A hacker run identity-theft service called SSNDOB -- as in Social Security Number and date of birth -- compromised servers at several major US data brokers, according to a report.
The affected data brokers included several large data brokers in the United States, including LexisNexis, Dun & Bradstreet, and Kroll Background America.
LexisNexis maintains one of the world's biggest electronic databases for legal and public-records related information; Dun & Bradstreet licenses info on businesses for use in credit decisions; and Kroll -- now a part of HireRight -- provides services related to employment background, drug, and health screenings.
"All three victim companies said they are working with federal authorities and third-party forensics firms in the early stages of determining how far the breaches extend, and whether indeed any sensitive information was accessed and exfiltrated from their networks," according to Brian Krebs, who writes a security blog.
Krebs, who got his hands on a copy of SSNDOB's database, reported that a closer examination of it indicates that since SSNDOB came on the scene early last year, the service has sold more than 1.02 million unique SSNs and nearly 3.1 million date of birth records to buyers in the crimeworld.
A five-year test of NASA's latest ion drive for future spacecraft has set a new world record for the longest single space engine test.
The space agency's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) project completed a continuous test the ion engine for more than 48,000 hours — over five and a half years — longer than any other space propulsion system ever tested. With low fuel weight and long-running efficiency, ion engines have become strong contenders for deep space missions.
Spacecraft traveling through miles of space require energy to keep moving. Ion propulsion engines can help to minimize the bulkiness of fuel, allowing for increased scientific exploration in smaller packages. Over the course of nearly six years, NEXT consumed only 1,900 pounds (860 kilograms) of fuel, compared to the 22,000 pounds (10,000 kg) a conventional rocket would burn to create the same momentum.
Could the famed 'Big Bang' theory need a revision? A group of theoretical physicists suppose the birth of the universe could have happened after a four-dimensional star collapsed into a black hole and ejected debris.
Steam condensation is key to the worldwide production of electricity and clean water: It is part of the power cycle that drives 85 percent of all electricity-generating plants and about half of all desalination plants globally, according to the...
If you apply an electric voltage across two water-filled beakers and separate them, something strange happens: The water stretches from beaker to beaker, creating a bridge that defies gravity. Water bridges were discovered 120 years ago, but no one has ever been sure why they do not collapse. One theory is that the voltage makes the water molecules line up, creating a “dielectric” tension that stops the bridge from falling. Another argues that surface tension—the tendency of a water’s surface to shrink inwards—keeps the bridge aloft.
Now, researchers believe that water bridges rely on both strategies. Reza Namin at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and colleagues measured various parameters across the length of a water bridge, including voltage, current, and bridge diameter. Then they plugged the data into a computer simulation to calculate the forces involved. The results, to be published next month in Physical Review E, reveal that dielectric tension and surface tension each carry about half a water bridge’s weight. The results, the researchers believe, could help engineers develop electrowetting, a method of using electricity to adjust the adhesion of fluids to a screen that is expected to be used in the next generation of e-book readers.
By targeting virus-infected cells rather than the viruses themselves, researchers are closer than ever to developing treatments for a broad range of viruses from the common cold to deadly Ebola.
For many bacterial infections, antibiotic treatments such as penicillin are more than adequate. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.
Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.
In a recent paper, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever. The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. “In theory, it should work against all viruses,” says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology.
The concept for DRACO went like this: "It just occurred to me one day in the shower: oh, well, let's cross-wire these two to connect the successful detection of the long double-strand RNA with the successful final activation of suicide in the infected cells." Translated, Rider’s plan involved two parts. First, he knew that certain proteins could detect double-strand RNA, or dsRNA. The "D" in DRACO, dsRNA is found in almost all viruses (a strain of hantavirus is among those that don't), but not in healthy cells — it’s a near-perfect marker. But viruses shut down most responses to dsRNA; likewise, they disable another natural pathway inside cells, one that causes apoptosis, or cell death. Rider thought if he could combine the two, he’d have a viable method, one that detected dsRNA-containing cells and then caused them to commit cellular suicide.
Because the technology is so broad-spectrum, it could potentially also be used to combat outbreaks of new viruses, such as the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Rider says.