Lab issues Second Life account security tips / warning

Linden Lab has issued a reminder / warning about the need for Second Life users to keep their account details secure.

It comes as a result of tools such as viewer “wrappers” (third-party applications which must be launched in order to run the viewer) which effectively takes away a user’s ability to control their account. by making changes to both the account password and the e-mail address associated with the account (thus effectively preventing the user from ever recovering their account). In some cases, these viewers / wrappers may even effectively pass control of an account to another user.

All of the above is not only dangerous in terms of account security / integrity – it is also against Linden Lab’s Terms of Service.

The blog post carrying the warning is reproduced in full below, was issued by the Governance Team. It is designed to clarify the use of such viewers / wrappers, and provide Second Life users with guidelines on keeping their accounts secure. Please read and keep in mind.

Hey everyone,

It’s recently come to our attention that there has been an increase in the use of a third-party tools that give account credentials and control over a Resident’s account to another Resident. This and similar products can change an account password and/or details, such as email address, which could prevent an owner from accessing an account, or even from being able to recover the account.

We want to remind everyone that giving another Resident access to your account or account information, by any means and for any reason, is both dangerous and not permitted by the Terms of Service. An account is intended to be used solely by its creator, and keeping your account details secret and secure helps you keep it that way.

We’d like to provide you with some quick tips on how to keep your account secure:

Choose a secure password with upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, spaces, and symbols, and avoid common dictionary words or phrases. For instance, “password” is not a good password, but “wh4tAr g@t4P55!” is much better (though you shouldn’t use that last one either, now that all of Second Life just read it, too).

Choose a secret security question answer. To keep your information extra secure, choose an answer that you will remember, but that no one else could possibly guess. For example, answering “What is your favourite vacation spot?” with “Potsdam, Pennsylvania” isn’t secure if you have that listed as an interest on your social media accounts. Answering “The Wide Wide World of Sports” might be much more secure!

Keep your password and the answer to your security question secret from everyone, regardless of their relationship to you. Only you should know this information; not your significant other, family member, casual acquaintance, person with an honest look in their eye, or anyone else.

Keep your password unique and special to Second Life. Reusing the same password across different platforms or websites makes your account vulnerable if one of those sites suffer a data breach.

No Linden will ever ask for your password. Likewise, there is never a reason for you to enter your password to unlock an item, receive a discount, or anything else.

Use only the official Second Life Viewer, or a Third Party Viewer from the Third Party Viewer Directory. If the viewer does not allow you to log directly into your account for any reason, the viewer is NOT secure.

You can read more about keeping your information secure on the wiki at Linden Lab Official: Password Protection

If you have any problems accessing your account—especially if you believe that your password or security information may be known to anyone other than you—please contact the support team by opening a support case.

Thanks for keeping your account secure!

– Governance Linden

Advertisements

Floating worlds and Dutch proverbs in Second Life

The Vordun: Pictures of the Floating World

Now featured at The Vordun Museum and Gallery  curated by Jake Vordun, are two new exhibitions Caitlyn and I recently dropped in on, and which make for an engaging visit.

The first, and most recent, is Pictures of the Floating World, occupying the gallery’s South Wing. This takes visitors in to the world of ukiyo-e,(literally “picture[s] of the floating world) a form of Japanese art using woodblock prints and paintings which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries.  Ukiyo (“floating world”) refers to the hedonistic lifestyle enjoyed by the  merchant class of Edo (modern Tokyo) who were at that time benefiting the most of the city’s economic expansion, and who became one of the prime audiences for the art, purchasing it to decorate their homes.

The Vordun: Pictures of the Floating World

Much of this is explained in the foyer to the exhibit, via an informative wall panel together with notes on how ukiyo-e were / are made (see the image below). Such is the design of this foyer area, it is as much a part of the exhibition as the images themselves, and deserves the time taken to read the information offered. Beyond it, 20 images of ukiyo-e art are presented, each with its own information tag which provides the name, artist and date of creation for the piece.

If I’m totally honest, I’d have preferred the prints to be somewhat larger: ukiyo-e is a beautiful art form, and the small size of the works here do make it difficult to fully appreciate some of them, and having to zoom a lot can intrude into one’s appreciation of individual pieces. But make no mistake, the is an exhibit well worth seeing and appreciating – I particularly like the central themed display of five images focused on the shamisen musical instrument.

The Vordun: Pictures of the Floating World

Also on the south side of the gallery is Proverbs of the Low Countries, which opened in May. Reached via a short hallway, it comprises a single, large reproduction of Pieter Bruegel The Elder’s The Blue Cloak (or Netherlandish Proverbs or Flemish Proverbs or The Topsy-Turvy World, depending on your preference), painted in 1559. This is a truly remarkable piece which may at first seem a chaotic, nonsensical rendering of somewhat comical people; in fact it contains no fewer than 112 illustrations of Dutch language proverbs and idioms, offered together as a commentary on human folly.

