Tag Archives: Cyber Security

FCC Commissioner Asks Apple + Google To Remove TikTok!

FCC Commissioner Asks Apple + Google To Remove TikTok!

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr just publicly asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores!

Here is what you need to know about the renewed heat on TikTok!

 

FCC Commissioner Asks Apple + Google To Remove TikTok!

On June 29, 2022, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr publicly called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores.

This move came after leaked TikTok audio recordings obtained by Buzzfeed News revealed that ByteDance staff in China (and possibly the Chinese government) retained extensive access to data on US citizens.

Read more : TikTok Leak Showed China Repeatedly Accessed Private User Data!

In his public letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the FCC Commissioner asked that TikTok be removed for “its pattern of surreptitious data practices”.

It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data.

But it is also clear that TikTok’s pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have to sensitive U.S. user data – just some of which is detailed below – puts it out of compliance  with the policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to as a condition of remaining available on your app stores.

Therefore, I am requesting that you apply the plain text of your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from your app stores for failure to abide by those terms.

FCC Commissioner Carr also labelled TikTok as a “sophisticated surveillance tool” that is designed to harvest “personal and sensitive data“.

At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.

Indeed, TikTok collects everything from search and browsing histories to keystroke patterns and biometric identifiers, including faceprints – which researchers have said might be used in unrelated facial recognition technology – and voiceprints.

It collects location data as well as draft messages and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images, and videos that are stored on a device’s clipboard. The list of personal and sensitive data it collects goes on from there.

This should come as no surprise, however. Within its own borders, the PRC has developed some of the most invasive and omnipresent surveillance capabilities in the world to maintain authoritarian control.

Carr ended his letter with an “ultimatum” of sorts – if Apple and Google do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they need to provide “separate responses” to him by July 8, 2022, explaining why TikTok does not contravene their App Store policies.

As of June 30, 2022, TikTok is still available to download in the US app stores of both Apple and Google.

If Apple and Google acts on the FCC Commissioner’s request, TikTok will only be removed from their US app stores. It won’t affect downloads in other countries.

Neither would it prevent users in the US from continuing to use TikTok. They just won’t be able to download it any longer, or update to newer versions.

 

FCC Commissioner Lists History Of TikTok Data Practices!

While the leaked TikTok audio recordings may have precipitated this open letter to Apple and Google, FCC Commissioner Carr pointed to a list of questionable data practices by TikTok in the past.

The list makes for really interesting reading, especially for those who are not up to date on TikTok’s privacy and data security issues :

  • In August 2020, TikTok circumvented a privacy safeguard in Google’s Android operating system to obtain data that allowed it to track users online.
  • In March 2020, researchers discovered that TikTok, through its app in the Apple App Store, was accessing users’ most sensitive data, including passwords, cryptocurrency wallet addresses, and personal messages.
  • In 2021, TikTok agreed to pay $92 million to settle lawsuits alleging that the app “clandestinely vacuumed up and transferred to servers in China (and to other servers accessible from within China) vast quantities of private and personally identifiable user data and content that could be employed to identify, profile, and track the physical and digital location and activities of United States users now and in the future.”
  • In March 2022, a report included current and former TikTok employees stating in interviews that TikTok delegates key decisions to ByteDance officials in Beijing and that an employee was asked to enter sensitive information into a.cn domain, which is the top-level domain operated by the Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
  • Earlier, in 2019, TikTok paid $5.7 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that its predecessor app illegally collected personal data on children under the age of 13.
  • India- the world’s largest democracy–has already banned TikTok on national security grounds for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data in an unauthorized manner.
  • Multiple U.S. military branches have also banned TikTok from government-issued devices due to national security risks, including the Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.
  • U.S. government officials have also urged troops and their dependents to erase the app from their personal phones.
  • U.S. national security agencies have similarly banned TikTok from official devices citing national security risks, including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the TSA.
  • The RNC and DNC have warned campaigns about using TikTok based on security concerns and the threat of officials in Beijing accessing sensitive data.
  • Citing data security concerns, private U.S. business operations have also banned TikTok from company devices, including Wells Fargo.
  • Once accessed by personnel in Beijing, there is no check on the CCP using the extensive, private, and sensitive data about U.S. users for espionage activities because compliance with the PC’s 2017 National Intelligence law is mandatory in China.

 

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TikTok Leak : China Repeatedly Accessed Private User Data!

Leaked audio from internal TikTok meetings show that private user data has been repeatedly accessed from China!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Privacy Promise By TikTok : Overseas Data Stored In US + Singapore

For many years now, TikTok has repeatedly assured users that all data collected from users outside of China, stays out of China and is thus, not accessible to anyone in China.

To ensure that the Chinese government has no access to the data, one of the measures they took was to store all data collected overseas in servers located in the United States, with backups in Singapore.

This was explicitly stated in their New Privacy Policy :

We store the information described in the What Information We Collect section in servers located in the United States and Singapore.

Most people may not realise this, but they also added a caveat right after that, stating that their Corporate Group (in China) may remotely access the data…

When entities in our Corporate Group need information to help us provide the Platform, they remotely access the information pursuant to authorised and secure access controls.

 

TikTok Leak : China Repeatedly Accessed Private User Data!

Buzzfeed News recently received audio recordings from more than eighty (80) internal TikTok meetings, in which employees admitted that engineers in China accessed private user data.

This was despite a TikTok executive’s sworn testimony at an October 2021 US Senate hearing at the same time period, that a “world-renowned, US-based security team” decides who gets access to the private user data.

Instead, the leaked audio revealed that US staff did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the data. Rather, it was their colleagues in China who determined how and who accessed the private user data.

The leaked tapes ultimately show that TikTok may have misled lawmakers, users, and the public by downplaying the fact that their private data is readily accessible by employees in China, and potentially, the Chinese government.

Everything Is Seen In China

Eight different employees stated in nine statements that they had to refer to their colleagues in China to make those decisions.

Everything is seen in China“, said a member of TikTok’s Trust and Safety department in a September 2021 meeting.

In another September 2021 meeting, a TikTok director referred to a Beijing-based engineer as a “Master Admin” who “has access to everything“.

There’s Some Backdoor To Access User Data…

Fourteen of the leaked audio recordings were with, or about, a team of Booz Allen Hamilton consultants that TikTok brought in to investigate how data flows through TikTok and ByteDance’s internal tools.

In September 2021, one Booz Allen Hamilton consultant told colleagues that the tools felt like they had backdoors to access user data :

I feel like with these tools, there’s some backdoor to access user data in almost all of them, which is exhausting.

Oracle Only Providing Storage For Project Texas

TikTok has been working on what they call Project Texas – securely storing overseas data in Oracle cloud servers to comply with CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States).

Project Texas is limited to protecting the private information of US users, like phone numbers and birthdays – details that are not publicly visible, or have been set to private.

Such data will be stored at an Oracle datacenter in Texas – hence the name, and would only be accessible to specific US-based TikTok employees.

However, TikTok’s head of global cyber and data defense made clear that Oracle was only providing the data storage space for Project Texas. Ultimately, TikTok would be setting up the servers, and controlling everything.

It’s almost incorrect to call it Oracle Cloud, because they’re just giving us bare metal, and then we’re building our VMs [virtual machines] on top of it.

Unique IDs Not Protected Information

In one of the leaked audio recordings from a January 2022 meeting, TikTok’s head of product and user operations announced with a laugh that the Unique ID (UID) will not be amongst the protected content under the CFIUS agreement.

The conversation continues to evolve. We recently found out that UIDs are things we can have access to, which changes the game a bit.

Other Data Not Stored On Oracle Servers

The problem with Project Texas is that it only addresses US users… and only a small subset of their data.

Everything else – including private user data from non-US countries – will stay in their US and Singapore servers that remain accessible to ByteDance’s Beijing offices.

 

Response By TikTok : 100% US Data Traffic Routed To Oracle

TikTok publicly announced on the same day – June 17, 2022, that it changed the “default storage location of US user data“, and that “100% of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure“.

Although they “expect” to fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US, they will continue to use their existing US and Singapore servers for backup, and delete US users’ private data over time.

While this may address some of the privacy concerns for US users, it does not address the other privacy concerns revealed in the leaked audio recordings… or the privacy concerns of non-US users.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Watch Out For SVCReady Malware In MS Word Documents!

Please watch out for a new malware called SVCReady that is being embedded in Microsoft Word attachments!

Here is what you need to know about the new SVCReady malware!

 

Watch Out For SVCReady Malware In MS Word Documents!

The HP Threat Research just uncovered a new malware called SVCReady, which they first picked up on 22 April 2022 through HP Wolf Security telemetry.

SVCReady is being distributed in phishing emails with Microsoft Word attachments. On opening the infected Word document, an embedded Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) AutoOpen macro is used to run shellcode stored in the properties of the document.

Splitting the macro from the shellcode is a way to evade security software that would normally detect the malicious code.

Document properties containing shellcode, namely a series of nop instructions as represented by 0x90 values. Credit : HP

The SVCReady malware begins by downloading and loading its payload from the web, and connecting to its Command and Control (C2) server.

It then starts gathering and sending information to the C2 server like :

  • username
  • computer name
  • time zone
  • whether the computer is joined to a domain
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE|DESCRIPTION\System registry key
  • running processes
  • installed software

The SVCReady malware also connects to its C2 server every 5 minutes to report its status, send information, receive new instructions, or validate the domain.

Currently, the malware appears to only gather and send information. However, that will change as the malware persists in the system, and is capable of receiving both updates and instructions from the C2 server.

In fact, the HP team observed the SVCReady retrieve and load a Readline stealer payload on an infected computer. It’s a sign of things to come.

The HP team believes that the SVCReady malware is still in early development, with an influx of updates adding features like encrypted C2 communications, and detection evasion.

They also found evidence linking SVCReady to past malware documents by the TA551 (Shatak) group from 2019 and 2020.

SVCReady will eventually be used for more nefarious purposes once it is good and ready. Until then, the malware will stay hidden, lurking and waiting for its master’s commands.

 

How To Avoid SVCReady Malware In MS Word Documents?

The HP team discovered that the malware creates a new registry key, which could serve as a signature for security software to detect it : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{E6D34FFC-AD32-4d6a-934C-D387FA873A19}

But until security software are updated to detect SVCReady, the best way to avoid this malware is simple – do NOT open Word document attached to emails!

If you regularly receive Word documents in your emails, please VERIFY with the sender before opening them.

These phishing emails are designed to look legitimate. So be very careful about what you open!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Hackers Release Pfizer + Moderna Vaccine Death Data?!

Did hackers just crack the Pfizer and Moderna servers, and publicly released the hidden vaccine death data that they stole?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Hackers Stole, Released Pfizer + Moderna Vaccine Death Data!

People are sharing links to articles that claim that hackers just stole and released vaccine death data from Pfizer and Moderna servers!

Here is an example, which is rather long, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts!

GOOD NEWS!!!! Hackers broke into all the pharmaceutical companies and stold all the medial data on vaccines thank God!!!! The Great Awaking has lifted off!!! Forward this link everywhere!!!!

**Displays number of deaths and disabilities associated with each batch/lot number = indication of relative toxicity of one batch/lot compared to another
**No one currently knows the reason why some batches/lots are associated with excessive deaths, disabilities and adverse reactions (up to 50 x). Until we do know, it is best to be cautious
**[“Batch-code” = “Lot Number” = the number they write on your vaccination card.]

 

Truth : Hackers Did Not Steal / Release Pfizer + Moderna Vaccine Death Data!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created and promoted by disinformation websites like Before It’s News, How Bad Is My BatchBest News Here, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Pfizer + Moderna Servers Were Not Hacked

Those websites falsely claimed that hackers broke into Pfizer and Moderna servers, and stole their (hidden) vaccine death data.

There is no evidence the Pfizer and Moderna servers were ever hacked, or had any data stolen.

Fact #2 : All Data Are Publicly Available

Despite claiming at the start that the data provided in the website was stolen from Pfizer and Moderna servers, the article ends with a statement that all of the data was really sourced from VAERS.

Data Source
• All data is sourced from VAERS, a public database of over 700,000 adverse reaction reports for Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen Covid 19 vaccines in the USA. 
Our intention is to present the VAERS data in an accessible and unadulterated form, that can be easily verified using the links below

In other words – they falsely claimed that the data was provided by hackers who broke into Pfizer and Moderna servers. The data were all from VAERS, which is publicly available.

Fact #3 : VAERS Data Cannot Be Used As Evidence

Like the British Yellow Card system, VAERS is an open reporting system that lets ANYONE from ANYWHERE file a report, without verification.

VAERS reports are not only easily faked, they are easily abused, which why the CDC explicitly warned that :

  • Reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverified information.
  • The number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency, or rates of problems associated with vaccines.

But anti-vaccination activists and disinformation websites LOVE to use VAERS, because they can easily manipulate the reports to create a fake narrative.

Read more : Here’s How Antivaxxers Create Fake News Using VAERS!

Fact #4 : Pfizer + Moderna Released Their Data In 2020

Both Pfizer and Moderna submitted data from their COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials to health authorities across the world, like the US FDA and EMA in Europe in November 2020.

