Cryptocurrency: beware of mobile security threats!

The past year has been one of the worst ever affected by mobile piracy, especially in financial and cryptocurrency fields. Well, no wonder, cause the creation of new financial products is often accompanied by frauding behaviour. A new survey can help us understand the emerging “cybercrime” phenomenon According to a …

Professional spy bugs: why it is important to rely on top expert surveillance companies

The ultimate european statistics linked to online commerce are very encouraging. In fact, the revenue of global ecommerce for the past year is around 600 billion euros (24 billion only in Italy!), with an overall increase of almost 15% more of the previous year. Nonetheless, in this idyllic digital universe …

DVR ALL IN ONE: a spy recording system that beats competition

Among all concealable audio-video recording systems on the market, DVR ALL IN ONE is probably the device which better meets the professionals’ needs, as well as those ones of private people who deal with deferred A/V monitoring opertions. This principally because of its small size, allowing the concealment without problem, …

High power UHF digital audio monitoring system: the choice of professionals!

Among all audio monitoring systems equipped with UHF digital bug, the high power wireless transmitter receiver kit DIGI-UHF stands out for its innovative features linked to radio frequency listening from the distance. This amazing transmitting/receiving kit is commercialized with two kind of transmitters, DIGI12-UHF (400m range) and DIGI100-UHF (range over …

Microregistratori digitali

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

luglio 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.

luglio 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.

A do-it-yourself drone who discovers the password and intercept calls.

luglio 16, 2012 Technology No Commenti
do-it-yourself drone

Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins, respectively, a former cyber security contractor and a former engineering systems consultant at the American Air Force, have shown, during a security conference, held last year in Las Vegas, a do-it-yourself drone aircraft, 6 feet long (1.80 m and weighing 14 pounds (about 7 kg), named WASP (wireless aerial surveillance platform). So far nothing new, but this mini aircraft is capable of sniffing out Wi-Fi networks, cracking passwords automatically and even eavesdropping on conversations, posing as a cell tower.

The WASP is constituted by a drone no longer in use in the army and by a series of other technologies mounted by the same builders, including an HD video camera, a small Linux computer, which includes a dictionary with 340 million words to force the password of different systems, and eleven different antennas. The UAV is also independent, but requires human guidance for takeoff and landing. Once airborne, however, it can fly along a pre-set path, searching for data with a weak defense.

The do-it-yourself drone was equipped by the two creators, following what has been learned by another hacker, with a system that allows to pose as a GSM cell tower, capable of tricking phones into connecting through WASP rather than their carriers

Tassey and Perkins argue that the WASP was constructed to show how easy it is, and how vulnerable we are in an era where the technology we use every day has evolved to the point of exposing users to risks, even when they are unaware. A sort of warning, in fact, but there are others who see the potential uses of the platform in the military. Meanwhile, it would be good to adopt a jammer to safeguard a little bit of privacy against violation.

A remote-controlled mini-helicopter that can see through concrete walls.

luglio 13, 2012 Technology 2 Commenti
Hexacopter to see through walls

The U.S. company TiaLinx Inc had already designed a mini-robot, the Cougar20-H, able, thanks to some special sensors, to detect a person breathing through a concrete wall. However, the robot showed limited mobility, as it was a rolling ground-based device. The manufacturer has however managed to solve the motion problem transforming the mobile robot in a remotely controlled hexacopter, ie a mini helicopter, the Phoenix40-A, capable of perceiving the human breath and movement in the buildings below.

The remote-controlled mini-helicopter can travel long distances, performing a wide variety of aerial surveillance tasks, including video recording, not only during the day but also at night, thanks to its devices for night vision. But what is more interesting is that he can see through walls, thanks to a system based on radio waves.

The Phoenix40-A can land on top of a building and scan it to check for a human presence, or it can do it on the fly. It is, moreover, also capable of generating the layout of a building with several floors and to send the collected information to law enforcement or troops before they break into a structure. The little robot can also help locate landmines, whether enemy or simply UXO from some past conflict.

But even if the U.S. military has contributed to its development, the Phoenix40-A could also be used for civilian purposes, not only for surveillance in the military. A fast and agile hexacopter able to fly for extended periods without touching the ground may, in fact, be a really useful tool during search and rescue operations after disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, etc … The bot, in fact, could travel over vast areas of impassable land to search for signs of life, helping rescuers to locate victims in a fast and accurate way, without wasting time.

