She didn't fix her white balance?
I tried to get Webber's parent to go to this but no dice
Her husband sounds so annoying!
by ALEX CARNEVALE
The Bad Batch
dir. Ana Lily Amirpour
The Bad Batch, the dynamite second feature of Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour, begins when Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is dumped into a cannibal desert wasteland. Everything is going against the film at that point: an overly glamorous model lead, music from Die Antwoord that impinges on every aspect of our senses, the constantly reused desert setting selected for its lack of cost to the production. Ten minutes later, Waterhouse is missing her right arm and her right leg, and Amirpour has written over every cliché you thought she was settling into so obscenely.
We first meet Miami Man (the consistently excellent Jason Momoa) in his trailer, where he is painting a portrait of his daughter. It is such an eye-raising way to discover a character, especially a cannibal. A few minutes later, Momoa is snapping the neck of a captured woman begging for her life. Amirpour offers these moments in a meaningful way; she chooses neither to overlay them with music or glorify the violence. She is fully in control at all times, and by the end of The Bad Batch, you realize what a miracle it must have been to shoot this on a budget of only $6 million.
Instead of sweeping, dull shoots of this wasteland environment, Amirpour has a deft eye for people — how they speak and relate to each other in ways that are unmistakably human. Scenes with Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves and Giovanni Ribisi might have come across as stunt casting in another context. Each performer takes these smaller roles with a diverting seriousness that never takes away from the affecting moments of The Bad Batch. Even the tiniest scene, like a drifter asking Miami Man to sketch his portrait, is full of life.
After her violent amputation, Arlen escapes her confinement by smearing her body with feces and escaping when her captors try to clean her. She pushes her way across the landscape on skateboard, presumably unable to find a stick of any kind. Amirpour makes a point of not keeping Arlen in anguish or pain throughout. We might have emphasized more with the character if we were filled in on her struggles, but there is a deliberate effort here not to focus on a theme of suffering. This is just the way the world is, and Arlen knows it.
Waterhouse herself has some struggles. She is still growing as a performer, and her dark eyebrows barely move throughout The Bad Batch: she seems incapable of emitting measured, smaller responses to events. Her face remains vaguely placid no matter the situation, and her body does not really shake or move either. Sexuality is the last meaningful thing in her life. The first images we see of her smooth legs parody a cinema of exploitation until one of those limbs is quickly shorn off. In various ways Waterhouse would resemble an anime heroine if Amirpour had not put in evidence enough remarkable moments to make her real.
Because she is hateful of cannibals, when Arlen finds Miami Man's wife and daughter in a local dump, she shoots and kills the mother to save the girl from a fate of eating human flesh. Instead of explaining the motivation of every act in The Bad Batch, Amirpour's script is delightfully minimal, allowing us to puzzle out the various moralities and motivations ourselves. In this way, the metropolis of Comfort seems most like a living, breathing whorl. When Arlen finally meets Miami Man as he searches for his daughter, the coming together of these two disturbing figures is more than the sum of their parts.
Music by Jordan Lieb under the name Black Light Smoke preserves the dystopia in its latter stages. Arlen finds the young girl in custody of the Dream (Keanu Reeves), who lords over Comfort with a harem, in the film's least original aspect. Reeves' dialogue is so perfect it doesn't matter to us. The Bad Batch enters us into its hypnotic fugue, its rapid day and night cycles establishing a continuity independent of our own time. This exciting sophomore effort — from such an assured voice — heralds the coming of a new master.
Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the automated teller machine — better known to most people as the ATM or cash machine. Thanks to the myriad methods thieves have devised to fleece unsuspecting cash machine users over the years, there are now more ways than ever to get ripped off at the ATM. Think you’re good at spotting the various scams? A newly released ATM fraud inspection guide may help you test your knowledge.
The first cash machine opened for business on June 27, 1967 at a Barclays bank branch in Enfield, north London, but ATM transactions back then didn’t remotely resemble the way ATMs work today.
The first ATM was installed in Enfield, in North London, on June 27, 1967. Image: Barclays Bank.
The cash machines of 1967 relied not on plastic cards but instead on paper checks that the bank would send to customers in the mail. Customers would take those checks — which had little punched-card holes printed across the surface — and feed them into the ATM, which would then validate the checks and dispense a small amount of cash.
This week, Barclay’s turned the ATM at the same location into a gold color to mark its golden anniversary, dressing the machine with velvet ropes and a red carpet leading up to the machine’s PIN pad.
The location of the world’s first ATM, turned to gold and commemorated with a plaque to mark the cash machine’s golden anniversary. Image: Barclays Bank.
Chances are, the users of that gold ATM have little to worry about from skimmer scammers. But the rest of us practically need a skimming-specific dictionary to keep up with today’s increasingly ingenious thieves.
These days there are an estimated three million ATMs around the globe, and a seemingly endless stream of innovative criminal skimming devices has introduced us over the years to a range of terms specific to cash machine scams like wiretapping, eavesdropping, card-trapping, cash-trapping, false fascias, shimming, black box attacks, bladder bombs (pump skimmers), gas attacks, and deep insert skimmers.
