MetroPCS Security Flaw Leaves Personal Information of Customers Open to Hackers...

Protecting information is a central priority for most successful companies, but one cell phone provider has made a giant security faux pas that could potentially affect their customers for years to come. According to Vice, the personal information of more than 10 million MetroPCS subscribers was recently exposed to hackers due to a security flaw in the company’s payment processing page. A substantial oversight by MetroPCS made it possible for criminals to access any customer’s home address, phone serial number, and type of plan being used. The bug enabled hackers to simply run an automated script of random phone numbers until they gained access to some — if not all — of MetroPCS’s customer information. Independent security researchers Eric Taylor and Blake Welsh discovered the flaw by accident and immediately reported it to T-Mobile, who is the parent company of MetroPCS. While they say the bug is now fixed, there is no telling how many customers were left vulnerable as a result of the data breach. “It’s a pretty nasty bug,” said HD Moore, a well-known security researcher who reviewed Taylor’s research. “It seems like a serious privacy exposure.” Major companies invest large amounts of time and resources into securing both their own sensitive information as well as the personal information of customers, so a data breach of this magnitude is hard to fathom. To prevent these security breaches, industry experts suggest outsourcing information technology services. This enables large companies like T-Mobile to focus on their daily operations while data security is handled by IT professionals with developed techniques to thwart hackers. “IT departments are short on time and security tools and are under more threat than ever before,” says Jeff Conaty, President of the Cloud Security Division at Highstreet IT Solutions. “Managed Security-as-a-Service...

Large Percentage of Wisconsin Residents Do Not Have Access to Clean Drinking Water...

In a state that is known for its abundance of crystal-clear lakes and rivers, Wisconsin residents are growing frustrated with highly-contaminated drinking water that resembles that of a third-world country. According to MinnPost, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin’s 5.8 million residents are dealing with the disturbing consequences of unsafe water in their wells and taps on a daily basis. The problem continues to worsen, and Wisconsinites are desperate for answers. Lynda Cochart, a Wisconsin native, said her well water is so bad that researchers compared it to something found in an underdeveloped nation. Last year, she penned a letter to the U.S. Environmental Agency expressing her growing fear and frustration with the water quality in her state. “Realize that we can’t drink, brush our teeth, wash dishes, wash food; we can’t use our water,” Cochart wrote in the letter. “Our water is on our mind all the time. If drinking it doesn’t kill us, the stress of having it on our mind and worrying about it all the time will.” The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism found that most of Wisconsin’s water is overrun with lead, nitrates, heavy metals, disease-causing bacteria, and several other contaminants. Much of the problem stems from agricultural runoff which creates geological deposits of harmful chemicals in the water system. According to UN Water, a dearth of potable drinking water is one of the biggest crises facing third-world nations today. About 783 million people around the world do not have access to clean water for drinking and bathing. Unsafe water can lead to a host of serious health effects, and about 80% of illnesses in underdeveloped countries are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. Experiencing these issues in America has left many Wisconsin residents dumbfounded and furious at the...

More Cars Demand More Synthetic Rubber...

Now that cars and vehicles are an essential part of everyday life for the majority of people, the production and sale of automobiles has skyrocketed in recent years. According to tyrepress.com, Ningxia Shenzhou Tire Co. Ltd. is planning to boost their tire production to match vehicle demand after breaking ground on a new tire plant in the city of Shizuishan in Ningxia Province, China. Company representatives were quoted saying that this second phase in production capacity of the $1,072,850,000 project is destined for high-end markets in both Europe and the United States due to the quality of their high-performance tires. “High-performance radial tyres [are] much better than bias tyres in terms of safety, comfort, energy-saving, environmental protection [and] are advocated and encouraged by the industrial policy of our government,” representatives from Ningxia Shenzhou said. This huge-scale enterprise is designed for an output of 20.1 million units per year, including 10 million all-steel radial tires and 100,000 aviation tires. All-in-all, the plant, with a total investment of $1.65 billion, is expected to be completed by 2016 and in operation by 2017. The plant is also projected to create about 2,000 new jobs, and generate an estimated $950 million each year. China is apparently not the only Asian country expanding their tire production due to the steep demand for vehicles. ICIS reported that India produced 2.8 million vehicles just in October; a rise of 14.4% from the same period of the precious year. The production of passenger vehicles rose by 296,359 units year on year. Smaller two wheel vehicles accounted for 80.3% of the total vehicle output, amounting up to 1.83 million units for the month. Overall, domestic vehicle sales rose an estimated 13.9% year on year to 2.04 million units in October, even though exports...

Amazon Has Opened a Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore...

At 9:30 a.m. on November 3, Seattleites could head over to the University Village and buy a book from Amazon. Now, this might not sound like something totally out of the ordinary, as Amazon’s marketing and business tactics have made it a book retail powerhouse, and for years, people have been able to buy books from Amazon just about anywhere. However, in this case readers could literally purchase their mysteries and biographies at Amazon — at the new Seattle brick-and-mortar Amazon store. The 5,500-square-foot retail space is host to 5,000 books, far fewer than a traditional bookstore. The reason is that Amazon’s new retail location is displaying books with facing cover-out, rather than spine-out as you’d find in Barnes and Noble. The idea is that Amazon wants to show off authors, rather than titles. The books are also priced the same as they are on Amazon’s website, which is incredibly low. Now, this innovative approach is odd for more than one reason. Not only is it strange because no one else is doing it, but also because it doesn’t seem to make good business sense. It’s offering a thin selection of products at dirt cheap prices. How can a company like that make money? Simple. Use the vast collection of data gleaned from millions of Amazon customers to select the best selling books. It won’t need to have a staggering breadth of titles if the 5,000 it offers are the ones people are buying. “This is not the first time a powerhouse has tried to leverage its brand in a traditional retail space,” says John Diaz, Vice President of Business Development and Operations, On Top Visibility. “Historically, results have been mixed, so it remains to be seen how Amazon will perform. In an ironic...

Use of Endoscope May Aid in Better Eye Surgery...

A recent essay published by David Liao, MD, PhD, in Ophthalmology Times studies the use of an endoscope in order to improve the outcome of eye surgeries. Traditional operating microscopes have been known to be easily corrupted during pre-operation practices. Yet endoscopes, Liao writes, are great backups in the event that visualization becomes difficult during the operation. For successful retinal surgeries, being able to visualize pathology is essential. So when an operating microscope stops working before or during the operation, the endoscope provides a great backup service. Leaving this available to the surgeon can give them the confidence they need to complete the surgery. The endoscope is especially helpful in cases where some of the eye is blocked. This happens in some cases of prolonged retinal detachment and/or trauma. Since these often result in major cornea or lenticular issues, the endoscope can stand in and help in visualization. “At times, I also use the endoscope to locate and remove anteriorly situated retained lens fragments and for membrane peeling in cases of anterior loop proliferative vitreoretinopathy,” Liao says. Sometimes, he adds, medical professionals may start with a routine surgery that becomes more complicated as the surgery progresses. The endoscope helps in visualization in these cases, which gives the surgeon a huge advantage when it comes to safety and surgery outcomes. Liao says the endoscope can be especially helpful in complex surgeries, where landmarks the surgeon needs to work off of are distorted. When they begin, the endoscope may be disorienting, but as they progress, the surgeon may use it in order to “view the retina from a shorter distance and at various angles.” Liao points to a case study in which a 72-year old woman had gone through a complicated cataract surgery three years prior...