The release of clinical trial data, which would include post-vaccination adverse events, is necessary for any health authority to approve their vaccines.

The US FDA released the briefing documents Pfizer and Moderna submitted to the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) in December 2020 :

Fact #5 : FDA Started Releasing Pfizer Documents In 2021

On 27 August 2021, a group that called themselves Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency (PHMPT) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the US FDA to gain access to all of their documents related to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The US FDA started releasing the Pfizer documents on 17 November 2021. They were then ordered by US District Judge Mark Pittman to speed up the release of those documents on 6 January 2022.

As of 2 May 2022, the US FDA had already released 238 documents related to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, containing thousands of pages.

Read more : Did Pfizer Try To Hide 158K Vax Adverse Events For 75 Years?

Fact #6 : Before It’s News Is Known Fake News Website

Before It’s News is known for creating and spreading fake news – not just misinformation, but also disinformation about everything from MH17 conspiracy theories to anti-vaccination claims.

Everything posted by Before It’s News must be considered FAKE NEWS, until proven otherwise.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Scam Alert : Nespresso 2022 Mother’s Day Contest!

Please watch out for the Nespresso 2022 Mother’s Day contest scam!

Find out why it is just a SCAM, and WARN your family and friends!

 

Scam Alert : Nespresso 2022 Mother’s Day Contest!

People are now sharing the Nespresso 2022 Mother’s Day Contest scam on WhatsApp :

Nespresso 2022 Mother’s Day Contest

5,000 free coffee machines for your Mother!

 

Nespresso 2022 Mother’s Day Contest : Why This Is A Scam!

Many of us are in dire straits during this COVID-19 pandemic, having lost jobs, income or even loved ones.

Unfortunately, scammers are counting on our desperation to prey on us, using the same survey scam they have been using for years :

Unfortunately, this Nespresso contest is yet another SCAM that you should NEVER participate in!

  1. After you click on the link, you are taken to a page that looks like a genuine Nespresso contest page.
  2. You will be asked to answer three very simple questions.
    The answers are irrelevant – no matter what you answer, you are always allowed to proceed to the next step.
  3. You are then asked to share the promotion with 30 WhatsApp contacts, or 5 WhatsApp groups.
  4. Next, you will be asked to complete one of these tasks to receive the “free” Nespresso coffee machine :
    a) install an app, which is really a malware to send you advertisements, or
    b) enter your credit card details
    Needless to say – proceeding with this step will open you up to great risk of monetary loss. DO NOT PROCEED!
  5. If you install their malware, you will start receiving promotions, some of which will ask you to send an SMS to receive expensive free gifts like laptops and smartphones.
    If you proceed to send the confirmation SMS messages, you will be subscribed and billed for international premium SMS services.

So never click on such contest links, even if they were sent to you by a trusted relative or friend.

They would have certainly been fooled by the scam, so please warn them too!

 

How To Spot Scams Like The Nespresso Survey Contest!

Now, let me show you how to spot these scams next time!

If you spot any of these warning signs, DO NOT PROCEED and DO NOT SHARE!

Warning Sign #1 : Bad Grammar

Most of these scammers do not have a good command of the English language, so if you spot bad grammar, stay away.

Proper contests or events sponsored by major brands like Nespresso will have at least one PR or marketing person who will vet the text before allowing it to be posted.

Read more : Watch Out For Nestle 2022 Anniversary Phishing Scam!

Warning Sign #2 : Offering You Free Money Or Gifts

Please do NOT be naive. No one is going to give you money or free gifts just to participate in a survey!

Petronas isn’t going to give you FREE money, just because it’s their anniversary.

They are a corporation whose business is to make money, not a charity to give you free money.

Warning Sign #3 : Not Using The Real Jaya Grocer Domain

A genuine Petronas campaign would use their real domain – www.petronas.com.

Or they would run it off the official Petronas page on Facebook – www.facebook.com/petronas/.

If you see nonsensical domains like 0yjjg61.cn, 1eaf1rnbeef.top, ldxqw.bar, etc. that’s a sign of a SCAM!

Warning Sign #4 : Asking You To Forward The Offer

No brand will insist that you must share the offer with 5 groups or 20 friends on WhatsApp.

Do not click to forward their offer to your family and friends. They will not appreciate being scammed with your help!

Warning Sign #5 : Asking You To Download + Register An App

If you click through and joined the fake survey scam, you will eventually be asked to download and register for an app.

This is VERY DANGEROUS. Never agree to download and register for any unknown app from a website.

Always download your apps from an official App Store like Google Play Store (for Android smartphones) and Apple App Store (for iPhones).

Please help us fight scams like this and SHARE this article out!

And please WARN your family and friends!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Scam Alert : Petronas 50th Anniversary Survey Contest!

Please watch out for the Petronas 50th Anniversary survey contest scam!

Find out why it is just a SCAM, and WARN your family and friends!

 

Petronas 50th Anniversary Survey Scam Alert!

People are now sharing the Petronas 50th Anniversary messages on WhatsApp :

Petronas 50th Anniversary!

Click to enter to participate in the survey, have a chance to win 2000 Ringgit!

 

Petronas 50th Anniversary Survey : Why This Is A Scam

Unfortunately, this is yet another survey scam, like the FamilyMart 70th Anniversary scam!

For one thing – Petronas was incorporated on 17 August 1974, so their 50th anniversary would be on 17 August 2024!

Petronas confirmed that this survey is a scam in a Facebook post :

PETRONAS has been made aware of a scam online “survey” conducted supposedly in conjunction with “PETRONAS’ 50th Anniversary”.

We wish to inform that neither PETRONAS nor any of our subsidiaries within the Group of Companies are involved in this “survey”, and we appeal to the public not to respond or take part.

I know many of us are in dire straits during this COVID-19 pandemic, having lost jobs, income or even loved ones.

Unfortunately, scammers are counting on our desperation to prey on us, using the same survey scam they have been using for years :

Now, let me show you how to spot these scams next time!

If you spot any of these warning signs, DO NOT PROCEED and DO NOT SHARE!

Warning Sign #1 : Bad Grammar

Most of these scammers do not have a good command of the English language, so if you spot bad grammar, stay away.

Proper contests or events sponsored by major brands like Petronas will have at least one PR or marketing person who will vet the text before allowing it to be posted.

Warning Sign #2 : Offering You Free Money Or Gifts

Please do NOT be naive. No one is going to give you money or free gifts just to participate in a survey!

Petronas isn’t going to give you FREE money, just because it’s their anniversary.

They are a corporation whose business is to make money, not a charity to give you free money.

Warning Sign #3 : Not Using The Real Jaya Grocer Domain

A genuine Petronas campaign would use their real domain – www.petronas.com.

Or they would run it off the official Petronas page on Facebook – www.facebook.com/petronas/.

If you see nonsensical domains like 0yjjg61.cn, 1eaf1rnbeef.top, ldxqw.bar, etc. that’s a sign of a SCAM!

Warning Sign #4 : Asking You To Forward The Offer

No brand will insist that you must share the offer with 5 groups or 20 friends on WhatsApp.

Do not click to forward their offer to your family and friends. They will not appreciate being scammed with your help!

Warning Sign #5 : Asking You To Download + Register An App

If you click through and joined the fake survey scam, you will eventually be asked to download and register for an app.

This is VERY DANGEROUS. Never agree to download and register for any unknown app from a website.

Always download your apps from an official App Store like Google Play Store (for Android smartphones) and Apple App Store (for iPhones).

Please help us fight scams like this and SHARE this article out!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Are These Shanghai Disneyland Robot Dancers Real?!

Did China create these amazing robot dancers at the Shanghai Disneyland, beating even the Japanese?

Watch the viral clip for yourself, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : China Created Classic Robot Dancers At Shanghai Disneyland!

Here is the video that countless people have been sharing on social media and even on YouTube. It is often paired with a short explanation in (broken) English.

This classic dance is only created in China and broadcast in Shanghai Disneyland. They are not female dance artists, but all robots made in China.

The performance time is only about 5 minutes, but the ticket queue time takes 4 hours. The ticket price is 499 yuan.

It has surpassed Japan in complexity, and its perfect facial expressions. Send this video to everyone to watch. Let us enjoy together…

 

Truth : They Are NOT Robot Dancers At Shanghai Disneyland!

The agility and grace of these dancers are amazing, but they are NOT robot dancers created by China for Shanghai Disneyland!

The less gullible would point out that it is something you would only expect from professional human dancers, and they would be right.

Fact #1 : That Is A Video Of A CBDF Competition

That was actually a video clip from one of the many competitions organised and broadcast by the CBDF (Chinese Ballroom Dance Federation).

Although we cannot ascertain who the dancers are, you can see the CBDF logo in the background, at 4:03 and 4:38.

No robot made today can match their agility and grace.

Fact #2 : 499 Yuan Was The Entry Price To Shanghai Disneyland

The fake story claimed that the ticket to watch this performance costs 499 Yuan – about US$73 / £55 / RM303. That would be ridiculously exorbitant for a single show.

In truth, that was the cost of an entry ticket to the Shanghai Disneyland when it first opened in February 2016.

Since 6 June 2018, it has been priced at 399 Yuan (off-peak), 575 Yuan (peak) and 665 Yuan (peak holiday).

Fact #3 : Disneyland Does Not Charge Extra To Watch Certain Shows

Anyone who has been to Disneyland knows that the entry fee is pricey. That’s because it covers all rides and shows inside Disneyland.

You only need to pay for food and drinks, and arcade games. Or if you opt to purchase Disney Fastpasses (Fastpass, FastPass+, MaxPass) to bypass long queues at popular rides or shows.

Otherwise, all rides and shows are free to enjoy once you enter Disneyland.

Fact #4 : That Is Not The Only Fake Video Of Chinese Robot Dancers

That is not the only fake video of Chinese robot dancers.

This one circulated earlier, claiming to be of a female robot dancer that handily beats all Japanese made-robots.

In that example, they took the video clip from the 2018 World Dance Sport Federation Championship in Lithuania…

Recommended : Did China Create This Amazing Female Dancing Robot?

 

Who Would Create Fake Stories About Robot Dancers?

With China’s aggressive foreign stance in recent years, it is not uncommon to see such fake stories being created and shared.

Some believe it’s part of a concerted attempt to burnish China’s image overseas.

Others believe the many fake stories are being created to drown out the negative coverage of China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, and their aggressive moves in the South China Sea.

Whatever the reasons may be, it is our duty as global citizens to stop the proliferation of such fake stories.

Please share this fact check with your friends, so they know the truth!

 

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Did Joe Biden Block Vietnam Evacuation + Refugees?!

Did Senator Joe Biden block the Vietnam evacuation, and the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees in 1975?

Take a look at the viral post, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : Senator Joe Biden Blocked Vietnam Evacuation + Refugees!

The message was first introduced before the 2020 US Presidential Elections, and reintroduced after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan resulted in a rout of the Afghan government, and a stampede to escape the Taliban.

Now, people are sharing this viral message on social media and WhatsApp, as President Joe Biden punishes the Russian government for its invasion of Ukraine.

ONE FOR HISTORY BUFFS THAT I BET YOU DID NOT KNOW

In 1975, President Ford was left to manage the difficult ending of the Vietnam War. President Ford went to Congress for a relief package to allow American personnel and our allies to evacuate. However, there was ONE US SENATOR who opposed any such support. The result was the embarrassing and hurried evacuation from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon.

This senator reveled in the embarrassment and did everything he could to leverage it politically against Ford. Despite the efforts of this U.S. Senator – President Ford managed to rescue 1,500 South Vietnamese allies prior to the country’s fall. Had President Ford not acted quickly, these people would have been targeted and slaughtered for their support for America.

When they arrived in America, President Ford asked Congress for a package to assist these refugees to integrated into American society. That SAME troublesome SENATOR TORPEDOED ANY SUPPORT for these shell shocked, anti-communist Americans and our helpers, the refugees.

Instead, President Ford had to recruit Christian organizations to offer assistance on a voluntary basis. As he did so, the Senator belittled those efforts. What kind of person would oppose President Ford’s tireless work to do the right and humanitarian thing? Who would want to play politics with the well-being of innocent people who stood by America in the tragic Vietnam War?

THAT SENATOR WAS JOE BIDEN

From the book – “When the Center Held” by Donald Rumsfeld in 2018 (biography)

… spread it, far and wide!

 

Truth : Joe Biden Did Not Block Vietnam Evacuation + Refugees!

This recycled FAKE NEWS was originally created by Trump supporters, and is still fake news, no matter how many times it’s reposted.

It is now being recycled to cast aspersions on US President Joe Biden’s actions against the Russian government for its invasion of Ukraine.

Here is a quick summary of the facts :

  • Senator Joe Biden did not block President Gerald Ford’s Vietnam evacuation plans.
  • Senator Joe Biden did not torpedo any support for Vietnamese refugees.
  • President Ford did not rely on Christian organisations to help the Vietnamese refugees.
  • Senator Joe Biden voted to approve humanitarian aid for Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees.
  • Humanitarian aid was approved for both Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees.
  • Senator Joe Biden voted to welcome the Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees. 

