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The vulnerability exists within Microsoft's own antimalware protection engine, but thankfully there's already a fix.

Apple may now be the richest company, but it's Microsoft's operating system that still loads on most of our desktops and laptops around the world. So when a major security bug is discovered it's important it gets fixed quickly. And Google researchers recently discovered a really serious one in Windows Defender of all places.

The bug was discovered by Google Project Zero vulnerability researchers Tavis Ormandy and Natalie Silvanovich. As the tweet by Ormandy below notes, this is the "worst Windows remote code exec" bug discovered as far as he can remember.

 

 

 Tavis Ormandy

 @tavisoI think @natashenka and I just discovered the worst Windows remote code exec in recent memory. This is crazy bad. Report on the way. 

 

The vulnerability allows remote code execution if the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine "scans a specially crafted file." If successful, the attacker is then able to run whatever code they like on the breached system as well as using it to start infecting other Windows machines.

According to Engadget, the vulnerability is present on Windows 7, 8.1, RT and Windows 10, meaning just about everyone running Windows is vulnerable.

So you won't be surprised to hear that Microsoft marked the bug as Critical and already has a fix available to close the security hole. It should be applied to your system automatically over the next few days, or you can manually trigger a Windows Update to install the patch now.

 

Source : This article was published pcmag.com By MATTHEW HUMPHRIES

Categorized in Search Engine
Much is known about flu viruses, but little is understood about how they reproduce inside human host cells, spreading infection. Now, a research team headed by investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is the first to identify a mechanism by which influenza A, a family of pathogens that includes the most deadly strains of flu worldwide, hijacks cellular machinery to replicate.

The study findings, published online today in Cell, also identifies a link between congenital defects in that machinery—the RNA exosome—and the neurodegeneration that results in people who have that rare mutation.

 

It was by studying the cells of patients with an RNA exosome mutation, which were contributed by six collaborating medical centers, that the investigators were able to understand how  A hijacks the RNA exosome inside a cell's nucleus for its own purposes.

"This study shows how we can discover genes linked to disease—in this case, neurodegeneration—by looking at the natural symbiosis between a host and a pathogen," says the study's senior investigator, Ivan Marazzi, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Influenza A is responsible in part not only for seasonal flus but also pandemics such as H1N1 and other flus that cross from mammals (such as swine) or birds into humans.

"We are all a result of co-evolution with viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, but when this process is interrupted, which we call the broken symmetry hypothesis, disease can result," Dr. Marazzi says.

The genes affected in these rare cases of neurodegeneration caused by a congenital RNA exosome mutation may offer future insight into more common brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, he added. In the case of Influenza A, the loss of RNA exosome activity severely compromises viral infectivity, but also manifests in human neurodegeneration suggesting that viruses target essential proteins implicated in rare disease in order to ensure continual adaptation.

Influenza A is an RNA , meaning that it reproduces itself inside the nucleus. Most viruses replicate in a cell's cytoplasm, outside the nucleus.

The researchers found that once inside the nucleus, influenza A hijacks the RNA exosome, an essential protein complex that degrades RNA as a way to regulate gene expression. The flu pathogen needs extra RNA to start the replication process so it steals these molecules from the hijacked exosome, Dr. Marazzi says.

"Viruses have a very intelligent way of not messing too much with our own biology," he says. "It makes use of our by-products, so rather than allowing the exosome to chew up and degrade excess RNA, it tags the exosome and steals the RNA it needs before it is destroyed.

 

"Without an RNA exosome, a virus cannot grow, so the agreement between the virus and host is that it is ok for the virus to use some of the host RNA because the host has other ways to suppress the virus that is replicated," says the study's lead author, Alex Rialdi, MPH, a graduate assistant in Dr. Marazzi's laboratory.

Source : This article was published in phys.org

Categorized in Online Research

Researchers have discovered a new “super earth” type of planet, whose mass is around 5.4 times that of Earth and is orbiting a star nearby in terms of space distance.

“Superearth” was discovered by PhD student Alejandro Suárez Mascareño, of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), and his thesis directors at the IAC Rafael Rebolo and Jonay Isaí González Hernández.

The exoplanet, GJ 536 b, is an attractive candidate for assessment even though it’s not within the star’s habitable zone. But scientists want to investigate the planet because of it’s short orbital period of 8.7 days and the luminosity of stars.

They said, “The star, GJ 536, is a red dwarf which is quite cool and near to our Sun. Scientists also observed a cycle of magnetic activity similar to the Sun but with a shorter period of three years.

 

"So far, the only planet we have found is GJ 536 b, but we are continuing to monitor the star to see if we can find other companions," said Alejandro.

Mascareno added, “Rocky planets are usually found in groups, especially around stars of this type, and we are pretty sure that we can find other low-mass planets in orbits further from the star, with periods from 100 days up to a few years.

"We are preparing  a  programmeof monitoring for transits of this new exoplanet to determine its radius and mean density.”

Researcher Jonay Isai Gonzalez commented on the discovery saying, “This rocky exoplanet is orbiting a star much smaller and cooler than the Sun. But it is sufficiently nearby and bright.”

“It is also observable from both the northern and southern hemispheres, which is very interesting for future high-stability spectrographs, and in particular, for the possible detection of another rocky planet in the habitability zone of the star,” said Gonzalez.

 

To detect the planet, the researchers had to measure the velocity of the star with an accuracy of the order of a metre per second.

Author:  Shreya Kalra

Source:  http://www.indiatimes.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

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