May 3 to 9, 2004< Prev PostPermalinkNext Post >
Topic Of The Week: Computer Security
The Sasser worm, developed by an 18 year-old in Germany who also made the ubiquitous "Netsky" email virus, infected an estimated million computers last week, 80% of which belonged to home users and students. It takes an average of ten minutes for an unprotected Windows XP or 2000 PC to be affected once connected to the net. Victims included:
- American Express (causing cancellations and delays)
- Boston University (over 1,000 PCs)
- Citibank (light infection)
- The European Commission headquarters (infecting 1,200 PCs)
- The French Stock Exchange
- Germany's Deutsche Post (infecting 300,000 PCs)
- Lehman Brothers Holdings (light infection)
- London's Heathrow Airport (shutting down a terminal)
- Sampo Bank in Finland, shutting down 130 branches
- Taiwan's national postal service (forcing 1/3 of branches to paper)
- The U.K.'s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (forcing paper map charting)
- University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (delaying appointments and treatments)
- Westpac Bank in Australia (forcing transactions to paper)
- The entire school district of Maury County, Tennessee
- At least four public banks in India
- "Dozens" of companies in Vietnam
- Government networks in Hong Kong and Taiwan
- One of Korea's largest hospitals, causing patient processing delays
...and experts warn of worse to come. Now why banks, airlines, and stock exchanges would open themselves up to being so vulnerable by using unpatched, networked Windows systems is completely beyond me. Haven't these people heard of firewalls? Get a Mac, folks! And for your servers, use a secure UNIX like BSD!
Your computer's security may be compromised just by listening to it (acoustic cryptanalysis):
Current chip design is overkill, often applying more precision to tasks when needed. By making chips that guess results when needed, one may be able to reduce power usage by a factor of 1,000:
This new high-speed industrial hand dryer dries your hands in 5 to 6 seconds:
The new $284 million "Geek Palace" at MIT, designed by cutting-edge architect Frank Gehry:
A high-level report from the 2004 Flexible Displays & Electronics Conference:
Don't forget about the new 400GB hard drives!
Will all communities become Wal-Marted, SUVed, McMansioned deserts? McMansions are invading this suburb in Washington, D.C.. Warning: graphic architectural carnage!
The rise of suburban loft architecture:
"You surf just like a woman"
Over ten years since the first Web survey mentioned women, marketers still have misconceptions about what women want online:
People see only what they what to see. "Scientists have gathered remarkable evidence which shows that it is possible to see something without observing it". Did you see the gorilla?
The "eBay economy" is growing. This is a great business idea - sell things on eBay for others. Mailbox places should take this up as an additional service:
A public library's success story in converting its public access systems to Linux:
Laser spectroscopy is now being used to detect suicide bombers in Israel. Why don't the lidar folks at UH get into this?
Will false teeth be a thing of the past? Successful experiments have regrown teeth from stem cells:
G.I.s in Iraq are getting sick from depleted uranium:
I forgot to add this last week - killer whales are getting louder in response to the din of whale-watching boats:
A new circular fishing hook snags fish but not turtles:
Climate change is killing off forests across the West at an "unprecedented rate":
"Blood pressure rising in kids" - I'm starting to get tired of these "X rising in kids" articles...
The Volkswagen ball, from the Berkshire Botanical Garden. Sculpture by Lars-Erik Fisk:
More "ball" art from Fisk:
Psychedelic Buddhistic art from Chalermchai Kositpipat, one of Thailand's most famous painters:
Funny lists from a publisher on sci-fi and horror plots that are submitted too often:
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50 moments that helped shaped music history: