Big Brother Jumps Air Gap Using Inaudible Sound To Access Computers That Have No Network Connection

Computer scientists have developed malware capable of establishing communications between devices that don’t have active network connections. The discovery threatens the perceived protection of the “air gap” that separates standalone devices.

Using the built-in microphones and speakers found on PCs, the lab-created prototype malware uses inaudible audio signals to transmit small amounts of data over covert channels at distances of nearly 65 feet. The distance can be increased by creating a network of devices that repeat the signals.

The proof-of-concept software, detailed in the Journal of Communications, suggests that a lack of an Internet connection isn’t enough to insulate sensitive internal computer systems from the outside world. The research comes after the recent disclosure of mysterious malware that used high-frequency signals to hurdle between non-networked devices.

Destruction of Brazil’s Amazon jumps 28 percent

Destruction of Brazil’s Amazon jumps 28 percent

     BRASILIA, Brazil     (AP) — Brazil’s government reported Thursday that annual destruction of its Amazon rainforest jumped by 28 percent after four straight years of declines, an increase activists said was linked to recent loosening of the nation’s environmental law meant to protect the jungle.

However, the destruction was still the second-lowest amount of jungle destroyed since Brazil began tracking deforestation in 1988.

The increase in deforestation came in the August 2012 through July 2013 period, the time when Brazil annually measures the destruction of the forest by studying satellite images. The country registered its lowest level of Amazon felling the year before.

The Amazon rainforest is considered one of the world’s most important natural defenses against global warming because of its capacity to absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide. About 75 percent of Brazil’s emissions come from rainforest clearing, as vegetation burns and felled trees rot.

That releases an estimated 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, making Brazil at least the sixth-biggest emitter of the gas.

Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said Thursday that the most recent figures show 2,256 square miles (5,843 square kilometers) of rainforest were felled. That’s compared to the 1,765 square miles (1,571 square kilometers) cleared the previous year.

Environmentalists blame the increase on a loosening of Brazil’s environmental laws. They also say that the government’s push for big infrastructure projects like dams, roads and railways is pushing deforestation.