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Showing posts from July, 2015

German prosecutors investigate Internet journalists for treason

German prosecutors investigate Internet journalists for treason Date 30.07.2015
The Federal Prosecutor General is investigating two German journalists suspected of treason for releasing confidential information online. Charges have been filed against the two reporters who run the blog, Netzpolitik.
Journalists Andre Meister and Markus Beckedahl (pictured above) were informed of the investigation on July 24. The two reporters published the official letter on the Netzpolitik website on Thursday.
The prosecutor's letter referred to two articles that were published on the blog in February and April. The reporters were believed to have quoted from a report by Germany's domestic intelligence agency which had proposed a new unit to monitor the internet, particularly social networks. The document had been categorized as "classified document- confidential."
According to German media, the Federal Prosecutor had called in a consultant to determine whether the publish document w…

Chinese factory replaces 90% of humans with robots, production soars- defect rate cut 75%

Chinese factory replaces 90% of humans with robots, production soars
Changying Precision Technology Company in Dongguan city has set up an unmanned factory run almost entirely by robots. The factory has since seen fewer defects and a higher rate of production.
By Conner Forrest July 30, 2015, 11:30 AM PST
The gravest fear that has rippled through humanity from the technology industry is that, someday, almost all of our jobs will be replaced by robots.
While that fear is often laughed off as something that will only happen far into the future, the truth is that it's actually happening right now.
In Dongguan City, located in the central Guangdong province of China, a technology company has set up a factory run almost exclusively by robots, and the results are fascinating.
The Changying Precision Technology Company factory in Dongguan has automated production lines that use robotic arms to produce parts for cell phones. The factory also has automated machining equipment, autonomous …

Web-connected devices open digital peephole into lives...

Jul 29, 10:46 AM EDT
WILL THE INTERNET LISTEN TO YOUR PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS? BY MICHAEL LIEDTKE AP TECHNOLOGY WRITER
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Like a lot of teenagers, Aanya Nigam reflexively shares her whereabouts, activities and thoughts on Twitter, Instagram and other social networks without a qualm.
But Aanya's care-free attitude dissolved into paranoia a few months ago shortly after her mother bought Amazon's Echo, a digital assistant that can be set up in a home or office to listen for various requests, such as for a song, a sports score, the weather, or even a book to be read aloud.
After using the Internet-connected device for two months, Aanya, 16, started to worry that the Echo was eavesdropping on conversations in her Issaquah, Washington, living room. So she unplugged the device and hid it in a place that her mother, Anjana Agarwal, still hasn't been able to find.
"I guess there is a difference between deciding to share something and having something captured…

Out of Shadows: New tech allows face recognition in utter darkness

Out of Shadows: New tech allows face recognition in utter darkness Published time: 28 Jul, 2015 18:31
German researchers have developed a new technology that can identify a person in poor lighting or even in absolute darkness thus potentially solving one of the main issues of the modern face recognition systems.
Today’s facial recognition systems are based on matching clean and well-lit photos taken in the broad light. This poses a problem for law enforcement and security services when their object is in the shade.
However, a group of German scientists claim to have found a solution to this as they develop a new type of face-recognition system that analyzes a person’s thermal signature instead of relying on traditional methods.
As a part of the new study, Saquib Sarfraz and Rainer Stiefelhagen, two computer scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, created a system that analyzes mid- or far-infrared images and matches them with the ordinary photos thus allowing …

Russians hackers used Twitter, photos to reach U.S. computers: report

Russians hackers used Twitter, photos to reach U.S. computers: report
By Joseph Menn July 29, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Russian government-backed hackers who penetrated high-profile U.S. government and defense industry computers this year used a method combining Twitter with data hidden in seemingly benign photographs, according to experts studying the campaign.
In a public report Wednesday, researchers at security company FireEye Inc said the group used the unusual tandem as a means of communicating with previously infected computers. FireEye has briefed law enforcement on what it found.
The technique, uncovered during a FireEye investigation at an unnamed victim organization, shows how government-backed hackers can shift tactics on the fly after they are discovered.
“It’s striking how many layers of obfuscation that the group adopts,” said FireEye Strategic Analysis Manager Jennifer Weedon. “These groups are innovating and becoming more creative.”
The machines were given an al…

