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Protection from eavesdropping

gennaio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti


When the information which is being circulated on our workplace is confidential, and when getting to know it might mean an advantage position and a substantial financial gain, one must make sure that all necessary measures are taken to make sure that our words are not being listened to by prying ears, who might have planted some hidden microphones and bugged our office.

For this reason, it might certainly be useful to address yourselves to a bug sweeping expert who, by using the appropriate systems for detection of covert listening devices, can reveal a threat that could otherwise be invisible.

In order to identify a hidden transmitter, these detection systems flood the area with radio waves, and can thus detect radio transmission sources hidden in the less accessible corners of our working room, for example in the back of a drawer, behind a pot of flowers, or even inside objects of everyday use, such as for example table calculators, key rings and fountain pens.

The most advanced bug sweeping systems can detect not only bugs or microphones, but also hidden video cameras or sources of Bluetooth or WiFi transmission. When you are searching for hidden transmitters, the main problem comes when trying to detect bugs which are either turned off or disabled, and may not be located after a first search.

Fortunately, there are some particular types of bug sweepers which can detect transmitters which are either turned off or even buried into a wall, allowing for a thorough cleanup of your premises, where you will soon be able to talk freely.

To obtain more information on systems for bug sweeping and find the most suitable option for your needs, we advise you to contact Endoacustica and its experienced staff, who will certainly be able to assist.

Internet-based home surveillance, wherever you are

gennaio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti


To keep a watchful eye on your loved ones, your home or even the situation in your office while you are away, there is a system for remote surveillance called LiveLine which, thanks to the installation of a video camera in the place to be monitored, allows its users to display images in real time over the Internet.

This convenient anti theft service has a monthly fee of only 10 dollars, on top of which you should add the cost for purchasing dedicated cameras (between 130 and 200 dollars.
During its launch phase, the cameras were supplied for free, while now this offer is no longer available, although the price of the cameras is within the reasonable range for surveillance cameras designed for home or office use.

Once the camera is installed, all you have to do is connect it to your home computer, and you will be able to activate it and display its images in real time, wherever you are, just by logging into your online account. Furthermore, images captured by the LiveLine system are stored on the provider server, and can thus be used at any time as evidence, in case someone should break into your home, or if you should prove a marital infidelity or a case of corporate espionage taking place in your office.

This system is convenient not only to protect your home during your holidays, but also for those who leave their home often due to business trips, or those who live alone and work night shifts, leaving their home unattended during dark hours.
The LiveLine camera is also equipped with a motion detection sensor, which starts recording immediately and sends a notification either via email or via SMS, allowing you to acct immediately in case of danger.

A Playstation for urban surveillance

gennaio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti


Last month, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper published a report according to which the U.S. Air Force has purchased something like 2200 PlayStation 3, to be connected together in form of a cluster to carry out some not further specified urban surveillance tasks.

It is not the first time that the popular videogame console is used, especially by researchers and universities, for tasks very different from what it was originally designed for.

In this case, the USAF research laboratories, based in Rome, New York State, are using the PS3 capabilities in terms of graphics and high speed calculation, along with the possibility of having Linux installed on it, in order to turn it into a real computer.
By doing this, the powerful PS3 Cell processor can achieve results better than a normal server in handling complicated calculations.

Furthermore, Playstation 3 gives the best of its potential if more than one console is connected together in a network or cluster, in order to exploit their calculation might, reaching speed peaks 3 or 4 times faster than a normal server.

And all this comes at a price definitely more attractive than the normal desktop computers, considering that a server would set you back something like 3500 US dollars, while a Playstation can be taken home with less than 600, and it also has a 35% faster calculation time.

At the current stage, details of the urban surveillance operations in which the US armed forces are planning to be using all this power, but as we all know, the common man is always the last one to be informed (if ever) about this…

3G encryption is in danger of being cracked

gennaio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti

3G Encryption

Times are harsh for security and privacy of our mobile phone calls: just a few weeks ago we learned that a young German hacker has cracked the A5/1 encryption used by GSM operators, which now might be made public, with a severe risk for privacy of our conversations.

Today we learned that the encryption system which manages conversations according to the 3G standard, called Kasumi, can easily be attacked and cracked with a procedure that only requires a few hours from an ordinary PC, and that there have already been successful attempts to breach its security.

The 3G encoding technique, called Misty is quite complex, as it uses an array of multiple keys, but its complexity makes it quite heavy on processors. Therefore, the Kasumi system was applied on it, in order to make the encryption process faster and easier.

