Computer security news, opinion, advice and research from anti-virus experts & New Technologies for Computer Security, Sharing the crazy for the betterment of online security

Training computers to differentiate between people with the same name

All individuals are unique but millions of people share names. How to distinguish -- or as it is technically known, disambiguate -- people with common names and determine which John Smith or Maria Garcia or Wei Zhang or Omar Ali is a specific John Smith, Maria Garcia, Wei Zhang or Omar Ali -- or even someone previously unidentified? This conundrum occurs in a wide range of environments from the bibliographic -- which Anna Hernandez authored a specific study? -- to the law enforcement -- which Ro…
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Genomic data sharing is critical to improving genetic health care

There are an estimated 5,000 -- 7,000 rare genetic diseases, each of which can vary dramatically and be caused by a multitude of different genetic changes. Even common diseases with genetic influences may also have rare variants that influence the risk of disease or how severe the disease might be. How can a single provider, laboratory, medical center, or even state possess sufficient knowledge about genetic conditions in order to deliver the best care possible for patients in need of care? How …
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Hack-proofing our devices

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags have become almost ubiquitous -- look carefully, and you'll notice them in passports, credit cards, library books, office access passes, and even pet cats. The technology, which allows fast, automated identification of physical objects, is also a staple for many industries -- factories and warehouses use it to track inventory and manage supply chains, pharmaceutical companies deploy it to track drugs, and courier services use it to tag deliveries. But w…
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Ultra-small nanocavity advances technology for secure quantum-based data encryption

Ultra-small nanocavity advances technology for secure quantum-based data encryption
Researchers have developed a new type of light-enhancing optical cavity that is only 200 nanometers tall and 100 nanometers across. Their new nanoscale system represents a step toward brighter single-photon sources, which could help propel quantum-based encryption and a truly secure and future-proofed network. Quantum encryption techniques, which are seen as likely to be central to future data encryption methods, use individual photons as an extremely secure way to encode data. A limitation of t…
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Greater readiness repels cyber threats to manufacturers

Together with the National Emergency Supply Agency and the private sector, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed tailored solutions bringing improved cyber security and disruption-free operations to manufacturers. The results of the now ending KYBER-TEO project will make companies more able to ward off possible cyber threats. A breach of cyber security could easily cause millions of euros of damage in terms of lost production alone. In addition, damaged equipment, environmental …
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Safer, less vulnerable software is the goal of new computer publication

Safer, less vulnerable software is the goal of new computer publication
We can create software with 100 times fewer vulnerabilities than we do today, according to computer scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). To get there, they recommend that coders adopt the approaches they have compiled in a new publication. The 60-page document, NIST Interagency Report (NISTIR) 8151: Dramatically Reducing Software Vulnerabilities (link is external), is a collection of the newest strategies gathered from across industry and other sources for red…
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Malware turns PCs into eavesdropping devices

Malware turns PCs into eavesdropping devices
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have demonstrated malware that can turn computers into perpetual eavesdropping devices, even without a microphone. In the new paper, "SPEAKE(a)R: Turn Speakers to Microphones for Fun and Profit," the researchers explain and demonstrate how most PCs and laptops today are susceptible to this type of attack. Using SPEAKE(a)R, malware that can covertly transform headphones into a pair of microphones, they show how commonly used technology can b…
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Computer scientists work to prevent hackers from remotely controlling cars

A luxury vehicle today contains multiple computers. During an hour's drive, it thus produces multiple gigabytes of data. Even less expensive vehicles are now brimming with information technology. The growing interconnection of the individual components opens dangerous security holes. One of these has now been closed by computer scientists at the Center for IT Security and Privacy (CISPA) and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) -- with the help of software that manufactu…
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New software continuously scrambles code to foil cyber attacks

As long as humans are writing software, there will be coding mistakes for malicious hackers to exploit. A single bug can open the door to attackers deleting files, copying credit card numbers or carrying out political mischief. A new program called Shuffler tries to preempt such attacks by allowing programs to continuously scramble their code as they run, effectively closing the window of opportunity for an attack. The technique is described in a study presented this month at the USENIX Symposiu…
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Researchers want to use hardware to fight computer viruses

Researchers want to use hardware to fight computer viruses
Fighting computer viruses isn't just for software anymore. Binghamton University researchers will use a grant from the National Science Foundation to study how hardware can help protect computers too. "The impact will potentially be felt in all computing domains, from mobile to clouds," said Dmitry Ponomarev, professor of computer science at Binghamton University, State University of New York. Ponomarev is the principal investigator of a project titled "Practical Hardware-Assisted Always-On Malw…
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