicious one that may download viruses or collect personal information.

· Java and ActiveX Controls - Different from JavaScript and Java, ActiveX controls are actual programs that reside on your computer or can be downloaded over the network into your browser. If executed by attackers, untrustworthy ActiveX controls may be able to do anything on your computer that you can do (such as running spyware and collecting personal information, connecting to other computers, and potentially doing other damage). Java applets usually run in a more restricted environment, but if that environment isn't secure, then malicious Java applets may create opportunities for attack as well.

JavaScript and other forms of active content are not always dangerous, but they are common tools for attackers. You can prevent active content from running in most browsers, but realize that the added security may limit functionality and break features of some sites you visit. Before clicking on a link to a web site that you are not familiar with or do not trust, take the precaution of disabling active content.

These same risks may also apply to the email program you use. Many email clients use the same programs as web browsers to display HTML, so vulnerabilities that affect active content like JavaScript and ActiveX often apply to email. Viewing messages as plain text may resolve this problem.
Read More “Browsing Safely: Understanding Active Content”
4/01/2009 01:43:00 PM

Conficker/Downadup Worm

There is a report of a new variant of the Conficker/Downadup worm named Win32/Conficker.D. which infects the local computer, terminates services, blocks access to numerous security related Web sites and downloads arbitrary code. Conficker.D can relay command instructions to other Conficker.D infected computers via built-in peer-to-peer (P2P) communication. This variant does not spread to removable drives or shared folders across a network (as with previous variants).

There is also a report that spread and execution of this worm may be triggered today, April 1, 2009. So be very cautious in the way we carry out all our Internet-related activities especially today.

Users and administrators are encouraged to take the following preventative measures to mitigate the security risks:

· Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date
· Update unpatched systems as soon as possible
· Keep personal and business USB drives separate
· Do not plug an unknown USB drive into your computer
· Disable the AutoRun (of media devices) feature on systems
Read More “Conficker/Downadup Worm”
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