Sunday, April 13, 2014

A look inside a 'Cybersquat'

from Major software innovations do not all come from big companies like Apple or Google. A surprising number of developers eschew the gleaming campuses of Silicon Valley, choosing an alternative lifestyle coding in so-called communal "cybersquats" around the world.

China Expands Cyber Spying

from A new industry report says that the Chinese government has expanded the scope of its cyber espionage despite the greater public scrutiny these operations received  in 2013.

The new report was published by Mandiant, now part of FireEye, the same company that in February 2013 published the much discussed APT1 report directly linking a unit of the People’s Liberation Army to a massive cyber espionage campaign against foreign businesses. APT1 was the hacking unit the report profiled.

Friday, April 11, 2014

NSA knew about #Heartbleed, exploited it for two years

As predicted, the huge Internet security vulnerability was used by the NSA. We should not be surprised, but furious

from As soon as Heartbleed — the grave and widespread vulnerability which has for two years plagued Internet security — was discovered this week, skeptical and speculating eyes looked to the NSA. Some corners of the crytpography community even wondered if the bug had been purposefully planted at the bidding of spy agencies in the notoriously inscrutable OpenSSL code for mass surveillance purposes.

This was no tinfoil hat theorizing. The NSA may not have caused the critical flaw (thought to be born of human error with complicated cryptogaphy), but they certainly knew about it and exploited it. As Bloomberg News reported  Friday, the NSA “knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.”

#Shocker: Google & Facebook used lobbying groups to oppose Internet surveillance restrictions

from Revelations about the National Security Agency's most controversial surveillance program, which centers on the bulk collection of hundreds of billions of records of Americans' phone conversations, were quickly greeted with calls for reform by major internet powerhouses like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo last year. But all four companies, along with dozens of other major tech firms, are actively opposing an initiative to prevent NSA spying known as the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, leaning on secretive industry lobbying groups while they profess outrage in official statements.

DNA nanobots deliver drugs in living cockroaches

from It's a computer – inside a cockroach. Nano-sized entities made of DNA that are able to perform the same kind of logic operations as a silicon-based computer have been introduced into a living animal.

The DNA computers – known as origami robots because they work by folding and unfolding strands of DNA – travel around the insect's body and interact with each other, as well as the insect's cells. When they uncurl, they can dispense drugs carried in their folds.

"DNA nanorobots could potentially carry out complex programs that could one day be used to diagnose or treat diseases with unprecedented sophistication," says Daniel Levner, a bioengineer at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

#FoodWorldOrder: Botanists Baffled By Rapid Growth of '#SpaceCherry'

Botanists Baffled By Rapid Growth of 'Space Cherry'from A tree grown from a cherry pit that traveled in space five years ago with astronaut Koichi Wakata, now commander of the International Space Station, has bloomed far ahead of what is normal--to the astonishment of botanists. Cherry trees typically take about a decade from the time they sprout from seeds to bloom. The cherry pit was one of around 265 produced from the fruit of the famous 1,250-year-old “Chujohimeseigan-zakura” cherry tree grown in the compound of the Ganjoji temple here, which traces its roots to the seventh century. In the "space cherry" project organized by Tokyo-based Japan Manned Space Systems Corp., the space-going pits were rocketed to the International Space Station in 2008, and returned to Earth in July 2009 with Wakata, now 50.

 (h/t The Gardening Apprentice)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

#Heartbleed Bug: Passwords, Credit Cards, Sensitive Data at Risk

Heartbleed Bug: Passwords, Credit Cards, Sensitive Data at Riskfrom Passwords, credit cards and other sensitive data are at risk after security researchers discovered a problem with an encryption technology used to securely transmit email, e-commerce transactions, social networking posts and other Web traffic. Security researchers say the threat, known as Heartbleed, is serious, partly because it remained undiscovered for more two years. Attackers can exploit the vulnerability without leaving any trace, so anything sent during that time has potentially been compromised. It's not known, though, whether anyone has actually used it to conduct an attack. Researchers are advising people to change all of their passwords.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Skype TX Promising Pro-Level Broadcast Service

from TV journalists weary of trying to gather acceptable audio from Skype, your time to celebrate is now: Microsoft is rolling out a high-quality service designed for the broadcast market. If it does what it says on the box, Skype TX (transmitter, geddit?) will stick Microsoft's elbows in the ribs of the expensive platforms that the broadcast industry now uses. The company claims it's offering an “integrated production-grade system” for pro audio and video.

Skype TX is a hardware/software combo, with a box offered to broadcasters for integration with their existing systems, handling I/O in HD-SDI video and balanced audio, with automatic aspect ratio conversion. By sending feeds to the switching suite, Skype TX will let the operator handle the calls, including multi-channel calls.

The system is based on technology from Cat and Mouse, recently acquired by Microsoft. C&M developed a Skype video/audio routing system called CatCall, which offered call quality optimisation, and took care of video resizing and adjustment without scan converters.

Microsoft hasn't yet announced pricing for the system, but is promising that Skype TX calls not have any intrusions like pop-ups or notifications. Redmond's announcement is here.

Skype TX gives Microsoft the chance to get lots of "talking to us live over Skype" plugs, which will be nice if only because the likes of Twitter are so often featured by media. But if this is anything other than a very niche example of Redmond's devices-and-services strategy, there's clearly a lot more for Satya Nadella to do in terms of articulating Microsoft's future vision and cloudified business model.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sun Sets, Mars Rises In Cosmic Alignment

from Night sky gawkers are preparing for an uncommon occurrence coming this Tuesday evening on April 8. That is when three entities within the solar system will be in a near perfect queue. The Sun, Earth and Mars will all be lined up in a stunning cosmic alignment, and Mars will also be visible in the night sky from sunset to sunrise. According to Astronomy magazine, every two years, Mars reaches a point in its rotation called “opposition,” which means the planet will be aligned directly opposite of the Sun and Earth just happens to get caught in the middle. All planets within the solar system have their own points of opposition. Mars’ opposition happens about every 26 months.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Military Drone Crashes Near Pennsylvania Elementary School

from A nearly 400-pound unmanned aerial vehicle crash-landed near an elementary school in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon, irritating members of the community and alarming civil liberties advocates nervous about drones flying over the US. The drone, an RQ-7 Shadow, is 11 feet long with a 14 foot wingspan. Why it was flying in the air above Lickdale Elemantary School is unknown, but Major Ed Shank, a public affairs officer for the Pennsylvania National Guard, told Les Stewart of the Lebanon Daily News that drones operate out of Fort Indiantown Gap, an Army post in Lebanon County.