Tag Archives: Technology

BBC News: CNET News Site attacked by Russian hacker group

CNET twitter feedCNET was informed about the hack attack via a Twitter conversation

A Russian hacker group has attacked the news site CNET. It later said it stole usernames, encrypted passwords and emails for more than one million users.

CNET said a representative from the group – which calls itself ‘w0rm’ – informed it about the hack via a Twitter conversation.

A spokeswoman for CBS Interactive – the owner of CNET – said the firm had “identified the issue and resolved it”.

According to CNET, w0rm offered to sell the database for 1 Bitcoin, or $622.

But it added that the hacking group said the plan to sell the database was to gain attention and “nothing more”.

Improve security?

The representative of the group claimed that it hacked CNET servers to improve the overall security on the internet.

The group has claimed to have successfully hacked the BBC last year, as well as websites of Adobe and Bank of America.

It says that by targeting high-profile websites it can raise awareness of security issues.

“We are driven to make the Internet a better and safer [place] rather than a desire to protect copyright,” the representative said in a Twitter exchange with CNET.

On Monday, the representative offered a security solution to CNET by tweeting: “#CNET I have good protection system for u, ping me”.

According to CNET, 27.1 million unique users visited its desktop and mobile sites in the US in June this year.

BBC News

Wired: The Brilliant Machine That Could Finally Fix Airport Security

Fans at a World Cup game at Arena de Baixada stadium in Curitiba, Brazil use the Qylatron to go through security.Fans at a World Cup game at Arena de Baixada stadium in Curitiba, Brazil use the Qylatron to go through security. PHOTO: Qylur

Australian fans pumped to see their team take on Spain during the first round of the World Cup were intrigued by the honeycomb-like machine that had replaced the standard manual search process at Arena de Baixada stadium in Curitiba, Brazil. They were less thrilled when the machine spotted the toy kangaroos they were trying to sneak into the match.

That machine is the Qylatron Entry Experience Solution, and it could soon replace a crappy experience of going through security checks at airports and other venues with one that’s faster and less invasive. Instead of having a human poke around in your bag, the machine scans it for a variety of threats in just a few seconds. Searching those Aussies and other soccer fans may prove to be a watershed moment for the system, a successful test of how well it can spot trouble and move people through security, efficiently and with their dignity intact.

The system is the work of Silicon Valley-based Qylur Security Systems, and it consists of five pods that sit around a central sensor. The process is a much closer to being pleasant than having your stuff searched by hand at a stadium or going through the mundane horrors of TSA security. You don’t have to open your bag or let any else touch it. And with five people moving through at once, you’re through security before you have time to really get annoyed.

The whole process is simple. You hold your ticket up to the machine, and it assigns you a pod, in which you place your bag in. Each pod is about the size of a big microwave, so will fit most bags, but maybe not the biggest carry-ons you can take on a plane (though Qylur presumably could tweak the size). Close the door and walk around to the other side. In the time it takes you to get over there, the machine scans the bag for a range of threats. Qylur isn’t keen on explaining how the technology works, but we know it has radiation and chemical sensors to pick out explosives. With a multi-view X-ray, it runs the images it sees through a detection engine that uses machine learning to pick out prohibited items like guns and knives. If it sees a threat, it alerts a security officer, and the door of the pod turns red. If not, the door turns green, and you unlock it with your ticket. Take your bag and go.

Before Qylur can lock down contracts to move into airports and other venues, it has to prove the system works. So it went to Brazil, where it was hired by an event operations company running some World Cup games. Qylur was given responsibility for one entrance to Arena de Baixada stadium, for four games. Continue reading

Genetically-engineered moths make spider silk for flameproof pants

Monster Silk moths are genetically engineered to produce spider silk. They have been engineered with red eyes so scientists can tell them apart from conventional moths.Monster Silk moths are genetically engineered to produce spider silk. They have been engineered with red eyes so scientists can tell them apart from conventional moths.Kraig Labs

Spider silk is widely considered a superfibre, a near magical material with potential medical and military applications. The problem is that cost-effective mass production has eluded scientists for years. Until now, it seems. A Michigan firm has brought us one step closer thanks to a genetically engineered silkworm, modified to produce spider silk.

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, based in Michigan, announced today that it has found a way to double the production rate of its commercial product, called Monster Silk. The ramp-up takes the company another step closer to market, and away from the R&D stage.

Spider silk is stronger and lighter than most other fabrics, so it could be used in things like body armour, medical sutures and, oddly, underwear. The US military is experimenting with silk underwear to protect soldiers’… privates … from explosions, since silk doesn’t melt onto skin when exposed to heat. It also resists penetration by finer particles like sand and dirt, which can keep wounds clean.

“Our production system is the only commercially viable technology for producing spider silk,” says Kim Thompson, Kraig’s founder and CEO. Genetically engineered silkworms are “the only way to go.”

Kraig Labs’ spider silk is produced by inserting specific spider genes into silkworm chromosomes. Then the worms (actually moths) produce threads nearly identical to spider silk. The company can vary the silk’s flexibility, strength, and toughness by moving around the DNA sequence. It’s been talking about the technology since at least 2010, and is now finally moving closer to commercialisation.

Kraig’s current production run is largely headed to Warwick Mills, a specialty textile manufacturer that focuses on protective applications like body armour and fireproof wearables. They are making the first Monster Silk textiles, and their research will lay the groundwork for the first commercial sales as soon as next year.