Think you’ve got what it takes to spot the telltale signs of a skimmer? Then have a look at the ATM Fraud Inspection Guide (PDF) from cash machine giant NCR Corp., which briefly touches on the most common forms of ATM skimming and their telltale signs.
For example, below are a few snippets from that guide showing different cash trapping devices made to siphon bills being dispensed from the ATM.
Cash-trapping devices. Source: NCR.
As sophisticated as many modern ATM skimmers may be, most of them can still be foiled by ATM customers simply covering the PIN pad with their hands while entering their PIN (the rare exceptions here involve expensive, complex fraud devices called “PIN pad overlays”).
The proliferation of skimming devices can make a trip to any ATM seem like a stressful experience, but keep in mind that skimmers aren’t the only thing that can go wrong at an ATM. It’s a good idea to visit only ATMs that are in well-lit and public areas, and to be aware of your surroundings as you approach the cash machine. If you visit a cash machine that looks strange, tampered with, or out of place, then try to find another ATM.
You are far more likely to encounter ATM skimmers over the weekend when the bank is closed (skimmer thieves especially favor long holiday weekends when the banks are closed on Monday). Also, if you have the choice between a stand-alone, free-standing ATM and one that is installed at a fixed location (particularly a bank) opt for the fixed-location machine, which is typically more secure against physical tampering.
“Deep insert” skimmers, top. Below, ATM “shimming” devices. Source: NCR.
I love Wagon Wheels so much
OMG Totoro cakes
Woah Kenneth looks just like a thin Jody
we had a great Family Mother's Day Party ..
gorgeous food ....
Isn't this cake wonderful .... My granddaughter Christy made the cake and filled and decorated it ... Amazing ....
her sister Lisa and her did most of the cooking and food preparing ... they did a fabulous job... we were all so impressed ....
... it was a great party ..........
.... Barb xxxxx
I’m supposed to be studying but instead I made a pair of glasses for my cat and pretended he was studying 🙃
I'm in the oversized cheeks club too. It sux
by ETHAN PETERSON
dir. Jonathan Levine
Roger (Christopher Meloni) is a fellow traveler Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) and her mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) meet in the Colombian jungle. Just 14,000 years ago, the residents of the region farmed maize, potato, quinoa and cotton. These three hikers do not even know what is edible. When Roger takes them to a valley they must cross by swinging on a thick vine, he suggests he go first because "I am the man." Women deal with this kind of sexism all the time. It is called "casual sexism" because it is not really ill-intentioned. Snatched, an important film that also features a scene where a romantic interest inadvertently catches sight of Emily Middleton wiping her vagina with the aid of a bathroom mirror, has Roger swing manfully to his death when the rope breaks.
Unfortunately and somewhat ironically, Meloni is the best actor in Snatched by far. The film is a substantial improvement on Ms. Schumer's last "comedy," in that it actually features some, but not many, jokes completely unrelated to the fictitious idea that she is unpleasant, unkempt, and unattractive. As her fervent fanbase can readily attest, none of these things are actually true. She is a lovely woman whose oversized cheeks only add to her considerable beauty.
In a key scene where Emily Middleton sunbathes at a resort in Ecuador, she shows off her body, which is also quite impressive. Later, she humbly suggests that her slim physique is due to a tapeworm, which is extracted orally in an extensive and graphic scene. Emily recovers from this parasite in a native village with a disturbing patriarchal culture. She is so offended by the sexism she finds there that she destroys their way of life. These heady subjects all occupy space in the best screenplay Katie Dippold (The Heat) has ever written.
Hawn is not given very much to do in Snatched. The character of Linda Middleton is an overbearing single mother; it is unclear why her relationship with the father of her children fell apart so many years ago, or why she has refused to have any sex in the years that followed. Dippold introduces this woman in a scene where she writes up a rough draft of a dating profile before deleting it in disgust. The profile says that she loves cats and Grey's Anatomy. Later on, we are informed that Linda is learning how to be a sculptor, although her daughter immediately dismisses the singular art she produces.
Emily Middleton also has a brother named Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz). Barinholtz, recently the author of the Kevin Hart comedy Central Intelligence, plays an overly verbal loser in most supporting appearances. As he tries to recover his mother and sister after they are kidnapped and brought into Colombia, he makes a trip to the State Department when he cannot find anyone who will listen to him over the phone. This is a taxing and anxiety-ridden journey, since Jeffrey is substantially agoraphobic and makes his only income teaching piano lessons to young people.
Dippold acquiesces to Schumer's typical self-deprecating humor, but she treats Jeffrey's illness with astonishing sensitivity. The characters of Snatched are all ill, in fact. Whatever technology permitted them to stop farming maize and potatoes, as the first humans did quite easily, has also meant an end to any intrinsic chance of happiness. Emily Middleton's boyfriend Michael (the talented Korean-American actor Randall Park) explains that he is breaking up with her because she has no direction in her life – he is tired of her focus on appearances, and declines to accompany her on a trip which has the intrinsic purpose of subjectifying native cultures while having frequent, unemotional sex.
In another less sensitive film, the Middletons would befriend some locals who would show their inherent aboriginality. In Snatched, these white women are outsiders to every part of the culture. They are treated with respect for the most part, and they only come to harm out of their own stupidity. Emily in particular fights back with a velocity of violence never employed by her captors. Using an arrow, she kills the young son of the man ransoming her and her mother, and caves in the skull of another man who is transporting them to nicer living quarters. "You are an excellent murderer," Linda observes of her daughter.
