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Christmas lights are so bright, NASA can see them from space

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 2 mins ago

There is such a drastic increase in lighting during the holidays that NASA has picked up on it, according to a press release published by the U.S. space agency. Specifically, the NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite found that metropolitan areas increased 20 to 50 percent brighter during the Christmas holiday season and New Year's.

 

 

"It's a near ubiquitous signal. Despite being ethnically and religiously diverse, we found that the U.S. experiences a holiday increase that is present across most urban communities," noted Miguel Roman, NASA Goddard research physical scientist. "These lighting patterns are tracking a national shared tradition."

Continue reading 'Christmas lights are so bright, NASA can see them from space' (full post)

Survey: Company malware breaches not exactly uncommon these days

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 hour, 6 mins ago

A reported 51 percent of companies suffered some type of malware breach during the past 18 months, with phishing emails and social engineering attacks able to circumvent security filters, according to a survey published by the OPSWAT IT solutions provider.

 

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It's a frightening time for companies trying to keep their networks secure, especially as social engineering techniques - which rely on tricking employees to click fraudulent links or install the malware directly - prove difficult to defend against.

 

"With the sheer number of new viruses introduced every day, it is not surprising that 51% of the respondents experienced a malware breach, particularly since 39% only utilized one anti-malware solution," said Tony Berning, OPSWAT Metascan product manager. "By using only one or two anti-virus engines, companies are exposing themselves to malware threats, since no anti-virus engine can be accurate 100% of the time."

Poll reveals most Americans doubtful of commercial drone use

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 6 hours, 20 mins ago

A new Associated Press-GfK poll discovered 41 percent Americans opposed drones for commercial use, with just 21 percent favoring commercial drone use, and 35 percent still sitting on the fence. Only three percent of those surveyed have flown small drones, but that number is expected to increase in the coming years.

 

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Congress will likely push the FAA to help move things along faster, as the drone industry is expected to create 100,000 jobs and provide $82 billion for the economy in the first 10 years.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will continue to move forward with private and commercial drone use - and companies continue to push forward with drone use for deliveries, filming in Hollywood, agriculture, engineering, and other verticals.

Sony says demand for PlayStation 4 boomed in Europe

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: 6 hours, 57 mins ago

Sony has been in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons in recent weeks, but at least the company's gaming unit has something to cheer about. The PlayStation 4 has seen such high demand in Europe, Sony reportedly has struggled to keep up with European demand.

 

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"If I look at Europe I think it is potentially, for the second year running, going to be quite inventory challenged," said Andrew House, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO, in a statement to Reuters. "I'm not going to say you won't be able to find a PlayStation 4. I think it's going to be kind of hand to mouth in terms of that market."

 

In the United States market, however, Sony admitted to "tougher" competition due to Microsoft's aggressive Xbox One game console. However, Sony believes sales through Christmas are still in line with its preliminary expectations - and reports will likely be published in early 2015.

Sony's cyberattack likely to become most expensive for a U.S. company

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 7 hours, 7 mins ago

Sony Pictures is facing a public relations nightmare after a major data breach orchestrated by North Korea, and company executives just can't stop the bleeding. The data breach could become the costliest suffered by a U.S. company, with fallout that will surely continue into 2015. Beyond the sensitive documents and personal information stolen, along with the cancellation of "The Interview," there is a strong possibility some actors will avoid Sony in the future.

 

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It remains unclear how much Sony will lose because of the cyberattack, but lawsuits, lost revenue because of "The Interview" being pulled, and other problems will only complicate matters even further.

 

"This attack went to the heart and core of Sony's business and succeeded," said Avivah Litan, Gartner cybersecurity analyst. "We haven't seen any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history."

VR technology enables virtual body swapping by psychologists

By: Chris Smith | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: 7 hours, 22 mins ago

Thanks to Oculus and their advanced technology, scientists are conducting "virtual body swapping" studies - putting clients through a literal experience of the "don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes" common saying.

 

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One of the main reasons behind conducting these experiments is to test negative attitudes geared toward specific groups - as according to Manos Tsakiris from the Royal Holloway University of London. Tsakiris is one of the authors of a new paper published in a journal named "Trends in Cognitive Sciences".

 

Further commenting on this study, Tsakiris said "once you change people's representations of what their bodies are like, then you can change their social cognition, which is the way in which we relate to others" - wrapping up the success of multiple studies conducted over many years, set to fight bias.

Continue reading 'VR technology enables virtual body swapping by psychologists' (full post)

North Korean hackers might set sights on US telecom, infrastructure

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 7 hours, 23 mins ago

North Korea could be using the cyberattack against Sony Pictures as a test run to try out its budding cyber capabilities, with the reclusive government potentially taking aim at US energy companies and critical infrastructure. Despite much of the Western world ignoring its growing cyber ambitions, it looks like North Korea has been able to increase its cyber weapons.

 

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"North Korea's ultimate goal in cyber strategy is to be able to attack national infrastructure of South Korea and the United States," said Kim Heung-kwang, a North Korean defector and former computer science professor. "The hacking of Sony Pictures is similar to previous attacks that were blamed on North Korea and is a result of training and efforts made with the goal of destroying infrastructure."

 

The North Korean government has poured resources into its Bureau 121 cyber warfare unit, recruiting some of the nation's best computer experts - with most of the department's agents originating from the North Korean military computer school. It has successfully attacked targets in South Korea on several occasions, as some networks remain vulnerable to attack.

NASA's Kepler spacecraft finds HIP 116454b alien exoplanet

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 8 hours ago

It wasn't too long ago when the Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft was considered a lost cause, due to problems with its reaction wheels. Instead, the spacecraft proved its worth yet again, as it found the HIP 116454b exoplanet, larger than Earth and smaller than Neptune, orbiting around a star in just nine days. The planet is too hot for life, and is more than 180 light-years away from Earth, located in the Pisces constellation.

 

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Planets such as HIP 116454b are good prospects for future follow-up ground studies, as researchers try to gain mass measurements.

 

"Today, thanks to an innovative idea and lots of hard work by the NASA and Ball Aerospace team, Kepler may well deliver the first candidates for follow-up study by the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize the atmospheres of distance world's and search for signatures of life," said Paul Hertz, NASA astrophysics division director.

TSA nabs passenger trying to smuggle handgun in PlayStation 2 console

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: 8 hours, 34 mins ago

Busted! Oscar Ramirez, 48, was caught by Port Authority Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials trying to smuggle a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun inside of a Sony PlayStation 2 game console. Ramirez was attempting to fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to Mexico City Mexico, but the Brooklyn man was caught before getting onboard.

 

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Things didn't look right when the console went through x-ray, and officers found the weapon's hand grip and other parts inside of the bottom of the console housing. Ramirez now faces a weapons charge for trying to take the hand gun with him.

 

The TSA has found 2,100 weapons during airport checkpoints so far in 2013, a 16 percent increase year-over-year.

UN General Assembly passes digital privacy protection resolution

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 9 hours, 5 mins ago

The U.N. General Assembly wants better digital privacy protections for Internet users, which was drafted by Germany and Brazil, earning consensus approval. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed mass surveillance capabilities by the NSA and GCHQ, which has angered a large number of Internet users.

 

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The UN resolution, which was co-sponsored by 65 nations - as opposed to just 10 in 2013 - will also rely on private sector companies to play a role.

 

Previously, the UN showed great concern over Internet users' rights to digital privacy, with great concern of covert surveillance programs. "Without the necessary checks, we risk turning into Orwellian states, where every step of every citizen is being monitored and recorded in order to prevent any conceivable crime," said Harald Braun, German ambassador.

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