For those who want the nitty, gritty details, here are the facts…

Fact #1 : Senator Joe Biden Voted Against Vietnam Contingency Act

Senator Joe Biden voted against the Vietnam Contingency Act (S. 1484) when it was proposed in the US Senate, because he disagreed with two terms in the bill :

  • military assistance to Vietnam
  • authorisation to use American troops (if necessary) to protect the evacuation of South Vietnamese citizens.

Specifically, he was against the Ford Administration tying military assistance to Vietnam and the continued use of US troops, with the evacuation of American and Vietnamese civilians.

He was worried that $100 million of contingency funds in this bill would be used to provide military aid, instead of helping to evacuate the refugees.

Fact #2 : Joe Biden Was One Of 17 Who Voted Against S. 1484

The claim that Senator Joe Biden was the only senator to vote against S. 1484 is false. He was one of 17 senators who voted against the Vietnam Contingency Act.

Fact #3 : Vietnam Contingency Act Passed In The US Congress

Despite Senator Biden’s Nay vote, together with 16 other senators, the Vietnam Contingency Act (S. 1484) was approved in the Senate with a 75-17 vote on 24 April 1975.

Fact #4 : Vietnam Contingency Act Rejected In House Of Representatives

The Vietnam Contingency Act however failed to pass the House of Representatives, where it was defeated in a vote of 162 to 246 on 1 May 1975.

It was generally agreed that the majority of Representatives were against the Ford Administration’s intentional linking of the evacuation with military assistance to Vietnam.

So it was ultimately not Joe Biden – a very young senator at that time – who blocked President Ford’s militarised evacuation plan, but the US House of Representatives.

Fact #5 : HR 6096 Rejected In House Of Representatives

The Vietnam Humanitarian Assistance and Evacuation Act of 1975 (HR 6096) was proposed in the US House of Representatives, to assist the Vietnamese refugees.

However, it was defeated in the same US House of Representative vote for S. 1484 above, with a vote of 162 to 246.

The defeated bill never got to the US Senate, so Senator Joe Biden never voted for or against it. It is therefore categorically FALSE to claim that he torpedoed the bill.

Fact #6 : S. 1661 Passed In The US Congress

After HR 6096 failed in the House of Representatives, President Ford submitted a new bill to the US Congress – the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act (S. 1661) on 6 May 1975.

This bill passed the US Senate with an overwhelming majority vote of 77 to 2. Only Republican senators Jesse Helm and William Scott voted against it.

Senator Joe Biden was not present for the vote, but later voted to advance the bill to the House of Representatives with a “favourable recommendation”.

Joe Biden certainly did not torpedo this humanitarian bill either.

Fact #7 : President Ford Did Not Rely On Christian Organisations

The S. 1661 Senate bill was merged into HR 6755 (Authorizing Funds for Assistance to Refugees from South Vietnam and Cambodia), which passed in the House of Representatives with a 381 vs. 31 vote.

HR 6755 was signed into law by President Gerald Ford on 23 May 1975.

So the claim that President Ford had to rely on Christian organisations to help the Vietnamese refugees is also FALSE.

Fact #7 : US Congress Welcomed Vietnamese + Cambodian Refugees

On 8 May 1975, the US Congress issued a resolution called “Welcome the latest refugees to our shores (S. Res. 148)“.

92 senators, including Senator Joe Biden, voted in favour, with only one Republican senator voting against – Senator William Scott, and seven others abstaining.

In short, Joe Biden voted to welcome both Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees to the United States.

Now that you know the truth, please SHARE THIS OUT so other people won’t get fooled by the fake viral claim!

Recommended : Should We Blame Joe Biden For Fall Of Vietnam Too?

 

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Anonymous Affiliates Are Attacking Russian Space Agency!

After Anonymous declare a cyberwar against Russia, their affiliates are going after the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

Here is what they accomplished so far!

 

Anonymous Affiliate NB65 Attacked Russian Space Agency!

On 28 February 2022, the hacking group – Anonymous Network Battalion 65′ (NB65), which hacked and released over 40,000 files from the Russian Nuclear Safety Institute.

They then turned their attention to the Russian Space Agency, claiming to shut down the WS02 Vehicle Monitoring System server at the Roscosmos Control Center on 1 March 2022.

The Russian Space Agency sure does love their satellite imaging.

Better yet they sure do love their Vehicle Monitoring System.

The WS02 was deleted, credentials were rotated and the server is shut down.

Network Battalion isn’t going to give you the IP, that would be too easy, now wouldn’t it?

Have a nice Monday fixing your spying tech. Glory to Ukraine.

We wont [sic] stop until you stop dropping bombs, killing civilians and trying to invade.

Go the fuck back to Russia.

However, Roscosmos Chief Executive, Dmitry Rogozin denied the claim, saying that “The information of these scammers and petty swindlers is not true. All our space activity control centers are operating normally.

 

Anonymous Affiliate v0g3lSec Hacked Russian Space Agency Website!

On 3 March 2022, another Anonymous affiliate, v0g3lSec, hacked a website owned by the Russian Space Agency – http://uv.ikiweb.ru/.

This appears to be the official website for the World Space Observatory-Ultraviolet (WSO-UV) telescope, also known as the Spektr-UV. It is still down as of 4 March 2022.

 

Anonymous Affiliate v0g3lSec Leaked Russian Space Agency Files!

On 4 March 2022, v0g3lSec released files that were hacked from a private service hosted by the Russian space agency.

The files apparently contained data from Luna – a joint programme between Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA).

  • The leaked data consisted of 261 items, with a size of 729 gigabytes.
  • The executable files (.exe) are from 2012, with a timestamp of 2012-12-20 18:18:57.
  • Most of the documents are from 2009 to 2012, so the files are pretty old.

This suggests that the files that v0g3lSec stole were old data archived by Roscosmos. While it is a technical success, it is unlikely to have any actual effect.

 

Roscosmos Chief Threatens ISS + War

Roscosmos chief, Rogozin, suggested that sanctions against Russia could result in the destruction of the International Space Station (ISS).

If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe?

Rogozin also said that any cyberattack on Russia’s satellites would be considered casus belli – a cause for war.

However, it is unknown how Roscosmos or Russia plans to declare or effect war against Anonymous, or its affiliates.

 

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Anonymous Cyberwar Against Russia : 28 February 2022

Here are the latest cyberattacks by the hacktivist group, Anonymous, in their cyberwar against Russia!

 

Anonymous Launches Cyberwar Against Russia!

On 22 February 2022, Anonymous lobbed a warning shot at both Russia and China, hacking an official Chinese website and a Russian Modbus device.

After the Russian invasion started on 24 February, Anonymous announced that they would also begin “gearing up for action” :

#Anonymous has always been against war, and against colonialism. We’ve seen how unfettered power decimates the weak, only having its own self interests in mind. We stand with the people, not the governments of the world.
Anonymous condemns the attacks on the Ukrainian people.

There are many #Anonymous accounts gearing up for action against the imperialist state of Russia, and we will be retweeting their endeavors.

The next day, Anonymous announced that they have started attacking the Russian government.

#Anonymous is currently involved in operations against the Russian Federation. Our operations are targeting the Russian government. There is an inevitability that the private sector will most likely be affected too. While this account cannot claim to speak for the whole (con)

Read more : Anonymous fires Warning Shot at China, Russia over Ukraine!

 

Anonymous Cyberwar Successes Against Russia!

Here is the latest list of cyberattacks that Anonymous successfully conducted in their cyberwar against Russian.

25 February 2022

26 February 2022

  • Anonymous took down several Russian government websites, including the Kremlin, State Duma, and Ministry of Defense.
  • Anonymous “retrieved” and leaked 200 GB of emails from Tetraedr – a Belarusian arms manufacturer, including blueprints of the SAMs (Surface-to-Air Missiles) they manufacture.

27 February 2022

  • Anonymous took down the Chechen Republic government website : chechnya.gov.ru
    Note : This came after multiple reports of Chechen soldiers being deployed to Ukraine.
  • Anonymous shut down gas supply provided by Tvingo Telecom in Russia. Tvingo Telecom is owned by Rostelecom, a Russian state owned telecommunications company.

28 February 2022

  • Anonymous took down several official Belarus government websites :
    – Belarus Ministry of Communications and Information : mpt.gov.by
    – Belarus State Authority for Military Industry : vpk.gov.by
    – Belarus Military : mil.by
  • Anonymous took down several more Russian state and state-linked websites :
    – Pension Fund of the Russian Federation : pfr.gov.ru
    – Russian Public Services portal : gosuslugi.ru
    – Kremlin website (again) : Kremlin.ru
    – Russian Federal Customs Service : customs.gov.ru
    – Russian government website : government.ru
    – Moscow city + mayor website : mos.ru
    – Tass news agency website : Tass.ru
  • The hacking group GNG – an Anonymous affiliate – hacked and leaked a Sberbank database
  • Anonymous Network Battalion 65′ (nB65) hacked and released 40,000 files from the Russian Nuclear Safety Institute.

I will keep updating this article, as and when Anonymous announces their successes against Russia.

 

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CODEX Cracking Group Officially Shuts Down!

The games cracking group – CODEX – has called it quits, officially shutting down for good. This is truly the end of an era.

 

CODEX Cracking Group Officially Shuts Down!

The CODEX cracking group announced their retirement in the release notes of “The Sims 4 My Wedding Stories”.

It was not due to legal troubles (arrests) or internal conflict, but the team felt they had already achieved their goal.

A CODEX short story

CODEX was founded with one and only one goal in mind: “to give the dominating PC games group at the time, RELOADED, some serious competition.”

A highly motivated and hard-working group of veterans and rookies alike banded together and created a new name to achieve that goal. It was a fun and sometimes dirty ride with lots of give and take on both sides. Bud sadly, it did not last very long and RLD started to crumble and slowly fell apart, making the scene less interesting.

What was left when they finally surrendered and the dust settled?

The blade has been dull for a long time. Quality, tradition and pride was slowly fading to darkness.

Of course, there is a particular group that uses an old name without permission. From the first day they started releasing in the PC section, they have worked hard to shamelessly destroy the reputation of a once iconic group tag when they really should have closed down years ago after all the spectacular fuckups they are responsible for.

Since then there have only been people resurrecting and adopting old names from previously busted groups instead of creating something new and unique on their own. Starting from nothing to slowly build up a reputation for themselves through hard work was obvious too much of a hassle and recycling old identities to get a head start was their way to go.

Still, even with that, this did not lead to any serious competition with two traits we pride ourselves on– a strong continued effort and a good amount of quality output on more than just DRM-free games or simple Steam protections.

CODEX cracked a large variety of protections like Steam (Stub+API+CEG), Arxan, XboxLive, UWP, Denuvo, Origin, Play, Bethesda.net, Battle.net and custom protections on games like Grim Dawn, Street Fighter V, WWE2k20, Croteam games, BigAnt games, Minecraft Dungeons, and many more.

So now, years after reaching our initial goal, we feel that it is time to move on. We thank everyone who accompanied and supported us on our journey.

Have a good time… Bye from CODEX!

 

CODEX Ends 8-Year Run At The Top

Since they burst into the scene in 2014, CODEX has been at the forefront of cracking and removing game copy protections.

They were able to consistently crack even the strongest copy protections like Denuvo, and release major game titles soon after their launch.

That made them the bane of game developers and publishers, potentially costing them millions of dollars in revenue.

On the other hand, CODEX gave less fortunate people access to games they perhaps would not be able to afford, and a DRM-free copy to gamers who already paid for a particular game.

More than a few hardware reviewers also relied on the latest CODEX-cracked games to run benchmarks.

Perhaps their greatest effect was to convince at least some game developers to eschew paying for “strong” copy protections, and offer DRM-free games through platforms like GOG.

Warhorse Studios, for example, released Kingdom Come: Deliverance on Steam, only to have CODEX release a cracked copy within hours. But Warhorse quickly offered a DRM-free version on GOG.

In the end, Warhorse sold half a million copies of Kingdom Come: Deliverance within two days, and a million copies by the end of the week. By its first anniversary, two million copies were sold, even though a CODEX cracked copy existed on launch day.

Warhorse Studios director and co-founder, Daniel Vávra, even printed and put up a poster of the CODEX NFO of their cracked game.

Now that the CODEX crew has officially retired, new PC games cracking groups will inevitably come to the fore, possibly “taking over” their famous name.

But they will likely not be able to come close to their quality or prolificacy – CODEX released some 7,000 game titles in the past 8 years.

This is truly the end of an era in the scene.

 

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Anonymous fires Warning Shot at China, Russia over Ukraine!

The hacktivist group, Anonymous, just fired a warning shot at both China and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine!

 

Anonymous fires Warning Shot at China, Russia over Ukraine!

The hacktivist group, Anonymous, just hacked a Chinese state website, and a logic controller in Russia, as a warning shot to both countries over the invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, 22 February 2022, Anonymous hacked the Chinese Culture website (www.chineseculture.com.cn), replacing its content with a page showing its logo, and the Guy Fawkes mask.

The hacked Chinese Culture website was taken offline, but you can still see the hacked page through the Wayback Machine.

The hacked page includes the YouTube video – It Might Break Your Pinky Heart – the famous music video by Malaysian singer-songwriter, Namewee, that mocks the Chinese government.