The Spaniard Alonso de Ojeda was the first conquistador to discover Colombia. (He also gave Venezuela its name.) His expeditions were thoroughfares of rape and murder; no women and children were spared by his men. He was so ashamed by his actions that at the end of his life he died penniless and alone after ensuring that people would walk over his grave as punishment for his colonial acts of subjugation.
Emily Middleton's emotional journey is remarkably similar. On her next trip, this time to Kuala Lumpur, she stays within the tourist trappings so that no one else can be hurt. Emily has not altered who she is, she has only the knowledge that her inherent destructiveness must be contained to prevent it from harming the people around her. There is something so completely non-redemptive about Snatched, a refreshing, if depressing testimony to how little of life we are even capable of living.
Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.
A wild blooper on pg 11 of A Million Random Digits. I’m painting all the zeros, with 389 pages/972,500 digits to go, and I’m writing a bit about it along the way. If you couldn’t imagine missing a single zero you can follow along at https://www.twitch.tv/weinventyou.
The only picture I had of our day out at the Royal National Park, I know I took more but I must have erased them or something.
On Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders flew to Nebraska to campaign for Health Mello, a Democrat running for Mayor of Omaha. The stop is part of Bernie’s “Unity Tour” with Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez — the beginning of a national effort to rebuild and unite Democrats around a shared vision for the party’s future.
Here’s the catch: Heath Mello is a longtime opponent of abortion access who sponsored a 20-week abortion ban in 2010. It contained no exceptions for rape or incest. Mello has also co-sponsored legislation requiring doctors to perform medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, and he voted for a bill to ban insurance plans in the state from covering abortion, which would dramatically restrict access for low-income women. That’s not just “personal opposition”; it’s a clear, concerted campaign to restrict access to abortion.
Under heavy criticism, Sanders doubled down on his support of Mello, telling NPR that Democrats “can’t exclude people who disagree with us on one issue.”
But of course, Sanders is willing to deny his support to candidates who don’t support his economic justice agenda. Just this week, he bluntly panned Jon Ossoff, a pro-choice Democrat in a tight race to flip Tom Price’s Georgia House seat, as “not a progressive.”
In his fight to define what it means to be progressive and to “radically transform the Democratic Party,” Sanders has drawn an unspoken but clear distinction between the economic issues that animate him (on which he says we must not compromise) and reproductive freedom (on which, he says, we should). It’s a vision in which single-payer and free college are essential parts of the progressive, economic justice agenda, while a woman’s right to choose is not.
But here’s the thing: reproductive freedom is fundamentally an economic justice issue.
Access to abortion — the ability to decide when, and whether, to become a parent — is fundamental to the economic security of women (and other people who can become pregnant). If I found out I were pregnant tomorrow, and I didn’t have the right to choose, unplanned parenthood would derail my career, my educational plans, my entire economic future.
And I’d still be better off than most. Nearly 70 percent of women who obtain abortions live below 200% of the federal poverty line, often because they cannot afford to care for a (or another) child. As Michelle Kinsey Bruns points out, abortion has empowered her to escape “a life of hereditary poverty.” She’s not alone. The landmark “Turnaway Study” tracked women across 21 states who sought but were denied abortion care; researchers found that “women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.”
Without the ability to control when they become parents, women can’t control their economic futures. There’s no economic justice without abortion access — unless you only care about people who can’t become pregnant.
Like Sanders, Perez defended the DNC’s support for Mello to the Washington Post, arguing, “If you demand fealty on every single issue, then it’s a challenge . . . there are communities, like some in Kansas, where people have a different position.” (Never mind the fact that James Thompson, a staunchly pro-choice progressive running for a deep-red district in Kansas pulled off a 20-point Democratic swing with little DNC support just two weeks ago.)
Let’s be clear: Perez and Sanders aren’t saying that Democrats should compromise; they’re saying women should. Sanders would never urge Democrats to compromise on financial regulation or campaign finance; Perez would never urge the party support Democrats who don’t support the Affordable Care Act. Their calls for “flexibility” and “understanding” are reserved for so-called women’s issues. They recall the old, insidious idea that women should be flexible and understanding, prioritizing what’s viewed as men’s well-being over their own.
Women, of course, have heard this all before — all while women, especially women of color, are the Party’s base, are leading anti-Trump organizing, and are making the overwhelming majority (86 percent!) of calls to Congress. While the Democratic Party flirts with sidelining reproductive rights, women carry its weight. Maybe “unity” should start with supporting us, not negotiating our rights away.
Header image via.
I love steamed cake
"Really cool setup where you have three groups and none are completely wrong, they simply have different views. It's hard to think of another movie which is anything like that" otm
by DICK CHENEY
Grandchildren are absolute garbage except if you are a younger-type dog. If you are older, dog or man, they do nothing but create noise. In order to sedate them during the week their parents are in Turks and Caicos, my wife Lynne has been screening the films of the Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. I have been complaining throughout, although these empty days allow me to create content that you will enjoy. Here are my reviews of all the movies I have been forced to watch.
Castle in the Sky
The obsession with blimps begins in this first Ghibli feature, which concerns a militia pursuing powerful ancient technology that is carried around a little girl's neck. The animation was rough in parts and Castle starts with two excruciatingly long action sequences in order not to lose the kids' attention. The main female character was acting a lot younger than her age, which I guess made sense because she was a princess. James Van Der Beek turns in one hell of a performance as a tiny little boy in the English dub. I really wasn't too keen on this overall – too much of it came across as feel good nonsense to keep the audience from falling asleep. The sheer number of guns on hand was also quite shocking. C+
The Castle of Cagliostro
This predated Studio Ghibli. Really neat island setting that Miyazaki would return to. The dialogue is proto-Palladino and fun to listen to given that the basic plot is darker and more serious than most Ghibli films. Lots of nods to Miyazaki's own influences, and the feeling of a madcap caper. Could conceivably be a decent live-action movie without many changes, which you can't really say for many of these. Ultimately there was not a whole lot going on and I was bored halfway through, but a great example of how style can triumph over substance. B
Art direction is majorly improved here. The long scenes in the forest are just gorgeous, while the relationships and setting are relatively underdeveloped in comparison. Maybe the most Japanese feeling of his movies due to the various references to Kurosawa and others. The titular female character is a bit sedate, but Miyazaki compensates through the presence of a much more entertaining antagonist. Really cool setup where you have three groups and none are completely wrong, they simply have different views. It's hard to think of another movie which is anything like that. Some great action and jaw-dropping scale, but the character work was noticeably weak. B-
Two hours of watching a 28 year old single woman apologizing for who she is. It's all explained eventually when she flashes back to her father slapping her. "He only did it the once," she cries out, in what may be her final lie. Some really great dark stuff here that you don't see in a lot of movies period, let alone animated ones. It was a little heavy-handed on the proletariat brainwashing, but maybe I just have an aversion to the idea that farmers are closer to nature than the rest of us. But who cares? This is a timeless message, that we can love ourselves and others at any time, and in doing so change our lives for the better. A+
Kiki's Delivery Service
Good god was this fantastic. Complete waterworks from everyone in the room. Imagine you had a cat you could talk to and one day it stopped talking to you just because you sucked. That actually happens here. Kirsten Dunst is excellent in the dub, and you really feel for this witch. It sort of avoids a stretch where it could have feasibly considered some more mature topics, but who cares? The city by the sea (Stockholm?) is such a lively setting and every single tiny house is a palace in my black heart. A better ending would have ascended this to Miyazaki's very best. A
Whisper of the Heart
Miyazaki wrote this for his protege, who promptly died from overwork. Ironically the teenage female protagonist falls asleep at her desk from pushing too hard on her novel. At times this young woman was genuinely unlikable and her ambition to write a story seems to come out of nowhere. She meets a guy who is a decent violin maker, and suddenly she is so jealous she can't shut up about herself. Just intolerable. Tokyo also looks like fresh hell, but a city has never been more realistically depicted in any medium. The scenes with an older man were kind of creepy, but I guess it's Japan so everyone magically becomes Santa Claus once they turn 60. As much shit as I could talk about it, the family dynamic is stupendous and the movie really stays with you. B+
My Neighbor Tortoro
Easily the best opening sequence of anything ever, after which it kind of falls apart. The neglectful father lets his children wander off, twice, and they're so ill-raised that they trust a furry beast who lives in their nearby woods. At least the girls take care of themselves and don't need some boy to promise to protect them. Art direction was incredible, stupendous, but there really is not much there, there. I admit I cried at times, but there is a weird coldness to this, like Miyazaki really wasn't connecting with these people and maybe even loathed them on some level. A-
What a crazy movie. A prolonged, unnecessary voiceover explains the encroachment of the suburbia on the lovely habitat of a group of racoon dogs. The environmental message was left on deaf ears with me, and showing kids all those raccoon testicles was beyond the pale. At the same time you can't help but be astonished at the amount of work that went into animating this fucker, which is Isao Takahata's masterpiece. No fear at all about making a super-depressing movie: almost no one is ever happy, families break-up, heroes get all their bones broken or are left dead in the road. I can't even believe this was a cartoon. A
Howl's Moving Castle
Easily the worst thing Ghibli ever did. A boring local woman convinces herself that a witch cast a spell on her to make her look like she is 75. Feeling useless, she wanders into a castle and nominates herself to clean it. The concept of the elastic living space was completely overdone way before this, and Miyazaki has nothing really to add to it. The plot makes very little sense from any angle, and if you just view it as an art piece, the various cinematography and art direction is nowhere near good enough to carry the action. A complete waste of time unless you're on mushrooms. C-
An extremely annoying main character becomes slightly less annoying by rescuing her parents from the spirit world. Sen, as she starts to call herself, is embarassingly immature for her age. Lots of great details in the diegesis you can watch again and again; can't even imagine how much work went into this. They were on the verge of some more interesting themes here that were sorted out in future films. An amazing achievement but is it on the level of a bunch of other movies which made me care a whole lot more? No. B
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
The monster that created this disturbing fable was Mr. Takahata. I was not a huge fan of the animation, but it worked for the subject matter. I appreciated the fact that everything in this was completely screwed up and unsalvageable; however there is something innately frustrating about watching people who do nothing to help themselves. I would not watch it again except by force. B+
There can never be enough movies about how wonderful your mother is. The concept of a five year old boy falling in love seems a little odd until you realize it was a substitution for the love denied him by his father. At the end he and his girlfriend's father also have this weird handshake that I loved. The water-flooded town was so much fun, this movie could have easily been like six hours and I would not have gotten bored at all. A
The Secret World of Arriety
You really never go wrong with tiny people, it is simply always great. This sick wimp goes to visit his grandmother, who has this really mean servant who lives in a cute apartment near the house. When the servant finds out there is someone lower than her, and it's tiny people in the walls (!) she goes crazy, which actually makes sense, because they are living in a nicer domicile than she herself. A lot more could have been done with the concept but since Miyazaki was working off a book adaptation they don't really get much farther than the basic theme of how much we can trust even the people who are closest to us. A-
We also watched Ice Age: Collision Course. It starred Neil deGrasse Tyson as a weasel.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.
