Thursday, 5 November 2015

Hackers Can Silently Control Siri from 16 Feet Away


Radio Waves – Silently Trigger Voice Commands

A group of French researcher have observed that though Siri may be your personal assistant, it also listens to other voices and obeys the orders of any hacker who tend to talk to her and in some cases, which silently transmit commands through radio as far as 16 feet distance.

A pair of researches at the ANSSI, which is a French government agency dedicated to information security have revealed that with the use of radio waves it could silently trigger voice commands on any Android phone or iPhone having Google Now or Siri enabled with a pair of headphones together with microphone plugged into its jack.

They cleverly hack those headphones’ cord as an antenna, manipulating its wire to convert secret electromagnetic waves into electrical signals which tend to appear on the operating system of the phone to be audio coming from the user’s microphone.

Without conversing, the hacker can utilise that radio attack to tell Siri or Google Now to make calls and send texts, dial the hacker’s number in turning the phone into an eavesdropping device, send spam and phishing messages through email, Facebook or Twitter and send the phone’s browser to a malware site.

Electromagnetic Waves – Laptop Running Open-Source Software GNU Radio

The two French researchers, Jose Lopes Esteves and Chaouki Kasmi have written in a paper published by the IEEE, that the possibility of inducing parasitic signals on the audio front-end-of-voice-command-capable devices could give rise to critical security impacts.

 Or as Vincent Strubel, director of their research group at ANSSI puts it in a simple manner that the sky is the limit here and everything that one can do through the voice interface, can be done remotely and discreetly through electromagnetic waves.

The work of the researchers which was at first presented at the Hack in Paris conference in summer, though received little notice outside a few French websites, utilizes a relatively simple collection of equipment.It tends to produce its electromagnetic waves with a laptop that runs the open-source software GNU Radio, a USRP software defined radio, an amplifier and an antenna.

Minimum Form – Fit in a Backpack/Powerful Form – Fit in Car, Van

According to the researchers, in its minimum form, it could fit in a backpack and their setup has a range of about six and a half feet while in a powerful form which tends to require huge batteries and could only basically fit in a car or van, the researchers state that they could extend the attack’s range to over 16 feet.

The researcher’s silent voice command hack however have some serious limitations and it can only work on phones which have microphones enabled headphones or ear buds plugged into them. Several of the Android phones do not tend to have Google Now enabled from their lockscreen or have it set only to respond to commands when it recognizes the voice of the user.

 iPhones tend to have Siri enabled from the lockscreen through default; however the new version of Siri for iPhone 6s validates the voice of the owner as Google Now does. The other limitation is that attentive users would be likely to see that the phone has been receiving mysterious voice command and cancel them before the activity has been completed.

Without the features of security, Kasmi and Esteves suggest that any smartphone’s voice features can represent security responsibility, either from an attacker with the phone in hand or that which is hidden in the next room.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The New Hendo Hoverboard Is a Warm-Up for Elon’s Hyperloop


Hendo – Bulky Hoverboard – Smoother Design/Enhanced Controls

Arx Pax has raised more than $500,000 Kickstarter dollars for building Hendo, a bulky hoverboard which tend to lift its riders a few inches above the ground. The updated Hendo 2.0 would be offering a smoother design with enhanced controls.

The official unveiling of the hoverboard was October 21 and Arx Pax had been sharing several details regarding the Hendo 2.0, its improvements prior to the unveiling of the finished product. Several of its enhancements are design related. Co-founder and CEO, Greg Henderson of Arx Pax explains that one of the things they have realized was that with the first generation hoverboard, they have made a large deck and that gave people the opportunity to put their feet in the wrong place.

This in turn was the cause of several hoverboard rides that felt bit more wobbly than the sci-fi future which many speculated. Henderson of Hendo 2.0 has said that they are utilising visual cues in making it to operate like a skateboard and have a somewhat longer version, a 36 inch board about 10 inches wide with front and rear kick tails. This could be used to shift the weight around more efficiently like how one would on an analog deck.

Employs Traditional Skateboard Trucks

Moreover, the Hendo 2.0 also tends to employ traditional skateboard trucks, the part which connects the wheels as well as the bearings to the deck. However in this case, instead of the wheels you tend to get electromagnetic repulsion to enable the rider to get customized to the experience of their choice.

Henderson explains that if one prefers to turn right on skateboard you could lean to the right and the trucks rotate slightly where that little bit of rotation tends to change the force vectors. Skateboarders comprehend how truck function and so Kickstarter backers would be able to adapt them and change the trucks to their fancy either for softer or harder turning radiuses.

