GeekSpeak for 2012-07-28

Search Engine Optimization with Eric Enge

The Geeks discuss astronomical and security news. Eric Enge, CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, joins for the second half of the show to discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

FAA's New Flight Control System Has Security Holes

Costin, a computer scientist and graduate student at Eurecom, outlined a series of issues related to the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system, which is being installed as a replacement to the decades-old ground radar system used to guide airplanes through the sky and on the ground at airports.

Among the threats to ADS-B is that the system lacks a capability for message authentication. “Any attacker can pretend to be an aircraft” by injecting a message into the system, Costin said.

New Mac Trojan installs silently, no password required

A new Mac OS X Trojan has been discovered that drops different components depending on whether or not it is executed on a user account with Admin permissions. The threat installs itself silently (no user interaction required) and also does not need your user password to infect your Apple Mac. The backdoor component calls home to the IP address 176.58.100.37 every five minutes, awaiting instructions.

Kepler Spots 'Perfectly Aligned' Alien Worlds

When NASA’s Kepler space telescope started finding planets at odd angles to their parent stars, scientists wondered if our solar system’s tidy geometry, with the planets neatly orbiting around the sun’s equator, was an exception to the rule.

That idea can be laid to rest thanks to an innovative use of the Kepler data which aligned three planets circling the sun-like star Kepler-30 with a giant spot on the star’s surface.

The study showed the trio of planets orbiting within one degree, relative to each other and relative to the star’s equator. That finding is an indication that Kepler-30, like our own solar system, formed from a rotating disk of gas.

Geek Bit: First Photos from Discovery Channel Telescope

The Discovery Channel Telescope is an observatory with a 14-foot (4.3-meter) mirror built near Happy Jack, Ariz., by the Lowell Observatory and Discovery Communications, the parent company of television’s Discovery Channel. The telescope’s opening was marked with a gala on Saturday (July 21) at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff and featured a keynote speech from Neil Armstrong, the first person ever on the moon.

GeekBit: A Conversation With My 12 Year Old Self!

Wonderful video of a man speaking to his 12 year old self.

Cyber Attacks on Activists Traced to FinFisher Spyware of Gamma

It’s one of the world’s best-known and elusive cyber weapons: FinFisher, a spyware sold by U.K.- based Gamma Group, which can secretly take remote control of a computer, copying files, intercepting Skype calls and logging every keystroke.

For the past year, human rights advocates and virus hunters have scrutinized FinFisher, seeking to uncover potential abuses. They got a glimpse of its reach when a FinFisher sales pitch to Egyptian state security was uncovered after that country’s February 2011 revolution. In December, anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks published Gamma promotional videos showing how police could plant FinFisher on a target’s computer.

“We know it exists, but we’ve never seen it — you can imagine a rare diamond,” says Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Helsinki-based data security company F-Secure Oyj. (FSC1V) He posted the Egypt documents online last year and said if a copy of the software itself were found, he’d write anti-virus protection against it.

Now he may get his wish.

Buckyballs Launches Save Our Balls Video Campaign

Today Maxfield and Oberton, the manufacturer and distributor of Buckyballs® and Buckycubes™, announced the launch of a video campaign to help educate consumers about their ongoing safety efforts and protest the actions of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Unsafe Gun Safes Can Be Opened By A Three-Year Old

Watch the video, in which a three year old is shown opening four different gun safes, three produced by Stack-On and one made by AMSEC.

The world’s first 3D-printed gun

An American gunsmith has become the first person to construct and shoot a pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The creator, user HaveBlue from the AR-15 forum, has reportedly fired 200 rounds with his part-plastic pistol without any sign of wear and tear.

HaveBlue’s custom creation is a .22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper. In other words, the main body of the gun is plastic, while the chamber — where the bullets are actually struck — is solid metal.