Krebs got krebbed
Last month Yours Truly got snookered by a too-good-to-be-true online scam in which some dirtball hijacked an Amazon merchant’s account and used it to pimp steeply discounted electronics that he never intended to sell. Amazon refunded my money, and the legitimate seller never did figure out how his account was hacked. But such attacks are becoming more prevalent of late as crooks increasingly turn to online crimeware services that make it a cakewalk to cash out stolen passwords.
The elusive Sonos Play:5
The item at Amazon that drew me to this should-have-known-better bargain was a Sonos wireless speaker that is very pricey and as a consequence has hung on my wish list for quite some time. Then I noticed an established seller with great feedback on Amazon was advertising a “new” model of the same speaker for 32 percent off. So on March 4, I purchased it straight away — paying for it with my credit card via Amazon’s one-click checkout.
A day later I received a nice notice from the seller stating that the item had shipped. Even Amazon’s site seemed to be fooled because for several days Amazon’s package tracking system updated its progress slider bar steadily from left to right.
Suddenly the package seemed to stall, as did any updates about where it was or when it might arrive. This went on for almost a week. On March 10, I received an email from the legitimate owner of the seller’s account stating that his account had been hacked.
Identifying myself as a reporter, I asked the seller to tell me what he knew about how it all went down. He agreed to talk if I left his name out of it.
“Our seller’s account email address was changed,” he wrote. “One night everything was fine and the next morning our seller account had a email address not associated with us. We could not access our account for a week. Fake electronic products were added to our storefront.”
He couldn’t quite explain the fake tracking number claim, but nevertheless the tactic does seem to be part of an overall effort to delay suspicion on the part of the buyer while the crook seeks to maximize the number of scam sales in a short period of time.
“The hacker then indicated they were shipped with fake tracking numbers on both the fake products they added and the products we actually sell,” the seller wrote. “They were only looking to get funds through Amazon. We are working with Amazon to refund all money that were spent buying these false products.”
As these things go, the entire ordeal wasn’t awful — aside maybe from the six days spent in great anticipation of audiophilic nirvana (alas, after my refund I thought better of the purchase and put the item back on my wish list.) But apparently I was in plenty of good (or bad?) company.
The Wall Street Journal notes that in recent weeks “attackers have changed the bank-deposit information on Amazon accounts of active sellers to steal tens of thousands of dollars from each, according to several sellers and advisers. Attackers also have hacked into the Amazon accounts of sellers who haven’t used them recently to post nonexistent merchandise for sale at steep discounts in an attempt to pocket the cash.”
Perhaps fraudsters are becoming more brazen of late with hacked Amazon accounts, but the same scams mentioned above happen every day on plenty of other large merchandising sites. The sad reality is that hacked Amazon seller accounts have been available for years at underground shops for about half the price of a coffee at Starbucks.
The majority of this commerce is made possible by one or two large account credential vendors in the cybercrime underground, and these vendors have been collecting, vetting and reselling hacked account credentials at major e-commerce sites for years.
I have no idea where the thieves got the credentials for the guy whose account was used to fake sell the Sonos speaker. But it’s likely to have been from a site like SLILPP, a crime shop which specializes in selling hacked Amazon accounts. Currently, the site advertises more than 340,000 Amazon account usernames and passwords for sale.
The price is about USD $2.50 per credential pair. Buyers can select accounts by balance, country, associated credit/debit card type, card expiration date and last order date. Account credentials that also include the password to the victim’s associated email inbox can double the price.
The Amazon portion of SLILPP, a long-running fraud shop that at any given time has hundreds of thousands of Amazon account credentials for sale.
If memory serves correctly, SLILPP started off years ago mainly as a PayPal and eBay accounts seller (hence the “PP”). “Slil” is transliterated Russian for “слил,” which in this context may mean “leaked,” “download” or “to steal,” as in password data that has leaked or been stolen in other breaches. SLILPP has vastly expanded his store in the years since: It currently advertises more than 7.1 million credentials for sale from hundreds of popular bank and e-commerce sites.
