The NSA and the VEP

The precise details behind the US government's Vulnerabilities Equities Process remain classified, but that didn't stop Atlantic Council fellow and Columbia University researcher Jason Healey from addressing the subject during his speech at this year's Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas. Healey told his audience what he had gathered through extensive research of the VEP, a covert procedure used by the US government to determine whether to disclose its discoveries of major manufacturers' so...

Police Use Robot to Kill Sniper

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The infamous murder of five police officers that occurred during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas has brought to light a new police method for controlling the threat of snipers: the use of killer robots. In an effort to avoid putting more police officers in danger during the attack, the Dallas police force used a robot to deliver an explosive device that ultimately ended the sniper's life. While robots and unmanned systems have been in use by the US military before (drones, fo...

Tech Alarms Attract Public Attention

The flurry of technological advancements and startups to match has left a lot of heads spinning and a lot of "industry professionals" in the dust. However, this rapid state of change seems to be far from evening out into a predictable marketplace. In fact, it's beginning to look like many of the Silicon Valley powerhouses of today (Facebook, Juniper, Twitter, etc) may be the crash-and-burn stories of the post-tech-bubble-burst era that many economists say is coming our way. Who survives and who ...

Encryption and Quantum Computing

This week researchers at MIT and the University of Innsbruck announced that they have designed and built the world's very first scalable quantum computer. With this one leap forward in technology they have essentially proclaimed as well that all existing approaches to security inherent to encryption today is now effectively obsolete. This was achieved by using five atoms in an ion trap. If you don't understand how this works, don't worry you can count the people who actually do in the world on y...

How to Know if You’ve Been Hacked

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Cyber security breaches are not uncommon; in fact, they were basically all the rage in 2015, and they show no sign of slowing down. If federal government agencies can be hacked, private consumers are basically sitting ducks. Here's how you can know if your personal computer has been hacked. Unfortunately for internet users, hacker software has become so sophisticated that it's hard to detect once it's become embedded in your system. Antivirus/anti-malware software can be effective when it com...

The Debate About Web Browsers

A long time has passed since JavaScript inventor Brendan Eich's Mozilla Firefox toppled Internet Explorer from its pinnacle as the only web browser available to web users. Since then, Chrome, Safari and a handful of other browsers have cropped up, each offering different operating systems and slightly different features, but being overall the same. However, Eich's most recent attempt to disrupt the internet browsing industry promises to spice things up a little. Eich just established a startu...

Secrets Revealed Regarding Juniper Backdoor

Weaknesses in the Juniper firewall have been known since 2007 when Microsoft employee Dan Shumow held a cryptography conference in California during which he shared the discoveries that he and a Microsoft colleague named Niels Ferguson had made regarding the firewall's algorithm. Although the algorithm had been approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for inclusion in a standard that could be sued to encrypt government classified communication, Shumow and Furguson figure...

Best Online Tools for ESL Learners

Learning another language in adulthood is extremely difficult; doctors, teachers, and students agree that after puberty, the brain restructures itself in such a way that language acquisition becomes an uphill climb. That said, there's a lot to be gained from this venture, both from a cultural perspective, and in terms of brain health. For example, a Swedish MRI study showed that learning a foreign language during adulthood has a visible effect on the brain; it makes it grow larger in certain ...

Meet the Diode

Whether you're talking on your phone, typing on your computer, or backing up important data to your hard drive, chances are you're taking for granted that a lot of tiny electrical components do their job right so you can do yours. Few understand in full the complexities of the circuit boards responsible for the Western way of life, but that just mean's now is as good a time as any to learn. Here's a brief intro to a very important electrical component: the diode. First off, it's important to ...