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No need to rush network patching for Spectre and Meltdown

The recently discovered security threat in CPUs from nearly a dozen manufacturers poses a low risk to corporate networking gear, so operators have time to test vendors’ patches thoroughly.

That’s the take of security experts contacted by SearchNetworking following the discovery last week of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that affect Intel, AMD and ARM chips. In response, Cisco and Juniper Networks have released patches rated medium and low risk, respectively, for a variety of products.

The low risk of Spectre and Meltdown to switches and routers means network managers have the time to thoroughly test the patches to minimize their impact on hardware performance, experts said.

“If you’re getting a firmware update, you need to patch,” said Rob Westervelt, analyst at IDC. “[But] the issue is whether you just deploy the patch or test it thoroughly and make sure you don’t break any applications or anything else.”

Roughly 20 CSOs and IT security professionals interviewed by IDC were taking a methodical approach to applying Spectre and Meltdown fixes across all systems.

“While it is top of mind, it’s not something that they’re immediately jumping on to patch,” Westervelt said. “They are using established best practices and testing those patches first.”

Network performance at risk

Westervelt warned there is the possibility network performance will suffer. “In some cases, it could be very costly.”

If you’re getting a firmware update, you need to patch.
Rob Westerveltanalyst at IDC

Indeed, Microsoft reported in a blog post patches for the PC and server versions of Windows would range from minor to significant, depending on the age of the operating system and the CPU. “I think we can expect a similar variety of performance impacts across other [vendors’] products,” said Jake Miller, a senior security analyst at IT consulting firm Bishop Fox, based in Tempe, Ariz.

Security pros expect hackers sophisticated enough to exploit the hard-to-reach vulnerabilities to target mostly servers in large data centers that host cloud computing environments. Because of the level of expertise needed to take advantage of the flaws, hackers working for nation states are the most likely attackers, experts said.

Exploiting the CPU holes would involve crafting code that takes advantage of how some processors anticipate features computer users will request next. In preparation for those requests, processors will load into memory valuable data and instructions that hackers can steal.

“The threat is significant, but currently is limited to highly sophisticated attackers and hacking groups with the means to carry out multi-staged targeted attacks,” IDC said in a research note. “Financially motivated cybercriminals are more likely to continue to use more accessible, time-tested methods to retrieve passwords and sensitive data.”

Nevertheless, even a low risk to networking gear is worth the time needed for fixing. “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Jonathan Valamehr, COO and co-founder of cybersecurity company Tortuga Logic Inc.

Researchers use AI to improve accuracy of gene editing with CRISPR

From left, Nicolo Fusi, a researcher at Microsoft, Jennifer Listgarten, who recently joined the faculty at UC Berkeley, and John Doench, an associate director at the Broad Institute, collaborated on a method of using AI to improve gene editing results. Photo by Dana J. Quigley.

A collaboration between computer scientists and biologists from research institutions across the United States is yielding a set of computational tools that increase efficiency and accuracy when deploying CRISPR, a gene-editing technology that is transforming industries from healthcare to agriculture.

CRISPR is a nano-sized sewing kit that can be designed to cut and alter DNA at a specific point in a specific gene.

The technology, for example, may lead to breakthrough applications such as modifying cells to combat cancer or produce high-yielding drought-tolerant crops such as wheat and corn.

Elevation, the newest tool released by the team, uses a branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning to predict so-called off-target effects when editing genes with the CRISPR system.

Although CRISPR shows great promise in a number of fields, one challenge is that lots of genomic regions are similar, which means the nano-sized sewing kit can accidentally go to work on the wrong gene and cause unintended consequences – the so-called off-target effects.

“Off-target effects are something that you really want to avoid,” said Nicolo Fusi, a researcher at Microsoft’s research lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “You want to make sure that your experiment doesn’t mess up something else.”

Fusi and former Microsoft colleague Jennifer Listgarten, together with collaborators at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, University of California Los Angeles, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, describe Elevation in a paper published Jan. 10 in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Elevation and a complementary tool for predicting on-target effects called Azimuth are publicly available for free as a cloud-based end-to-end guide-design service running on Microsoft Azure as well as via open-source code.

Using the computational tools, researchers can input the name of the gene they want to modify and the cloud-based search engine will return a list of guides that researchers can sort by predicted on-target or off-target effects.

[embedded content]

Nature as engineer

The CRISPR gene-editing system is adapted from a natural virus-fighting mechanism. Scientists discovered it in the DNA of bacteria in the late 1980s and figured out how it works over the course of the next several decades.

“The CRISPR system was not designed, it evolved,” said John Doench, an associate director at the Broad Institute who leads the biological portions of the research collaboration with Microsoft.

CRISPR stands for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” which describes a pattern of repeating DNA sequences in the genomes of bacteria separated by short, non-repeating spacer DNA sequences.

