Archive for the ‘Cyber Security’ Category

‘Robocops’ to Patrol Los Angeles by Year 2025

December 31, 2012

In 1987, the film RoboCop debuted and featured a half-man half-robot cop patrolling the streets of Detroit, but now some car companies are planning on replacing cop cars in Los Angeles with drone cars by 2025. Ramon Galindo gives us a glimpse of the future police force…


SKYNET IS COMING: Computers will taste, smell and hear within five years, IBM predicts

December 18, 2012

21st Century Wire say… This is one step away from SKYNET ala Terminator – as these advances in artificial intelligence will be extended to the current multi-billion dollar per year drone industry, where unmanned drones will not just be chasing phantom terrorists in the hills of Afghanistan, but more likely chasing citizens within North America, Europe and elsewhere. 

Washington Post
Hayley Tsukayama

As 2012 winds down, lots of people are looking back at the year in tech. But at IBM, researchers have released a list of trends to expect not only in 2013, but in the next five years.

On Monday, the company released its annual “5 in 5” report, which offers up predictions about what technology innovations will catch on in the next half-decade. This year, the report focuses on how computers will process information in the future, and IBM’s researchers say that nature’s gift of five senses won’t be reserved for just the living: Machines may actually be able to process things as humans do — through touch, taste, sight, sound and smell.

That, said IBM vice president of innovation Bernie Meyerson, would be a major shift in the very architecture of computing.

“If you program a computer, it’s a gruesome undertaking,” said Meyerson, noting that — at its most basic level — the way humans load information, bit by bit, into computers, hasn’t changed since the abacus.

But advances in computer technology, Meyerson said, are already allowing computers to look at an object holistically, taking in information in a moment that would have taken years to input through code.

“Say you’re standing in a museum of modern art, surrounded by paintings and sculptures,” Meyerson said. “You would spend the rest of your adult life trying to put that into words and type it in [to a computer]. Now, imagine if you could teach it by just showing it something.”

The idea, Meyerson said, is to give humans and computers a common language. And it’s not as difficult — or as futuristic — as you may think.

Smell and taste, Meyerson said, are two senses that have a clear chemical base. If computers can sense the types of molecules — ammonia, explosive residue or gasses that indicate decay — they could alert users to different markers that would flag security risks or food-borne illnesses. The same is true of taste, he said, if computers could be programmed to recognize the correct proportions of certain chemicals. Or, the machines could be used in health planning, to find healthy combinations of foods that would appeal to the palate of the dieter.

When it comes to sight, Meyerson said, researchers have improved recognition software that can identify objects based on a database of images already loaded into the system. And in the future, computers could “hear,” by using detailed sound analyses that, for example, can tie a certain pattern of notes in a baby’s cry to anguish or joy.

Finally, computers could learn to tell the difference between cashmere or concrete by reading the appropriate signals of vibration and temperature, Meyerson said. Video game makers have already used a very basic version of this: controllers vibrate when there’s impact between objects on-screen. In the next five years, researchers could take that sort of program to a microscopic level, allowing machines to have some sense of touch, Meyerson said.

While each idea has applications of its own across many industries, Meyerson said that they would have the greatest impact when combined.

“It’s not that you want to make computers smarter than humans,” he said. “But they have bandwidth to get it in… If you want to scale its memory, you can buy a box of disk drives.”

Fear and Loathing in Belize: John McAfee Gets New Suit, Prepares Legal Defense

December 5, 2012

21st Century Wire

LATEST FROM THE JUNGLE (and the dangers of early retirement files):

Yesterday, December 4, VICE broke the news that anti-virus mogul and “person of interest” in a Belizean murder case John McAfee has retained the services of high-power attorney Telésforo Guerra after fleeing to Guatemala.

Later that afternoon, John and his lawyer held a press meeting during which he announced that he had documentation proving “the intense corruption at all levels of the Belizean government.” On the ride over to the press meeting, John stated on the record that Sam Vanegas, his (rather young) girlfriend, was with him in her bedroom on John’s property on the night of the murder of his neighbor and fellow US citizen Greg Faull. He also said that several other witnesses could corroborate his whereabouts that evening. More details regarding this matter will be forthcoming over the next few days and weeks…

And it get even wilder…

RELATED: John McAfee Hiding Out in Belize: Sex, Drugs and Anti-Virus Software


Everyone In US Under Virtual Surveillance, All Info Stored, No Matter The Post

December 5, 2012

Whistleblower and former NSA crypto-mathematician who served in the agency for decades – virtual privacy in US, Petraeus affair and whistleblowers’ odds in fight against the authorities are among key topics of this exclusive interview…


‘Criminals, Terrorists And Pedophiles’: Spy Bill Author Slams Big Bro Critics

December 5, 2012

Britain’s so-called “snooper’s charter” bill is heating up debates among MPs as parliamentary reports on it are being prepared. The bill’s initiator has just released an emotional verbal offensive against the opponents, equaling them to criminals.

