The Big, Refrigerator-Sized Machine That Saved Chocolate

“When cacao production was threatened by disease, the Mars candy company launched a global initiative to sequence the plant’s genome.

The Roche 454 GS FLX + DNA gene sequencer, which was produced from 2005 to 2015, is actually a bit shorter than a refrigerator: it weighs more than 500 pounds, according to official product specifications. The Roche machine is also unique: it was the first next-generation gene sequencer to be sold commercially. It used a then-new technology known as sequencing-by-synthesis to tease apart the sequence of bases that comprise genetic code.

In 2008, inspired by the rise of sequencing technology, candy company Mars, Inc., under the direction of Howard Shapiro, agreed to contribute $10 million to fund a multinational project to sequence the entire T. cacao genome. A complete copy could speed up the breeding process by allowing scientists and breeders to more quickly pinpoint which specific genes guard against disease. Because the tree is tropical, a multinational consortium evolved to work on the cacao genome project. A team in Costa Rica sampled a local T. cacao tree. Kuhn’s lab in Miami helped extract the plant’s genetic material, and then sent that material on to labs where the genetic material was processed and sequenced.”

Read more, see pictures at smithsonianmag.com.

Soft Facts

411If it weren’t for almost ready software and firmware and people who couldn’t be bothered constantly downloading updates and patches hackers (the bad ones) would have to go out and get an honest job.  But since the stuff your devices run on and with has “issues” and you aren’t up to plugging the holes with the stuff software people tried to give you…life is good.  Of course putting all your stuff on everyone’s social media site and putting everything in the cloud to let someone else manage/protect for you doesn’t work too well either.  But then you’ll get used to it and simply say, “What Me Worry?”  [Read more…]

Hackers Swipe 225,000 Jailbroken iPhone Users’ Account Information

“Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity company, warned the public about a piece of malware that only affects modified iPhones, which they’re calling KeyRaider. The malware spread through downloads on the alternate underground app store, Cydia. The hackers are based in China, and most affected users are from there, but not all.

Originally, iPhones had to be jailbroken to be used on carriers other than AT&T, or internationally. Now, all carriers in the U.S. offer the mega-popular device, but jailbreaking still allows users to run apps rejected from Apple’s store for various reasons, and modify their phones in other ways.

While bypassing Apple’s security has dangers, experts point out that there are anti-malware programs that you can run on your phone once you’ve busted through the metaphorical wall of Apple’s walled garden.”

Read more at consumerist.com.

Internet-Connected Video Baby Monitors Are Basically The Most Hackable, Least Secure Thing Ever

“In this sense, baby monitors are just like every other poorly-secured, wifi-enabled camera. If your device ships with a default password that you don’t change, basically anyone anywhere can have access to it.

But what makes the baby monitor situation even worse, the research found, is that in many cases, the scary settings are ones that parents don’t have access to. Stanislav told Fusion that of the nine brands his company tested, “Every camera had one hidden account that a consumer can’t change because it’s hard coded or not easily accessible. Whether intended for admin or support, it gives an outsider backdoor access to the camera.”

In other words, even a tech-savvy, security-minded consumer can’t fix this problem on their own.

Unlike some other recent hacking research, the baby monitor situation isn’t just academic or theoretical. It’s a known problem out in the wild, with proven harms.”

Read more at consumerist.com.

Anti Keylogger and Anti Screen Capture Software

“You won’t find recent independent reviews of anti-keylogger programs [ . . . ]. Raymond did publish a comparison two years ago but things have changed considerable since then.”
by Martin Brinkmann, at www.ghacks.net, on August 31, 2015

Martin Brinkmann’s statement above is from an article about a new version of the SpyShelter Anti-Keylogger. In that article he referred to an older review by Raymond.The opening paragraphs, copied below, still seem a good introduction to the subject.

“Security experts consider keylogging as the most dangerous threat because it allows cyber criminals to capture everything you type on your keyboard. This includes passwords so that they can gain access to your online accounts such as your email, banking, forums, websites and etc to steal valuable information. If keystroke logging is not damaging enough, your webcam, screen, clipboard and microphone can also be secretly captured and logged without your knowledge.

There are a couple of different methods to protect yourself against keyloggers. First you can use an on-screen virtual keyboard where your mouse will be used to select the keys when entering your password instead of typing it from the physical keyboard that is logged. A good antivirus can also recognize some of the known and unknown keyloggers through virus definition or heuristic analysis. Finally, a dedicated anti keylogging tool that constantly monitors the behavior of running applications and notifies you if it detects any potential keylogging activity.

In this article we’ll be putting 3 anti keylogging programs named Zemana AntiLogger, SpyShelter Premium and DataGuard AntiKeylogger to the test with real keylogging tools that are popular and widely being used to determine the effectiveness of each program. ”
Read More at www.raymond.cc.


For other reviews of keyloggers and some other security software, go to snapfiles.com. The linked list is sorted by popularity.