Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Know the net: ways to avoid cybercrime

Knowthenet advice on avoiding cybercrime:

internet help

"The term ‘cybercrime’ covers a wide range of activities that are carried out against businesses and individuals using computers and the Internet.

The main activities that affect individuals are:

Computer misuse (including hacking, spam email, Trojans, viruses, botnets etc.)
Financial fraud (including scams, online theft, phishing etc.)
Identity theft and identity fraud
Offences against the person (including cyberbullying, hate crimes, child sexual abuse content)
General tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime

Treat all unsolicited emails (especially those from unknown senders) with caution and never click on links from such emails to visit unknown web sites - these could contain links to code that could affect your computer.

Don’t open attachments in emails that you’re not expecting – they could contain a virus or code that would enable someone to control your computer.
Don’t share files or programs with other users.
Don’t use free software unless you know it’s reputable and safe.
Install anti-virus software, keep it up-to-date and run regular security scans.
Install the latest security updates, also known as patches.
Install and learn how to use a personal firewall.

Be careful not to share personal information such as address information, bank details, telephone numbers, date of birth etc. on social networking sites and other websites that do not use encryption to secure the information you publish.

Do not use the same password across multiple websites. Although this makes it more difficult to manage your online accounts it is worth the effort, you can also use password management software and encryption to make this easier."

More from here.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Ed Stoppard interview on playing Alan Turing in 'Britain's Greatest Codebreaker'

From the Radio Times interview of Ed Stoppard playing Alan Turing for tonight's UK Channel 4 docudrama Britain's Greatest Codebreaker:

Ed Stoppard is a thoughtful sort of man. It’s 9:15 on a Sunday morning and I’m grilling him about the experience of playing the brilliant 20th-century mathematician and computer scientist, Alan Turing.

Some people might feel it’s a little early in the day for such demanding topics but Ed is totally focused and his answers are carefully considered, as if he is determined to give the most precise response, the one that offers the greatest clarity.

Perhaps it is this touch of intensity that made Ed natural casting for Turing in Channel 4’s docudrama Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker. Turing laid the intellectual foundation for modern computer science right back in the 1930s and was seen as key to the success of the codebreaking team at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. His work saved lives and changed the world, yet he was persecuted for being a homosexual and killed himself in 1954.


How did Ed approach the formidable task of playing a man of such stature and complexity?

“You have an instinctive response to a character, how you’re going to inhabit them, what that’s going to look like and what it’s going to feel like, their energies and their physicality. There are a couple of very good biographies of Turing that Clare (Beavan), the director, and Paul (Sen), one of the execs, put my way and the biographical elements of those, rather than the elements relating to his work, were particularly useful for me to get a handle on the kind of person Alan was.”

Perhaps it is because he is the son of two highly talented individuals himself - the playwright Tom Stoppard and doctor and broadcaster Miriam Stoppard - that Ed seems undaunted by Turing’s dazzling achievements, allowing him to feel his way intuitively towards an understanding of Turing the man and the past that shaped him.

“His childhood was not unusual really but still very traumatic. His parents were in India, as his father was in the Indian civil service. Alan was essentially fostered to a family on the south coast of England, along with his brother John, when he was a baby, and saw his parents every two years.”

Background radiation

Exploring Turing’s somewhat difficult early life gave Ed what he describes as the “background radiation” that he hopes will inform his portrayal of Turing as a mature man.

As Ed grew to know more about the notoriously remote and socially difficult Turing, did he feel any more profound points of connection?

“You do hopefully find things that you empathise with, even if they’re not very nice things.

“He wasn’t a placid character, I don’t think. He found interacting with people quite difficult. He didn’t understand, the way that the rest of us do, how the transaction between two people normally plays out, so he could be quite rude. He could be blunt, he could be aloof, he could be very dismissive. I think it is accepted that he would have been somewhere on the autistic scale.”


Curiously, considering Ed is doing a pretty gracious job of answering my questions - which, in typical interview style, can return to the same theme repeatedly - it’s Turing’s impatience that he identifies with.

