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Understanding Cyber Attacks

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 16 January 2014

Cyber attacks - online theft and espionage between individuals, companies or even nation states - are making headlines, and could cause problems for anyone who goes online. Whilst the technology is relatively new, it seems that long-held ideas about military tactics and game theory can be helpful if considering when attackers may use their cyber resources. Professor Robert Axelrod, a game theory expert from the University of Michigan, has applied his experiences with analysing the evolution of co-operation and high stakes diplomacy to the cyber warfront. He has published a mathematical model that brings together the timing factors that a cyber attacker is likely to consider. Putting these elements into a single mathematical formula could help policy makers and others defending online systems.

Insect Queens Control Colonies with Pheromones
Whilst colonies of insects – including ants, bees and wasps – are thought to be amongst the most co-operative societies in nature, scientists have wondered how most individuals’ fertility has been suppressed so that they can toil away as efficient workers. Now, researchers have identified that a waxy substance on the insects' coats works as a pheromone, allowing the queen to control the function of every member of her colony. Dr Tim Cockerill and Dr Patrizia d'Ettore tell us more.

Longest Gunshot Echo and More From Our Sonic Wonderland
Underneath the Scottish mountains lies a giant concrete bunker. It used to hide a huge store of oil. Now empty, Inchindown provided the venue for a single-shot record breaker - the world’s longest echo. Acoustician professor Trevor Cox recorded this remarkable sound as part of his ongoing mission to capture sonic wonders from the world around us. He shares the science behind some of the remarkable noises he has heard on his travels – including why certain sand dunes are thought to "sing" – and offers ideas on how we can all appreciate our sonic wonderland.

(Photo: Inside view of a server hall ©AFP/Getty Images)


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