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34 Amusing Facts To Entertain Your Brain
More random but interesting facts to Indulge your brain!
Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage
An anonymous reader writes: In a rare case of an online security breach causing real-world destruction, a German steel factory has been severely damaged after its networks were compromised. "The attack used spear phishing and sophisticated social engineering techniques to gain access to the factory's office networks, from which access to production networks was gained. ... After the system was compromised, individual components or even entire systems started to fail frequently. Due to these failures, one of the plant's blast furnaces could not be shut down in a controlled manner, which resulted in 'massive damage to plant,' the BSI said, describing the technical skills of the attacker as 'very advanced.'" The full report (PDF) is available in German.


What took them so long?

By Archtech • Score: 3 • Thread

About 20 years ago I used to lecture on the topic of computer security. Taking my cue from UK government experts whom I had met back in the 1980s, I used to point out that the only secure computer system is one that cannot be accessed by any human being. Indeed, I recall one expert who used to start his talks by picking up a brick and handing it round, before commenting, "That is our idea of a truly secure IT system. Admittedly it doesn't do very much, but no one is going to sabotage it or get secret information out of it".

I still have my slides from the 1990s, and one of the points I always stressed while summing up was, "Black hats could do a LOT more harm than they have so far". To my mind, the question was why that hadn't happened. The obvious reason was motive: why would anyone make considerable efforts, and presumably put themselves at risk of justice or revenge, unless there was something important to gain?

Stuxnet was the first highly visible case of large-scale industrial sabotage, and I think everyone agrees it was politically motivated - an attack by one state on another, and as such an act of war (or very close to one). This looks similar, and apparently used somewhat similar methods.

The article tells us that "...hackers managed to access production networks..." The question is, why was this allowed? If "production networks" cannot be rendered totally secure, they should not exist. Moreover, if they do exist they should be wholly insulated from the Internet and the baleful influence of "social networks" and the people who use them.


Fundamental failure of process design

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Ok everyone is going to leap into the whole world of control system, cybersecurity and what not, but I have a far deeper question.

What kind of a plant is designed in a way that a full failure of their control system would result in being unable to shutdown in a controlled manner. Where is the safety instrumented systems that can shutdown processes at a push of a button? Where are the manual overrides? Where is the big-arse power switch, and if that can't shut down the plant safely then where is the system that drops the plant to a safe state in the advent of loss of power.

This scenario to me sounds like cybersecurity was the lease of their problems.

NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS
HughPickens.com writes: "Sarah LeTrent reports at CNN that NASA just emailed the design of a socket wrench to astronauts so that they could print it out in the orbit. The ratcheting socket wrench was the first "uplink tool" printed in space, according to Grant Lowery, marketing and communications manager for Made In Space, which built the printer in partnership with NASA. The tool was designed on the ground, emailed to the space station and then manufactured where it took four hours to print out the finished product. The space agency hopes to one day use the technology to make parts for broken equipment in space and long-term missions would benefit greatly from onboard manufacturing capabilities. "I remember when the tip broke off a tool during a mission," recalls NASA astronaut TJ Creamer, who flew aboard the space station during Expedition 22/23 from December 2009 to June 2010. "I had to wait for the next shuttle to come up to bring me a new one. Now, rather than wait for a resupply ship to bring me a new tool, in the future, I could just print it."


My sockets are made of high quality steel

By Todd Palin • Score: 3 • Thread

I really wouldn't want to use a plastic socket on much of anything. But, why on earth was there not a decent socket set on the ISS in the first place? (pun intended)


Re:Plastic socket wrench?

By rossdee • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Maybe, but don't forget its hard to exert much torque when you're in zero G

Anyway the ISS is one of the few places where a 3d printer is justified.


Re:Plastic socket wrench?

By CaptQuark • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
</header> I'll bet you any amount it won't break. This is a technology demonstration and proof of concept, not a stress-to-failure type test. The main goal is to upload the build file, print it, then return it to earth to compare against the reference model. Some of the questions they might be working to answer are: Do the extrusion heads work the same way in microgravity? Do micro-bubbles form in the material without gravity to collapse them? Do wisps of hot filament drift around the build chamber without gravity to control them?

Imagine turning an earth-bound 3D printer upside down and printing an object. What other issues does gravity alleviate that we don't know about?



Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel

By LostMyBeaver • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
</header> There almost certainly was a socket wrench available. The point is that a socket wrench is a highly complex tool that depends on precision and rigidity to produce. The fact that the multiple components of a socket wrench could in fact be printed is a major accomplishment. A hammer or screwdriver would not have been an appropriate test. This was.

The question is, after printing it, was the produced wrench a suitable alternative and could it accomplish the task it was needed for. ABS, even in the resolution and density they're printing isn't very rigid. I have seen a great deal of information regarding the fact that the tool was printing and more so, how excited everyone was that Autodesk Inventor was used. What I haven't seen is whether ABS used :
  1) had a negative impact to the air quality and scrubbers on the ISS. The ABS I use (even stuff I specially looked for) produces a great deal of noxious fumes. I tend to print with the windows open.
  2) The printout was rigid enough to be useful as a tool. I have absolutely no doubt that making extra parts for the station is entirely possible and smarter than keeping spare parts for everything. But did they manage to produce a wrench worth using?

As a bonus... can they release the design they printed as a benchmark for the hobbyist community to use for making their own improved printers. The high resolution photos of the wrench looked great.

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