An anonymous reader writes: The IT world was shaken a few weeks ago when Juniper Network firewalls were found to cointain "unauthorized code" that seemed to enable a backdoor. Now, Fortinet firewalls have been found to contain an apparent SSH backdoor as well. "According to the exploit code, the undisclosed authentication works on versions 4.3 up to 5.0.7. If correct, the surreptitious access method was active in FortiOS versions current in the 2013 and 2014 time frame and possibly earlier, based on this rough release history. The weakness was eventually patched, but so far, researchers have been unable to locate a security advisory that disclosed the alternative authentication method or the hard-coded password." A spokesperson for Fortinet told El Reg, "This was not a 'backdoor' vulnerability issue but rather a management authentication issue."
An anonymous reader writes: One of the hot areas of semiconductor research right now is the creation of so-called neuromorphic chips — processors that have their transistors networked to interact the way neurons do. "One way of building such transistors is to construct them of lasers that rely on an encoding approach called “spiking.” Depending on the input, the laser will either provide a brief spike in its output of photons or not respond at all. Instead of using the on or off state of the transistor to represent the 1s and 0s of digital data, these neural transistors rely on the time intervals between spikes." Now, research published in Nature Scientific Reports has shown how how to stabilize these laser spikes, so that they're responsive at picosecond intervals. "The team achieved this by placing a tiny piece of graphene inside a semiconductor laser. The graphene acts as a “saturable absorber,” soaking up photons and then emitting them in a quick burst. Graphene, it turns out, makes a good saturable absorber because it can take up and release a lot of photons extremely fast, and it works at any wavelength; so lasers emitting different colors could be used simultaneously, without interfering with each other—speeding processing."
An anonymous reader writes: Computer scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have developed an algorithmic framework for conducting targeted surveillance of individuals within social networks while protecting the privacy of untargeted digital bystanders.
An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports on one of the wonders of the underwater world: the line of volcanoes and hydrothermal vents present where tectonic plates meet and grind against one another. "Welcome to one of the planet’s most obscure but important features, known rather prosaically as the midocean ridges. Though long enough to circle the moon more than six times, they receive little notice because they lie hidden in pitch darkness." The magma seeping through these cracks generate massive amounts of heat — enough to sustain incredible ecosystems.
But as scientists have gained a deeper understanding of this geological phenomenon, they realize it's more chaotic than they had imagined. "The old idea was that the eruptions of oozing lava and related activity occurred at fairly steady rates. Now, studies hint at the existence of outbursts large enough to influence not only the character of the global sea but the planet’s temperature. Experts believe the activity may carry major repercussions because the oceanic ridges account for some 70 percent of the planet’s volcanic eruptions. By definition, that makes them enormous sources of heat and exotic minerals as well as such everyday gases as carbon dioxide, which all volcanoes emit."
Earthquake Retrofit writes: “[She is] very hard-working!” said Song Jiongming, news director of Shanghai Media Group, which runs Dragon TV, in an email interview. “Xiaoice works more efficiently than human forecasters.”
When the anchor on “Morning News” needs a weather report, he introduces Xiaoice (pronounced shao-ice), a computer program that delivers the forecast with a female voice and is programmed to include a personal, human touch.
Xiaoice originated as a creation of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence team in China, which wanted to make an online service that would answer users’ questions and add an emotional, human touch.
An anonymous reader writes: In a 10-way Linux distribution battle including OpenSUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and others, one of the fastest out-of-the-box performers was a surprising contender: Intel's Clear Linux Project that's still in its infancy. Clear Linux ships in an optimized form for delivering best performance on x86 hardware with enabling many compiler optimizations by default, highly-tuned software bundles, function multi-versioning for the most performant code functions based upon CPU, AutoFDO for automated feedback-direct optimizations and other performance-driven features. Clear Linux is a rolling-release-inspired distribution that issues new versions a few times a day and is up to version 5700.
v3rgEz writes: Last summer, Seattleites noticed that utility polls around town were showing some odd growths: A raft of surveillance cameras that, under Seattle's strict surveillance equipment laws, shouldn't have been there without disclosure and monitoring. But Seattle Police said that they weren't theirs, and one enterprising citizen followed up with a series of public records requests, only to discover that they were actually the ATF's cameras — on the watch for grease dumpers. Now the requester is fighting for the full list of federal surveillance watching over Seattle, and answers to how often federal agencies pursue what appear to be purely local crimes.
itwbennett writes: A new threat advisory from Akamai warns of a Black Hat SEO campaign that's leveraging SQL Injection as a means to generate links to a website dedicated to stories about cheating. At one point, Akamai says, the campaign included more than 3,800 websites and 348 unique IP addresses. CSO Online's Steve Ragan points out that 'technically, the campaign is more mass defacement than straight-up SEO scam, because the primary focus was SQL Injection.' And, while the Akamai report doesn't list the website behind the campaign, Ragan did some digging and found that storyofcheating[dot]com is the site that got the most traffic from the campaign.
An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have designed a lithium-ion battery that self-regulates according to temperature, to prevent itself from overheating. Reaching extreme temperatures, the battery is able to shut itself down, only restarting once it has cooled. The researchers designed the battery to shut down and restart itself over a repeated heating and cooling cycle, without compromising performance. A polyethylene film is applied to one of the electrodes, which expands and shrinks depending on temperature, to create a conductive/non-conductive material.
An anonymous reader writes: The DDoSing outfit that spawned the trend of "DDoS-for-Bitcoin" has been arrested by Europol in Bosnia Herzegovina last month. DD4BC first appeared in September 2015, when Akamai blew the lid on their activities. Since then almost any script kiddie that can launch DDoS attacks has followed their business model by blackmailing companies for Bitcoin.
JustAnotherOldGuy writes: Peter "brokep" Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay, has built a machine that makes 100 copies per second of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," storing them in/dev/null (which is of course, deleting them even as they're created). The machine, called a "Kopimashin," is cobbled together out of a Raspberry Pi, some hacky python that he doesn't want to show anyone, and an LCD screen that calculates a running tally of the damages he's inflicted upon the record industry through its use. The 8,000,000 copies it makes every day costs the record industry $10m/day in losses. At that rate, they'll be bankrupt in a few weeks at most.