Read more : Anonymous Launches Cyberwar Against Russia!

After a video about an old MIT experimental antiviral approach called DRACO (Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizer), and a reference to Operation Samatha Smith, the hacked page warned Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, with a warning shot in the form of “a small hack”.

However sadly because Putin has burned the bridge and reneged the Minsk deal by prematurely recognising separatist territories as independent, instead of waiting until the conclusion of UN interim administration period and if they vote overwhelmingly for independence per that plan, Anonymous decides to make good some of its threats by conducting a small hack on a Modbus device which we intend as a warning shot.

The above Modbus device isn”t located in countries friendly to the US and Taiwan, nor in neutral countries that want nothing with these. Instead, it is in places like China or somewhere like it.

You can make stupid threats like a spoiled child, but remember that Anonymous never have restrictions that says that only homo sapiens can be part of it.

Sony learnt the hard way in 2011 that a part of Anonymous can finish what a totally different part had started!

The Modbus device was later confirmed to be a Schneider Electric Modicon M251 logic controller located in Russia.

 

Anonymous Will Formally Attack Russia Over Ukraine Invasion!

According to Taiwan News, which reached out to Anonymous, their representative said that they were previously “playing nice and not give them an excuse to start a war“, but now that missiles had been fired on Ukraine, “we are taking off the gloves altogether.

That representative also said, “Anonymous will formally attack Russian websites or devices later” in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Anonymous threat on the Chinese Culture website ended with its signature quote in English, Russian and Chinese :

We are Anonymous
We are legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Expect us!
Мы анонимы
Мы легион
Мы не прощаем
мы не забываем
Ждите нас!
我们是匿名者
我们是军团
我们不原谅
我们不会忘记
期待我们

Anonymous did not explicitly say why they are targeting China over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it seems obvious that they believe that China is partly responsible for Russia’s military action.

Perhaps they felt that indirect support by the Chinese, as well as their propaganda effort, gave Russia some leeway and economic support in attacking Ukraine.

Read more : Chinese Media Accidentally Leaks Ukraine Censorship Order!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

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Herbal Visual Tea For Glaucoma / Cataract Scam Alert!

Please watch out for the Herbal Visual Tea scam, which claims to cure glaucoma, cataract and many other diseases of the eye!

Find out why this Herbal Visual Team is just a scam, and warn your family and friends!

 

Scam Alert : Herbal Visual Tea By Li Tianfa / Tianfa Lee!

The Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology (MSO) is warning people again about fake Facebook pages using their photos

Take a look at a selection of fake Facebook pages that the Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology (MSO) identified and shared on their Facebook page.

 

Why Herbal Visual Tea For Glaucoma / Cataract Is A Scam!

All these fake Facebook pages appear to promote the Herbal Visual Tea by Li Tianfa, who also goes by the name Tianfa Lee.

So why is this Herbal Visual Tea a scam? Here are the facts…

Fact #1 : Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology Warned About This Scam

On 5 January 2021, the Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology reported these scam posts to the police, Facebook and MCMC.

The Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology has been made aware of malicious scammers who have cut and pasted our committee members and other members photos to be used to promote dubious fake eye products or services. We have reported these posts to the Police , Facebook and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) . Please do not respond to these scammers .

That didn’t stop these scammers, who continued to create new fake Facebook pages to promote Herbal Visual Tea.

On 21 May 2021, MSO again warned about these scammers.

The Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology (MSO) strongly condemns the action of certain irresponsible parties who misuse official images from our Society, seemingly endorsing certain health products of dubious benefits. The health claims are callous, misleading and without any sound evidence.

The public is advised against purchasing these products of unknown entity. Existing patients with eye conditions should always consult their eye doctor before stopping their existing medications or trying these alternative treatments.

The Society appreciates those who have notified us of these ads. Please help us to report these ads to Facebook so that we can stop others from being duped into buying these products.

And on 23 September 2021, MSO yet again issued another warning about these scammers.

Fact #2 : Those Fancy Associations Do NOT Exist!

This Li Tianfa / Tianfa Lee claims to have a TON of titles, but if you check them online, these organisations do not really exist!

  • International Exchange Center for Traditional Complementary Medicine : Does Not Exist!
  • Academic Association of Ophthalmology of Malaysian Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine : Does Not Exist!
  • Malaysia Association of Chinese Medicine : Does Not Exist!
  • Professional Chinese Acupuncture Association of Malaysia : Does Not Exist!
  • Indy International University, Malaysia : Does Not Exist!
  • Miaofa Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital : Does Not Exist!

There is a Center for International Exchange of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but he is not listed amongst its many consultants and lecturers.

Malaysian Chinese Medical Association exists, but he is not even in its committee, never mind one of its NINE Vice Presidents!

INTI International University exists, but he does not appear to be in their faculty list.

There is a Miao Fa TCM 妙法中醫 store, but it is a traditional Chinese medicine store, not a hospital!

Fact #3 : Dr. Li Tianfa Called Herbal Visual Tea A Scam!

Here is the kicker – Dr. Li Tianfa is the owner of Miao Fa TCM, and he declared that the Herbal Visual Tea is a SCAM!

Clarification! Clarification! Clarification!
Scammers are misusing my identity!
I, Dr. Li Tianfa would like to clarify, and solemnly declare that this Herbal Visual Tea is not my product!!!
Please don’t be! fooled!!
Our Facebook page is miaofa tcm!!!

澄清!澄清!澄清!
无良商人,盗用了我良好的声誉!!!
我李添发博士,在这里澄清,郑重声明,这个(视明茶)不是我的产品!!!
请大家不要上当!!!
我们的Facebook是miaofa tcm“妙法中医”!!!

So please do NOT blame Dr. Li Tianfa. He appears to be an innocent victim of these scammers, just like all those who were fooled into purchasing the Herbal Visual Tea.

Fact #4 : There Is No Proof This Tea Cures Anything

The Herbal Visual Tea consists of common ingredients like longan, chrysanthemum, honeysuckle, cassia seed, wolfberry, Galli gigeriae endothelium corneum, black sesame and mulberry.

Pretty much ingredients you can buy at any traditional Chinese medicine store!

There is simply NO EVIDENCE that such a concoction can cure glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, optic atrophy, fundus lesions, retinal detachment, vitreous body turbidity, floaters, presbyopia, astigmatism, hyperopia, night blindness and more that the scammers are claiming!

This Visual Herbal Tea is nothing more than a SCAM! Please warn your family and friends!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Watch Out For Nestle 2022 Anniversary Phishing Scam!

Please watch out for the Nestle 2022 Anniversary phishing scam!

Find out why it is just a SCAM, and WARN your family and friends!

 

Nestle 2022 Anniversary Phishing Scam Alert!

People are now sharing the Nestle 2022 Anniversary message on WhatsApp (translated into English) :

CONGRATULATIONS!

Your family has been chosen to receive a lucky drag for the Nestle 2022 Anniversary at the Nestle office.

This contest has been approved by the Malaysian court / police, with the cooperation of Bank Negera Malaysia (BNM).

The link attached to the a website with the following instructions :

  1. Winners must keep the PIN-CEK number as evidence for winner verification and prize collection
  2. There are two ways to submit the contest form – through WhatsApp or this website.
  3. The contest form must be completed with your details. Incomplete forms will be rejected by the sponsor without notice.
  4. Every valid application will be shortlisted. There is no limit to the number of applications.
  5. First Prize Winner : RM10,500
    Second Prize Winner : RM9,300
    Third Prize Winner : RM8,500
  6. To redeem your prize, just use your WhatsApp to :
    a) Fill in the Nestle winner application number
    b) Fill in your full name and identity card number
    c) Attach a clear picture of your BANK ATM CARD – front and back
    d) Go to the nearest ATM machine, and WhatsApp the details above to +60124181128

 

Nestle 2022 Anniversary Phishing Scam : How Does It Work?

The Nestle 2022 Anniversary phishing scam is DANGEROUS. Please warn your family and friends to AVOID it.

Fact #1 : There Is No Such Nestle Giveaway!

There is no such anniversary giveaway by Nestle Malaysia. There is no reason for Nestle Malaysia to give out so much money.

They are a business, not a charity. They are in the business of selling you products, not giving you money.

Businesses do sponsor giveaway contests, but they are generally low value. Nestle Malaysia, for example, is currently giving away RM30 Shopee vouchers.

Fact #2 : Nestle Would Not Use Free Websites

Nestle is a large multinational company. It would not be using free website services like Wix.

Nestle Malaysia has its own website (https://www.nestle.com.my/) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Nestle.Malaysia) where they post official contests and promotions.

Always verify if a contest is genuine by visiting the official website / social media page.

Fact #3 : Nestle Would Never Ask For Pictures Of Your ATM Card!

Nestle, and any legitimate brand, would NEVER ask you to send them pictures of your bank ATM card!

Sending the pictures of your ATM card will allow them to clone the card, or trick bank staff into giving the scammers access to your bank account.

NEVER EVER SEND ANYONE PICTURES OF YOUR BANK ATM CARD!

Fact #4 : Nestle Would Never Ask You To Go To An ATM

No legitimate contest would require you to go to an ATM machine to receive money.

NEVER TRUST ANYONE WHO ASKS YOU TO GO TO AN ATM MACHINE.

Fact #5 : Nestle Would Never Ask For Your PIN / TAC

Nestle would never ask you for your ATM card’s PIN or any TAC number you may receive.

Giving out those details is how scammers get access to your bank account.

NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR PIN OR TAC NUMBER!

Fact #6 : This Lets Scammers Withdraw Money From Your Bank Account

I know many of us are in dire straits during this COVID-19 pandemic, having lost jobs, income or even loved ones.

Unfortunately, scammers are counting on our desperation to prey on us, using such anniversary scams.

This particular Nestle 2022 Anniversary Scam is a real danger, because it will allow scammers to gain access to your bank account and withdraw money.

Also watch out for the other anniversary scams that I have covered over the years :

Please WARN your family and friends about these scams!

 

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Did China Create This Amazing Female Dancing Robot?

Did China create this amazing female dancing robot for a dance show in Shanghai?

Watch the viral video for yourself, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Did China Create This Amazing Dancing Robot?

Here is the video that countless people have been sharing on social media and even on YouTube. It is often paired with a short explanation in (broken) English.

Can u believe that this female dancer is robot ? The dance was held in Shanghai n it lasted only 5 minutes but the queue was 4hrs n cost 499 Yuan!

It has surpassed Japan in complexity, and saw its perfect facial expressions. Send this video to everyone to watch, let us enjoy together…

 

The Truth About This Amazing Female Dancing Robot

The agility and grace of this female dancing robot, and its facial expressions, are incredible.

The less gullible would point out that it is something you would only expect from a real human being, and they would be right.

Fact #1 : That Is A WDSF Competition Video

That was actually a video clip from the 2018 World Dance Sport Federation Championship in Lithuania.

The initials WDSF (World Dance Sport Federation) can be seen, together with the recording date at the upper left corner of the video.

Fact #2 : The Dance Only Lasted A Minute

The dance in the video only lasted just over a minute, even though the accompanying fake message claimed it lasted for 5 minutes.

Fact #3 : They Are Lithuanian Dance Champions

Both dancers are very human. In fact, they are Lithuanian dance champions Ieva Zukauskaite (female), and Evaldas Sodeika (male).

Fact #4 : 499 Yuan Was Old Entry Price To Shanghai Disneyland

The fake story claimed that the ticket to watch this performance costs 499 Yuan – about US$73 / £55 / RM303. That would be ridiculously exorbitant for a short dance.

In truth, that price was “copied” from the two earlier hoaxes (here and here) about robot dancers at the Shanghai Disneyland.

Even that price was not accurate, because 499 Yuan was the cost of an entry ticket to the Shanghai Disneyland when it first opened in February 2016.

Since 6 June 2018, it has been priced at 399 Yuan (off-peak), 575 Yuan (peak) and 665 Yuan (peak holiday).

 

Why Would Someone Create This Fake Dancing Robot Story?

With China’s aggressive foreign stance in recent years, it is not uncommon to see such fake stories being created and shared.

Some believe it’s part of a concerted attempt to burnish China’s image overseas.

Others believe the many fake stories are being created to drown out the negative coverage of China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, and their aggressive moves in the South China Sea.

Whatever the reasons may be, it is our duty as global citizens to stop the proliferation of such fake stories.

Please share this fact check with your friends, so they know the truth!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Penang Smart Parking : RM4.40 Glitch Fixed!

The Penang Smart Parking glitch that reduced everyone’s account balance to just RM4.40 has been FIXED!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Penang Smart Parking Glitch Reduced Balance To RM4.40!

On 19 January 2022, drivers in Penang received a surprise when their Penang Smart Parking app showed a balance of just RM 4.40.

Many took to social media to ask if their accounts were hacked, or claim that the Penang Smart Parking app was hacked.

Currently, it does NOT appear to be a hack, as everyone reported the same RM4.40 balance in their account.

 

Penang Smart Parking Glitch Fixed, Balances Synced By Tomorrow!

When the problem first cropped up, the Penang Smart Parking team asked the public not to worry if their account balance shows RM4.40, as their eWallet balances remain secure and intact.

