Hacking and computer security. Read today's research news on hacking and protecting against codebreakers. New software, secure data sharing, and more.
Updated: 10 hours 51 min ago
Amid times of crisis, citizens often turn to social media as a method to share information, make observations and vent. But as a professor’s research into social media use amid the Mexican drug war shows, posts can reveal growing numbness, or desensitization, during times of protracted violence and stress.
Researchers have developed a new tool to detect and contain malware that attempts root exploits in Android devices. The tool improves on previous techniques by targeting code written in the C programming language -- which is often used to create root exploit malware, whereas the bulk of Android applications are written in Java.
With the explosive growth of bandwidth demand in telecommunications networks, experts are continually seeking new ways to transmit increasingly large amounts of data in the quickest and cheapest ways possible. Photonic devices -- which convert light to electricity and vice versa -- offer an energy-efficient alternative to traditional copper network links for information transmission. Unfortunately, these devices are also almost always prohibitively pricey.
Over the past decade, increased access to the Internet, cellphones and other digital media has drastically changed the landscape of the so-called 'drug war' in Mexico. A new article examines how both sides of the drug war -- the cartel operatives as well as government and security forces -- have used and responded to digital and social media.
Computer simulations have been developed for aircraft design to improve treatment of human airways. Computational Fluid Dynamics, or CFD, uses computer algorithms to solve the flow of air or fluids for various applications. These algorithms are typically applied toward the design of aircraft. While designing an aircraft, CFD is often considered both an accurate and less expensive approach before investing in building models and testing in air tunnels. But over the past decade or so, the application of CFD to biological flows to study medically-related problems, including respiratory disorders has gained a great deal of interest. The computer simulations traditionally used for aircraft design found use in treating health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, sleep apnea and snoring.
Zero-dimensional quantum dots could someday have a big effect on a variety of technologies, such as solar energy, lasers and medical diagnostics. This latest discovery is all about going small, but its significance is anything but. The research team's ability to control the confinement energy by varying the size of the quantum dot opens up a world of possibilities.
Teaching crop plants to concentrate carbon dioxide in their leaves could increase photosynthetic efficiency by 60 percent and yields by as much as 40 percent, researchers report in a new study. The team used a computer model to simulate how adding genes from algae known as cyanobacteria might influence photosynthetic efficiency in plants.
A computer model has created the most effective formula for reducing the spread of HIV among drug users in New York City over the next 25 years. The model recommends a combination of interventions, including increased HIV testing, improved access to substance abuse treatment, increased use of needle and syringe exchange programs, and broad implementation of antiretroviral treatment as prevention. The result would lower new infections by more than 60 percent by 2040.
Voters who cast their ballots via smartphones made fewer errors than they did when voting via traditional methods in a mock election, according to new research. Researchers found that while there are no consistent differences in efficiency and perceived usability between the smartphone-based system and other voting systems, smartphone owners made fewer errors on the mobile voting system than when they used traditional voting methods.
Scientists have created an ingenious computer model that simulates a honey bee colony over the course of several years. The model was created to investigate the losses of honeybee colonies that have been reported in recent years and to identify the best course of action for improving honeybee health.
A new study examines the nature of exchange interactions between identical particles, which only occur at the quantum level. Two-particle interference has been the focus of many studies, specifically in quantum optics with photons. However, interference between two massive, identical particles is not so well understood. Scientists have now uncovered a counterintuitive result whereby particles called bosons do not behave as expected-they are overlapping, and not interfering-due to the combination of interference and so-called exchange interaction. The latter is a quantum mechanical effect that alters their symmetry when identical particles are exchanged.
Usually, microelectronic devices are made of silicon or similar semiconductors. Recently, the electronic properties of metal oxides have become quite interesting. These materials are more complex, yet offer a broader range of possibilities to tune their properties. An important breakthrough has now been achieved: a two dimensional electron gas was created in strontium titanate. In a thin layer just below the surface electrons can move freely and occupy different quantum states.
Texting and walking is a known danger, but an emergency doctor says distracted walking results in more injuries per mile than distracted driving. Consequences include bumping into walls, falling down stairs, tripping over clutter or stepping into traffic. The issue is so common that in London, bumpers were placed onto light posts along a frequented avenue to prevent people from slamming into them. Though injuries from car accidents involving texting are often more severe, physical harm resulting from texting and walking occurs more frequently, research shows.
Physicists have come up with a new synthetic material for optical data storage. Optical data storage does not require expensive magnetic materials as synthetic alternatives work just as well. The team's discovery brings the much cheaper method for storing data using light a step closer.
Scientists have predicted and discovered a new physical phenomenon that allows to manipulate the state of a magnet by electric signals. Current technologies for writing, storing, and reading information are either charge-based or spin-based. Semiconductor flash or random access memories are prime examples among the large variety of charge-based devices. They utilize the possibility offered by semiconductors to easily electrically manipulate and detect their electronic charge states representing the "zeros" and "ones". The downside is that weak perturbations such as impurities, temperature change, or radiation can lead to uncontrolled charge redistributions and, as a consequence, to data loss. Spin-based devices operate on an entirely distinct principle.
Using technologies and computational modeling that trace the destiny of single cells, researchers describe for the first time the earliest stages of fate determination among white blood cells called T lymphocytes, providing new insights that may help drug developers create more effective, longer-lasting vaccines against microbial pathogens or cancer.
While widespread quantum computing may still be 15 years away, a computer engineering has patented a quantum processor capable of parallel computing that uses no transistors.
In the wake of retraction scandals and studies showing reproducibility rates as low as 10 percent for peer-reviewed articles, the scientific community has focused attention on ways to improve transparency and duplication. A team of math and statistics professors has proposed a way to address one root of that problem: teach and emphasize reproducibility to aspiring scientists, using software that makes the concept feel logical rather than cumbersome.
Color is crucial in ecological studies, playing an important role in studies of flower and fruit development, responses to heat/drought stress, and plant–pollinator communication. But, measuring color variation is difficult, and available formulas sometimes give misleading results. An improved formula to calculate hue (one of three variables characterizing color) has now been developed.
A new article proposes and tests four two-factor schemes that require servers to store a randomized hash of the passwords and a second device, such as the user’s security token or smartphone, to store a corresponding secret code.