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Moon mission will test an anti-radiation vest for astronauts

For astronauts headed to Mars, the biggest threat might not be an unforgiving climate or dwindling supplies — it could be gamma ray radiation that gradually wrecks their bodies. Explorers may soon have a way to shield themselves, though. StemRad has revealed that its AstroRad anti-radiation vest is set to trialed aboard the Orion capsule when it orbits around the Moon during its late 2018 dry run. The non-metallic, layered shields are custom-fitted to each astronaut in order to protect their vital organs without bogging them down.

What you see above is only a mockup, but the first production vest should be ready by the end of 2017. And no, the first test won’t involve humans. The Orion mission should fly with an AstroRad strapped to a torso dummy to see how much radiation it absorbs, with an unprotected dummy serving as a reference point.

If successful, the vest could be crucial to both Mars missions and any other trip into deep space. At the moment, specially sheltered areas are the best defense against gamma rays. AstroRad wouldn’t necessarily give crews the freedom to operate as usual during solar storms and other gamma ray events, but they might not have to beat a hasty retreat in the right circumstances.

Source: Reuters

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Windows 10 included password manager with huge security hole

There's a good reason why security analysts get nervous about bundled third-party software: it can introduce vulnerabilities that the companies can't control. And Microsoft, unfortunately, has learned that the hard way. Google researcher Tavis Ormandy discovered that a Windows 10 image came bundled with a third-party password manager, Keeper, which came with a glaring browser plugin flaw -- a malicious website could steal passwords. Ormandy's copy was an MSDN image meant for developers, but Reddit users noted that they received the vulnerable copy of Keeper after clean reinstalls of regular copies and even a brand new laptop.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica that the Keeper team had patched the exploit (in response to Ormandy's private disclosure), so it shouldn't be an issue if your software is up to date. Also, you were only exposed if you enabled the plugin.

However, the very existence of the hole has still raised a concern: are Microsoft's security tests as thorough for third-party apps as its own software? The company has declined to comment, but that kind of screening may prove crucial if Microsoft is going to maintain the trust of Windows users. It doesn't matter how secure Microsoft's code is if a bundled app undermines everything.

Source: Monorail, Tavis Ormandy (Twitter)

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