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A Second Child May Be Cured of HIV

Today is a good day.

Last March, doctors in Mississippi announced that extremely early and aggressive treatments had functionally cured a baby girl of AIDS. Yesterday, amazing news from a conference in Boston revealed that a second child appears to be in remission after undergoing similar treatment. Everyone fire some cautiously optimistic gunshots into the air and hug.

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Scientists Have Revived a “Hardy” 30,000 Year Old Virus From Permafrost

All it took was true love's kiss.

If you like the word "indestructible" combined with "virus," then I'm assuming you're a supervillain with a great collection of Hazmat suits. National Geographic is reporting that scientists have just revived a large, ancient virus from permafrost in Siberia. Oh yes, another upside to global warming: increased risk of exposure to dormant pathogens.

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We Need To Go Deeper: Researchers Discover Multiple New Viruses In One Woman’s Disgusting Contact Lens Case

A team of French doctors got more than they bargained for while trying to solve the mystery of what was causing eye inflammation in one of their patients. On examining her contact lens case, they discovered the culprit -- a simple amoeba. On closer inspection, though, that amoeba held no shortage of surprising discoveries, not the least of which was an entirely new species of giant virus, dubbed Lentille. Some diligent poking around inside Lentille, though, showed that it wasn't travelling alone.

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Frankenstein Virus Steals Code From Other Programs

Well, this should terrify anyone who has ever experienced the perfectly rational terror inspired by machines that can think for themselves. New Scientist reports that computer scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have created a computer virus, dubbed Frankenstein, that can make itself more damaging and harder for systems to detect by stealing bits and pieces of code from other programs. If you don't think this ends in a supervirus running out of control through the Internet, making machines come to life and subjugating humanity, you are not being anywhere near reactionary enough.

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Apple No Longer Claims It’s Immune to Viruses

Apple, widely known for being essentially immune to viruses has now changed the wording on its website to clarify that Mac computers aren't in fact immune to malware. Until recently, Apple's "Why Buy Mac" page, which touts the benefits of OS X, displayed an icon that claimed a Mac "doesn't get PC viruses." Now, instead, it reads that a Mac is "built to be safe." It's an amusing little change, and one that's quite noteworthy coming from Apple.

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And Just Like That, Another Mac OS X Trojan Found in the Wild

Though Macs aren't exactly less vulnerable to viruses as Windows computers, they've always experienced less -- mostly because there were a lot less people using Macs, thus a lot less people making viruses to infect them. Not too long ago, news broke that a malicious OS X virus spread around the digital tubes, infecting over half a million computers. Now, only a little over a week later, we get news that another OSX Trojan is circulating around our digital domain.

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Study Finds That Gas Pumps Are Really Dirty, Sky Blue

A recent study by the Kimberly-Clark's Healthy Workplace Project found that gas pump handles are the foulest things most Americans come into contact with on a daily basis. This was a stiff competition, as the other surfaces examined in the study included public mailboxes, handrails on escalators, and the buttons on ATMs. While these three ranked in the top four, they were beaten soundly by gas pump handles. The study was fairly simple, using swab samples taken from several public objects with which people have frequent contact, the researchers looked for signs of bacteria or viruses. Specifically, the researchers were looking for adenosine triphosphate, which, according to Reuters, "signals the presence of animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast or mold cells." When it came to gas pump handles, the levels were high enough that researchers believe that it could be a site of disease transmission.

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Bitcoin Trojan Steals Your Wallet

Hot on the heels of the first major Bitcoin theft -- an amount that nearly reached half a million dollars -- Symantec caught wind of a Trojan out in the wild that specifically targets and steals Bitcoin wallets. The Trojan, called Infostealer.Coinbit, attempts to locate a Bitcoin wallet and email it to the attacker. The above is a snippet of source code Symantec found on what they call "underground forums," which attempts to locate a Bitcoin wallet and uploads the wallet using FTP to the attacker's servers.

Bitcoin users do have the option to encrypt their wallet for an extra layer of protection, but if someone is clever enough to steal a Bitcoin wallet, chances are they are clever enough to break an encrypted wallet open. Still, it's always better to be safer. For more info on the Trojan, head on over to Symantec's details page, and hopefully someone creates the computer equivalent of those old wallet-to-pocket chains for Bitcoin wallets sometime soon.

(Symantec via Hacker News)

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Glass Microbiology: Deadly Virus Art

Artist Luke Jerram's Glass Microbiology creations are stunningly beautiful sculptures of some of the world's most deadly viruses, represented approximately 1 million times larger than their natural size. Jerram created the sculptures to reflect on the global impact of disease, and explore the effects of artificial coloring of scientific images on the public understanding of disease. In addition, Jerram is also interested in visualizing the tension between the sculptures' beauty and each virus' dangerous abilities.

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PSA: AppleCare Does Not Cover Malware and Viruses

While security researchers and hackers have warned for years that Mac OS X is susceptible to viruses, Mac owners have generally shrugged them off, and they've had the external feedback to support them: Theoretical possibility does not equal real-world probability, and the odds of getting a virus on a Mac have been remote. It's too early to say whether that is about to change in any significant way, but we've recently reported on a malware program called Mac Defender which poses as an antivirus program and steals users' credit card information, and which has been spotted in the wild. Earlier this month, Daring Fireball's John Gruber prominently accused journalists writing about the Mac platform's vulnerability of "crying wolf." However, in a recent interview with an anonymous AppleCare employee, ZDNet's Ed Bott [who, it's worth noting, is one of the journalists Gruber calls out individually] reports that Mac malware is on the rise in real-world situations, and, perhaps more significantly for the future than for the present, AppleCare does not cover malware and virus protection, and AppleCare employees are specifically instructed not to help customers remove malicious programs, and they could even potentially be fired if they do.

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Breakthrough May Lead to Curing Common Cold

The Medical Research Council has shown that antibodies can actually move inside cells and fight viruses from the inside, opposed to the previous way antibodies were thought to work, which is by blocking or attacking viruses from the outside.

It is believed this discovery can lead to a cure or at least much more effective treatment for various nagging virus-induced ailments, such as the common cold and winter vomiting.

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Breaking: You Can Get Viruses From Porn Sites

Results from an in depth study of the security of free porn websites were released at the Workshop on the Economics of Information Security,which was held at Harvard. The practices used by free porn websites to drive traffic (their only commodity) "have almost inadvertently created a whole ecosystem that's easy to abuse for cyber crime on a large scale," according the leader of the study, Dr. Gilbert Wondracek of the International Secure System Lab. I know, I know, but listen, we all can't be academics.

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