Researchers show Alexa “skill squatting” could hijack voice commands

Enlarge (credit: Amazon) The success of Internet of Things devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home have created an opportunity for developers to build voice-activated applications that connect ever deeper—into customers’ homes and personal lives. And—according to research by a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)—the potential to exploit some of […]

McAfee researchers falsify a patient’s vital signs in real-time

McAfee’s security researchers announced at the Defcon hacker event in Las Vegas this week that they were able to hack into a medical network and falsify a patient’s vital signs. Exposing this weakness is the first step in fixing security for the networking protocol used by medical devices, known as RWHAT. But it’s certainly scary […]

Australian researchers find no evidence that cannabis helps with chronic pain

An Australian study of 1,500 people revealed no strong findings supporting the use of cannabis in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain. The study published in the journal Lancet Public Health found those using cannabis had greater pain and anxiety, were coping less, and reported that pain was interfering more in their life. There has […]

A mysterious supplement has a viral following of people who take it for addiction — and researchers say it’s too compelling to ignore

Shutterstock The Food and Drug Administration calls kratom a dangerous opioid, but advocates say the drug is a life-saving supplement. What’s missing from the debate about kratom, however, is hard science on how it works. For the first time, a researcher has isolated kratom’s ingredients to see how they affect behavior in rats. The results are […]

Researchers claim to have transferred a memory between two sea slugs

Enlarge / An Aplysia, also known as a sea hare. (credit: Jerry Kirkhart) How does a brain hold on to a memory? There’s evidence for a number of processes, from potentially transient changes in gene expression, through long-term changes in DNA packaging, and up to alterations of the connections among cells. Complicating matters further, none […]