posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Two activist groups have filed an appeal in their lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to access one week’s worth of license plate reader data. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) lost their case before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge last month. In May 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the law enforcement agencies in an attempt to compel the agencies to release a week’s worth of LPR data from a particular week in August 2012. The judge in the lower court ruling found that the law enforcement agencies could withhold such license plate reader (LPR) records through a particular exemption under the California Public Records Act that allows investigatory records to be kept private. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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CUPERTINO, CA—Apple’s media event today was light on surprises. Apple really didn’t show anything that hadn’t already been leaked by the rumor mill (or by Apple itself), but that doesn’t mean that the upgrades to the iPad and Mac lineups are unwelcome. We spent some quality time with the hardware after the announcement, and our impressions are below. As for the software, you can already grab OS X Yosemite for yourself now, and iOS 8.1 and Apple Pay will follow on Monday (at least for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners). The Retina iMac Andrew Cunningham The new Retina iMac. 3 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } The new iMac is the result of a simple equation: Current 27-inch iMac plus Retina display equals Retina 5K iMac. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Even in the download-only era, it's easy to make yourself offline OS X install media. Andrew Cunningham It was 2009 when Apple last released a new operating system on physical media. Things have proceeded remarkably smoothly since version 10.7 switched to download-only installers, but there are still good reasons to want an old, reliable USB stick. For instance, if you find yourself doing multiple installs, a USB drive may be faster than multiple downloads (especially if you use a USB 3.0 drive). Or maybe you need a recovery disk for older Macs that don't support the Internet Recovery feature. Whatever the reason, you're in luck, because it's not hard to make one. As with last year, there are two ways to get it done. There's the super easy way with the graphical user interface and the only slightly less easy way that requires some light Terminal use. Here's what you need to get started. A Mac, duh. We've created Yosemite USB from both Mavericks and Yosemite, but your experience with other versions may vary. An 8GB or larger USB flash drive or an 8GB or larger partition on some other kind of external drive. For newer Macs, use a USB 3.0 drive—it makes things significantly faster. The OS X 10.10 Yosemite installer from the Mac App Store in your Applications folder. The installer will delete itself when you install the operating system, but it can be re-downloaded if necessary. If you want a GUI, you need the latest version of Diskmaker X app—we wrote this article based on version 4 beta 2, but if a "final" version is released alongside Yosemite we'll update the article. This app is free to download, but the creator accepts donations if you want to support his efforts. An administrator account on the Mac you're using to create the disk. The easy way Diskmaker X remains the easiest, most user-friendly way to get this done. Andrew Cunningham Once you've obtained all of the necessary materials, connect the USB drive to your Mac and run the Diskmaker X app. The app will offer to make installers for OS X 10.8, 10.9, and 10.10, but we're only interested in Yosemite today. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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CN.dart.call("xrailTop", {sz:"300x250", kws:["top"], collapse: true});John Siracusa's gigantic review of OS X Yosemite tells you everything you need to know about the new operating system. The biggest, most noticeable change is the revised user interface, which has been redesigned in the image of iOS 7 even though it remains distinctly Mac-like. When the first Yosemite Public Beta was released, we ran through a bunch of apps and compared them side-by-side with their Mavericks iterations to show just what had changed, and by how much. Apple continued to tweak the look of the interface throughout the beta period, addressing a few of our initial gripes. Below is a comprehensive visual tour of Yosemite's new changes. Many of these screenshots are similar to what shipped with the Public Beta, so we'll be sure to highlight those elements that have changed significantly since then. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock When the book is finally closed on the product line known as OS X, last year’s release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks may end up getting short shrift. Sure, it brought tangible energy saving benefits to Mac laptop owners, but such gains are quickly taken for granted; internal changes and new frameworks are not as memorable to customers as they may be to developers and technophiles. And while Mavericks included many new user-visible features, and even new bundled applications, the cumulative effect was that of a pleasant upgrade, not a blockbuster. But for all its timidity and awkwardness, Mavericks marked a turning point for OS X—and in more than just naming scheme. It was the first OS X release from the newly unified, post-Forstall Apple. If iOS 7 was the explosive release of Jony Ive’s pent-up software design ethos, then Mavericks was the embodiment of Craig Federighi’s patient engineering discipline. Or maybe Mavericks was just a victim of time constraints and priorities. Either way, in last