Category Archives: Technology

There Are 2.7 Trillion Reasons Why Tesla Won’t Rule The World

News of mass “performance-based departures” at Tesla, reported yesterday by the San Jose Mercury News has underscored the fact that Elon Musk and company have burned through a ridiculous amount of cash in the past two quarters alone, raising questions about why the company would choose to cut nearly 10% of its workforce when the assembly line for the company’s new Model 3 sedan has reportedly not yet been completed, and production remains woefully behind schedule as employees at the company’s Freemont factory have been forced to piece together the cars by hand.

And with Elon Musk reeling from a series of embarrassing revelations, Bloomberg is here to remind us of one of the many reasons why Tesla will never become a global automotive behemoth.

So far, the US government’s generous tax incentives for buyers of electric vehicles have helped bolster Tesla’s sales – a strategy that has been employed across Europe – and have sustained the market’s misguided conviction that Tesla will one day become a profitable enterprise.

But unfortunately, those incentives aren’t nearly enough to create the infrastructure to support Morgan Stanley’s forecast of 526 million electric vehicles operating globally by 2040. Building the charging stations and other infrastructure necessary would cost an astonishing $2.7 trillion, much of which would probably need to be allocated by governments.

Morgan Stanley says the problem requires a mix of private and public funding across regions and sectors. The investment bank’s strategists added that any auto company or government with aggressive targets would be unfeasible unless the infrastructure is in place.

As we’ve noted time and time again, the electric-vehicle industry is essentially being support by generous – and borderline anti-competitive – government subsidies. In China, which has aggressively pushed EVs as a potential remedy for its pollution problem, communist party officials have hit on an effective strategy for forcing consumers to favor electric vehicles. In Shanghai, where tens of thousands of people enter monthly lotteries for just a handful of license plates, consumers who buy electric cars are given license plates with little resistance.

Morgan Stanley expects China to become the largest EV market in the world by 2040, accounting for about a third of global infrastructure spending, Bloomberg reports.

But with Trump in office, it’s unlikely the US will prove so amendable to subsidizing Elon Musk’s ambitions for much longer.

Anti-establishment genius inventing DIY homemade pharmaceutical desktop factory so citizens can bypass Big Pharma price gouging

Would you be willing to take some risks to save yourself thousands of dollars a year on pricey medications? Michael Laufer, a genius who studied particle physics as an undergrad and who speaks 18 or 19 languages, believes that there are thousands of people out there whose financial situation makes them desperate enough to do just that. Stat News recently reported that Laufer, a fixture in the biohacker movement, has started publishing DIY manuals for those who have no other alternative but to make their own medications at home.

Image: Anti-establishment genius inventing DIY homemade pharmaceutical desktop factory so citizens can bypass Big Pharma price gouging

Price gouging by pharmaceutical giants has escalated astronomically in recent years. Back in 2015, Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price of a drug called Daraprim – the standard treatment for a parasitic infection – from $13.50 (at most) to $750 per tablet, overnight – that’s a 5,000 percent increase. Turing was not even involved in the cost of developing this drug, but simply purchased it from another pharmaceutical company.

“What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?” Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, asked at the time. She told The New York Times that the price increase would likely force hospitals to use “alternative therapies that may not have the same efficacy.” (Related: Outrageous Big Pharma greed on parade as $1 pill for treating fatal infection suddenly skyrockets to $750 per pill!)

In another example of shameless price-gouging, Mylan Pharmaceuticals jacked up the price of their EpiPen two-pack product from $94 in 2007, to $608 in 2016 – a 550 percent increase. What makes this even more disgusting is the fact that an EpiPen can literally mean the difference between life and death. These devices are used by people with allergies to peanuts, shellfish, etc. to deliver an emergency shot of epinephrine during an anaphylactic allergic reaction. An EpiPen will often give the patient just enough time to get to a hospital for urgent treatment. The fact that thousands of little kids and adults depend on these devices did nothing to stop Mylan’s greed. (Related: Discover the latest healthcare news at Medicine.news)

But there are people out there who do care – one of them being Michael Laufer, who along with his colleagues (which, according to Laufer, include medical doctors) has created a DIY epinephrine autoinjector which can be assembled for just $35. The plans are available for free at the group’s website FourThievesVinegar.org.

The site also contains instructions for an “Apothecary MicroLab,” which can be built using materials available online for around $100. The MicroLab can then be used to create various medications, including Daraprim (Pyrimethamine). Again, all the instructions are available for free.

