Malware That Can Compromise Any USB Device is Now on the Loose

The malware -- called BadUSB -- doesn't attack devices' memories, but rather takes advantage of a fundamental structural flaw in how they operate. Everything from USB keyboards to iPad chargers are susceptible.

Remember a few months ago when we talked about how USB had been irreparably compromised? Well, according to Wired's Andy Greenberg, the BadUSB malware capable of corrupting any USB gadget is now on the loose, released by security researchers who helped to develop it. The hope now is that having BadUSB on the loose will now force tech developers to come up with a solution.

If you're not familiar with earlier incarnations of this story, over the past year a group of researchers at SR Labs discovered an intrinsic flaw in USB design and developed malware to exploit it. The flaw applies to every single USB device: iPhone chargers, wireless keyboards, thumbdrives, external hard drives, etc. Basically -- if it connects via a USB drive, it's susceptible to malware that can eventually take control of your systems. Karsten Nohl, one of the researchers who developed BadUSB (though not the person to have released it), calls the malware "unpatchable," though that's stopping others from trying to find a cure.

Read Greenberg's piece (linked below) to learn more about how BadUSB works and what tech professionals are doing about it.

Read more at Wired

Photo credit: Marynchenko Oleksandr / Shutterstock

​Is science synonymous with 'truth'? Game theory says, 'not always.'

Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."

  • Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
  • This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
  • On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

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NASA and ESA team up for historic planetary defense test

Two space agencies plan missions to deflect an asteroid.

ESA's Hera mission above asteroid 65803 Didymos. Credit: ESA/
Surprising Science
  • NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together on missions to a binary asteroid system.
  • The DART and Hera missions will attempt to deflect and study the asteroid Didymoon.
  • A planetary defense system is important in preventing large-scale catastrophes.
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