Unfortunately though, this latter step seems to have created problems in terms of security, and now third generation mobile phone users are starting to wonder whether their conversations are really secure and private.

To be really safe from eavesdropping and prying ears, it is highly advisable to equip yourselves with a second tier of encoding and encryption, by using an interception-proof encrypted mobile phone.

In fact, encrypted phones are equipped with one more 256-bit encryption key, much safer than the 128-bit one used by GSM networks; by using two phones that share the same encoding key, any unwanted access would be thwarted, as the unauthorized listener would only be able to hear a white noise.

So, even though the modern cellular networks are showing signs of weakness as far as security is concerned, there is still a way to keep our calls private!

Micro earpieces: stay in touch at any time

gennaio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti


In the field of surveillance and not only, using a micro earpiece can often make the difference between success and failure.

A miniature earpiece, thanks to its extremely small size, can easily be placed inside the ear canal of its user, and remain unnoticed even after a thorough body check or inspection. In spite of its tiny size, it is equipped with high level technology, which includes a miniature battery, an antenna and a small loudspeaker, in order to make sure that its user can receive information and instructions sent from a remote operator.

In a few words, we are talking about a micro sized FM receiver, which can be connected via Bluetooth to other devices such as for example a GSM watch, in order to create a complete system for discreet transmission and receiving, even at unlimited distance, since the GSM watch is equipped with a SIM card concealed inside, just like your every day mobile phone, and thanks to this card it can transmit the intelligence gathered, in real time and with a simple phone call.

Micro earpieces, furthermore, can be used to stay in constant communication with groups of people carrying out operations on a large area, such as workers on a construction site, rescue squads in large scale operations, and even with police agents during their struggle against crime, to avoid raising unnecessary attention while staying in touch.

Generally, a micro earpiece is equipped with a Zinc-Air type battery, with a very low energy consumption allowing for a power time ranging between 15 and 30 hours of operation. Furthermore, the earpiece can automatically switch to standby mode when it does not receive any communication for a certain amount of time, thus further reducing energy consumption while making it more difficult to detect for counter surveillance equipment.

For more information on earpieces available on the market, you can visit the Endoacustica website.

A micro camera hidden in a button

gennaio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti


One of the latest novelties in the miniature video camera field comes, needless to say, from Japan, where Thanko, a manufacturer specialized in miniature gadgets, has just released an improved and upgraded version of its micro camera concealed inside a button, which allows for recording of sound as well as images.

In fact, if the previous Camera Button version was capable of filming high definition videos and shooting image stills, this newer version has been improved by adding a microphone which makes it possible to add sounds to your footage, thus enabling you to use it for shooting of covert videos that can be used as evidence before a court of law.

This micro recorder is approximately 7 centimeters long, and a lens that looks like a common jacket button, and can therefore be easily concealed inside clothes without raising attention. The footage is then saved on a Micro SD type memory card, with a capacity of up to 16 Gb. Power is supplied by a Lithium-ion battery, which allows for continuous recording up to 70 minutes.

Recording is started by simply pressing a button, while the previous version was equipped with a remote control which made operations slightly easier. In any case, given its price range around 55 US dollars, we are talking about a quite reliable product.

Of course, if it is a professional micro camera we are after, or a real digital micro video recorder to be used in surveillance field, it is recommended to spend a bit more to provide yourselves with a product that guarantees a flawless performance; in order to do so, our advice is to visit the Endoacustica website.

Controlling a drone from your iPhone

gennaio 14, 2010 Technology No Commenti

AR Drone

There are iPhone applications to do basically anything that can come to your mind, and it was an easy bet that one day, the Apple phone could step into the radio controlled unmanned helicopters field. In fact, manufacturer Parrot has just introduced its AR.Drone, a small helicopter equipped with two digital video cameras, which can be controlled through your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The system is still in its early stages. And it should be available for retail sales in the second half of 2010. The helicopter sports 4 rotors, which can be covered by a hull to allow for indoor usage, and a flight stabilization system to guarantee high quality imaging, while controlling its route remotely thanks to the iPhone motion sensors.

Designed for a non-professional usage, but suitable both for leisure and for aerial surveillance operations, the AR.Drone miniature helicopter has a weight of approximately 400 grams, and a carbon fiber shell, and is powered by a built-in Lithium-ion battery, which can provide enough energy for 15 minutes of flight time.

Parrot, the manufacturer of this system, has designed it for usage within augmented reality video gaming systems, where AR.Drone can detect targets or other drones, and fire rockets (not real ones, of course!) while fighting a virtual battle.

