In the wake of recent data breaches, a story bubbles up with an ex-employee citing knowledge of the dire security conditions. Usually it includes an unsubstantiated comment that the executives were given warning of the problem.
The conclusion is often along the lines of “when will executives wake up and do something?”
Executives are concerned. They are acting. And in the process, they’re trying to follow our guidance. All of it. In fact, we’re offering too much guidance.
That’s where we need to get better.
Perhaps you’ve uttered or heard the phrase that ‘attackers only have to be lucky once, but we have to be right all the time.” To be fair, I’m confident I shared that little nugget at various points over the last two decades. In the process, that becomes a justification for tireless efforts, sleepless nights, and a never-ending list of things that needed to get done… yesterday.
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As some people have asked over the years — without a modicum of irony, I might add — “It’s the twenty first century.. Why are there no colored images of the moon?!” To those of you, I present you with this stunning image:
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University. (Edited by J. Major)
Okay.. so there clearly isn’t much color to be found (hence the part about irony, or perhaps it’s less ironic and more ignorant than anything else), but it does showcase the complexity of beautiful Luna’s surface. As you can see, its surface is marred by numerous depressions and craters, which are captured here with clarity.
The image — taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Wide Angle Camera (WAC) — focuses on a section of the moon’s surface that’s close to Apollo 17’s landing site. Only the original was missing a few large spots, so Jason Major, from “Lights in the Dark,” stepped in to fill in the holes.
From his website:
"Look up at the moon on any clear night and you’ll see a cratered world shining down on you, in some phase of illumination or perhaps even full and round, with a few lighter or darker areas but for the most part all in cool, bright shades of whites and greys. The moon’s real colors are hidden from us here on Earth, blown out by the brilliance of harsh reflected sunlight. But, from its intimate location in lunar orbit, the LRO can use its wide-angle camera to capture image data in the red, green and blue spectral wavelengths that our eyes can most easily see. Combine these filtered images and you get what’s shown here: a true-color view of the lunar surface around the location of the Apollo 17 landing site (darkest cratered region at center.)"
"The color variances are caused by different amounts of titanium and iron. Darker areas have higher amounts of iron oxide, and the darkest bluish regions are high in titanium oxide. The large dark area at the bottom of this image is Mare Tranquilatis – the “Sea of Tranquility” – and it is a large field of basaltic lava flows clearly much richer in titanium than the bordering Mare Sereniatis – “Sea of Serenity” – at the upper left, which is tinted a warm brown. Both these regions are visible from Earth on the moon’s northern hemisphere, just right of center, but to most of us the only variation in color is a slightly darker grey against the white of the surrounding area. We tend to see the moon in shades of grey but the reality is it’s quite a colorful place, if subtly so."
"The original LROC image had a lot of missing areas…I filled them in by duplicating surrounding spots and blurring any obvious copied features or division lines. As a result the image here isn’t 100% accurate for landforms but shows the general colorations with less distraction."
All in all, he did a pretty fantastic job, don’t you think?
The Original LRO Image (Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
The post Astronomy Photo of the Day (APotD): 10/21/14 — The Colors of The Moon appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.
Download wallpaper of the new Mercedes-AMG GT here.
High-performance powertrains, styling, technological prowess and the cachet that comes with a sporting pedigree have long been part of the Jaguar mystique. Download wallpaper of the Jaguar XE here.
It wasn’t so long ago that Land Rover had just the one basic model. How times have changed. Latest from the ever-busy folk at Solihull is a premium compact SUV that will go on sale in South Africa mid-2015. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the first of the company’s Discovery “family”. Image credit: Land Rover
[Noq2] has given his butterfly new wings with a CPU upgrade. Few laptops are as iconic as the IBM Thinkpad 701 series and its “butterfly” TrackWrite keyboard. So iconic in fact, that a 701c is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Being a 1995 vintage laptop, [Noq2's] 701c understandably was no speed demon by today’s standards. The fastest factory configuration was an Intel 486-DX4 running at 75 MHz. However, there have long been rumors and online auctions referring to a custom model modified to run an AMD AM-5×86 at 133 MHz. The mods were performed by shops like Hantz + Partner in Germany. With this in mind, [Noq2] set about reverse engineering the modification, and equipping his 701c with a new processor.
The first step was determining which AMD processor variant to use. It turns out that only a few models of AMD’s chips were pin compatible with the 208 pin Small Quad Flat Pack (SQFP) footprint on the 701c’s motherboard. [Noq2] was able to get one from an old Evergreen 486 upgrade module on everyone’s favorite auction site. He carefully de-soldered the AM-5×86 from the module, and the Intel DX4 from the 701c. A bit of soldering later, and the brain transplant was complete.
Some detailed datasheet research helped [noq2] find the how to increase the bus clock on his 5×86 chip, and enable the write-back cache. All he had to do was move a couple of passive components and short a couple pins on the processor.
The final result is a tricked out IBM 701c Thinkpad running an AMD 5×86 at 133 MHz. Still way too slow for today’s software – but absolutely the coolest retro mod we’ve seen in a long time.
Filed under: computer hacks
Today's picture shows the cotton being weighed at the end of the pay. Workers were paid based on how much they picked, so their bags had to be weighed. The picture was taken in 1935 in Arkansas.
You youngins probably don’t remember this, but a few years ago there was an arms race on Kickstarter to create the smallest Arduino-compatible microcontroller board. Since then, a few people have realized they can make more money on Kickstarter through fraud or potato salad, and the race to create the smallest ‘duino board petered out.
It’s a shame [Meizhu] wasn’t part of the great miniature Arduinofication of Kickstarter, because this project would have won. It’s an Atmel ATtiny85, with USB port, resistors, diodes, reset button, LED, and pin headers, that is just 72 mils larger than the PDIP package of the ‘tiny85. Outside of getting a bare die of ‘tiny85s, there isn’t much of a chance of this board becoming any smaller.
[Meizhu] was inspired to create this board from [Tim]‘s Nanite 85, which up until a few days ago was the current champion of micro microcontroller boards. With a bit of work in KiCAD, the new board layout was created that is just a hair larger than the 0.4″ x 0.4″ footprint of the PDIP ATtiny85. There were a few challenges in getting a working board this small; you’d be surprised how large the plastic bits around pin headers are, but with some very crafty soldering, [Meizhu] was able to get it to work.
Filed under: ATtiny Hacks
Apple is being called out for how it shares desktop and Web searches in its latest desktop operating system, Yosemite.
Spotlight, which underwent a rework for Yosemite, indexes desktop files and makes them searchable via keywords. By default, the latest iteration of Spotlight sends those search terms to Apple, in conjunction with Microsoft's Bing search engine, which Apple says is used to improve Spotlight's accuracy.
If "Location Services" are turned on in Yosemite, a computer's approximate location is also sent to Apple whenever Spotlight is used. Apple advises users of the data it is collecting and says that the sharing can be disabled by turning off "Spotlight Suggestions."
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Composite photo of an Orionid meteor shower taken a few years ago. The constellation Orion is seen at lower right center. Credit: SLOOH
The night sky will be spectacular this week. On Tuesday (October 21) and Wednesday (October 22,) the Orionid meteor shower will be dancing across the sky. The best time to watch the show will be at dawn, or just before sunrise, on the morning of the 21st (so plan on getting up early). To see this spectacular event, you should head outside one to two hours before sunrise, when the sky is dark and the constellation Orion is high overhead.
The name of this event, like all meteor showers, comes from the location that the meteors come from. Because these meteors streak out of the constellation Orion, astronomers call them “Orionids.”
“We expect to see about 20 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Tuesday morning, Oct 21st,” says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “With no Moon to spoil the show, observing conditions should be ideal. The Orionid meteor shower is not the strongest, but it is one of the most beautiful showers of the year,” he adds. Every year around this time (in mid-to-late October), our planet passes through a stream of dusty debris from Halley’s comet. Ultimately, this comet’s passing is what causes the meteors to plummet into our planet.
“Be prepared for speed,” Cooke adds. “Meteoroids from Halley’s Comet strike Earth’s atmosphere traveling 148,000 mph. Only the November Leonids are faster.” Speed is important because fast meteors have a tendency to explode. Occasionally, Orionid fireballs will leave incandescent streams of debris in their wake that linger for minutes. A live broadcast of the Orionid meteor shower will also be available via Ustream beginning October 20, at 10 p.m. EDT. Watch it in the video below.
The post Orionid Meteor Shower Peaking Tonight: How To Watch appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.
Magic Camera is a must-have webcam enhancing program for webcam chat and webcam effects. It works for all Cameras including (HD) Webcams, Digital Cameras, TV/Video Capture Cards, Camcorders, IP Cam (via DirectShow).
- Add 1000+ video effects to your webcam.
- Add a virtual webcam to let you play files, screens as webcam in chats(e.g., Skype or ChatRoulette).
- Recording webcam videos and taking pictures with webcam with effects are also supported.
A report confirms that China is collecting private data of more that 100 million Apple iCloud users resident in the country with a man-in-the-middle attack.
