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Researchers Discover WiFi Vulnerability Affecting Basically Every Device On Earth

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Well, there’s cheerful news to start off the week: Researchers have discovered and disclosed a massive WiFi vulnerability that puts everyone’s private data at risk. How massive? Basically, if you can read this story, congratulations — you’re almost certainly affected.

The researchers, based out of the University of Leuven in Belgium, have given this WiFi flaw the catchy name of “Krack Attack.”

What’s the danger?

You may remember the last time you connected your phone, laptop, or other device to a new WiFi network. When it asked you for the network password, it also said something about the security protocol, perhaps listing something like “WEP” or “WPA2,” or asking you to choose from a list of types.

Older standards, WEP and WPA, have known weaknesses and aren’t considered the safest go-to any longer. The WPA2 security protocol is the current, modern standard and has been for about a decade.

Unfortunately, that WPA2 standard is also where the researchers found this vulnerability.

The flaw has to do with the actual encrypted messages that devices send each other to authenticate when they connect. The researchers proved that someone can manipulate those connections, abuse the vulnerability, and gain access to communications that are supposed to be secure.

The upshot is that a malicious actor can use this weakness “to steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and so on.” Basically, any data you can send, they can access. Someone could also use the same vulnerability to add extra data onto your device that should not be there — like, for example, ransomware or other malware.

Because the weak point is in the actual standard, it’s not limited to a single network or device. It’s pervasive — every single device that can communicate in this way, which is basically all of them, is potentially susceptible. The list includes all Android, Apple, Linux, and Windows devices — your standard phones and laptops — as well as the routers they connect to, from companies like Linksys. Some devices, like those running Android are Linux, may be easier for hackers to manipulate than others, but none are safe.

If you speak network security, the research team explained the details, published a paper, and included a proof-of-concept demonstration on their website.

US-CERT, the division of the Department of Homeland Security that handles digital security, has confirmed their findings.

Is there anything I can do?

There’s nothing that individuals can do; changing your WiFi password or using a different device won’t help, since the flaw is embedded deep in the very basis of your internet connection.

But there is good news: This flaw is patchable.

Device manufacturers were all notified about the flaw before it was made public, and are working on updates to fix this particular danger. The best thing any home user can do is install security updates as soon as your devices prompt you to, and make sure you keep any computer, phone, or connected device as up-to-date as the manufacturer allows.





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tain
5 hours ago
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How “Big Data” Went Bust

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Five years ago—in February 2012—an article in the New York Times’ Sunday Review heralded the arrival of a new epoch in human affairs: “The Age of Big Data.” Society was embarking on a revolution, the article informed us, one in which the collection and analysis of enormous quantities of data would transform almost every facet of life. No longer would data analysis be confined to spreadsheets and regressions: The advent of supercomputing, combined with the proliferation of internet-connected sensors that could record data constantly and send it to the cloud, meant that the sort ­of advanced statistical analysis described in Michael Lewis’ 2003 baseball book Moneyball could be applied to fields ranging from business to academia to medicine to romance. Not only that, but sophisticated data analysis software could help identify utterly unexpected correlations, such as a relationship between a loan recipient’s use of all caps and his likelihood of defaulting. This would surely yield novel insights that would change how we think about, well, just about everything.



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tain
20 hours ago
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21 Photos That Will Confuse You For Approximately Three Seconds

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Illusions, Michael.

A giant squirrel is not trying to steal this man's car.

A giant squirrel is not trying to steal this man's car.

Twitter: @BoringEnormous

This baby does not have the head of an old man.

This baby does not have the head of an old man.

reddit.com

This man and woman are not wearing the same outfit.

This man and woman are not wearing the same outfit.

reddit.com

This is not some kind of girl/dog hybrid creature.

This is not some kind of girl/dog hybrid creature.

reddit.com

This guy isn't staring out onto a lake.

This guy isn't staring out onto a lake.

(Hint: tilt your head to the right.)

reddit.com

Don't worry; this man is not dangling a baby over a balcony.

