FBI says North Korea hacked Sony – what's the proof?

Who did the deed? For Sony, a multinational corporation dragged through the mud by hackers this week, it is a question that needs answering. Now the FBI has released a statement saying North Korea is behind the attack that forced Sony to cancel the release of new Seth Rogan film The Interview. The comedy is about a plot to assassinate the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
The bureau had earlier warned against linking North Korea to the disastrous assault on Sony, carried out by a previously unknown group calling themselves Guardians of Peace. Government investigators seem to have changed their minds. They have evidence that North Korean IP addresses were associated with the malware used in the attack as well as similarities between malicious software of North Korean origin.
The information security industry has been divided over the suggestion that the whole affair was state-run or state-sponsored. If true, the incident would indicate a troubling turning point for diplomatic relations between the US and North Korea.
Jeffrey Carr of security firm Taia Global disputed the suggestion that Kim Jong-un oversaw the attack. "There's nothing in the FBI statement which addresses the other options," he says. "The evidence is not sufficient for one government to charge another with an attack – there has to be a higher bar."
When Columbia Law School let Black students postpone their final exams because they might be “traumatized” by recent protests, they really let the cat out of the bag. Now students at Oberlin College, one of the most liberal college in the country are demanding African-American students be completely exempt from failing this semester because they’re so deeply affected in “times like this.” So far, the Ohio college has said they will allow professors to exercise “flexibility” in “emergency incomplete requests,” but has not given a flat out “pass” to all Black students. Read more at http://theblacksphere.net/2014/12/petition-demanding-black-students-exempt-failing-grades/

Flaw discovered that could let anyone listen to your cell calls

German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale - even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.

The flaws, to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, are the latest evidence of widespread insecurity on SS7, the global network that allows the world's cellular carriers to route calls, texts and other services to each other. Experts say it's increasingly clear that SS7, first designed in the 1980s, is riddled with serious vulnerabilities that undermine the privacy of the world’s billions of cellular customers.

The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

If and when we finally encounter aliens, they probably won’t look like little green men, or spiny insectoids. It’s likely they won’t be biological creatures at all, but rather, advanced robots that outstrip our intelligence in every conceivable way. While scores of philosophers, scientists and futurists have prophesied the rise of artificial intelligence and the impending singularity, most have restricted their predictions to Earth. Fewer thinkers—outside the realm of science fiction, that is—have considered the notion that artificial intelligence is already out there, and has been for eons.
Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, is one who has. She joins a handful of astronomers, including Seth Shostak, director of NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, program, NASA AstrobiologistPaul Davies, and Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Stephen Dick in espousing the view that the dominant intelligence in the cosmos is probably artificial. In her paper “Alien Minds," written for a forthcoming NASA publication, Schneider describes why alien life forms are likely to be synthetic, and how such creatures might think.
“Most people have an iconic idea of aliens as these biological creatures, but that doesn’t make any sense from a timescale argument,” Shostak told me. “I’ve bet dozens of astronomers coffee that if we pick up an alien signal, it’ll be artificial life.”
With the latest updates from NASA’s Kepler mission showing potentially habitable worlds strewn across the galaxy, it’s becoming harder and harder to assert that we’re alone in the universe. And if and when we do encounter intelligent life forms, we’ll want to communicate with them, which means we’ll need some basis for understanding their cognition. But for the vast majority of astrobiologists who study single-celled life, alien intelligence isn’t on the radar.
“If you asked me to bring together a panel of folks who have given the subject much thought, I would be hard pressed,” said Shostak. “Some think about communication strategies, of course. But few consider the nature of alien intelligence.”
Schneider’s paper is among the first to tackle the subject.


“Everything about their cognition—how their brains receive and process information, what their goals and incentives are—could be vastly different from our own,” Schneider told me. “Astrobiologists need to start thinking about the possibility of very different modes of cognition.”
To wit, the case of artificial superintelligence.