The Chinese Government has launched a new hacking campaign that is targeting Apple iCloud users in the country, the news was reported by the censorship watchdog GreatFire.org is a blog post.
After previous attacks against Github, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, the Chinese authorities are now running a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on Apple’s iCloud users to steal credentials of who logs into the iCloud from the country.
It is a surveillance operation on a large scale that allows the Government of Beijing to spy on Chinese citizens, accessing to the iCloud account the authorities can users contacts, photos and data archived in the Apple cloud.
The number of iPhone users in China is 100 million, all potential targets of the Government:
“The attack point is the Chinese internet backbone, and that it is nationwide, which would lead us to be 100 percent sure that this is again the work of the Chinese authorities,” one of the GreatFire founders told the South China Morning Post.
The report issued by the GreatFire.org highlights the importance of the timing for the surveillance operation, it conicides with events such as the protests in Hong Kong and the presentation of the new iPhone 6 that begun in China with a significant delay respect the rest of the world.
Apple announced a series of improvements that makes hard snooping from Intelligence agencies, so Chinese authorities would not allow the phone to be sold on the mainland.
“It is unclear if Apple made changes to the iPhones they are selling in mainland China.”
The monitoring of Apple users’information could support the authorities to track the leaders of the Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement on the mainland.
The Government has operated PSYOPs in the social media to mitigate the protest and security firm also sustains that the China has used mobile spyware, MITM attacks and Internet monitoring to control Hong Kong protesters.
The Government was running hacking campaign against Apple iCloud users despite in the past the company has collaborated with the authorities banning from its official store any application that could violated the law of the country and evade the censorship. In August, Apple accepted to store iCloud data of Chinese users in China Telecom servers.
How iCloud users in China could protect their privacy?
- Internet users in China must use a trusted browser on their desktops and mobile devices like Firefox and Chrome, both software in fact detect connections suffering from a MITM attack.
- Another possibility is the used of VPN or by finding a different internet access point.
- Enable two-step verification for iCloud accounts, this do not suffice for the attackers to capture the iCloud credentials.
Technically, the Chinese authorities are using a self-signed certificate to run a Man-In-The-Middle attack in iCloud. The Government only attacked the IP address 188.8.131.52, this means that only a portion of iCloud users for which the iCloud DNS return this IP are impacted. Below some other details of the attacks.
Wirecapture with MITM: https://www.cloudshark.org/captures/03a6b0593436
Connection log: http://pastebin.com/tN7kbDV3
The report is polemic with the support offered by Apple to the Chinese Government in the past:
“If anything, cooperation with the Chinese authorities can now increasingly be labeled as the worst decision a foreign company can make. Not only will the authorities bite you in the ass, but your willingness to work with the censorship regime will lose you customers and fans worldwide.” states the report.
Apple has not yet commented on the GreatFire report.
(Security Affairs – GreatFire report, Chinese censorship)
The post 100 million iCloud users spied by the Chinese Government appeared first on Security Affairs.
There’s just something about electro-mechanical displays that enthralls most people when they see them; and while you’ll be hard pressed to find a split-flap display for cheap, you can still easily buy flip-disc displays! That’s what [Scott] did, and he’s been having a blast messing around with his and building a system to control it via his Android phone.
He picked up the display from a company called Alfa-Zeta in Poland, a company that’s been making electromagnetic displays since 1988. No mention of price, but it looks like some pretty awesome hardware. The beauty with electromagnetic displays is they don’t consume any electricity in idle state, making them far more efficient than almost any other display technology – not to mention perfect contrast in any lighting conditions!
They work by using permanent magnets, electromagnets, and a material that can retain magnetization. A short pulse to the electromagnet causes the disc to flip into the second position, which will then hold in place due to the permanent magnet — no more electromagnet needed.
The display comes with all the necessary hardware to drive the electromagnets and interface with a microcontroller. But, it uses the RS-485 standard, which isn’t natively supported by most other microcontrollers. [Scott's] using an Arduino which does have an RS-485 shield, but he decided he wanted to challenge himself and build a circuit to drive them himself!
All the info is on his blog if you’re looking to try something similar. Once he had it interfaced with the Arduino it was just a simple matter of writing an Android app to transmit controls over Bluetooth for the display. Take a look:
And some slow motion for you:
If split-discs aren’t mechanical enough for you, you can always try building your own split-flap display…
Filed under: Android Hacks
, Arduino Hacks
Monday evening, investigative journalist Brian Krebs reported that multiple banking sources were seeing a pattern of credit and debit card fraud. The common thread between each case were purchases made at Staples Inc. stores in the Northeastern U.S.
