Intel Compute Stick

Announced today - a fully working computer the size of a USB stick which just plugs into an HDMI port of a display:

The Intel® Compute Stick is a new generation compute-on-a-stick device that’s ready-to-go out-of–the-box and offers the performance, quality, and value you expect from Intel. Pre-installed with Windows 8.1* or Linux, get a complete experience on an ultra-small, power-efficient device that is just four inches long, yet packs the power and reliability of a quad-core Intel® Atom™ processor, with built-in wireless connectivity, on-board storage, and a micro SD card slot for additional storage. It’s everything you love about your desktop computer in a device that fits in the palm of your hand.

Computers are cheaper and smaller now - whilst it doesn’t appear to feature any specific graphical card for media capabilities, I’m sure there could be useful applications for tech arts (removing the need of a laptop)

More Here


Video: Intro to Windows 10.

Windows 10 has been shown off today as a free upgrade for existing users. A lot of the existing apps like mail, photos etc look a bit meh, but I’d be excited about Cortana.

You can also download the ‘Windows 10 Technical Preview’ here.



Audio Visual performance in Japan from last month organized by Daito Manabe features real time generated graphics from online data such as news and Twitter feeds and an ‘artificial intelligence rapper’ - video embedded below:

[Online Translation:]

'YourCosmos' information: real-time generation freestyle rap from the spin the lime software in databases, and every lyric on a dance music track by the sound artist evala hip hop context existed in the past, on the Internet and text input from participants. Daito Manabe (Rhizomatiks): Concept/Programming evala (ATAK, port): Music Satoshi Horii (Rhizomatiks): Visual/Programming Satoru Higa (Rhizomatiks): Visual/Programming 登本 Yusuke (Rhizomatiks): Visual / Programmer Kanno Kaoru ( dentsu ): Lyric Generation tokui Naoki ( Qosmo ): Lyric Generation Yamada XING students: the Lyric Generation

More (in Japanese) here

Large Volume DDoS Attacks Are On the Rise

Towards the end of 2014, summary reports start showing up and security professionals who are trying to forecast next year’s trends begin their analyses.

Both Akamai and Verisign released the results of their studies regarding the increase in RDDoS (Reflected Distributed Denial of Service) attacks and the data shows that while application-layer DDoS attacks have slightly reduced, there’s an alarming spike of high volume attacks.

Additionally, it has been found that instances of repeated attacks have reduced while more victims have been reported. This represents a shift in the business model of the attackers, who are looking to expand their target bank rather than focus on singled-out targets that may either be down already or have finally implemented a DDoS mitigation solution.

With nearly half of all online businesses reporting a DDoS attack in their lifetime, according to this Incapsula research regarding the impact of DDoS attacks, mitigating the risk of being subject to one is a primary objective of any internet entrepreneur.

The losses are potentially show-stopping, as the average attack costs $40,000 per hour in down time and service restoration costs, totaling $500,000 for an average attack from start to finish, is a cost that would blow most SME’s out of the water.

In Q3 of 2013, the average attack bandwidth was 3 Gbps. In Q3 of 2014, it is already 14 Gbps.

The additional intensity of each attack comes not only from increased attacker resources, such as more extensive botnet collections and improved automation, but also from the usage of the highly susceptible Simple Service Directory Protocol (SSDP).

This protocol is mostly used by routers which find devices on the network and allow a simplified connection with them. It is based on the UDP – a staple for DDoS attacks – and omits the same crucial safety features such as a 3-way handshake.

Additionally, the increase in capabilities of malicious actors to infect and commandeer ARM-based devices such as routers has already been detected and analyzed.

Reflected attacks are easier using SSDP, due to its overly simplified process. Simply put, a Reflected DDoS is when the attacker spoofs (forges his network address or identity) the IP from which it sends requests to a horde of SSDP-running machines, which, in turn, reply to the victim.

In addition to the security lapses of SSDP, it also allows attackers a significant amplification multiplier, rated at x30, by requiring only little interaction as a request.

This way, one machine used by the attacker can spoof its address when making a request to millions of geographically-distributed SSDP machines. This will make a rudimentary defense mechanism employed by the victim unable to filter out the DDoS traffic from the legitimate traffic.

Despite NTP’s almost 10 times bigger amplification multiplier (at x300), a decline in its application for deleterious purposes is observed. This comes after it being the hot news in 2013, with yesteryear’s evidence of NTP DDoS attacks going on the rise. For 2014, NTP is showing a steady and expected decline because savvy administrators are slowly protecting the vulnerable “monlist” function of their NTP services.

Besides SSDP-enabled routers, other ARM devices such as smartphones and web-enabled household devices (thermostats, refrigerators, etc) are unwillingly becoming conduits of attacks.

What used to be barriers for perpetrators – the quirkiness of ARM operating systems and their low processing power is now becoming an enabler, as the malicious tools have been ported to run under ARM and the proliferation of this architecture means their low power is offset by their vast availability.

The impact of DDoS attacks proves to be a macro-economic factor on a world-wide scale. With more and more business getting on-line exposure and more services becoming exclusively web-based, malevolent intent has more targets, more pathways and more money to rob.

It is even speculated that DDoS attacks are used to as a strategic weapon employed on a political level.

As the motivations for committing cybercrime increase, the reasons not to employ multi-layer risk mitigation are irrelevant. Large corporations and government sites are the target of industrial or political malevolence by competitors or activists. Medium-sized businesses are subject to illegitimate actions in the battle for market share and small enterprises can be pushed around and extorted by cyber criminals or just used by the attackers to try out new harmful technologies or to gain reputation in the black market by terrorizing the web.


CS50 has started again - get in now!

Harvard University’s introduction to computer science course has started, and you can take it free, online. If you’ve been vaguely thinking you’d like to get into coding, get involved now, it’s an awesome course - I took it in 2012/13.

CS50 home page.

#teletextartoftheday #pixelart Tribute to Amstrad CPC type-in Boss of Chicago, Dan Farrimond, 2013. And yes, the big bad boss really does look like a weird skeleton. ;)

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“El ST Sicotrón es un Programa Radionico de computadora, de ultima generación.

Equipos similares están en, 7 veces mas costoso que este equipo.

S de siquis y  T de transmisión,  Sicotrón  de emanación síquica a distancia.  Este equipo es el producto de la investigación del campo parapsicólogico y de la Radiónica, ciencia que a comprobado el poder de mandar energía a distancia para curaciones, protecciones, desbloqueos, etc.”