HEARTBLEED heartbleed my heart is bleeding about heartbleed….
How soon until someone writes a country ballad about heartbleed? Knowing the Internet, probably before all the currently vulnerable sites are patched. Researchers at University of Michigan previously produced a tool which was capable of scanning large swaths of the Internet at incredibly fast speeds. They took advantage of this tool to regularly scan the top 1 million sites on the Internet (as categorized by Alexa)(who is not a person) and determine what portion of the sites are vulnerable. Mashable, meanwhile, has compiled a list of the big websites that were vulnerable (but now are not). This bug is the latest and greatest of them….yet (as XKCD points out)
As the NYT points out, as the web gets larger it also gets less secure (and thus, harder to defend):
“If you fix one Internet security bug, you can be sure that attackers will just find another, potentially more dangerous one. “Over all, attackers have the competitive advantage,” said Jen Weedon, who works on the threat intelligence team at the security company Mandiant. “Defenders need to defend everything. All attackers need to find is one vulnerability.””
Here’s what was important this week…
A discovery was made at the South Pole BICEP2 research lab that, if accurate, confirms the theory of cosmic inflation. Cosmic inflation explains the big bang, as an article in Symmetry Magazine details: “Almost 14 billion years ago, the universe we inhabit burst into existence in an extraordinary event that initiated the big bang. In the first fleeting fraction of a second, the universe expanded exponentially, stretching far beyond the view of today’s best telescopes. All this, of course, has just been theory.”Cosmic inflation and the big bang are neatly explained in more detail in this PHD comic.
My favorite part of the discovery is a video released by Stanford of one of the scientists in the BICEP2 project going to visit one of the lead theorists of cosmic inflation to tell him that his 30 years of work had just been confirmed. Much more footage was taken, but they edited the video for emotional impact–and it worked (I teared up). Such a video turned out to be an easy way to make the discovery go much more viral and affect many more people than it otherwise might have. Wired details how the scientists involved manage to keep their discovery quiet until the announcement.