There isn't a lot to go on if in fact the latest retailer to be breached is Framingham, Mass.-based Staples Inc.
What's known for sure comes from the sources that spoke on background to Krebs. They said the fraudulent transactions were traced to cards that made purchases at Staples stores in Pennsylvania, New York City, and New Jersey.
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If you’ve ever wanted to build a Tesla coil but found them to be prohibitively expensive and/or complicated, look no further! [Richard] has built a solid-state Tesla coil that has a minimum of parts and is relatively easy to build as well.
This Tesla coil is built around an air-core transformer that steps a low DC voltage up to a very high AC voltage. The core can be hand-wound or purchased as a unit. The drive circuit is where this Tesla coil built is set apart from the others. A Tesla coil generally makes use of a spark gap, but [Richard] is using the Power Pulse Modulator PWM-OCXi v2 which does the switching with transistors instead. The Tesla coil will function with one drive circuit but [Richard] notes that it is more stable with two.
The build doesn’t stop with the solid-state circuitry, though. [Richard] used an Arduino with software normally used to drive a speaker to get his Tesla coil to play music. Be sure to check out the video after the break. If you’re looking for a Tesla coil that is more Halloween-appropriate, you can take a look at this Tesla coil that shocks pumpkins!
Filed under: misc hacks
Artist’s impression of the Milky Way. Its hot halo appears to be stripping away the star-forming atomic hydrogen from its companion dwarf spheroidal galaxies. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NS
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, along with data from other large radio telescopes, have discovered that our nearest galactic neighbors, the dwarf spheroidal galaxies, are devoid of star-forming gas, and that our Milky Way Galaxy is to blame.
These new radio observations, which are the highest sensitivity of their kind ever undertaken, reveal that within a well-defined boundary around our Galaxy, dwarf galaxies are completely devoid of hydrogen gas; beyond this point, dwarf galaxies are teeming with star-forming material.
The Milky Way Galaxy is actually the largest member of a compact clutch of galaxies that are bound together by gravity. Swarming around our home Galaxy is a menagerie of smaller dwarf galaxies, the smallest of which are the relatively nearby dwarf spheroidals, which may be the leftover building blocks of galaxy formation. Further out are a number of similarly sized and slightly misshaped dwarf irregular galaxies, which are not gravitationally bound to the Milky Way and may be relative newcomers to our galactic neighborhood.
“After billions of years of interaction, astronomers wondered if the nearby dwarf spheroidal galaxies have all the same star-forming ‘stuff’ that we find in more distant dwarf galaxies,” said astronomer Kristine Spekkens, assistant professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and lead author on a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Previous studies have shown that the more distant dwarf irregular galaxies have large reservoirs of neutral hydrogen gas, the fuel for star formation. These past observations, however, were not sensitive enough to rule out the presence of this gas in the smallest dwarf spheroidal galaxies.
By bringing to bear the combined power of the GBT (the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope) and other giant telescopes from around the world, Spekkens and her team were able to probe the dwarf galaxies that have been swarming around the Milky Way for billions of years for tiny amounts of atomic hydrogen.
“What we found is that there is a clear break, a point near our home Galaxy where dwarf galaxies are completely devoid of any traces of neutral atomic hydrogen,” noted Spekkens. Beyond this point, which extends approximately 1,000 light-years from the edge of the Milky Way’s star-filled disk to a point that is thought to coincide with the edge of its dark matter distribution, dwarf spheroidals become vanishingly rare while their gas-rich, dwarf irregular counterparts flourish.
There are many ways that larger, mature galaxies can lose their star-forming material, but this is mostly tied to furious star formation or powerful jets of material driven by supermassive black holes. The dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way contain neither of these energetic processes. They are, however, susceptible to the broader influences of the Milky Way, which itself resides within an extended, diffuse halo of hot hydrogen plasma.
The researchers believe that, up to a certain distance from the galactic disk, this halo is dense enough to affect the composition of dwarf galaxies. Within this “danger zone,” the pressure created by the million-mile-per-hour orbital velocities of the dwarf spheroidals can actually strip away any detectable traces of neutral hydrogen. The Milky Way thus shuts down star formation in its smallest neighbors.
“These observations therefore reveal a great deal about size of the hot halo and about how companions orbit the Milky Way,” concludes Spekkens.
Provided by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory
The post Milky Way Ransacks Nearby Dwarf Galaxies appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.
