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Flu stresses hospitals, shows we’re not ready for emergencies
Spectre and Meltdown patches causing trouble as realistic attacks get closer
Applications, operating systems, and firmware all need to be updated to defeat Meltdown and protect against Spectre, two attacks that exploit features of high-performance processors to leak information and undermine system security. The computing industry has been scrambling to respond after news of the problem broke early a few days into the new year.
But that patching is proving problematic. The Meltdown protection is revealing bugs or otherwise undesirable behavior in various drivers, and Intel is currently recommending that people cease installing a microcode update it issued to help tackle the Spectre problem. This comes as researchers are digging into the papers describing the issues and getting closer to weaponizing the research to turn it into a practical attack. With the bad guys sure to be doing the same, real-world attacks using this research are sure to follow soon.
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IV bags in short supply across US after Hurricane Maria
Before Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 30, the United States had already experienced intermittent shortages of IV bags, which are used to administer and dilute medications. The devastation caused by the Category 4 hurricane -- the first to hit the island in more than eight decades -- amplified the IV bag shortage, in particular sodium chloride 0.9% injection bags, which are ubiquitous in medical facilities and hospitals.
Puerto Rico, which produces more pharmaceuticals by dollar value for the nation than any of the individual 50 states or any foreign country, has been key to the supply of these IV saline bags.
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