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Submission + - Thunderbolt rootkit vector

Holi writes: Attackers can infect MacBook computers with highly persistent boot rootkits by connecting malicious devices to them over the Thunderbolt interface.

The attack, dubbed Thunderstrike, installs malicious code in a MacBook’s boot ROM (read-only memory), which is stored in a chip on the motherboard. It was devised by a security researcher named Trammell Hudson based on a two-year old vulnerability and will be demonstrated next week at the 31st Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg.

More at PCWorld

Submission + - Promising solution to plastic pollution (harvard.edu)

Lasrick writes: This Harvard Gazette article is based on two press releases from the Wyss Institute, but it's a good summary of a new bioplastic developed by the Institute that is made from chitin, the main ingredient in the hardy shells of crustaceans and 'the second most abundant organic material on earth.' Bags made from this new bioplastic break down in a matter of weeks, and even fertilizes the soil! Good read.

Submission + - Rats Didn't Spread Black Death, Humans Did, Say Researchers (ibtimes.co.uk)

concertina226 writes: Scientists studying the human remains of plague victims found during excavations for London's new Crossrail train line have concluded that humans spread the Black Death rather than rats, a fact that could rewrite history books.

University of Keele scientists, working together with Crossrail's lead archaeologist Jay Carver and osteologists from the Museum of London, analysed the bones and teeth of 25 skeletons dug up by Crossrail.

They found DNA of Yersinia pestis, which is responsible for the Black Death, on the teeth of some of the victims.

Submission + - Have we found our last fundamental particle? 1

StartsWithABang writes: In July 2012, the CMS and ATLAS collaborations jointly announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, now confirmed at more than 6- to be between 125 and 126 GeV. But years earlier, in 2009, it was calculated what mass the Higgs would need to be in order to keep the standard model stable, so that there would be no need for new particles all the way up to the Planck scale. The prediction? 126 GeV. If this is reasoning is correct, the Higgs boson will be the last new fundamental particle ever discovered by humanity.

Submission + - TSA missed Boston bomber because his name was misspelled in a database (nbcnews.com) 3

schwit1 writes: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the primary conspirator in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people, slipped through airport security because his name was misspelled in a database, according to a new Congressional report.

The Russian intelligence agency warned US authorities twice that Tsarnaev was a radical Islamist and potentially dangerous. As a result, Tsarnaev was entered into two US government databases: the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment and the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS), an interagency border inspection database.

A special note was added to TECS in October of 2011 requiring a mandatory search and detention of Tsarnaev if he left the country. "Detain isolated and immediately call the lookout duty officer," the note reportedly said. "Call is mandatory whether or not the officer believes there is an exact match."

"Detain isolated and immediately call the lookout duty officer."

Unfortunately, Tsarnaev's name was not an exact match: it was misspelled by one letter. Whoever entered it in the database spelled it as "Tsarnayev." When Tsarnaev flew to Russia in January of 2012 on his way to terrorist training, the system was alerted but the mandatory detention was not triggered. Because officers did not realize Tsarnaev was a high-priority target, he was allowed to travel without questioning.

Submission + - World wide web needs bill of rights according to Sir Tim Berners-Lee (bbc.com) 1

JestersGrind writes: In BBC News:
"The inventor of the world wide web has marked the 25th anniversary of his creation by calling for a 'Magna Carta' bill of rights to protect its users."

"It's time for us to make a big communal decision," he said. "In front of us are two roads — which way are we going to go?

"Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control — more and more surveillance?

"Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the world wide web and say, actually, now it's so important, so much part of our lives, that it becomes on a level with human rights?"

Submission + - Onagawa: The Japanese nuclear power plant that didn't melt down on 3/11 (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: This article really exposes TEPCO's sloppiness and, frankly, greed. Due to a completely different safety culture, the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Japan did not experience any of the problems that happened in Fukushima, and that is because the company that owns it, Tohoku Electric, had a completely different approach to safety: 'Most people believe that Fukushima Daiichi’s meltdowns were predominantly due to the earthquake and tsunami. The survival of Onagawa, however, suggests otherwise. Onagawa was only 123 kilometers away from the epicenter—60 kilometers closer than Fukushima Daiichi—and the difference in seismic intensity at the two plants was negligible. Furthermore, the tsunami was bigger at Onagawa, reaching a height of 14.3 meters, compared with 13.1 meters at Fukushima Daiichi. The difference in outcomes at the two plants reveals the root cause of Fukushima Daiichi’s failures: the utility’s corporate “safety culture.”'

Submission + - New Study: How Copyright Makes Books and Music Disappear (ssrn.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: A new study of books and music for sale on Amazon shows how copyright makes works disappear. The research, available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2290181 is described in the abstract: "A random sample of new books for sale on Amazon.com shows three times more books initially published in the 1850’s are for sale than new books from the 1950’s. Why? A sample of 2300 new books for sale on Amazon.com is analyzed along with a random sample of 2000 songs available on new DVD’s. Copyright status correlates highly with absence from the Amazon shelf. Second, the availability on YouTube of songs that reached number one on the U.S., French, and Brazilian pop charts from 1930-60 is analyzed in terms of the identity of the uploader, type of upload, number of views, date of upload, and monetization status. An analysis of the data demonstrates that the DMCA safe harbor system as applied to YouTube helps maintain some level of access to old songs by allowing those possessing copies (primarily infringers) to communicate relatively costlessly with copyright owners to satisfy the market of potential listeners.

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