Analysts are using what they call a ’tangible landscape' to predict the path of everything from forest fires and floods to movement of adversaries in war games.

The Defense Department is playing around with a shape-shifting, color-changing sandbox to limit the carnage from the next deadly flood, wildfire or other catastrophe. 

That is the promise behind the “Tangible Landscape.” 

Made up of kinetic sand, a toy that feels like the stuff on the beach but has the consistency of Silly Putty, the system’s miniature bridges, lakes and other structures morph—or disappear—when a finger crushes critical infrastructure. 

Our goal is to provide planners with an intuitive, collaborative tool to design more resilient environments, identify and better understand where the critical, high-risk locations are,” said Helena Mitasova, associate director of geovisualization at North Carolina State University.

NC State supplied the Tangible Landscape system that now sits inside the military’s spy mapping agency. The university’s free GRASS computer program combines changes in the playdough with sets of geospatial data, like population density and pipeline locations, to predict a change’s influence on surroundings.






Ransomware called Zepto is raising concerns with security experts because of its close ties to the more mature and prolific Locky ransomware. Zepto was spotted about a month ago but a recent wave of spam containing Zepto-laced attachments detected on June 27 is heightening fears of widespread infections.

“We are watching Zepto very carefully. It’s closely tied to Locky, sharing many of the same attributes,” said Craig Williams, senior technical leader and global outreach manager at Cisco Talos.  “There is still a lot to learn about Zepto. As far as we can tell, it’s either a new variant of Locky or an entirely new ransomware with many copycat Locky features,” he said. Related Posts 655,000 Healthcare Records Being Sold on Dark Web June 28, 2016 , 10:00 am New CryptXXX Can Evade Detection, Outsmart Decryption Tools June 27, 2016 , 11:24 am Threatpost News Wrap, June 24, 2016 June 24, 2016 , 9:00 am

Cisco Talos, which published its findings on the ransomware Thursday, said 137,731 spam messages have been found this week that contain the Zepto malicious attachment. The Zepto name comes from the .zepto suffix used as the extension for encrypted files.

Technical details of Zepto are similar to Locky in many ways, said Warren Mercer, security researcher for Cisco Talos. Comparisons include the type of RSA encryption keys used by Locky, the types of files Zepto and Locky leave behind and similarities to the ransom text.

“We are moving quickly and pulling apart as many samples as we can to understand if this is still Locky or something unique,” Mercer said.



SOURCE: (courtesy of Artemus FAN, Steve Jones)

How much do you trust and rely on your personal GPS satellite navigation device to tell where you are or how to get to where you're going? It may be subject to GPS jamming.

If you depend on GPS a lot, then there's a good chance your trust is misplaced -- and that's just for finding a friend's house, a restaurant, or the newest trendy bar.

Experts are starting to delve into how well the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation network resists the effects of electronic jamming -- intentional or accidental. The emerging answer is not very well.

RF and microwave experts at Spirent Communications plc in Crawley, England, have been looking into electronic disruption to GPS signals for the past year and have come to some startling conclusions.

"We have been looking for disruptions to GPS around the world, and have found quite a lot of interference events -- and some deliberate ones as well," says Guy Buensel, PNT technologist at Spirent, a multinational telecommunications test and measurement company.





SOURCE:  Pierluigi Paganini for

In May, the criminals behind the TeslaCrypt ransomware leaked online the master encryption key that allowed security experts to develop a decryption tool for the last variant of the threat.

“In surprising end to TeslaCrypt, the developers shut down their ransomware and released the master decryption key. Over the past few weeks, an analyst for ESET had noticed that the developers of TeslaCrypt have been slowly closing their doors, while their previous distributors have been switching over to distributing the CryptXXX ransomware. ” reported Lawrence Abrams from that also published a step by step guide to use the Teslacrypt decryption Tool.

The decryptor was developed by experts from the ESET security Firm, it was able to unlock files encrypted by versions 3 and 4 of TeslaCrypt by using the above master key, released on May 19.

“Today, ESET® released a decryptor for recent variants of the TeslaCrypt ransomware. If you have been infected by one of the new variants (v3 or v4) of the notorious ransomware TeslaCrypt and the encrypted files have the extensions .xxx, .ttt, .micro, .mp3 or remained unchanged, then ESET has good news for you.” announced ESET.

I have other good news for the victims of all TeslaCrypt variants, Cisco Talos Team has updated its decryptor tool to address all four versions of TeslaCrypt ransomware in wild.

“Talos has developed a decryption tool to aid users whose files have been encrypted by TeslaCrypt ransomware. The Talos TeslaCrypt Decryption Tool is an open source command line utility for decrypting TeslaCrypt encrypted files so users’ files can be returned to their original state.” states the announcement published by Cisco Talos.

Version 1.0 is able to decrypt all the files encrypted by all version of TeslaCrypt and AlphaCrypt: