Yet one more reason to never download apps onto your Android device from an unofficial store. Always use the official Google Play store. A fake Netflix app, only available via third party, non-official sources, has been found to be capable of accessing the phone’s camera, microphone, and text messages. Once installed and accessed, the fake Netflix app disappears, but in reality is running in the background, allowing the hacker to take control of your phone and even upload files from your device. The app is actually a new version of the SpyNote Remote Access Trojan (RAT), which was discovered last year, but with a Netflix face to it to disguise its true malicious intent.
In particular, users are told to avoid downloading games that have not yet been officially released on Android devices, noting that Android users have been tricked into downloading malware disguised as the popular SuperMarioRun game, which to date has been released only for IoS users.
What was the best performing cryptocurrency of 2016? (Meaning which gained in value the most). Not bitcoin, which, if you don’t know exactly what it is or how to use it, you’ve probably at least heard of. It’s actually a once obscure cryptocurrency called Monero, which incidentally has also gained popularity among criminals such as drug dealers.
Over the last year, the value of the hyper-anonymous cryptocurrency Monero grew 2,760 percent, making it almost certainly the best-performing cryptocurrency of 2016. Today each Monero is worth around $12, compared with just 50 cents at the beginning of last year, and the collective value of all Monero has grown to close to $165 million. The source of that explosive growth seems to be Monero’s unique privacy properties that go well beyond the decentralization that makes Bitcoin so resistant to control by governments and banks. It’s instead designed to be far more private: fully anonymous, and virtually untraceable.
Scared? You should be. Though one of Monero’s main developers, Riccardo Spagni, says though Monero may be used for criminal purposes, it could also be used in legitimate transactions where privacy is a must, “like keeping your net worth secret while making routine purchases, or buying contraband like outlawed books in oppressive regimes.”
Just a pretty cool resource to have handy whenever you’re traveling. Need to make a quick WhatsApp call to your relatives while using the wifi at an international airport? Or just need to stream some Netflix you forgot to download before-hand while waiting for your connecting flight? No problem. This map’s got you. It’s now also available as an app for your phone.
Currently, if police forensics teams want to preserve evidence of shoeprints or tire tread marks at a crime scene, they either have to take photographs or plaster casts, if not both. In development right now is a new technology for taking high-resolution 3-D images of such evidence in both snow and soil.
The system is expected to cost around $5,000, which is 1/10 the cost of current systems on the market, and could one day be an alternative to plaster casting. The expectation is that it would also let investigators with virtually no technical background take high-quality images with an easy-to-use interface.
According to Song Zhang, an associate professor in Purdue University‘s School of Mechanical Engineering, who is leading the effort:
“Most shoes have very small cracks from wear in addition to their design pattern, and our system will be able to capture these distinct features. These marks are unique to a specific shoe.”
One day in the near future, courtroom jurors may have the ability to don a pair of virtual reality goggles (which are also becoming increasingly convenient and inexpensive) and actually take a first-person tour around a crime scene when they currently are only be able to view video on a fat screen TV or thumb through photographs. An immediate benefit of the technology being developed by a Georgia-based company could be for investigators reviewing evidence or vetting a witness statement long after the crime scene has been cleaned up. The video can be taken by the same body cameras that many police officers already use.
The program, loaded onto the officer’s phone, guides them as they take a series of photos that will be stitched into a virtual image. With the help of some special glasses, the picture becomes an immersive experience where the viewer can look up, down, behind them and side to side.
Imagine stepping off on an international flight, and as part of the normal disembarkation process, speaking to a computer-generated avatar who asks you questions about your travel. This is no simple automated process, however, but a lie-detecting artificially intelligent system that uses eye scanners, motion and pressure sensors to detect the tell-tale physical signs of lying. This exact scenario is playing out at a few Canadian airports as part of pilot testing with the Canadian Border Services Agency. The system, called Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessment in Real Time, or AVATAR, asks passengers a series of questions, ranging from “Do you have fruits or vegetables in your luggage?” to “Are you carrying any weapons with you?” Rather than just simply recording yes or no answers, the system can detect changes in physiology and behavior during the interview to determine which travelers are more likely to be lying. Those flagged as such are then referred to secondary screening by a live person.
Two interesting videos by educational YouTuber and podcaster CGP Grey making the argument that digital locks are in some ways, the backbone of our Internet/electronic age, and should remain completely secure. He argues that despite the interest of some Governments forcing companies to allow backdoors into their systems (iPhones, communications that use encryption such as WhatsApp, etc) for the Government/law enforcement to access, we are better off not going down this road. Full disclosure: This website doesn’t take a position on the issue, but CGP Grey’s arguments are interesting. Actually, if you haven’t done so yet, check out the rest of his excellent YouTube channel for videos on a broad range of topics including ncluding politics, geography, economics, and British culture.
Hit the jump below for what is supposedly dashcam video from a Tesla as it slows down, predicting (correctly) a car crash is just about to occur ahead. The Tesla computer system is capable of monitoring not only the movements of the car immediately in front, but several cars out. It’s not clear from the video where the accident occurred, but according to car blog Electrek, the incident happened in the Netherlands.
Tesla uploaded new software to its vehicles this year to improve its Autopilot self-driving system. Teslas now rely more on radar instead of other sensors, and they can now beam radar waves underneath the vehicle in front of it. The system is meant to detect if an unseen vehicle ahead of the one directly in front comes to a sudden stop, as this could lead to chain-reaction crash.
Fortunately, everyone in the overturned vehicle turned out to be okay.
Israeli company Cellebrite is reportedly developing a portable unit that would allow police officers to examine a motorist’s cell phone to determine if they had been texting at a certain point in the past, such as just prior to a motor vehicle accident. The idea is that this may be permissible and not violate the motorist’s Fourth Amendment rights if the device does not automatically access the rest of the contents of the phone. Legislation has recently been proposed in New York which would require motorists to submit their cell phones for such on-the-spot testing. According to the CDC, each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. In 2013, 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, representing an almost 10 percent increase since 2011, and nearly one in five crashes (18 percent) in which someone was injured involved distracted driving.
Microsoft is one of the first companies to begin using the K5, an autonomous robot security guard. Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus has been monitored this month by five of these 300-pound robots. The robots are armed with HD cameras, sensors, and alarms, but no weapons as of yet. The K5 is built by California firm Knightscope, and the goal to one day replace human security guards. Given that they can run for 24 hours straight on a single 20 minute charge, there is the potential for the K5 to be more cost-effective than hiring people for certain security functions. The K5 also has built in artificial intelligence that allows it to determine if it has encountered an emergency situation, in which case it can use one of its built-in sirens to attempt to keep the peace — or it can simply request headquarters to send a human to the scene. All in all a fascinating development for the future of physical security.