From the USA, a scanner that will know everything about you from 164 feet away!

luglio 12, 2012 Technology 1 Commento
laser molecular scanner

It will probably be available in one or two years, tells the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a scanner ever seen before, that will know everything about people scanned: substances in the body and clothes, whether there are traces of drugs, explosives or other hazardous chemicals. And all this without having to stop people, without physical contact and, again, probably without their knowledge.

It is something that goes far beyond the matters already raised for satellite tracking and eavesdropping, as those who will use the device, police and governmental investigative agencies, supposedly in the war on terrorism, are going to know many details of scanned people. Moreover, not only suspected people but everybody might be scanned at places like airports, shopping malls, or even the city streets, where police officers will be equipped with this tool.

The company that invented it, Genia Photonics, said that “the device is able to penetrate clothing and provide spectroscopic information of any substance in the human body or objects brought in with him.” Its inventors have already been hired by the In-Q-Tel, to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The In-Q-Tel is a company founded in 1999 by a group of private citizens on the CIA’s request and with the support of Congress. A sort of bridge between the intelligence agency and the companies that deal with new technologies.

Instruments like this scanner have already been designed in Russia and at the George Washington University. The one invented by Genia Photonics is, however, thousands of times faster and more accurate, even at a greater distance.

Even if this new technology could open new scenarios in the field of medical diagnosis, the questions about how it will be used in other circumstances, such as security of the country, remain. Who can use it? Which limits do they have? Who keeps the obtained data? Where and how long? A problem, that of privacy, which is still open.

From Japan, the camera that turns your fingers into an objective without lenses.

luglio 11, 2012 Biotechnology No Commenti

Think of how many times you have used your fingers as a viewfinder to frame an object, a person or a landscape to which you want to take a photo. In Japan they have patented a device that will do exactly that: to transform the rectangle formed by your fingers into a camera objective without lenses.

It’s called Ubi-camera and it is equipped with an infrared system that uses the face of the person who clicks to determine the angle of the photo. So, you just need to move your hands closer to or further from your face in order to determine the view: when your face is close to the camera, you get a wide-angle shot; if you move it away you will get a zoom on the object to be photographed. To take the picture, simply press a button on the small device with your thumb.

With this type of camera, you will not need a viewfinder or a display: what you see between your fingers is a good approximation of what you will see in the picture. The small camera is still under testing and it does not have yet the precision and clarity of images of normal cameras, but the developers are working to improve more and more its features.

The prototype, developed at the Institute for Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Japan, is connected by wires to a pc, but its developers are already thinking about a standalone device that can work without the computer support. They are also trying to make the device increasingly small.

Think about the possible scenarios that a camera worn as a ring would open up. It would be a useful item for everyday life and even more for those involved in espionage operations, who usually need to take pictures discreetly and without too many things in the way that might arouse suspicion. We wonder if Japanese developers are already planning for the integration of the device with a system for video recording or a mini audio recorder!

Scanning of the unconscious, a system that allows soldiers to recognize threats.

luglio 10, 2012 Biotechnology No Commenti
brain-scanning binoculars

The soldiers who scan the battlefield for threats, besides equipment that allows them to see at night, like the technological night vision goggles, may soon rely on a new instrument: a device consisting of a series of binoculars able to scan the brain, recognizing soldier’s unconscious and bringing it to his conscious attention.

It’s just one of many tools that DARPA and other military research groups are trying to produce, in order to melt the minds of soldiers with these devices. As demonstrated by some reports by the BBC, the mind control of the men on the battlefield is around the corner.

The specific binocular device that DARPA is developing is known as Sentinel (which stands for System for Notification of Threats Neurally Inspired by Enabled Learning), and essentially uses the power of the human brain to capture and filter images in real time, collecting both what the soldier consciously recognizes and what he perceives with the unconscious. Through an electroencephalogram (EEG), the device picks up a signal from the brain, known as P300, indicating an unconscious recognition of something visual.

In certain situations, like when a convoy is heading onto an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), noticing it in time really means saving lives: in these dire circumstances, Sentinel recognizes the P300 signal sent by the unconscious perception of the threat and alerts the soldier, putting him on the alert even before he does himself.

This is not the first instrument used in the military for the control of the mind, but it’s one of the first to actually be working well in practice, in the laboratory at least, although there’s still a lot of work to do, especially as for the weight, which is considered too high to be brought to the battlefield.