At 5:51 PM, the PSP team announced that they successfully fixed the problem, and restored the correct eWallet record.

All transactions will be synchronised after operating hours today at 6:00 PM, and is expected to be completed by 6 AM on 20 January 2022.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Can SIM Swap Attack Empty Bank Accounts Without Warning?

Can a SIM swap attack clear out your bank accounts without warning?

Take a look at the viral warning, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : SIM Swap Attack Can Empty Bank Accounts Without Warning!

This message has gone viral on social media and WhatsApp, warning about a new high tech fraud called SIM Swap Fraud that can empty bank accounts without warning.

The message includes a link to a Straits Times report about a young couple who lost $120,000 in a fake text message scam targeting OCBC Bank customers.

Your BANK Account could be Emptied without an Alert!

Dear All, Please let’s be very careful.. There is a new HIGH TECH FRAUD in town called the SIM SWAP FRAUD, and hundreds of persons are already VICTIMS.

 

Truth : SIM Swap Attack Are Real, But Don’t Work Like That

The truth is – SIM swap attacks are real and very dangerous, but they do not work like the viral message claims.

Here is what you need to know about the viral message, and SIM swap attacks.

Fact #1 : SIM Swap Attacks Are Not New

SIM swap attacks are really not that new. They have been around at least since 2015.

Fact #2 : Viral Message Is Partly Fake

The viral message is correct about the risk of SIM swap attacks, but pretty much wrong about everything else.

In fact, the method by which the SIM swap attack works is completely made up. So the viral message is really FAKE NEWS.

Fact #3 : Straits Times Article Was Not About SIM Swap

The fake news creator added a link to a Straits Time article, to mislead you.

That’s because the article isn’t about a SIM swap attack, but a phishing attack, where the victim received an SMS  with a link that took him to a fake website that “looked exactly like the OCBC login page“.

The victim then keyed in his bank login details, thus handing over control of his bank account to the scammers. He also ignored automated messages warning him that his “account was being setup on another phone“.

It had nothing to do with a SIM swap attack. It was an SMS-based phishing attack.

Fact #4 : SIM Swap Attack Generally Does Not Require Any Action

In most SIM swap attacks, scammers use your personal information, either purchased from other criminals or obtained through earlier phishing attacks or social engineering, to request for a SIM card replacement.

All that does not require any action on your part. In most cases, you only realise you’ve been hit when you lose access to your mobile number.

Fact #5 : SIM Swap Attack May Require Action In Some Cases

The Press 1 claim in the viral message is partially correct, but it only happens in a particular circumstance.

In India, scammers have tricked people by offering a free network upgrade, or to help improve signal quality on their phones :

  1. The scammer will call the victim, claiming to be from their mobile service provider.
  2. The scammer will try to get the victim to reveal his/her 20-digit SIM card number.
  3. The scammer will use the 20-digit SIM number to initiate a SIM swap with the mobile service provider.
  4. The mobile service provider will automatically send an SMS to confirm the swap.
  5. Once the victim confirms the swap, his/her SIM card will stop working.
  6. The scammer now has access to the victim’s mobile number.

Fact #6 : SIM Swap Attack Does Not Hack Your Phone

The SIM swap attack does not involve any hacking of your phone.

You only lose access to your mobile number. Your phone is not hacked.

Fact #7 : SIM Swap Attack Does Not Empty Bank Accounts

Once the scammers successfully gain control of your mobile number, they can use it to intercept one-time passwords (OTP) like TAC numbers.

This allows them to change passwords to your bank accounts, social media accounts, etc. which is why SIM swap attacks are so dangerous and damaging.

However, it does not mean your bank accounts are immediately emptied. For one thing – the scammers need to know your bank login.

That’s why SIM swap victims often have had their bank logins and passwords stolen earlier though phishing attacks. The scammers only need their mobile numbers to receive OTP / TAC numbers to authenticate the transfers.

Fact #8 : SIM Swap Attack Can Be Used To Cheat Friends Too!

Stealing money from your bank account requires extra work, so scammers who do not have your bank login details will resort to cheating your friends.

With access to your phone number, they can easily gain access to your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) as well as instant messaging apps (WhatsApp, Telegram).

Once they have control, they can send messages to your friends, pretending to be you. Naturally, they will concoct some story to ask your friends for money.

The idea is to use your (now) stolen accounts to convince your friends that you genuinely need their help. The money that they transfer goes directly to the scammers, or their mules (people who rent their bank accounts to scammers).

Now that you know the facts behind the SIM swap attack or scam, please SHARE this article with your family and friends!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Can Hackers Use Good Morning Greetings To Hack You?

Can hackers use Good Morning videos, pictures and messages to hack your devices, and steal your data?

Find out what is happening, and what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : Hackers Are Using Good Morning Messages To Hack You!

This post about Chinese hackers using Good Morning videos, pictures and messages to hack your devices, keeps going viral on social media and WhatsApp.

It’s a long message, so just skip to the next section for the facts!

Dear friends, please delete all welcome photos and videos in Good Morning format and the like. Read below the article to the end, which will be clear why I ask about it. From now on I will only send personally prepared greetings.

Read it all !!! Send this message urgently to as many friends as you can to stop the invasion.

Olga Nikolaevna Lawyer: Caution:

ATTENTION

For those who like to send Good Morning pictures! Good day! Good evening!

Do not send these “good” messages.

Today, Shanghai China International News sent SOS to all subscribers (this is the third reminder) that experts recommend: please do not send good morning, good night, pictures and videos,.

 

Truth : Good Morning Greetings Not Being Used To Hack You!

Many of us get spammed with Good Morning or Good Night messages every day from family and friends.

While they often clog up Facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp groups, they really do NOT allow hackers to hack your devices.

Here are the reasons why Good Morning messages are very irritating, but harmless…

Fact #1 : Shanghai China International News Does Not Exist

The news organisation that was claimed to be the source of this warning – Shanghai China International News –  does not exist!

Fact #2 : Good Morning Greetings Not Created By Hackers

Hackers (from China or anywhere else) have better things to do than to create these Good Morning pictures and videos.

They are mostly created by websites and social media influencers for people to share and attract new followers.

Fact #3 : No Fraud Involving Good Morning Messages

There has been no known fraud involving Good Morning or even Good Night messages, videos or pictures.

Certainly, half a million victims of such a scam would have made front page news. Yet there is not a single report on even one case…. because it never happened.

Fact #4 : Image-Based Malware Is Possible, But…

Digital steganography is a method by which secret messages and other data can be hidden in digital files, like a photo or a video, or even a music file.

It is also possible to embed malicious code within a Good Morning photo, but it won’t be a full-fledged malware that can execute by itself.

At most, it can be used to hide the malware payload from antivirus scanners, which is pretty clever to be honest…

Fact #5 : Image-Based Malware Requires User Action

In January 2019, cybercriminals created an online advertisement with a script that appears innocuous and would pass any malware check.

However, the image itself has an “almost white” rectangle that is recognised by the script, triggering it to redirect the user to the cybercriminals’ website.

Once there, the victim is tricked into installing a Trojan disguised as an Adobe Flash Player update.

Such a clever way to bypass malware checks, but even so, this image-based malware requires user action.

You cannot get infected by the Trojan if you practice good “Internet hygiene” by not downloading or installing anything from unknown websites.

Fact #6 : Malicious Code Executes Immediately

If you accidentally download and trigger malware, it will execute immediately. It won’t wait, as the hoax message claims.

Deleting Good Morning or Good Night photos or videos will free up storage space in your phone, but it won’t prevent any malware from executing.

There is really no reason for malware to wait before it infects your devices. Waiting will only increase the risk of detection.

Whether the malware serves to take over your device, steal your information or encrypt it for ransom, it pays to do it at the first opportunity.

Now that you know the facts, please SHARE this article with your family and friends!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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MySJ Trace : Frequently Asked Questions + Answers!

The new MySJ Trace feature has raised many questions, and here are the answers to your frequently asked questions!

 

MySJ Trace : Frequently Asked Questions + Answers!

Ever since the MySejahtera team launched the MySJ Trace feature, many questions were raised by people over its security, privacy, and usability.

So with help from Dr. Mahesh Appannan, the Head of Data at the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) of the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM), here are the answers to some of your frequently asked questions about MySJ Trace!

These answers supplement the original frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the MySJ Trace feature, which you can read in the next section.

Question #1 : Why Does MySJ Lists Interactions Even At Home?

The interactions refers to Bluetooth devices (with MySJ Trace enabled) that your MySejahtera app detected.

MySJ Trace can detect Bluetooth signals from as far as 10 metres away, but can be reduced by barriers (walls, your body, other electronics, etc.)

It will not only detect the smartphones of your family members (with MySJ Trace enabled), but also your neighbours, who can be in the floor above, below, or next to your home.

There is nothing to worry about these “interactions”. It just means you came within 10 metres of people who have MySJ Trace enabled.

Question #2 : Does Interactions Mean Casual / Close Contacts?

No, not all interactions are flagged as casual / close contacts, if you become COVID-19 positive.

The algorithm takes into account the signal strength (RSSI – Received Signal Strength Indicator) that your phone detects, and your exposure time.

The parameters used to classify casual or close contacts are refined over time for maximum accuracy. For example, if the Omicron variant becomes widespread, the exposure time will be shortened, and the distance extended, for someone to be considered a casual / close contact.

Question #3 : Why Do People In The Same Family Have Different Number Of Interactions?

Even if your family goes out together, you may all have different number of interactions, because it depends on a variety of facts :

  • your individual proximity to other people,
  • anything that blocks Bluetooth signals – their bodies, other electronics, electronic keys, etc.
  • whether you are holding the phone, or it is in your pocket, etc.

Question #4 : Does MySJ Trace Transmit My Data With Each Interaction?

No. There is no handshake or exchange of information with each interaction.

MySJ Trace detects the Bluetooth signal of other phones, and logs when that “interaction” occurred, and the signal strength.

It’s like listening to the radio – the broadcaster does not receive anything in return.

Question #5 : Does MySJ Trace Transmit My Data?

No. MySJ Trace stores all of the recorded data in your phone, and does not automatically upload it.

Only if you are COVID-19 positive, are you asked to upload your contact history for the last 14 days, so that people who were your close contact can be notified.

MySJ Trace requires your explicit consent to transmit your data to the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM).

Question #6 : How Long Does MySJ Trace Store Data?

MySJ Trace only stores data for the last 14 days, on a First-In, First-Out basis.

All data older than the most recent 14 days are automatically purged.

Question #7 : Why Do You Still Need To Check In Using QR Code?

First – not everyone is using MySJ Trace, so there still needs to be an alternative contact tracing method.

The QR code check-in function also gives KKM data to undertake faster contact tracing, especially involving a major cluster.

Question #8 : What’s The Difference Between MySJ Trace And QR Code Check-In?

MySJ Trace allows for automatic contact tracing, while QR code check-in gives KKM critical data. In addition :

  • MySJ Trace algorithm is based on time and distance (Bluetooth signal strength), while
  • Check-In algorithm is based only on time

Question #9 : Does MySJ Trace Use A Lot Of Battery Power?

MySJ Trace uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which consumes significantly lower power than standard Bluetooth wireless communications. The impact on battery life is minimal.

Question #10 : Why Does MySJ Trace Not Use Exposure Notification By Google / Apple?

By Google and Apple standards, an Exposure Notification (EN) app must maintain user anonymity, and record proximity data anonymously. It cannot contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

The MySejahtera app necessarily contains your identity, vaccination status and certificates, and so on. Therefore, it cannot comply with Google and Apple’s requirements for an Exposure Notification app.

 

MySJ Trace : Official Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the official answers to the MySJ Trace frequently-asked questions (FAQ):

1. What is MySJ Trace?

MySJ Trace is a contact tracing application developed by the Government of Malaysia.

It adopts a community-driven approach where participating devices exchange proximity information whenever an app detects another device with MySJ Trace app installed.

This application allows the identification of people who were in close proximity to COVID-19 infected individual

2. What is the difference between MySJ Trace and MySejahtera?

MySejahtera & MySJ Trace are used by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia.

MySejahtera allows users to perform quick health-self assessment and for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to monitor users’ health condition and take immediate actions in providing treatments.

Meanwhile, MySJ Trace further complements MySejahtera by detecting and tracing the individuals who are in close contact with the COVID-19 positive patients.

Read more : Can The Government Use MySJ Trace To Track You 24/7?

3. Who developed MySJ Trace?

MySJ Trace was developed through a strategic cooperation between government agencies of Malaysia :

  • Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI)
  • Ministry of Health (KKM)
  • Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU)
  • Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems (MIMOS)

4. Who are the users of MySJ Trace?

All Malaysian citizens and residents of Malaysia.

5. Where can I download MySJ Trace?

Users only need to update the MySejahtera application to the latest version.

6. How does MySJ Trace function?

MySJ Trace enables participating devices to exchange proximity information whenever the app detects another device with the same app installed. Data collected will be stored and processed only by the MOH officers.

When a user is identified to be COVID-19 positive, the user will initiate a process to upload the data from the user’s smartphone to a secured database managed by the MOH.

7. What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is an identification process of individuals who may have come into close contact with an infected COVID-19 patient.