BREAKING: 100 Percent of Syria’s Internet Just Shut Down

November 29, 2012

Washington Post
Max Fisher

It appears that the Syrian government may have just taken a drastic measure it has conspicuously avoided over the nearly two years of fighting: cutting itself off from the Internet.

Renesys, a Web-monitoring service, reported Thursday morning that sweeping outages in Syria had shut down 92 percent of the country’s routed networks. Shortly after, it updated to report that the remaining IP address blocks had gone down, “effectively removing the country from the Internet.” The “Syrian Internet Is Off The Air,” it announced.

Shutting down nationwide Internet service is a remarkable step, one with significant implications for Syria’s economy and security. Still, the country has already taken far more severe action, including reports of targeting children, so the government’s apparent decision not to switch off Web access until now was in some ways surprising. Egypt and Libya both shut down Internet service early in their own uprisings last year. Those were seen as major steps, as is Syria’s today, if the Renesys report is accurate.

Still, maybe one question here is why Syria didn’t do this sooner. Its uprising long ago exceeded Egypt’s and Libya’s in severity by the time those countries had instituted their own blackouts. One possible explanation is that Syria has been far more assertive online, using it as a tool for tracking dissidents and rebels, and sometimes even tricking them into handing the government personal data using phishing scams. President Bashar al-Assad has a background in computers, unlike the much older Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Gaddafi, and once even directly mentioned his “electronic army.” Assad’s regime may have seen opportunity as well as risk on the Web, where perhaps the Egyptian and Libyan authorities saw primarily a tool of the uprising. Or, perhaps the Syrian simply feared the economic consequences of an Internet blackout, or lacked the means to conduct it.

Perhaps the most important question is whether this reported shutdown represents a setback for the rebels and activists who have used the Web to coordinate, a sign of the regime’s desperation that it would take this measure, or maybe even both.

Update: The Associated Press says that a second web-monitoring company is also reporting a complete shutdown.

John McAfee Hiding Out in Belize: Sex, Drugs and Anti-virus Software

November 17, 2012

Christopher Williams

He’s the opposite of the common stereotype of the boring computer nerd. John McAfee, wanted for questioning over a murder and in hiding in Belize, has spent almost two decades living a life of alleged heavy drug abuse, sexual experimentation, deadly extreme sports and media manipulation.

McAfee’s world: Infected by the virus of too much money. Reminds of of Colonel Kurtz in the jungle a little…

It was as a software designer at the arms giant Lockheed in the 1980s that the 67-year-old, English-born American set out on the path to infamy and fortune.

Computer viruses were beginning to emerge and spread, and his machine contracted an infection dubbed Pakistani Brain, which slowed down floppy drives and made seven precious kilobytes of memory unavailable. McAfee resolved the problem himself, but hit upon the idea of creating software that could detect malicious software and remove it automatically.

“It was an accident, like anything else in life,” he later said of his invention.

(…) Jeff Wise, the journalist he told this story to noted, however, that McAfee “is a notorious trickster, who’s no stranger to sock puppetry”.


McAfee’s bizarre world began to unravel in May, when police raided his home and arrested him on suspicion of manufacturing crystal meth and possession of an unlicensed weapon. McAfee protested his innocence to anyone who would listen.

“It began, innocently enough, with my refusal to donate to the local political boss of the district where I lived in Orange Walk and I have given at least $2million in gifts to the police departments,” he said, casting further doubt on his 2009 claim he had only $4m left, which he later admitted was “not very accurate at all”.

“Basically what I developed is a topical antiseptic. That’s what they claimed was my meth lab,” he told Gizmodo.

This week it was alleged that McAfee has nevertheless been a regular contributor to a drug makers’ forum under the name “stuffmonger”. The poster explained how he had been trying to purify a “super perv powder” called MDPV and had been testing the results on himself.

“I think it’s the finest drug ever conceived, not just for the indescribable hypersexuality, but also for the smooth euphoria and mild comedown,” he said.

Read more

UK Police Launch Mugshots Database to Catch Criminals Who Move Around The Country

November 12, 2012

The Independent

Detectives say face-matching technology is a ‘game changer’, but doubts remain on what data should be held

The photographs of millions of people are being put on a national police database for the first time next year to try to stop criminals escaping detection simply by moving around the country.

