Spying on the general public rarely works. Spying in foreign countries and main jump points does, but we spend way too much spying on Americans in America, which creates more misleading data and obscures the real data from overseas.
Anyone with a minimal level of training knows this, and uses methods that our intercepts won't catch.
We only catch the n00bZ.
And, in point of fact, the times we get people to give away things, they're not in the US, but in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan mostly).
Intercepts in the US rarely catch anything useful, and have such a high level of red herrings we waste a lot of resources that would be otherwise used profitably overseas, not in the US itself.
The summary conflates two papers, a review paper in Science which summarizes the state of knowledge about fracking the Marcellus Shale (Vidic et al. 2013), and a study of an individual incident published this month in PNAS in which researcher purport to have found a single instance of minor contamination from a fracking well (Llewellyn et al. 2015). Neither paper is particularly damning or inflammatory, so at first blush it's not immediately obvious why the fracking PR flacks have gone to DEFCON 3 on this. The key is to read the review paper first. This is almost always the best way to start because review papers are supposed to give a full and balanced overview of the current state of scientific knowledge on a topic. TL;DR, I know, but stick with me for a few paragraphs and I think I can make the problem clear.
Vidic paints a rather favorable picture of the fracking industry's response to problems that have arisen during the fracking boom in the Marcellus shale. It absolves them of any responsibility for the infamous "burning tapwater" we've all seen in Youtube videos. It states they have been quick to respond to wastewater leaks and well blowouts before contamination could spread. It says the industry has redesigned wells in response to concerns that they might leak fracking water as they pass through the aquifer. And it says that fracking water that returns to the surface ("flowback") is treated and re-used for more fracking -- an expensive environmental "best practice".
Vidic does raise some important concerns, however, and the most important is this. At present recycling flowback into more fracking water is practical because production is booming. But at some point production will level off and begin to decline, and when that happens the industry will be producing more flowback than it can use economically. In Texas, where fracking was pioneered, flowback was disposed of in deep wells -- a process not without its drawbacks, but better than leaving the contaminated water on the surface. Pennsylvania doesn't have enough disposal capacity to handle today's flowback, which helps make recycling fracking water attractive at the present time.
We now have enough context to understand Llewellyn, and why Llewellyn is so upsetting to the industry. Llewellyn's paper documents a single instance of minor contamination which matched the chemical fingerprint of flowback from a nearby well. This contamination was well below a level that would be cause for any concern. Llewellyn concludes the most likely cause was a small spill from the flowback holding pit, although it can't rule out the possibility that the contamination occurred inside the well. Taken with the picture Vidic paints of an industry that is generally on top of stuff like this, the occurrence of a single mishap with negligible consequences is hardly damning. So why has the fracking industry unleashed its flying PR monkeys on this?
Because the fracking industry apparently has made no plans for when the day comes it can no longer recycle all the flowback it uses, and it doesn't want the public to think about that.
It would be sensible for them to prepare for the flowback problem now on the upswing of the boom, for the same reason the industry has been able to be so responsive to date: these are good times for the industry in the Marcellus Shale. They're flush. Although preparing for the problem now would be expensive, it wouldn't slow the boom appreciably, and it would add jobs. But... if the industry can kick the flowback can far enough down the road, we'll have to ask it to fix the problem while production and probably the regional economy is in decline. Doing something about the problem then will cost jobs and require money nobody will have.
So if the industry isn't forced to do something about the looming problem soon, it will become politically if not financially impossible to make them do that ever. That's why the industry is allergic to the very mention that surface contamination from flowback is even possible. In the scheme of things the Llwewllyn incident is negligible, but when fracking starts producing more waste than the industry can use surface contamination is going to become a lot more common and a lot worse.
Vidic raises some other serious long term concerns. Nobody knows where most of the fracking water used goes. The geology of the area is complex enough, but it is further complicated by many old gas and oil wells, quite a few of which are not fully documented. Contamination of the aquifer is a quite plausible possibility that needs further scientific study -- study that has been hindered by lack of research funding and industry transparency. More research might lay this concern to bed; or it may require changes in the industry's operation. We don't know. But we do know that some day we'll have a wastewater problem, and if we wait to address that it will be politically impossible to do anything about.
