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June 6, 2012 at 6:54 PM
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LinkedIn confirms leak of users' passwords

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 6 (UPI) -- Professional social networking site LinkedIn has confirmed a leak of users' passwords and is encouraging members to update their passwords.

The company's confirmation came following reports that a Russian hacker site posted about 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords, CBS News reported Wednesday.

"Some of the passwords that were compromised correspond to LinkedIn accounts," the company said, noting that the hacker uploaded passwords but not user names.

LinkedIn users use the site to post their resumes and connect with others in business and industry.

"We are continuing to investigate this situation and here is what we are pursuing as far as next steps for the compromised accounts," LinkedIn director Vicente Silveira said in a company blog post.

Members with accounts associated with the compromised passwords will notice that their LinkedIn account password is no longer valid, Silveira said, and those members would receive an e-mail from the company with instructions on how to change their passwords.

Incidence, types of marine piracy studied

HONG KONG, June 6 (UPI) -- Chinese researchers say they can predict if a particular vessel with a specific cargo on a given area of ocean is likely to be targeted by pirates.

Researchers in Hong Kong analyzing the incidence of maritime piracy during the last decade said they can even predict what degree of violence might be involved in an act of piracy.

Writing in the International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, researchers said data from the ICC International Maritime Bureau allowed them to assess the type of criminal action that takes place, whether hijacking for ransom or direct theft, and to report on the approach taken by the pirates in terms of arms and violence.

Bulk carriers, general cargo ships, container ships, chemical tankers and tankers were the most-frequently targeted vessels, accounting for more than three-quarters of all ships attacked during the 2002-2009 period, they said.

"In general, merchant ships are not designed or equipped to fend off pirates' attacks and thus they are susceptible to pirate activities, including boarding, hostage-taking and stealing cargo," the researchers wrote.

While valuable cargoes, including gas, oil, rice and fishing products, are commonly targeted, whole vessels might also be hijacked and held for ransom. Kidnapping by pirates is also on the rise, they said.

In terms of violence, attacks categorized as low-level or no violence usually involve largely untrained pirates with simple weapons attacking berthed or anchored vessels and stealing goods or supplies.

Medium-level violence usually involves threats, assault and sometimes hostage-taking. In major violent piracy, people are attacked and/or kidnapped, the researchers said.

Melting ice could bring cold U.S. winters

ITHACA, N.Y., June 6 (UPI) -- The dramatic rate of melting of arctic sea ice due to climate change could have effects closer to home than millions of Americans might think, scientists say.

The melting of the ice could set the stage for severe winters in the Northern Hemisphere's middle latitudes, with events like the "Snowmageddon" that hit Washington Feb. 3, 2010, researchers at Cornell University reported Wednesday.

"Everyone thinks of arctic climate change as this remote phenomenon that has little effect on our everyday lives," Cornell researcher Charles H. Greene said. "But what goes on in the arctic remotely forces our weather patterns here."

The melting of sea ice during summer exposes darker ocean water to incoming sunlight and increases heating of the ocean, researchers said, then the excess heat is released to the atmosphere, decreasing the temperature and atmospheric pressure gradients between the arctic and middle latitudes.

A diminished pressure gradient weakens the wind patterns that normally keep cold air masses up above the Arctic Circle and allows that cold air to invade lower latitudes, they said.

"It's a great demonstration of the complexities of our climate system and how they influence our regional weather patterns," Greene said. "What we can expect, however, is the arctic wild card stacking the deck in favor of more severe winter outbreaks in the future."

IKEA TV to feature shopping system

DELFT, Netherlands, June 6 (UPI) -- A television from Swedish company IKEA will allow viewers to use to the set's remote control to purchase items from IKEA while watching TV, the company said.

The Uppleva TV, coming to selected European IKEA stores next month, will offer a built-in shopping and payment solution, gigaon.com reported Monday.

Users who press a red button on the TV's remote control during certain on-screen IKEA ads will see a browser window open, prompting registered users to enter a password and confirm their order for the item featured in the ad.

The item would then be shipped to the user's registered address.

The technology, developed by a German company called Connept, will be IKEA's first try at a TV-based shopping experience although the company has not released many technical details of the televisions so far, gigaom.com said.

IKEA, founded in 1947 by Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden, is headquartered in Delft, Netherlands.

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