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Top Stories for the Week of October 30, 2019

  • Episode 630
  • October 30, 2019

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday October 30, 2019


Robbie called it last week when he said we may start to see legitimate companies moving content onto the dark web in light of recent government sanctions. Well, now BBC News announced it has launched a 'dark web' Tor mirror of its news service.

Robbie called it last week when he said we may start to see legitimate companies moving content onto the dark web in light of recent government sanctions. Well, now BBC News announced it has launched a 'dark web' Tor mirror of its news service.

The Tor browser is privacy-focused software used to access the dark web.

The browser can obscure who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance and censorship.

In the BBC's case, it comes about as countries including China, Iran and Vietnam have tried to block their citizens from accessing the BBC News website or programs.

Instead of visiting bbc.co.uk/news or bbc.com/news, users of the Tor browser can visit the new bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion web address. Visiting this web address will not work in a regular web browser.

The dark web copy of the BBC News website will be the international edition, as seen from outside the UK.

It will include foreign language services such as BBC Arabic, BBC Persian and BBC Russian.

But UK-only content and services such as BBC iPlayer will not be accessible, due to broadcast rights.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


The Bloodhound supersonic car has completed its first drive across the Hakskeen dry lake in South Africa.

The Bloodhound supersonic car has completed its first drive across the Hakskeen dry lake in South Africa.

Pilot Andy Green took the jet-powered vehicle on a gentle 100mph (160km/h) shakedown test run on Friday.

Bloodhound is in Northern Cape for high-speed trials as it works towards an assault on the land speed record next year.

That mark - of 763mph (1,228km/h) - was set 22 years ago, also by Andy Green, in the Thrust SSC car.

Thrust broke the sound barrier in the process - the first, and only, car to have achieved the feat.

Bloodhound will be run at progressively faster and faster speeds in the coming days as engineers seek to verify its design and the proper working of its subsystems.

With a Eurofighter jet engine onboard, it should be capable of reaching 500-600mph (800-965km/h) this year. The addition of a rocket motor in 2020 ought then to take the car over 800mph (1,290km/h).

Engineers will be looking in particular at how much drag Bloodhound is producing in these trials. This will determine the level of thrust they will need from the rocket.

They will also be checking that the parachutes and brakes can bring the car safely to a stop at the end of a high-speed run.

Up to a dozen runs are planned between now and mid November, with the first six taking the speed up in steps of 50mph.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Two reports published in the last few months show that malware operators are experimenting with using WAV audio files to hide malicious code.

Two reports published in the last few months show that malware operators are experimenting with using WAV audio files to hide malicious code.

The technique is known as steganography -- the art of hiding information in plain sight, in another data medium.

In the software field, steganography -- also referred to as stego -- is used to describe the process of hiding files or text in another file, of a different format. For example, hiding plain text inside an image's binary format.

Using steganography has been popular with malware operators for more than a decade. Malware authors don't use steganography to breach or infect systems, but rather as a transfer method. Steganography allows files hiding malicious code to bypass security software that whitelists non-executable file formats (such as multimedia files).

All previous instances where malware used steganography revolved around using image file formats, such as PNG or JPG.

The novelty in the two recently-published reports is the use of WAV audio files, not seen abused in malware operations until this year.

The first of these two new malware campaigns abusing WAV files was reported back in June. Symantec security researchers said they spotted a Russian cyber-espionage group known as Waterbug (or Turla) using WAV files to hide and transfer malicious code from their server to already-infected victims.

The second malware campaign was spotted this month by BlackBerry Cylance.

But while the Symantec report described a nation-state cyber-espionage operation, Cylance said they saw the WAV steganography technique being abused in a run-of-the-mill crypto-mining malware operation.

Cylance said this particular threat actor was hiding DLLs inside WAV audio files. Malware already-present on the infected host would download and read the WAV file, extract the DLL bit by bit, and then run it, installing a cryptocurrency miner application named XMRrig.

This shows that your mundane crypto-mining malware authors are growing in sophistication, as they learn from other operations.

Source: www.zdnet.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


Google built an advanced computer that has achieved "quantum supremacy" for the first time, surpassing the performance of conventional devices.

Google built an advanced computer that has achieved "quantum supremacy" for the first time, surpassing the performance of conventional devices.

Scientists have been working on quantum computers for decades because they promise much faster speeds.

Now, that speed has been realized, and it's mindblowing. Their Sycamore quantum processor was able to perform a specific task in 200 seconds. Now, get ready for this: that same task would take the world's best supercomputer 10,000 years to complete.

In classical computers, the unit of information is called a "bit" and can have a value of either 1 or 0. But its equivalent in a quantum system - the qubit (short for quantum bit) can be both 1 and 0 at the same time.

This phenomenon opens the door for multiple calculations to be performed simultaneously. But the qubits need to be synchronised using a quantum effect known as entanglement, which Albert Einstein termed "spooky action at a distance".

However, scientists have struggled to build working devices with enough qubits to make them competitive with conventional types of computer.

Sycamore contains 54 qubits, although one of them didn't work during the test, so the device ran on 53 qubits.

Prof Jonathan Oppenheim, from UCL, who was not involved with the latest study, says, "It's an interesting test, it shows they have a lot of control over their device, it shows that they have low error rates. But it's nowhere near the kind of precision we would need to have a full-scale quantum computer."

IBM, which has been working on quantum computers of its own, questioned some of Google's figures, saying, "This is in fact a conservative, worst-case estimate, and we expect that with additional refinements the classical cost of the simulation can be further reduced."

IBM also quells some of the excitement saying, "quantum computers will never reign 'supreme' over classical computers, but will rather work in concert with them, since each have their unique strengths."

That said, this is a very exciting leap in quantum computing and is destined to lead to some incredible calculations being performed in seconds, rather than millennia.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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