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UPI NewsTrack Science and Technology News

March 27, 2013 at 6:47 PM   |   Comments

Cyberwar may be slowing entire Internet

LONDON, March 27 (UPI) -- A cyberbattle between a European spam-fighting group and a Dutch Web host may be the biggest public Internet battle in history, experts say.

Spam-fighting organization Spamhaus, with offices in London and Geneva, works with email providers around the globe to block spam from entering inboxes.

It has been in a battle in the last week with Dutch website hosting company Cyberbunker after adding it to its spam "blacklist," CNET reported Wednesday.

Cyberbunker has based its business on a willingness to accept any and all customers, turning away only those engaged in child pornography and terrorism-related activities, CNET said.

A massive distributed denial of service attack was launched against Spamhaus March 19, a spokesman for the anti-spam group told The New York Times in a statement Wednesday.

For the past week, Spamhaus has been hit with attacks peaking at 300 gigabits per second, many times greater than similar attacks that have in the past targeted sites with powerful defenses such as banks.

The sheer amount of data hitting the Internet's Domain Name System because of the attack on Spamhaus has resulted in some slowdowns across the Internet, CNET reported.

Cyberbunker has not confirmed it's behind the attacks and has not responded to requests for comment, CNET said.


Saturn's moons and rings called 'vintage'

PASADENA, Calif., March 27 (UPI) -- NASA says observation of Saturn's rings and moon suggests they are gently worn "vintage" goods from around the time of our solar system's birth.

A new analysis of data from the orbiting Cassini spacecraft suggests that although the rings and the surfaces of the moons are colored by more recent "pollution" from dust and cosmic impacts, these bodies date back more than 4 billion years.

The coloring is generally only skin-deep, and a closer examination of the rings and moons shows their true origin was around the time the planetary bodies in our solar system began to form out of the protoplanetary nebula, the cloud of material still orbiting the sun after its ignition as a star, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Tuesday.

"Studying the Saturnian system helps us understand the chemical and physical evolution of our entire solar system," Gianrico Filacchione, a Cassini participating scientist at Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics said, "We know now that understanding this evolution requires not just studying a single moon or ring, but piecing together the relationships intertwining these bodies."


Russia may recycle space station modules

MOSCOW, March 27 (UPI) -- Russia may at some point use modules it sends to the International Space Station to build its own orbital station, a senior space industry official said.

Russia plans to launch four new ISS modules by 2020, but could re-use them when the time comes to de-orbit the existing international space station, Alexander Derechin, deputy chief designer for Russia's space corporation RKK Energia, said at a scientific forum in Moscow.

"If the need arises, we could undock the new modules [from the ISS], starting with the MLM, and they will serve as a foundation for a new generation Russian space station," he said.

The MLM, or multirole laboratory module, will be the first of the new modules for the ISS. It is set for launch by the end of the year, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

The ISS currently has five Russian-built modules -- the Zvezda service module, the Zarya cargo block, the Pirs docking module, the Poisk ("Search") research module and Rassvet ("Dawn") research module.

The International Space Station is set to be de-orbited in 2020, but the project's participants -- the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and 11 members states of the European Space Agency -- are discussing the possibility of extending its life until 2028.


China firm sues Apple over Siri assistant

SHANGHAI, March 27 (UPI) -- A Chinese company says it is suing Apple Computer, alleging the Siri digital assistant featured in iPhones and iPads violates patents it holds.

Zhi Zhen Network Technology says it was granted a Chinese patent in 2006 for its Xiao i Robot software, Apple Insider reported Wednesday.

Xiao i Robot features voice interactions and is able to answer questions and hold simple conversations in much the say way Apple's Siri does.

Zhi Zhen Network Technology claims its technology -- released in versions for the web, Android, Windows Phone, desktops and Apple's iOS -- has more than 100 million users in China.

Zhi Zhen filed its patent litigation in July 2012, shortly after Apple's Siri became available in China.

Both parties appeared in a Shanghai court Wednesday for a pretrial proceeding.

A full hearing is set for July.

"The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple's infringement is confirmed," Si Weijiang, a Zhi Zhen lawyer, said. "We don't exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future."

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