There’s Now A USB Device That Can Fry Even More Electronics

This article originally appeared at consumerist.com.

“Hey, remember the USB Killer, a device that looks like a thumb drive and lets you destroy 95% of computers by frying them with a quick jolt of electricity? There’s now an improved version on the market, which is more powerful, looks more like any generic thumb drive, and comes with micro USB, USB-C, and Apple Lightning adapters, allowing you to fry a wider variety of electronics.

How do you know whether your device is vulnerable to attacks with a similar computer-frying stick? You don’t. A video compilation shows the new version’s Lightning port destroying an iPhone 7 and at least briefly confusing an iPad Pro. The only way to stop an attack on a vulnerable system is to physically keep anyone from accessing the USB ports, so good luck with that. Hope you don’t know anyone vindictive enough to try this.”

Go ahead. Read the whole article at consumerist.com.

How some Pixar effects are created

Original source: metafilter.com

Many of Pixar’s films can seem like magic, and while much of that relies on storytelling, the art of animation has many, many, many skills in it. Pixar has partnered with the Khan Academy to provide a free practical introduction to how the best-of-the-best do their job. Because who doesn’t want to understand how you simulate hair?

Note: The original Metafilter article contains links that I have not reproduced here.

Diceware passwords now need six random words to thwart hackers

Diceware creator Arnold Reinhold wrote “Six words may be breakable by an organization with a very large budget, such as a large country’s security agency. Seven words and longer are unbreakable with any known technology, but may be within the range of large organizations by around 2030. Eight words should be completely secure through 2050.”

Read the full article at arstechnica.com.

Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331”

by in arstechnica – 5/27/2013

“The ease these crackers had in recovering as many as 90 percent of the hashes they targeted from a real-world breach also exposes the inability many services experience when trying to measure the relative strength or weakness of various passwords. A recently launched site from chipmaker Intel asks users “How strong is your password?,” and it estimated it would take six years to crack the passcode “BandGeek2014”. That estimate is laughable given that it was one of the first ones to fall at the hands of all three real-world crackers.

As Ars explained recently, the problem with password strength meters found on many websites is they use the total number of combinations required in a brute-force crack to gauge a password’s strength. What the meters fail to account for is that the patterns people employ to make their passwords memorable frequently lead to passcodes that are highly susceptible to much more efficient types of attacks.”

Read the whole article at arstechnica.com.

 

How Many Combinations Are Possible Using 6 LEGO Bricks?

“This question was first officially “answered” in 1974, and LEGO mathematicians arrived at the number 102,981,500. Eilers was curious about the mathematical methodology behind that number, and soon discovered that it only covered one kind of stacking—thus, it was dramatically low. So he wrote a computer program that modeled all the possible brick combinations. After running the program for a week, he ended up with a massive number: 915,103,765 combinations.” mentalfloss.com

The times involved by adding bricks seem to get into ranges we read about in articles about the times it takes to crack passwords.