Don't worry; this man is not dangling a baby over a balcony.

reddit.com

This woman is not part cow.

This woman is not part cow.

imgur.com

That man is not part of the painting on the wall.

That man is not part of the painting on the wall.

reddit.com

This girl doesn't actually have super long arms.

This girl doesn't actually have super long arms.

reddit.com

The man in this photo is not standing up; he's lying down.

The man in this photo is not standing up; he's lying down.

imgur.com

This is not a giant girl kneeling on water.

This is not a giant girl kneeling on water.

reddit.com

This ain't a teeny-tiny man standing on top of a trash can.

This ain't a teeny-tiny man standing on top of a trash can.

reddit.com

This doggo cannot breathe fire.

This doggo cannot breathe fire.

imgur.com

This woman is not wearing a bathing suit.

This woman is not wearing a bathing suit.

reddit.com

This model is not showing off her buttcheeks.

This model is not showing off her buttcheeks.

reddit.com

This woman is wearing pants.

This woman is wearing pants.

reddit.com

This basketball player is not sneaking a sniff of this fan's hair.

This basketball player is not sneaking a sniff of this fan's hair.

imgur.com

There is not a giant dildo in this office.

There is not a giant dildo in this office.

reddit.com

This woman is not actually a floating torso.

This woman is not actually a floating torso.

reddit.com

This baby does not have a pair of adult legs.

This baby does not have a pair of adult legs.

reddit.com

And this is not a two-headed dog.

And this is not a two-headed dog.

But if it were, what a good two-headed boy it would be!!!

reddit.com



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tain
1 day ago
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Startup Plans To Clean Up Cigarette Butts Using Crows

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AmiMoJo writes: A startup in the Netherlands is developing the "Crowbar," a bird feeder that takes discarded cigarette butts as payment for dispensing food. A camera recognises cigarette filters and rejects any other objects placed in the Crowbar. The idea isn't entirely original, a gentleman in the US has already built a similar device and trained crows to deposit coins. The hope is that crows will be able to keep cities clean, sort through refuse and perform other tasks for our mutual benefit. Popular Mechanics notes that crows "are some of the smartest animals in the world," suggesting this means "we could harness their abilities for the greater good of our planet."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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tain
2 days ago
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What Will Replace Computer Keyboards?

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Computer keyboards will be phased out over the next 20 years, and we should think carefully about what replaces them as the dominant mode of communicating with machines, argues Android co-founder Rich Miner. Virtual reality technology and brain-computer links -- whose advocates include Elon Musk -- could lead to a "dystopian" future where people live their lives inside of goggles, or they jack directly into computers and become completely "de-personalized," Miner worries. He takes a more "humanistic" view of the future of human-machine interfaces, one that frees us to be more expressive and requires computers to communicate on our level, not the other way around. That means software that can understand our speech, facial expressions, gestures, and handwriting. These technologies already exist, but have a lot of room for improvement. One example he gives is holding up your hand to pause a video.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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tain
2 days ago
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8.5-Ton Chinese Space Station Will Crash To Earth In a Few Months

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dryriver writes: China launched a space laboratory named Tiangong 1 into orbit in 2011. The space laboratory was supposed to become a symbol of China's ambitious bid to become a space superpower. After two years in space, Tiangong 1 started experiencing technical failure. Last year Chinese officials confirmed that the space laboratory had to be scrapped. The 8.5 ton heavy space laboratory has begun its descent towards Earth and is expected to crash back to Earth within the next few months. Most of the laboratory is expected to burn up in earth's atmosphere, but experts believe that pieces as heavy as 100 kilograms (220 pounds) may survive re-entry and impact earth's surface. Nobody will be able to predict with any precision where those chunks of space laboratory will land on Earth until a few hours before re-entry occurs. The chance that anyone would be harmed by Tiangong-1's debris is considered unlikely. When NASA's SkyLab fell to earth in 1979, an Australian town fined them $400 -- for littering.

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tain
2 days ago
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