Buying a bug transmitter on Amazon without knowing where it is from? Actually it is not a good idea!

“You know what? I bought this spy bug on Amazon, but now I am not able to make it work!” This is a typical comment submitted on Amazon or Ebay after having recklessly purchased the product in question. Actually we have been saying that for long time: before buying any …

KA-101: a full audio monitoring kit fitted with spy bug, receiver and micro recorder

Are you on the fence about the audio monitoring device to be used in your investigation? Well, KA-101 is just the device you need! Not only because it makes a combined use of bug transmitter, RF receiver and mini recorder, but also because it is more affordable than other devices …

Which video bugs are better to use in investigation?

Do you think audio bugs are the only surveillance devices to be used for monitoring rooms or any other environment? If so you’re barking up the wrong tree, because over time investigative technology has increasingly developed UMTS or WiFI video bugs, proved to be very effective in undercovered or remote …

Economic dependence and cheating: a study reveals a possible correlation

A few years ago, on the site of ASA (American Sociological Association) was written up an article concerning a possible correlation between economic dependence on one’s partner and a large number of cheating cases. In the article, the US sociologist Christin L. Munsch, a researcher who spent a long time …

Microregistratori digitali

Amphibious planes are still riding the tide, with a new design

agosto 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

In the field of air transport, we are used to hear about something new on a daily basis about manned or unmanned aircraft, powered by conventional fuel, electricity or solar energy. There is, actually, a kind of aircraft which does not make the headlines as an example of technological innovation, and that is the seaplane, at least until today.

In fact, after approximately 60 years during which no big changes have been noted in this specific type of aircraft for tourism and small cargo transportation, we can now finally mention the Privateer, an amphibious aircraft which promises to redefine the standards, both in terms of look and design, and most of all for performance and security.

Built entirely in corrosion-resistant carbon fiber, it is equipped with a central rotor mounted in the rear, and a central wing in the back which joins the two sponsons and makes it vaguely resemble some sort of flying catamaran. The unique design and low gravity center allow for higher maneuverability and stability, especially when the plane is on the water, reducing the risk of being capsized because of the waves.

Privateer can carry, along with its pilot, up to 6 passengers, and is powered by a Water 601 turbine engine, which thanks to the hulled rotor also keeps noise pollution very low, while improving efficiency and reducing fuel consumption. Its total weight, when empty, is just over as little as 1600 kilos, and can reach an altitude of approximately 7700 meters, with an operating range of 1600 kms and a cruise speed between 195 and 215 knots depending on flight altitude and fuel tank capacity, which may vary with different configurations.

For now, though, Privateer is just a prototype, therefore no information about expected availability and price has been disclosed.

Encrypted mobile phones, for safe calls in the face of the Government

agosto 5, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As we have seen in some recent posts, when they are not busy throwing accusations (or even missiles) at each other, the administrations of the Western and Eastern hemispheres are best friends when it comes to keeping their citizens’ freedom of expression and communication under control.

If on one hand the US Government sets up secret centers in charge of monitoring online activities of millions of American users under the pretext of looking for a potential threat to national security (as if terrorists are so naive as to leave electronic tracks…), on the other side, Asian and Middle Eastern countries, with the same excuse, wage a war on mobile phone calls placed with the BlackBerry phones and technology, which have just one imperfection: they use an encoding individually controlled by each user, therefore the network administrators are not in possession of such a key, and would not be able to provide conversation data to any court that should request it.

To avoid running the risk of having some censor or governmental officer waking up one day and deciding to listen to everyone’s calls, or in any case to prevent our conversations from being bugged or listened to, be it with clean or malicious intentions, fortunately there is a solution, and it is not affected by the telecommunication system or network one uses.

In fact, by using an encrypted mobile phone, you can add one further layer of security on top of the (vulnerable) one provided by proprietary encoding used by the GSM operator of your choice.

To encrypt any communication from your mobile phone, all you have to do is install a special software on your handset, and it will make your calls impossible to listen to. In fact, even in case the conversation between two phones equipped with the Safe & Talk encryption software is intercepted, a hidden listener would only be able to hear a white noise instead of two voices.

In short, once the encryption software is installed, all you have to do is enter a secret key and call freely. If your counterpart uses the same software and secret key, your calls are safe.

All calls placed with a mobile phone equipped with this protection are encrypted with a 256-bit key, which makes them virtually attack-proof. Furthermore, it is also possible to encrypt SMS messages, which would therefore be illegible for anyone who should ever intercept them.

