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Hackaday Retro Edition: A 286 on the Internet

retro-roundup

While not an issue now with our 64 bit (more accurately 48- or 52-bit) processors, there was a time when 32 bits of addressing space was impossibly large. For several decades, 4 Gigabytes of memory would be the absolute ceiling, and something only madmen or the protagonist of Pi would have to deal with. This convention began, at least for the Intel/PC world, with the 386. Earlier processors like the 8086 and the 286 were quite capable for their time, but doing anything modern with them, especially getting on the Internet, is a quixotic endeavor beyond comparison.

[Caulser] over on the Vintage Computer Forums has done just that. He recently acquired a Zenith Data Systems 286 system and loaded up what is quickly becoming the litmus test for old computers on the Internet: the Hackaday retro edition

When he first received the system, it was loaded up with a rather generous (for the time) 4MB of RAM. The 20MB hard drive was dead, but with a little fiddling about with the BIOS, [Caulser] was able to get the system working with an old Quantum IDE hard drive.

There’s no Windows or even Linux for this machine, so the system is just running MS DOS 5a, mTCP, Arachne, and the relevant drivers for the NIC (that has RJ45 and BNC connectors). After upgrading the RAM to 8MB, the box performs reasonably well without any pesky ads, and given the websites he visited, he’s not dealing with any overwrought Javascript or CSS, either.

Pics of the system below.


If you have an old computer sitting around, try to load our retro site with it. Take a few pictures, and we’ll put it up in one of our Retro Roundups

IMAG0079 IMAG0089 IMAG0083 IMAG0086
Filed under: classic hacks

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Hackers have violated ticketing system based on NFC in Chile

Unknowns have hacked the NFC based electronic payment system used in Chile, the “Tarjeta BIP!”, spreading an Android hack that allows users to re-charge cards for free

In Chile NFC electronic payment is already a reality, “Tarjeta BIP!” is the name of the payment system used to pay for public transportation with users’ smartphones that support the standard. The adoption of NFC standards for NFC ticketing application is a reality worldwide, many companies enable NFC ticketing payments due to its numerous advantages. We all know that when a technology is in so rapid diffusion, security issues are unfortunately are neglected and cybercrime is always ready to exploit the lack of the implementation of security requirements.

The news of the day is that according security expert Dmitry Bestuzhev cyber criminals have reversed the “Tarjeta BIP!” cards and discovered the mechanism to re-charge them for free. Someone has spread on the Internet an application, which allows users to re-charge their credits to use for NFC electronic payment with their Android devices.

“So, on Oct. 16 the very first widely-available app for Android appeared, allowing users to load these transportation cards with 10k Chilean pesos, a sum  equal to approximately $17 USD.” reported Bestuzhev in a blog post published on SecureList portal with 

The users just need to install the application on their NFC Android device, put the ticket in proximity of the smartphone and push the button “Cargar 10k”, the operation refill the card with 10,000 Chilean pesos.

The experts that analyzed the Android app discovered from the metadata of the .dex file package that it was compiled on October 16th, 2014, it is a tiny app (884.5 kB size) which interacts directly with the NFC port:android.hardware.nfc. The authors of the fraud are also able to change the card identifier, called “número BIP”, a feature that makes hard for law enforcement to block illegally refilled BIP cards.

The principal features implemented by the author of the application are:

cambiar número BIP” – allowing the user to change the card number altogether.

“número BIP” – to get the number of the card, “saldo BIP” – to get the available balance,

“Data carga” – to refill available balance and finally, maybe the most interesting is

Despite the original links available online to download the Android App were taken down, it is still possible to download a new application, that implements the same feature, from the new servers. The new application was compiled on October 17th, 2014, it is derived from the original one bit its size is greater due to the presence of an advertisement component.

“Since both apps allow users to hack a legitimate application, they are now detected by Kaspersky as HEUR:HackTool.AndroidOS.Stip.a” explained Bestuzhev.

