Is a cold net.war going on between the US and China?

Every once in a while a news article about attempts to crack US military and government systems coming out of China or the Middle East hits the 'wires; rumors of groups of systems crackers belonging to the Air Force/United Nations/Department of Homeland Security/Microsoft/the Illuminati regularly make their rounds at hacker conventions. Military data nets are increasingly becoming targets of crackers from abroad, safe from prosecution and extradition because it's so difficult to start legal proceedings against someone you don't even know, let alone can grab by the scruff of the neck (police dramas and MLATs to …

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Cutting the power doesn't necessarily mean that memory is cleared.

It has long been a piece of grassroots wisdom that when the power to your computer goes dead, you're up a certain creek without a means of propulsion: Whatever you were doing at the time had gone to the great bit bucket in the sky, and unless you'd just saved your work you could kiss your next couple of hours goodbye while reconstructing everything. However, from a technical standpoint this isn't actually true. Modern-day DRAM can actually hold usable data for a finite but non-zero period of time after the main power's been cut off. This has actually been known …

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Portable power for search and seizure.

A major problem faced by data forensics professionals and law enforcement was how to confiscate computer systems without running the risk of damaging or losing access to information. It's all well and good if you seize a machine running full-disk encryption while it's online because, by definition, the disk is being transparently decrypted so that the machine can operate. Once you power it down, however, all bets are off because the machine won't boot back up without someone supplying a passphrase to the disk encryption system, and no one with anything shady in mind is going to give up their …

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Homeland Security discovers SCADA vulnerabilities.

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) protocols are protocols that connect computers to various pieces of machinery, such as automatic valves in water treatment plants, lathes and drills in automated machine shops, and other semi-autonomous hardware in such a way that it acts the way big plants do in the movies. The idea is that you can remotely control various functions of the equipment so that you don't need an engineer on site all the time, they can run things remotely from a computer terminal. There's just one problem: Most SCADA protocols weren't meant to run across the public Net …

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Weirdness with my cellphone.

The trick to getting my cellphone to charge successfully is to twist the charger a little after you plug it in on the flat axis. This aligns the prongs in the power outlet such that they make contact and allow current to flow.