Laufer believes that creating medications in this way should be no harder than assembling Ikea furniture.

Of course, real danger exists in trying to create medications at home.

Stat News explains:

Creating the homemade equivalent of an EpiPen or Sovaldi involves deadly perils — contamination, overdose, and underdose — that even compounding pharmacies sometimes struggle with. The margins for error are very small.

Nevertheless, for poor people in desperate need of these medications, Laufer’s plans might seem like a godsend.

That means the logical person to use a Four Thieves plan would be a cash-poor, uninsured patient who desperately needs an expensive drug — and who is also a sophisticated and supremely competent tinkerer.

It is unlikely that thousands of people will suddenly stop taking their medications and start trying to make them at home. Nonetheless, it is great to see that there are still people out there who care enough to try to help the less fortunate who have been all but forgotten by money-hungry pharmaceutical companies.

Sources for this article include:

StatNews.com

FourThievesVinegar.org

StatNews.com

LATimes.com

Dutch privacy regulator says Windows 10 breaks the law

The lack of clear information about what Microsoft does with the data that Windows 10 collects prevents consumers from giving their informed consent, says the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA). As such, the regulator says that the operating system is breaking the law.

To comply with the law, the DPA says that Microsoft needs to get valid user consent: this means the company must be clearer about what data is collected and how that data is processed. The regulator also complains that the Windows 10 Creators Update doesn’t always respect previously chosen settings about data collection. In the Creators Update, Microsoft introduced new, clearer wording about the data collection—though this language still wasn’t explicit about what was collected and why—and it forced everyone to re-assert their privacy choices through a new settings page. In some situations, though, that page defaulted to the standard Windows options rather than defaulting to the settings previously chosen.

In the Creators Update, Microsoft also explicitly enumerated all the data collected in Windows 10’s “Basic” telemetry setting. However, the company has not done so for the “Full” option, and the Full option remains the default.

The Windows 10 privacy options continue to be a work in progress for Microsoft. The Fall Creators Update, due for release on October 17, makes further changes to the way the operating system and applications collect data and the consent required to do so. Microsoft says that it will work with the DPA to “find appropriate solutions” to ensure that Windows 10 complies with the law. However, in its detailed response to the DPA’s findings, Microsoft disagrees with some of the DPA’s objections. In particular, the company claims that its disclosure surrounding the Full telemetry setting—both in terms of what it collects and why—is sufficient and that users are capable of making informed decisions.

The DPA’s complaint doesn’t call for Microsoft to offer a complete opt out of the telemetry and data collection, instead focusing on ensuring that Windows 10 users know what the operating system and Microsoft are doing with their data. The regulator says that Microsoft wants to “end all violations,” but if the software company fails to do so, it faces sanctions.

A Potato Battery Can Light up a Room for Over a Month DIY (System That Can Be Used to Provide Rooms With LED-Powered Lighting for as Long as 40 days) +Video

As one of the most ubiquitous crops in the world, the potato is poised to feed the entire world.  Along the way, scientists discovered that the popular staple of many people’s diets may also have potential to help power it as well.

A couple years ago, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem released their finding that a potato boiled for eight minutes can make for a battery that produces ten times the power of a raw one. Using small units comprised of a quarter-slice of potato sandwiched between a copper cathode and a zinc anode that’s connected by a wire, agricultural science professor Haim Rabinowitch and his team wanted to prove that a system that can be used to provide rooms with LED-powered lighting for as long as 40 days. At around one-tenth the cost of a typical AA battery, a potato could supply power for cell phone and other personal electronics in poor, underdeveloped and remote regions without access to a power grid.

To be clear, the potato is not, in and of itself, an energy source. What the potato does is simply help conduct electricity by acting as what’s called a salt-bridge between the the two metals, allowing the electron current to move freely across the wire to create electricity. Numerous fruits rich in electrolytes like bananas and strawberries can also form this chemical reaction. They’re basically nature’s version of battery acid.

“Potatoes were chosen because of their availability all over including the tropics and sub-tropics,” Rabinowitch told theScience and Development Network. They are the world’s fourth most abundant food crop.”

But besides being rich in phosphoric acid, spuds are ideal in that they’re composed of sturdy starch tissue, can be stored for months and won’t attract insects the way, say strawberries, would. Additionally, boiling the potato breaks down the resistance inherent in the dense flesh so that electrons can flow more freely, which significantly bumps up the overall electrical output. Cutting the potato up into four or five pieces, they researchers found, made it even more efficient.

