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A malware that can shut down power grids and VR to ease pain of patients
SECURITY

A malware that can shut down power grids and VR to ease pain of patients 

Show Notes

Crash Override

Last year a new strain of malware was responsible for a computer malfunction that triggered a power outage in Ukraine. According to some security firms, they believe that it could be used to disrupt power grids in the US and other countries.

The malicious software, codenamed Crash Override, is the second malware program that can disable industrial systems like power plants, according to a report from the software security firm Dragos.

Crash Override works by hijacking a power plant’s computers in order to create a software loop that forces its circuit breakers to stay open, thereby taking the plant offline. The only way to stop it is for a repair crew to manually assume control of the breakers to close them. Crash Override’s methods could likely work for any power station with computer-controlled breakers, and could even be expanded to affect other industrial plants.

Next federal election can be influenced by hackers

Last week, Canada’s electronic spy agency said it was “very likely” that hackers will try to influence Canada’s 2019 elections and it planned to advise political parties next week on how to guard against cyber threats.

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) agency said it had not detected any nation-state attempts to interfere in prior Canadian elections but saw risk from hacktivists.

CSE said it expects some hacktivist efforts in 2019 will be well-planned, with targets ranging from voter suppression and stealing party information to trying to discredit candidates.

VR and pain management

Researchers in the UK are looking to see if virtual reality can ease a patient’s pain and anxiety, so what they have done is to enlist 79 people who needed a tooth pulled or cavity filled.

The patients were divided into three groups: One that viewed a VR coastal scene, one a VR city, and the other, no virtual reality at all.

The result? Folks that viewed the ocean VR experienced “significantly less pain” than the other two groups, showing its therapeutic potential for stressful events.

The next step, they will be looking to test would be to vary the content of natural environments to see if the can determine exactly how it reduces pain.

Tech Bytes

Spotify last week announced a partnership with Eventbrite and AXS that will let you find concert tickets at nearby venues. You can find information on ticket prices and dates right in your Spotify app, although you’ll have to leave the app to actually purchase them.

Previously, Spotify only allowed you to find concerts happening near you, not search for tickets to them.

Are you looking to delete your existence from the Internet?

Two Swedish developers created a web app called Deseat.me, which offers a way to wipe your entire existence off the internet in a few clicks.

After logging into the website with a Google or Outlook account it scans for apps and services you’ve created an account for and creates a list of them with easy delete links.

By clicking the links you will be removed from those services.

Over the next few days and weeks, Twitter will be rolling out a redesign of its app that’s faster and easier to use, while also fixing things that users didn’t like about the current design.

The first new change is a new side navigation menu with profile, additional accounts, settings, and privacy, which Twitter said results in fewer tabs at the bottom of the app and reduces clutter.

And finally, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just awarded the Tesla Model X a 5-star safety rating in every category and subcategory after conducting the first independent crash test of the electric vehicle since its launch in 2015.

The Model X is the first SUV to receive the federal government’s highest safety rating across the board.

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