year’s OS X release, Apple tore down the old. This year, finally, Apple is ready with the new. To signal the Mac’s newfound confidence, Apple has traded 10.9’s obscure surfing location for one of the best known and most beautiful national parks: Yosemite. The new OS’s headline feature is one that’s sure to make for a noteworthy chapter in the annals of OS X: an all-new user interface appearance. Of course, this change comes a year after iOS got its extreme makeover. Read 405 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Andrew Cunningham Apple announced a new generation of its tiny Mac mini desktop computer today at an event in Cupertino, California. The new version includes a Haswell CPU and PCI-e flash-based storage, among other features. The 4th-gen Intel processors will have Intel Iris and HD 5000 GPUs, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. Apple referred to the Mac mini as "the world's most energy efficient desktop." The base model includes a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor, and the top-end end model can be specced with up to a 3.0GHz dual-core Intel i7 processor. By default, the new Mac mini models are equipped with Apple's Fusion Drives, but customers can upgrade to fully-flash-based PCIe drives for a price. The company has not updated the Mac mini since late 2012, when it added USB 3.0 ports (the new model retains 4 of these, in addition to Thunderbolt 2). The new machines will retain the design of the 2012 model. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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CUPERTINO, CA—On Thursday, Apple followed its announcement of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 with price drops across the board for older models in those lines, which will continue to be produced alongside today's newest models. "Our lineup has the lowest price point ever for iPad," Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller said while standing in front of a slide revealing the price points. The original iPad Mini price has dropped to $249 at its smallest memory configuration of 16GB, followed by the iPad Mini 2 at $299 and the iPad Air at $399 (also set at 16GB). Each of those price drops is $100. In terms of competitive pricing, the original iPad Mini now costs only $50 more than Amazon's Kindle HDX 7 without advertising offers and Google's Nexus 7. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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One of the big "tentpole" announcements from Apple’s event this morning was the long-awaited arrival of iMacs with "retina" displays. The flagship 27-inch iMac form factor has been updated with a high-resolution, high-DPI screen, and it's now known as the "iMac with Retina Display." It runs at a resolution of 5120x2880. The updated iMac with Retina Display keeps the same external form factor as the existing iMacs, so externally, things are unchanged. However, the new internals include an updated LED backlight, an updated oxide TFT display panel, and an updated timing controller to push around the display's 14.7 million pixels. Apple also says that although the display is brighter and denser than the 27-inch 2560x1440 panel on older 27-inch iMacs, the panel uses 30% less power thanks to the efficient LED design. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Andrew Cunningham CUPERTINO, CA—Apple has officially announced its next iPad Air 2 at today's media event on its campus at 1 Infinite Loop. The iPad Air 2 was inadvertently outed yesterday in an iBooks listing for the iPad user guide. The new device is only 6.1 mm thin, and it boasts an A8X chip and a GPU that Apple says is 180 times faster than the original iPad. The company said that the iPad Air 2 has a 10 hour battery life. The device will also benefit from the addition of a TouchID fingerprint sensor, a feature that was first introduced in the iPhone 5S last year. TouchID can be used to unlock devices and confirm App Store purchases and, as of iOS 8, it's also available to third-party developers to use when their apps require authentication. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Yosemite is here. Apple CUPERTINO, CA—Today at a product event, Apple announced that it would be releasing OS X Yosemite to the public. The eleventh major release of OS X was announced back in June at WWDC, and Apple began sending public beta builds to interested parties in July. Though it includes other new features, the operating system's most noticeable change is its redesigned user interface, which echoes the overhaul Apple gave iOS 7 last year. Yosemite's brighter, flatter applications and icons, its heavy use of translucency, and its switch to Helvetica Neue will be familiar to anyone with an iPhone or iPad, but as we saw in our coverage of the first public beta, Apple has been careful to preserve shadows and depth in many places throughout the OS. Along with the design overhaul, Yosemite also ushers in newly redesigned versions of OS X staple apps like Safari and iTunes. Yosemite will be available as a free download from the Mac App Store later today, and it can be installed on any supported Mac running OS X 10.6 or later. If your Mac can run either Mountain Lion (version 10.8) or Mavericks (version 10.9), then it can run Yosemite. The full list of supported machines is as follows: Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Apple Pay is the most important thing to launch with iOS 8.1. Apple Apple has just released iOS 8.1, the first major update to iOS 8. The majority of the update's new features have already been announced, but for one reason or another weren't ready to be included in iOS 8 when it shipped last month. In the update, Apple plans to add back the "Camera Roll" album in iOS 8 with 8.1 to help users find their recently taken shots. The new version will also include a beta of iCloud Photo Library. iCloud Photo Library offers users the option of either backing up their photos to iCloud or using the service as primary storage to clear up space on their devices, only downloading photos when necessary. 