2 years ago

Ecology: Bee behaviour sees colonies collapse

Honeybee colonies could be collapsing because younger bees are flying out to forage, raising their risk of death.

Many bee colonies are failing, probably because of parasites, pathogens and pesticides. Bees react to such stressors by foraging at a younger age, so to learn how this might cause rapid population declines,...

Subscribe to Nature for full access: $199


Purchase article full text and PDF: $8

Buy now

Already a subscriber? Log in now or Register for online access.

Additional access options:


2 years ago

Scientists spot 2nd baby orca in endangered pod in 2 months

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. (AP) -- A scientist who tracks a group of endangered killer whales that frequents Puget Sound says he's spotted a second baby born to the pod in the past two months.Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research confirmed the newborn orca in J-pod after it was spotted Thursday, the Kitsap Sun reported ( http://is.gd/IkblBv ).He said the week-old calf, whose gender isn't yet known, appears healthy and is dubbed J-51."It's a good one," Balcomb said.The presumed mother is 36-year-old J-19.Balcomb said two whales were seen swimming protectively alongside the baby.The addition joins J-50, a baby spotted in late December. The two bring Puget Sound's southern resident orca population to 79, which is still dangerously low.A 19-year-old female from J-pod died in early December.The southern resident orcas spend a lot of time in the Puget Sound and off the coast of British Columbia. They depend on salmon for food, while the ocean-roaming transient orcas hunt marine mammals such as seals.Scientists say the southern resident orcas suffer from malnutrition and chemical contamination from polluted waters.---Information from: Kitsap Sun, http://www.kitsapsun.com/


2 years ago

Personal weather stations can expose your Wi-Fi network

In the latest Internet of Things security blunder, personal weather station devices made by Netatmo were found sending users' Wi-Fi passwords back to the company over unencrypted connections.

Netatmo weather stations can be used to monitor indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels and overall air quality. Users can see the data collected by their stations in real-time through an app installed on their phones, tablets or computers.

The public weather map on Netatmo's website shows that thousands of such devices are installed around the world.

When the weather stations are first configured, users need to give them access to their Wi-Fi networks, so they can transmit sensor readings to the Netatmo cloud over the Internet.

The problem is that the devices also send the wireless network identifier (SSID) and the password to the company's servers and do so over an unencrypted connection, said Johannes Ullrich, CTO of the SANS Internet Storm Center, in a blog post Thursday.

Ullrich discovered the issue after monitoring data traffic from his own Netatmo weather station.

"Not only should data like this not be transmitted 'in the clear,' but in addition, there is no need for Netatmo to know the WPA password for my network," Ullrich said.

Ullrich said that he reported the problem to the company, which blamed the behavior on a debugging feature that collects the contents of the device's memory on first run.

According to Ullrich, the company expressed its intention to remove this feature "very soon" and this week it released a firmware update that appears to fix the issue. In an update to his blog post on Friday he said he is still trying to verify if that is the case.

Netatmo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This issue adds to a growing list of basic security lapses discovered in smart home devices and other Internet-connected appliances that have invaded the consumer electronics market in the last few years.

Security experts have repeatedly expressed their concern that device manufacturers pay little attention to basic security principles in their rush to put Internet connectivity into everything.

The security mess has given birth to Internet of Things security advisory groups like BuildItSecure.ly and I Am the Cavalry.