“I can sort of get Alan’s frustrations with people. I have found that on occasion I can be sort of rude, really, I suppose. If I’m trying to explain something to someone and they’re not getting it. Or, actually, worse than that, I can get patronising and talk to them as if they’re seven and when I find myself doing that, I think: 'God, you really must not do that!'”

He laughs - partly, it feels, as if he's embarrassed by this aspect of his personality and partly, perhaps, amused by the fact he’s just gone public with it. But the laughter proceeds to another moment of reflection.

“I suppose it’s an odd thing to say but I hate social situations most of the time. I’m much happier sitting at home with my wife and my children. There are few people in the world who I’m happy to be in a social situation with, but even with those dozen or so people, after a couple of hours, I’m thinking ‘OK, I’d like to go home now.’”


Although certainly not unheard of for an actor to be quite retiring in their off-screen life, it’s an interesting insight into a man who was recently seen cutting a bit of a dash as libidinous Italian detective Vincenzo Fabri in the stylish BBC crime drama Zen.

Classically dark-eyed and chisel-featured, Ed looked pretty comfortable in the role of ladies' man, so how easy was it for him to express Alan’s homosexuality? We are on politically sensitive territory and the answers come with additional emphasis.

“Whether he’s straight or homosexual, he is a man with passions and loves and sexual desires and that’s just a truth. You can connect with the loves and the losses and the joys through one’s heterosexual experience and that allows you to play those same emotions but just within the body and the context of a homosexual character.

“Christopher Morcom, the boy Turing was at school with (his great friend and mentor who was to die tragically of tuberculosis aged 17), was probably the one great love of his life. Well, I know what that feels like and it doesn’t make a difference that the one great love of my life is a woman and not a man.

“There’s no film footage of Alan, there’s not even any audio of Alan, so to then impose a preconceived idea of what a homosexual man looks like just felt a bit coarse, so I didn’t.”

Alan Turing’s openness about his sexuality was very unusual for a man of his generation and appears strangely reckless considering it was, at the time, a criminal offence and certainly regarded by society in general with disgust.


Ed sees Turing’s honesty partly as a consequence of the generally accepting environment of first King’s College, Cambridge and later Bletchley Park.

“The college he attended was a very liberal-minded college. They weren’t going to take issue with it (homosexuality), as long as you didn’t do anything scandalous. They were much more interested in his research, so that taught him that he could just be himself and he didn’t have to censor himself. That’s a word - censor – that’s in my thinking about him. At Bletchley, well, there was a war on, so…"

Like a shrug, Ed’s unfinished sentence indicates how unimportant Alan’s sexual orientation must have seemed to those tasked with breaking Germany's naval Enigma Code.


Ed’s scenes in the drama documentary centre on the aftermath of Turing’s trial and conviction for gross indecency, when he seeks help from and becomes friends with the liberal and, ultimately, benign German Jewish psychiatrist Dr Franz Greenbaum (played by Henry Goodman).

It is through the interplay of the two characters that Ed is able to deftly suggest Turing’s intellectual brilliance: “If you have a cursory understanding of Turing’s actual research then that’s about as much as you can hope for, really. I think you just have to accept that, and on an acting level you have to accept that.

"There’s a scene in the garden where I’m explaining this theory, morphogenesis (an aspect of mathematical biology Turing was working on between 1952 and 1954), to Greenbaum and I think, if you can feel, as an actor, that you know more about what you are talking about than the other actor, that’s the best you can hope for and that’s a very good place to be.”


So, it sounds as if Ed has done a thorough job of getting to grips with Turing the man and Turing the mind. But what about Turing’s extraordinary athleticism? He was a marathon runner of world-class standard.

Ed laughs, and there’s maybe a bit of light relief for both of us after what has been a pretty involved discussion about a really exceptional man.

“What I said to Clare the director is, ‘Listen, the one thing you really need to understand is that I do not run. I will do my best but I suspect you’ll get about 25 seconds of useful, useable film and then you will have to let me lie down for a few minutes.’ Which is pretty much what happened.”

From here: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2011-11-21/ed-stoppard-on-britain's-greatest-codebreaker#.Tspp4CTUAag.twitter

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday Times Alan Turing article: 'The outcast who gave us the modern world'

Sunday Times 20 November 2011 section 4, News Review, features an article on page 6 by Michael Hanlon: "Without his [Turing] ideas we would have no Google, no email, no mobile phones" .