The site’s proprietor has been at this game so long he probably deserves a story of his own soon, but for now I’ll say only that he seems to do a brisk business buying up credentials being gathered by credential-testing crime crews — cyber thieves who spend a great deal of time harvesting and enriching credentials stolen and/or leaked from major data breaches at social networking and e-commerce providers in recent years.
Fraudsters can take a list of credentials stolen from, say, the Myspace.com breach (in which some 427 million credentials were posted online) and see how many of those email address and password pairs from the MySpace accounts also work at hundreds of other bank and e-commerce sites.
Password thieves often then turn to crimeware-as-a-service tools like Sentry MBA, which can vastly simplify the process of checking a list of account credentials at multiple sites. To make blocking their password-checking activities more challenging for retailers and banks, these thieves often try to route the Internet traffic from their password-guessing tools through legions of open Web proxies, hacked PCs or even stolen/carded cloud computing instances.
PASSWORD RE-USE: THE ENGINE OF ALL ONLINE FRAUD
In response, many major retailers are being forced to alert customers when they see known account credential testing activity that results in a successful login (thus suggesting the user’s account credentials were replicated and compromised elsewhere). However, from the customer’s perspective, this is tantamount to the e-commerce provider experiencing a breach even though the user’s penchant for recycling their password across multiple sites is invariably the culprit.
There are a multitude of useful security lessons here, some of which bear repeating because their lack of general observance is the cause of most password woes today (aside from the fact that so many places still rely on passwords and stupid things like “secret questions” in the first place). First and foremost: Do not re-use the same password across multiple sites. Secondly, but equally important: Never re-use your email password anywhere else.
Also, with a few exceptions, password length is generally more important than password complexity, and complex passwords are difficult to remember anyway. I prefer to think in terms of “pass phrases,” which are more like sentences or verses that are easy to remember.
If you have difficult recalling even unique passphrases, a password manager can help you pick and remember strong, unique passwords for each site you interact with, requiring only one strong master password to unlock any of them. Oh, and if the online account in question allows 2-factor authentication, be sure to take advantage of that.
I hope it’s clear that Amazon is just one of the many platforms where fraudsters lurk. SLILPP currently is selling stolen credentials for nearly 500 other banks and e-commerce sites. The full list of merchants targeted by this particularly bustling fraud shop is here (.txt file).
As for the “buyer beware” aspect of this tale, in retrospect there were several warning signs that I either ignored or neglected to assign much weight. For starters, the deal that snookered me was for a luxury product on sale for 32 percent off without much explanation as to why the apparently otherwise pristine item was so steeply discounted.
Also, while the seller had a stellar history of selling products on Amazon for many years (with overwhelmingly positive feedback on virtually all of his transactions) he did not have a history of selling the type of product that thieves tried to sell through his account. The old adage “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” ages really well in cyberspace.
Sociologists are lucky to have amongst them a colleague who is doing excellent work on the modeling industry and, in doing so, offering us all a rare sophisticated glimpse into its economic and cultural logics. We’ve featured Ashley Mears‘ work twice in posts discussing the commodification of models’ bodies and the different logics of high end and commercial fashion.
In a post at Jezebel, Mears exposes the Model Search. Purportedly an opportunity for model hopefuls to be discovered, Mears argues that it functions primarily as a networking opportunity for agents, who booze and schmooze it up with each other, while being alternatively bored and disgusted by the girls and women who pay to be there.
“Over a few days,” Mears explains:
…thousands arrived to impress representatives from over 100 international modeling and talent agencies. In the modeling showcase alone, over 500 people ages 13-25 strutted down an elevated runway constructed in the hotel’s ballroom, alongside which rows of agents sat and watched.
But the agents are not particularly interested in scouting. In shadowing them during the event, Mears finds that they “actually find it all rather boring and tasteless.” Pathetic, too.
The saddest thing at a model search contest is not the sight of girls performing womanhood defined as display object. Nor is it their exceedingly slim chances to ever be the real deal. What’s really sad is the state of the agents: they sit with arms folded, yawning regularly, checking their BlackBerrys. After a solid two hours, Allie has seen over 300 contestants. She’s recorded just eight numbers for callbacks.
Meanwhile, agents ridicule the wannabe runway, from the “hooker heels” to the outfit choices. About their physiques, [one agent recounts,] “I’ve never seen so many out of shape bodies.”
While model hopefuls are trading sometimes thousands of dollars for a 30-second walk down the runway, the agents are biding their time until they can head to the hotel bar to “…gossip, network, and commence the delicate work of negotiating the global trade in models…” One agent explains:
To be honest it’s just a networking event. The girls, most of them don’t even have the right measurements. For most of them, today is going to be a wake-up call.
Indeed, networking is the real point of the event. The girls and women who come with dreams of being a model are largely, and unwittingly, emptying their pockets to subsidize the schmooze.
To add insult to injury, what many of the aspiring models don’t know is that, for “…$5,000 cheaper, any hopeful can walk into an agency’s ‘Open Call’ for an evaluation.”
I encourage you to read Mears’ much longer exposé at Jezebel.
Originally posted in 2010.Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
.. hubby has been having nose bleeds on and off for a few months .. they haven't lasted long and he wasn't worried about them .....
well ... on Thursday he woke up with a bleeding nose and it wouldn't stop .. it just keep dribbling .... he Checked with his doctor and was told to go to hospital ....
