“IT’S BEEN A busy week here on the WIRED Security desk, thanks to the annual Black Hat and Defcon security conferences in Las Vegas, where hackers and researchers reveal their latest findings.
Things kicked off with a doozy. A researcher believes he’s found evidence that a series of spikes in radiation seemingly recorded by sensors at the Chernobyl nuclear facility in the hours following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine were manipulated. The findings contradict the official explanation from Ukrainian and international nuclear authorities, prompting calls for a full investigation. If the researcher’s findings are proven accurate, it could have grave implications for nuclear monitoring and geopolitics.
In other troubling news, Intel researchers have uncovered a flaw present in multiple generations of Intel chips. The flaw, dubbed Downfall, is not present in the latest generations of Intel chips, but some of the chips that do have the Downfall vulnerability are still available to buy. The company has rolled out patches for impacted chips.
In the not-fixed-vulnerability category, we head to Boston, where a group of teenagers successfully hacked the city’s subway cards to give themselves unlimited free rides. Their work is actually a follow-up to a 2008 hack by MIT researchers, which prompted the Boston transit authority to file a lawsuit that prevented those researchers from presenting their talk at that year’s Defcon. This time, however, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority worked with the teens, who promised not to release key details that would allow someone to replicate their hack. The MBTA says the vulnerability will be addressed through the rollout of a new subway card system in the near future.”