CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Blackshades, creepware, ominous names, associated with the worldwide computer hacking scandal. It`s where we start today`s edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS.
PREET BHARARA, U.S. ATTORNEY: Once installed on a victim`s computer, the Blackshades RAT allowed users to remotely and secretly gain access to everything on the victim`s computer. Including private photographs and documents, and even passwords to online accounts. It could even record every key stroke entered on a victim`s keyboard to speedily steal credit card and other sensitive information.
AZUZ: One of the creepiest parts about Creepware like that is that many of its victims didn`t even know it was on their computers. We are talking more than half a million people worldwide. Creepware is a form of malware, something that can harm or take control over a computer, and more than 90 people linked to the Blackshade`s creepware are now behind bars around the world. It`s because of one of the largest global cybercrime crackdowns ever. And though the damage has been done from extortion to bank fraud and blackmail, the FBI has shut down a site where Blackshades was sold.
If there`s a zombie apocalypse - I know, just roll with it for a second. The Pentagon has a plan in place to keep Americans safe. But haven`t helped you if you live outside the U.S.
OK, now here`s the deal: the U.S. military has plans for dealing with all kinds of disasters. Natural events, catastrophes, military or terrorist attacks. So, worked up a document for dealing with the flesh-eating invasion by the walking dead. Why? Training. It`s a fictional scenario, of course, but it will be used to help students understand how the military plans and coordinates during disasters. Where personnel should go, how to restore the rule of law after the Zombies are taken out. It`s not a strategic command plan, but it is a teaching tool, and one that is sure to get attention.
Today, the biggest animal on land is the African elephant. It can grow to be 13 feet high, and weigh 14,000 pounds. That`s nothing when you compare it to Titanosaur. Scientists believe this thing was as long as two tractor trailers and weigh 180,000 pounds. They recently got some perspective on how big that is from fossils in South America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Godzilla is back on top of the box office, and while this gigantic lizard is just a fiction, this may have been the real Godzilla of its day. Small by movie standards, but likely the biggest dinosaur to ever roam the planet.
JOSE LUIS CARBALLIDO, PALEONTOLOGIST (through translator): This is the largest femur known from any animal that has walked on Earth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This giant thigh bone, a part of an amazing discovery in Argentina where paleontologists say they`ve uncovered the fossilized remains of a new species of Titanosaur. A gigantic dinosaur that lived some 95 million years ago, had a long neck and long tail, walked on four legs and ate plants. Scientists call it a truly colossal creature weighing the same as 14 elephants.
CARBALLIDO (through translator): This animal measured up to 40 meters long, and with the head upright would have measured 20 meters tall. Equivalent to a seven-story building, which is surely the height at which they ate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paleontologists say that Titanosaur was found in a massive field of fossils, a virtual dinosaur cemetery. They found at least seven more sets of remains and hundreds more bones. Some of which are now on display at a nearby museum.
Experts are related calling the discovery a treasure trove of information providing new insights into an ancient chapter of earth history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I`m a U.S. government agency that was established in 1934. My rules apply to everything that gives up a radio frequency from Wi-Fi to garage door openers. My job is to regulate communications including cable, satellite and TV. I`m the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission.
AZUZ: Along with the Justice Department, the FCC will be looking at a new merger between two massive media companies. AT&T is planning to acquire DirecTV. We say, "planning" because the merger is so big and it would give AT&T a lot of control over the pay TV market. So, the government will have to approve the merger for it to go through.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nearly $50 billion, that`s the hefty price tag AT&T agreed to pay for DirecTV, America`s largest satellite TV provider. This deal, just the latest in the wave of media consolidation. Comcast revealed its plans to buy Time Warner cable for $45 billion in February, and Sprint parent company Softbank has been expressing its interest in sealing a deal with T-Mobile. The inevitable concern, these new Internet and video power houses could take more control over your screens, all of them.
MICHAEL WEINBERG, VICE PRESIDENT, PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE: With that consolidation and that reduction of competition, we see fewer things happening and prices mostly going up for consumers and subscribers. Potentially good for consumers, AT&T and DirecTV say the acquisition could mean new bundles that would bring TV and Internet options across all of your screens, even those in cars and airplanes. The fate of this new alliance, rests in the hands of the FCC.
SEN. AL FRANKEN MINNESOTA: There is a proper role for the Department of Justice to look at this as an antitrust matter and for the FCC to look at this as in the public interest.
Lantana, Carlton, Tomah, the three communities of the three schools, and today CNN STUDENT NEWS Roll Call. First one in Florida, where the chiefs of Santaluces High School are on today`s roll. Next, we are jetting up to Michigan where the jets are flying high over airport high school. And finally in Wisconsin, howl low to the Timberwolves of Tomah Middle School.
The U.S. Government currently spends about $17.5 billion a year on NASA, and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration uses that money on everything from weather and communication satellites to exploring space. Here`s the issue with that last part. It isn`t cheap. And it isn`t safe. Project Morpheus aims to address these problems with a sort of drone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our galaxy is a 100,000 light years wide, with roughly 200 billion stars, and there are entire planetary systems still to be discovered. Exploring that is costly. The U.S. has spent 1.5 trillion on space activity since 1959, and 14 astronauts have lost their lives. So, how do we continue to reap the rewards of space without the huge costs?
Enter Morpheus, NASA`s unmanned planetary lander and flying test laboratory. About the size of a Chevrolet suburban, its modest $13 million price tag gives it unparalleled freedom to push the boundaries of space.
Morpheus is fueled by liquid methane and liquid oxygen, which is significant because these propellants can actually be manufactured in space, meaning a craft using this fuel could conceivably refuel on a distant planet and continue deeper into space.
Another key technology being tested in Morpheus is an ultra-advanced navigation system. This positioning system allows Morpheus to take off land and avoid hazards on its own. Meaning a future unmanned craft using this can touch down on distant moons or planets without risk to human life.
Despite its potential, project Morpheus has had some setbacks. NASA lost one test vehicle, but has since completed 11 successful flights. Morpheus isn`t slated to leave our atmosphere any time soon. It`s still in testing, but this project is another milestone in mankind`s dream to explore strange new worlds.
AZUZ: You and I and CNN weren`t around in 1974 when this thing was invented, but the fact that many of you know what it is, proves the success of the iconic Rubik`s Cube. Some numbers for you: this is said to be the one best-selling toy of all time, with more than 350 million sold worldwide. It`s celebrating its 40 birthday.
There are more than 43 quintillion ways to scramble it, and it took Erno Rubik a month before he could solve his own invention. That`s still faster than I can do it, and I`m kind of a square. I guess it`s easier if you are up on the geometric system. If you can block out the time for it, if you don`t get sticker shock, you can say it’s difficult squared. I say it`s difficult cute. We are resolved to bringing you more news and puns on Wednesday.