[image photographed from Sunday Times]

"It is easy to imagine, in a parallel world, an older Turing, flamboyant, confident, a television star and perhaps the founder of a British Google or Apple" (Michael Hanlon).

Britain's Greatest Codebreaker: Channel 4 9pm Monday 21 November 2011:

[Image of Ed Stoppard playing Turing in Britain's Greatest Codebreaker from Sunday Times Culture supplement, 20 November 2011 'Pick of the Day' for Monday 21 November viewing: page 48]

Channel 4 Talks website features Q/A on the Turing documentary:

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Haunting Track 'Computable Numbers' for Channel 4 Turing documentary

Hear Alpha Dog Music Limited's soundtrack 'Computable Numbers' for Channel 4's Alan Turing drama-documentary 'Britain's Greatest Codebreaker':


Watch the documentary on Monday 21 November at 9pm:


Saturday, 12 November 2011

More on 'Britain's Greatest Codebreaker' - Alan Turing drama-documentary

Links for articles on 'Britain's Greatest Codebreaker' - Alan Turing:

Channel 4: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/britains-greatest-codebreaker/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1

Radio Times: http://www.radiotimes.com/episode/nrj8r/britain's-greatest-codebreaker

Digiguide TV: http://digiguide.tv/programme/Drama/Britain-s-Greatest-Codebreaker/828048/

Above right: Ed Stoppard as Turing in Britain's Greatest Codebreaker, Channel 4 UK, showing Monday 21 November 2011.

[Image from here: http://www.turingfilm.com/ ]

Trailer of documentary:

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Turing documentary on Channel 4 Monday 21 November 2011

Channel 4's drama-documentary about Alan Turing, 'Britain's Greatest Codebreaker' will be shown on Channel 4 Monday 21 November 2011 at 9pm:


Turing will be played by Ed Stoppard.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Price Waterhouse Cooper support Turing100 in 2012 at Bletchley Park

Thank you to Price Waterhouse Cooper UK who have kindly agreed to become one of the supportors of Turing100.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Leonardo DiCaprio to play Turing?

From The Deadline:

"To anyone with an interest in those Enigma codebreakers who helped win WWII and the math geniuses whose work led to the creation of the earliest computers, then the name Alan Turing holds quite a lot of fascination. This British historical figure most prominent from 1940 through 1955 is also the subject of a big spec script sale today. First-time screenwriter Graham Moore’s The Imitation Game was snapped up by Warner Bros in a 7-figure deal. I’ve learned that the studio outbid half a dozen indie companies because Leonardo DiCaprio ”has the inside track” to play the lead and was chasing the project. But so far no talent is attached. I hear Ron Howard is interested in directing.

First-time producers Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky owned the rights to Andrew Hodges’ definitive biography Alan Turing: The Enigma and worked with Moore for more than a year to get the script just right. Moore is also a first-time novelist and his crime fiction debut The Sherlockian, filled with Conan Doyle lore, received a rave review in The New York Times by Janet Maslin. People I trust tell me The Imitation Game is the best script they’ve read in years — and they read a lot of scripts. The life story of this English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist, criminally prosecuted homosexual, and tortured soul who committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple has it all. (Reportedly, Steve Jobs named his company “Apple” as a tribute to Turing.) “Think The King’s Speech without the huge uplifting ending,” a source tells me. I’m told that CAA agent J.P. Evans, Safran manager Tom Drumm, and Jackoway Tyerman lawyer Alan Wertheimer made today’s sale happen."
(From here).

Friday, 8 July 2011

Turing100: Update July 2011

YOUSRC to participate in Turing100 at Bletchley Park on Saturday 23 June 2012:

Paul Clarke of YOUSRC says:

"There will be an interactive workstation where visitors can write their own programmes using YOUSRC (http://www.yousrc.com) – a free web-based environment where you can learn to code. Apps run in a web browser, or – unchanged – on an Android mobile phone. There are plenty of examples to work from, plus a tutorial and reference material to help you get started. More and more schools are adopting YOUSRC as a means to get the next generation coding – changing a generation of app consumers into app creators."