We’ve seen a few cool hacks for mainstream commercial EEG headsets, but these are all a tad spendy for leisurely play or experimentation. The illumino project by [io] however, has a relatively short and affordable list of materials for creating your own EEG sensor. It’s even built into a beanie that maps your mental status to a colorful LED pompom! Now that winter is around the corner, this project is perfect for those of us who want to try on the mad scientist’s hat and look awesome while we’re wearing it.
How does all the neuro-magic happen? At the heart of [io's] EEG project is a retired Thinkgear ASIC PC board by Neurosky. It comes loaded with fancy algorithms which amplify and process the different types of noise coming from the surface of our brain. A few small electrodes made from sheets of copper and placed in contact with the forehead are responsible for picking up this noise. The bridge between the electrodes and the Thinkgear is an arduino running the illumino project code. For [io's] tutorial, a Tinylilly Arduino is used to mesh with the wearable medium, since all of these parts are concealed in the folded brim of the beanie.
In addition, a neat processing sketch is included which illustrates the alpha, beta, gamma, and other wave types associated with brain activity as a morphing ball of changing size and color. This offers a nice visual sense of what the Neurosky is actually reading.
If all of your hats lack pompoms and you can’t find one out in the ether that comes equipped, fear not… there is even a side tutorial on how to make a proper puff-ball from yarn. Sporting glowing headwear might be a little ostentatious for some of us, but the circuit in this project by itself is a neat point of departure for those who want to poke around at the EEG technology. Details and code can be found on the illumino Instructable.
Thanks Zack, for showing us this neat tutorial!
Filed under: wearable hacks
Esri's ArcGIS Pro implemented color schemes for creating maps.
It’s what all sensible people do to mitigate the risk of catastrophic financial damage: Buy insurance. There’s not even a choice when it comes to auto and health risks – insurance is a legal mandate. And most people would agree that anyone with a house who does not carry homeowner’s insurance is a fool or fabulously wealthy.
So, why not cyber insurance?
Indeed, the case for it is compelling. The costs of data breaches are in the millions and rising fast. As the Ponemon Institute put it in a synopsis of one of its recent reports on the issue, “data breaches have become as common as a cold, but far more expensive to treat.”
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Suni in 2010 at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Image Credit: BARCROFT/GETTY
We have witnessed species after species fall to extinction. In 2013, the latest review of animals and plants by the International Union for Conservation of Nature found that the Western Black rhino had been totally wiped out. By 1980 the population was estimated in the hundreds. By 2000 only an estimated 10 survived. In 2006 a survey of the last remaining habitat failed to find any Western black rinos.
Now, it seems that the Northern White Rhino is about to fall over the brink.
Suni the Rhino recently passed away. He was a 34-year-old male, and he died in a conservancy in Kenya. This leaves only 6 left on all of the planet. Suni was found dead on Friday by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, and they believe that he died of natural causes. However, that does not make his death any less worrisome, as he was one of the last two breeding males in the world. “Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race. We will continue to do what we can to work with the remaining three animals on Ol Pejeta in the hope that our efforts will one day result in the successful birth of a northern white rhino calf” a spokesman for the Conservancy said.
Though they used to roam in numbers across Africa, the rhino population declined dramatically due to human encroachment and poaching. In the 1960s, there were more than 2,000 northern white rhinos (these numbers were not promising, but they were something). However, by 1984 only about 15 individuals survived in the wild. Unfortunately, the decrease in the population has not altered the attitudes of many who wish to use the rhino horn for herbal medicine and other crafts.
Last year, on the streets, rhino horn went for about $65,000 per kg.
Suni was transported to Kenya in 2009 as part of a breeding program, which was meant to prevent the extinction of the species. Experts thought that the 90,000-acre private wildlife conservancy would make for a better environment to coax the rhinos into breeding. So far, these endeavors have not been fruitful.
Ultimately, the southern white rhino is the only non-endangered rhino, with some 20,000 animals left on the planet.
Though extinction is natural, this process is currently fueled by human actions. In the Americas, 80% of large animals became extinct around the same time as first Western humans arrived. Of course, many species went extinct before humans arrived, but (as the previous statistic indicated) we have caused the numbers to skyrocket due to deforestation, habitat destruction, light pollution etc. Where rhino are concerned, we are not talking about a naturally occurring process. This is notable, as ecosystems evolve slowly over time, forming a community that is linked by a number of tendrils. The biosphere is complex, and if any of these tendrils snap, it could have a plethora of unforseen (and often negative) consequences.
A general ecological rule is: That which tends to increase diversity is good, that which tends to decrease it is bad.
Thus, the current human fueled mass extinction event is rather bad (and not at all beneficial to the biosphere as a whole).
The post Rare Northern White Rhinos Dies: Only 6 Left on Earth appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.