It enables the MOH to further trace and contact the individuals and organize a follow-up action.

8. If I have been identified as a close contact, how will I be contacted?

The user will receive an SMS, and a notification in the MySejahtera app.

9. What data are collected by MySJ Trace?

Only these data are collected :

  • Unique User ID (UUID) that is created by the MySejahtera app.
  • Operating system version (Android or iOS)
  • Time of contact
  • Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI)

10. Are my personal information that is stored in the app safe?

MySejahtera and MySJ Trace are owned and operated entirely by the Malaysian government. The government guarantees that all information collected and used in the app comply with the information security standards of the government of Malaysia.

11. Does MySJ Trace require Internet connectivity after activation?

Yes, Internet connectivity is required when you first update the MySejahtera app, and during the data uploading process.

12. What devices support MySJ Trace?

MySJ Trace is supported by smartphones that use the Android or iOS operating systems :

  • Android : Version 8.0 and above
    – Non-sleep mode must be set, so MySJ Trace will remain active in both foreground and background modes.
  • iOS : Version 10 and above
    – The phone must be active at all times while the app needs to be in the foreground mode.

13. Must Bluetooth be activated at all times?

Yes, Bluetooth must be activated at all times for MySJ Trace to work properly.

14. Will Bluetooth usage cause high battery usage?

Unlike using Bluetooth to stream music or to a wireless headphone continuously, MySJ Trace uses Bluetooth to only transmit its presence periodically. As such, it uses significantly less power.

15. Will the app use significant battery power if MySJ Trace is left running all the time?

MySJ Trace uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to minimise battery usage. Therefore, the app does not use significant amounts of battery power to collect persistent contact tracing information.

16. Will MySJ Trace Bluetooth usage affect my other Bluetooth accessories?

MySJ Trace does not affect the use or performance of other Bluetooth accessories like wireless speakers, wireless earphones or headphones, or smartwatches.

17. Why must I allow location permission for the Android version?

Android requires location permission to be granted for any app to access Bluetooth features. However, geolocation data will not be collected.

For iOS, only the Bluetooth function needs to be enabled.

 

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Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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MySJ Trace : Should You Enable Or Disable?

Should you enable the new MySJ Trace feature in MySejahtera, or should you disable it?

Let’s take a look at people’s deepest fears about MySJ Trace, and find out what the facts really are!

 

MySJ Trace : Should You Enable Or Disable?

MySejahtera just introduced a new MySJ Trace feature, which uses Bluetooth technology to track your close contacts.

The proximity data it collects allows Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM) to accurately determine if you are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person.

KKM has been strongly urging people to turn it on, but many people are offering conflicting advice on whether to enable or disable it.

Let’s take at what people are saying, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Should You Enable MySJ Trace?

There are several good reasons to enable MySJ in MySejahtera :

  1. MySJ Trace allows for more accurate contact tracing. If you test positive for COVID-19, the data it collects lets KKM accurately identify your close contacts, and inform them.
  2. MySJ Trace automatically tracks your close contacts. All you have to do is turn it on, and forget about it.
  3. MySJ Trace removes the need to manually check out from locations, which was tedious and easy to forget.
  4. Those who use MySJ Trace will avoid being wrongly identified as casual or close contacts, due to the inaccuracy of using check-in and check-out times.

MySJ Trace gets more accurate and more useful, when more people use it. So KKM is strongly encouraging everyone to use it.

Plus, when enough people start using it, we will all enjoy an additional benefit :

  1. When enough people use MySJ Trace, we will no longer need to check-in at every location!

Read more : What You Need To Know About The New MySJ Trace Feature!
Read more : MySJ Trace : Answers To Your Frequently Asked Questions!

 

Should You Disable MySJ Trace?

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why people are disabling MySJ Trace, and see what the facts really are!

Claim #1 : Government Uses MySJ Trace To Track Our Movements
Verdict : False

People are falsely claiming that the Malaysian government will use MySJ Trace to track our movements.

The truth is MySJ Trace does not record or collect geolocation data, so it cannot possibly track your movements.

MySJ Trace also does not transmit data, unless we consent. In fact, we are only asked to transmit MySJ Trace data if we test positive for COVID-19.

Claim #2 : MySJ Trace Not Useful Because No One Is Using It
Verdict : False

Some people are discouraging people from using MySJ Trace because “not many people are using it yet“.

Switching to MySJ Trace immediately helps you by removing the need to check-out of locations. Isn’t that useful?

For healthcare professionals who need to quickly and accurately trace close contacts of infected individuals, MySJ Trace works better when more people use it, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless when few people use it.

Claim #3 : Old Check-In, Check-Out System Is More Accurate
Verdict : False

Some people claim that the old method of checking in and out of locations is more accurate than MySJ Trace.

That may be true in the early days, when very few people are using it, but that is no longe true once many of your close contacts are using it.

MySJ Trace not only automatically determines who comes into close contact with you, it also logs how long they are in close contact, and their proximity (distance) to you.

The manual check-in and check-out system is unable to determine time of contact, and distance of contact; and can easily lead to false positives – people wrongly identified as casual or close contacts.

Claim #4 : MySJ Trace Uses A Lot Of Battery Life
Verdict : False

This is a real concern for many people as MySJ Trace requires Bluetooth to be turned on all the time. However, it uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology, which uses very little power.

I had earlier tested MySJ Trace on an old Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone, and did not notice any noticeable drain on its battery life.

For people who have strong concerns over this aspect, it is possible to temporarily turn off MySJ Trace while you are at home, and only turn it on when you go out.

Claim #5 : Bluetooth Increases Risk Of Hacking
Verdict : Misleading

It is possible for criminals to hack your smartphone using Bluetooth, and it is good cybersecurity practice to turn off wireless connections that you are not using.

However, it is far more difficult to hack you through your Bluetooth connection, than your Wi-Fi connection.

After all, Bluetooth only has a range of 10 metres! The hacker will have to remain in close proximity to hack you.

Claim #6 : Hackers Can Grab Our Personal Information
Verdict : False

Some people are claiming that hackers can hack into MySJ Trace and use it to trawl for personal information of people nearby.

That’s nonsense, because MySJ Trace will only record the following information :

  • Unique User ID (UUID) that is created by the MySejahtera app.
  • Operating system version (Android or iOS)
  • Time of contact
  • Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI)

There is no personal information that would be useful to hackers, even if they grab these information.

The UUID, for example, is useless as an identification number without access to the KKM database of MySejahtera users and their personal information.

Claim #7 : MySJ Trace Continuously Uses Internet Data
Verdict : False

Some people are falsely claiming that MySJ Trace continuously uses Internet data, which is extremely limited for some users.

That’s not true. MySJ Trace does not require Internet connectivity, except :

  • when you first download and install MySejahtera,
  • whenever you update MySejahtera
  • when you consent to upload your MySJ Trace data to KKM

Since those are all optional, you can do it when you have access to a Wi-Fi network. You can use MySJ Trace without mobile Internet.

I hope that clarifies the reasons why you should enable or disable MySJ Trace. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask us.

Meanwhile, I hope you can share this article with your family and friends, and encourage them to turn on MySJ Trace.

 

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Did US Supreme Court Just Cancel Universal Vaccination?!

Did the US Supreme Court just cancel universal vaccination because the COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe?!

Find out what’s going on, and what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : US Supreme Court Just Canceled Universal Vaccination!

Alternative health / news websites are YET AGAIN claiming that the Supreme Court just cancelled universal vaccination in the United States!

Allegedly, Senator Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and a group of scientists filed a lawsuit against Bill Gates, Dr. Fauci and Big Pharma, and they won!

It is a long essay, please SKIP to the next section for the FACTS!

URGENT: Supreme Court Has Canceled Universal Vaccination In The United States

Just Got this:

Has not been in the news anywhere. Looks like we are getting closer to the Final Scene in the movie.

Please ALERT everyone in the family, friends and relatives! BREAKING NEWS !

Supreme Court has canceled universal vaccination In the United States, the Supreme Court has canceled universal vaccination.

Bill Gates, US Chief Infectious Disease Specialist Fauci, and Big Pharma have lost a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court, failing to prove that all of their vaccines over the past 32 years have been safe for the health of citizens!

 

Truth : US Supreme Court Did Not Cancel Universal Vaccination!

It’s 2022, and yet again, the US Supreme Court just “cancelled” universal vaccination for the 4th or 5th time?

Just like COVID-19 variants, alternative health / news websites keep regurgitating this fake story for page views.

Let me repeat this yet again – this is FAKE NEWS!

Let’s break down the individual claims, and tell you what the FACTS really are :

Claim : Supreme Court canceled universal vaccination in the United States
Verdict : False

This claim is completely false, because the United States never mandated universal vaccination in the first place!

There is, therefore, no universal vaccination for the Supreme Court to overturn or cancel.

The government continues to have broad authority to make a vaccine mandatory during a public health crisis, as decided by the Supreme Court in their 1905 decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts.

In 1922, the Supreme Court “settled that it is within the police power of a state to provide for compulsory vaccination” in their unanimous Zucht v. King decision.

However, compulsory or mandatory vaccination is quite different from universal vaccination.

Read more : Did Joe Biden Fire Over 200 Marines For Not Taking Vaccine?

Claim : Bill Gates, Dr. Fauci + Big Pharma Lost A Supreme Court Case
Verdict : False

Bill Gates, Dr. Fauci and Big Pharma were never part of any US Supreme Court case.

The new, ultra-conservative US Supreme Court did deal public health advocates a blow in 2020, when they ruled against the State of New York in Roman Catholic Diocese Of Brooklyn, New York v. Andrew M. Cuomo.

But that Supreme Court case had nothing to do with pharmaceutical companies, Bill Gates or even Dr. Fauci.

In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the State of New York cannot bar people from gathering in churches and synagogues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a ruling against New York’s lockdown measures, not vaccines.

I should also point out that all nine justices on the US Supreme Court were fully vaccinated by 5 May 2021, as confirmed by Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg.

Bill Gates, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, May 2016, Photo Credit : Bill Branson

Claim : Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Is A Senator
Verdict : False

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not, and has never been, a US Senator.

The writer probably confused him with his illustrious father, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968.

Claim : Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Filed Supreme Court Lawsuit 
Verdict : False

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. never filed any lawsuit that was brought before the US Supreme Court.

In July 2019, he filed a lawsuit against the state of New York, to overturn a new state law that bars parents from refusing to vaccinate their children on religious grounds.

His family actually spoke out AGAINST him, calling him “an outlier in the Kennedy family“, and pointing out that his uncle President John F. Kennedy and his father, Robert F. Kennedy, both promoted vaccinations to stamp out preventable diseases.

He lost that lawsuit on 9 December 2019, after the New York state law was ruled constitutional.

That lawsuit was over the measles outbreak, and happened before the world first became aware of COVID-19 on 31 December 2019.

So it had NOTHING to do with COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines.

Claim : mRNA Vaccine Changes Our Genetic Material
Verdict : False

It is physically impossible for vaccine mRNA to penetrate the cell nucleus, so it cannot possibly change the cell’s DNA.

The mRNA can only enter the cell cytoplasm, where it is taken up by the ribosomes to create the spike protein.

Vaccines based on the viral vector technology are the ones that enter the cell nucleus, but even that only affects a small number of cells, and does not become part of our DNA.

Vaccines do NOT integrate with our DNA. Vaccines will NOT turn us into GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).

Claim : mRNA Vaccine Causes Irreversible Genetic Changes
Verdict : False

The mRNA instructions in an mRNA vaccine are automatically destroyed by the cell after use. Therefore, they can only exist for a short period of time.

As these mRNA instructions do NOT enter the cell nucleus or combine with our DNA, they cannot possibly cause “irreversible genetic changes”.

Claim : Genetic Engineering Is A Crime
Verdict : False

Genetic engineering is not a crime in any country. However, countries may set limits on what is permissible.

For example, the United States allows the genetic modification of human embryos for research purposes, but forbids its implantation without FDA’s approval.

Genetic engineering is being used to develop cures for diseases like :

  • acute and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • multiple myeloma
  • various muscular dystrophies
  • cystic fibrosis
  • cancers

There have already been a few approved gene therapies :

  • 2003 : Gendicine was approved in China for certain cancers
  • 2011 : Neovasculgen was approved in Russian for peripheral artery disease
  • 2012 : Glybera was approved in the US and the US for lipoprotein lipase deficiency

Claim : mRNA Vaccine Is Not A Vaccine
Verdict : False

A vaccine is simply any biological preparation that gives your body an active, acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease.

The mRNA vaccine is a vaccine, even though it does not use the dead or attenuated (weakened) virus to provide the protection.

It works quite similarly to a viral vector vaccine, in that they both use our cells to create the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to trigger our body’s immune system.

Think of mRNA vaccines as instructions for your cells to make “enemy soldier puppets” for your immune system to train against.

Read more : Pfizer + Moderna mRNA Vaccines : How Do They Work?

Claim : COVID-19 Vaccines Cause Genetic Defects
Verdict : False

This is complete nonsense. COVID-19 vaccines do not cause genetic defects. Genetic defects are inherited, and cannot be introduced through a vaccine.

Genetic defects are also not caused by the inability to excrete toxins, which our liver and kidneys do every single day!

