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Five-Year-Old UK Boy Passes Microsoft IT Certification

A five-year-old boy from Coventry became the youngest computer specialist in the world after passing the Microsoft Certified Professional exam. Ayan Qureshi, now six, was introduced to computers at a young age by his father Asim Quereshi, an IT consultant.  He says Ayan has been eager to learn and has a good memory. The young tech pro constructed his own computer lab, including a network. He was originally deemed too young to take the exam, but Microsoft relented following a call. Ayan reportedly completed the test before the allotted two hours elapsed. Now the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional, Ayan says he wants to eventually create a UK technology hub. (BBC)(Gizmodo)(Coventry Telegraph)

Raytheon Expands Cybersecurity, Surveillance with $420 Million Acquisition

Raytheon has acquired Blackbird Technologies, a provider of cybersecurity and surveillance services, for $420 million. Blackbird serves global-intelligence organizations, including those that work with the US Department of Defense. This now strengthens Raytheon as a defense contractor, particular for the US Special Operations Command. “The cyber business is heading for a shakeup, and Raytheon is determined to be one of the survivors that controls substantial market share,” stated defense-industry analyst Loren Thompson. (Reuters)(The Wall Street Journal)

Sensors Help Hydroelectric Facilities Protect Fish

Hydroelectric generation facilities throughout the US Pacific Northwest potentially threaten young migrating fish, such as salmon. For example, they subject the fish passing turbines to the physical stress of powerful water-pressure changes. To help avoid problems like this, the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) created a new version of the Sensor Fish. This device is packed with sensors able to analyze the physical stresses that hydroelectric facilities create for fish. Originally developed in the 1990s, Sensor Fish was created for use in the Columbia River Basin. The newest design is more accurate and gathers more information, roughly 2,048 different measurements, such as per second. It contains sensors, a radio transmitter, and technology that lets users retrieve the device after a specific amount of time in the field. Researchers will use the information to help engineers evaluate facilities, and redesign and retrofit dam turbines. Sensor Fish will be used in 2015 to evaluate projects in the US, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The PNNL researchers say the new device now costs $1,200, but they hope to transfer the technology to a manufacturer, which could reduce the price via mass production. The researchers published the work in the American Institute of Physics' Review of Scientific Instruments. (Newswise)(Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)(Review of Scientific Instruments)

Pirate Bay Founder Sentenced, another Founder Arrested

A Danish court sentenced Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, a Swedish hacker who founded the controversial file-sharing website Pirate Bay, to 3-1/2 years in prison after being found guilty of hacking crimes in Denmark. Prosecutors had sought a six-year sentence, near the maximum allowed. Svartholm Warg had been charged with vandalism, as well as hacking into several Danish public databases via an ISP and accessing people’s personal data, including criminal records and extradition agreements. He contended the hacking was done by someone who remotely accessed his computer. An unnamed co-defendant received a six-month sentence and was freed based on time served in pre-trial detention. He is not the only Pirate Bay co-founder now in custody. Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij was arrested in the Thai city of Nong Khai, just after arriving from Laos, based on an international warrant for his arrest on 2009 copyright infringement charges. He and three others, including Svartholm Warg, were convicted of those charges in 2009, but Neij fled Sweden while out on bail. (Naked Security)(BBC)


Hackers Immediately Exploit Recently Discovered Drupal Vulnerability

As many as 12 million websites may have been compromised through a recently discovered vulnerability in Drupal 7 software, commonly used to manage Web content. Immediately after the bug discovery was announced, Drupal noted, hackers began attacking vulnerable sites. In a statement, Drupal said users failing to apply a patch within at least seven hours of the bug announcement on 15 October should assume they were hacked. The company said that the attacks might escape detection by conventional security approaches so users should check for back doors inserted into their sites as well as missing data. The vulnerability lets an attacker exploit a database abstraction API, which ensures queries made against a database are sanitized to prevent SQL injection attacks. Drupal reports the content of the malicious requests dictates the type of attack launched. These can include attacks used to escalate a hacker’s privilege status and inject malware. They can also use the access to steal data. (BBC)(Dark Reading)(Drupal)

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