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Turing's 99th birthday, Thursday 23 June 2011 and University of Reading Turing100 support

The University of Reading announced support for the Turing100 project today, on Turing's 99th birthday:

"Press Releases
Special Turing 100 event announced for 2012 anniversary of mathematician's birth

Release Date : 23 June 2011

As part of the 2012 international celebrations to mark the life and influence of the 20th century mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing, the University of Reading's School of Systems Engineering has announced a special one-day event. Turing100 will take place on what would have been his 100th birthday, 23 June 2012.

Taking place at Bletchley Park¹, the centre for British code-breaking during the Second World War, Turing100 will be based around Turing's famous question and answer game, commonly known as the Turing test.

Turing, cited by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most important scientists and thinkers of the last century, considered the learning of language an impressive human activity and felt the question and answer method was a suitable vehicle to examine the capability of machines.

In the 21st century, the question and answer method has been exploited for both good and bad. For example, neurologists have used it to ascertain whether brain-damaged patients are fully aware inside a paralysed body² while computer programmes such as CyberLover 2007 or Flirtbot 2010 are becoming increasingly used to target human users on the Internet with the aim of stealing identity and conducting financial fraud.

Using the question and answer method, the experiments which will be part of the Turing 100 day will play a serious role in helping raise awareness of cyber crime using artificial conversation systems aiming to increase the detection rate for online deception and preventing the risk of Internet grooming.

In experiments carried out at The University of Reading in 2008, in 25 of the 96 Turing tests there was a failure by human interrogators to correctly recognise at least one of two hidden machines (the human judges classified machines as human; humans were misclassified as machine; sex and age were difficult to recognise).

Activities at Turing100 will include robot demonstrations and interactive machine learning programmes specifically aimed at children, and trials of software developed by Lancaster University in their ISIS online child protection experiments, conducted by Professor Awais Rashid.

Collaborating with Turing100 is Professor Jack Copeland, Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Jack Copeland and Dr Huma Shah, from Reading's School of Systems Engineering, are organising the Turing Education Day incorporating the Alan Turing Memorial Lecture 2012 at Bletchley Park (date TBC).

Turing Education Day, which will follow Turing100, will host a team of first-rate lecturers explaining the key aspects of Turing's many-sided work to a general audience. Topics covered will include codebreaking; the birth and early development of the computer and computer programming; artificial intelligence; artificial life; and the foundations and philosophy of mathematics.


Further information from the University of Reading's press office on 0118 378 7388/7115

Notes to editors:

¹Though there will be a fee to enter the Park, there will be no charge to the family-friendly Turing100 event inside the Mansion.
²See John F. Stins and Steven Laureys ‘Thought Translation, tennis and Turing tests in the vegetative state'. Phenom. Cogn Sci, 8:361-370, March 2009
Judges in Turing100 include haematological oncologist Professor Finbarr Cotter, Director of Research for the Royal college of Pathologists who has a PhD in molecular biology and was the first to carry out worldwide trials of the genes silencing compound (Genasense), and Dr Chris Riley who gained his PhD from Imperial College and is the Producer and Director of, among other documentaries, 'First Orbit' a recreation of the orbit around the earth of Yuri Gagarin, celebrating the 50th anniversary of manned space flight April 12th 2011.
Turing100 provides a unique opportunity for corporate and individual sponsorship and to work together to achieve the dual aim of tackling cybercrime. Please contact Professor Kevin Warwick, Chair of Turing100, or Dr Shah, lead scientist for information on available exhibitor stands at Turing100 on Saturday 23 June 2012: k.warwick@reading.ac.uk or Turing100atBletchleyPark@gmail.com
Bletchley Park: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/visit/findus.rhtm
Contact email for Turing Education Day: jack.copeland@canterbury.ac.nz
Keep up-to-date with news on Alan Turing Year via Facebook:

The University of Reading's School of Systems Engineering brings together a unique mix of expertise in information technology, computer science, cybernetics and electronic engineering. More information at www.reading.ac.uk/sse "

From here.

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