Skeleton Key Malware is the First Scary Cyber Threat of 2015
A new year, a new strain of malware. The so-called “Skeleton Key” malware was discovered by Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit and published in a paper earlier this month. While not as massive as other recent hacking scandals that compromised enormous quantities of data, Skeleton Key is more understated and simple in its execution. The malware gives any user the ability to set a password to login to a network with single-factor authentication (hence the moniker). While the malware doesn’t create a large-scale attack, say you have a disgruntled or easily bribed employee with limited access, and give them the ability to log in as a company’s CEO or human resources director, the results could be disastrous. Unfortunately, the malware is also difficult to detect; on the flip side, it can be prevented by simply instituting a two-factor authentication system. Read more at ZDNet.
CES 2015: A Roundup Within a Roundup
For those in the tech world, Christmas comes late (or extremely early) every year with the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), which this year took place January 6-9 in Las Vegas. With thousands of vendors from all over the world coming to exhibit the latest in technological marvels, certain themes and recurrences present themselves over the span of the event. This year, one of those recurrences was pet tracking technology, specifically, wearables for dogs. Whether you’re looking to track your dog’s health, ping their location, or get them more active on social media (seriously) there is a solution out there, probably with a chortle-inducing name (FitBark, Wonder Woof, et al).
2015 also rode the consumer drone wave that’s been building in intensity over the past 2 years. And, despite all of the heat government drone programs have been taking, and the heat consumer drone enthusiasts are taking from the government, the tiny fliers were out en masse at CES. They’ve gotten smaller, easier to use, and are equipped with much better cameras. Read a full rundown over at the Tech Times.
If you read any tech press, every day there appears to be a new hacker story, endlessly stoking the fear that your data really isn’t as safe as you’d like it to be. As a response to that (and the distant-but-still-recent-feeling NSA revelations) for the first time ever CES had an area of the floor dedicated to personal privacy. What you’d find there: biometric passport cases, encryption services, and RFID wallets capable of blocking remote data theft.
Antarctic Seals Use Internal GPS to Breathe
While GPS is always on our minds at BrickHouse, especially around the holidays, recent research is showing that another animal, the Weddell seal of Antarctica, may have an even more innate need for geolocation that’s coded into their DNA. Scientists from the US National Science Foundation are tracking the movements of the Antarctic seal in attempt to prove that they use some form of magnetic location to find air holes in the ice. The marine mammal dives for over an hour at a time under large swaths of ice; if they didn’t have some form of location, odds are they would drown, unable to resurface through ice holes. If the scientists’ hypothesis is true, the Weddell seal will be the first marine mammal with such a trait. Read more at Livescience.
Santa Caught on Hidden Camera
The holidays are behind us, but in effort to hold onto that feeling a little bit longer, here’s a video of a child capturing Santa on hidden camera. No mommies were kissed in the making of this video.