Medical and military applications are where the money is, along with the opportunity to save lives. But those markets will take years to reach fruition thanks to lengthy FDA and military approval processes. In the shorter term, Thompson is interested in making dress shirts and neck ties. The traditional silk clothing market is worth as much as $5 billion per year. “No one material can ever satisfy all textile needs,” he says, and he believes spider silk will see increased usage in textile blends in the near future.

“We’re hoping to add one more arrow to the quiver, and we think it’s a multi-billion dollar arrow.”

This article originally appeared on Wired.com

Wired UK

Editors Note: One has to wonder what would happen if the genetically-engineered moths mated with the conventional moth!


#Amazon seeks #US #federal permission to test delivery #drones near #Seattle

Company wants to deploy ‘Prime Air’ to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aircrafts flying at 50mph.

Amazon 'Prime Air' would use 'octocopter' mini-drones to deliver small packages to consumers.Amazon ‘Prime Air’ would use ‘octocopter’ mini-drones to deliver small packages to consumers. Photograph: Amazon/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon.com Inc is seeking permission from US regulators to test its delivery drones near Seattle, as part of a rapid expansion of a programme that has sparked widespread debate over the safety and privacy implications of drone technology.

Chief Executive Jeff Bezos wants to use drones – small unmanned aircraft – to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less as part of the programme dubbed “Prime Air.” The company is developing drones that can fly at speeds of 50 miles per hour.

Now Amazon is seeking permission to test drones in areas near Seattle, where one of its research and development labs is working on the technology, according to a letter posted on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website on Thursday.

Currently Amazon can test drones indoors and in other countries. But it cannot conduct R&D flight tests in open outdoor space in the state of Washington, where Amazon has its headquarters.

“Of course, Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States,” the company said in the letter, dated 9 July and signed by Paul Misener, head of global public policy for Amazon.

In 2012, Congress required the FAA to establish a road map for the broader use of drones. The FAA has allowed limited use of drones in the US for surveillance, law enforcement, atmospheric research and other applications.

Last year, the US government created six sites for companies, universities and others to test drones for broader commercial use in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Virginia.

But the area near Seattle, where Amazon wants to conduct its tests, is not among those sites. Amazon plans to use one or more of the six FAA sites, but said in the letter that it would be “impractical” to limit its testing to those areas.

Bezos, who founded Amazon 20 years ago, disclosed the “Prime Air” drone programme on the CBS television program “60 Minutes” late last year. His plan was derided by some as a mere publicity stunt, while others raised privacy concerns and said the technology needed more refinement.

Despite the controversy, Amazon has rapidly grown the drones team in the past five months. It has hired roboticists, aeronautical engineers and a former Nasa astronaut, and recently advertised for a full-time communications manager for the programme.

Delivering packages by drones will one day be “as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” Amazon said in the 9 July letter.

The Guardian

#Technology: Power this elegant #Bluetooth #speaker with a #candle


If you, like Gianluca Gamba, have ever found yourself in the nightmarish position of not having a wireless Bluetooth speaker elegant enough for your Italian terrace dinner parties, fear not: the Pelty is here.

Named after its power source, the Peltier effect, this speaker uses the heat of a candle placed inside its ceramic and glass surround to charge the thermoelectric generator — the Peltier cooler. This generator is incredibly inefficient (the reason this is possibly the first time you’ve heard of it) as it relies on the creation of an electric current through a vast difference in heat between two metals. But after a few seconds to warm up, there is enough power for a speaker, which can then be connected to any smartphone or tablet, bringing music and mood to anywhere you need.


The Pelty has been brought to Indiegogo by three Italians working out of Milan. The inventor, Gianluca Gamba, chose ceramic and glass not only for their elegance, but because both have excellent thermal insulation and acoustic properties. These help give the 3″ full-range speaker an impressive frequency response, and loudness “to rival any other Bluetooth speakers” at 90-95dB — loud enough to cause hearing damage after six hours of exposure. Luckily, the candles usually burn out after five.


You can back the project, which is a quarter of the way to its $100,000 goal, for between $5 and $4,500 (£3 and £2,600) with the lowest tier to receive the speaker coming in at $229 (£133). That may seem a mite expensive, however each speaker is hand-made from Italian ceramic. That tier also only nets you a black or white speaker-cum-candelabra, so if your terrace party has a more vibrant colour scheme, you’ll need to up that pledge to $265 (£155) for one of the 6 other coloured variants.

For Gamba, the Pelty represents more than just an alternative to trailing wires and mountains of rechargeable batteries: “The fire in a brazier or the flame of a candle has always warmed the body and soul of people, making them think, discuss, pray, laugh and dream.

Pelty – Play your fire: Pelty

“This is the revolutionary aspect of Pelty: it combines these two elements, the magic of the flame and the poetry of music, since the latter is generated by the energy of the first.”

We would like to be at one of his terrace parties. They sound dreamy.

SourceChris Higgins for Wired UK

And if your smartphone or mobile should suddenly run out of battery power you can use this ingenious stove to recharge it, all you need is  twigs, pinecones or any other renewable biomass.

BioLite CampStove

The stove is available in the UK from Maplin Electronics at a very reasonable price of £149.99 check it out here