All posts tagged: ars technica

‘TunnelVision’ Attack Leaves Nearly All VPNs Vulnerable to Spying

‘TunnelVision’ Attack Leaves Nearly All VPNs Vulnerable to Spying

Researchers have devised an attack against nearly all virtual private network applications that forces them to send and receive some or all traffic outside of the encrypted tunnel designed to protect it from snooping or tampering. TunnelVision, as the researchers have named their attack, largely negates the entire purpose and selling point of VPNs, which is to encapsulate incoming and outgoing Internet traffic in an encrypted tunnel and to cloak the user’s IP address. The researchers believe it affects all VPN applications when they’re connected to a hostile network and that there are no ways to prevent such attacks except when the user’s VPN runs on Linux or Android. They also said their attack technique may have been possible since 2002 and may already have been discovered and used in the wild since then. Reading, Dropping, or Modifying VPN Traffic The effect of TunnelVision is that “the victim’s traffic is now decloaked and being routed through the attacker directly,” a video demonstration explained. “The attacker can read, drop or modify the leaked traffic and the …

It’s Possible to Hack ‘Tetris’ From Inside the Game Itself

It’s Possible to Hack ‘Tetris’ From Inside the Game Itself

Earlier this year, we shared the story of how a classic NES Tetris player hit the game’s “kill screen” for the first time, activating a crash after an incredible 40-minute, 1,511-line performance. Now, some players are using that kill screen—and some complicated memory manipulation it enables—to code new behaviors into versions of Tetris running on unmodified hardware and cartridges. We’ve covered similar “arbitrary code execution” glitches in games like Super Mario World, Paper Mario, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in the past. And the basic method for introducing outside code into NES Tetris has been publicly theorized since at least 2021 when players were investigating the game’s decompiled code. (HydrantDude, who has gone deep on Tetris crashes in the past, also says the community has long had a privately known method for how to take full control of Tetris‘ RAM.) But a recent video from Displaced Gamers takes the idea from private theory to public execution, going into painstaking detail on how to get NES Tetris to start reading the game’s high-score …

Automakers Want AM Radios Out of Cars. Congress Is About to Require Them

Automakers Want AM Radios Out of Cars. Congress Is About to Require Them

A controversial bill that would require all new cars to be fitted with AM radios looks set to become a law in the near future. Yesterday, Senator Edward Markey revealed that the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act now has the support of 60 US Senators, as well as 246 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, making its passage an almost sure thing. Should that happen, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be required to ensure that all new cars sold in the US have AM radios at no extra cost. “Democrats and Republicans are tuning in to the millions of listeners, thousands of broadcasters, and countless emergency management officials who depend on AM radio in their vehicles. AM radio is a lifeline for people in every corner of the United States to get news, sports, and local updates in times of emergencies. Our commonsense bill makes sure this fundamental, essential tool doesn’t get lost on the dial. With a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate, Congress should quickly take it up and pass it,” …

Want to Buy a Decommissioned Supercomputer? Here’s Your Chance

Want to Buy a Decommissioned Supercomputer? Here’s Your Chance

On Tuesday, the US General Services Administration began an auction for the decommissioned Cheyenne supercomputer, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The 5.34-petaflop supercomputer ranked as the 20th most powerful in the world at the time of its installation in 2016. Bidding started at $2,500, but its price is currently $270,085. The supercomputer, which officially operated between January 12, 2017, and December 31, 2023, at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center, was a powerful (and once considered energy-efficient) system that significantly advanced atmospheric and Earth system sciences research. “In its lifetime, Cheyenne delivered over 7 billion core-hours, served over 4,400 users, and supported nearly 1,300 NSF awards,” writes the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) on its official Cheyenne information page. “It played a key role in education, supporting more than 80 university courses and training events. Nearly 1,000 projects were awarded for early-career graduate students and postdocs. Perhaps most tellingly, Cheyenne-powered research generated over 4,500 peer-review publications, dissertations and theses, and other works.” UCAR says that Cheynne was originally slated to be replaced after five years, but the …

Russia Vetoed a UN Resolution to Ban Space Nukes

Russia Vetoed a UN Resolution to Ban Space Nukes

Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution Wednesday that would have reaffirmed a nearly 50-year-old ban on placing weapons of mass destruction into orbit, two months after reports Russia has plans to do just that. Russia’s vote against the resolution was no surprise. As one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, Russia has veto power over any resolution that comes before the body. China abstained from the vote, and 13 other members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution. If it passed, the resolution would have affirmed a binding obligation in Article IV of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which says nations are “not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction.” Going Nuclear Russia is one of 115 parties to the Outer Space Treaty. The Security Council vote Wednesday follows reports in February that Russia is developing a nuclear anti-satellite weapon. “The United States assesses that Russia is developing a new satellite carrying a …