Along with the Safe & Talk software, there are several other ways to keep your phone calls safe, for example by using an interception-free untraceable phone, which protects itself against malicious attempts by dynamically changing its IMEI number, the number that uniquely identifies each mobile phone equipment.

For more information on encrypted mobile phones and on several methods to make sure that your private phone calls stay private, we suggest that you visit the Endoacustica website.

Your GPS navigator? In your glasses

agosto 5, 2010 Technology No Commenti

During the recent Wireless Japan expo, the Tokyo UEC (University of Electro-Communications) has presented the prototype of a wearable personal navigation system, which can easily be worn as it is contained inside a pair of special glasses.

In fact, we are not talking about a normal pair of glasses, but rather a microscopic GPS navigator which only sports the shape of a pair of glasses. Inside the frame there are LEDs, mounted following a circular pattern, which would turn on according to movements of the wearer’s head.

When the head moves, in fact, a LED positioned in the direction of the final destination would light, therefore showing the glasses’ wearer the direction of the road to take to reach their home, their workplace, the hotel of their holidays and so on.

The frame contains, along with LEDs and direction sensor, also a GPS antenna, a battery to power the whole system and a miniature computer. All that the user has to do is enter the final destination, and when the GPS antenna detects the position of its current location and that of the destination, direction sensors will guide him to reach it along the right way, in the fastest possible time.

Developed by UEC’s Nakajima Laboratory, the GPS navigator in a pair of glasses has been put to the test during a test run on pedestrians in the Tokyo traffic, and the test was successfully passed.
The advantage of this navigation system, if compared for example to mobile phones equipped with GPS, lies in the fact that while with the latter one always has to keep an eye on the handset to follow the road, thus increasing the risk of small accidents, with these glasses they would just have to follow the direction shown by the LED inside the frame, without losing touch with dangers of the road and keeping eyes fixed on the direction to take.

Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to put a ban on BlackBerry

agosto 5, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As we have repeatedly seen lately, often governments love to stick their noses in their citizens’ private lives and businesses, with the all-round pretext of “national security reasons”, such as, for example, screening of phone calls in the quest for a possible terrorist threat. By doing this, they are actually limiting individual liberties, from freedom of expression to freedom of communication.

In this exact direction goes the latest decision made by Saudi Arabia to ban usage of BlackBerry cellphones on its territory. Just like the United Arab Emirates had done a few days ago, imposing a deadline by the middle of October, the Saudi kingdom has ordered connections to be shut down as of tomorrow, August 6.

According to official sources, the ban is due to the fact that the protocol used by these smartphones does not comply with standard in terms of security. In fact, Rim, which produces the BlackBerry technology, is the only one that can directly control its communication network, unlike other mobile phone manufacturers.

BlackBerry users, over a million in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are afraid that, in order to control their communications, the government will force them to use other mobile phones. Authorities, on the contrary, claim that the protocol would infringe some not specified rules; the governments have requested Rim to make communication data available, but they received a negative reply, because encoding of BlackBerry conversations is made by using a unique encryption key, generated not by the mobile phone operator, but rather by each individual user.

Therefore, Rim would not be able to make its conversations available to any government that should request it. Along with Gulf countries, the anti-BlackBerry league has recently seen the addition of India and Indonesia, although the Indonesian government has stated that they are not against BlackBerry networks, but they just request that data handling be done locally.

Indeed, the governments which placed a ban on encrypted phone calls are fighting terrorist threats, either because cells of groups such as Al Qaeda are hiding in their countries or using them as logistic or financial bases, or because (for example in India) there is a constant threat by extremists of both sides in the disputed regions at the border with Pakistan.

In any case, BlackBerry users and not only are sure that there is much more behind this, and that it has to do not only with prevention of terrorist activities and threats, but most of all with controlling individual freedom of expression, a kind of control that, in theocratic monarchies of the Gulf region, has always been very strict.

Anti theft phone, for a quiet holiday time

agosto 3, 2010 Technology No Commenti

In the summer months, when you leave your home for your well deserved holidays, what may keep you awake at night on the seaside or in the country, is the thought that your home may not be 100% protected from malicious intrusions. This worry may end up destroying an otherwise perfect holiday, and must be taken seriously.

To be able to sleep well at night, technology comes to the rescue, with remote monitoring tools that give us the opportunity to keep eyes on our home and our belongings, no matter where we are. A good example of this kind is certainly the anti theft phone, an ordinary home phone set which conceals on the inside a powerful motion detection sensor.