Vaccines also do not prevent the human body from excreting toxins. If that actually happened, vaccinated people would die within days… which obviously, did not happen.

Claim : Vaccinated People Will Die
Verdict : False

The claim by Michael Yeadon that 0.8% of people will die within 2 weeks of the first vaccination, and the rest will die within 2 years, is absolute nonsense.

Billions of people globally have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and there is no evidence of millions of people dying from the vaccines within two weeks of their first vaccination.

Frankly, if that’s true – they wouldn’t be alive to receive their second and third vaccinations, as billions of people have done.

Now that you know that this is yet another example of anti-vaccination FAKE NEWS, please SHARE this fact check with your family and friends.

Help stop the pandemic, by vaccinating against COVID-19!

 

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Why The Government Can’t Use MySJ Trace To Track You!

People are worried that MySJ Trace lets the government track their location and movements 24/7.

Find out WHY this is simply not possible!

 

Claim : Government Can Use MySJ Trace To Track You 24/7

MySJ Trace is a new contact tracing feature that was just introduced in the MySejahtera app.

People are claiming that the government can use it to track your movements 24/7. Here is one example :

so the govt can trace our exact location at any given moment. great.

Though I guess there is probably several other apps or with the telcos help that they can already do exactly that.

Although surprisingly the police have been totally unable to locate the ex husband of Indira Gandhi or her children that the ex husband abducted, despite the court ordering the police to do so.

That’s really a typical response to any new MySejahtera feature – the government is introducing it to snoop on us. Our privacy is gone! They will know where we are!

Let’s find out what the facts really are…

Read more : Fact Check : Fat Bidin Claims On MySejahtera Snooping!

 

Truth : No One Can Use MySJ Trace To Track You 24/7

The truth is – this is yet another example of FAKE NEWS being shared on WhatsApp, and here are the reasons why it’s not possible for anyone to use it to track you 24/7…

Fact #1 : MySJ Trace Only Tracks Your Proximity

MySJ Trace does not actually detect your location, which is why you still need to check into locations manually.

It only detects and logs the Bluetooth signals of nearby smartphones with MySJ Trace enabled, to determine how close they are and how long they remain in proximity.

MySJ Trace also broadcasts itself to nearby devices, so that they can log its presence, distance and length of contact.

Fact #2 : MySJ Trace Does Not Collect Location Data

MySJ Trace does not collect geolocation data, only these data:

  • Unique User ID (UUID) that is created by the MySejahtera app.
  • Operating system version (Android or iOS)
  • Time of contact
  • Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI)

The Malaysia Ministry of Health confirmed this in no. 17 of their FAQ, stating that “geolocation data will not be collected“.

So there’s no way for the government to actually know where you are using only MySJ Trace data.

Read more : New MySJ Trace Feature : What You Need To Know!
Read more : How To Enable + Disable MySJ Trace In MySejahtera!

 

Fact #3 : MySJ Trace Only Stores 14 Days Of Data

The data that MySJ Trace records is only stored for the last 14 days, on a first-in, first out (FIFO) basis.

All data older than the most recent 14 days are automatically purged.

So even if a hacker gains access to it, he/she will only have access to your proximity contact data for the last 14 days.

Fact #4 : MySJ Trace Does Not Transmit Your Data Automatically

The proximity contact data that MySJ Trace logs is NOT automatically transmitted to the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM).

Only when you are identified as COVID-19 positive, will you be asked to submit your proximity contact data for the last 14 days.

Fact #5 : MySJ Trace Data Is Stored + Used Only By KKM

Your proximity data that you upload will be stored in a secured database server managed by the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM).

Only KKM has access to your uploaded proximity data, which will be used to determine your close contacts so they can be notified.

Read more : MySJ Trace : Answers To Your Frequently Asked Questions!

Fact #6 : We Are Not That Interesting…

Frankly, most of us are not that interesting to the government. They are not interested in where you live or travel to, what you eat or buy, or even who you are sleeping with.

All that data is interesting and useful to corporations, but not the Malaysian government. Please remember – you are living in Malaysia, not China or North Korea.

Why would the government want to know where you are, or where you have gone, or who you have met?

Fact #7 : There Are Easier Ways To Find You…

Finally, the “fear” of the government using MySJ Trace to track where you are at all times is frankly, ludicrous because there are far easier ways to do it.

The truth is – our geolocation data is readily available to your mobile service provider, as well as cloud and social media service providers (Google, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.)

If the government really wants to know where you are, they can simply get a court order to force your mobile service provider to tell them where you are right now.

They don’t have to rely on an opt-in feature in the MySejahtera app, and wait until you submit your own proximity data…

Now that you know the facts, please TURN ON MySJ Trace, to improve contact tracing!

And please SHARE this fact check with your family and friends!

 

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Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Scam Alert : TnG eWallet 5th Anniversary Survey!

Please watch out for the TnG eWallet 5th Anniversary survey scam!

Find out why it is just a SCAM, and WARN your family and friends!

 

TnG eWallet 5th Anniversary Survey Scam Alert!

People are now sharing the TnG eWallet 5th Anniversary messages on WhatsApp :

Touch n’Go eWallet 5th Anniversary!

Click to enter to participate in the survey, have a chance to win 2000 Ringgit .

 

TnG eWallet 5th Anniversary Survey : Why This Is A Scam

Unfortunately, this is yet another survey scam, like the FamilyMart 70th Anniversary scam!

For one thing – the TnG eWallet was only launched in July 2017, so it would only be celebrating its 5th anniversary in July 2022!

TnG eWallet also confirmed that this survey is a scam.

I know many of us are in dire straits during this COVID-19 pandemic, having lost jobs, income or even loved ones.

Unfortunately, scammers are counting on our desperation to prey on us, using the same survey scam they have been using for years :

Now, let me show you how to spot these scams next time!

If you spot any of these warning signs, DO NOT PROCEED and DO NOT SHARE!

Warning Sign #1 : Bad Grammar

Most of these scammers do not have a good command of the English language, so if you spot bad grammar, stay away.

This scammer even got the spelling of the brand wrong! It’s Touch ‘n Go, not Touch n’Go.

Proper contests or events sponsored by major brands like TnG eWallet will have a PR or marketing person who will vet the text before allowing it to be posted.

Warning Sign #2 : Offering You Free Money Or Gifts

Please do NOT be naive. No one is going to give you money or free gifts just to participate in a survey!

Touch ‘n Go isn’t going to give you so much FREE money, just because it’s their anniversary.

They are a corporation whose business is to make money, not a charity to give you free money.

Warning Sign #3 : Not Using The Real Domain

A genuine TNG eWallet campaign would use their real domain – www.touchngo.com.my or www.tngdigital.com.my, not di47823.shop as shown in the scam post above.

Or they would run it off the official TnG eWallet page on Facebook – www.facebook.com/touchngoewallet/.

If you see nonsensical domains like childrerdg.xyz, uglyarticle.club, ldxqw.bar, etc. that’s a sign of a SCAM!

Warning Sign #4 : Asking You To Forward The Offer

No matter how many times you “try” this scam, you will ALWAYS win the RM 2000 “prize”.

If you don’t find that odd, you should know that no brand will insist that you must share the offer with 5 groups or 20 friends on WhatsApp.

Do not click to forward their offer to your family and friends. They will not appreciate being scammed with your help!

Warning Sign #5 : Asking You To Download + Register An App

If you click through and joined the fake survey scam, you may eventually be asked to download and register for an app.

That is VERY DANGEROUS. Never agree to download and register for any unknown app from a website.

Always download your apps from an official App Store like Google Play Store (for Android smartphones) and Apple App Store (for iPhones).

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Steam Partially Blocked In China! What’s Going On?

On Christmas Day 2021, Steam was partially blocked in China!

Did China just ban Steam? Let’s take a look at what’s going on…

 

Steam Partially Blocked In China, What’s Going On?

On 25 December 2021, while people were celebrating Christmas across the world, the Steam store and API domains (and subdomains) suddenly became inaccessible in China.

  • Store.Steampowered.com
  • Steamcommunity.com

According to SteamDB, the global Steam Store and API subdomains appear to experience “connection resets” on some Akamai IP addresses, which is typical for domains blocked by China’s Great Firewall.

However, the Steam client and other subdomains, including partner sites, continue to be accessible in China. So the Steam ban that everyone was reporting about, is only partial and intermittent.

Gamers in China can still play their games using the Steam client, and some users say that they are still able to access the Store and purchase games.

From what we understand, only port 443 is being blocked, and the connection is reset after a period of time. So it is an intermittent interference like what happened to GitHub.

The Steam China Store is not affected, but offers a far limited selection of games and features, as it was built to comply with the Chinese government’s strict regulations on games and Internet usage.

 

Steam Troubles In China : Warning Or Actual Ban?

The Steam downtime does not seem to be due to a DNS poisoning attack. Rather, it seems to be some kind of action sanctioned by the Chinese government.

The intermittent and partial nature of Steam’s downtime in China suggests that this isn’t an actual ban… yet.

Gamers, for example, can still continue to play games using the Steam client, and some could even access the global store and make game purchases, at least intermittently.

Interestingly, there has been no bombastic editorial from Global Times or any of the other Chinese state media, which suggests that this is a subtle warning to Steam to “play ball” with the Chinese government.

It could be related to the CCP’s crackdown on video games and Internet usage some three months ago :

  • Strict limits on how long minors can engage in online games – up to one hour per day, and only from 8 PM to 9 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
  • Real name registration of online game accounts – gamers must register using their real names.

Or it could be related to the strict approval of online games. China, for example, suspended video game approvals for 3 months in September 2021.

If so, access to the global Steam store may miraculously be restored in full once Steam has made the required “corrections” or at least committed to those “corrections”.

The global Steam store could also end up being banned for real, leaving only the minuscule Steam China Store to cater to China’s domestic consumption.

Either way, many netizens and gamers have expressed gratitude that they are living on the right side of the Great Firewall.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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3 Days Later… Roblox Is Finally Up + Running Again!

Three days after they fell off the face of the Earth, Roblox is finally UP and RUNNING again!

Roblox’s CEO explains what happened…

 

3 Days Later… Roblox Is Finally Up + Running Again!

Ever since Roblox went down on 29 October 2021, they have been saying that they are “making progress” and even “identified an underlying internal cause of the outage“.

But frustrated kids… and adults who are kids at heart, spent the weekend walking around like zombies because they could no longer get their fix of Arsenal or Piggy.

Just kidding! Many of them turned to Minecraft or Among Us, because who can go a weekend without games?

Anyway…. 3 days later… Roblox finally announced that they “identified root cause and solution” and “are working on getting things back online“.

And about 7 hours later, they managed to get Roblox up and running globally!

 

Roblox CEO On What Happened…

Roblox founder and CEO, David Baszucki, later shared a little on what happened and why it took them so long to get the problems fixed.

  • it was a combination of several factors
  • there was a subtle bug in their backend service communications that is triggered under heavy load
  • a core system in their infrastructure became overwhelmed
  • it was not due to external traffic or any particular experience (e.g. Chipotle promotion)
  • the failure was due to the growth in the number of servers in their datacenters

So it looks like it really did not involve whacking their servers with a crowbar, or praying to them…

The good news is – there has been NO LOSS of player’s data, and your Roblox experience should be fully back to normal!

 

3 Days Earlier… Roblox Went Down HARD

Here’s a quick round-up of what happened three days ago, for people who have no freaking idea what happened.

A couple of days ago, Chipotle announced that they would open a virtual restaurant in Roblox, which will give away free burritos, virtual costumes and exclusive items. There’s even a fun Boorito Maze to try out!

But about 30 minutes after that Chipotle event kicked off, Roblox started experiencing problems, which snowballed until their entire platform and website fell off the face of the Earth.

That was THREE DAYS AGO… and since then, all we know is that they have been working hard to figure out what went wrong, and no, it was not Chipotle’s fault.

Read more : Roblox Down More Than 2 Days, Not Because Of Chipotle!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Roblox Down More Than 2 Days, Not Because Of Chipotle!

Roblox, has been down for MORE THAN 2 days now, but apparently, it has NOTHING to do with the massive Chipotle promotion!

Here is what we know so far…

 

Roblox Down More Than 2 Days

Roblox first experienced issues at around 7 AM on 29 October 2021, which initially affected only Games and Account Information.

But that snowballed and the entire Roblox gaming platform and website went offline, forcing them to issue a terse tweet saying that they are “working hard to get things back to normal”.

Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to be making much progress because Roblox has been down for more than two days!

That’s an eternity for an online gaming platform, especially a massively-popular one for kids… on a weekend!

At about 11 PM on 30 October, the Roblox website announced that it is “currently in maintenance mode to allow for internal work to be completed“.

More than 6 hours later – Roblox remained offline, with another round of assurance that they’re working on the problem :

Did they get locked out of their servers like Facebook earlier this month? Sounds far worse, if you ask me…

Read more : Did 13 Yr Sun Jisu Hack Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram?

 

Roblox Went Down Not Because Of Chipotle

On 26 October 2021, Chipotle announced that it would open a virtual restaurant in Roblox, offering $1 million in free burritos!