As explained in the blog post, due to the high interest in the application in the country, cyber criminals could spread a malicious version of the app that is able to infect NFC Android mobile devices, in this way threat actors could run targeted attacks in Chile, compose a botnet or realize any other type of scam based on mobile technology (e.g. Premium SMS scam, premium call scam).

Dear Chilean friends, beware!

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – NFC payments, hacking )

The post Hackers have violated ticketing system based on NFC in Chile appeared first on Security Affairs.

Now Let’s See The World’s Largest Arduino

atomsoft

A few days ago we saw what would have been a killer Kickstarter a few years ago. It was the smallest conceivable ATtiny85 microcontroller board, with resistors, diodes, a USB connector, and eight pins for plugging into a breadboard. It’s a shame this design wasn’t around for the great Arduino Minification of Kickstarter in late 2011; it would have easily netted a few hundred thousand dollars, a TED talk, and a TechCrunch biopic.

[AtomSoftTech] has thrown his gauntlet down and created an even smaller ‘tiny85 board. it measures 0.4in by 0.3in, including the passives, reset switch, and USB connector. To put that in perspective, the PDIP package of the ‘tiny85 measures 0.4 x 0.4. How is [Atom] getting away with this? Cheating, splitting the circuit onto two stacked boards, or knowing the right components, depending on how you look at it.

USB [Atom] is using a few interesting components in this build. The USB connector is a surface mount vertical part, making the USB cord stick out the top of this uC board. The reset button is extremely small as well, sticking out of the interior layer of the PCB sandwich.

[AtomSoft] has the project up on OSH Park ($1.55 for three. How cool is that?), and we assume he’ll be selling the official World’s Smallest Arduino-compatible board at Tindie in time.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, ATtiny Hacks

How To Reverse Engineer, Featuring the Rigol DS1054Z

frontend For a few years now, the Rigol DS1052E has been the unofficial My First Oscilloscope™. It’s cheap, it’s good enough for most projects, and there have been a number hacks and mods for this very popular scope to give it twice as much bandwidth and other interesting tools. The 1052E is a bit long in the tooth and Rigol has just released the long-awaited update, the DS1054Z. It’s a four-channel scope, has a bigger screen, more bells and whistles, and only costs $50 more than the six-year-old 1052E. Basically, if you’re in the market for a cheap, usable oscilloscope, scratch the ~52E off your list and replace it with the ~54Z.

With four channels of input, [Dave Jones] was wondering how the engineers at Rigol managed to stuff two additional front ends into the scope while still meeting the magic price point of $400. This means it’s time for [Dave] to reverse engineer the 1054Z, and give everyone on the Internet a glimpse at how a real engineer tears apart the worth of other engineers.

The first thing [Dave] does once the board is out of the enclosure is taking a nice, clear, and in-focus picture of both sides of the board. These pictures are edited, turned into a line drawing, and printed out on a transparency sheet. This way, both sides of the board can be viewed at once, allowing for a few dry erase marker to highlight the traces and signals.

Unless your voyage on the sea of reverse engineering takes you to the island of desoldering individual components, you’ll be measuring the values of individual components in circuit. For this, you’ll want a low-voltage ohms function on your meter; if you’re putting too much voltage through a component, you’ll probably turn on some silicon in the circuit, and your measurements will be crap. Luckily, [Dave] shows a way to test if your meter will work for this kind of work; you’ll need another meter.

From there, it’s basically looking at datasheets and drawing a schematic of the circuit; inputs go at the left, outputs at the right, ground is at the bottom, and positive rails are at the top. It’s harder than it sounds – most of [Dave]‘s expertise in this area is just pattern recognition. It’s one thing to reverse engineer a circuit through brute force, but knowing the why and how of how the circuit works makes things much easier.


Filed under: how-to, tool hacks

Mangetar Storm Seen Ripping Into Star 15,000 Light-Years Away

A rupture in the crust of a highly magnetized neutron star, shown here in an artist's rendering, can trigger high-energy eruptions. Fermi observations of these blasts include information on how the star's surface twists and vibrates, providing new insights into what lies beneath. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/S. Wiessinger

A rupture in the crust of a highly magnetized neutron star, shown here in an artist’s rendering, can trigger high-energy eruptions. Fermi observations of these blasts include information on how the star’s surface twists and vibrates, providing new insights into what lies beneath. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/S. Wiessinger

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a rapid-fire “storm” of high-energy blasts from a highly magnetized neutron star, also called a magnetar, on Jan. 22, 2009. Now astronomers analyzing this data have discovered underlying signals related to seismic waves rippling throughout the magnetar.

Such signals were first identified during the fadeout of rare giant flares produced by magnetars. Over the past 40 years, giant flares have been observed just three times — in 1979, 1998 and 2004 — and signals related to starquakes, which set the neutron stars ringing like a bell, were identified only in the two most recent events.

“Fermi’s Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) has captured the same evidence from smaller and much more frequent eruptions called bursts, opening up the potential for a wealth of new data to help us understand how neutron stars are put together,” said Anna Watts, an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and co-author of a new study about the burst storm. “It turns out that Fermi’s GBM is the perfect tool for this work.”

Neutron stars are the densest, most magnetic and fastest-spinning objects in the universe that scientists can observe directly. Each one is the crushed core of a massive star that ran out of fuel, collapsed under its own weight, and exploded as a supernova. A neutron star packs the equivalent mass of half-a-million Earths into a sphere about 12 miles across, roughly the length of Manhattan Island in New York City.

While typical neutron stars possess magnetic fields trillions of times stronger than Earth’s, the eruptive activity observed from magnetars requires fields 1,000 times stronger still. To date, astronomers have confirmed only 23 magnetars.

Because a neutron star’s solid crust is locked to its intense magnetic field, a disruption of one immediately affects the other. A fracture in the crust will lead to a reshuffling of the magnetic field, or a sudden reorganization of the magnetic field may instead crack the surface. Either way, the changes trigger a sudden release of stored energy via powerful bursts that vibrate the crust, a motion that becomes imprinted on the burst’s gamma-ray and X-ray signals.

It takes an incredible amount of energy to convulse a neutron star. The closest comparison on Earth is the 9.5-magnitude Chilean earthquake of 1960, which ranks as the most powerful ever recorded on the standard scale used by seismologists. On that scale, said Watts, a starquake associated with a magnetar giant flare would reach magnitude 23.

The 2009 burst storm came from SGR J1550−5418, an object discovered by NASA’s Einstein Observatory, which operated from 1978 to 1981. Located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Norma, the magnetar was quiet until October 2008, when it entered a period of eruptive activity that ended in April 2009. At times, the object produced hundreds of bursts in as little as 20 minutes, and the most intense explosions emitted more total energy than the sun does in 20 years. High-energy instruments on many spacecraft, including NASA’s Swift and Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, detected hundreds of gamma-ray and X-ray blasts.

Speaking at the Fifth Fermi International Symposium in Nagoya, Japan, on Oct. 21, Watts said the new study examined 263 individual bursts detected by Fermi’s GBM and confirms vibrations in the frequency ranges previously seen in giant flares. “We think these are likely twisting oscillations of the star where the crust and the core, bound by the super-strong magnetic field, are vibrating together,” she explained. “We also found, in a single burst, an oscillation at a frequency never seen before and which we still do not understand.”

WATCH: Soft Gamma-ray Repeater Light Echos Captured

A key element of the research is a new analysis technique developed by University of Amsterdam researcher Daniela Huppenkothen. Normally scientists search for oscillations in high-energy data by looking for variations aligned to a particular frequency. Such methods are best suited for finding a strong signal with little competition rather than a faint signal immersed in a bright and rapidly changing environment, such as a burst.