The potato battery kit, which includes two metal electrodes and alligator clips, is easy to assemble and, some parts, such as the zinc cathode, can be inexpensively replaced. The finished device Rabinowitch came up with is designed so that a new boiled potato slice can be inserted in between the electrodes after the potato runs out of juice. Alligator clips that transport the current carrying wires are attached to the electrodes and the negative and positive input points of the light bulb. Compared to kerosene lamps used in many developing parts of the world, the system can provide equivalent lighting at one-sixth the cost; it’s estimated to be somewhere around $9 per kilowatt hour and a D cell battery, for another point of comparison, can run as much as $84 per kilowatt hour.

Despite the advantages, a recent BBC report that followed up on the group’s initial discovery found that the group has since been beset with a number of extenuating circumstances that have hindered their efforts to scale up their idea to places like villages in off-the-grid parts in Africa and India. Economically speaking, food-based energy systems can only be viable as long as they don’t eat into the needed food supply and that such enterprises don’t compete with farmers who grow them for market. The technology is also having a difficult time establishing a niche among more fashionable forms of alternative energy like solar and wind power, where infrastructure and investment seems to be headed mostly. Thus far, no commercial investors or non-profit organization has stepped up to help expand or distribute any of the prototypes Rabinowitch has developed.

To really make an impact, perhaps the potato needs to stop being so humble.

There is still time for you to prepare, but you have to start learning how to make your own survival foods as soon as humanly possible. The best way to do it is to get the inside scoop on how to do it right. Fortunately, there is a way to get twenty years worth of The Lost Ways. This new food storage system is called The Lost Ways. You do not need a lot of expensive equipment to store foods for a crisis using the methods taught here. Even better, The Lost Ways pays for itself quickly as you begin to put away garden produce or even meats that you buy on sale. For most folks it’s simply the biggest bargain of their lives. You can finally become self-sufficient and any extra money saved in food expense goes right back to your pocket. Frankly, at the end of the day, The Lost Ways actually makes you money! What’s more, the videos take you by the hand, step by step, through the entire process of “putting away” almost any food you can think of. It’s very much like having a food storage professional right there with you every step of the way.

http://www.mydailyinformer.com/a-potato-battery-can-light-up-a-room-for-over-a-month-diy-system-that-can-be-used-to-provide-rrooms-with-led-powered-lighting-for-as-long-as-40-days/

Tim Cook says the tech “doesn’t exist” for quality AR glasses yet

The “Sword of Damocles” head-mounted display, the original augmented reality headset, circa 1968. Augmented reality has gotten a lot more mobile in the past decade.

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes augmented reality’s rise will be as “dramatic” as that of the App Store, but he doesn’t believe AR glasses or similar wearables are ready for the market yet, according to a sit-down interview with The Independent. Much of Cook’s interview focused on the prospects of augmented reality and Apple’s justification for making it a focus in both iOS and the iPhone 8.

He said this to The Independent:

Think back to 2008, when the App Store went live. There was the initial round of apps, and people looked at them and said, “this is not anything, mobile apps are not going to take off.” And then, step by step, things start to move. And it is sort of a curve, it was just exponential–and now you couldn’t imagine your life without apps. Your health is on one app, your financials, your shopping, your news, your entertainment–it’s everything. AR is like that. It will be that dramatic.

iOS 11, the latest software release for iPhones and iPads, included ARKit, a framework for developing augmented reality applications around the iPhone’s robust suite of sensors and cameras. It doesn’t enable anything that has never been done before in AR, but it is intended to greatly increase ease of development of AR applications for one of the most robust software markets in the world—the iOS App Store.

Because handsets as far back as the iPhone 6S are supported, smartly designed AR apps based on ARKit will find a large and mature market of consumers. Cook believes his company is providing a sort of garden for growing great AR ideas. He’s quoted saying: “The way that you get lots of great ideas is for us to do the heavy lifting of the complexity of locational things and software, and put those in the operating system… And then you have all the developers that are able to put their energy into their passion.” Cook also said that he believes day-to-day experiences like shopping will be “entirely” changed by AR.

