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EPC Celebrates MO Sales Tax Holiday by Opening Warehouse to the Public

In an effort to help parents with the costs of sending their students back to school, Missouri has established this weekend as a Sales Tax Holiday. From 12:01 a.m. on Friday August 7th to midnight on Sunday the 9th, certain back to school items are deemed tax exempt.

Included in these tax exempt back to school items are personal computers and computer peripherals. To enhance this tax holiday, EPC is opening our warehouse to the public for a huge sale. All items will be at least 15% off of our already low prices in addition to the discount from the exempted tax.

On Saturday, August 8th, from 8am to 2pm only, customers can browse through the thousands of laptops, desktops, servers, printers and every other computer-realted hardware and peripherals that can be found in our warehouse – a space that is about the size of two football fields.

For more information about the Missouri Sales Tax Holiday stipulations, you can check out the Department of Revenue’s website.

Use Electrical Outlets or Lasers to capture keystrokes?

This has been a week of crazy hacking announcements. CIO.com reports that Andrea Barisani and Daniele Bianco, a pair of researchers for network security consultancy Inverse Path, will demonstrate two new attacks that can be used to record keystrokes entered on a computer at the upcoming Black Hat USA 2009 conference.

The first requires access to a power outlet on the same circuit as the target computer. Because the data wire within the keyboard cable is unshielded, the signals leak into the ground wire in the cable, and from there into the ground wire of the electrical circuit. Bit streams generated by the keyboards that indicate what keys have been struck create voltage fluctuations in the grounds, they say. The attacker then filters out other ground signals and is left with the keystrokes entered.

The second attack points cheap lasers at shiny portions of a laptop, like its lid or even the surface of the table near the device and measures the vibration caused by hitting the various keys. The researchers claim that each key has a distinct vibration pattern and by knowing the language used by the typist, the keys entered can be determined. They found the attack works best when pointing at the lid of the laptop, either at a shiny logo or at a spot near the hinges.

The cost of the tools needed for the electrical outlet attack cost around $500 US and the cost of the laser attack cost around $100 US and took about a week to test. While the researchers admit that their tools are currently rudimentary, they feel that given their minimal time committment and relative cheapness of the tools illustrate the potential for expansion by a dedicated team or government entity.

CIO.com – How to Use Electrical Outlets and Cheap Lasers to Steal Data