Fans would be able to visit the virtual Chipotle restaurant to score a free burrito, by dressing up in new Chipotle-inspired Halloween virtual costumes.

They would also be able to navigate the Chipotle Boorito Maze to unlock exclusive Roblox items!

Some irate players have suggested that Roblox went down because of this Chipotle promotion, a hypothesis that had some teeth because the issues started occurring about 30 minutes after Chipotle promotion kicked off!

However, Roblox later claimed that the downtime was NOT related to the Chipotle promotion :

We know that this outage was not related to any specific experiences or partnerships on the platform.

At 5 AM on 31 October, Roblox shared that they “believe” they identified the problem :

We believe we have identified an underlying internal cause of the outage. We’re in the process of performing the necessary engineering and maintenance work to get Roblox back up and running ASAP. Thanks for your patience.

Well, Chipotle’s fault or not, kids and adults who are kids at heart around the world will be eagerly waiting for Roblox to get back online again!

Until then, enjoy these funny memes and comments by Roblox fans!

 

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Name : Adrian Wong
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Facebook, Instagram, Messenger + Workplace Down Again!

Just days after going down for SIX HOURS, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace went down AGAIN!

Find out what happened!

 

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger + Workplace Down Again!

Just days after all of Facebook’s services went down for six hours, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace went down AGAIN!

At around 3:22 AM on 9 October 2021, they went down again… with people reporting that they were unable to log into their accounts, or send messages.

Fortunately, this time it didn’t take down WhatsApp and it took their engineering team just under 2 hours to get those Facebook services restored.

 

Why Did Facebook, Instagram, Messenger + Workplace Go Down Again!

Again, Facebook blamed another faulty “configuration change” for this downtime, but did not announce any details on what actually happened.

But coming right after an extraordinarily long downtime just days earlier and public testimony by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, this new downtime may be shorter but is no less grievous.

It will feed growing opinion that Facebook has too much services under its control, and it’s dangerous and even folly to let a single company control so many social networks and communication services.

Regulators will no doubt be spurred by this new incident to look at breaking up Facebook.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said that the major Facebook outage highlighted the danger of relying on just a few big players, underscoring “the need for more rivals”.

Even Russia jumped into the fray, stating that Russia was right to develop its own Internet platforms and social networks.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the recent 6-hour outage of Facebook services “answers the question of whether we need our own social networks and Internet platforms“.

We will be looking forward to Facebook Engineering’s explanation of what happened, and whether it involved cutting through doors to get to their servers…

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

 

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Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Was Facebook Taken Down By 13 Year-Old Chinese Hacker?

Was Facebook taken down by a 13 year-old Chinese hacker?

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : Facebook Was Taken Down By 13 Year-Old Chinese Hacker!

On 4 October 2021, Facebook and ALL of its messaging and social media platforms went down for about six hours, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram!

Several websites, as well as people on Twitter and Facebook started claiming that Facebook was taken down by a 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Su / Sun Jiso / Sun Ji Soo.

There are quite a number of these claims, so just SKIP to the next section for the facts!

International media claimed that “China” was behind the suspension of social media services in the world.

According to Reuters, a Chinese hacker named “Sun Jisu” is responsible for stopping the services of “Facebook”, “WhatsApp” and Instagram, and added that the Chinese hackers are only 13 years old.

The Chinese hacker “Sun Ji Su” has topped the famous search engines and Twitter platforms during the past minutes, after disabling WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook today 2021 in all countries of the world, amid questions among activists about the details of this information.

 

Truth : Facebook Was Not Taken Down By 13 Year-Old Chinese Hacker!

The story of a 13 year-old Chinese hacker taking down Facebook is just fake news created by fake news / clickbait websites to go viral and get money through ads.

Here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : International Media Did Not Blame China

On one blamed China for the bizarre 6-hour downtime of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The international media referred to cybersecurity specialists who pointed at DNS failure as the most likely cause, not a state actor like China.

Clickbait / fake news websites intentionally added that false claim to “trigger” Chinese netizens and Sinophiles to share their fake news.

Read more : US Refused WHO Investigation Of Fort Detrick For COVID-19?

Fact #2 : Reuters  + NYT Did Not Report On Any Chinese Hacker

Reuters did not report that a 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu was responsible for the bringing down Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Neither did the New York Times write about a 13 year old hacker attacking Facebook.

These are complete lies that are easily verified with a quick check on the Reuters and New York Times websites.

Fact #3 : 13 Year-Old Sun Jisu / Sun Jiso Does Not Exist

There is no 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Su / Sun Ji So / Sun Ji Soo. He does NOT exist.

In addition, that is a Korean name, not Chinese – a mistake that a non-Asian person would make.

Fact #4 : That Was An Old Picture Of Wang Zhengyang

The fake news websites used a picture of Chinese hacking prodigy, Wang Zhengyang, speaking at the 2014 Chinese Internet Security Conference.

Wang Zhengyang was 13 year-old at that time, and would be 20 years old this year – 2021. Here are two more pictures of him speaking at that event.

Wang Zhengyang at 2014 Chinese Internet Security Conference

Fact #5 : Facebook Services Were Brought Down By Configuration Changes

Facebook services were not brought down by a hacker, but configuration changes their own engineering team initiated internally.

Facebook’s Vice-President of Infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, confirmed that “configuration changes” on their “backbone routers” caused the 6-hour long failure.

Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Fact #6 : Access Problems Were Caused By Same Servers

Facebook run their internal systems through the same servers, so they became inaccessible when those servers were taken offline.

This included security systems that controlled the fob door locks, with a New York Times reporter tweeting that Facebook staff were unable to gain access to an unspecified office using their keycards.

However, many Facebook staff are working from home due to COVID-19 precautions, so this was only a big problem for engineers trying to gain access to the Facebook data centre in Santa Clara, California.

At no time was this security issue caused by a hacker. It was due to the same servers that went offline.

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Now that you know the truth, please SHARE this fact check with your family and friends!

Also, please STOP SHARING fake stories created by fake news / clickbait websites!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did 13 Yr Sun Jisu Hack Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram?

Did the 13 year-old Chinese hacker, Sun Jisu, hack Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, causing them to fail for more than 6 hours?

Take a look at the new viral claim, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : 13 Year-Old Sun Jisu Hacked Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram!

On 4 October 2021, Facebook and ALL of its messaging and social media platforms went down for about six hours, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram!

Some websites and people on Twitter and Facebook started claiming that the failure was due to a 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Su / Sun Jiso / Sun Ji Soo.

There are quite a number of these claims, so just SKIP to the next section for the facts!

International media claimed that “China” was behind the suspension of social media services in the world.

According to Reuters, a Chinese hacker named “Sun Jisu” is responsible for stopping the services of “Facebook”, “WhatsApp” and Instagram, and added that the Chinese hackers are only 13 years old.

The Chinese hacker “Sun Ji Su” has topped the famous search engines and Twitter platforms during the past minutes, after disabling WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook today 2021 in all countries of the world, amid questions among activists about the details of this information.

 

Truth : Sun Jisu Doesn’t Exist, Did Not Hack Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram!

The truth is – this is just fake news created by fake news / clickbait websites to go viral and get money through ads.

Here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : International Media Did Not Blame China

No mainstream media blamed China for the bizarre 6-hour downtime of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Practically all of them referred to cybersecurity specialists who pointed at DNS failure as the most likely cause, not a state actor like China.

Clickbait / fake news websites intentionally added that false claim to “trigger” Chinese netizens and Sinophiles to share their fake news.

Read more : US Refused WHO Investigation Of Fort Detrick For COVID-19?

Fact #2 : Reuters  + NYT Did Not Report On Any Chinese Hacker

Reuters did not report that a 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu was responsible for the bringing down Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Neither did the New York Times write about a 13 year old hacker attacking Facebook.

These are complete lies that are easily verified with a quick check on the Reuters and New York Times websites.

Fact #3 : 13 Year-Old Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Soo Does Not Exist

There is no 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Su / Sun Ji So / Sun Ji Soo. He does NOT exist.

In addition, Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Soo is a Korean name, not Chinese. This is a mistake that a non-Asian person would make.

Fact #4 : That Was An Old Picture Of Wang Zhengyang

The fake news websites used a picture of Chinese hacking prodigy, Wang Zhengyang, speaking at the 2014 Chinese Internet Security Conference.

Wang Zhengyang was 13 year-old at that time, and would be 20 years old this year – 2021. Here are two more pictures of him speaking at that event.

Wang Zhengyang at 2014 Chinese Internet Security Conference

Fact #5 : Facebook Services Were Brought Down By Configuration Changes

Facebook services were not brought down by a hacker, but configuration changes their own engineering team initiated internally.

Facebook’s Vice-President of Infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, confirmed that “configuration changes” on their “backbone routers” caused the 6-hour long failure.

Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.

He also asserted that it was a faulty configuration change, and no user data was compromised.

Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Fact #6 : Access Problems Were Caused By Same Servers

Facebook run their internal systems through the same servers, so they became inaccessible when those servers were taken offline.

This included security systems that controlled the fob door locks, with a New York Times reporter tweeting that Facebook staff were unable to gain access to an unspecified office using their keycards.

However, many Facebook staff are working from home due to COVID-19 precautions, so this was only a big problem for engineers trying to gain access to the Facebook data centre in Santa Clara, California.

At no time was this security issue caused by a hacker. It was due to the same servers that went offline.

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Now that you know the truth, please SHARE this fact check with your family and friends!

Also, please STOP SHARING fake stories created by fake news / clickbait websites!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Please support us by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or donating to our fund. Thank you!

Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Facebook and ALL of its messaging and social media platforms went down for about six hours, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram!

Find out why they all went down at the same time, and for so long!

 

Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram + More DOWN!

The entire slew of messaging and social media platforms owned by Facebook was inaccessible for about six hours, including :

  • Facebook
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • Instagram
  • Oculus
  • Workplace

The failure also extended to Facebook authentication, which you may be using to log into third-party apps and games, with Pokemon Go and Match Master gamers have reported problems logging in.

This left Twitter as the only major social media network still up and running, which is ironic since it became the only way for Facebook to reach out to the world…

This massive outage couldn’t come at a worse time for Facebook, whose stock slumped about 5.5% after former employee and whistleblower, Frances Haugen, leaked internal documents to the Wall Street Journal.

She also accused her former firm of repeatedly and knowingly allowing the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation for profit. Really tough times for Team Zuckerberg indeed…

Even Edward Snowden chimed in, saying that the world has become a healthier place for one shining day…

 

Why Did Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Go DOWN?

This massive, unprecedented GLOBAL outage appears to be caused by a DNS (Domain Name Server) failure.

The DNS service “translates” the plaintext link we use (www.facebook.com for example) into its actual numerical IP address (123.123.123.123 for example), allowing your app or browser to connect to the right server.

Without a working DNS service, no one is able to connect to any Facebook-owned service because the Internet no longer knows how to locate the right server.

CloudFlare senior vice-president Dane Knecht shared that the Facebook BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) routes have been “withdrawn from the Internet”, causing failure to connect through CloudFlare’s DNS service.

This was likely due to a configuration error on Facebook’s side, but coming one day after the story broke on Frances Haugen? It would be folly to rule out internal sabotage or a rush to remove some controversial features before she testified to the US Congress.

The conspiracy theory that it was a DDOS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack by Anonymous or some vigilante group is really farfetched. It would require an incredible amount of resources and coordination to not only bring down Facebook, but all the other services as well… at the same time!

Read more : Did 13 Year Old Sun Jisu Hack Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram?

Facebook’s Vice-President of Infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, later confirmed that “configuration changes” on their “backbone routers” caused the 6-hour long failure.

Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.

He also asserted that it was a faulty configuration change, and no user data was compromised.

Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.

While he blamed “the underlying cause” for impacting their ability. to “quickly diagnose and resolve the problem”, it is notable that it took Facebook engineering teams more than 6 hours to resolve a DNS failure.

It is now believed that the changes were made to Facebook’s Border Gateway Protocol, a mechanism that exchanges routing information to help figure out the fastest route for any request.

Apparently, the changes “withdrew” Facebook services from the DNS system, making it impossible for anyone to connect to them.

Even worse, Facebook ran their own systems through the same servers, so everything from engineering tool, messaging services and even security systems that controlled the key fob locks were no longer accessible.

So their engineering team had to rush to their data centres to manually reset the servers there.

Needless to say, this will be a big wake-up call for their engineering teams, and in the words of Russell Peters – “Somebody’s gonna get a hurt real bad!

It is also a big wake-up call for everyone using Facebook services. This massive outage is a reminder that we should NOT put all our eggs in one basket.

I believe it will at least temporarily spur the adoption of alternative messaging services like Telegram and Signal. Even Twitter should see a nice boost in Tweets and maybe new users.

Now, I’m not into conspiracy theories… but what are the odds of this failure happening just one day after Frances Haugen came out publicly against Facebook, and a day before she was set to testify before the US Congress?

Could these “configuration changes” be designed to remove some controversial features before Haugen’s testimony to the US Congress?

Could Facebook’s own engineering team have accidentally triggered the failure in their rush to remove those controversial features before she testified?

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

Recommended Reading

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Support Tech ARP!

Please support us by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or donating to our fund. Thank you!