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April 10, 2014 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-10

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Ann Arbor, Michigan

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Internet security
flaw affects 'U'

Virginia Lozaofl/DAILY
Public Policy sophomore Nina Peluso performs with the A capella group Amazin' Blue during the Diversity Monologues
at Literati Bookstore Wednesday.
Performances look
at campus climate

ITS staff scrambles
to protect Wolverine
Access, CTools after
high-stakes breach
Daily News Editor
The University's Information
and Technology Services staff
are working to combat a securi-
ty flaw that left sensitive infor-
mation on some of the Internet's
most visited sites - as well as
key University portals - vulner-
able to prying eyes.
The flaw was first discovered
last week by Finnish research-
ers and engineers at Google and
made public Monday. But unlike
the December Target security
breach in which thousands of
credit card numbers were sto-
len from the retailer's servers,
this particular finding - now
nicknamed "Heartbleed" -
stemmed from a coding error
in a standard Internet security
Though it's uncertain wheth-
er any passwords or data were
compromised by the flaw, major
websites such as Facebook,

Google, Yahoo and Amazon
quickly patched the defective
code, The New York Times
reported. Many others are
scramblingto prevent data theft
and secure their affected serv-
In an interview Wednesday
evening, Paul Howell, the Uni-
versity's chief security officer,
said Information and Technolo-
gy Services staff had fixed most
of the affected University's sites
Monday, including Wolverine
Access and CTools.
"The severity of the issue was
apparent and teams here and
at many universities have been
working around the clock to get
servers patched and to get fixes
in place," Howell said.
OpenSSL, the affected soft-
ware, is a toolkit included in
many webserver programs,
such as Apache, that is designed
to encrypt communication
between web browsers and
Michael Bailey, an associate
research professor of electrical
engineering and computer sci-
ence, said OpenSSL is a tool that
is supposed to keep Internet
users secure.
For example, OpenSSL
prevents others from eaves-

dropping on communication
between a professor entering
grades in CTools from his or
her browser and the Universi-
ty's server that runs CTools.It
ensures no one else can modify
the grades between the profes-
sor's input and their registry in
CTools and lets the professor
know it's really CTools, and not
an imposter site, into which the
sensitive information is being
The same principles apply to a
student using Facebook. OpenS-
SL ensures information dissem-
inated between one's Internet
browser and Facebook server is
done so securely.
But websites using the March
2012 version of OpenSSL have
not been protected due to the
coding error that - unknown
until last week - has existed
since the version's release and
has left scores of websites vul-
nerable for more than two years.
While there are different
security programs and versions
available, The New York Times
estimated the flaw in OpenSSL
2012 versions affects two-thirds
of Internet sites.
According toa study conduct-
ed Tuesday by Bailey and Alex

Event series ends range of identities on campus
that are perceived as being
with exploration ignored or misrepresented.
The title of Wednesday's
of misrepresented Diversity Monologues, which
was the concluding event in the
identities program's series, was "Words
from 'Victors.'"
By AMIA DAVIS LSA junior Harleen Kaur,
Daily StaffReporter LSA senior Alexa Wright and
LSA senior Brianna Kovan
On Wednesday, the LSA organized the event, which
Honors Program hosted an was held at the Literati Book-
event aimed to explore a broad store at 124 E. Washington St.

Wright said the event helped
improve relationships between
students and staff by provid-
ing a safe space for students
to speak and learn more about
different identities at the Uni-
"We thought this would be a
great, creative way for students
to express their thoughts, and
we really wanted to tie it in to
what it means to be here at the
University," Wright said.

Students build
app to keep
track of friends

app 'Merge' shows
others' free time
Daily StaffReporter
Early on in their freshman
year, Business sophomores Dan-
iel Steinmetz and Brandon Alster
discovered how hard it could
be to connect with friends on
short notice. Oftentimes, they'd
find themselves spending time
between classes reaching out to
friends who were already busy,
and they needed something that
could instantly tell them which
friends were available.
In January 2013, Steinmetz
and Alster began brainstorming
ideas for a project they would
come to call Merge - a social
networking app that allows col-
lege students to instantly com-
pare schedules - designed to
make meeting up with friends
quick and easy.
Steinmetz and Alster enlisted
University alum Josh Sklar and
LSA junior Nathan Pilcowitz,
an iOS designer, in April 2013 to
bring the app to life. Now, stu-
dents can use Merge to meet
friends for coffee, plan group
projects and find out what
friends are up to.

The current version of Merge
includes a buddy list that shows
users which of their friends are
available at any given time. Stu-
dents can message available
friends through the app, and cre-
ate "events" to designate a time
and place to meet.
The app also has a comprehen-
sive list of courses that students
can add to their unique profiles.
Steinmetz and Alster used pub-
lic databases to load most course
information into their app, while
classes in the Business school
and the School of Information
had to be manually loaded.
"Merge is for the busy, driven
college student who wants to stay
social, but wants to save a lot of
time doing sotoo," Alster said.
As of the Fall 2014 semester,
Merge had accumulated 1,500
users. They released a video on
Monday to explain and promote
the app.
For now, Merge is a nonprofit
endeavor. Steinmetz and Alster
said their priority is creating
a good product and increasing
their user base. Until recently,
they were paying out-of-pocket
to get their idea off the ground.
"We believed in the idea, but
didn't have all this money to
spend on an app," Alster said.
"We figured if we could get an
investor, it'd be worth it."
See APP, Page 3A

'U tolead
new nuclear
Grant program
aims to modernize
Treaty enforcement
Daily StaffReporter
Few scenarios are more ter-
rifying than the possibility of
a nuclear war or terror attack.
But thanks to a federal grant,
the University is leading a
consortium that will develop
cutting-edge technology and
methods for nonproliferation
efforts in the U.S. and world-
The University received
a $25 million grant from the
Department of Energy to lead
the 13-university consortium
in improving technologies for
monitoring nuclear materi-
als, developing new methods
to detect secret nuclear tests,
analyzing current nonprolif-
eration efforts and training
the next generation of experts
in the field.
Engineering Associate Prof.
Sara Pozzi has been selected
as the director of the program,
which is called the Center for
Verification Technologies.
"There are threats from
See NUCLEAR, Page 3A

Terra Molengraff/DAILY
Johan Mackenbach, professor and chair for the Department of Public Health at the Erasmus University Medical
Center, speaks about health policy in European countries at the School of Public Health Wednesday.
International professors
discuss healthcare concerns


)eakers outline School of Public Health, drawing
around 40 graduate students and
challenges of faculty.
Johan Mackenbach, professor
aropean health of public health at Erasmus Uni-
versity Medical Center in Rot-
disparitves terdam, the Netherlands, spoke
of the recent divergence of life
By JULIA LISS expectancy in Europe and possi-
Daily StaffReporter ble explanations for such a trend.
Mackenbach said the trends,
o speakers gave a joint lec- which show health disparity
ednesday on international based on national income gaps,
policies at the University's are the result of a variety of

cultural factors. Using charts,
graphs and other data to help
illustrate his point, Mackenbach
showed that periods of democ-
racy had historically higher life
expectancies, while periods of
more chaotic political climates
showed dips in the life expectan-
Mackenbach outlined 11 spe-
cific areas of focus for health
policies, including tobacco con-
trol, alcohol control, child health

ture M

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Vol. CXXIV, No. 99
02014 The MichiganDaily

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SUDOKU.. . .2 A CLASSIFIEDS...............6A
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