Ars’ iPhone 8 review called it “the best mass-market AR platform we’ve yet seen.” But the best mass-market platform is not necessarily the most advanced. Even as many developers are creating AR apps for ARKit on iPhones or for Google’s ARCore platform, others are focused on platforms like Microsoft’s HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality platform, which have some capabilities the iPhones don’t. Some of these competing concepts are worn like goggles over your eyes.

Cook didn’t address all of these technical differences in the interview, but he did talk about the prospects for AR goggles or glasses. He believes the tech isn’t ready:

The technology itself doesn’t exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face–there [are] huge challenges with that. The field of view, the quality of the display itself—it’s not there yet.

Using HoloLens shows the potential of AR glasses, both in the sense of them being wearable and in the sense that HoloLens offers some technologies that aren’t yet on mass-market consumer phones—like better mapping of 3D assets over varied terrain rather than just flat surfaces. But at the same time, there are terrible limitations. HoloLens is bulky and unattractive. The field of view is pitifully small, breaking all potential immersion in what’s being displayed. Granted, things have moved forward a bit since HoloLens was introduced, but they haven’t moved that far.

But even with those limitations, it’s easy to conclude while trying HoloLens that wearables are where AR ultimately needs to go in the long run to achieve its full potential, despite the poor reception of the now ancient-seeming Google Glass concept. Holding up a phone just isn’t the same. But judging from Cook’s comments, Apple nevertheless believes the phone AR experience is enough for a revolution in its App Store. As attractive as the longterm vision of wearable AR might be to many, he’s probably not wrong.

 

Russian engineers prepare to lift 2nd colossal Crimea Bridge arch (VIDEOS)

Russian engineers prepare to lift 2nd colossal Crimea Bridge arch (VIDEOS)

An extraordinary engineering operation is underway to erect the 5,500-ton roadway arch that will connect the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea and the Taman Peninsula of mainland Russia via the Crimea Bridge. The highly complicated mission began in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the roadway arch docked at its final destination Tuesday.

READ MORE: 5,500-ton Crimea bridge motorway arch sails off for complex installation operation (VIDEO)

Russian authorities temporarily restricted maritime movements across the strait prior to the start of the 72-hour installation process that will see the 227-meter segment lifted to be joined to the road portion of the 19-kilometer-long bridge. Engineers will draw on previous experience gained while installing a similar railroad arch in late August.

Once the 45-meter tall arch is raised to a height of 35 meters above water, experts will proceed to fix the structure to the bridge. Around 30 engineers, slingers, welders, surveyors, and quality control specialists will be deployed constantly throughout the entire process while switching shifts.

Twelve heavy duty jacks, each with a capacity of lifting 650 tons, are being used to raise the colossal arch from the delivery barges. Engineers have secured lifting cables and will gradually transfer the weight load onto the jacks to ensure the arch does not snap. The structure will be lifted at an average rate of 5 meters per hour to the required height of 35 meters above water.

READ MORE: Russian navy ship passes under arch of epic Crimea Bridge for 1st time (VIDEO)

Once completed, the 19 kilometers (12 miles) Crimean Bridge will be one of Russia’s and Europe’s largest. The bridge will have a four-lane highway as well as a two-lane railroad and will be capable of providing access for up to 40,000 vehicles and dozens of trains a day, linking the Kerch Peninsula in Crimea and the Taman Peninsula of mainland Russia over the Kerch Strait. It is scheduled to be opened by late 2018 and become fully operational by 2019.

The idea of a bridge across the Kerch Strait emerged long ago, but after the Maidan coup the newly-imposed government in Kiev froze talks with Moscow about the construction of the bridge.

Kiev almost immediately started a military crackdown on regions in the country’s southeast, which refused to recognize the newly imposed leadership. Meanwhile, the Republic of Crimea decided to hold a referendum on rejoining Russia.

After the referendum Kiev launched a food, energy, water and ‘tourist’ blockade of the peninsula. Crimea has no land connection with mainland Russia, and Moscow can only supply the peninsula by sea and air.
The energy blockade was broken earlier this year.

“We managed to break through the energy blockade of Crimea within a brief period of time, and we will likewise do away with any other blockade against Russia, should someone wish to test us again,” Russian president Vladimir Putin said back in May this year.

In September, senior Crimean officials said that the flow of visitors remained constant despite attempts by Ukrainian authorities to isolate the peninsula and damage its tourist-oriented economy.

“An attempt to impose a ‘tourist blockade’ of Crimea has drowned in the thousands-strong torrent of Ukrainian citizens who, despite of all propaganda and lengthy queues, did not change their decision to visit Crimea,” said Crimean government official Zaur Smirnov.

