From Spain a system to fool biometric scanners.

July 31, 2012 Biotechnology No Commenti
iris scanner

Researchers at the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid and West Virginia University have discovered a way to mislead iris biometric scanners used for access control in certain places.

When security systems based on iris scan create an imprint of the iris itself, they do not store the image to compare it in future with the real iris each time a person try to enter the place put under control. They, in fact, transform the image into a code consisting of about 5000 bits of data. This code is usually based on approximately 240 points of the image and is unique. Each person has his owm and when someone stands in front of the scanner, the code given by his iris is compared with those in the database. If the system finds a correspondence, the door opens.

And what about if a hacker were to gain access to this database, could he somehow reconstruct through the code a sort of artificial iris able to fool the security system? Until recently, this was pure science fiction. Today, as shown by researchers of Madrid and West Virginia University, this is really possible, thanks to a genetic algorithm which allows to reconstruct, after about 200 attempts, the image of an iris very similar to the original one and able to enter in his place.

What was considered one of the safest security systems in the world, based on the uniqueness of each individual, today, thanks to this research, begins to show its weaknesses. And what about if these studies applied to the locks based on fingerprint scanners? Nevertheless, these biometric systems are still the most inaccessible…

Endoacustica Europe

USA, a robot creates a Wi-Fi network and performs reconnaissance.

July 30, 2012 Technology No Commenti
A robot that set ut Wi-Fi Networks

It is not a simple system for cracking Wi-Fi networks, but so much more. It is an robot made of aluminium with the shape of a tank and is able to create a Wi-Fi network and to extend it in potentially dangerous and hazardous places, where connecting to the network is almost always problematic.

Weighing 150 pounds, is strong enough to carry a weight of 200 pounds, but its purpose is not transportation. It is equipped with a Wi-Fi router, a night-vision camera, a satellite tracker, so it can always be monitored, and a lithium battery that lasts up to 12 hours.

It is controllable via a browser interface (this means that it can be monitored from any computer), and contains a series of long-range repeaters that can be deployed at strategic points to allow the connection.

The really interesting thing is that, in addition to extending wireless networks, it can also perform night reconnaissance, moving even on inaccessible terrain, as it is really similar to a tank. Researchers at Northeaster University are studying a system to increase speed and to allow the robot to climb stairs. It has been studied, moreover, a system that will enable it to return to the base if it loses its WiFi connection.

Designed especially for military use, think about how it would be useful in areas affected by natural disasters, where the physical network infrastructure is sometimes damaged!

Endoacustica Europe

A “smart suit” which increases soldiers’ physical endurance.

July 27, 2012 Biotechnology No Commenti
smart suit

We are accustomed to different instruments used by law enforcement and military for self-defense purposes and to strengthen human capacity. Man is transformed, thanks to technology, in a veritable superman, combining intelligence, human natural strength and robotics.

They range from simple dresses with rubber bumpers, which provide effective protection against impact, protecting the wearer’s body, to more complex instruments, real armours that allow, among other things, to raise weights that otherwise only a man could not carry. The only limits of the armour are the weight , the inflexibility and the fact that sooner or later the device run out of batteries, becoming not only totally useless but also a burden to those who, instead, should have greater skills on the battlefield, in police or rescue operations.

For this reason the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has hired the Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, to create a military uniform that includes a new HULC, a Human Universal Load Carrier, that is a tool that would help soldiers to lift weights that otherwise one man could not endure. The new device, according to researchers is more lightweight and flexible than its predecessors, although there is still the problem of poor battery life that, however, according to the Institute, might be solved by the use of fuel cells.

The new device, comfortably worn under a regular uniform, is going also to have a sensor that detects the fatigue of the wearer and, by practicing him a real massage with vibration, allows to increase the resistance for certain physical efforts.

An investment of $ 2.6 million, which is leading to the implementation of a tool that will reveal its usefulness not only in the military but also in the civil. Think about the use of the “smart suit” in rescue operations or in the assistance to people with disabilities!

Endoacustica Europe

U.S.A., a man jams mobile phone calls on a city bus.

July 26, 2012 Technology No Commenti
Philadelphia bus

Imagine being on a overcrowded city bus during the rush hour. There are those who converse with their neighbours and those who, instead, talk on the phone out loud, irritating the ear of the passengers. How many times have you found yourself in such a situation? How many times have you wanted to silence them? This is exactly what a man from Philadelphia did. Eric, this is the name with which he introduced himself to the press, bothered by other passengers talking loudly on the phone on a SEPTA company bus, decided to adopt a jammer to jam cell phone signal, a device that he activated as soon as he heard someone answering the mobile.

The man, who thought to go unnoticed, had been observed for many times by a company employee, who had noticed the little device “similar to a walkie-talkie with four small antennae and a button that was pressed each time someone started to talk on a cell phone.” Eric was almost immediately blocked and asked to give explanations. Apparently, the only reason for using the jammer was the trouble that listening to phone conversations of others caused him.

