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Posts Tagged "Security"

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Newest Scientific American E-Book Ripped from the Headlines: Cyber Hacking: Wars in Virtual Space

cyber hacking ebook cover

From media and communications to banking, an increasing number of our daily activities is performed online. While this transformation has raised the curtain on exciting new frontiers, it also opens doors to security threats undreamed of by previous generations. In Scientific American’s newest eBook, Cyber Hacking: Wars in Virtual Space, we peer behind the scenes [...]

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Cross-Check

Can Science Solve Terrorism? Q&A with Psychologist John Horgan

"Psychology has tremendous potential both to shape our understanding of terrorism as well as offering us the basis for a strategic framework aimed at reducing terrorist behavior." Psychologist John Horgan

For years, I’ve been getting emails from people who praise my brilliant research on terrorism and then ask me tough questions about the topic. I’m forced to reply: “Sorry, I’m John Horgan the American science writer. I occasionally write about terrorism, but you have mistaken me for John Horgan the Irish psychologist and terrorism expert.” [...]

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Guest Blog

A Guardian “Agent” to Protect You from Digital Fraud

The orignial GORT, a member of an interstellar police force in the 1951 science fiction film "The Day the Earth Stood Still". (Credit Peter Petrus via Flickr)

Today, maintaining privacy without guided assistance is an onerous task, whose initial costs are high, immediate rewards low and solutions fragile and constantly evolving. The moment after perfectly balancing your Facebook privacy settings, a new “feature” is introduced and suddenly potential employers can view your bachelor party photos. While you admit you should password protect [...]

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Guest Blog

Researchers Discover Hacker-Ready Computer Chips

Computer Chip X-Ray

A pair of security researchers in the U.K. have released a paper [PDF] documenting what they describe as the “first real world detection of a backdoor” in a microchip—an opening that could allow a malicious actor to monitor or change the information on the chip. The researchers, Sergei Skorobogatov of the University of Cambridge and [...]

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Guest Blog

Felt up or blown up? The psychology of the TSA, body scans and risk perception

The choice between felt up or blown up seems like a no-brainer. So does the choice between the low-dose radiation exposure of a backscatter x-ray exam at the airport or getting on the plane and spending a couple hours high enough in a thinner atmosphere that you’ll get far more exposure to cosmic radiation. So [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

How Hard Is It to Catch a Fake Passport?

nightclub entrance

Imagine that you are a bouncer, checking IDs outside a popular bar in a college town. It is somewhat dark outside the door, there are many distractions: loud music is playing and your job requires you to also keep an eye on the crowd for trouble. And because the patrons are dressed for a night [...]

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Observations

Shopping Habits Reveal Personal Details in “Anonymized” Data

Credit/Source: PhotoDisc/ Getty Images

Details about where and when you use your credit card could help reveal your identity to data thieves—even if they don’t know your name, address and other personal information. That’s according to the latest study to poke holes in the notion that anonymous data records are an effective way to protect privacy. Businesses, medical facilities [...]

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Observations

Science Far from Center Stage in Obama’s State of the Union

Pres. Obama delivers his State of the Union

President Barack Obama’s sixth State of the Union address, his first before a Republican-led legislature, was studded this evening with references to science and technology amidst talk of middle class tax cuts, thawing U.S. relations with Cuba, economic empowerment and closing the pay gap between men and women. The speech included mentions of climate change, [...]

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Observations

Scientific American Editors’ Picks for the Top Tech Stories of 2014

Operators aboard Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield move the U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle into position for deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair/Released.

Wallets, wreckage and digital coin. Before the new year appears, let’s look at some of the most important technology stories Scientific American covered over the past 12 months. North Korean “cyberwar” rhetoric escalates President Barack Obama says the digital attacks in November on Sony Entertainment—allegedly by North Korea or some agent acting on its behalf—did [...]

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Observations

Why Lasers Won’t Protect Airliners

A mobile Buk surface-to-air missile launcher, similar to that believed to have been used to shoot down Flight 17. Image courtesy of .:Ajvol:. via Wikimedia Commons.

Questions over the best way to protect civilian aircraft from surface-launched missiles have reemerged in light of the recent Malaysia Airlines tragedy over the Ukraine. On July 17, a medium-range Buk surface-to-air missile fired from the territory controlled by pro-Russia separatists reportedly struck Flight 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Boeing [...]

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Observations

Squiggly Lines Secure Smartphones

Researchers studied the practicality of using free-form gestures for access authentication on smart phones and tablets. Image courtesy of Michael Sherman, Gradeigh Clark, Yulong Yang, Shridatt Sugrim, Arttu Modig, Janne Lindqvist, Antti Oulasvirta, and Teemu Roos; Rutgers University, Max-Planck Institute for Informatics and University of Helsinki.

To protect your financial and personal data, most mobiles come with PIN-based security, biometrics or number grids that require you to retrace a particular pattern to access your device. But is that good enough in crowded places full of spying eyes? Not necessarily, according to a team of researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey, [...]

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Observations

The Day the World’s ATMs Stood Still—or Didn’t

Image courtesy of Shaners Becker, via Wikimedia Commons.

You’re probably on tenterhooks wondering what will happen to your reliable, convenient ATM on April 8, the day Microsoft officially sticks a fork in its hugely popular Windows XP operating system. You’re not? Did you know that more than 75 percent of the world’s automated teller machines use XP? And that an outdated operating system [...]

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Observations

How to Reconcile Big Data and Privacy

White House image, courtesy of CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade

In many ways “big data” and “encryption” are antithetical. The former involves harvesting, storing and analyzing information to reveal patterns that researchers, law enforcement and industry can use to their benefit. The goal of the latter is to obscure that data from prying eyes. That tension was at the core of a conference this week [...]

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Observations

How Hackers Take Down Web Sites [Video]

Courtesy of Scientific American

Many of the Web sites we visit every day are under cyber attack by malicious hackers looking to disrupt business transactions, discourage people from using a particular online service or exact payback for some real or perceived slight. One of the most common ways to bring down a site is to flood its computer servers [...]

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Observations

The Super Bowl’s Super Security Boat

super bowl

The Super Bowl poses mammoth security challenges in any given year. This year’s championship game—the first since last April’s Boston Marathon bombing—raises the stakes by bringing the game, which the Department of Homeland Security designates a “Level One” national security event, to New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. Not only will kickoff take place just miles from [...]

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Observations

A Survey Asks: How Much Does Your Privacy Online Matter?

privacy,security,Web,Internet

Is online anonymity important to you? How far are you willing to go to protect your privacy? These two the key questions are examined in a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Entitled “Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online,” the study found that most Internet users take some measures [...]

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Talking back

Who Will Be Behind the Next Wikileaks or PRISM? Let Us Know

The legacy of Wikileaks—the outing of secret government information—is all the vogue. It won’t stop with PRISM and the government contractor who fed The Guardian and The Washington Post the skinny on the U.S. surveillance program. The question is what comes next—and the only given is that there most certainly will be a “next.” This [...]

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Talking back

Crowd Psychology: What Comes After Boston for Mass Public Events?

Will the masses at NFL events do “the wave” only in the watchful sights of a police sharpshooter’s high-powered rifle? Is tailgating before the game all but nostalgic history? Will major marathons be relegated to a dull repetition of 105 or so loops around a stadium track? These are some of the questions that immediately [...]

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