From Ars Technica: Fake Windows updater targets government contractors, stealing sensitive data

Two security companies today released a joint report describing an ongoing series of attacks against government contractors that have been occurring since at least early 2009. According to the vendors Seculert and Zscaler, attackers are sending firms phishing e-mails with fake invitations to conferences, often in the form of PDF files that exploit flaws in Adobe Reader. The file installs what the vendors call an “MSUpdater” Trojan that poses as a legitimate Windows Update process. In reality, the Trojan is a remote access tool that can steal information from a company’s network for as long as the breach remains undiscovered.

“Foreign and domestic (United States) companies with intellectual property dealing in aero/geospace and defense seem to be some of the recent industries targeted in these attacks,” the report states, without identifying specific attack targets.

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from Ars Technica

From Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now: Video: Skin Augmented With Spider-Silk Stops a Speeding Bullet

Skin Augmented With Spider-Silk Stops a Bullet via New Scientist

Extolling the many virtues of spider silk is something of a trend these days, as the fine yet remarkably hardy material continues to best even the strongest synthetic materials (a good spider silk weave is supposedly four times stronger than Kevlar). But this latest application makes transgenic, spider silk-producing goats seem simple by comparison: A bioengineered skin so tough that it stops a speeding bullet from penetrating.

To be perfectly fair up front, the bullet in the first clip in the video below is moving at half speed. Repeated with a round moving at a full 1,080 feet per second, the skin gives way. But both half-speed and full-speed tests were also conducted with real human skin and human skin augmented with regular silkworm silk, as well as with piglet skin. In all cases, the bullet won out. The only exception was the bioengineered spider silk tissue.

Which begs the question: Is it possible to someday augment human skin to make it tougher–possibly even bulletproof? Probably not, and even if so that certainly wouldn’t make the human body impervious to the other factors involved in being struck by a bullet (like the sheer bone-breaking, potentially heart-stopping impact).

Regardless, chalk it up as another potential application for nature’s toughest fiber, one that’s getting closer and closer to mass-production and integration into a range of materials that need strengthening.


[New Scientist]

from Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now

From Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now: Testing the Best Audiophile-Quality Headphones

Audiophile Headphone Battle Sam Kaplan

Our friends over at Sound + Vision rounded up six of the best-sounding over-the-ear headphones out there. Put away your packaged Apple “White Plastic Circles of Pain” earbuds–these will fill your earholes with some of the finest-quality audio on the market. The headphones include some of the best offerings from Sony, Grado, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica–definitely worth a look if you’re serious about your music.

from Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now