Major DNS Attacks, Lakes On Titan, and 3D Printed Hearts

This week in tech

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

As I wrote in March DNS is critically vulnerable and attacks targeting it have been escalating lately. The non-profit that coordinates much of the global DNS (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN) issued an urgent warning back in February about the growing threat to DNS. This week, Wired broke a story about an ongoing DNS campaign called Sea Turtle which has compromised entier Top Level Domain servers for multiple country codes — meaning attackers could in theory hijack traffic bound for every website ending with that suffix (.ru, or, for example). The attackers’ identities and goals are not yet known, but according to Cisco’s Talos Security team, the primary targets have been countries in the middle east.

The cryptocurrency world has been a little quiet lately, but this week some seastedding crypto-enthusiasts got a wake up call from Thai authorities. The couple had been trying to live the libertarian dream. With a floating home in international waters 12 miles off the coast of Thailand, they assumed they’d be free from laws and governments. Unfortunately for the couple, the Thai government decided to assert their authority anyway, and the couple is now on the run according to Motherboard.

The Thai government isn’t the only one that likes to push the limits of its legal authority. This week the New York Times reported on the use of location data during criminal investigations, revealing how innocent people can get caught up in the digital dragnet.

In space news, the Cassini spacecraft discovered that Saturn’s moon Titan has stable liquid on its surface, including some deep lakes. Don’t plan a swimming trip though, the lakes are comprised of mostly methane and ethane, not water. The privately funded Isreali mission to the moon ended with a crash landing. While sending anything to the moon is an achievement, the crash highlights the need for great care and planning whenever you send something into space. A groundbreaking twin study into the effects of living in space made several publications — tl;dr space is rough on the body, but most of the adverse effects are reversible. And, SpaceX hit a milestone by successfully landing all three of it’s booster rockets for the first time. Unfortunately, during the trip back to Port Canaveral the center core fell into the ocean… whoops.

In biotech researchers have published their tactic for 3D printing hearts out of human tissue. The scientists were able to collect cells from a subject, induce those cells to become pluripotent stem cells, then print a miniature human heart using tissue derived from those cells. The researchers say this will pave the way for custom transplants that will never be rejected, because they’ll be made from the patient’s own cells. Incredible.

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