A curious and unusual use of a device that, in other situations, has proved its value. Think about the possible use of the jammer during events or shows, or even during important meetings to avoid distractions or unauthorized recordings.
The jammer also proved to be vital in military operations, such as those conducted by the U.S. military in Iraq, where they used to disrupt the signal, making them harmless, of remotely controlled bombs, one of the favourite weapons of the enemy and that has caused dozens of deaths since the conflict began.

Returning to the case of Eric and to the way he used the device, the man continues to be severely criticized by people on the Web, who wonder whether it is right, and legal, to keep others from talking on the phone in such a public place. “What about if one of the passengers needed to speak urgently with his family or with his physician about important issues?” …

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Researchers reveal the vulnerability of CCTV cameras.

July 24, 2012 Technology No Commenti
Microspia

We live in a world where surveillance cameras are quite wide spread and often give us the impression of living in a huge Big Brother. Despite the various controversies about privacy, they have, however, proved their effectiveness in preventing crimes and in helping to identify and stop dangerous criminals.

However, it has been shown that the usual closed circuit television cameras have a very weak safety system: they are often sold with Internet remote access enabled by default, and with a preset weak password. This allows hackers to control them and to favour, in this way, criminal actions.

According to researcher Justin Cacak, safety manager of Gotham Digital Science, as a result of “penetration tests” carried out for customers to discover the vulnerability of the security of their networks, it has been demonstrated how these devices can be hacked and viewed from any part of the world.
Banks, research laboratories, universities, businesses, homes and other sensitive sites, are thus exposed to a huge risk: hackers could take control and steal important information and projects, or simply violate the privacy of thousands of people without these may realize.

So, remote access to these devices is possible if the manufacturer allows such an access as a default setting. Moreover, in most cases, these settings remain permanently for the simple fact that users do not know how to change them, because they’re not experts. The situation appears even worst if you consider the fact that preset passwords are very weak and thus easily decipherable.

In this way, according to experts headed by Cacak, it was possible to enter the conference rooms of different important companies, such as the Boardroom of Goldman Sachs. That’s why it would be important, according to researchers, disable remote access to these surveillance cameras, provide them with stronger password or simply use a different type of micro-cameras.

Endoacustica Europe

A gun that launches rings of smoke to ward off attackers … and much more!

July 23, 2012 Technology No Commenti
pistola vortex

Inspired by children’s toy guns that launch smoke rings, Battelle, a U.S. Company from Columbus, Ohio, has made a real weapon capable of launching several rings of gaseous substances or an electrical charge.

According to the researchers, this gun is able to launch these rings at a distance of nearly 46 meters and a speed of about 145 kilometers per hour. The gaseous rings, fired with a sort of gust of wind could be used in several occasions: for a rescue operation by firefighters, for example. In these particular circumstances, in order to save lives, it would be useful to create a smoke-free corridor in the room. This gun would be able to do just that: the rings of electric charge can move the smoke emitted at the bottom, creating a passage for rescue workers.

Now, imagine also the use the police could do of this gun in very crowded places during big events that require a lot of men for surveillance and defense. In addition to the usual anti-aggression spray, they might use this weapon, perhaps loaded with tear gas or stinging substance, to obscure the view of the aggressors and catch them without problems.
Another use of this gun could be to employ it for spreading pesticides or insecticides in cases where it would be good to maintain a certain distance, such as, for example, in the case you need to rid a place of bees.

This device that, it should be remembered, is a real weapon, is inevitably raising the question about whether to possess and use it for purposes of self defense you will need to have special permits. The weapon, in fact, may be as harmless as dangerous, depending on the type of rings launched and, above all, on the people who use it. Meanwhile, scientists are for the registration of their patent. We await further developments.

Endoacustica Europe

Explosive or toxic substances? An application for smartphones tells you how to behave!

July 20, 2012 Technology No Commenti
android and apple app

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released last month an application for iOS and Android that can provide information on how to behave in case of detection of explosive material or leakage of toxic substances.

Imagine a police officer who finds a bag abandoned in an airport or in a crowded place. The first thing that might come to his mind is “in that bag there probably is a bomb for a terrorist attack.” News show, in fact, that this is one of those tactics used by terrorists to carry out their attacks. What, then, in these cases?

The application developed by the American Department of Homeland Security is just the ideal tool for providing guidance on how to behave in those particular circumstances. In particular, it exploits the Google satellite system to locate the exact point where you find the suspicious item and provides advice on factors such as distance to keep, the best locations for roadblocks, and how many buildings would be better to evacuate, and which structural damage and injuries there would be if the bomb blew up. All data that can be labeled by the user and shared by email.

Think about how this application would be useful in case of crashes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. In addition to using state-og-the-guard devices that allow to find missing people and see through walls, those who deal with emergencies may rely on this application, called FIRST, to know what to do if there is leakage of toxic material, as it often happens. The system, in fact, includes information on how to handle more than 3,000 hazardous materials and how the weather, as rain and wind, may contribute to their expansion. This application is now available for those involved in the rescue effort, but it is possible that it will be accessible to the general public. Think about how it would be useful in everyday life, especially for those who are not experts in explosives or that do not know much about the handling of toxic substances!

