Security experts have discovered the biggest series of cyber attacks to date, involving the infiltration of the networks of 72 organisations including the United Nations, governments and companies around the world.
Security company McAfee, which uncovered the intrusions, said it believed there was one “state actor” behind the attacks but declined to name it, though one security expert who has been briefed on the hacking said the evidence points to China.
The long list of victims in the five-year campaign include the governments of the United States, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Canada; the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); the International Olympic Committee (IOC); the World Anti-Doping Agency; and an array of companies, from defence contractors to high-tech enterprises.
In the case of the United Nations, the hackers broke into the computer system of the UN Secretariat in Geneva in 2008, hid there unnoticed for nearly two years, and quietly combed through reams of secret data, according to McAfee.
“Even we were surprised by the enormous diversity of the victim organizations and were taken aback by the audacity of the perpetrators,” McAfee’s vice president of threat research, Dmitri Alperovitch, wrote in a 14-page report.
“What is happening to all this data Read more…
disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
Scientists have devised an “invisibility cloak” material that can hide objects from detection using light that is visible to humans, a U.S. journal reports.
Writing in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters, researcher Xiang Zhang and colleagues note invisibility cloaks, which route electromagnetic waves around an object to make it undetectable, “are still in their infancy.”
Cloaking technology so far has used materials that can only hide things using microwave or infrared waves, which are just below the threshold of human vision, they said.
The researchers built a reflective “carpet cloak” out of layers of silicon oxide and silicon nitride etched in a special pattern that works by concealing an object under the layers and bending light waves away from the bump that the object makes, so that the cloak appears flat and smooth, an ACS release said.
Although the new material can only cloak a microscopic object about the size of a red blood cell, the researchers said it demonstrates the concept of a material “capable of cloaking any object underneath a reflective carpet layer.”
“In contrast to the previous demonstrations that were limited to infrared light, this work makes actual invisibility for the light seen by the human eye possible,” the scientists wrote.
|With new mobile gadgetry, suspects will no longer have to be taken to police stations for their fingerprints and irises to be scanned and recorded [GALLO/GETTY]|
We’re fast approaching a time when law enforcement will no longer need to ask you for your identification – your physical self, and the biometric data therein, are all that will be required to identify you.
A gadget attached to a mobile phone can photograph and plot key points and features on your face (breaking the numbers down into biometric data), scan your iris and take your fingerprints on the spot.
This gizmo doesn’t exist in a futuristic world – it’s already been prototyped and tested. By autumn, the Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System (MORIS), which will allow 40 law enforcement agencies across the US to carry out such biometric diagnostics, will be rolled out. So far, the 1,000 units on order – at $3,000 and 12.5 oz per device – will be going to sheriff and police departments.
Proponents of the technology figure the Read more…
Late on the night of August 23, 2001, at about 3 a.m. security cameras in the parking garage of the World Trade Center captured the arrival of two or three truck vans.
Visual examination determined the vans were separate and unique from trucks used by janitorial services, including different colors and devoid of markings.
More curious, all the janitorial trucks had pulled out of the Towers by about 2:30 a.m—about half an hour before the second set of vans arrived.
According to my high level State Department source with a top security clearance, who disclosed the unusual nightly activity, no vans matching that description had entered the World Trade Center at such an hour in any of the weeks or months prior to that date. It was a unique event.
Security cameras caught the vans leaving the Towers at Read more…
“Cybercrimes can do serious harm to an organization’s bottom line,” said the study, which found that the median cost related to cybercrime to the 50 companies in the survey was $5.9 million.
Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the Traverse, Mich., company that bears his name, told PCWorld there have been several root causes for the bump up in the cost of cyber crime. “Sophisticated stealthy types of cyber crime are happening more frequently,” he said.
When the study was done last year, he explained, more visible forms of cybercrime dominated the Read more…
Double sunspot 1263 is a whopper. Its two dark cores are each wider than Earth, and the entire region stretches more than 65,000 km from end to end. Yesterday in the Netherlands, Emil Kraaikamp took advantage of a break in the clouds and “a few moments of steady air” to capture this magnificent photo:
“To image this monster, I used a 10-inch Newtonian telescope capped by a white light solar filter,” says Kraaikamp. He used the same setup to photograph nearby sunspot 1261. The clarity of both images is impressive. Note the granulation of the stellar surface surrounding the main dark cores. Those are Texas-sized bubbles of plasma rising and falling like water boiling on top of a hot stove.
The magnetic field of sunspot 1263 harbors energy for powerful X-class solar flares. Because the sunspot is turning to face Earth, any such eruptions in the days ahead would likely be geo-effective