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Security

When Hacked PCs Self-Destruct 418

An anonymous reader writes "From The Washington Post's Security Fix blog comes a tale that should make any Windows home user or system admin cringe. It seems the latest version of the Zeus Trojan ships with a command that will tell all infected systems to self-destruct. From the piece: 'Most security experts will tell you that while this so-called "nuclear option" is an available feature in some malware, it is hardly ever used. Disabling infected systems is counterproductive for attackers, who generally focus on hoovering as much personal and financial data as they can from the PCs they control. But try telling that to Roman Hüssy, a 21-year-old Swiss information technology expert, who last month witnessed a collection of more than 100,000 hacked Microsoft Windows systems tearing themselves apart at the command of their cyber criminal overlords.'"
Space

Looking For Earth-Like Exoplanets 73

Discover Magazine is running a story detailing the search for planets like Earth orbiting other stars. While we've been able to locate a few "super earths" so far, none of them really compare in size or the potential for habitability with our own world. Fortunately, advances in data analysis and new space-based telescopes — such as Kepler, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the already-launched CoRoT (PDF) — have some astronomers predicting we'll find such an exoplanet by 2010, and a habitable one by 2012. Earth-based telescopes are also in the hunt, though the article notes, "even if a habitable Earth-like world is found first from the ground, it will most likely take a space observatory to search for the chemical signals that tell us what we really want to know: Is anything living out there? If the planet is one that can be observed transiting, it just might be possible to provide a hint of an answer in the next few years."

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