‘Human input into YouTube machinery’ makes specific news trend – Project Veritas (VIDEO)

YouTube’s curation team are able to promote even non-trending videos on the platform by “using some kind of intervention” into algorithms controlling the website. This allows specific news organizations to be favored, Project Veritas revealed.

Investigative group Project Veritas secretly filmed Earnest Pettie, the Brand and Diversity Curation Lead at YouTube, who said he works “on a team that does provide some human inputs into a lot of the machinery of YouTube.” This would mean that videos from specific news sources could be made to appear at the top of search results.

Petite explained how YouTube’s so-called news carousel is formed: “It’s above the search results, so at the very least, we can say this shelf of videos from news partners is legitimate news because we know that these are legitimate news organizations.”

“People are searching for a topic that our systems know is a ‘newsy’ topic, so let’s give them videos that we know to be newsy because we know we have these news partnerships.”

“In very rare cases we will try to make up to the fact that something isn’t in the trending tab,” he admitted. “Use some kind of intervention to… encourage the thing to be there, basically.”

In the recording Pettie also says Nick Dudich, audience strategy editor for the New York Times, is “one of the people I think who has more knowledge about YouTube as a platform than probably anyone else that I know.”

READ MORE: NYT & YouTube collusion spawns fake news ‘bastard child’ – Project Veritas to RT

Speaking with a member of Project Veritas, Dudich said that he placed a negative report about Facebook in a spot where he knew it wouldn’t draw much attention, while bragging about using his Silicon Valley friendships to make videos trend.

“We actually just did a video about Facebook negatively, and I chose to put it in a spot that I knew wouldn’t do well,” Dudich said in the secretly filmed conversation.

Dudich claimed that his friends in Silicon Valley helped NYT videos trend, while saying he doesn’t want the NYT to know about his connections, according to Project Veritas.

“Let’s say something ends up on the YouTube front page, the New York Times freaks out about it, but they don’t know it’s just because my friends curate the front page. So, it’s like, a little bit of mystery you need in any type of job to make it look like what you do is harder than what it is,” Dudich says in the recording.

The video released Wednesday is the latest in a Project Veritas series called “American Pravda,” aimed at the US mainstream media. The installment released Tuesday also featured recordings of Dudich, in which he claims he worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to counter the “threat” of Trump and that he did not join the Times to “be objective.”

It is impossible to assess the credibility of Dudich’s claims, however, as he also claimed that former FBI Director James Comey was his godfather, and that he used to participate in Antifa activities on behalf of the FBI.

Dudich admitted this was not true after Project Veritas interviewed his father, who said he didn’t even know Comey. It was “a good story,” Dudich said when asked why he lied.

In response to the Tuesday video, a New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said that Dudich was a “recent hire in a junior position” who appeared to have “violated [the newspaper’s] ethical standards and misrepresented his role.”

“In his role at The Times, he was responsible for posting already published video on other platforms and was never involved in the creation or editing of Times videos. We are reviewing the situation now,” Rhoades Ha said.

James O’Keefe, who founded Project Veritas in 2010, has released a number of controversial undercover videos, including one with CNN political commentator Van Jones this summer. Jones accused O’Keefe of editing the video in such a way as to take his words out of context and create a “hoax.”

In the Veritas video Jones was recorded saying the investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election was “a big nothing-burger.” Jones said the missing context was that he said Democrats couldn’t use it to impeach Trump, even if the allegations were true.

North Korea hackers ‘targeted US power companies with phishing emails designed as a charity fundraiser to download malware in preparation for a cyberattack’

Cybersecurity experts in the United States believe that hackers working for the government of North Korea targeted American power companies with spear phishing emails, it was reported on Tuesday.

Hackers sent emails inviting targets to participate in a fundraiser, according to a report by the internet security firm FireEye.

Anyone who downloaded attached invitation would unwittingly invite malware onto his or her computer network, the FireEye report claimed.

A copy of the report was first obtained by NBC News.

While there is no word as to how successful the spear phishing attacks were or which electric companies were targeted, FireEye believes they are a byproduct of the recently heightened diplomatic tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

FireEye said the phishing attack on the electric companies detected was ‘early-stage reconnaissance’ and did not indicate North Korea was about to stage an ‘imminent, disruptive’ cyber attack.