China-Tied Hackers That Hit U.S. Said to Breach United Airlines

China-Tied Hackers That Hit U.S. Said to Breach United Airlines by Michael RileyJordan Robertson July 29, 2015 — 2:00 AM PDT
The hackers who stole data on tens of millions of U.S. insurance holders and government employees in recent months breached another big target at around the same time -- United Airlines.
United, the world’s second-largest airline, detected an incursion into its computer systems in May or early June, said several people familiar with the probe. According to three of these people, investigators working with the carrier have linked the attack to a group of China-backed hackers they say are behind several other large heists -- including the theft of security-clearance records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and medical data from health insurer Anthem Inc.
The previously unreported United breach raises the possibility that the hackers now have data on the movements of millions of Americans, adding airlines to a growing list of strategic U.S. industries …
China Pushes to Rewrite Rules of Global Internet Officials aim to control online discourse and reduce U.S. influence
By JAMES T. AREDDY July 28, 2015 3:49 p.m. ET
SHANGHAI—As social media helped topple regimes in the Middle East and northern Africa, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army publicly warned that an Internet dominated by the U.S. threatened to overthrow China’s Communist Party.
Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings. Beijing had better pay attention.
Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention. Its government is pushing to rewrite the rules of the global Internet, aiming to draw the world’s largest group of Internet users away from an interconnected global commons and to increasingly run parts of the Internet on China’s terms.
It envisions a future in which …
Ban autonomous weapons, urge AI experts including Hawking, Musk and Wozniak
Over 1,000 experts in robotics have signed an open letter in a bid to prevent a "global AI arms race".
by Luke Westaway July 27, 2015 5:09 AM PDT
Robotics experts from around the world have called for a ban on autonomous weapons, warning that an artificial intelligence revolution in warfare could spell disaster for humanity.
The open letter, published by the Future of Life Institute, has been signed by hundreds of AI and robotics researchers, as well as high-profile persons in the science and tech world including Stephen Hawking, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Celebrated philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett is among other endorsers who've added their names to the letter.
Developments in machine intelligence and robotics are already impacting the tech landscape -- for instance, camera-equipped drones are prompting new debates on personal privacy and self-dri…

950 million Android phones can be hijacked by malicious text messages

950 million Android phones can be hijacked by malicious text messagesBooby-trapped MMS messages and websites exploit flaw in heart of Android. by-Jul 27, 2015 9:43am PDT
Almost all Android mobile devices available today are susceptible to hacks that can execute malicious code when they are sent a malformed text message or the user is lured to a malicious website, a security researcher reported Monday. The vulnerability affects about 950 million Android phones and tablets, according to Joshua Drake, vice president of platform research and exploitation at security firm Zimperium. It resides in "Stagefright," an Android code library that processes several widely used media formats. The most serious exploit scenario is the use of a specially modified text message using the multimedia message (MMS) format. All an attacker needs is the phone number of the vulnerable Android phone. From there, the malicious message will surreptitiously execute malicious code on the vulnerabl…

Using Algorithms to Determine Character for Making Loans

Using Algorithms to Determine Character
By QUENTIN HARDY  JULY 26, 2015 5:30 AM July 26, 2015 5:30 am
Computers aren’t just doing hard math problems and showing us cat videos. Increasingly, they judge our character.
Maybe we should be grateful.
A company in Palo Alto, Calif., called Upstart has over the last 15 months lent $135 million to people with mostly negligible credit ratings. Typically, they are recent graduates without mortgages, car payments or credit card settlements.
Those are among the things that normally earn a good or bad credit score, but these people haven’t been in the working world that long. So Upstart looks at their SAT scores, what colleges they attended, their majors and their grade-point averages. As much as job prospects, the company is assessing personality.
“If you take two people with the same job and circumstances, like whether they have kids, five years later the one who had the higher G.P.A. is more likely to pay a debt,” said Paul Gu, Upstart’s co-fo…

Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up.

Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up.
We now have the power to quickly and easily alter DNA. It could eliminate disease. It could solve World hunger. It could provide unlimited clean energy.
It could really get out of hand.
By Amy Maxmen
SPINY GRASS AND SCRAGGLY PINES creep amid the arts-and-crafts buildings of the Asilomar Conference Grounds, 100 acres of dune where California's Monterey Peninsula hammerheads into the Pacific. It's a rugged landscape, designed to inspire people to contemplate their evolving place on Earth. So it was natural that 140 scientists gathered here in 1975 for an unprecedented conference.
They were worried about what people called “recombinant DNA,” the manipulation of the source code of life. It had been just 22 years since James Watson, Francis Crick, and Rosalind Franklin described what DNA was—deoxyribonucleic acid, four different structures called bases stuck to a backbone of sugar and phosphate, in sequences thousands of bases lon…