News & Updates

Enlarge / Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos has an important engine test coming up soon. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Key Blue Origin officials have begun to drop hints about the imminent hot-fire test of the company’s new rocket engine, the BE-4. Jeff Bezos recently said to expect a full-scale engine test “in the coming weeks.” And last Wednesday the company’s director of business development, Brett Alexander, said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies panel discussion the test “was coming soon.”

For many people, a rocket engine is just a rocket engine. But Blue Origin’s new engine is a big deal for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its 550,000 pounds of thrust at sea level, more powerful than a space shuttle main engine, which had 418,000 pounds of thrust. Beyond the brawn, however, there are other reasons to anticipate a successful test.

A new kind of engine

During a tour of his rocket factory in Kent, Washington, last year Bezos explained the philosophy behind the BE-4 engine. “In principle, rocket engines are simple, but that’s the last place rocket engines are ever simple,” he said. Nonetheless, Blue Origin sought to make an engine that was not too complex, nor one that required ultra-premium materials. The designers didn’t want to create a work of art that pushed the limits of engineering—rather, they wanted a reliable workhorse that could be flown again and again, perhaps as many as 100 times as the company pushes the boundaries of reusable spaceflight.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Enlarge / A little needlework and blood has never looked better. (credit: © MaricorMaricar @ Handsome Frank)

Transplanted umbilical cord blood can be used to treat or cure more than 80 conditions, from leukemia to sickle-cell disease. For Mosaic, Bryn Nelson follows the story of one man, Chris. After being diagnosed with leukemia in his early 40s, his best chance of survival comes in the form of blood from three babies he’ll never meet, nor even know the names of. This article was first published by Wellcome on Mosaic and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

A few hours before beginning chemotherapy, a man named Chris faces his cellphone camera with a mischievous smile and describes a perfectly absurd milestone at 1:37pm on a Wednesday. “There is no more beautiful moment in a man’s life…” he says with puckish glee. Because how can you not laugh when you’ve been invited to bank your sperm in advance of being “Godzilla-ed” with chemotherapy and radiation, all just four days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the age of 43 and given a 5 to 15 percent chance of survival?

Oh, and the fertility clinic forgot to send someone over with a specimen kit, and they’re closing in little more than 20 minutes, so you have to fire up your iPad for some quick visual stimulation to help you fill a sterile tube. Just try to ignore the legal consent paperwork all around you and the catheter that’s been surgically inserted into your jugular vein.

Read 112 remaining paragraphs | Comments


If you own an iPhone or iPad, it’s possible you could see popup windows in a sort of endless cycle on your Safari browser, revealing your browser has been locked and asking you to pay a fee to unlock it. Just do not pay any ransom.

A new ransomware campaign has been found exploiting a flaw in Apple’s iOS Safari browser in order to extort money from users who view pornography content on their


The Cyber Division of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warns the companies in the healthcare industry of FTP attacks.

The Cyber Division of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warns the healthcare industry that malicious actors are actively targeting File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers of medical and dental facilities that allow anonymous access.

FTP attacks

The attackers aim to steal protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) and use them for criminal purposes.

“The FBI is aware of criminal actors who are actively targeting File Transfer Protocol (FTP)a servers operating in “anonymous” mode and associated with medical and dental facilities to access protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) in order to intimidate, harass, and blackmail business owners.” reads the alert issued by the FBI.

The vulnerable FTP servers can also be abused by crooks to power cyber attacks of to store malicious tools.

“The FBI recommends medical and dental healthcare entities request their respective IT services personnel to check networks for FTP servers running in anonymous mode. If businesses have a legitimate use for operating a FTP server in anonymous mode, administrators should ensure sensitive PHI or PII is not stored on the server.”

According to a 2015 study conducted by the University of Michigan titled, “FTP: The Forgotten Cloud,” over 1 million FTP servers were configured to allow anonymous access. These servers were potentially exposing sensitive data due to the anonymous extension of FTP that allows a user to authenticate to the FTP server with a generic username (i.e.  “anonymous”, “ftp”) with no password or using a generic password.

“In general, any misconfigured or unsecured server operating on a business network on which sensitive data is stored or processed exposes the business to data theft and compromise by cyber criminals who can use the data for criminal purposes such as blackmail, identity theft, or financial fraud,” the FBI warned.

In order to prevent FTP attacks, the FBI recommends medical and dental healthcare entities to check FTP servers in their organizations running in anonymous mode.

In case companies need to have an FTP server running in anonymous mode, they should not store sensitive PHI or PII on the server.

medianet_width=’300′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’762221962′;

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – FTP attacks, hacking)

The post FBI Cyber Division warns the healthcare industry of FTP attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

Mild spoilers ahead.

(credit: Illustration by Sparth, via Tor Books)

In his new novel The Collapsing Empire, bestselling writer John Scalzi builds a fascinating new interstellar civilization in order to destroy it. The Interdependency is a thousand-year-old interplanetary trade partnership in humanity’s distant future. Its member planets were once connected to Earth by the Flow, a natural feature of space-time that allows ships to enter a kind of subspace zone. Once there, they can circumvent the unbreakable speed of light to travel between stars that are dozens of light years apart. What could go wrong?

Unfortunately, nobody is asking that question. Humanity has created an entire civilization that relies on the Flow and its “shoals,” where ships can enter and exit. Planets are colonized purely based on their proximity to the shoals, not on habitability. The result is not unlike a medieval trade guild society whose populace happens to live in domed cities, buried caves, and artificial habitats, completely dependent on trade for resources.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Enlarge / Shoot the thing! (credit: Bungie)

For nearly three years, Destiny has been the source of strife, joy, frustration, and often fierce loyalty to millions of players. With a full sequel to the game just announced on Twitter, developer Bungie has elected to close things out with a celebration of sorts.

“The dream of Destiny has always been that it is an adventure that continues,” Bungie community manager David “DeeJ” Dague told Ars in a recent interview. “With ‘Age of Triumph,’ we’re taking a moment before a brand new beginning to take stock of everything that our community has achieved thus far.”

“Age of Triumph,” is the latest (and apparently last) of the original Destiny’s live events. These free updates came with new activities and rewards for players to rally around, but they lacked the new missions, maps, enemies, or other more substantive additions you’d find in paid expansions. With a sequel on the way, Bungie has every incentive to ensure players come away from the first game with a pleasant memory of this final event. To that end, “Age of Triumph” adds new in-game rewards like armor and a “Record Book” of achievements to showcase players who reach Bungie-approved milestones.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Enlarge / This flamingo colony runs in a nearly perfect formation as a “parade” of sorts. It’s even more stunning in motion—and that much more stunning if you get to see the birds’ perfect pink tones on an HDR-10 display. (credit: BBC Home Entertainment)

BBC series Planet Earth stood out in 2006 for many reasons: massive budget, beautiful cinematography, isolated ends of the planet, David Attenborough, etc., etc. But I would argue that its 2007 “re-launch” on high-def discs did as much to drive the show’s popularity.

Back then, people needed convincing that a fully 1080p home theater was worth the cost. Planet Earth‘s pure, uncompressed 1080p version (available on both Blu-ray and HD-DVD, weren’t those the days) went a long way toward doing that—and proved out the production crew’s use of cutting-edge cameras. Big-ticket TV buyers were the first to invite truly sexy cheetahs and blue whales into their living rooms.

In the decade since, other gorgeous globe-trotting documentary series (including a few from the BBC) have premiered. But today’s “UHD Blu-ray” release of the six-episode sequel, Planet Earth II, makes clear what it takes to earn the series’ name. Planet Earth II is the momentum-tipping disc release that TV manufacturers around the world have been waiting for, and it offers a definitive answer to the question, “Why in the world do I need a 4K high dynamic range TV?”

Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments


A security researcher has disclosed critical issues in the processes and third-party API used by Symantec certificate resellers to deliver and manage Symantec SSL certificates.

The flaw, discovered by Chris Byrne, an information security consultant and instructor for Cloud Harmonics, could allow an unauthenticated attacker to retrieve other persons’ SSL certificates, including public and


Thousands of users of the Microsoft searchable service have inadvertently exposed passwords and other private information on the Internet.

Bad news for thousands of users of the Microsoft searchable service who have inadvertently exposed passwords and other private information on the Internet.

The service allows people to easily exchange documents, it implements a useful search engine that helps users to search them for keywords.

“ is an online showroom where you can collect and publish Word documents, Excel workbooks, PowerPoint and Office Mix presentations, OneNote notebooks, PDF files, Sway stories, and Minecraft worlds. With, it’s easy for you to share with others what interests you, and your content looks great on any device.” reads the description provided by Microsoft.

“Anything you publish with Public visibility will appear in worldwide search engine results and can be shared by you and others on social media sites. This option is a great way to get your work noticed. On the other hand, anything you publish with Limited visibility does not appear in search engine results and can be viewed only by people with whom a direct link to your content has been shared. Similarly, anything you publish with Organization visibility does not appear in search engine results and can be viewed only by those who sign in with a school or work account from your school or organization.”

A group of experts decided to analyze the service over the weekend searching for high private information.  They started looking at files and documents containing search keys like “password” and “confidential,” and unfortunately the reality they discovered is disconcerting.