It is, however, an important step in the transformation of soldiers themselves into real efficient machines, a tool to stretch the attention span of a human operator and to sharpen his decision-making skills, allowing him to beat the danger to the draw.

Drones and hijacking, a new obstacle to safety in the U.S.

luglio 9, 2012 Technology No Commenti

Newspapers and TV are increasingly focusing their attention on UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or drones, that is unmanned aircraft which are used mostly for military purposes and surveillance from above. A major step forward in the technology which, however, raises several questions, not only for privacy, but also for the safety of individuals.

In five or ten years there might be about 30,000 U.S. drones in the skies and this will be a real problem even after the discovery made on 19 June by researchers at the University of Texas, who managed to hijack a drone during a test of the “Department of Homeland Security.”

The research radio navigation laboratories of Austin, in fact, headed by Professor Todd Humphreys, have challenged the U.S. government, showing how, with only $ 1000, you can take control of a UAV and hijack it.

If you think that in the future our skies would be full of these aircraft, you can understand what a danger you could run: not only the collision with usual aircraft, but these vehicles could be used as real missiles from potential terrorists or criminals.

The hijacking of the drones, getting round the GPS system built into these planes, would be, therefore, a serious danger for the whole people. “Last year when the CIA lost a drone in Iran, there have been reports of spoofing, but we cannot say it for sure,” Humphreys revealed.

To avoid the danger, according to researchers, the airspace should not rely on the same in clear GPS signal used for civilian purposes. GPS receivers should be more protected: “The receivers must be able to identify what always happens and see if they are attacked. A solution might be to encourage the production of certified receivers, equipped with detectors of spoofing. Another alternative is the encryption of GPS signals. The military drones use a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module that decodes the GPS signal” continues Humphreys.

From Switzerland, an antistalking software. Is it really effective?

luglio 6, 2012 Technology 1 Commento
anti-stalking software

A Swiss company has launched a new version of its antivirus product, which now also contains an anti-stalking software. We have already written, on this blog, about a mobile phone able to immobilize attackers through electrical impulses. The software we are talking about in this article, instead, is completely harmless and what it does is just to delete messages and cancel calls from numbers “reported” by the owner.

The messages will be removed without the recipient can read them, to avoid, in this way, hurting its sensitivity. The stalker, on the other hand, however, receives a signal in which it is said that the message he is trying to send has not been delivered. This, according to Mauro Santi, Mobile Platform Manager of the company in Italy, would make him believe “that the number is off and then theoretically, desist from his intention of persecution.”

By extending this software to the everyday life, owners can also choose “not to receive newsletters or unwanted promotional mails, in the case where the deletion at the source has failed or is impossible.”

This software, which also contains an anti-virus and anti-theft system that allows you to lock and delete data on your mobile device by sending a simple message if it is stolen, is available for Windows Mobile, Android, Pocket PC , Symbian (Second and Third Edition).

Although it may be an effective system against viruses and theft, it remains to ask how it can, in fact, deter stalkers, especially if they decide to call in anonymously, as it happens in most cases.
However, it is esasy to find on the market other technological tools which in a sense act as a deterrent against persecutors. Very common are, for example, voice changers for mobile phones, which allow to change up to 8 timbres of voice and can be used with any type of cell. A small device that can make the stalker believe that his/her victim number has changed or that he/she is always accompanied by someone else.

Military vs University, the use of drone technology in the USA.

luglio 4, 2012 Technology No Commenti

The list of the Federal Aviation Administration of certified and licensed operators to fly unmanned planes in the U.S. space reveals that the largest users of drone technology in the United States are not law enforcement agencies, but universities. The academic institutions that have received certificates of authorization (COA) are twenty-five, which constitute almost half of the 60 subjects with a permission to fly unmanned systems.

This could make the proliferation of these aircraft for wireless video surveillance less sinister, but not really. In fact, if universities represent nearly a half of the users (the others are military branches and defense agencies, drone manufacturers, and law enforcement), it turns out that the military is also funding a good part of the research in this field. Thus, while institutions of learning are developing the drone technology of the future, the end user could have anything but benevolent intentions.

This does not mean that all technology will be used for domestic spying or for war purposes. The Kansas State University is working with a contingent of the National Guard of the state on a drone system that will improve the intervention in emergencies. Students at Middle Tennessee State are trying to apply the drone technology in agriculture, assisted by the U.S. Army. And, similarly, other universities, such as that of Michigan, are receiving military support in their research in this field.

