NASA spacecraft to be sent to fiery death to stop alien invasion

Saturn’s moon Enceladus and spacecraft Cassini–Huygens in front of planet Saturn, rings and other moons (Illustration, elements of this image are furnished by NASA/Shutterstock)
Updated 30 August 2017
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NASA spacecraft to be sent to fiery death to stop alien invasion

DUBAI: NASA is about to send one of its spacecraft that has been researching Saturn to a fiery death, to avoid any alien life forms contaminating surrounding planets.
The Cassini spacecraft is due to complete its 13-year mission in mid-September – sending data back to scientists until the very end.
The space experts have said the mission has been “insanely, wildly, beautifully successful,” sending more information from Saturn than ever before.
On the fatal day Cassini will make a final dive between the planet’s rings, toward its surface, causing it to burn up in the atmosphere.
When the craft was first sent into space no one expected it to be such a success. It discovered that Saturn has seasons, that the moon “Titan” looks like Earth in its early stages, and that another moon “Enceladus” could support life.
“The mission has been insanely, wildly, beautifully successful, and it’s coming to an end in about two weeks,” Cassini program scientist, Curt Niebur said.
Data will be sent back to Earth up until the end when it is expected to lose contact at 10:54 a.m. (GMT) according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Cassini’s mission has sent information back since July 2004 on Saturn’s 62 known moons, and recorded enough data for approximately 4,000 scientific papers.
But now Cassini’s days are finally numbered. Fuel is low and to avoid any chance of the craft ever colliding with one of the many moons that has the potential of supporting indigenous microbial life, it is being sent in a nose dive into Saturn.
In doing this, NASA believes it will destroy any microbes that hitched a ride from Earth and survived all this time, to avoid any unintended contamination of the moons they might later want to study.


Warning issued over attacks on Internet infrastructure

ICANN headquarters in Los Angeles. (Supplied)
Updated 23 February 2019
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Warning issued over attacks on Internet infrastructure

  • The list of targets included website registrars and Internet service providers, particularly in the Middle East

SAN FRANCISCO: Key parts of the Internet infrastructure face large-scale attacks that threaten the global system of web traffic, the Internet’s address keeper warned Friday.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) declared after an emergency meeting “an ongoing and significant risk” to key parts of the infrastructure that affects the domains on which websites reside.
“They are going after the Internet infrastructure itself,” ICANN chief technology officer David Conrad told AFP.
“There have been targeted attacks in the past, but nothing like this.”
The attacks date back as far as 2017 but have sparked growing concerns from security researchers in recent weeks, which prompted the special meeting of ICANN.
The malicious activity targets the Domain Name System or DNS which routes traffic to intended online destinations.
ICANN specialists and others say these attacks have a potential to snoop on data along the way, sneakily send the traffic elsewhere or enable the attackers to impersonate or “spoof” critical websites.
“There isn’t a single tool to address this,” Conrad said, as ICANN called for an overall hardening of web defenses.
US authorities issued a similar warning last month about the DNS attacks.
“This is roughly equivalent to someone lying to the post office about your address, checking your mail, and then hand delivering it to your mailbox,” the US Department of Homeland Security said in a recent cybersecurity alert.
“Lots of harmful things could be done to you (or the senders) depending on the content of that mail.”

DNSpionage attacks might date back to at least 2017, according to FireEye senior manager of cyber espionage analysis Ben Read.
The list of targets included website registrars and Internet service providers, particularly in the Middle East.
“We’ve seen primarily targeting of email names and passwords,” Read said of what is being dubbed “DNSpionage.”
“There is evidence that it is coming out of Iran and being done in support of Iran.”
ICANN held an emergency meeting and is putting out word to website and online traffic handlers to ramp up security or leave users vulnerable to being tricked into trusting the wrong online venues.
DNSpionage hackers appeared intent on stealing account credentials, such as email passwords, in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, according to Crowdstrike cybersecurity firm vice president of intelligence Adam Meyers.
Similar attacks took place in Europe and other parts of the Middle East, with targets including governments, intelligence services, police, airlines, and the oil industry, cybersecurity specialists said.
“You definitely need knowledge of how the Internet works you and have to handle a lot of traffic being directed to you,” Meyers said of the DNSpionage hackers.
“With that access, they could temporarily break portions of how the Internet works. They chose to intercept and spy on folks.”