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Submission + - Cerber Ransomware Using Tor Network to Hide

Trailrunner7 writes: Ransomware authors have adopted a number of new tactics recently to help avoid detection and stop takedown attempts, and the latest move by the gang behind the Cerber malware is the use of both Google redirection and the Tor network as evasion and obfuscation mechanisms.

Researchers from Cisco’s Talos group have come across a new version of the Cerber ransomware that uses these techniques, combined with pretty rudimentary email messages to trick victims into clicking on links that lead to the malicious files. Typically, sophisticated ransomware crews will use well-crafted emails with malicious attachments that contain the ransomware. But this Cerber campaign isn’t using any attachments in its spam emails and instead is relying on trickery to entice users into following the links, which are obfuscated and lead to sites on the Tor anonymity network.

Submission + - The answer to everything is now N=2^i–1 (futurism.com)

technology_dude writes: A theory posits that the all of our thoughts are a function of a basic algorithm, N=2^i–1.
This development may be huge for AI, since artificial neural networks operate much like the brain, applying this formula may be the key to true intelligence.

I do NOT welcome our new robot overlords.

ISS

Spinal Fluid Changes In Space May Impair Astronauts' Vision, Study Finds (sciencealert.com) 77

A condition called visual impairment inter cranial pressure syndrome (VIIP) that has been impairing astronauts' vision on the International Space Station is believed to be caused by a build up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in their brains. The long-duration astronauts had significantly more CSF in their brains than the short-trip astronauts. Previously, NASA suspected that the condition was caused by the lack of gravity in space. Science Alert reports: The researchers compared before and after brain scans from seven astronauts who had spent many months in the ISS, and compared them to nine astronauts who had just made short trips to and from the U.S. space shuttle, which was decommissioned in 2011. The one big difference between the two was that the long-duration astronauts had significantly more cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in their brains than the short-trip astronauts, and the researchers say this - not vascular fluid - is the cause of the vision loss. Under normal circumstances, CSF is important for cushioning the brain and spinal cord, while also distributing nutrients around the body and helping to remove waste. It can easily adjust to changes in pressure that our bodies experience when transitioning from lying down to sitting or standing, but in the constant microgravity of space, it starts to falter. "On earth, the CSF system is built to accommodate these pressure changes, but in space the system is confused by the lack of the posture-related pressure changes," says one of the team, Noam Alperin. Based on the high-resolution orbit and brain MRI scans taken of their 16 astronauts, the team found that the long-duration astronauts had far higher orbital CSF volume - CSF pooling around the optic nerves in the part of the skull that holds the eye. They also had significantly higher ventricular CSF volume, which means they had more CSF accumulating in the cavities of the brain where the fluid is produced.

Submission + - Why Udacity and EdX Want to Trademark the Degrees of the Future (edsurge.com)

jyosim writes: No one owns the term “master’s degree.” But upstart education providers dream of getting a lock on the words for the next generation of online graduate certifications. In April, the nonprofit edX, founded by MIT and Harvard University to deliver online courses by a consortium of colleges, applied for a trademark on the word MicroMasters. Udacity owns the trademark for Nanodegree. And MicroDegree? Yep, that’s trademarked too, by yet another company.
  If every new credential gets its own trademarked name, that could create confusion for employers and students.
And some observers say that old rules may still apply to these new education services. “These people are running headlong into violating state authorization regulations in many states, and I think they’re in denial about that,” argues Russ Poulin, director of policy and analysis for WCET, a nonprofit promoting e-learning programs. “Each state has the ability to say who can and who can’t offer postsecondary education in their state,” he says. “I have to imagine that some state is going to go after them soon.” Officials for Udacity and edX did not respond to requests for comment on that issue.

Submission + - Indictments Likely In Clinton Scandals, 99% Certain Server Breached By Spies (dailycaller.com) 13

cold fjord writes: Journalist Bret Baier has been digging into the FBI investigations of the Clinton email server and Clinton foundations that involves at least four FBI field offices. His FBI sources are telling him that baring obstruction it is almost certain that there will be indictments coming. It is now thought to be 99% certain that Clinton's email server was breached by five foreign intelligence agencies. The cache of 650,000 emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop is reported to be yielding emails previously unseen by investigators and is resulting in diverging interests between Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, and Hillary Clinton. There seems to be evidence of lying by Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton which might be part of what is behind the reports that at least some of the previously granted immunity to much of Clintons inner circle is now void. All of this is taking place against the backdrop of a four month old IRS investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

Submission + - Are there Android devices that do not violate GPL? 1

guruevi writes: After purchasing (and subsequently returning) several "Chinese" manufacturer Android and Linux-based devices, I arrived at MINIX which was recommended for their support and 'industrial grade' quality.

However their Android builds had several broken features. While attempting to make a custom build, I noticed the stock Android Linux kernel requires drivers and kernel modifications that were statically compiled into the kernel. The drivers weren't to be found anywhere either open source or as binary blobs and since they are hard-coded into the kernel, they would be GPL.

So I found the manufacturers "OpenLinux" repositories and requested the source code to the Linux kernel modifications from MINIX, who sent me to Amlogic (the manufacturer) for access. Amlogic only releases it to "their customers" (the OEM) and thus sent me back to MINIX. MINIX then claimed to have an NDA with Amlogic and cannot release the modifications they make to the GPL kernel which both having an NDA regards the Linux kernel and refusing to release is in clear violation of the GPL.

