Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Experts crack nasty ransomware that locks your PC and your backup

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/12/experts-crack-petya-ransomware/

Petya, a brutal piece of malware, surfaced two weeks ago. It's a mean bit of crypto-extortion that hits its victims where it hurts: right in your startup drive. Because it encrypts your master boot file, if attacked, not only will you be unable to start up your PC and not even access your startup disk. Eeesh. Fortunately, there's help. Leostone has come up with a tool that creates the password needed to unlock your startup disk. It's not all that simple, however.

You'll need to remove the startup drive and connect it to a separate (not infected) Windows PC, and then pull some specific bits of data to plug into this web app — and craft your password. (There's also another free tool that can grab the necessary data nuggets here.) From there, you'll be able to decrypt that all-important master boot file — and forever learn the lesson of vigilance when it comes to possibly fake CHKDSK antics.

Source: Ars Technica, Twitter (@Leo_and_stone)


Monday, April 11, 2016

Solar cell generates power from raindrops

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/11/solar-cell-generates-power-from-raindrops/

Rain is normally a solar energy cell's worst nightmare, but a team of Chinese scientists could make it a tremendous ally. They've developed a solar cell with an atom-thick graphene layer that harvests energy from raindrops, making it useful even on the gloomiest days. Water actually sticks to the graphene, creating a sort of natural capacitor -- the sharp difference in energy between the graphene's electrons and the water's ions produces electricity.

The catch is that the current technology isn't all that efficient. It only converts about 6.5 percent of the energy it gets, which pales in comparison to the 22 percent you see among the world's better solar panels. If the creators can improve the performance of this graphene-coated cell, though, they could have a dream solution on their hands -- you wouldn't have to live in a consistently sunny part of the world to reduce your dependency on conventional power.

Via: Science News Journal

Source: Wiley Online Library