8.1 will also mark the formal release of Apple Pay, the contactless payment system Apple teased when it unveiled the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September. The new iPhones can store credit card data locally in what Apple calls the "Secure Element," which also contains a Device Account Number unique to each phone. Stored cards can then be used to make purchases by using TouchID to authenticate and NFC to transmit the data. The Device Account Number and randomly generated per-transaction codes are used to obfuscate your credit card data, which isn't exposed directly to retailers or to Apple. App developers can also integrate Apple Pay buttons into their apps to be used in lieu of credit card numbers. Apple stated that it plans to roll out Apple Pay in November. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Greetings, Arsians! Our partners from LogicBuy are back with a ton of new deals for this week. At the top is this deal for a 24" Dell UltraSharp IPS monitor with a 1920x1200 for $279.99. Featured dealLast Day for 30% Off UltraSharp Sale! Dell U2415 24" UltraSharp 1920x1200 IPS Monitor w/ 3-year warranty for $279.99 plus free shipping (list price $399.99) Monitors Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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When the console is smaller than the controller, it has really earned the term "microconsole." We didn’t have a chance to evaluate the PlayStation TV before its North American release Tuesday, but we have now picked up a retail unit and put it through its paces for a few hours over a couple of days. What we've found so far is a device that's perfectly fine when it works as intended, but quite a few important limitations get in the way of its advertised functionality. For those who may have missed the previous announcements, the PlayStation TV can be best thought of as a $100 PlayStation Vita without the screen. The microconsole hooks up to a TV via HDMI to let you play Vita games (originally designed for portable play) on the big screen. In addition, PSTV supports many downloadable PSOne and PSP classics, PS3 games streamed via the PlayStation Now service, and remote play off a PS4 connected to the same network. Basically, it’s the PlayStation ecosystem’s version of the Ouya or a cheap Steam streamer box—a cheap, low-power device designed for smaller titles and remote play of bulkier titles running elsewhere. Right out of the box, it’s striking just how small the PlayStation TV is. If you have room for a deck of playing cards under your TV, you have room for its tiny, rounded plastic form. Setup was a painless process. Plug the box into the wall and to the TV via HDMI, then sync a Dualshock 3 or Dualshock 4 controller via USB (you can unplug it afterwards), and you’re off and running. Going through initial menus to set things like the time, the Wi-Fi connection, and my PSN account took about five minutes. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Flickr user: Creativity103 Bacterial infections remain a major threat to human and animal health. Worse still, the catalog of useful antibiotics is shrinking as pathogens build up resistance to these drugs. There are few promising new drugs in the pipeline, but they may not prove to be enough. Multi-resistant organisms—also called “superbugs”—are on the rise and many predict a gloomy future if nothing is done to fight back. The answer, some believe, may lie in using engineered bacteriophages, a type of viruses that infects bacteria. Two recent studies, both published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, show a promising alternative to small-molecule drugs that are the mainstay of antibacterial treatments today. From basic to synthetic biology Nearly every living organism seems to have evolved simple mechanisms to protect itself from harmful pathogens. These innate immune systems can be a passive barrier, blocking anything above a certain size, or an active response that recognizes and destroys foreign molecules such as proteins and DNA. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Flickr user: Frank Spin An Australian doctor is raising funds to launch an SMS service in West Africa that sends people to the right medical facilities based on key words used and crunches that data to look for the next outbreak spot. "During my missions with Médecins Sans Frontières I have always noticed that no matter how distressed the populations we served, someone always had a mobile phone," Mohamad-Ali Trad, who has a masters in public health and tropical medicine, tells WIRED.co.uk. "We did some research and actually found out that most areas traditionally considered under-resourced do have a mobile phone coverage." As mobile penetration on the continent continues to rise, SMS money transfer services like M-Pesa are common in parts of East Africa, and Western Union is hoping to capitalise on penetration in western countries to launch its payment service with MTN. It is also certainly not the first time an SMS service has been used during a period of emergency or outbreak. Even in April, as Ebola began to creep from Guinea to its neighbours, SMS messages were used to raise awareness about symptoms and protective measures. A similar system has been used in the past during cholera outbreaks, most recently in Mozambique in 2013. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Google Glass integrated into a pair of cool shades. A man who used Google Glass for 18 hours a day was admitted to a substance abuse and recovery program for Internet addiction disorder, according to a report from The Guardian Tuesday and a scientific paper published about the patient. The man reported that he became "irritable and argumentative" when he could not wear his Glass, and he started viewing dreams as if they were projected through Glass's tiny display. The 31-year-old man was serving the US Navy at the time he was admitted to the program, where he was using Google Glass in his job making inventories of convoy vehicles, according to Newsweek. He had a history of substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. He only removed the device to sleep and take showers. Internet addiction disorder is not officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but it's listed as an area for further study. When the man entered the Navy's treatment center in September 2013, doctors observed he would tap his fingers at his temple, as if he were using the Google Glass touchpad. On completing treatment at the center, the tapping behaviors had stopped and the man reported less irritability over not having the device on his face constantly. He was then sent to a 12-step program for alcohol abuse. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Host Steven Johnson and his homie Galileo relax in Pisa. Jack Chapman Welcome to the fuzzy, friendly era of modern mainstream science. Radiolab, Mythbusters, and varied radio and TV shows hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye have injected humor, bombast, and likeability into the medium’s weirdest stories (not to mention a zillion science-friendly GIFs into an average day of web browsing). That trend goes some way in explaining the latest co-production from the BBC and NPR, which has decided on a host-first approach for their latest six-part series, How We Got To Now. But with longtime technology and science historian Steven Johnson at the helm, the perspective is a little different—not about otherworldly sights and jaw-dropping discoveries, but about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. As a result, the episode titles sound pretty boring, with themes like “cold,” “sound,” and “glass” dominating each hour-long dive into history. But while the series probably won’t make Johnson a Tyson-esque giant of popular science, the stories of How We Got To Now aren’t just a surprising look at how innovations beget innovations. They’re also an infinitely watchable greatest-hits look at Johnson’s impressive tech-history career. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Two parents whose teenager set up a fake Facebook page to ridicule a classmate will face a defamation trial, a Georgia appeals court ruled yesterday. Even though they didn't create the page, the parents could be liable because they allowed it to remain up for more than a year, the court said. In 2011, Alexandria (Alex) Boston, a middle school student in Cobb County, Georgia, shared a homeroom class with Dustin Athearn and Melissa Snodgrass. Athearn and Snodgrass created a fake Facebook page under Boston's name. They posted pictures of her taken using a "fat face" app and wrote posts that suggested she had racist views and was a lesbian, according to a report published today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Some of these postings were graphically sexual, racist, or otherwise offensive and some falsely stated that Alex was on a medication regimen for mental health disorders and that she took illegal drugs," wrote the three-judge appeals panel in their opinion (PDF). Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless’s Edge financing program will reportedly start making customers pay off a higher percentage of the cost of a phone before they can upgrade to a new device. Edge lets customers “upgrade every year, or more often,” its website says. But that’s going to change from a year to 18 months (less if customers pay up early) under new payment plans being unveiled tomorrow, according to reports in Droid Life and FierceWireless. Droid Life attributed the information to “multiple sources,” while FierceWireless said it confirmed the changes with Verizon. A Verizon spokesperson told Ars that the articles are accurate. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Even older Nexuses will be getting Android 5.0. Andrew Cunningham Google's official Android Lollipop announcement this morning originally didn't mention some older Nexus devices—namely, the Nexus 4 and the 2012 Nexus 7. However, Google has confirmed to us that those older devices will indeed be getting Android 5.0, as will the Nexus 5, 2013 Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and the Google Play Edition devices. Last year when it released KitKat, Google dropped support for the aging Galaxy Nexus phone. Though the official line at the time was that the device was outside its 18-month support window, it was later confirmed that the phone was actually dropped because Texas Instruments had left the SoC market. TI wasn't around to provide newer drivers and support for Google, so the phone was left by the wayside. We still don't know exactly when older Nexuses will be getting the update; Google has only said it's happening "in the coming weeks." We'll report on Lollipop's performance on older phones and tablets once the update begins rolling out. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Apple's iBooks listing has accidentally revealed information about its new tablets. Apple Well, there's that much less mystery about Apple's event tomorrow. An iBooks listing for an iPad user guide included some preview of both an "iPad Mini 3" and an "iPad Air 2," and given that the source is Apple itself, it seems safe to assume that these are the tablets Apple will announce. The main addition revealed by this rare official leak is the presence of a TouchID fingerprint sensor on both models. As expected, neither tablet body appears to have changed much; this is going to be more of an internal refresh than an external one. A close-up of the screenshot in question. Note the TouchID button. Apple via 9to5Mac Other rumors indicate that the new iPads could come with 2GB of RAM and a more powerful Apple A8X chip. The tablets will also supposedly come in gold and may have LCD screens that are fused with the front glass to eliminate the air gap that exists in current models. We'll be liveblogging Apple's event tomorrow morning to get all the details. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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The 2014 Moto G (left) and Moto X (right) will get Android 5.0, along with many other Motorola phones. Andrew Cunningham Android OEMs are slowly getting better at updates. Not every company is communicative about or prompt with those updates, but our data mostly shows improvement across the board. Some OEMs are actually getting pretty good; HTC has promised updates to Android 5.0 for some flagship phones within 90 days of release. However, the best non-Nexus phones to buy if you want updates are still the Moto phones from Motorola. Today the company confirmed which of its devices are guaranteed an update to Lollipop. That list includes both the 2013 and 2014 Moto X, the 2013 and 2014 Moto G, the Moto E, and the Droid Ultra, Maxx, and Mini. The company didn't announce specific timing for any of these releases, but the new OS version will probably hit unlocked devices first and then roll out to carrier-specific phones from there. That the Moto X, G, and E are all getting Lollipop is probably a good sign—the three of them represent the highest and lowest-end processors that are shipping in most Android phones today, and it means that any decent Android phone you buy now should be capable of running Android 5.0 if your OEM chooses to update it. We'll be keeping an eye out for other Lollipop announcements, and we'll revisit some older hardware once the software is released to see how it runs. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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HBO says 2015 will be the year it goes "beyond the Wall." Ars Technica lives on the Internet so we guess that makes us the Wildlings. Hina Ichigo HBO CEO Richard Plepler told investors attending a Time Warner meeting today that the company will begin offering an online-only subscription for its content in 2015. Unlike the HBO Go service that the company currently offers, a TV-subscription wouldn’t be required to access shows under the new plan. The statement was first reported by Re/Code, which said that Plepler told the audience that "the company will go 'beyond the wall' and launch a 'stand alone, over the top' version of HBO in the US next year, and would work with 'current partners,' and may work with others as well.” That's pretty vague, and Plepler wouldn’t offer more detail. But the statement is significant given that the company has flirted with the idea of selling Web-only subscriptions for years but has always stopped short of saying that going Web-only was the plan. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Google Google has just announced every major mobile product we were expecting from it this year: the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Android 5.0 "Lollipop." There's also something we weren't expecting: a Asus-made set-top-box called the "Nexus Player." Nexus 6 First up is the Motorola-build Nexus 6. With its latest Nexus phone, Google is tackling phablets. Even for a phablet, though, the Nexus 6 is huge: it has a 5.96-inch, 2560×1440 display (493 PPI). (Compare that to the pocket-busting Note 4, which is "only" 5.7-inches.) The base Nexus 6 has a 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 quad-core SoC, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, 13MP and 2MP cameras, and a 3200mAh battery. The Motorola-built device has a design heavily based on the 2014 Moto X. The phone can be pre-oredered in "late October" and will be in stores "in November." Unlike previous Nexus phones, Google says the Nexus 6 will be widely available from various retail outlets and carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Best Buy, and the Google Play store. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The long, painful rollout of patches to a security flaw in the Bourne Again Shell (bash) has left thousands of systems still vulnerable, and malware based on the vulnerability continues to spread, according to a number of security experts. But even for organizations that have already applied the patch for what has been dubbed the “Shellshock” vulnerability, the cleanup may not be over—and it could be long and expensive. Soon after the Shellshock bug was publicly disclosed and its initial patch was distributed, weaknesses in the patch itself and additional security vulnerabilities were uncovered by developers dealing with the issue. And within a day of the disclosure, attacks exploiting the vulnerability were found in the wild. Some of those attacks are still trying to spread—and in some cases, they’re using Google searches to help them find potential targets. Successful attacks may have made changes to the targeted systems that would not have been corrected by the application of the patch. The problem with Shellshock is similar to problems that emerged after the Heartbleed bug and numerous other vulnerabilities—while organizations struggle to understand the disclosures, how they affect their systems, and how to successfully implement patches, others—including security researchers—race to build proof-of-concept attacks based on them to demonstrate exactly how dire they are. And those proofs of concept often get picked up by cybercriminals and others with bad intent before organizations can effectively patch them—using them to exploit systems in ways that are much longer-lasting than the vulnerability du jour. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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