...there they packed his nose and then when it still didn't stop they put a balloon up his nostrel.....
he sent me this photo ... NO .... I didn't go with him ...he likes to do hospital things on his own ...
so ... meet the Elephant man ....
... he is coming home today .. the specialist said the bleeding was happening because he had the moisture intake on his C-pap machine too dry ... he has to increase the moisture content .. and keep the inside of his nose moist ...
.. so glad it wasn't a more serious problem ...
Mum had a flu shot on Friday 31st March .. and the needle piercing her skin caused a bleed under her skin ... similar to bruising .... hasn't happened before ... but Mum is on blood thinners ( so is Hubby ) .... and sometimes these things happen ....
Here's Mum's arm ...
there's not much they can do for it , just some light pressure bandaging and a support sling ..... Mum's Warfarin was stopped for a few days and is now having it re-introduced ....
...poor Mum .. ......
.. on to happier things ... xxxxx
our Choko vine has turned into a monster and is taking over the side of the house .....
...we went to visit my friend Merle's grand -twins the other day ... they are gorgeous ......
.. I'm having a pleasant time with my Christmas decorations .....
Our weather here in Sydney Australia has finally turned into Autumn..... it's so lovely ...
... cool crisp mornings and warm days ... perfect ..
I hope Spring is showing her face for everyone in the top half of the world ... xxxxxx
Have a great day ...... Barb ... xxxxxxxx
Once you understand how easy and common it is for thieves to attach “skimming” devices to ATMs and other machines that accept debit and credit cards, it’s difficult not to closely inspect and even tug on the machines before using them. Several readers who are in the habit of doing just that recently shared images of skimmers they discovered after gently pulling on various parts of a cash machine they were about to use.
Viewed from less than two feet away, this ATM looks reasonably safe to use, right?
Although it may be difficult to tell from even this close, this ATM’s card acceptance slot and cash dispenser are both compromised by skimming devices.
But something fishy comes into view when we change our perspective slightly. Can you spot what doesn’t belong here?
Can you spot what doesn’t belong here?
Congratulations if you noticed the tiny pinhole in the upper right corner of the phony black bezel that was affixed over top of the cash dispenser slot. That fake bezel overlay contained a tiny pinhole camera angled toward the PIN pad to record time-stamped videos of people entering their PINs:
A closeup of the tiny pinhole that allows a mini spy camera embedded in the fake cash dispenser bezel to record customers entering their PINs.
How about the card acceptance slot? Looks legit (if a tad shinier than the rest of the ATM), right?
What happens if we apply a tiny bit of pressure to the anti-skimming green bezel where customers are expected to insert their ATM cards? Look at that! The cheap plastic bezel that skimmer thieves placed on top of the real card acceptance slot starts to pull away. Also, you can see some homemade electronics that are not very well hidden at the mouth of the bezel.
Notice the left side of this card skimmer overlay starts to pull away from the rest of the facade when squeezed. Also note the presence of a circuit board close to the mouth of the fake bezel.
ATM card skimmers contain tiny bits of electronics that record payment card data from the magnetic stripe on the backs of cards inserted into a hacked ATM. Most commonly (as in this case), a card skimmer is paired with a pinhole spy camera hidden above or beside the PIN pad to record time-stamped video of cardholders entering their PINs. Taken together, the stolen data allows thieves to fabricate new cards and use PINs to withdraw cash from victim accounts.
Card skimmers designed to look like the green anti-skimming devices found on many ATMs are some of the most common cash machine skimming devices in use today, probably because they are relatively cheap to manufacture en masse and there are many fraudsters peddling these in the cybercrime underground.
Typically, the fake anti-skimmer bezels like the one pictured above are made of hard plastic. However, the reader who shared these images said this bezel card skimming device was made of a semi-flexible, vinyl-like plastic material.
“I immediately went in and notified the manager who shut down the machine,” the reader said in an email to KrebsOnSecurity. “All the tellers were busy so he asked me to stand by the ATM and stop people from trying to use it while he called his security team. In the three minutes I was standing there a young woman came up and started to dip her card in the slot even thought the screen was black. I stopped her and told her and pointed out what was going. She was thankful.”
Normally, these bezel skimmers look more like the hard plastic one that came off of this ATM at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Texas in February, after a customer yanked on the ATM’s card acceptance slot:
A skimmer overlay that came off an ATM at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Texas after a curious customer tugged on the card slot.
Many people believe that skimmers are mainly a problem in the United States, where most ATMs still do not require more secure chip-based cards that are far more expensive and difficult for thieves to clone. However, it’s precisely because most U.S. ATMs lack this security requirement that skimming remains so prevalent in Europe.
Mainly for reasons of backward compatibility to accommodate American tourists, many European ATMs allow non-chip-based cards to be inserted into the cash machine. What’s more, many chip-based cards issued by American and European banks alike still have cardholder data encoded on a magnetic stripe in addition to the chip.
When thieves skim ATMs in Europe, they generally sell the stolen card and PIN data to fraudsters on the other side of the pond. Those fraudsters in turn will encode the card data onto counterfeit cards and withdraw cash at ATMs here in the United States.