This seems like a foremost progress over the original Hendo. Besides this the battery life is an improvement though it is a low bar and last year’s Hendo last for only a few minutes prior to petering out

Arx Pax – Capabilities of making Technology Work

Hendersons visualizes hoverboards would one day occupy the same levels of American Pastimes as the electric GoKart course or maybe a multi-use X-Games style set-up. He states with regards to one potential business model, that a hoverboard park franchiser would install a park and you would have a layer of conductive material though it would still be functional for BMX bikes and skateboards.

Henderson had used Hendo, last year, to direct attention to his company’s fundamental technology, patents which would permit everything from earthquake resistant building foundations to super-villain weapons. This year the list spread to one specific though far flung target. He is of strong belief of Hyperloop and a much stronger believer that Arx Pax has the capabilities of making the technology work.

In the meanwhile, Arx Pax has successfully demonstrated its technology in a Hyperloop environment though on a 1/12 scale. Approval from SpaceX for Arx Pax’s Magnetic Field Architecture has also come through, for use in the competition which means that it could probably show up in various proofs-of-concepts. Henderson, though not surprisingly is convinced that it would be also be what would power the ultimate design

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Exploride - Turn Your Car into a Smart Car


Exploride – Cutting Edge Display/Gesture Recognition Technology

Exploride, a combination of cutting edge display with gesture recognition technology offers hands free access to maps, text, calls, notifications, music as well as on-board analytic of a car. With this, one can get a safe, smart and connecting driving experience.

Exploride is a heads-up display one could use in any car, similar to a heads-up display which tends to come preinstalled, it provides access to maps, music and much more without the need of taking your focus off the road. It also tends to feature gesture controls that are much safe rather than reaching over to press the screen.

The maps are powered by Google Maps and users can stream music through Pandora and Spotify. However it tends to have its own app which enables the user to access files from the cloud and a dash cam to record anyone trying to key the car.

Moreover it also provides diagnostic such as engine health, fuel status and much more doubling as 4G hotspot enabling passengers to get online with the use of Wi-Fi. Its 6 inch display is transparent and does not seem to be too distracting. One could swipe up, down, left and right in order to control it or could speak and use voice controls.

Pairs with Phone & Car

Inside one will find a quad core processor 2GB RAM together with Bluetooth 4.0 LE and also a 12v multi-USB adaptor with high output speakers. Exploride is a dash mounted head display which tends to pair with the phone and car, delivering a great amount of information and functions through a translucent screen which does not block the field of vision.

Besides this, the Exploride does much more than just display driving directions streamed from the phone. Though it can pair with the phone it tends to rely on its own 4G LTE connectivity for things such as Spotify, Pandora, Google Maps as well as car accessible cloud storage.

It also comes with Bluetooth capable OBD adaptor which tends to plug directly in your car that enables the Exploride to display diagnostic data, fuel consumption, tire pressure etc., wherein the specification may tend to differ based on the car’s computer potential of reporting.

Supports Gesture Based Controls

Besides all this the Exploride also supports gesture based controls for answering calls and skipping tracks and also has a 3 megapixel dash cam to capture sky-streaking meteors and other proceedings. One can get a SIM card and service from any GSM carrier, as the Exploride will ship unlocked and on selecting one, the gadget could serve as a W-Fi hotspot for all in the car.

 Moreover it can also tap your phone’s data plan, if desired. With regards to storage, it has an 8GB, adequate for 4.4 hours of 720p dash cam footage. The Exploride companion app is said to be available for Android and iOS.

Within five days into its crowdfunding campaign, Exploride has already crossed its $100,000 funding target. Sponsors can avail the featured perk comprising of a full kit – Exploride, OBD adaptor, charger and 5GB of storage for a year, for $269 with $20 shipping or $30 if the user is outside the US. The estimated delivery is said to be in January 2016.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Google allows you to explore Street View in virtual reality


Street View Mapping Service – Virtual Reality App

An announcement has been made by Google that its famous Street View mapping service is made available as virtual reality app, enabling individuals to discover real world scenes in 3D with the use of Cardboard headset. Google has informed that its virtual reality experience – Google Cardboard is made available in 39 languages to more than 100 countries for Android and iOS.

The developers’ docs is said to be in 10 languages now, to make the experience of virtual reality more worldwide. Google Cardboard which was first released in 2014 is considered to be a virtual reality headset which can be made from scratch with the use of a Smartphone, a pair of clear lenses together with a rubber band and some Velcro and comes at a price of about £10.

Earlier available only for Android phones, Google had launched a software development kit – SDK in May for iOS together with new educational programme known as Expeditions, enabling kids to go on immersive virtual journeys to the bottom of the sea or the surface of Mars with the use of the Cardboard.