Along with the normal functions you may expect of your home phone, this device can notify you directly on your mobile phone, as soon as it detects any intrusion inside your home. In fact, you just have to store the number to call, and as soon as the sensor detects something wrong within its 10 meter operating range, it will call you automatically.

Furthermore, anti theft phone is equipped with a microphone, which gives you the opportunity to listen in real time to what happens, and figure out whether, for example, a cat sneaked into your house, or something more serous is going on; in the latter case, you can promptly call the police to intervene, restore the order and allow you to enjoy the rest of your holidays.

To receive more information about how an anti intrusion phone works, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website, where you can request help from your experts, who will be able to give you the best advice for your needs in home and personal security.

Online privacy is no more

agosto 3, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Just in case no one has noticed it yet, nowadays all our online activities are under control, and can be analyzed and thoroughly inspected anytime, with the all-seasons excuse of not better specified “national security reasons” which, especially in the US, allow the government to temporarily keep aside its citizens’ personal freedom, scrutinizing their behaviors, habits and online acquaintances to keep them under surveillance.

In practice, the US Government is capable of unbinding all the legal ties that do not allow it to gather information on its citizens, and thanks to this it has set up Project Vigilant, a group of some sort of electronic cops which operate in absolute secrecy, without having to abide by the laws governing privacy protection and freedom of information.

This group is made up of approximately 500 experts in data security and electronic surveillance, coming from the top roster in names such as Department of Justice, New York Stock Exchange and the like; these guys exploit holes in Internet contract legislation to monitor our every online step.

Project Vigilant is just another example of how the US Government has absolutely no qualms in sticking their nose into honest citizens’ private business, when it comes to preserving and protecting national security; privacy laws are at best bent according to their needs, and blatantly ignored at worst.

And if someone thinks that the Obama administration has dramatically changed direction in comparison with George W.’s times, well they are tragically wrong, as this nosy attitude has actually gotten worse, and all your online activities, the pages you visit, your Facebook posts, the emails you sent and your purchase information are out there to see for anyone wishing to take a look.

Hybrid planes, the future of passenger transport

agosto 3, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As we have seen often recently, big names of aircraft manufacturing are turning their attention towards the field of aerial vehicles powered by alternative and renewable sources of energy, such as for example the light of the sun, used to power planes which, either with a human pilot or without, can fly even through the night thanks to the energy harnessed bi their solar cells during the day.

With an eye to energy saving, it is natural that the next step is studying the possibility of bringing similar solutions to the world of passenger transport.
Of course, takeoff of a commercial airliner, with its weight and size several times bigger than that of a glider, requires usage of fuel powered engines, but solutions that have been taken into consideration, for example, last week during the World Symposium of Electric Aircraft, may dramatically decrease energy consumption and air pollution.

During the symposium, Boeing has presented its SUGAR Volt, a concept of hybrid plane, equipped with two engines that may run on fuel or electricity, allowing it to carry 154 passengers at a 3500 nautical miles range, reaching a Mach 0.79 speed and taking off on shorter runways than its equivalent conventional aircraft, and all this while reducing energy consumption by 70 per cent.

The concept was developed in teaming with NASA; it features two elongated and trussed wings and was designed for a possible application on commercial airliners starting from 2030 or so, therefore it will still take a long time before we can actually fly an hybrid plane from our airports.

The idea is certainly captivating, and would save a lot of power on mid-haul flights, thus reducing the relevant contribution to pollution from aircraft, which are already much cleaner than our cars.

Hidden miniature video cameras

agosto 2, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Spy movies, for example those inspired by Ian Fleming’s novels featuring James Bond as main character, have brought on the big screen so many strange devices, sometimes so ingenious that they looked impossible, such as video or photo cameras hidden, just to name one, inside a pen or so.

What looked just like a move exaggeration is now reality, thanks to the increasing level of miniaturization of audio and video systems and of digital storage supports where our recordings can be saved. Thanks to this, finding on the video surveillance market items such as micro cameras concealed into objects we use every day is now nice and easy, available to everyone and quite on the cheap side.

For example, along with devices that would look great in a James Bond movie, such as a micro camera concealed on the inside of a pen, or a perfectly functioning watch which hides a video recorder with the requisite viewer and miniature microphone to record audio and video tracks, or a camera conveniently hidden inside the buckle of a stylish belt, we can also find devices that join together different kinds of technologies to deliver a perfect result for your video surveillance needs.

This is the case, for example, with ear video cameras, that is, something that at first glance would look like a normal pair of headphones to connect to your MP3 player, but which inside one of the earpieces conceals a miniature video camera, and in the other one an equally small microphone, that you can use to shoot video footage… with your ears!

Or who could ever think that inside a normal alarm clock one can find a real video surveillance set, capable not only to record images around it, but also to transmit them remotely over the Internet?

Thanks to it, at any time, no matter where you are, all you need is switch on your computer and connect to the Net to see “live” what happens inside your home or your office, giving you the opportunity of exposing an unfaithful spouse in real time, or maybe of making sure that your colleagues or employees do not take advantage of your absence to run some other business or just waste their time.

Even a pair of sunglasses can turn into a hidden camera, allowing you to record video footage in real time while the people around you are totally unaware of what’s going on; a perfect tool not only for candid camera-type leisure videos, but also for police operations aimed at gathering evidence to be used to prove a dangerous criminal guilty.

In a few words, the opportunities to shoot video footage in a discreet way are basically limitless, and professional type devices are available even for the lowest of budgets. The only limit (according to the type of usage, be it professional or leisurely) is your fantasy!

Mobile phone eavesdropping costs only 1500 dollars

agosto 2, 2010 Technology No Commenti

In order to be able to intercept mobile phone calls around you, either encrypted or not, all you need is 1500 dollars to invest.
At least, this is according to a demonstration showcased by a researcher during the yearly conference of hackers, called DefCon 2010, which recently took place in Las Vegas.

Those with a constant eye to privacy will certainly be worried, but just to make the picture clearer, it must be said that along with the money to buy the equipment, one must also have the necessarily technical knowledge to make it all work. In short, the material that this hacker used consists in just a portable computer and two radio antennas, connected with each other.

By connecting to the cellular network, thanks to this device it is possible to be identified by the repeating tower as if the device were a normal phone. To demonstrate its capabilities, our friend has activated it in the conference hall, asking some people from the audience to make a phone call.

The audience had then the opportunity, with great surprise, to listen to these calls in real time through the computer. This happened because the 2G GSM network has a major flaw, which allows for the signal of mobile phones within a certain coverage area to be automatically routed to the tower with the strongest signal, no matter where the signal actually comes from.

Thanks to this flaw, all that the interception system needs is that its signal be stronger than other antennas around it, in order to capture all calls (only outgoing) placed within its range. If a cellphone receives a call while it is being intercepted, the network operator would find the phone off, and would reroute the call to the voice mail system.

This device, invented by researcher Chris Paget, would also disable all call encryption with the network operator, just like it would happen with mobile phone interception devices used by police forces. Thanks to this, any intercepted calls can be listened to, without any encryption, by whoever uses this cheap device.

The device created by Paget only intercepts 2G GSM type calls, a technology used by operators such as T-Mobile and AT&T, which expose themselves and their subscribers to risks that would not be present by using the interception-proof 3G technology.

Of course this is a purely experimental solution with no commercial goal whatsoever, also because telephone eavesdropping should always be carried out only by law enforcement. In fact, there are much more powerful telephone wiretapping devices available on the market; their usage, for obvious reasons, is only available for police forces.

A GPS video camera for your outdoor fun

agosto 1, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Big manufacturers of portable video devices are rushing headlong into the field of the so called Action Cams, that is, those mini video cameras suitable for being used during outdoor activities which can range from a simple day out in the country with a bicycle to the most extreme of sports.

In the first case, mounting the camera on the bar of your bicycle is enough to have videos shot from the racer’s point of view, while for extreme sports, the video watchers will be able to share this point of view even during a parachute or bungee jump.

The latest newcomer in this market niche is ATC9K from Oregon Scientific, an Action Cam which, along with the requisite rugged design that visually identifies this kind of equipment, sports several features which make it suitable for this kind of usage.

For example, like most video cameras of this kind, it is equipped with a GPS sensor which allows it to add geographical coordinates to its video footage, in order to point exactly, on Google Maps or Google Earth, to the exact location of your outdoor activities, as well as tracking the exact itinerary, should anyone want to follow your path.

Videos are shot in high definition (which is now a standard in this field) with a 1080 pixel resolution, and you can even take ATC 9K with you in the water, up to a maximum depth of 20 meters. The images shot are displayed in real time on a small LCD screen with laser pointer, and if you want to view them again on your computer you just have to connect your camera with a USB cable and download.

The manufacturer, on whose site you can purchase this camera, has set a price tag of approximately 300 Euro.

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