Interestingly, even after most U.S. banks put in place chip-capable ATMs, the magnetic stripe will still be needed because it’s an integral part of the way ATMs work: Most ATMs in use today require a magnetic stripe for the card to be accepted into the machine. The main reason for this is to ensure that customers are putting the card into the slot correctly, as embossed letters and numbers running across odd spots in the card reader can take their toll on the machines over time.
Below is part of a skimming device that a reader recently pulled off of a compromised ATM in Dusseldorf, Germany. This component actually cracked off of the hard plastic fake anti-skimming bezel that was placed by a fraudster over top of the card acceptance device of an NCR cash machine there.
Here’s the plastic overlay that the piece pictured in the reader’s hand above broke away from:
It’s fine to tug on parts of an ATM before using it (heck, I’ve been known to do this even for machines I have no intention of using), but just know that doing so doesn’t guarantee that you will detect a cleverly hidden skimmer.
As I’ve noted in countless skimmer stories here, the simplest way to protect yourself from ATM skimming is to cover your hand when entering your PIN. That’s because most skimmers rely on hidden cameras to steal the victim’s PIN. As easy as this is, you’d be amazed at how many people fail to take this basic precaution.
Yes, there is still a chance that thieves could use a PIN-pad overlay device to capture your PIN, but in my experience these are far less common than hidden cameras (and quite a bit more costly for thieves who aren’t making their own skimmers).
Also, if you visit an ATM that looks strange, tampered with, or out of place, try to find another cash machine. Use only machines in public, well-lit areas, and avoid ATMs in secluded spots. Finally, don’t neglect your own physical security while at the cash machine: As common as these skimmers are, you’re probably more likely to get mugged withdrawing cash from an ATM than you are to find a skimmer attached to it.
Did you enjoy this post? Are you fascinated by skimming devices? Check out my series, All About Skimmers.
by ETHAN PETERSON
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
creator Amy Sherman-Palladino
Until she takes the stage Midge (Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards) is unlike any character we have ever seen before on television. Her outward face, delicately applied during the early morning while her husband believes her to be asleep, is that of a Manhattan housewife whose parents (Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhoub) live floors above her in the same building. Her two children consist of a young boy named Ethan who may be autistic and a baby with a massive head. Her husband Joel (Michael Zegen) depends on her completely, and so when he announces he is leaving, we are not the least bit surprised.
Midge measures her calves and thighs, and claims she goes through this intense process on a weekly basis for ten years. When she cooks, it is with a hat that a woman twenty years older would be far more comfortable in. In other words, she is not really comfortable with herself at all.
We saw far more of truly ethnic portrayals of Jews in decades past. Most were contrived by Woody Allen, who did the work of the ADL in showing that traditional stereotypes about the characters of Jewish people were sometimes true, sometimes false. The ways in which they were true were charming personality quirks which allowed them to survive the difficulties if their lives as American immigrants, Allen explained, and the ways in which they were false painted Jewish-Americans as hard-working, patriotic citizens in therapy for the rest of their lives.
Midge Maisel is also somewhat religious – she refuses to eat nuts in the early morning of Yom Kippur, for example. It will be intriguing to see if she leaves her religion behind as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel goes to series, since almost every white person we see on the small screen has zero relationship with religion of any kind. Amy Sherman-Palladino's father was Jewish, and to some extent her ways of speaking have always been rooted in the cultural and environmental proximity that forced Jews to adapt by talking quite a bit.
It is strange that the women Sherman-Palladino writes so well for rarely struggle with poverty. But then, few shows on television deal with this theme in general. There was a time in the past where Rory and Lorelai were really living hand-to-mouth, and I will never forget the astonishing episode when Lorelai's mother viewed the place her daughter and granddaughter were living all that time. Lorelai made it, however, and hopefully The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will show us what it takes a single mother to survive on her own.
Sherman-Palladino has never received sufficient credit for the amount of visual perfection she achieves in her hour-long dramas. Gilmore Girls had a wonderful camera and the small Connecticut town of Star's Hollow where Rory turned into such a tragic figure was particularly evocative. On her short-lived masterpiece Bunheads, she gave us the porcelain charm of California, although we were unfortunate to spend so little time there. Given the task of creating New York in the late 1950s, Sherman-Palladino spares no expense in detailed stormfronts and meticulously wrought apartments. She never forces her characters to inhabit anything less than a fully realized world.
After her husband peaces out, Midge takes up a stand-up career of her own. She is not completely terrible, but it is still hard to watch stand-up routines written for other people. Even being forced to view her husband stealing wretched Bob Newhart bits feels like an excruciating waste of time.
It would be better not to have to watch her perform at all, since her life off-stage is so much more exciting than what she explains of herself when she is on it. Her struggle relating to her children seems a mere proxy for her inability to directly address the world at large in something other than a costume. We completely understand why her husband left her, and we are surprised that he even made it this far. What kind of person toasts herself at her own wedding? We are wanting desperately to find out.
Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.
I do miss Harris Park's Indian restuarants
Bet she doesn't mention that car wash with the sleazy car mascot
Laura why u no role play Moka?
//Getting close to feeling like RP'ing on Moka again, but for now, go check out my new OC RP blog please ^^