In Wired magazine, Nicholas Thompson writes about system known as “Dead Hand.” It was designed by Soviet scientists in the mid 1980s to automatically retaliate against a nuclear strike from the U.S. Thompson reports that the purpose of Dead Hand, also known as Perimeter, was to make certain the USSR could hit back after being attacked, even if the Kremlin was destroyed. Thompson says Dead Hand still exists.

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In a research paper being presented at a computer security symposium in Oakland, California today, researchers from Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University argue that secret question mechanisms are insecure. The study involved 130 people who use Web mail services from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL, all of which have secret questions for password recovery.

Guest: Stuart Schechter, Microsoft Research

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