Obviously I am no longer doing business with them, but I'm still looking for a (good, stable, industrial-grade) Android-based device from a vendor that does not violate the GPL. Eventually I'll be purchasing several dozens if not hundreds of these devices so I need a stable manufacturer.

Submission + - 10 Percent of the World's Wilderness Has Been Lost Since 1990s (livescience.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Wilderness areas around the world have experienced catastrophic declines over the last two decades, with one-tenth of global wilderness lost since the 1990s, according to a new study. Since 1993, researchers found that a cumulative wilderness area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon has been stripped and destroyed. The shrinking wilderness is due, in part, to human activity such as mining, logging, agriculture, and oil and gas exploration. The researchers said theirfindings underscore the need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness and to protect wilderness areas from the threats they face. Central Africa and the Amazon saw the most wilderness decline, the researchers found. Of the roughly 1.27 million square miles (3.3 million square kilometers) of global wilderness lost, the Amazon accounted for nearly one-third, and 14 percent of the world's wilderness was lost from Central Africa, according to the study. The researchers determined that only 11.6 million square miles (30.1 million square km) of wilderness is left, which equates to just 20 percent of the Earth's total land mass.

Submission + - Scientists create invincible super bacteria in order to make a cool video

guises writes: By making a giant Petri dish out of bands of increasingly antibiotic-laced agar, a couple of microbiologists have created a means to watch bacterial evolution as it happens: colonies introduced to the dish expand to fill the areas in which they can survive and then mutate and spread into the areas in which they couldn't. It takes only eleven days for the bacteria to evolve sufficient resistance to survive in an area with a thousand times the concentration of antibiotic that would have killed the original colonies. And it makes a pretty neat video.

Submission + - Saving billions of male chicks from a horrible death (acs.org)

JMarshall writes: For chickens bred to lay eggs, being male is a death sentence. Male chicks are usually culled within days of hatching by methods including gassing and grinding. A new method uses Raman spectroscopy to sex the embryos while still in the egg, allowing the male embryos to be culled before they are sensitive to pain. The researchers cut a hole in the end of the egg with a laser, shine light on the blood vessels exposed within the egg, and collect a Raman spectrum. Male and female blood have different spectra thanks to differences in sugar and protein profiles and in the amount of DNA in the blood. Then the researchers tape the end of the egg closed and allow embryo development to continue.

There's more work to be done before the approach can be used industrially, but with strong demand for an ethical alternative to chick culling, a major German producer of egg-laying hens is partnering with the researchers to build a larger scale prototype for testing.

Submission + - Should we seed life on alien worlds? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Astronomers have detected more than 3000 planets beyond our solar system, and just a couple of weeks ago they discovered an Earth-like planet in the solar system next door. Most—if not all—of these worlds are unlikely to harbor life, but what if we put it there? Science chatted with theoretical physicist Claudius Gros about his proposed Genesis Project, which would send artificially intelligent probes to lifeless worlds to seed them with microbes. Over millions of years, they might evolve into multicellular organisms, and, perhaps eventually, plants and animals. In the interview, Gros talks artificial intelligence, searching for habitable planets, and what kind of organisms he’d like to see evolve.

Submission + - Weaponizing Disinformation (nytimes.com)

XXongo writes: With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue. As the defense minister, Peter Hultqvist, traveled the country to promote the pact in speeches and town hall meetings, he was repeatedly grilled about the bogus stories.
The planting of false stories is nothing new; the Soviet Union devoted considerable resources to that during the ideological battles of the Cold War. Now, though, disinformation is regarded as an important aspect of Russian military doctrine, and it is being directed at political debates in target countries with far greater sophistication and volume than in the past, using everything from paid internet trolls to faked documents to dubious news stories planted in conventional media.
The fundamental purpose of dezinformatsiya, or Russian disinformation, experts said, is to undermine the official version of events — even the very idea that there is a true version of events — and foster a kind of policy paralysis.

Submission + - Tasmanian devils rapidly evolving resistance to contagious cancer 1

tomhath writes: Scientists from the US, UK and Australian have observed Tasnamian Devils evolving as the species fights to survive a transmittable cancer.

The cancer is spread when the aggressive animals bite each other on the snout. A database of gnome sequences collected over the past twenty years has revealed that in as few as six generations there are significant changes in their DNA in regions the scientists believe are related to resisting cancer.

Submission + - SPAM: NASA aircraft probe Namibian clouds to solve global warming puzzle

sciencehabit writes: Off the coast of Namibia, for several months a year, a layer of smoke from African savanna fires drifts over a persistent deck of low clouds. It’s the perfect place to investigate the thorniest problem in all of climate science: how haze and clouds interact to boost or moderate global warming. Now, after weeks of delay and uncertainty, an airborne research campaign is about to begin. On 29 August, NASA will fly aircraft into the heart of this natural laboratory for about a month, with plans to return in 2017 and 2018. Complementary efforts from France and the United Kingdom would have expanded the sampling area but were postponed when the teams couldn’t get diplomatic clearances from Namibia.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - MedSec Disclosure Ethics (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Ok, so apparently a security research company called MedSec has discovered vulnerabilities in a slew of medical devices produced by St Jude Medical. t's alleged that St Jude's devices and ecosystem are demonstrably less secure than competitors.

Rather than disclose the vulnerabilities to the manufacturer, they approached Muddy Waters — an investor that's been known for shorting companies, and MedSec stand to benefit from the trade.

I can't recall this having ever occurred before, where does this fall in the spectrum of research and disclosure ethics?

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