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Hackers leak 'Game of Thrones' stars' phone numbers, demand ransom

Published: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 @ 2:06 PM



Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
(Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO)

Hackers who targeted HBO last month released a trove of new data on Monday, including a file that appeared to show the phone numbers and other personal details of the stars of “Game of Thrones,” and demanded a ransom under the threat of releasing more sensitive network data, according to multiple reports.

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The data dump, comprised of just 3.4 gigabytes of the 1.5 terabytes allegedly stolen by the group, appeared online Monday and included a video ransom note, according to The Associated Press.

In the five-minute video, a “Mr. Smith” tells HBO CEO Richard Plepler that the network has three days to pay a ransom in bitcoins or see hackers release more confidential corporate data and entire unaired seasons of the network’s shows, the AP reported.

One of the documents leaked Monday appeared to include a confidential cast list for “Game of Thrones,” HBO’s wildly popular adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire.” The document included what appeared to be the personal cellphone numbers and email addresses of actors including Emilia Clark, Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey, according to the AP.

 The Verge reported that draft scripts from five “Game of Thrones” episodes, including one scheduled to air this Sunday, were released in the latest data dump. Also leaked were a month’s worth of emails from Leslie Cohen, HBO’s vice president for film programming.

> Related: 'Game of Thrones' script appears online after hackers target HBO: reports

In its ransom letter, the group claimed that it took six months to breach HBO’s security and demanded “our six-month salary in bitcoin,” the AP reported, adding that the group claimed to have earned between $12 million and $15 million each year by stealing information and then blackmailing companies. The group redacted the exact amount of money they were demanding in the ransom letter released Monday.

“Our demand is clear and non-negotiable: We want XXXX dollars to stop leaking your data,” the ransom note from Mr. Smith said in part, Wired reported. “HBO spends $12 million for market research and $5 million for ('Game of Thrones' season 7) advertisements, so consider us another budget for your advertisements!”

In a statement released to Wired, HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson said that the network continues to investigate the data breach.

“The review to date has not given us a reason to believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised,” he told the news site.

HBO officials acknowledged last week that the company had been targeted by hackers who managed to get “proprietary information.” The group behind the cyberattack last week released what appeared to be at least one script from “Game of Thrones” and episodes of the networks’ “Ballers” and “Room 104” series.

In the video letter Monday, the hackers claimed that HBO was the 17th company to be targeted by them and that only three previous targets refused to pay, according to the AP. The group said it spends $500,000 each year to buy exploits that allow them to break into networks before Microsoft and other software companies are aware of the security holes.

Is feeding a cold a real thing? 5 winter health myths debunked

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 2:01 PM

FILE PHOTO
Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO(Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images)

You've probably heard winter health myths for years and you may have even accepted some of them as fact.

From being told to bundle up, so you don't catch a cold to your neighbor swearing he got the flu from his flu shot, these myths make the rounds every winter.

Breathe easy: 5 household plants that improve air quality

We separate fact from fiction with the following five winter health myths:

Cold weather can make you get sick.

Mom always warned you you'd get sick if you didn't bundle up before heading out in cold weather. Her advice wasn't exactly horrible, since you'll certainly be more comfortable and protected from frostbite. But cold by itself doesn't make you more likely to get sick, according to The Weather Channel. Most experts think we're more likely to get sick in colder months, but that's because we're all cooped up together, exchanging germs. Cold weather also dries out your nasal passages, reducing their ability to filter out infections. Despite evidence to the contrary, moms will probably keep warning their kids to bundle up. It's what they do.

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You lose 90 percent of your body heat through your head.

Of all your body parts, your head is more likely to be exposed in cold weather. But that doesn't mean the myth about losing 90 percent of your body heat through your head is true, according to Business Insider. Sure, wearing a hat in cold weather will help you stay warm, but that's just because you're covering an exposed body part, not because there's anything special about your head. You could cover up any other exposed body part and also feel warmer.

You don't need sunscreen in the winter.

If you think you only need sunscreen in hotter weather, you've probably packed your lotion away by the time winter comes around. But even when the weather's overcast in the winter, up to 80 percent of the sun's rays can still penetrate the clouds, according to Reader's digest.

