Archive for October, 2018

SamSam Ransomware Goes on a Tear

October 31st, 2018
SamSam ransomware hasn't gone away and it's adapting to meet evolving defenses.

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Why Is Steve Bannon a Keynote Speaker for a Gaming Conference?

October 31st, 2018
From sex robots to a failed IndieGoGo campaign to the Unabomber, ACE 2018 had a lot going on even before Bannon was invited.

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Apple Patches Multiple Major Security Flaws

October 31st, 2018
New security updates cross all Apple platforms.

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Hardware Cyberattacks: How Worried Should You Be?

October 31st, 2018
How to fit hardware threats into your security model as hardware becomes smaller, faster, cheaper, and more complex.

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Tesla’s profitable quarter didn’t translate for Panasonic

October 31st, 2018
A Tesla with Panasonic batteries

Enlarge / Visitors inspect a Tesla Co. Model X electric automobile, fitted with Panasonic batteries, on the Panasonic Corp. exhibition stand at the IFA Consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (credit: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In the third quarter of 2018, Panasonic lost $65 million in the branch of the business that makes battery cells to power Tesla's electric vehicles, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company said it had to add production and hire workers more quickly than expected as Tesla aggressively ramped up to producing 4,300 Model 3 vehicles a week.

In September, the head of Panasonic's Automotive Division said that the company was on track to complete three new production lines at Tesla's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, by the end of the year. That would bring the total number of battery-cell-producing lines at the Gigafactory up to 13.

The Model 3 ramp up that ate into Panasonic's bottom line didn't have the same effect on Tesla, which posted its first profitable quarter in several quarters last week. It shares soared.

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Posted in cars, Energy, Finance, gigafactory, panasonic, Tesla | Comments (0)

Spinal-cord stimulation allows three paralyzed men to walk, with assistance

October 31st, 2018
Multiple combined images of a man starting out in a wheelchair progressing to using a wheeled walker.

Enlarge / A composite image showing David Mzee standing and walking with assistance. (credit: EPFL / Hillary Sanctuary)

“It’s an amazing feeling,” says David Mzee, whose left leg was paralyzed in 2010. Mzee has now regained some ability to walk, thanks to a breakthrough in spinal-cord stimulation technology. “I can do a knee extension of my left leg... flex my hip and even move my toes.”

Mzee is one of three participants in a study that used a new technique to overcome spinal-cord injury and restore walking ability in patients with varying degrees of paralysis. The results, published in Nature and Nature Neuroscience today, are dramatic. All three patients recovered some degree of walking ability, and their progress in physical-therapy sessions has translated to improved mobility in their daily lives.

The basis of the technique, called epidural electrical stimulation (EES), is not new at all—it’s been investigated as a potential treatment for paralysis for decades, with a lot of success in animals. And in September this year, two separate papers reported breakthroughs in allowing patients with paralysis to walk, with assistance, as a result of EES.

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Posted in Health, medicine, Neuroscience, science | Comments (0)

Announcing some security treats to protect you from attackers’ tricks

October 31st, 2018


It’s Halloween 🎃 and the last day of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 🔐, so we’re celebrating these occasions with security improvements across your account journey: before you sign in, as soon as you’ve entered your account, when you share information with other apps and sites, and the rare event in which your account is compromised.

We’re constantly protecting your information from attackers’ tricks, and with these new protections and tools, we hope you can spend your Halloween worrying about zombies, witches, and your candy loot—not the security of your account.

Protecting you before you even sign in
Everyone does their best to keep their username and password safe, but sometimes bad actors may still get them through phishing or other tricks. Even when this happens, we will still protect you with safeguards that kick-in before you are signed into your account.

When your username and password are entered on Google’s sign-in page, we’ll run a risk assessment and only allow the sign-in if nothing looks suspicious. We’re always working to improve this analysis, and we’ll now require that JavaScript is enabled on the Google sign-in page, without which we can’t run this assessment.

Chances are, JavaScript is already enabled in your browser; it helps power lots of the websites people use everyday. But, because it may save bandwidth or help pages load more quickly, a tiny minority of our users (0.1%) choose to keep it off. This might make sense if you are reading static content, but we recommend that you keep Javascript on while signing into your Google Account so we can better protect you. You can read more about how to enable JavaScript here.

