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Comment Re:preposterous! (Score 1) 164

You are right in the lottery sense : if your particular phone or app crashes, it is very unlikely that it is due to cosmic rays. However, it might be likely that it happens fairly often around the world. This is similar to the lottery : it is unlikely that you will win, but it is likely that someone will win.

It's all a matter of cross-section of the devices actually. If we want to compare, the IPhone 4 (an old baseline, smaller than today's generation but close to most of the low-cost devices) measures 0.007 m^2, while the top 10 largest data centers (from this random link) combined measure about 1.7 x 10^6 m^2. I am going to assume only 1% of the surface is occupied by sensitive chips (?). You would need about 2.4 millions IPhone 4 to cover the same area. Thus, it is very possible that mobile hardware is victim of more high energy burps than immobile hardware.

Submission + - ISIS using encrypted communication to remote-control attacks on the west (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: The New York Times published a story by Rukmini Callimachi today which explains how ISIS handlers are using encrypted communication to remote-control attacks on western nations, including the United States. The attackers, who are often mistaken for lone wolves, have sometimes been trained and guided by ISIS handlers right up to the moment of the attack. One example: The attackers who opened fire on the Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. Remote terror planners have been behind a number of attacks that made international news and which, at first glance, appeared to be the work of lone wolves. For instance:

In Germany, a man who set off a bomb outside a concert and a teenager who assaulted train passengers with an ax were both chatting with handlers until minutes before their attacks. The teenager's handler urged him to use a car instead of an ax — “The damage would be much greater,” the handler advised — but the young man said he did not have a driving permit. “I want to enter paradise tonight,” he said, according to a transcript obtained by a German newspaper.

In northern France, a pair of attackers who had been guided by an Islamic State cybercoach slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest. The pair had not known each other, and according to the investigative file, the handler introduced them, organizing for them to meet days before the attack. Intelligence records obtained by The Times reveal that the same handler in Syria also guided a group of young women who tried to blow up a car in front of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.

The NY Times story describe how just one ISIS planner, out of perhaps a dozen, was working with several potential attackers in Britain, Canada and America all at once:

One of the Islamic State's most influential recruiters and virtual plotters was known by the nom de guerre Abu Issa al-Amriki, and his Twitter profile instructed newcomers to contact him via the encrypted messaging app Telegram ...

Amriki was grooming attackers in Canada and Britain, as well as at least three other young men in suburbs across America, according to court records. They included a former member of the Army National Guard living in Virginia; a warehouse worker from Columbus; and Emanuel L. Lutchman, a 25-year-old in Rochester.

Amriki and his wife were killed by a U.S. airstrike last April.

Submission + - Trump's cyber-guru Giuliani runs ancient, utterly hackable website (theregister.co.uk)

mask.of.sanity writes: US president-elect Donald Trump's freshly minted cyber tsar Rudy Giuliani runs a website so insecure that its content management system is five years out of date, unpatched and is utterly hackable.
Giulianisecurity.com the website for Giuliani's eponymous infosec consultancy firm, runs Joomla! version 3.0, released in 2012, and since found to carry 15 separate vulnerabilities. More bugs and poor secure controls abound.

Submission + - R.I.P. Google Hangouts API

BarbaraHudson writes: Once again we're seeing the hazards of developing using a 3rd party service API. Google will be discontinuing support for Google Hangouts API going forward (no surprise there). Google Hangouts is now so insignificant that the cancellation didn't even rate an official blog post. As reported by techcrunch

Google today quietly revealed that it will shut down the Hangouts API, preventing new apps from being built and shutting off existing apps on April 25th. There was no blog post about this, just an updated FAQ and email notification to developers active on the API, forwarded to us by one of these devs.

Submission + - Trade Secrets Stolen From ThyssenKrupp In Major Hack

An anonymous reader writes: German steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp has been hacked in a major cyberattack, coordinated by unnamed malicious actors based in south-east Asia. The large-scale attack was targeted at the German firm to steal its technical trade secrets. Martin Hölze, CIO at ThyssenKrupp said that the company had been the target of a ‘very professional hacker attack since February.’ The breach was executed through hidden backdoors in the IT systems which were used to gain access to the steel giant’s valuable intellectual property. ThyssenKrupp said that the attack was uncovered in April by its own in-house computer emergency response team (CERT), which has since cleaned and re-secured the infected systems. State and federal cyber security and data protection agencies were informed of the hack. A criminal complaint was also lodged with police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Submission + - Chinese Scientist Found Breakthrough Vaccine/Cures for All Viral Infections (scmp.com)

hackingbear writes: Chinese scientists may have found the key to creating effective vaccines for the world’s deadly viruses including bird flu, SARS, Ebola, and HIV. An experiment by a research team at Beijing University was hailed as “revolutionary” in the field in a paper published in the latest issue of Science magazine on Friday. The live virus used in the vaccine used by the researchers had its genetic code tweaked to disable the viral strains’ self-replication mechanism. But it was kept fully infectious to allow the host animal cells to generate immunity. Using live viruses in their fully infectious form was considered taboo, as viruses spread rapidly. Vaccines sold and used widely today generally contain either dead or weakened forms of viruses. The animals infected with virus were cured after receiving the injection, according to the paper. This breakthrough promises to simplify the process of producing vaccines, which may help scientists develop effective vaccines or even cures for various viruses – such bird flu, SARS, Ebola and HIV – within weeks of an outbreak.

Submission + - A physical model for (some of) Tabby's Star's light dips. 2

RockDoctor writes: A fresh paper on Arxiv describes a model proposed to explain at least some of the light dips in "Tabby's Star" (Kepler Input Catalogue KIC 8462852). When the irregular light received from this star was recognised in 2015, nobody could come up with a credible explanation for the irregularity of the star's light dips, or their depth. Further studies suggest sustained dimming over the photographic observation epoch, further deepening the puzzle. This new paper proposes a model of a jet of material which leaves the star's surface, then casts off a plume described as "smoke plume" which is swept around in the stars orbit. The opaque jet and the less-opaque "smoke plume" then intersect with the light travelling towards us to generate an asymmetric dip in the star's light curve, as observed in the past.

Which is an interesting model. The big peculiarity is that the "smoke plume" orientation with respect to the material jet implies that the outer parts of this star's envelope is rotating faster than the inner part where the jet originates. Which would raise almost as many questions as the original discovery.

Definitely, this is a very peculiar system.

(PDF here ; NB, the paper does not appear to have been submitted to a journal, or peer-reviewed.)

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