UVA rays are always present - even in winter - and they can damage the deeper layers of your skin, increasing your risk for skin cancer and causing premature aging of your skin. And if you're planning a ski trip, you should be even more careful. UV radiation increases with elevation, and snow reflects and intensifies sunlight. So whatever the season, wearing sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF is the safest way to go.

Feed a cold, starve a fever.

The origin of this myth may be rooted in antiquated beliefs about colds and fevers, according to CNN. It was once believed that your body literally became colder if you had a cold, so it needed to be "warmed up" with food. Fever was thought to need "cooling down" by not eating.

In reality, you need to eat whether you have a cold or a fever. Good, nutritious foods are important, but it's OK if your illness suppresses your appetite a little. Staying hydrated is most important, especially if you have a fever. You may need to replenish electrolytes, so sports drinks can be a good choice. Good ol' chicken soup will keep you hydrated while also helping to clear your nasal passages.

RELATED: Your guide to an (almost) allergy-free home

The flu shot can give you the flu.

This isn't true, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). Flu shots are made with either an inactive form of the virus or no flu virus at all. Neither type can give you the flu. You may have a sore arm after getting a flu shot and some people report having a low-grade fever and aches for a day or two, but it's not the flu.

On the other hand, you may still get the flu even if you've had a flu shot, but the odds of getting it are much lower and, if you do get the flu, the symptoms will likely be less severe.

Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of Education

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 1:00 PM

What You Need To Know About Betsy DeVos

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a far-ranging speech today in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.”

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She announced the death of Common Core, at least in her federal agency.

DeVos also decried the federal government’s initiatives to improve education. “We saw two presidents from different political parties and philosophies take two different approaches. Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too many of America’s students are still unprepared,” she said.

And she touched on a favorite topic, school choice.

“Choice in education is not when a student picks a different classroom in this building or that building, uses this voucher or that tax-credit scholarship. Choice in education is bigger than that. Those are just mechanisms,” she said. “It’s about freedom to learn. Freedom to learn differently. Freedom to explore. Freedom to fail, to learn from falling and to get back up and try again. It’s freedom to find the best way to learn and grow… to find the exciting and engaging combination that unlocks individual potential.”

Baby found abandoned on airport bathroom changing table

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:13 PM

FILE PHOTO (Lanz-Andy/Pixabay license https://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/#usage)
Lanz-Andy/Pixabay
FILE PHOTO (Lanz-Andy/Pixabay license https://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/#usage)(Lanz-Andy/Pixabay)

Authorities are trying to find the person who abandoned a baby in an airport bathroom. 

Police at Tucson International Airport are now combing through surveillance footage, trying to find out who left the a newborn baby boy on a woman’s bathroom changing table Sunday, AZCentral reported.

Not only are they trying to find the mother of the baby to find out what happened, but also to find out if she needs help.

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The newborn was only hours old and was in good health, Tucson Police spokeswoman Jessie Butler told AZCentral.

The baby was clean and swaddled, KMSB reported.

Arizona is a state that offers Safe Haven for babies, meaning they can be dropped off at specific locations like staffed fire stations, hospitals and churches. Parents can be anonymous but they have to answer questions about the baby and its health, KMSB reported. According to the Safe Haven law, babies can be up to three days old.

Since the program started in 2001, 40 babies have been taken in by Safe Haven, KMSB reported.

An airport is not listed among the legal locations, but there was a fire station nearby, AZCentral reported.

If found, the mother could face charges after police investigate why she left the baby.

Doctor arrested for showing up for surgery inebriated, police say

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 2:49 PM

Kentucky Surgeon Arrested For Arriving To Work Drunk

A plastic surgeon showed up for surgery Monday while intoxicated and was arrested, according to police. 

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Dr. Theodore Gerstle was confronted by the chief medical officer at Baptist Health Lexington and then left the hospital on foot, according to WKYT

Police were then called and took Gerstle into custody. Gerstle was charged with public intoxication.

“Patient safety is always our number one concern,” Ruth Ann Childers, hopsital spokeswoman, told WKYT. “This will be thoroughly investigated.”