Huppenkothen likens the problem to detecting ripples from a stone tossed into a quiet pond. “Now imagine you’re in the middle of the North Atlantic during a storm, searching for those ripples amidst huge waves in a churning sea,” she explained. “Our old methods really weren’t appropriate for this, but I have in effect developed a way of accounting for the rough sea so we can find ripples even in stormy conditions.”

A paper describing the research, which was led by Huppenkothen, appeared in the June 1 edition of The Astrophysical Journal.

While there are many efforts to describe the interiors of neutron stars, scientists lack enough observational detail to choose between differing models. Neutron stars reach densities far beyond the reach of laboratories and their interiors may exceed the density of an atomic nucleus by as much as 10 times. Knowing more about how bursts shake up these stars will give theorists an important new window into understanding their internal structure.

“Right now,” added Watts, “we are waiting for more bursts — and if we’re lucky, a giant flare — to take advantage of GBM’s excellent capabilities.”


Provided by NASA Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope

 

The post Mangetar Storm Seen Ripping Into Star 15,000 Light-Years Away appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.

Third Substantial Solar Flare in 2 Days

An X1.6 class flare erupted from the lower half of the sun, as seen in the bright flash of light in this image from NASA's SDO. This image shows extreme ultraviolet light with a wavelength of 131 Angstroms, which highlights the intense heat of a solar flare and which is typically colorized in teal. Image Credit: NASA/SDO

An X1.6 class flare erupted from the lower half of the sun, as seen in the bright flash of light in this image from NASA’s SDO. This image shows extreme ultraviolet light with a wavelength of 131 Angstroms, which highlights the intense heat of a solar flare and which is typically colorized in teal.
Image Credit: NASA/SDO

Our sun, that great fireball in the sky, is the giver of light to all the Earth. However, at times, we can feel very disconnected from our nearest star, not so much because of its physical distance (which is some 93 million miles/ 150 million km), but because we take it for granted. From Earth, we just see a bright ball of light that travels throughout the sky, much the same, day after day. The problem is that we don’t really see what is going on, and so we forget about the immense power the Sun. But every now and then (rather frequently, actually), it flares up to remind us of its power.

The Sun erupted with another significant flare today, peaking at 10:28 a.m. EDT on Oct. 22, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event, which occurred in the lower half of the sun. This flare is classified as an X1.6 class flare. X-class flares denote the most extreme flares. This is the third substantial flare from the same region of the sun since Oct. 19.

Solar storms generally occur as a result of variations in the Sun’s magnetic field lines. When these field lines fluctuate, the matter they contain is released out into the solar system (and by “released,” I mean that it explodes from the Sun in a hellish firestorm). These super-heated particles blast from the Sun at speeds exceeding 600 miles per second (1,000 kms), and they can contain over 200 billion pounds of material (100 billion kilograms).

Although X-class flares are the most extreme class of solar flares, there is nothing to be concerned about. Space is amazingly big, and the distance between the Earth and the Sun is quite vast. As such, much of the material sprays off in other directions, and the high energy particles largely dissipate by the time that they reach our planet. As NASA notes,

Further analysis will be conducted to determine if there is a CME associated with this event as imagery comes in. This region has produced 7 M-class (R1/R2 – Minor/Moderate) flares in the past 48 hours as well as an X1 flare on October 19th. So far none of the CMEs associated with these events are expected to be geoeffective, however, forecasters will keep an eye out for both CME activity and solar radiation storm possibility as the region approaches center disk.

READ NEXT: Coronal Mass Ejection-The Storm of the Century

The post Third Substantial Solar Flare in 2 Days appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.

Maybe there really is an Ebola (malware) outbreak

Any time there are major events or breaking news in the world cyber criminals try to exploit the situation—and Ebola is a prime opportunity. There is so much fear, misinformation, and paranoia going around that users are more willing to forget basic security practices in an effort to “stay informed”. Trustwave has uncovered a malware campaign designed to prey on Ebola fever (pun intended).

