A million fingerprints exposed online by biometric security firm


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Security researchers found a major biometric access database open to the web and largely unencrypted (The Guardian). As well as usernames and passwords in plain text, the database for South Korean firm Suprema’s Biostar 2 system included a million fingerprint scans used for biometric access systems at companies and government organisations around the world. 

Researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar say that Suprema has been uncommunicative but ultimately secured the database, and highlight the risks inherent in storing unchangeable data such as fingerprint and facial biometric records without securely hashing them.

Microplastics are being spread by the wind to appear in snowfall all the way up to the Arctic, with only one uncontaminated site found by researchers (Gizmodo). A new paper describes how tiny plastic particles and fibres are have become ubiquitous due to aerial contamination.

In Germany, increasing numbers of shoppers can buy eggs marked ‘respeggt’ that, unlike most eggs, come from chicken flocks where live male chicks are not shredded or gassed as a byproduct of breeding fertile hens (Science). Eggs take 21 days to hatch but, thanks to research originally carried out at Leipzig University, a German and Dutch hatchery enterprise has built a system that can detect whether a nine-day-old egg carries a male or female embryo based on levels of the hormone estrone sulfate.

If you change your own iPhone battery, or have an unauthorised repair shop do it for you, then, instead of your battery health menu, you’ll get a warning that iOS is “unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine iPhone battery,” even if you used genuine parts.

The company has finally offered an explanation for this. Speaking to The Verge, a representative said that the warning is there to protect users from “damaged, poor quality, or used batteries which can lead to safety or performance issues.” But although the company says it doesn’t impact anyone’s ability to use the phone, the removal of battery wear data may affect users’ ability to assess the health of their phones and could even be legally dubious in countries where the right to repair hardware is enshrined in law.

Tumblr – once the residence of internet goths, niche sex positive (NSFW) content, and the obscurest memes – is being sold for a reported $3 million (£2.48 million), a paltry fraction of the $1.1 billion (£910.6m) Yahoo paid for the site back in 2013 (WIRED).

Yahoo’s most catastrophic management misfire was perhaps the notorious ‘porn ban’ that came into place on December 17, 2018, covering ‘female presenting nipples’, genitals, and any depicted sex acts. Just three months later, the platform was already suffering: web traffic had fallen by 30 per cent. 

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