From March detectives will be able to compare suspects’ images with an estimated 16 million mugshots of people taken into police custody, using Facebook-style photo technology that has never before been available to forces on a nationwide system.

However, campaigners raised concerns yesterday about breaches of civil liberties, with the pictures of people not convicted of any offence being held on the system, and police tactics changing to make use of the new photographic resource.

The system is an extension of the police national database (PND), which was established in 2011 following recommendations by a judge, prompted by the failure of intelligence sharing over the 2002 Soham murders.

Mike Barton, the Chief Constable of Durham Police and the lead on intelligence matters for the Association of Chief Police Officers, explained that with many of the 43 police forces in England and Wales using incompatible technology, police could currently compare photographs of suspects only with ones held in their own files. “This is a game changer,” he said. “A criminal from Cornwall might get away with it in Newcastle because they don’t know about him. We’re closing that door.”

The PND currently holds information on millions of people who have been convicted, cautioned or arrested, as well as driving licence holders and others not suspected or convicted of crimes. Discussions are continuing about what photographs can be kept on the database, following successful court challenges by people who have argued that their images should not be retained by the authorities.

National police guidelines introduced in 2010 say that information held on an individual “must not be excessive and must be proportionate to the risk they pose to the community”. Mr Barton said the Information Commissioner, the European Court of Human Rights and domestic court cases had all thrown up different views. “If we have to change our rules of engagement then we will,” he said.

Campaigners maintained that only those who have been convicted, or on a judge’s ruling, should have their pictures on the database.

Nick Pickles, the director of Big Brother Watch, said: “For the police to make themselves judge and jury when deciding what information they should be holding is a flagrant abuse of due process and a serious threat to people’s civil liberties,”

The technology is not currently good enough to match images retrieved from CCTV cameras with the database. Mr Barton said it would need a clear full-face shot for the computer to produce a list of possible matches.

He said it could be used, for example, if police were trying to identify photos seized during a raid on a passport forgery factory. Police were trying to get “ahead of the curve”, he said, and to capitalise on advances in technology.

National approach: The lesson of Soham

The police national database was the key recommendation from the Bichard inquiry following the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002.

After the murders it was found that their killer, Ian Huntley, had come to the attention of Humberside Police over eight separate sexual offences from 1995 to 1999. This information did not emerge during the vetting check on Huntley when he moved to Cambridgeshire and was appointed caretaker at Soham Village College in 2001.

DRY RUN? 18 Major Internet Hubs Down Across North America This Week

November 1, 2012

This week, 18 major internet hubs were downed across North America. Though several of them are in the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy, many others are not.

What’s really going on? Was Hurricane Sandy a dry run for something coming up…?

North America
Avg. Response Time: 364
Avg. Packet Loss: 32 %
Total Routers: 37
Network up: 51 %

View Graphs


Location Currentt Index Response Time(ms) Time (ms) Packet Loss(%) Loss (%) California (Anaheim) 0 0 100 California (Fresno) 95 47 0 California (Los Angeles) 98 13 0 Canada (Edmonton) 94 59 0 Canada (Ontario) 0 0 100 Canada (Vancouver) 0 0 100 Colorado (Denver) 86 138 0 Georgia 0 0 100 Georgia (Atlanta) 0 0 100 Illinois (Chicago) 93 60 0 Iowa 93 65 0 Kansas (Lenexa) 94 57 0 Maryland 91 82 0 Maryland (Columbia) 94 58 0 Massachusetts (Boston) 86 136 0 Mexico (Chihuahua) 0 0 100 Mexico (Coahuila) 94 57 0 Mexico (Guadalajara) 94 57 0 Mexico (Tamaulipas) 94 59 0 Michigan (Saginaw) 91 81 0 Michigan (Ypsilanti) 0 0 100 Missouri (Kansas City) 94 59 0 Nevada (Las Vegas) 97 20 0 New Hampshire 0 0 100 New Jersey 0 0 100 New Jersey (Atlantic City) 0 0 100 New York (NYC) 0 0 100 Ohio (Cincinnati) 0 0 100 Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) 0 0 100 Texas 0 0 100 Texas (Pampa) 0 0 100 Utah (Salt Lake City) 96 33 0 Virginia (Ashburn) 0 0 100 Washington (Seattle) 95 47 0 Wisconsin 0 0 100 Wisconsin (Elkhorn) 0 0 100 Wisconsin (Madison) 93 64 0
This graph shows the North AmericaTraffic Index for the past 24 hours:  Source: Internet Traffic Report

US charges 11 Russians with conspiracy to export high-tech

October 3, 2012

A US court has charged 11 people with participating in an alleged Russian network illegally exporting high-tech microelectronics and supplying them to Russian military and intel agencies