Jan 19

Microsoft’s secret battle against the Tor botnet (The Daily Dot, Jan 16, 2014):

In August 2013, 4 million infected computers woke up and waited instructions from their master.

The pathogen was Sefnit, a nasty bit of malware that makes infected computers mine bitcoins. Once the computers woke up, they worked under the command of Ukranian and Israeli hackers named Scorpion and Dekadent. The malware communicated with the two by downloading Tor, the powerful anonymizing software, and talking over encrypted channels. It was the first time a botnet, as a collection of slave computers is called, used Tor in such a potentially powerful way.

By using an unconventional method to exploit Windows, the hackers unwittingly forced Microsoft to show a hand few knew it had: The ability to remotely remove progams en masse from people’s computers, without them even knowing it.

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Jan 20

While ears may be the new biometric du jour, Advanced Optical Systems (AOS) is doing its best to keep fingerprints as the preferred method for identifying enemies of the state.

The company has built a fingerprint scanner with the ability to accurately read a print up to two meters away, and our military views the system as a means to reduce the risk to soldiers at security checkpoints all over the world.

The AIRPrint system is a significant upgrade over previous biometric security systems because it allows a person’s identity to be confirmed by military personnel from behind the safety of a blast wall or armored vehicle, which keeps our serviceman out of harm’s way.

AIRPrint uses a source of polarized light and two 1.3 megapixel cameras (one to receive vertically polarized light and another to receive horizontally polarized light) in order to produce an accurate fingerprint.

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