Vidic, R. D., et al. "Impact of shale gas development on regional water quality." Science 340.6134 (2013): 1235009.
Garth T. Llewellyn, Frank Dorman, J. L. Westland, D. Yoxtheimer, Paul Grieve, Todd Sowers, E. Humston-Fulmer, and Susan L. Brantley. "Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development." PNAS 2015 ; published ahead of print May 4, 2015,
Everything has tradeoffs.
Just set up a script on the machine looking for a specific USB device, start shutdown if the device is not present. This is pretty common stuff, hell my old Lenovo laptop has a smartcard slot in it that would do the same thing if the card was removed.
In fact if you look you can find the same thing all over the place for the last decade on many hacking sites, even back in the late 90's this kind of stuff was on the "scene" I had back to back modems in telcom rooms inside boxes that if the box was opened it dumped 110V into the modem logic boards so that when discovered they would self destruct.
Most "hackers" today probably dont even own a buttset.
On the other hand, once you learn a few programming languages, it becomes easier to know others, (assuming something that isn't completely different, such as a procedural language (C or Java) versus a functional programming language (Lisp, Scheme), versus assembly language.
If you know C, you can consult the camel and make functioning perl code. So, it might not hurt knowing a non mainstream language, and may not take too much of your time, relatively.
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We find that more mature game currencies have a price volatility of one-third of that of Bitcoin, at a level similar to that of small size equities or gold. The decentralized structure of Bitcoin does not seem to be the cause of the recent price instability, as game currencies are also managed by non-government entities. We observe a similar price instability from the game currencies that are launched around the time when Bitcoin gained much of its current public attention (around the year 2011). The contrast between mature and newly introduced virtual currencies indicates that the Bitcoin price may stabilize over time.
The transaction costs of virtual currencies are sometimes lower than that of real currencies. With more competition among virtual currency exchanges, the transaction costs may drop further making virtual currencies a lower cost alternative to real currency transactions. Economists agree that a properly functioning currency should include a method of transaction, a unit of account, and store value (Yermack ). Bitcoin may meet the criteria if it can combine its low transaction costs with more stable prices.
However, there are a few caveats for our projection. Bitcoin is the first virtual currency that is attempting to substitute the role of real currencies. Until this point, other virtual currencies, like game currencies, remain as auxiliary currencies that aid in transactions that real currencies cannot easily do, such as transactions within an online game. Game currencies currently have considerable trading volume, but their role is tied to the gaming industry. It is difficult to estimate how widespread Bitcoin will be. Also, our analysis does not justify that virtual currencies should have greater value. A large volume of Bitcoin trading in these days is speculative trading, betting on the possible appreciation of Bitcoin prices. Speculative trades are necessary to discover the reasonable exchange rates of Bitcoin, but it is unknown when the market will reach the equilibrium. As we demonstrate from the comparison of exchanges with varying degrees of competition, various regulations imposed on Bitcoin exchanges may be a dragging factor in the price discovery process.
The problem? According to this report by Security Ledger (https://securityledger.com/2015/05/researcher-drug-pump-the-least-secure-ip-device-ive-ever-seen/) the main problem was an almost total lack of security controls on the device. According to independent researcher Jeremy Williams, the PCA pump listens on Telnet port 23. Connecting to the device via Telnet, he was brought immediately to a root shell account that gave him total, administrator level access to the pump without authentication. “The only thing I needed to get in was an interest in the pump,” he said.
Richards found other examples of loose security on the PCA 3: a FTP server that could be accessed without authentication and an embedded web server that runs Common Gateway Interface (CGI). That could allow an attacker to tamper with the pump’s operation using fairly simple scripts.
Also: The PCA pump stores wireless keys used to connect to the local (medical device) wireless network in plain text on the device. That means anyone with physical access to the Pump (which has an ethernet port) could gain access to the local medical device network and other devices on it.
The problems prompted Richards to call the PCA 3 pump “the least secure IP enabled device” he has ever worked with. (http://hextechsecurity.com/?p=123)
Hospira did not responded to requests for comment prior to publication.
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