Finding your way around the 112 proverbs – many of which transcend Dutch use and will be recognisable to English speakers (and probably familiar to those from other European nations as well) – is made possible through the use of a dedicated HUD. Instructions on obtaining this are provided on the wall of the hallway leading to the painting, so please be sure to read and follow them in order to be able to properly appreciate the piece.

The Vordun: The Blue Cloak (1559) by Pieter Bruegel The Elder

Floating Worlds and Proverbs are two considered, informative exhibitions which again demonstrate both the uniqueness of The Vordun in the art presented there, and just how informative / educational / enjoyable an art exhibition can be in Second Life.  Don’t forget as well, that when visiting the gallery, you can also enjoy the long-running European Masters, 300 Years of Painting (which you can read about here), and Winning a delightful exhibition showcasing the 51 winning entries from four years of The Arcade’s photography competition.

SLurl Details

2017 Viewer release summaries week 23

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, June 11th

This summary is published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: more Einstein, plus space planes and Wow!

This illustration reveals how the gravity of a white dwarf star warps space and bends the light of a distant star behind it. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

In his general theory of relativity, Albert Einstein predicted that whenever light from a distant star passes by a closer object, gravity acts as a kind of magnifying lens, brightening and bending the distant starlight in an effect known as “gravitational microlensing”.  While such microlensing has been observed using the Sun, it has never been used against an individual star (although it has been used binary pairs of stars) – until now.

During a two-year period between October 2013 and October 2015, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) did just that, allowing them to measure the mass of a star in the process.

The star in question is a white dwarf called Stein 2051 B, roughly 18 light years from Earth and part of a binary system, paired with a red dwarf. Essentially, the team of astronomers used Hubble to observe the effect the white dwarf had on the light being received from a star 5,000 light years away. By measuring the amount of apparent light deflection, the team were not only able to further confirm Einstein’s theory of relativity – they were able to measure the mass of the white dwarf itself, even though the deflection was tiny – only 2 milliarcseconds from its actual position.

“This microlensing method is a very independent and direct way to determine the mass of a star,” Kailash Sahu, the lead researcher on the project, explained following the publication of his team’s findings on June 7th, 2017. “It’s like placing the star on a scale: the deflection is analogous to the movement of the needle on the scale.”

On top of this, the observations confirmed the theory that a white dwarf star’s size is determined by its mass, first postulated in 1935 by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Indian-American astronomer. Thus, a single set of observations have further confirmed Einstein’s theory of space-time to be correct (and sits alongside the detection of gravitational waves – see my last Space Sunday update – and observations of rapidly spinning pulsars in doing so), and confirmed the defining limits for a white dwarf star and allowed astronomers effectively measure the mass of a star.

Space Plane News

The United States Air Force has confirmed that the next mission for its X37B automated space plane will utilise a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle to boost it into orbit in August 2017.  This will be the fifth launch of the X-37B, which is also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, and the first time a United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster hasn’t been used. It also marks the highest-profile US national security launch SpaceX will have signed-up for.

There are actually two of the uncrewed X-37B vehicles operated by the USAF which have been flown on alternate missions. The second of these two craft returned to Earth in May 2017 after spending an astonishing 718 days in orbit, carrying a mixed classified and non-classified cargo. The August mission will likely use the first of the two vehicles in its third mission, and will feature the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader (ASETS-11) to test experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipes in the long duration space environment.

The USAF’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) on the runway at Kennedy Space Centre at the end of the programme’s fourth mission, May 7th, 2017. The uncrewed vehicle is being “safed” by a Boeing team in protective suits to guard against harmful fumes and gases given off by the vehicle. Credit: USAF

At the same time as the USAF announcement about the X-37B, the South China Morning Post reported China’s own space plane programme is making “significant progress”.

China has been investigating the potential of operating some form of space plane since the late 1980s. Those plans ultimately didn’t go anywhere, and rumours of a new Chinese space plane, capable of flying astronauts and / or cargo to low Earth orbit started circulating in 2016, thanks to a news broadcast on Chinese state television service CCTV. However, as the report used imagery clearly taken from the UK’s Skylon programme, there was some doubt as to the veracity of the report.

 

In “announcing” the new space plane in 2016, China State television used images of the UK’s Skylon programme. Credit: CCTV

Like Skylon, the new Chinese vehicle, which the South China Morning Post refers to as athe Casic (the initials of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, said to be building the vehicle), will be able to take-off horizontally and use a hybrid propulsion system capable of flying it through the atmosphere and into space, carrying a crew and / or cargo to low Earth orbit. At the end of a mission, the vehicle will return to Earth and land on a conventional runway, where it can be re-serviced pretty much like a conventional military aircraft.

The South China Morning Post indicates that the new vehicle has “finished almost all ground experiments and overcome key technical hurdles such as engine design and construction”. However, no dates on when the vehicle might be rolled-out or start flight tests have been given. Nor have any specifics or official images of the vehicle been released. All that has been said is the vehicle will have an “aerodynamic shape” for atmospheric flight, and be larger than Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, the VSS Unity.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: more Einstein, plus space planes and Wow!”