Sep 25, 2009 | 7
Living whales may seem scarce in the world's vast oceans—and their carcasses even more rare. But to animals and bacteria that feed on these graveyards, they are a rich source of life. And to one doctoral researcher in Sweden, they proved to be a source of several new species.
In her dissertation for the University of Gothenburg, Helena Wiklund describes nine new species of polychaete worms found living in whale carcasses and other nutrient-rich areas off the coast of Sweden, Norway and California.
A whale carcass can bring as much nutrition to the seafloor as would otherwise take some 2,000 years to filter down. Wiklund and her coauthors note that although the worms seem to be especially adapted to live in environments such as whale falls, where they feed off the bacteria that cover the bones, they seem to also be thriving in bacteria-rich areas of waste resulting from human activity, such as below fish farms and even pulp mills.
Apr 13, 2009 | 3
When computer programmers find security flaws in the programs they use (particularly software running on the Web), they have a choice: report the glitch to the software maker (which may ignore the warning) or find some way of publicly (and often illegally) exploiting it to make clear to the company how vulnerable its software is. A 17-year-old hacker claiming to be from Brooklyn, N.Y., this past weekend chose the latter path, unleashing at least two worms after discovering a weak spot in the social network site Twitter; the worms wended their way into a reported 190 user accounts and infected about 10,000 tweets (messages sent via the Twitter network), the company said yesterday.
Jan 23, 2009 | 3
As if Microsoft's announcement yesterday that it's laying off 5,000 employees (the first such sackings in the company's 34-year history) wasn't bad enough, now some security analysts are predicting the worst is yet to come as the highly infectious Conficker worm continues to thrive after already striking as many as 10 million Windows PCs worldwide. The "malware" (as opposed to software) may be activated by its creators (who remain at large) at some later date, causing legions of infected PCs to digitally attack and disable other computers.
Dec 5, 2008 | 16
The "Koobface" software worm tormenting Facebook and MySpace users is still going strong, prompting them to download bogus software that infects their computers, sends spam out to their friends and allows hackers to redirect their Web searches.
The worm is activated when a person logs into his or her Facebook or MySpace account, creating and sending spam messages to listed friends via the Facebook or MySpace sites. The messages and comments include sophisticated fare such as "Paris Hilton Tosses Dwarf On The Street" and "My friend catched [sic] you on hidden cam" as well as a purported link to a video of the advertised content, according to security software maker Kaspersky Lab, based in Woburn, Mass. Clicking on that link delivers a message telling the user to download the latest version of Flash Player.
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