First Mac-Targetting Ransomware Appears in the Wild

Despite the rising amount of ransomware attacks recently, Apple’s Mac OSX has so far remained unaffected by it. Unfortunately, for Mac-users, security firm Palo Alto Networks announced on Sunday that it had discovered the world’s first ransomware that is aimed at OSX computers. Now named “KeRanger”, the malware was discovered through a rogue version of the popular Transmission BitTorrent client.

KeRanger was first noticed on Saturday on the Transmission forums, where some users posted unusual reports that copies of Transmission downloaded from the main site were infected with malware. This means that the Transmission site itself was compromised, as the KeRanger infected versions of the client were served over an HTTP connection instead of the usual HTTPS used for the remainder of the website. Transmission later published a message stating that: “Everyone running 2.90 on OS X should immediately upgrade to 2.91 or delete their copy of 2.90, as they may have downloaded a malware-infected file.”

When a computer is infected with the KeRanger ransomware, through installing a compromised version of Transmission, the installer runs an embedded executable file on the system. It then waits 3 days before connecting to its command and control (C2) servers over the Tor anonymizer network. From there, it begins the process of encrypting certain types of files and documents on the system before issuing a demand of one bitcoin (around $400) to a specific address in order to restore access to their files. The current version of KeRanger was also reported to still be under development, with future iterations of the malware potentially able to encrypt Time Machine backups too, in order to prevent restoration.

It was only a matter of time before ransomware came to the Mac, however, it is worrying how vulnerable usually trustworthy open source projects are to unwillingly carrying malware. While the infected version of Transmission has since been pulled from their site, if you believe you have been infected, Palo Alto Networks’ report includes steps on how to identify and remove KeRanger.

Quantum Entanglement Is Real And At Room Temperature

Quantum Entanglement may sound like a term straight out of a science-fiction film, but it is real. Quantum entanglement is a term used to describe when you link two particles, this means that when you affect one particle, the linked particle displays the same change in behaviour no matter how far apart they are. Imagine it is almost like a particle walkie-talkie system, you say something on one end and the other end hears it as if you had said it there. While this was possible before, you had to go near absolute zero to achieve it, meaning that while an amazing piece of science and technology, the practical uses were slim. That is no longer the case as a research paper has appeared announcing they have managed to complete the action at room temperature.

The experiment resulted in thousands of electrons and nucleons being linked, roughly equating to the size of a blood cell; around 40 micrometer’s cubed. By using infrared laser light to align the magnetic states and then MRI imaging to entangle them, the group hopes that this can be the first step towards using quantum technology in an everyday environment.

The technology could create sensors which are more sensitive to changes or even to create systems where it is scientifically impossible to intercept a message between two devices (simply because the message would only exist at the start and end point). A whole host of possible uses have appeared and this technology can only continue to grow.

Snooper Charter Powers are Increasingly Worrying

Security is one thing, from a virus on your phone or PC to a coordinated breach and remote access that compromises your computer. While we may not want to believe them, they are the things that happen more than anyone would want and as such, people are employed to look out for any risks and report and maybe even fix them. Security researchers are essential in the world where our digital security is as important to many as locking your door. So what does the new law that the UK government want enforced mean for you? For one it’s more than often known as the Snooper Charter, and its powers could be a problem for security researchers and even you.

The typical process for security researchers upon finding a backdoor, something that can give anyone access to your system, is to check your findings with colleagues and make sure that it is, in fact, a security risk, then to alert your client, normally the creator of the software or the owner of it at least. They then report it, get a fix out and then you can reveal to the world that they need to update in order to receive this fix.
Under the snooper charter, though, even so much as revealing a backdoor could be punishable with up to 12 months in jail or a fine. For someone who spends their life finding these flaws, the risk of you exposing one created by the government, could put you not only out of a job but also out of work for good.

If that wasn’t enough, intercepting information, equipment interference (hacking) and retaining communications data would also be protected under gag orders, including those for bulk communications data collection, such as all the emails sent from your home IP.

Granting access to all your information, without having to provide anything for scrutiny. This is made all the worse by that fact that even in talking to your MP, to prove someone innocent of a crime they were falsely accused for or even in the court when you’re being charged using this information, it would become illegal to even disclose that these tactics were used to obtain the information.

With these powers and the charter as it is, not only would the government and agencies have abilities to access and obtain information with little oversight, but you would be unable to discuss or reveal that these activities even took place.

Record For Furthest Distance Quantum Data Transmission Broken

Recently, there have been a lot of articles about technologies straight from science fiction. With lasers being mounted to airplanes by 2019 and Japan firing a laser equal to a thousand times the world’s electricity consumption. With everything from science fiction becoming a reality, it was only a matter of time before this topic appeared in our news again, Quantum Data. Quantum refers to anything that can be in two forms at the same time, for example, Quantum computers are looking at changing how your computer works from  “yes, no” to “yes, no, both”. Quantum Data transmission is a step further.