The non-repeating spacers are copies of DNA from invading viruses, which molecular messengers known as RNA use as a template to recognize subsequent viral invasions. When an invader is detected, the RNA guides the CRISPR complex to the virus and dispatches CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins to snip and disable the viral gene.

Modern adaptations

In 2012, molecular biologists figured out how to adapt the bacterial virus-fighting system to edit genes in organisms ranging from plants to mice and humans. The result is the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technique.

The basic system works like this: Scientists design synthetic guide RNA to match a DNA sequence in the gene they want to cut or edit and set it loose in a cell with the CRISPR-associated protein scissors, Cas9.

Today, the technique is widely used as an efficient and precise way to understand the role of individual genes in everything from people to poplar trees as well as how to change genes to do everything from fight diseases to grow more food.

“If you want to understand how gene dysfunction leads to disease, for example, you need to know how the gene normally functions,” said Doench. “CRISPR has been a complete game changer for that.”

An overarching challenge for researchers is to decide what guide RNA to choose for a given experiment. Each guide is roughly 20 nucleotides; hundreds of potential guides exist for each target gene in a knockout experiment.

In general, each guide has a different on-target efficiency and a different degree of off-target activity.

The collaboration between the computer scientists and biologists is focused on building tools that help researchers search through the guide choices and find the best one for their experiments.

Several research teams have designed rules to determine where off-targets are for any given gene-editing experiment and how to avoid them. “The rules are very hand-made and very hand-tailored,” said Fusi. “We decided to tackle this problem with machine learning.”

Training models

To tackle the problem, Fusi and Listgarten trained a so-called first-layer machine-learning model on data generated by Doench and colleagues. These data reported on the activity for all possible target regions with just one nucleotide mismatch with the guide.

Then, using publicly available data that was previously generated by the team’s Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital collaborators, the machine-learning experts trained a second-layer model that refines and generalizes the first-layer model to cases where there is more than one mismatched nucleotide.

The second-layer model is important because off-target activity can occur with far more than just one mismatch between guide and target, noted Listgarten, who joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley on Jan. 1.

Finally, the team validated their two-layer model on several other publicly available datasets as well as a new dataset generated by collaborators affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Some model features are intuitive, such as a mismatch between the guide and nucleotide sequence, noted Listgarten. Others reflect unknown properties encoded in DNA that are discovered through machine learning.

“Part of the beauty of machine learning is if you give it enough things it can latch onto, it can tease these things out,” she said.

Off target scores

Elevation provides researchers with two kinds of off-target scores for every guide: individual scores for one target region and a single overall summary score for that guide.

Target scores are machine-learning based probabilities provided for every single region on the genome that something bad could happen. For every guide, Elevation returns hundreds to thousands of these off-target scores.

For researchers trying to determine which of potentially hundreds of guides to use for a given experiment, these individual off-target scores alone can be cumbersome, noted Listgarten.

The summary score is a single number that lumps the off-target scores together to provide an overview of how likely the guide is to disrupt the cell over all its potential off-targets.

“Instead of a probability for each point in the genome, it is what’s the probability I am going to mess up this cell because of all of the off-target activities of the guide?” said Listgarten.

End-to-end guide design

Writing in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the collaborators describe how Elevation works in concert with a tool they released in 2016 called Azimuth that predicts on-target effects.

The complementary tools provide researchers with an end-to-end system for designing experiments with the CRISPR-Cas9 system – helping researchers select a guide that achieves the intended effect – disabling a gene, for example – and reduce mistakes such as cutting the wrong gene.

“Our job,” said Fusi, “is to get people who work in molecular biology the best tools that we can.”

In addition to Listgarten, Fusi and Doench, project collaborators include Michael Weinstein from the University of California Los Angeles, Benjamin Kleinstiver, Keith Joung and Alexander A. Sousa from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Melih Elibol, Luong Hoang, Jake Crawford and Kevin Gao from Microsoft Research.

Related:

John Roach writes about Microsoft research and innovation. Follow him on Twitter.

Tags: CRISPR, healthcare

For Sale – EVGA 4GB GTX 980 SC Graphics Card REDUCED price :)

Hi there, I recently purchased myself a GTX 1080ti, So am selling my trusty GTX 980
The Model is a EVGA 4GB Gtx 980 Superclocked editon in full working order and in good condition.

It comes straight out of my current tower, so i have no box for it but i will put it inside my 1080ti box as i have no need for that. I also am using my cables from my current psu to power both cards, so no cables with it. Just card and box. Asking price was £260 but realise may have priced it a little high so now £160. Price will still include Royal Mail Special Delivery. The card will be boxed and packaged inside the packaging my 1080ti came in, along with some extra bubble wrap etc so it is well packed.

Few Specs about card

    • Height: 4.376in – 111.15mm
    • Length: 10.5in – 266.7mm
    • Width: Dual Slot
    • 500W PSU or greater required


Thanks for looking :)

Price and currency: £160
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal Gift
Location: Southend on Sea
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – EVGA 4GB GTX 980 SC Graphics Card REDUCED price :)

Hi there, I recently purchased myself a GTX 1080ti, So am selling my trusty GTX 980
The Model is a EVGA 4GB Gtx 980 Superclocked editon in full working order and in good condition.

It comes straight out of my current tower, so i have no box for it but i will put it inside my 1080ti box as i have no need for that. I also am using my cables from my current psu to power both cards, so no cables with it. Just card and box. Asking price was £260 but realise may have priced it a little high so now £210. Price will still include Royal Mail Special Delivery. The card will be boxed and packaged inside the packaging my 1080ti came in, along with some extra bubble wrap etc so it is well packed.

Few Specs about card

    • Height: 4.376in – 111.15mm
    • Length: 10.5in – 266.7mm
    • Width: Dual Slot
    • 500W PSU or greater required


Thanks for looking :)

Price and currency: £210
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal Gift
Location: Southend on Sea
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – EVGA 4GB GTX 980 SC Graphics Card REDUCED price :)

Hi there, I recently purchased myself a GTX 1080ti, So am selling my trusty GTX 980
The Model is a EVGA 4GB Gtx 980 Superclocked editon in full working order and in good condition.

It comes straight out of my current tower, so i have no box for it but i will put it inside my 1080ti box as i have no need for that. I also am using my cables from my current psu to power both cards, so no cables with it. Just card and box. Asking price was £260 but realise may have priced it a little high so now £210. Price will still include Royal Mail Special Delivery. The card will be boxed and packaged inside the packaging my 1080ti came in, along with some extra bubble wrap etc so it is well packed.

Few Specs about card

    • Height: 4.376in – 111.15mm
    • Length: 10.5in – 266.7mm
    • Width: Dual Slot
    • 500W PSU or greater required


Thanks for looking :)

Price and currency: £260
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal Gift
Location: Southend on Sea
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – EVGA 4GB GTX 980 SC Graphics Card

Hi there, I recently purchased myself a GTX 1080ti, So am selling my trusty GTX 980
The Model is a EVGA 4GB Gtx 980 Superclocked editon in full working order and in good condition.

It comes straight out of my current tower, so i have no box for it but i will put it inside my 1080ti box as i have no need for that. I also am using my cables from my current psu to power both cards, so no cables with it. Just card and box. Asking price is £260 but I am willing to negotiate on the price but not too low. Postage will included Royal Mail Special Delivery. The card will be boxed and packaged inside the packaging my 1080ti came in, along with some extra bubble wrap etc so it is well packed.

Few Specs about card

  • Height: 4.376in – 111.15mm
  • Length: 10.5in – 266.7mm
  • Width: Dual Slot
  • 500W PSU or greater required

Thanks for looking :)

Price and currency: £260
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal Gift
Location: Southend on Sea
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GAMING X

Recently got an Xbox One X and been really impress so can’t justify having an expensive Graphics Card in my PC as I think all the games I play will be on there now.

The card comes in mint condition, it’s an absolute beast and I am selling it with a heavy heart tbh. Never been hacked or modded.

It comes unboxed but as I say, in mint condition. The GPU will be very securely boxed and packaged to avoid any damage during delivery.

Looking for £400 (Paid £579.99 July of last year) via BT or PPG.

I’ll upload some pictures tomorrow :)

Price and currency: £400
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT Or PPG
Location: Norwich
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
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  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – NETGEAR RBK50 Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh

Recently upgraded to Gigaclear router and whole house ethernet ports so up for sale is my Orbi home mesh kit.

All boxed and literally like new.
The RBK50 comes with Router and one Satellite.

Gives amazing coverage (up to 3000sq ft according to Netgear) and throughput and above all wireless throughout your house.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT or PPG
Location: Essex/London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – NETGEAR RBK50 Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh

Recently upgraded to Gigaclear router and whole house ethernet ports so up for sale is my Orbi home mesh kit.

All boxed and literally like new.
The RBK50 comes with Router and one Satellite.

Gives amazing coverage (up to 3000sq ft according to Netgear) and throughput and above all wireless throughout your house.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT or PPG
Location: Essex/London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – NETGEAR RBK50 Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh

Recently upgraded to Gigaclear router and whole house ethernet ports so up for sale is my Orbi home mesh kit.

All boxed and literally like new.
The RBK50 comes with Router and one Satellite.

Gives amazing coverage (up to 3000sq ft according to Netgear) and throughput and above all wireless throughout your house.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT or PPG
Location: Essex/London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.