Many people wonder if the proliferation of this technology will take us to a huge global Big Brother, not realizing, perhaps, the fact that most of the technological discoveries, for example the computer, were born in the military and for military purposes, but they became widespread in everyday life to improve it.

The invasion of civil liberties with the drone technology is certainly a legitimate concern that must be addressed, but until now even the more skeptical can find solace in the fact that when researchers are buying up drones faster than domestic law enforcement.


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Relevant artilcle

Attention to the new gadgets of thieves

14 Feb 2014

This may be the last discover of ingenious thieves who don’t hesitate to resort to the technology to hit unsuspecting victims. The news of recent months shows several cases where someone complains of being robbed, at home or in the company, after agreeing to unknowns small gadgets, deployed on the street, particularly at the crossings or when the light is red. The hypothesis is that these gadgets (lighters, key chains …

Never lose things again with the geolocation tools

19 Set 2013

The geolocation is getting closer, at your fingertips. We’re all constantly losing things. Keys, bag, charger and many other tools of daily use are very often forgotten, lost. The hard part is finding them. This discomfort could be deleted with the help of geolocation devices. In particular, big companies and startups are trying to answer to the distraction effects with products that will come soon on the market. Their secret would be an accessory, …

Stop mobile phones theft

30 Lug 2013

One hundred twenty thousand a year, ten thousand a month are the mobile phones stolen (or loss). These are the numbers from the homeland of mobile phones, smartphones and tablets thieves: London. The Mayor, Boris Johnson, and the police are really troubled about the weight of these statistics and asked to the same companies devices producing to investigate about what is happening. In particular, they asked to Apple, Samsung and …

Locate a mobile phone with the technique used by bats and dolphins

4 Lug 2013

Locate the exact position of a cell phone in enclosed spaces may become possible thanks to an algorithm that allows us to reconstruct the 3D shape of a room, listening to the echo of the sounds produced inside, even simple ones like the snap of the fingers. The project was developed by a research group at the EPFL. The researchers were inspired by echolocation, the system by which some animals …

Fish-robot will patrol the Thames River

10 Mag 2013

It’s environmental surveillance, the new frontier crossed by the fish-robot that will be released, in the coming months, in the Thames in order to sniff out pollution. Scenes like science fiction movies are recorded during the tests in the water. The robots will be released in groups of five in order to provide a mapping of the critical points and pollutant elements. The search will rely to the sensors built-in …

At the supermarket with the navigator

17 Gen 2013

GPS technology has now numerous applications in daily activities. Keep an eye on the kids, monitor the pet, follow the partner’s car is a cakewalk if you have the right tools. Shortly, it will possible use a sophisticated development of GPS technology in a shopping center or on the shelves of the supermarket so you’ll save time and optimize the product comparison. To lead the tour will be our trusty …

Internet of things will revolutionize our daily

10 Dic 2012

Web 3.0 isn’t yet far away. All the big laboratories are working hard to develop new applications concerning the Internet of things. With this neologism has been named the last frontier of online technology. The strength lies in the possibility given to objects to interact with each other by capturing and exchanging information. The alarm clock may sound for example in advance once found, through the Internet, heavy traffic conditions. …

Hop! the suitcase that follows you

13 Nov 2012

Pack your bags is always a problem. Weather conditions, formal and informal dresses, comfortable and casual, but also suited to special occasions that may occur…In short, a grind. And what often we create is a baggage too heavy and almost entirely useless. About 25 years ago, a pilot of the Nortwestern Airlines tried to obviate to the problem of having to lift heavy luggage introducing the trolley as we know …

Even sharks tracked with GPS

22 Ott 2012

Until recently, GPS tracking systems were used for the control of small animals. Now the GPS challenges even the most dangerous animals. Indeed, it is in an experimental phase the scientific mission of the American non profit association, Ocearch, led by Chris Fischer. During the operation, the sharks are caught, mainly in North America, and to them is applied a GPS tracking device, then they come back to the sea. …

Home with the GPS shoes

1 Ott 2012

Dominic Wilcox, british designer, has created a fully functional prototype pair of shoes with a built-in GPS that will guide you home. The name of this extravagant invention is “No Place Like Home” and it’s inspired by the famous novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in witch the protagonist Dorothy, with her magic shoes, can go everywhere clicking her shoes together three times. For Wilcox’s shoes, with expertly decorated sole, …