Endoacustica Europe

From the U.S, an anti-theft shoe.

July 19, 2012 Technology No Commenti
anti-theft shoes

Bag snatching is on the rise. Going through dark streets at night to join friends, going back home through desolate streets. In big cities this is not always “a walk”. Indeed, what might seem the norm exposes us to great risks, such as being assaulted and robbed.

In this regard, an American fashion designer has invented a special type of footwear, anti-theft shoes. As you can see from the photo, the bottom of the shoe would act as a safe for money and valuables. The shoes, which are also available with a padlock, according to the manufacturer, will soon replace the so much beloved handbags.

Nothing so clever and not so new. People on the Network are already making pitiless reviews of the product that, in their opinion, are nothing but a useless object for fashion victims. Some people are concerned about the limited capacity of the wedge (think of how many items women carry with them when they go out) and many others for the fragility of the shoe itself.

Some people then do more serious considerations regarding the use of special shoes for the prevention of muggings and for self-defense purposes: how could such an object make you feel safe in case of robbery? Once thieves discover the existence of this kind of things on the market, won’t they be inclined to knock down the victim and steal her shoes too? The same considerations apply to safes hidden in the outlets. Once discovered, they still have reason to exist? There are, finally, people who points out how this object does not represent, in fact, nothing new: think about our grandparents, who used to hide money in socks and other underwear.

Is all this making you smile? What about if you were walking in a dark and desolate place, with someone following you? Not sure your shoes will protect you from the mugger? Maybe you can throw them at the attacker, but you should have the best shot. Wouldn’t it be better to adopt a more effective tool as an self-defense spray? Women will judge …

Too many mosquitoes? Be careful, perhaps they are watching you!

July 18, 2012 Technology No Commenti
mosquito drone mockup

We have already written in this blog about drone insects, real insects equipped with microcameras and microphones to act as bugs or totally artificial insects, able to perform these same functions. Beetles, bees, flies, dragonflies, and other insects with a big size, indispensable for transporting the mini equipment which requires a certain energy and strngth that maybe other smaller insects could not endure, until now.

A CGI mockup has been created of a mosquito drone that soon we might see flying in our skies for aerial surveillance, and not only for that purpose… The model, in fact, besides mini cameras and microphones, has also a needle, able to take DNA samples from the chosen person, or to inject a micro RFID into the body, a system which allow the geolocation, through radio frequency identification.

Science fiction? Not really if you consider, for example that, in 2007, during a protest against the war in Washington DC, Vanessa Alarcon, one of the activists, saw a strange flying insect that looked like a dragonfly, but definitely it wasn’t and, moreover, in 2006, the development of micro UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) by the CIA (since the ’70s) was reported by Flight International.

Many questions arise regarding the uses one can make of these jewels of technology that while on the one hand represent a big step forward in the defense of the country, on the other they may end up in wrong hands. Instead of being used for aerial surveillance, for example, they could be emplyed for less noble purposes. What about if the mosquito drone was used to inject deadly poisons without anyone noticing?

A weapon that causes debate: Taser, the electric gun.

July 17, 2012 Technology No Commenti
taser, electric gun


Whether men or women, crime never pays, and to prove there is this video showing a woman thief who enters a subway restaurant and tries to steal the takings. Movements are those of a professional thief: bringing a weapon, she jumps over the counter, opens the cash register and, just as she takes the money, she is reached by an electric discharge sent by an employee of the restaurant through a Taser. As you can see from the video, the electric gun makes her fall to the ground before she can use a weapon.

As a way to stop robberies and assaults this type of weapon has raised debate in the U.S. for months, especially after a particular event, which could ban its from the police. Just a few months ago, Malika Brooks has sued three police officers in Seattle who had used the electric weapon against her when she was seven months pregnant. The woman was pulled over going 32 miles per hour in a 20 mph zone. She took the ticket but refused to sign it because it would have been an admission of guilt, that she felt he did not have.

It was then that the first agent asked her if she knew what a Taser is and, when she said no and that she needed to go to the toilet the police, after consultation, decided, however, to use the gun, pointing to thigh, dragging the woman on the sidewalk and cuffed her.

The manufacturer of the electric weapon warns against the use of Taser on pregnant women because of potential damage to the fetus but, fortunately, Brooks’ daughter was born healthy. However, the woman sued the officers for excessive use of force and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last fall in San Francisco ruled that the officers had actually exaggerated.

This is just one of the many cases that should make us think more about the use of these weapons that are  not fatal, but in certain cases may cause damage to health. The question arises whether it would be better, alternatively, to use self-defense sprays such as those already widely used, or as those which containa type of ink, able to stain the face of the attacker for easy recognition.

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