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  • Researchers turn USB cable into attack tool

    Two researchers have figured out a way to attack laptops and smartphones through an innocent-looking USB cable. Angelos Stavrou, an assistant professor of computer science at George Mason University, and student[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Zhaohui Wang wrote software that changes the functionality of the USB driver so that they could launch a surreptitious attack while someone is charging a smartphone or syncing data between a smartphone and a computer.
    Basically, the exploit works by adding keyboard or mouse functionality to the connection so an attacker can then start typing commands or click the mouse in order to steal files, download additional malware, or do other things to take control of the computer, Stavrou told CNET in an interview. The exploit is enabled because the USB protocol can be used to connect any device to a computing platform without authentication, he said.
    He and his partner were scheduled to demonstrate an attack at the Black Hat DC conference today.
    The exploit software they wrote identifies what operating sysetm is running on the device the USB cable is connected to. On Macintosh and Windows machines, a message pops up saying the system has detected a new human interface device, but there is no easily recognizable way to halt the process, Stavrou said. The Mac pop-up can be quickly removed by an attacker with a command sent via the smartphone so the laptop owner may not even see it, while the Windows pop-up lasts only one or two seconds in the lower left corner, making that an ineffective warning too, he said.
    Linux machines offer no warning, so users will have no idea that something out of the ordinary is happening, particularly since the regular keyboard and mouse continue to function normally during an attack, Stavrou said.
    "The operating system should present a pop-up and ask if the user really wants to connect the device" and specify what type of device is being identified to the system, he said.
    The researchers wrote the exploit for Android devices only at this point. "It can be done for iPhone, but we didn't do it yet," Stavrou said. "It can work on any computing device that uses USB," and it can work between two smartphones by connecting a USB cable between then, he said.
    "Say your computer at home is compromised and you compromise your Android phone by connecting them," he said. "Then, whenever you connect the smartphone to another laptop or computing device I can take over that computer also, and then compromise other computers off that Android. It's a viral type of compromise using the USB cable."
    The original compromise can happen by downloading the exploit from the Web or running an app that is compromised. The researchers have created exploit software to run on a computer, and an exploit to run on Android that is a modification of the Android operating system kernel. Scripts can then be written for the actual attack.
    Antivirus software wouldn't necessarily stop this because it can't tell that the activities of the exploit are not controlled or sanctioned by the user, Stavrou said. "It's hard to separate good behavior from bad behavior when it comes from the keyboard," he said.
    There's not much a person can do to protect against this at this time, according to Stavrou. The operating systems should have the capability for devices to inspect USB traffic and alert users about what exactly is happening over the connection and give them the option of refusing an action, he said.
    Source: cnet.com

  • CoolIT Systems ECO A.L.C. 240 CPU Cooler Review

    In the last year self contained water cooling kits have gotten more popular. This is mainly due to some users that want the benefit of water cooling but do not want to[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] either custom build a cooling loop or have the money to throw at a custom loop. Enter companies like Corsair with their H series coolers and CoolIT with their A.L.C. series. Today we are looking at the ECO A.L.C. 240 from CoolIT Systems.
    What is different from the self contained kits we have looked at so far is that the ECO ALC 240 has a 240mm radiator, not a 120mm radiator. The radiator comes with two 120mm 1900 RPM 63 CFM fans, but can support up to four 120mm fans for a push/pull configuration. With more cooling capacity, a bigger radiator and more fan capacity, the ECO ALC 240 could be a very good performer for its $125 price tag.
    Now the new ECO ALC 240 is just like the ECO ALC 120 in regards to the types of fans and pump/block unit. The only difference is the larger radiator. The ECO ALC 240 is a self-contained, sealed loop CPU water cooler. With the unit being sealed there is no need for the system coolant to be filled or topped off like a custom water cooling loop would require due to water evaporating from the coolant reservoir. This maintenance free operation is also one of the attractions for some users to use self-contained units.
    CoolIT Systems ECO ALC 240 Specifications
    * CoolIT 240mm Radiator (Default Configuration)
    o Description: 240mm Class Liquid Cooling Radiator
    o Construction/materials: Louvered aluminum fins, tubes and body
    o Performance/Design: Optimized for high performance as low fan speed for low noise operations
    o Fittings style: CoolIT 6mm FEP barb system compatible fittings
    o Dimensions: 275 mm tall x 122mm wide x 27mm deep
    * CoolIT Fan
    o Description: 2x CoolIT 120mm 1900 RPM Fans
    o Fan Rated Airflow: 63 CFM
    o Rated dBA: 29 dBA
    o Construction Materials: High Performance UL94-V0 PBT Plastics
    o Performance/Design: High Flow, Low Noise Design
    o Features: Sleeve Bearing, 100.000 Hrs. MTTF, 4 Pin PWM Speed Controlled, Tach Output
    o Dimensions: 120 * 120 * 25mm
    * CoolIT Pump
    o Motor: Electronically commutated, brushless
    o DC Nominal Voltage: 12 VDC
    o Nominal current: 0.1 A (consumes ~1.5W)
    o MTBF: >50,000 Hours
    o Maximum Head: 110 cm H2O
    o Maximum Flow Rate: 1.5 L/minute
    o Maximum Operating Temp.: 70° Celsius
    o Fittings Style: CoolIT 6mm FEP barb system fittings
    o Dimensions: 60 mm x 48 mm x 30 mm
    o Weight: 57g
    * CoolIT ECO CPU Assembly
    o FHE Base Type: Microchannel FHE
    o Base Material: Copper
    o Dimensions: 55mm(w) x 91.5mm(l) x 51.4mm(h)
    o Weight: 255g (including pump)
    o Tubing Description/Features: Flexible corrugated FEP, 6 mm ID, 8 mm OD
    o Water Vapour Transmission: <=1.5 g/year @ 60 °C (7 year life)
    * Coolant Description/Features: Low toxicity Propylene Glycol/Water mix-ture with anticorrosion/antifungal pack-age
    * Thermal Interface Material CPU Thermal Grease: CoolIT Pro ATC


  • EVGA P67 Classified Motherboard

    Introducing the EVGA P67 lineup! Supporting Intel Socket 1155 processors, these motherboards offer incredible performance with Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Get ready to experience the next generation of Intel Turbo Boost Technology which delivers intelligent computing by optimizing performance on the fly![PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
    It doesn’t just stop at performance though, the EVGA P67 lineup has full support for SATA III/6G and USB 3.0 giving you the latest standards in high performance computing, and a forward thinking true next generation motherboard layout means nothing is compromised.
    "With the EVGA P67 SLI, EVGA further proves its dedication to providing exactly what the performance user demands," said Bob Klase, VP of Sales at EVGA. "This 2nd generation Intel

  • Η Acer δηλωνει ετοιμη για Android ταμπλετες με Sandy Bridge

    Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU is set to hit the tablet world in the form of two, possibly three, Acer tablets due to launch in the first half of this year.
    Opting for Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors is an unusual move away from the[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] ARM-based processors that are generally found in Android devices, but fits with Intel's dedication to making it in the tablet market.
    Acer's new tablets will run on the Android OS, but it's not clear yet whether they'll ship with the tablet-centric Android 3.0 which was revealed earlier this year.
    Sandy Android
    The slates will be available in sizes from 7-inches to 10-inches, with Taiwan sales manager Lu Bing-hsian saying that the tablets are "aimed at phasing out netbooks".
    Lu told Computerworld that the tablets will run faster than laptops with Windows operating systems and use a four-core processor.
    Despite Acer's hopes the tablets will adequately replace its netbook products, the company is set to continue making low-cost notebooks for traditionalists.
    Source: techradar.com

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