Keeping your Google Account secure while you’re signed in

Last year, we launched a major update to the Security Checkup that upgraded it from the same checklist for everyone, to a smarter tool that automatically provides personalized guidance for improving the security of your Google Account.

We’re adding to this advice all the time. Most recently, we introduced better protection against harmful apps based on recommendations from Google Play Protect, as well as the ability to remove your account from any devices you no longer use.
More notifications when you share your account data with apps and sites

It’s really important that you understand the information that has been shared with apps or sites so that we can keep you safe. We already notify you when you’ve granted access to sensitive information — like Gmail data or your Google Contacts — to third-party sites or apps, and in the next few weeks, we’ll expand this to notify you whenever you share any data from your Google Account. You can always see which apps have access to your data in the Security Checkup.

Helping you get back to the beginning if you run into trouble

In the rare event that your account is compromised, our priority is to help get you back to safety as quickly as possible. We’ve introduced a new, step-by-step process within your Google Account that we will automatically trigger if we detect potential unauthorized activity.

We'll help you:
  • Verify critical security settings to help ensure your account isn’t vulnerable to additional attacks and that someone can’t access it via other means, like a recovery phone number or email address.
  • Secure your other accounts because your Google Account might be a gateway to accounts on other services and a hijacking can leave those vulnerable as well.
  • Check financial activity to see if any payment methods connected to your account, like a credit card or Google Pay, were abused.
  • Review content and files to see if any of your Gmail or Drive data was accessed or mis-used.
Online security can sometimes feel like walking through a haunted house—scary, and you aren't quite sure what may pop up. We are constantly working to strengthen our automatic protections to stop attackers and keep you safe you from the many tricks you may encounter. During Cybersecurity Month, and beyond, we've got your back.

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Chinese Intel Agents Indicted for 5-Year IP Theft Campaign

October 31st, 2018
Intelligence agents aimed for aerospace manufacturing targets, with help of cyberattackers, corporate insiders, and one IT security manager.

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FCC’s $2 billion giveaway to carriers won’t speed up Verizon’s 5G deployment

October 31st, 2018
A Verizon logo at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Enlarge / A Verizon logo at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Verizon Wireless says it will not move faster on building its 5G cellular network despite a Federal Communications Commission decision that erased $2 billion dollars' worth of fees for the purpose of spurring faster 5G deployment.

The FCC's controversial decision last month angered both large and small municipalities because it limits the amount they can charge carriers for deployment of wireless equipment such as small cells on public rights-of-way. The FCC decision also limits the kinds of aesthetic requirements cities and towns can impose on carrier deployments and forces cities and towns to act on carrier applications within 60 or 90 days.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai justified the decision by saying it would speed up 5G deployment, and he slammed local governments for "extracting as much money as possible in fees from the private sector and forcing companies to navigate a maze of regulatory hurdles in order to deploy wireless infrastructure."

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Posted in 5G, Biz & IT, FCC, Policy, verizon | Comments (0)

Neanderthal teeth reveal lead exposure and difficult winters

October 31st, 2018
Neanderthal teeth reveal lead exposure and difficult winters

Enlarge

A new study of oxygen isotope ratios and heavy metals in the tooth enamel of Neanderthals who lived and died 250,000 years ago in southeast France suggests that they endured colder winters and more pronounced differences between seasons than the region’s modern residents. The two Neanderthals in the study also experienced lead exposure during their early years, making them the earliest known instances of this exposure.

Enduring harsh winters

Tooth enamel forms in thin layers, and those layers record the chemical traces of a person’s early life—from climate to nutrition to chemical exposures—a little like tree rings on a much smaller scale. Archaeologist Tanya Smith of Griffith University and her colleagues examined microscopic samples of tooth enamel from two Neanderthal children from the Payre site in southeastern France. The teeth were radiocarbon dated to around 250,000 years ago, and the set of samples recorded about three years of life.

One important clue to past environments is oxygen, which comes from the water a person drank or the plants they ate. The ratio of the oxygen-18 isotope to oxygen-16 depends on temperature, precipitation, and evaporation. Generally, higher ratios of oxygen-18 indicate warmer, drier conditions with more evaporation.

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Posted in Archaeology, biological archaeology, isotope analysis, Neanderthals, paleoanthropology, paleoclimate, science, teeth | Comments (0)