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Round 4: Hacker returns and puts 26Mil user records for sale on the Dark Web

ZDnet Blogs - March 17, 2019 - 7:15pm
Gnosticplayers returns with new user records, most of which he obtained by hacking companies last month.
Categories: Opinion

Behind the Curve a fascinating study of reality-challenged beliefs

Ars Technica - March 17, 2019 - 3:30pm

Enlarge (credit: Gabriela Pinto / Flickr)

There's a scene somewhere in the middle of a new flat Earth documentary that acts as a metaphor for so much that surrounds it. Two of the central figures of Behind the Curve are visiting a spaceflight museum that pays tribute to NASA, an organization that they believe is foisting a tremendous lie on an indoctrinated and incurious public. One of them, Mark Sargent, sits in a re-entry simulator that suggests he should press "Start" to begin. He dutifully bangs away at the highlighted word "Start" on screen, but nothing happens.

He wanders away muttering even more about how NASA's a giant fraud. Meanwhile, the camera shifts back to the display and zeroes in on the giant green "Start" button next to the seat Sargent was in.

Into the fringes

It's hard not to think back to two earlier scenes in the movie. In the first, Sargent talks about how he started having suspicions about the globe when he spent weeks watching a flight tracker for flights crossing the southern oceans but couldn't find any. This seemed to fit with his favored model of the Earth's disk, one with the North Pole at the center and the continents spread out like spokes from there. This would place the southern continents much farther apart and make air travel prohibitive—just as the lack of flights suggested.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

New documentary has a good time asking how gene editing might change the world

Ars Technica - March 17, 2019 - 3:00pm

Enlarge / An artist's representation of a Cas9 protein immediately interrupting and changing a living creature's genes. (credit: Wonder Collaborative)

Here's a poorly kept secret: the internal chatter at a given research and scientific institution is typically more interesting than what emerges on the public record. Published papers and newspaper interviews don't come with the banter, pop-culture references, or sheer wit that pumps through most nerds' veins.

I thought back to all that nerd humor when I reflected on Human Nature, a documentary about gene editing and CRISPR that had its world premiere at South by Southwest 2019. There's a lot of ground to cover on such a topic, and the film, co-produced by Dan Rather, does quite well by identifying existing research and studies, then grounding them with context and equal parts optimism and pessimism. But Human Nature is also the rare science film that isn't afraid to let its smart talking heads be funny, dorky, or just plain sharp.

Meaning: if you already know everything about CRISPR (and if you read Ars Technica, you very well might), Human Nature still has something for you.

Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Sloth-by-sloth-west: The good and the Goop of SXSW 2019 (in pictures)

Ars Technica - March 17, 2019 - 2:30pm

AUSTIN, Texas—While sitting in the auditorium waiting to hear Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren talk further about her views on Silicon Valley, an older gentleman leaned over to ask about something that had absolutely nothing to do with politics. "I don't get it," he began. "It's a music festival, but a film festival, too? And you're here for the technology stuff, right? Where do all these politicians fit? How do you describe this conference to someone in 30 seconds?"Ars at SXSW 2019

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The answer, of course, is obvious to Ars after our fourth straight year of coverage: you can't. While the three core tenets of South by Southwest remain film, music, and tech, this conference has become the ultimate convergence event—not just of topics, but of people. Where else can you, in a single day, see a cookie vending machine from Milk Bar baking guru Christina Tosi, a massive HBO installation to promote Game of Thronesexperts from Unicode talking about emoji evolution, and then Senator Warren on -isms from capital- to rac- all in the same place? None of that stuff perfectly fits into SXSW's overarching programming tracks, but perhaps that itself is the message. These days, the boundaries between art, business, and innovation blur together more than ever. Put a bunch of movers and shakers in those areas together for a week, and interesting stuff is bound to happen.

Unfortunately, explaining that (even succinctly) takes more than 30 seconds, so we failed this impromptu summarization quiz. But our time in Austin certainly felt like a success overall. Above is just a small sampling of the sights that spanned almost every topic you can find on the pages of Ars Technica. We may have missed Bill Nye crashing New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Q&A to talk about the environment, but we damn well made sure to snag one of those cookies.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Is Believing In Meritocracy Bad For You?

Slashdot - March 17, 2019 - 2:15pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

500 million years of climate history pinned on plate tectonics

Ars Technica - March 17, 2019 - 2:00pm

Enlarge / Indonesia's Paluweh volcano sits in a region of colliding tectonic plates—perhaps the formula for glacial periods in geologic history. (credit: Robert Simmon/NASA Earth Observatory)

Generally speaking, it’s easy enough to make sense of the last few million years of climate patterns—the world looked much as it does today, so changes in greenhouse gas concentrations or ocean circulation can be related to what we see now. But as you go back farther in time, you can find very different climates and a rearranged map of continents, and those require more creative thinking.

For example, the ice age periods in the recent past are not unique. But most of the last 500 million years have been much warmer—what has caused the climate to slowly drift toward warmer or cooler temperatures over millions of years?

Looping

In the grand sweep of Earth history, its climate has remained within a habitable temperature range—thanks in part to the moderating influence of feedback loops within the system. The weathering of silicate minerals in bedrock pulls CO2 out of the atmosphere, for example. In a warming climate, weathering can speed up, removing more greenhouse gas and stabilizing temperatures. Cool the planet and weathering slows, giving greenhouse gases more chance to accumulate.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

How to charge your iPhone as fast as possible, no matter what charger you have

ZDnet Blogs - March 17, 2019 - 12:45pm
You've got about 30 minutes until you're out of the door and you realize that your iPhone's battery is almost dead! What's the best way to get as much charge into the battery as possible?
Categories: Opinion

How hackers pulled off a $20 million bank heist

Ars Technica - March 17, 2019 - 12:30pm

Enlarge (credit: Buyenlarge | Getty Images)

In January 2018 a group of hackers, now thought to be working for the North Korean state-sponsored group Lazarus, attempted to steal $110 million from the Mexican commercial bank Bancomext. That effort failed. But just a few months later, a smaller yet still elaborate series of attacks allowed hackers to siphon off 300 to 400 million pesos, or roughly $15 to $20 million from Mexican banks. Here's how they did it.

At the RSA security conference in San Francisco last Friday, penetration tester and security advisor Josu Loza, who was an incident responder in the wake of the April attacks, presented findings on how hackers executed the heists both digitally and on the ground around Mexico. The hackers' affiliation remains publicly unknown. Loza emphasizes that while the attacks likely required extensive expertise and planning over months, or even years, they were enabled by sloppy and insecure network architecture within the Mexican financial system, and security oversights in SPEI, Mexico's domestic money transfer platform run by central bank Banco de México, also known as Banxico.

Easy pickings

Thanks to security holes in the targeted bank systems, attackers could have accessed internal servers from the public Internet, or launched phishing attacks to compromise executives—or even regular employees—to gain a foothold. Many networks didn't have strong access controls, so hackers could get a lot of mileage out of compromised employee credentials. The networks also weren't well segmented, meaning intruders could use that initial access to penetrate deep into banks's connections to SPEI, and eventually SPEI's transaction servers, or even its underlying code base.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Solar Panel Splits Water To Produce Hydrogen

Slashdot - March 17, 2019 - 6:45am
Categories: Geek, Opinion

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