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Cockroaches Love the PlayStation 4, Too

Video game consoles are prone to a number of misfortunes, like Xbox 360’s “red ring of death” or more recently the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con and warping issues. But none have the gross-out factor of one of the PlayStation 4’s most unique issues: roach infestation.

In an article on Kotaku, writer Cecilia D'Anastasio visited Patrick Che, the co-owner of an independent console repair shop in Manhattan, who pointed out a pile of filled black garbage bags in the corner of his store. “You see those bags?” Che asked D'Anastasio. “Those are bags full of roaches. Those are all dead by now.” Though roaches can burrow into any system on the market, it's Sony's latest console that seems to be their ideal destination.

The problem has become so common with PS4s that Che’s shop, XCubicle, charges a $25 “roach fee” to clean the little critters out of the system’s vents and circuit boards. So what makes the PlayStation 4 such an attractive home to roaches (outside of the fact that it kinda looks like a swanky skyscraper from the right angle)? Apparently the PS4’s vents are wider than other consoles, and since they’re placed right at the bottom of the machine, it makes it easier for roaches to crawl right in if the system is placed on the floor.

When the roaches go into the system, they nest on the circuit boards, pop out babies, and, well, melt into the console’s innards. With a system that gets as hot as a PS4, melted roaches and their feces (shudder) will likely turn your console into an expensive paperweight before long. And chances are that you’ll never even know a roach was inside unless you bring it in for repair.

At XCubicle, they see at least one roach-infested PS4 per week, with other repairmen estimating that around half of all PS4 consoles they deal with have some sort of roach issue. The fix for this isn’t so simple: A repairman will have to replace the power supply, clean the system of any roach remnants, and sterilize the whole thing before getting it back to you. There's no one way to prevent roaches from entering your system, other than keeping a clean home, putting your console high up and inaccessible, and placing it away from easy entry points. If that fails, you'll be stuck either buying a new PlayStation 4 or bringing the system to an independent repair shop, as Sony won't accept bug-ridden systems for repair.

[h/t Kotaku]

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Use Wi-Fi? Your Device Is at Risk in the Latest Security Breach
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Another day, another way our personal data is being compromised. This time, the latest threat to your credit card numbers, social security information, and other personal data comes from a more-than-ubiquitous source: your Wi-Fi.

As Ars Technica and The Independent report, a computer security researcher has discovered a major issue with Wi-Fi that can be used to decrypt your data. The vulnerability is the result of weakness in the WPA2 protocol that secures modern Wi-Fi networks. Hackers can steal sensitive data that has been decrypted a method called KRACK, or Key Reinstallation Attacks. While we can't know yet if hackers have actually taken advantage of the vulnerability, its existence puts every Wi-Fi-enabled device at risk.

“If your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected,” Mathy Vanhoef, the Belgium-based researcher who discovered the exploit, said. That means your phone, your computer, and even your Wi-Fi light bulbs. The hacker only needs to be within range of your Wi-Fi—not logged into your network—to take advantage of it and steal your data. However, Ars Technica reports that Android and Linux users are more vulnerable to severe attacks than Windows or iOS users.

What should I do to protect myself?

Unfortunately, changing your passwords won’t help this time around. All you can do is wait for security updates for your devices. In the meantime, treat every Wi-Fi connection like it’s the public network at Starbucks. As in, don’t go sharing all your personal data. You can make yourself safer by using a VPN. According to cybersecurity expert Robert Graham, these kind of attacks can’t defeat VPNs.

Most companies will no doubt be releasing security patches to fix this issue ASAP, so keep a look out for any available updates.

[h/t The Independent]

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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