Partnered with Toy Maker Mattel - Incorporate Virtual Reality Cardboard Technology

In February, Google has also partnered with toy maker Mattel to incorporate its virtual reality Cardboard technology in the company’s iconic View Master stereoscope, This permitted users to take virtual `field trips’ and discover popular areas, landmarks, planets, nature and much more in a 360° `photospheres’.

The app – New Street virtual reality app that is made available on iOS as well as Android is anticipated to bring the world a bit closer to everyone as per Brandon Wuest, Google software engineer, enabling individuals to locate areas closer to home.

Mr Wuest had mentioned in a blog post that Street View as an introduction is a part of a larger update to the Cardboard SDK, projected to overcome of the issues described by the developers. He said that the update contains major overhaul of the sensor fusion algorithms which tends to integrate the signals from the gyroscope as well as the accelerometer.

These improvements considerably tend to decrease drift, particularly on phones with lower quality sensors. For the past year, virtual reality has been enjoying a recovery, after Oculus VR in 2014 bought by Facebook and Sony, Samsung and HTC had all launched their own headsets.

Virtual Reality – A Mind Blowing Experience

At CCS Insight, analysts envisage that 2.5m virtual as well as augmented reality devices would be sold this year which would rise over 24m in 2018. The company had stated that though gaming is available for virtual reality devices, entertainment, video and user generated content would also be driving adoption.

 Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight had stated the most of the consumer tend to find virtual reality a mind blowing experience, for the first time they make attempt to try it. They are of the belief that it has tremendous potential and is not just about expensive high end devices like the Oculus Rift. For only some few dollars, consumers could dip their toe in the water with an inexpensive cardboard holder for a well-matched Smartphone.

They expect this democratisation of the technology to provide growth not only in affluent, mature markets but in emerging markets as well, where the Smartphone penetration seems stronger than ever.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

This Algorithm Monitors Twitter for Fraud in Real Time


Program to Search Twitter in Real Time- Doubtful Links in Tweets

Social media sites have now become prone to fraudsters in alluring unwary users having links to financial fraud websites. In order to avoid this, an undergraduate at Harvard University, Daniel Rothchild had created a program which tends to search Twitter in real time, automatically for doubtful links appearing in tweets.

 As per results circulated in the Journal of Technology and Science, his program discovered over 70,000 suspicious tweets within 24 hours with about 56% of the tested links considered to be deceitful. The most tweeted deceitful link to a purported weight loss program had been tweeted over 12,000 times where all of the top 10 most tweeted links were said to be fake.

A 2014 survey, a joint project by the UK government, a Get Safe Online initiative, the National Crime Agency and the telecoms regulator Ofcom and others, observed that about 51% of Britons who had been surveyed were the victims of identity theft, hacking or abuse on social media and the losses from online fraud amounted to £670m a year.

In several cases, fraudsters tend to entice the users to websites they may have set up for the purpose of collecting their personal or financial information to present them with advertisement which tend to make deceptive offers.

Social Media – Tool to Connect with Victims

Considering the massive growth in popularity of social media, fraudsters tend to use social media as new tool to connect with the victims. There are various advantages to proactively find and monitor fraudulent websites.

At first, data, collected in this manner is unbiased by whether the user of various kind of fraud intend to report or not. There are some frauds which are under reported with many targeting specific demographics and those which are reported do not necessarily represent those who seem to be heavily targeted. Secondly, fraudsters often put up, take down or move their fraudulent websites on short timescales, probably to dodge detection.

Monitoring social media data constantly could enable consumer protection groups to be conscious of fraudulent websites quicker than otherwise. Lastly having a complete record of deceitful activity on social media could show evidence to the law enforcement while pursuing fraudster trying to conceal the extent of their fraud.

However, Rothchild’s procedure tends to turn cyber-criminals’ tools against them to proactively find areas of criminal activity before they get started.

Create Browser Extension to Alert Users

In order to help user in protecting themselves, Rothchild recommend that it would be possible in creating a browser extension which would alert users when they click on a link through Twitter which tends to be automatically identified by the tool as being suspicious.

He wrote a Python script to locate for keywords in Twitter’s real time stream and the keywords were termed loosely connected with common forms of fraud. These included muscle, diet, acai, cambogia, weight, lost fast and miracle pill that were taken from a report on online fraud that was published by the US regulatory body Federal Trade Commission.

They identified many terms that could have be associated with fraudulent offer. They included diet, exercise, weight, weight-loss, prize, lottery, sweepstakes and winner.

The precise option of keywords did not matter since it could be swapped to utilise any keywords and would be suspected of being connected with fraud. The procedure searched for precise links tweeted strangely large number of times, which indicated that a bot rather than a human was behind it.