Thousands of users are accidentally sharing personal and sensitive data via, the experts have found bank account details, password lists, medical records, social security numbers and even a divorce settlement or two. data leak

As you know this kind of information is a gift for hackers that could use them for illegal purposes such as financial scams and identity thefts.

Evidently, the issue is caused by thousands of people from Office 365 subscribers to others with Microsoft single-sign-on accounts were labeling sensitive documents as public allowing Microsoft search engine to find them.
Following the disconcerting discovery of the researchers, Microsoft temporarily shut down the search function, and of course alerted affected users. Unfortunately, this measure is not sufficient to remove the information accidentally shared on the Internet because many pages containing sensitive and personal information have been already cashed by other web services and are available to search engines.

“As part of our commitment to protect customers, we’re taking steps to help those who may have inadvertently published documents with sensitive information,” a spokesperson told The Reg. “Customers can review and update their settings by logging into their account at”

Every time you use a web service it is essential to check security and privacy settings to avoid such kind of issues. Regarding the specific case, check if you and your colleagues has shared info on the labeling it as public.

medianet_width=’300′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’762221962′;

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –, data leak)

The post Are you a user? Watch out you may have leaked passwords and other precious data appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

Experts at FireEye discovered the APT29 group adopted domain fronting long before these techniques were widely known in the IT security community.

Security firm FireEye continues to follow APT29 group (aka The Dukes, Cozy Bear and Cozy Duke), on Monday it revealed that the cyber spies have been using a technique called “domain fronting” to make hard the attribution of their attacks.

In December, the Signal development team introduced the ‘domain fronting’ technique to circumvent censorship.

The astonishing news is that the APT29 group adopted domain fronting long before these techniques were widely known in the IT security community.

The domain fronting is a technique that relies on the use of different domain names at different application layers to evade censorship.

APT29 group domain fronting

The domain fronting techniques “hides the remote endpoint of a communication. Domain fronting works at the application layer, using HTTPS, to communicate with a forbidden host while appearing to communicate with some other host, permitted by the censor,” as described in a paper published by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, Psiphon, and Brave New Software.

“The key idea is the use of different domain names at different layers of communication. One domain appears on the “outside” of an HTTPS request—in the DNS request and TLS Server Name Indication—while another domain appears on the “inside”—in the HTTP Host header, invisible to the censor under HTTPS encryption.” continues the paper.”A censor, unable to distinguish fronted and nonfronted traffic to a domain, must choose between allowing circumvention traffic and blocking the domain entirely, which results in expensive collateral damage” 

The Domain fronting technique is easy to deploy and use and doesn’t require special activities by network intermediaries.

The APT29 group has used the Domain fronting technique for at least two years, the hackers leveraged the Tor network to communicate with infected machines. In order to disguise Tor traffic as apparently legitimate traffic, the cyberspies used Meek, a Tor plugin that was specific designed to implement the domain fronting technique and allows users to send traffic to Tor inside a harmless-looking HTTPS POST request to

APT29 group domain fronting

“APT29 has used The Onion Router (TOR) and the TOR domain fronting plugin meek to create a hidden, encrypted network tunnel that appeared to connect to Google services over TLS.” reads the analysis published by FireEye. “This tunnel provided the attacker remote access to the host system using the Terminal Services (TS), NetBIOS, and Server Message Block (SMB) services, while appearing to be traffic to legitimate websites. The attackers also leveraged a common Windows exploit to access a privileged command shell without authenticating.”

The attackers installed the Tor client and the Meek plugin on the targeted system by using a PowerShell script and a .bat file.

The APT29 group leveraged the Sticky Keys exploit to replace the legitimate executable with the Windows Command Prompt (cmd.exe) file and gain a shell on the targeted system with SYSTEM-level privileges. In this way, the attackers were able to execute several commands, including adding new accounts.

“The attacker executed the PowerShell script C:Program Files(x86)Googlestart.ps1 to install the TOR services and implement the “Sticky Keys” exploit. This script was deleted after execution, and was not recovered.” continues the analysis.

The script that executes the Sticky Keys exploit is also used to gain persistence on the target machine, it creates a Windows service named “Google Update.”

“By employing a publicly available implementation, they were able to hide their network traffic, with minimal research or development, and with tools that are difficult to attribute. Detecting this activity on the network requires visibility into TLS connections and effective network signatures.” concluded the analysis.

medianet_width=’300′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’762221962′;

adrotate banner=”9″]

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – APT29 group, domain fronting)

The post APT29 group used domain fronting to evade detection long before these techniques were widely known appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs