Tag: China

According To A Report, Apple And Government Contractors Were Hacked Using Tiny Chinese Chips

 

Apple, Amazon, and government contractors were all hacked by China, according to a report from Bloomberg Business Week.

Though no consumer data is thought to have been stolen, China allegedly leveraged tiny microchips as part of the hack, which targeted trade secrets and other intellectual property of American companies.

The chips used in the alleged attack were the size of a pencil head, and were reportedly added to Supermicro server motherboards purchased and used by Amazon Web Services and Apple.

This moved past typical software-based hacks, as the chips had networking, memory, and processing power, and looked like signal-conditioning couplers.

In Supermicro, China’s spies appear to have found a perfect conduit for what U.S. officials now describe as the most significant supply chain attack known to have been carried out against American companies,” the original report explains.

Apple is officially denying the report and any claims that it worked with the FBI on an investigation in 2015.  In a statement, the company said it never found the chips and believes in being transparent.




Amazon had a similar tone, saying it “found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications.

The company also denies notifying authorities and notes that is “untrue that [Amazon] knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications.”

Supermicro also denies being involved, and says it was unaware of any government investigation.

Supermicro, which is a small server component manufacturer in China, instead echoed claims about defending cybersecurity: “Supermicro doesn’t design or manufacture networking chips or the associated firmware and we, as well as other leading server/storage companies, procure them from the same leading networking companies.

According to the report, the chips were apparently inserted at some point in the production chain by operatives from the People’s Liberation Army, better known as the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China.

This could lead to companies shifting manufacturing out of China, doubling down on concerns over the Trump administration’s trade tariffs and their effect on the supply chain of computer and other electronic components.

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Everything You Need To Know About China’s Ambitious Space Plans

By 2030, China wants to be a major space power. To achieve that, it’s got some out-of-this-world ideas.

From building its own space station, to capturing an asteroid and putting it in orbit around the Moon, China’s space programme is often depicted as ludicrous and unfeasible. But it would be foolish to overlook its potential.

China is quickly becoming one of the most ambitious and pioneering nations when it comes to exploring space.

Our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world,” Wu Yanhua, deputy chief of the National Space Administration, said in January. So what are its plans?

Dark side of the Moon

One of China’s nearest goals is the plan to land a rover on the dark side of the Moon in 2018.

China’s Chang’e 4 mission is the next in line after Chang’e 3, which saw the popular Jade Rabbit lunar rover named after the Chinese Moon goddess. The plan is to study the geology of the Moon’s far side.

As the Moon orbits Earth, it is tidally locked, meaning the same side always faces us.

The far side of the Moon is not always dark, it is illuminated when the side facing the Earth is in darkness; it is just called the dark side of the Moon because we never see it.Landing there would be a significant first.




Asteroid chasing

China plans to visit the asteroid 2010 TK7 in 2026

China made headlines earlier this year when its plans to capture an asteroid were revealed, and somewhat mocked.

The idea of taking an asteroid and putting it in orbit around the Moon was reported by state media, but a detailed description of those specific plans is yet to be published.

However, a new study has revealed what China does plan to do in terms of asteroid chasing.

China’s latest proposal involves studying a chaotic asteroid.

A pair of Chinese researchers has published a paper in Advances in Space Research, outlining a plan to send a spacecraft to the asteroid 2010 TK7, which is on a bizarrely eccentric orbit around the Sun.

The mission will follow in the footsteps of NASA’s Rosetta spacecraft, which had a rendezvous with a comet. The plan is to launch the spacecraft in November 2021, with the manoeuvre happening in August 2025.

Space Station

Drawing of China’s large orbital station.

Not content with sending humans to asteroids, the Moon and Mars, China also plans on building its very own space station.

The first part of the Chinese large modular space station is expected to go into orbit around Earth in 2019 with the final sections in place by 2022.

The station will host three crew members, unlike previous efforts which could not support any crew.

The first Chinese space station, Tiangong-1 or ‘Heavenly Place’ launched in 2011, was only supposed to stay in orbit for two years.

Seven years later, and we are being told the satellite is out of control, and will crash into our planet in the next few months.

In 2011 it was decided China was not allowed to be part of the International Space Station (ISS) collaboration, when the US Congress passed a law saying it was concerned about national security.

An artists’s impression of how China’s Mars rover will look.

The ISS is a joint mission between the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and Europe. Plans to collaborate are continuing, as Nasa and Russia announced a deal to work together building a new space station around the Moon.

But this doesn’t rule China out of the picture completely. “The US-Russian agreement is in principle only,” Logsdon sats. “Neither country has a funded program for such a station yet.

If the Trump administration does fund such a US station, partnerships with many countries, not just Russia, will be sought. The issue then is whether Congress will allow Nasa to work with China.

The future of China’s space exploration is diverse and exciting. With many ambitious plans, and a few failures under its belt, it remains to be seen whether China will meet its ambitious goals.

What is clear, however, is the country is not wasting any time trying to become the leader of the next space race.

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Deadly Parasite Discovered In Chinese Family Shows You Should Never Eat Raw Centipedes

Centipedes mean business. They can slay animals 15 times their size, even devour whole snakes if they want.

But the true horror of the centipede may be something else, hiding unseen inside their many-legged forms: a dangerous parasite, which scientists say has never been observed in these segmented critters – until now.

The stowaway in question is the parasitic roundworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis – aka ‘rat lungworm’ – a food-borne parasite typically found in snails and other mollusks, which has now for the first time been detected in centipedes too.

As for the strange reason we know this? It starts with headaches.

A 78-year-old woman was admitted to Zhujiang Hospital in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, saying she’d experienced headaches, drowsiness, and cognitive impairment for weeks, although she had no other signs of illness, such as fever or vomiting.

Subsequent examination suggested symptoms of meningitis, but not a viral or bacterial cause for the condition. Her cerebrospinal fluid did however indicate traces of antibodies against the rat lungworm, indicating a diagnosis of A cantonensis eosinophilic meningitis.




What was unusual was how she’d presumably contracted it: by eating raw centipedes.

While centipedes aren’t a common foodstuff for most of us, dried or crushed centipedes have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and live, wild specimens are sold in some Chinese agricultural markets.

In this case, the lady’s son had served the fresh produce variety to his elderly mother – and uncooked.

If that sounds unreasonable, don’t be too hard on him: he himself turned up at the hospital only a few weeks later, presenting the same symptoms, having shared in the meal.

We don’t typically hear of people eating raw centipedes, but apparently these two patients believed that raw centipedes would be good for their health,” says the treating physician, neurologist Lingli Lu from Zhujiang Hospital.

“Instead it made them sick.”

Fortunately for mother and son, both patients were ultimately treated successfully with a course of anti-parasitic drugs that rid them of their A. cantonensis infection.

But they were lucky. Cases of Angiostrongyliasis, the infection caused by the roundworm, can cause permanent damage to the central nervous system, and are sometimes fatal.

As for why the pair consumed their centipedes uncooked, according to Lu, the son had been told that eating the arthropods raw could prevent winter colds.

It’s not immediately clear if these Chinese marketplaces sell the venomous animals to be consumed raw, or if they’re merely offered fresh, so consumers can later boil, pickle, or otherwise cook them.

In any case, Lu says as a matter of courtesy, serving suggestions are not dictated to shoppers at the live centipede stall.

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Giant Panda Is One Step Further Away From Extinction

The giant panda, commonly a symbol for conservation, is no longer considered an endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In an update to their Red List of Threatened Species on Sunday, which assesses a species’ conservation status, the IUCN reported the giant panda population has improved enough for the endangered species label to be downgraded to “vulnerable.”

A nationwide census in 2014 found 1,864 giant pandas in the wild in China, excluding cubs — an increase from 1,596 in 2004, according to the IUCN.




Including cubs, the current population count is approaching 2,060, the organization said. The report credits forest protection and reforestation measures in China for increasing the available habitat for the species.

The decision to downlist the giant panda to ‘vulnerable’ is a positive sign confirming that the Chinese government’s efforts to conserve this species are effective,” the IUCN noted in its assessment.

The giant panda was once widespread throughout southern China, and is revered in the country’s culture.

The IUCN’s first assessment of the species in 1965 listed the giant panda as “very rare but believed to be stable or increasing.

The species has been the focus of an intensive, high-profile conservation campaign to recover an endangered species since the 1970s, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) — which has used the panda in its logo since 1961.

For over fifty years, the giant panda has been the globe’s most beloved conservation icon as well as the symbol of WWF,” Marco Lambertini, director general of the WWF, said.

Knowing that the panda is now a step further from extinction is an exciting moment for everyone committed to conserving the world’s wildlife and their habitats.

Decades of conservation efforts have included the banning of giant panda poaching — their hides were considered a commodity — as well as the creation of the panda reserve system, increasing available habitats.

There are now 67 reserves in China protecting nearly 5,400 square miles (14,000 square kilometers) of habitat and 67 percent of the panda population, reported CNN.

The recovery of the panda shows that when science, political will and engagement of local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity,” Lambertini said in the statement.

The Chinese government’s partnerships with the international organization have also spread conservation and breeding efforts. In June, a healthy male cub was born in a Belgian zoo.

The captive population is not taken into consideration by IUCN for the Red List, which is specific to species in the wild.

However, the captive population being bred for recovery and reintroduction are part of the overall conservation picture, according to Joe Walston, Vice President of Conservation Field Programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The giant panda is not completely in the clear, however the IUCN warned that climate change and decreasing bamboo availability could reverse the gains made in the past few decades.

More than one-third of the panda’s bamboo habitat could disappear in the next 80 years, according to the IUCN.

It is a real concern, and this is emblematic of what species are facing globally with regard to climate change,” Walston told Live Science of the threat to habitat and food supply.

The most important thing we can do at the moment is to be able to grow the extent and range of that habitat and by doing that you allow pandas to move across landscapes.

Wildlife as a whole can adapt to short-term changes and season extremes, Walston said, but they need to space to move and adapt.

As such, conservation efforts continue and the giant panda will continue to be considered “a conservation-dependent species for the foreseeable future,” the IUCN’s report concluded.

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800-Year-Old ‘Made In China’ Label Reveals The Lost History Of An Ancient Shipwreck

An 800-year-old ‘Made in China’ label has revealed the lost history of a shipwreck and its cargo.

The ship sank in the Java Sea, off the coast of Indonesia, hundreds of years ago, and the wooden hull disintegrated over time, leaving only a treasure trove of cargo.

The mystery ship had been carrying thousands of ceramics and luxury goods for trade, and they remained on the ocean floor until the 1980s when the wreck was discovered by fishermen.

Since then, archaeologists have been studying artifacts retrieved from the shipwreck to piece together where the ship was from and when it departed.

And findings published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, reveal how the equivalent of a ‘Made in China’ label on a piece of pottery helped researchers reevaluate when the ship went down and how it fits in with China’s history.

Study lead author Doctor Lisa Niziolek, an archaeologist at the Field Museum in Chicago, said: “Initial investigations in the 1990s dated the shipwreck to the mid- to late 13th Century, but we’ve found evidence that it’s probably a century older than that.




Eight hundred years ago, someone put a label on these ceramics that essentially says ‘Made in China’ – because of the particular place mentioned, we’re able to date this shipwreck better.

The ship was carrying ceramics marked with an inscription that might indicate they were made in Jianning Fu, a government district in China.

But after the invasion of the Mongols around 1278, the area was reclassified as Jianning Lu.

The slight change in the name tipped Dr Niziolek and her colleagues off that the shipwreck may have occurred earlier than the late 1200s, as early as 1162.

Dr Niziolek noted that the likelihood of a ship in the later “Jianning Lu” days carrying old pottery with the outdated name is slim.

She said: “There were probably about a hundred thousand pieces of ceramics onboard.

It seems unlikely a merchant would have paid to store those for long prior to shipment – they were probably made not long before the ship sank.

The ship was also carrying elephant tusks for use in medicine or art and sweet-smelling resin for use in incense or for caulking ships.

Dr Niziolek said both the tusks and the resin were critical to re-dating the wreck.

The resins and the tusks come from living things, and all living things contain carbon. A type of carbon atom called C-14 is unstable and decays relatively steadily over time.

Scientists can use the amount of C-14 in a sample to determine how old it is.

The analysis, known as radiocarbon dating, had been done decades ago and pointed to the shipwreck being about 700 to 750-years-old.

But Dr Niziolek said analytical techniques have improved, and the scientists wanted to see if the date held.

The amount of decayed carbon found in the resins and tusks revealed that the cargo was older than previously thought.

When taken together with the place name inscribed on the ceramics, stylistic analysis of ceramics from known time periods, and input from experts overseas, the researchers concluded that the shipwreck was indeed older than previously thought -somewhere in the region of 800 years old.

Dr Niziolek said: “When we got the results back and learned that the resin and tusk samples were older than previously thought, we were excited.

We had suspected that based on inscriptions on the ceramics and conversations with colleagues in China and Japan, and it was great to have all these different types of data coming together to support it.”

She said the fact that the shipwreck happened 800 years ago instead of 700 years ago is a big deal for archaeologists.

Dr Niziolek said: “This was a time when Chinese merchants became more active in maritime trade, more reliant upon oversea routes than on the overland Silk Road.

“The shipwreck occurred at a time of important transition.”

She added: “The salvage company Pacific Sea Resources recovered these artifacts in the 1990s, and they donated them to the Field Museum for education and research.

There’s often a stigma around doing research with artifacts salvaged by commercial companies, but we’ve given this collection a home and have been able to do all this research with it.

It’s really great that we’re able to use new technology to re-examine really old materials. These collections have a lot of stories to tell and should not be entirely discounted.

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China’s Space Station Will Most Likely Plunge To Earth In Next 24 Hours

It sure looks like the abandoned Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will put on its re-entry light show tonight.

The European Space Agency (ESA), which has been tracking the prototype habitat through its final days and hours, now predicts (as of April 1) it will re-enter the atmosphere sometime tonight (April 1) through early Monday morning (April 2) in UTC time, which is 4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

The Aerospace Corporation, which has also been tracking the falling station, more or less concurs, writing that the uncontrolled re-entry should happen around April 2 at 02:00 UTC (10 p.m. EDT), give or take 7 hours.

It remains true that no one knows where the 9.4-ton (8.5 metric tons) station will come down, other than somewhere between 43 degrees latitude north and 43 degrees latitude south.




It also remains true that it is not a danger to you or anyone else, because the Earth is very big and still mostly pretty empty, and the station is very small in the scheme of things.

And the odds of getting hit by a piece of the space lab that manages to survive the fiery re-entry into our atmosphere are incredibly low.

Worth noting: China has still not officially confirmed that it’s not in control of the falling station, but China did lose contact with the uncrewed object on March 21, 2016, and likely has not re-established contact since.

In any event, there’s a non-zero chance that you’ll witness something extraordinary if you look up into the sky this weekend.

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China’s New Stealth Fighter Is Finally Combat-Ready

China’s long-anticipated J-20 stealth fighter aircraft have arrived … kind of.

In a post on the state outlet Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government announced that the fighter jet — created to counter the capabilities of the American F-22 Raptor — has entered service in the People’s Liberation Army with “comprehensive combat capabilities.”

The J-20, like the F-22 Raptor, uses a specially-shaped airframe and advanced materials to minimize its radar signature — making it hard for enemies to detect by conventional means.

The advanced aircraft has long been the subject of intense speculation, with details about its design and technology trickling out in dribs and drabs.

While the J-20 is operational, it doesn’t yet have the capabilities to match its American counterparts, the South China Morning Post, a major Hong Kong newspaper, reported.




Two military sources told the Post that the J-20s in service aren’t equipped with the WS-15 engines they were built to fly with.

According to the Post’s reporting, a WS-15 engine exploded in 2015 during a ground test, indicating quality-control issues with the single-crystal turbine blades necessary for the powerful turbofan engine.

The operational J-20s, the Post reported, are instead equipped with less powerful, modified WS-10B engines designed for the previous-generation Chinese fighters, the J-10s and J-11s.

And even with enhancements for use in the J-20, they aren’t powerful enough to enable the J-20s to “supercruise” like U.S. stealth fighters.

Only two other countries, the U.S. and Russia, build “fifth-generation fighters” like the J-20.

The U.S. has the F-22 Raptor as well as the uber-expensive, slow-to-arrive F-35. Russia flies the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter. India and Japan also have fifth-generation fighters in development.

The exact definition of “fifth generation” is a bit vague.

But public documents from China Power, an American project geared toward researching Chinese power suggest that fifth-gen aircraft are stealthy even when armed, can cruise at supersonic speeds and involve advanced computing, sensors and electronics.

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China’s Tiangong-1 Space Station Will Fall From The Sky Within Weeks

China’s first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth within weeks, but scientists have not been able to predict where the 8.5-tonne module will hit.

The US-funded Aerospace Corporation estimates Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere during the first week of April, give or take a week.

The European Space Agency says the module will come down between 24 March and 19 April.

In 2016 China admitted it had lost control of Tiangong-1 and would be unable to perform a controlled re-entry.

The statement from Aerospace said there was “a chance that a small amount of debris” from the module will survive re-entry and hit the Earth.




Aerospace warned that the space station might be carrying a highly toxic and corrosive fuel called hydrazine on board.

The report includes a map showing the module is expected to re-enter somewhere between 43° north and 43° south latitudes.

The chances of re-entry are slightly higher in northern China, the Middle East, central Italy, northern Spain and the northern states of the US, New Zealand, Tasmania, parts of South America and southern Africa.

However, Aerospace insisted the chance of debris hitting anyone living in these nations was tiny.

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China Announces Plan For Hypersonic Jet That Can Reach New York From Beijing In Two Hours

A team of Chinese researchers has claimed to have designed a hypersonic jet that could travel at 6,000km/h, five times faster than the speed of sound.

The team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said the plane would be able to transport passengers and cargo from Beijing to New York in two hours – the journey currently takes an average of 13 and a half hours.

Cui Kai, who headed up the research, published a paper on the new design in this month’s Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy journal, in which he said: “It will take only a couple of hours to travel from Beijing to New York at hypersonic speed”.




The team said they had tested a scaled-down model of the jet in a wind tunnel, and that it reached speeds of 8,600km/h with low drag and high lift. To compare, Concorde’s top speed was 2,179km/h.

The design, dubbed the I Plane, features two layers of wings to reduce turbulence and drag while creating more lift.

Talk of hypersonic travel has been ramping up of late. “It’s certainly within the realm of possibility,” Dr Kevin Bowcutt, senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics for Boeing Research and Technology, told NBC last month.

I think we have the technology now where we could actually do it.

Boeing has dipped its toe in the water with its X-51A WaveRider, and it is now reportedly working with Lockheed Martin to develop a jet-powered hypersonic aircraft – although both are keeping schtum about the design.

Supersonic commercial planes – those that travel faster than 1,236km/h, the speed of sound – are likely to be the precursor to hypersonic jets.

Boom Supersonic, for example, plans to produce passenger aircraft that can travel at MACH 2.2, or 2,335km/h, that will enter service in 2023.

These jets could carry 50 passengers, flying from New York to London in three hours and 15 minutes. But it won’t come cheap; fares are expected to cost $2,500 one way.

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The Right Tech To Propel Yourself Out Of Bed In Record Time

Earlier this year, China’s Sleepace successfully crowdfunded and shipped a 2 mm thick smart strap that lays on the bed and monitors a user’s sleep time, heart rate and breathing, body movement and sleep cycles.

The RestOn then sends the collected data to a companion app running on a Bluetooth-paired smartphone for analysis.

Now the company has added a smart light to the system called the Nox, which works in conjunction with the RestOn to help monitor, track and improve sleep quality.

The new Nox Smart Sleep System is made up of three parts.




There’s a RestOn smart band that’s slipped between the mattress and top sheet, the Nox light that’s plugged into a wall outlet and placed on a bedside table, and the Sleepace app running on a user’s smartphone.

The RestOn and the Nox both transmit data to the app via Bluetooth. The Nox uses a combination of light and sound to ease a user into a restful sleep.

The light part of the equation makes use of red wavelengths, which the company says can raise the secretion of melatonin, a naturally-occurring hormone that’s used medically in the treatment of some sleep problems.

The Nox also emits soothing sounds to help the would-be dreamer drift into slumber. When the RestOn’s sensors detect the user has fallen asleep, the Nox light is instructed to switch off.

The Nox light hosts built-in sensors that keep track of room temperature, humidity and CO2, as well as ambient light and background noises, and the Sleepace app uses this data – together with information supplied by the RestOn smart strap – to help users understand what’s been going on during the night.

The app then makes suggestions for improving the bedroom environment to help ensure better quality sleep and healthier sleeping habits.

The Nox displays the current time or temperature under the light to the front, and includes a USB port for charging a smartphone or tablet while the user gets some shut-eye.

When it’s time to wake up, the RestOn sensors will let the Nox know when a sleeper is entering the lightest part of the sleep cycle, and the Nox will be instructed to wake up the user 30 minutes before the time set for the alarm.

Sleepace says that this ensures a user is awoken at the right time, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.

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