Images captured by the front camera are displayed on your iPhone, while its motion sensors will transmit motion information from your phone to the drone, thus guiding it in a realistic way. When you take your fingers off the screen, an autopilot system will keep the drone hovering at approximately 1 meter height, and in case of lost connection, AR.Drone is automatically and softly landed.

At the moment, no information has been disclosed concerning the device’s price range, but sure enough some info will be given before launch.

Energy harvesting piezoelectric sensors

gennaio 14, 2010 Technology No Commenti


During the past month of December, at International Electron Devices Meeting which was held in Baltimore, Belgian researchers from IMEC, the largest European research centre in the fields of nanotechnologies and nanoelectronics, have presented a small piezoelectric sensor which can harvest power from vibrations caused by pressure or motion.

Thanks to its characteristics, this sensor is capable of generating enough power to gather various types of data, and transmit it to a receiving station every 15 seconds.
The data type can vary depending on the equipment used in connection: for example, by teaming up this system with a sensor for air pollution detection, it is possible to obtain information about the quality of the air; alternatively, using it to power a GSM transmitter installed inside a car, one can obtain power supply from the vibrations caused by the vehicle’s motion, and use the power to transmit the intelligence gathered.

The sensor presented by IMEC researchers has provided up to 85 microwatts, a record figure for its small size, by using a MEMS technology, which helps keeping costs to a minimum by using aluminum nitrate, a material which allows for a performance three times higher than normal piezoelectric materials such as lead zirconate.

Furthermore, MEMS technology allows for a boosting of integrated circuits, thus giving the possibility of creating autonomous systems on a single chip. During first tests, the energy gathering system has been connected to a small wireless temperature sensor and subjected to vibrations. The sensor has successfully been able to gather its data, sending it to a receiving station at 15-second intervals.

Micro video recorders for the holidays, and not only

gennaio 5, 2010 Technology No Commenti


It may be a bit too late for a Christmas present for a relative or a friend, but it’s never too late to make yourselves ready in case you have to take video footage on the go.

If during your New Year party with friends, or your Christmas lunch with your family, you thought even for a second that you wished you had a video camera on hand to save memories of a particularly funny or special moment, you really might have used a miniature digital video recorder.

Thanks to their extremely small size, they are perfectly suitable for being comfortably placed in the front pocket of your jacket, and can be concealed inside key holders, cigarette lighters, pens and so on, in order not to arise suspicion and take candid or covert recordings.

Generally, the high definition video footage is captured by a microscopic high sensitivity viewer, and stored on an embedded memory card which, depending on the model, can have a capacity of up to 8 Gb, that is, several hours of recordings in the most common video formats, which can easily be downloaded on your computer thanks to a USB cable.

Besides leisurely use, some models of micro video recorders hidden inside everyday objects, are suitable for covert gathering of images and evidence during surveillance operations or corporate counterespionage, and are therefore recommended for use by law enforcement agencies or professionals in the surveillance field.

Not only to shoot quick videos from your holidays or parties, but also to gather evidence of marital infidelity or of any crime that you may be witnessing, usage of a pocket video recorder can help you solve a wide range of problems, at home or at work, and even help keep our cities secure!

Solar energy can provide eyesight to the blind

gennaio 5, 2010 Technology No Commenti


For many patients suffering from almost total blindness, the lack of hope is often as hard as their illness, since there are no medical solutions which can provide them with an almost normal eyesight, and an almost normal everyday life.

A solution might be coming from California, and more specifically from Stanford University, where a group of researchers is working on an artificial prosthetic retina of extremely small size (only 3 millimeters wide and 0.03 millimeters thick), which is capable of transmitting the images gathered towards an external videocamera.

The receiving camera, in turn, sends images towards a pocket PC, on which an image management software is installed; the images are finally sent towards an LCD display mounted on the inside of a pair of special glasses.
The transfer of data towards the sensor, as well as the supply of power to make it work, is carried out via the very light that enters the eye; in fact, the chip is literally covered with microscopic solar cells, which provide the necessary amount of power once the implant has been placed on the back of the patient’s retina. For each pixel, the sensor has three miniature photovoltaic cells.

In short, this prosthetic eye is effectively powered by solar energy. At the current stage, since we are talking about a project still in its inception phase, it is capable of providing eyesight of 1/10, a level which, technically, still qualifies the patient as legally blind.

Once the development reaches further steps, researchers can foresee that a level of at least 2710 will be reached, enough to carry out basic functions such as recognizing faces, and slightly improve the quality of life the almost blind patients.


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