Top Stories for the Week of March 10, 2015

  • Episode 390
  • March 10, 2015
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Tuesday March 10, 2015


Would you like some malware on your popcorn? A security researcher has found two seriously scary exploits in the way Blu-ray runs hidden code in the background.

A pair of exploits in hardware and software used for playing Blu-ray discs have come to light.

A pair of exploits in hardware and software used for playing Blu-ray discs have come to light.

Stephen Tomkinson, a security researcher for NCC, presented his research at the Securi-Tay conference at Abertay Univeristy in Scotland on Friday. At the event, he showed how he had been able to create a Blu-ray disc that detects the player it’s running on, and then chooses one of two exploits to install malware on the host computer.

Blu-ray discs support additional content like dynamic menus, which are built into discs using Blu-ray Disc Java, and these use ‘xlets’ for user interfaces. Tomkinson found a flaw in Cyberlink PowerDVD, which is included with many Windows-based computers, that allowed him to leave the xlet sandbox and launch malicious code.

The second exploit targets Blu-ray players. He was able to get root access on a Blu-ray player, where he was able to ‘trick’ the system into running a command that would install malware.

Since the video continues to play, users may not even suspect that something malicious is going on in the background.

Until the exploits are fixed, users are being advised to avoid Blu-ray discs from unknown sources.

Source: www.welivesecurity.com


How can one material make our shoes more comfortable and protect power plants from the effects of earthquakes at the same time? Progress is being made on metamaterials, and we'll give you the latest buzz.

Physicists are abuzz with possibilities for "metamaterials" that can be designed to have surprising properties.

Physicists are abuzz with possibilities for "metamaterials" that can be designed to have surprising properties.

Tweaking the structure of materials to manipulate things like their appearance is already fairly well-known; the next phase is changing their mechanics.

A major conference is alive with ideas, designs and samples including springy ceramics, unfeelability cloaks and programmable rubber sponges.

They could help build spacecraft tiles or even terrain-sensitive shoe soles.

Prof Martin Wegener, from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany works on cloaking, but not in the way you're thinking... his aim is not to make things invisible. Instead, he wants to hide them from physical forces, and last year his lab produced a honeycomb-like material that made an object beneath it unfeelable.

This particular metamaterial was a solid lattice that acts like a fluid in certain ways, deflecting pressure around its hidden cargo.

In this picture, a small honeycomb structure made from the material was able to successfully cloak the cylinder beneath from being felt.

It was shown that a careful pattern of such materials could divert damaging earthquake vibrations. Turning the ground itself into a sort of metamaterial, it seems, might go so far as to protect a power station from a tremor.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Computers can now detect and track people even from very blurry security video footage.

Fujitsu has developed image-processing technology that can be used to track people in security camera footage, even when the images are heavily blurred.

Fujitsu has developed image-processing technology that can be used to track people in security camera footage, even when the images are heavily blurred.

Fujitsu Laboratories said its technology is the first of its kind that can detect people from low-resolution imagery in which faces are indistinguishable.

Detecting the movements of people could be useful for retail design, reducing pedestrian congestion in crowded urban areas or improving evacuation routes for emergencies, it said.

Fujitsu used computer-vision algorithms to analyze the imagery and identify the rough shapes, such as heads and torsos, that remain even if the image is heavily pixelated. The system can pick out multiple people in a frame, even if they overlap.

Using multiple camera sources, it can then determine if two given targets are the same person by focusing on the distinctive colors of a person's clothing.

An indoor test of the system was able to track the paths of 80 percent of test subjects.

Source: www.computerworld.com.au


The newly announced "FREAK" bug allows the interception and easy decryption of supposedly secure data.

Microsoft has issued a security warning about a bug that could let attackers spy on supposedly secure communications.

Microsoft has issued a security warning about a bug that could let attackers spy on supposedly secure communications.

Called "Freak", the bug was found in software used to encrypt data passing between web servers and web users.

Initially the flaw was thought only to affect some users of Android and Blackberry phones and Apple's Safari web browser.

Microsoft's warning suggests millions more may be at risk of losing data.

The Freak flaw was discovered by encryption and security expert Karthikeyan Bhargavan and lets attackers force data travelling between a vulnerable site and a visitor to use weak encryption. This makes it easier to crack open the data and steal sensitive information.

Statistics gathered by a group set up to monitor the impact of the Freak flaw suggest about 9.5% of the web's top one million websites are susceptible to such attacks.

The monitoring group has also produced an online tool that lets you check if your browser is vulnerable to the flaw.

You can access this tool and learn what you need to do at freakattack.com

Source: www.bbc.com


A man has been arrested for dissing his employer on Facebook, and could face up to 5 years in jail.

An expat American has been arrested in the United Arab Emirates for comments he posted on Facebook while in the US.

An expat American has been arrested in the United Arab Emirates for comments he posted on Facebook while in the US.

Helicopter mechanic Ryan Pate wrote the Facebook post while in Florida after arguing with employer Global Aerospace Logistics (Gal) over sick leave.

On returning to Abu Dhabi from Florida, he was arrested for breaking the country's strict cyber-slander laws.

The laws were introduced in late 2012 and make it an offence to use the net to mock or deride organisations and individuals.

His trial is due to start on 17 March and he could face up to five years in jail and a large fine if found guilty.

Source: www.bbc.com


The massive multi-player online game "Star Trek Online" has paid tribute to Leonard Nimoy, who passed away on February 27.

“Star Trek Online” has paid tribute to the late actor Leonard Nimoy with two permanent in-game statues of Spock.

The Massive Multi-Player Online game, “Star Trek Online” has paid tribute to the late actor Leonard Nimoy with two permanent in-game statues of Spock. One includes the phrase “Live Long and Prosper” while the other reads “The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few.”

In the announcement posted Friday on the “Star Trek Online” website, executive producer Steve Ricossa addressed what the late actor meant to the “Star Trek” community, calling Leonard Nimoy a "cultural icon" and explaining that his passing has been felt farther and wider than Leonard himself could have possibly known, and it’s that humility, despite all of his skills, talents, and fame, that made him someone we all cared about.

Nimoy’s name also joins another memorial on the site, alongside creator Gene Roddenberry, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan and Majel Barrett. The actor, who originated the role of Spock, passed away Feb. 27 at age 83.

Source: spinoff.comicbookresources.com


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