Friday, February 12, 2016

Software failure ruined an anthropological discovery

An important discovery based on the study of the genome of an African ancestor has run out of steam: it was due to a software failure. Well, omniscience of computer causes not only mistakes in communication networks or operating machines, but it affects all aspects of our life, including the theft of our cars. We will expand this information, as well as the appearance of the first criticisms to Let's Encrypt initiative and the presentation of the Global Report on Encryption Products.

It was October 2015 when it was released one research on "Science Paper", that claimed to have found traces of ancestral farmer genes from Middle East and West and Central Africa. Now the authors have had to unsay. An incompatibility error between two software packages caused that some genetic variants were deleted from the analysis and conclusions were erroneous. Software fails can have large impacts on history and human culture.

Music for thieves

We have yet another example that is not part of our usual stream of money and data theft. We are talking about the stealing of a car in Baltimore: the thieves, some kids, synchronized their phones via Bluetooth to the car stereo system. When gasoline was over, they droped out the car but the phones kept in memory. One of them matched with the name of an account in Instagram... You know, a "nice" story.

Let's Encrypt expiration

Let's go now to an initiative that promised much but it is not that great if we take a look to recent reviews. Lauren Weinstein, known technology expert and US activist, has been the first to point the finger: Let's Encrypt certificates would be expiring after 90 days. "All your certs will automatically be renewed; but in practice, many environments cannot (...) deploy automatic certificate management systems, and manually updating certs - especially for multiple machines". Besides, he says, "when the cert expires (...) it effectively can cut users off from important resources". Better to read the whole discussion it has generated.

Worldwide Encryption Producs Survey

We drive to the end of this post with a Worldwide Survey designed by researchers Bruce Schneier, Kathleen Seidel and Saranya Vijayakumar. They analyzed 865 hardware and software products from 55 countries and conclude that the back doors on encryption products are useless.

We want our audience to have a good weekend and we suggest you to visit us on Sunday to read our interview with Continuum Security, the winner of the startups first prize from INCIBE (Spanish National Institute of Cybersecurity).


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