Somehow This ,000 Flame-Thrower Robot Dog Is Completely Legal in 48 States

Somehow This $10,000 Flame-Thrower Robot Dog Is Completely Legal in 48 States

If you’ve been wondering when you’ll be able to order the flame-throwing robot that Ohio-based Throwflame first announced last summer, that day has finally arrived. The Thermonator, what Throwflame bills as “the first-ever flamethrower-wielding robot dog” is now available for purchase. The price? $9,420. Thermonator is a quadruped robot with an ARC flamethrower mounted to its back, fueled by gasoline or napalm. It features a one-hour battery, a 30-foot flame-throwing range, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for remote control through a smartphone. It also includes a LIDAR sensor for mapping and obstacle avoidance, laser sighting, and first-person view (FPV) navigation through an onboard camera. The product appears to integrate a version of the Unitree Go2 robot quadruped that retails alone for $1,600 in its base configuration. Photograph: Xmatter The company lists possible applications of the new robot as “wildfire control and prevention,” “agricultural management,” “ecological conservation,” “snow and ice removal,” and “entertainment and SFX.” But most of all, it sets things on fire in a variety of real-world scenarios. Back in 2018, Elon Musk made …

How NASA Repaired Voyager 1 From 15 Billion Miles Away

How NASA Repaired Voyager 1 From 15 Billion Miles Away

Throughout the five months of troubleshooting, Voyager’s ground team continued to receive signals indicating the spacecraft was still alive. But until Saturday, they lacked insight into specific details about the status of Voyager 1. “It’s pretty much just the way we left it,” Spilker said. “We’re still in the initial phases of analyzing all of the channels and looking at their trends. Some of the temperatures went down a little bit with this period of time that’s gone on, but we’re pretty much seeing everything we had hoped for. And that’s always good news.” Relocating Code Through their investigation, Voyager’s ground team discovered that a single chip responsible for storing a portion of the FDS memory had stopped working, probably due to either a cosmic ray hit or a failure of aging hardware. This affected some of the computer’s software code. “That took out a section of memory,” Spilker said. “What they have to do is relocate that code into a different portion of the memory, and then make sure that anything that uses those …

Environmental Damage Could Cost You a Fifth of Your Income Over the Next 25 Years

Environmental Damage Could Cost You a Fifth of Your Income Over the Next 25 Years

Kotz, Levermann, and Wenz suggest that this is an indication of warming we’re already committed to, in part because the effect of past emissions hasn’t been felt in its entirety and partly because the global economy is a boat that turns slowly, so it will take time to implement significant changes in emissions. “Such a focus on the near term limits the large uncertainties about diverging future emission trajectories, the resulting long-term climate response and the validity of applying historically observed climate–economic relations over long timescales during which socio-technical conditions may change considerably,” they argue. Uneven Costs So, what happens by 2050? The researchers’ model suggests that “committed damages comprise a permanent income reduction of 19 percent on average globally,” compared to where growth would have gotten us. Uncertainties mean the likely range is between 11 and 29 percent. Using a middle-of-the-road scenario for economic growth, this translates to an economic hit of $38 trillion (a figure measured in international dollars). The authors contrast that with an estimate the IPCC made about the costs of …

NASA Confirms Where the Space Junk That Hit a Florida House Came From

NASA Confirms Where the Space Junk That Hit a Florida House Came From

NASA has confirmed that the object that fell into a Florida home last month was part of a battery pack released from the International Space Station. This extraordinary incident opens a new frontier in space law. NASA, the homeowner, and attorneys are navigating little-used legal codes and intergovernmental agreements to determine who should pay for the damages. Alejandro Otero, owner of the Naples, Florida, home struck by the debris, told Ars he is fairly certain the object came from the space station, even before NASA’s confirmation. The circumstances strongly suggested that was the case. The cylindrical piece of metal tore through his roof on March 8, a few minutes after the time US Space Command reported the reentry of a space station cargo pallet and nine decommissioned batteries over the Gulf of Mexico on a trajectory heading forward the coast of southwest Florida. On Monday, NASA confirmed the object’s origin after retrieving it from Otero. The agency said in a statement that the object is made of the metal alloy Inconel, weighs 1.6 pounds, and …

Space Force Is Planning a Military Exercise in Orbit

Space Force Is Planning a Military Exercise in Orbit

The Victus Haze mission is more complicated than Victus Nox, involving two prime contractors, two spacecraft, and two rocket launches from different spaceports, all timed to occur with short timelines “to keep the demonstration as realistic as possible,” a Space Force spokesperson told Ars. “This demonstration will ultimately prepare the United States Space Force to provide future forces to combatant commands to conduct rapid operations in response to adversary on-orbit aggression,” Space Systems Command said in a statement. Faith in Commercial Space “This is a really significant operational demonstration that is really pushing the envelope on technology and demonstrates a lot of faith in the US industrial base,” Rogers said. “Fundamentally, this is about characterizing an unknown capability for the first time in low-Earth orbit,” Rogers said in an interview with Ars. “There are a whole host of challenges that come with that, consistent coverage with communications, how do you track a maneuvering object in low-Earth orbit with limited space domain awareness capabilities, what’s the right level of autonomy and human interaction?” True Anomaly’s first …