Trustwave researchers uncovered one new malware threat that comes disguised as an email from the World Health Organization (WHO), with a compressed file attachment. The message claims that the information and prevention tips in the attached file will help protect you from the Ebola virus. The file attachment is not a document, however—it is an executable that installs the DarkComet Remote Access Trojan (RAT).

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

What’s Next on the Raspberry Pi Front

piscreenRaspberry Pi founder [Eben Upton] recently sat in an uncomfortable chair in London to discuss all things Pi. Having sold about four million units over the last 2.5 years, he feels the future is bright for his original vision of inspiring and helping kids to learn programming.

[Eben] is quite pleased with the Pi-Top, a B+ based laptop kit that’s pulling in backers left and right while completely unaffiliated with the Pi foundation. The kit includes a 13.3″ HD LCD screen, keyboard, trackpad, and an injection molded case, though you can print your own with the included STL files. Kits start at $249 without a Pi and $285 with a B+ included. Robot and home automation HATs are also available separately or bundled with the Pi-Top kit.

The most exciting news is that the $600,000 spent on DSI connectors for those four million Raspis is about to pay off. [Eben] hopes that an official touchscreen will be available for purchase before the end of 2014 or in early 2015. He showed off a 7″ capacitive touch panel that will attach to a display board stacked on a Pi, effectively turning it into a tablet.

[Eben] said that they will not be making a Model C and instead are working on revision A+. He hopes to make an official announcement in the near future.

Finally, [Eben] discussed the importance of community, which played a large part in the birth and evolution of the Pi. He also spoke of Pi Academy, a sort of professional workshop for teachers in the UK who’ve recently been tasked with teaching computer science as demanded by changes in the mandatory UK school curriculum. He hopes that these 2-day seminars will help educators achieve the high expectations recently laid out for students to achieve by age ten.


Filed under: Raspberry Pi

Far-Flung Worlds: Our Quest For Alien Life Advances Another Step

NASA image of Uranus

NASA image of Uranus

In our recent explorations, NASA’s Hubble Space telescope has given astronomers the tool needed to explore the galaxy for planets that are possibly suitable for alien life. Scanning the Milky Way, astronomers search for Sub-Neptunes and Super-Earths, proving that there are planets out there fitting the ‘goldilocks‘ criteria for harboring alien life.

Astronomers have discovered hundreds of planets in the Milky Way, from rocky planets with Earth-like similarities, to giant gas planets with characteristics more similar to Jupiter and Saturn. However, it was not until relatively recently that astronomers scanned the sky and found the third type of planet found out in the cosmos, a type that is very similar to some of the planets found in our solar system—a part-gas, part-ice planet similar to our own Neptune and Uranus. So it seems that (unsurprisingly) our universe, like our solar system, is a very very diverse place.

The New Ice World

The ‘Ice Giant’ Planet was discovered to be roughly 25,000 light years away in a nearby solar system by an international research team led by Radek Poleski, a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University. The team describes the planet to be the ‘giant twin’ of our own Uranus in the online paper written in The Astrophysical Journal. 

Uranus and Neptune are mostly composed of helium and hydrogen. Both also containing significant amounts of methane ice, hence their milky blemished appearances. Understandably, with the newly discovered Uranus-like planet, astronomers can not actually discern its exact composition (given the vast light-years separating it from Earth). However, based on the distance from its host star and that the planet’s orbit resembles that of Uranus, astronomers think that the planet is an “Ice-Giant’ with a Uranus analog.

Image credit: NASA

Image credit: NASA

Astronomers can, however, deduce that the newly identified planet lives in turbulent existence as it orbits one star in a binary star system. The ice giant is just close enough in proximity to the other star to have its orbit disrupted. Astronomers like Andrew Gould, a professor of Astronomy at Ohio State, believe the new planet will help solves the mysteries surrounding the origins of the gas giants in our solar system.