From Star Trek to Gundam teleportation has always been at the head of science fiction, the ability to go from one place to another by being transmitted like an email or text message. A team of scientists at the US’ National Institute of Standards and Technology have gone and transmitted a photon of information across 63 miles. Now calm down, lets put that into perspective. When transmitting data that far, 99% of photons wouldn’t make the full trip, and this latest record was only broken because of a set of new detectors.

With the ability to transmit data, in what could possibly be the most secure way, across miles from your home to your work and local shops, transmitting quantum data could make WiFi look like plastic cups and string. Would you look forward to being able to use your computer from 63 miles away aware that no one could intercept your messages because you were using the same computer that was 63 miles away, at the same time? Confusing isn’t it?

Thank you Engadget for the information.

Image courtesy of Drum Beat Marketing.

See How Hackers Can Take Control of Your Chrysler Vehicles

I know that there have been a lot of movies where hackers can take control of vehicles and crash them, but can it really be done in real life? Well, a pair of hackers have just demonstrated this with a Chrysler using a zero-day exploit they found.

The hackers apparently demonstrated the hack having Wired’s Andy Greenberg in the actual vehicle. He was not told about the hack, but was warned not to panic. So, as he was travelling down a busy highway, the hackers started slowly taking control, first by turning on the air conditioning system, then the radio and finally the windshields.

As Greenberg drove on, the hackers moved to something more serious. They proceeded to cut the transmission, having Greenberg watch the RPM go up, but the car slowly losing speed. To demonstrate the hack even further, they found an empty car lot, where the hackers were able to show how they can kill the engine, apply brakes or even cut the brakes entirely. The latter apparently sent Greenberg into a ditch, as shown in the pic above.

The attack is really terrifying,since a lot of vehicles out there are vulnerable to the attack. However, the hackers stated that they plan on releasing the exploit on the Internet at the same time they are to give a talk at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas next month.

Thank you WIRED for providing us with this information

Australian Radio Telescope Captures Strange Signals From Space

Scientists from Melbourne’s Swinburne University have detected alien radio signals from space in real time. The signals were captured by the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia, famously part of the communications network that helped relay the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing footage for TV broadcast around the world.

Emily Petroff, lead researcher at Swinburne University, was excited by the discovery, saying, “Fast radio bursts only last as long as it takes a human to blink their eye. That is what makes this discovery so exciting.”

“Because we were able to catch the act, as opposed to existing data sets, we were able to reveal that the radiation produced by FRB was more than 20 per cent circularly polarised and this suggests there were strong magnetic fields near the source.”

The waves picked up by the Parkes telescope were circular in shape, meaning the signal was on two planes – signals from Earth are commonly only one plane.

“There are two competing models to explain the phenomenon,” Petroff said.

“One suggests it is caused by the collapse or explosion of a star in other another galaxy, while the other suggests it comes from some sort of energy flaring from a neutron star.”

“However, both of these could be incorrect and it could be something entirely different.”

Source: news.com.au

Twisted Lasers Beam Data Across Vienna

In an interesting example of wireless data transmission, researchers in Vienna delivered digital data over 2 miles via twisted laser beams.

Using a technique known as “orbital angular momentum” (OAM) the scientists twisted a green laser beam into 16 patterns, successfully delivering data through what they call “turbulent air”. Each of the pulses delivered in the beam correlated to pixels from images which were then put back together and displayed at the other end.

The images were only greyscale and it wasn’t exactly a speedy transmission, but the researchers believe this method of data transmission could prove useful in the future, most notably in sending data many miles into space.

Source: Engadget

BBC to Trial 4K Transmissions During Commonwealth Games

As 4K televisions are becoming more common on the marketplace and the cost of them starts to rapidly drop, the question now is not if 4K will ever appear, but now when will it be appearing in our homes.

At this year’s World Cup in Brazil, the BBC are conducting a set of 4K broadcast trials to see how the feeds respond to transmission over a long distance, although this is strictly on a R&D basis at this moment in time. Whilst this means that 4K TV owners still have to wait longer for 4K to appear on their end, the BBC has announced that during next years Commonwealth Games in Glasgow they will be making a public showcase of 4K broadcasting, with a display of the 4K content to be found in the Glasgow Science Centre.

Like the Brazil footage, the commonwealth tests are purely for R5D, although they will have a public viewing and although most transmissions are over the air, the 4K feed in Glasgow will be conducted solely over the internet to remove the bandwidth bottleneck that may otherwise occur.

Although all these trails indicate that 4K broadcasting is not a million miles away now, there is still a lot of work to do as a standard for transmitting these feeds is set – with the internet probably to be the most likely candidate due to the bandwidth involved. Either way though, if you want a glimpse of what 4K will look like in the flesh, and you live close to Glasgow, it may be worth taking a look at the live feeds next year.

Source: Fudzilla

Images courtesy: NextPowerUp