“Nobody knows for sure why Uranus and Neptune are located on the outskirts of our solar system, when our models suggest that they should have formed closer to the sun,” Gould said. “One idea is that they did form much closer, but were jostled around by Jupiter and Saturn and knocked farther out.” Already it is evident the new planet is kindling a new enthusiasm for the gas planets in our solar system, when of late NASA has directed its attention at the Martian planet.

“Maybe the existence of this Uranus-like planet is connected to interference from the second star,” Gould continued. “Maybe you need some kind of jostling to make planets like Uranus and Neptune.” Gould is hinting at the idea of the binary sun pulling on the new ‘Ice Giant’ may have worked similarly as Saturn and Jupiter have on our own Uranus and Neptune.

The binary star system is located in our Milky Way galaxy, towards the constellation of Sagittarius. The primary star is roughly two thirds as massive as our own sun, while the second star is about one sixth as massive. The planet however, is four times as large as Uranus, hence the name ‘Ice Giant,’ and orbits its sun nearly identical to the same distances Uranus orbits our sun.

Astronomers located the solar system during a phenomenon called gravitational microlensing – when the gravity of a star focuses the light from a more distant star magnifying it like a lens. It is very rare for a planet orbiting the lens star to appear within that magnified light signal, given the vast calculating obscurities of long-distance space. “Only microlensing can detect these cold ice giants that, like Uranus and Neptune, are far away from their host stars. This discovery demonstrates that microlensing is capable of discovering planets in very wide orbits,” Poleski admitted.

“We were lucky to see the signal from the planet, its host star, and the companion star. If the orientation had been different, we would have seen only the planet, and we probably would have called it a free-floating planet,” he added.

Alien Life

Part of the problem with finding alien life is getting to where it might exist. Space travel, as NASA can tell you, is not cheap. However, with so many different kinds of exoplanets, the likeliness of life existing somewhere out there is quite high. Even here on our home planet, we can observe archaea, prokaryotes, tubeworms, protists, and fungi for a “proof of concept” of how life forms can turn out radically different from our particular flavor of life. Some of these organisms thrive in some of the most dangerous and inexplicable places, like hydrothermal vents deep on the ocean floor, or in the geysers at Yellowstone National Park.

We’ve even observed life forms that aren’t directly dependent on energy from the Sun to survive. To me, the weirdest phenomena by far that we’ve observed is an organism that uses a process called “chemosynthesis“, where organisms within an ecosystem derive their energy through chemicals instead of using photosynthesis. In such a system, chemosynthesis can produce sulfur as a by-product instead of oxygen. Organisms that use this process can withstand temperatures close to the boiling point of water and consume toxic chemicals, remaining unharmed.

Ultimately, this new discovery may not seem that significant. Of course, there were probably ice giants out in the cosmos. But here’s the thing: Now we know. Science, as any good scientist will tell you, requires proof. And as the proof of the extreme diversity of our universe continues to mount, the likeliness of alien life increases dramatically.

READ NEXT: NASA Releases Free eBook About Communicating With Aliens


This post was written by Zane Foley. A published writer, Zane lives in Los Angeles studying philosophy at California State University Fullerton.

 

The post Far-Flung Worlds: Our Quest For Alien Life Advances Another Step appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.

Bristol, Tenn., named one of best cities for conservatives by Livability

Esri data reveals how residents of each city self-report their own political leanings on a five-point scale from very liberal to very conservative.

What your suburban ZIP code says about you

Esri's Tapestry map reveals what your ZIP code says about you.

Making Mead in a Space-Age World

Esri map shows all of the mead makers in the United States.

Map shows who San Antonio residents are, what they will buy – by their ZIP codes

A map compiled by Esri shows how marketers can use ZIP code information to determine what San Antonio residents will buy based on where they live.

Are you a ‘trendsetter’? ‘Top tier’? How marketers see D.C. residents

Esri's Tapestry map carves up ZIP codes based on demographic data about residents, then labels them with handy tags.

Here are Maryland’s most (and least) affordable areas for renters

Esri data offers an in-depth look at how out-of-reach rental housing is becoming in desirable areas.

Data tool shows what kinds of people live in Houston ZIP codes

The Environmental Systems Research Institute has a fun tool that maps out the various types of people that live in certain ZIP codes.

Giving Life to an Undead Baby Doll

creepyDoll

If carving a pumpkin this month is too passé for you, take a shot at [Jason Suter's] instructable and build an animatronic legless zombie child that will surely creep out anyone who has a fear of dolls or other vacant-faced toy babies.

Beginning with a sacrificial doll, [Jason] dismembers all of the limbs and head from the torso in order to make room for the robotic upgrades. The servo motors which animate the new wooden dowel bones are mounted to a chassis cut with a CNC machine. [Jason’s] instructions include some nice diagrams demonstrating how the points of articulation at the shoulders and elbows work in conjunction to produce different flavors of crawling and dragging.

FWFSZPYI0LDVY63.LARGEFFU405MI0LDVY54.LARGE

To top it off, the head is attached to its own mounting plate with tendons that rock back and forth in a miserable undead sort-of fashion. As an added nicety, he explains how to install a bluetooth module into the circuitry so he can tweak and upload his example code to the Arduino brain remotely without needing to get his hands near it. There is of course some additional melting, painting, and doll torture required to achieve that rough-up undead look… but that’s all just icing on top of a well executed piece of animatronics.

In his video [Jason] gives us an overview of his zombie’s build and also shows it in action:


Filed under: robots hacks, toy hacks

Massive malvertising campaign on Yahoo, AOL and other sites delivers ransomware

Malicious advertisements made their way last week to almost two dozen popular websites and used browser-based exploits to infect computers with CryptoWall, a nasty file-encrypting ransomware program.

The malicious advertising, or malvertising, campaign was discovered by researchers from security firm Proofpoint and had an impact on visitors to at least 22 popular websites including Yahoo's Finance and Fantasy Sports sites, realestate.aol.com, theatlantic.com, 9gag.com and match.com.

"All told, more than 3 million visitors per day were potentially exposed to this malvertising campaign," the Proofpoint researchers said in a report published Wednesday.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Population Growth As Seen From Space

Yes, it’s India, but it’s not a photo captured from space during Diwali night. (Credit: NOAA)

Yes, it’s India, but it’s not a photo captured from space during Diwali night. (Credit: NOAA)

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, falls on Thursday, Oct. 23 this year and with it come celebrations, gift-giving, and brilliant lighting and firework displays all across the subcontinent of India… but this isn’t a picture of that. What is it exactly?

Over the past several years this image has repeatedly resurfaced online, especially around the time of Diwali. And understandably so: it’s a beautiful view of India seemingly decorated for the festival… one can easily imagine the entire country awash in colorful lights from shore to shore.

But it’s not a photo at all, or even a singular image. Rather it’s a composite of many images acquired from a USAF Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite over the course of several years, and assembled by NOAA scientist Chris Elvidge to show the country’s growing population and urban areas.

In a 2012 article by Robert Johnson on Business Insider a NASA spokesperson described the colors in the image: “The white lights were the only illumination visible before 1992. The blue lights appeared in 1992. The green lights in 1998. And the red lights appeared in 2003.”

So what does India look like at night during the five-day-long Diwali festival? Click here and see.

While city lighting in India is definitely visible from space, it’s not the rainbow explosion of neon colors that Internet hoaxers and uninformed online enthusiasts would eagerly have you believe. According to Adam Voiland on the NASA Earth Observatory site, “in reality, any extra light produced during Diwali is so subtle that it is likely imperceptible when observed from space.”

So this year, don’t fall for any false descriptions of this picture… and, Happy Diwali!

Sources: Business Insider, Mashable, NASA Earth Observatory, EarthSky. Read more about the 2014 celebration of Diwali here.


The article was written by 

 

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