The North has been suspected of carrying out similar cyber attacks on South Korean electric utilities, in addition to other government and financial institutions.

Cybersecurity experts in the United States believe that hackers working for the government of North Korea targeted American power companies with spear phishing emails. The above photo shows a military parade in Pyongyang in April 2017

Cybersecurity experts in the United States believe that hackers working for the government of North Korea targeted American power companies with spear phishing emails. The above photo shows a military parade in Pyongyang in April 2017

Hackers sent emails inviting targets to participate in a fundraiser, according to a report by the internet security firm FireEye. Anyone who downloaded attached invitation would unwittingly invite malware onto his or her computer network

Hackers sent emails inviting targets to participate in a fundraiser, according to a report by the internet security firm FireEye. Anyone who downloaded attached invitation would unwittingly invite malware onto his or her computer network

FireEye said the phishing attack on the electric companies detected was 'early-stage reconnaissance' and did not indicate North Korea was about to stage an 'imminent, disruptive' cyber attack

FireEye said the phishing attack on the electric companies detected was ‘early-stage reconnaissance’ and did not indicate North Korea was about to stage an ‘imminent, disruptive’ cyber attack

Those attempts were likely aimed at creating a means of ‘deterring potential war or sowing disorder during a time of armed conflict’, FireEye said.

‘North Korea linked hackers are among the most prolific nation-state threats, targeting not only the US and South Korea but the global financial system and nations worldwide,’ its statement said.

‘Their motivations vary from economic enrichment to traditional espionage to sabotage, but all share the hallmark of an ascendant cyber power willing to violate international norms with little regard for potential blowback,’ it said.

‘This is a signal that North Korea is a player in the cyber-intrusion field and it is growing in its ability to hurt us,’ C. Frank Figliuzzi, a former chief of counterintelligence at the FBI, told NBC News.

A top South Korean lawmaker claimed on Wednesday that North Korean hackers stole a large amount of classified military documents, including South Korea-US wartime operational plans to wipe out the North Korean leadership. North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un is seen above

A top South Korean lawmaker claimed on Wednesday that North Korean hackers stole a large amount of classified military documents, including South Korea-US wartime operational plans to wipe out the North Korean leadership. North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un is seen above

Cyber experts believe the increased threat from North Korea could be attributed to rising tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. President Donald Trump is seen above in the Oval Office on Tuesday

Cyber experts believe the increased threat from North Korea could be attributed to rising tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. President Donald Trump is seen above in the Oval Office on Tuesday

Video playing bottom right…

North Korea is believed to have a robust cyber warfare capability.

A top South Korean lawmaker claimed on Wednesday that North Korean hackers stole a large amount of classified military documents, including South Korea-US wartime operational plans to wipe out the North Korean leadership.

Democratic Party representative Rhee Cheol-hee said 235 gigabytes of military documents were taken from the Defense Integrated Data Center in September last year, citing information from unidentified South Korean defense officials.

An investigative team inside the defense ministry announced in May the hack had been carried out by North Korea, but did not disclose what kind of information had been taken.

Pyongyang has denied responsibility in its state media for the cyber attacks, criticizing Seoul for ‘fabricating’ claims about online attacks.

Rhee, currently a member of the National Assembly’s committee for national defense, said about 80 percent of the hacked data had not yet been identified, but that none of the information was expected to have compromised the South Korean military because it was not top classified intelligence.

Some of the hacked data addressed how to identify movements of members of the North Korean leadership, how to seal off their hiding locations, and attack from the air before eliminating them.

Rhee said the North could not have taken the entire operation plans from the database because they had not been uploaded in full.

These plans had likely not been classified properly but defense ministry officials told Rhee the hacked documents were not of top importance, he said.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM A SPEAR PHISHING ATTACK

Phishing is the widespread practice of sending out emails in bulk inviting recipients to reply … and give away their security details.

So-called spear phishing is more targeted and takes place when the would-be criminal has a name and email address for a victim who they know uses a particular website or brand.

They will send out emails which look like genuine communications from a retailer or bank the target uses regularly.

The target may be asked to fill in an online form providing a raft of details, including credit card numbers and the answer to their security question.

This can be enough to allow a criminal to steal their entire identity and access shopping and bank accounts.

Sometimes the email will come with an attachment.

Clicking on it will automatically download some malicious software – known as ‘malware’.

The criminal may even be able to spy on the target’s internet activity.

Security experts say the best advice when dealing with a suspect email is simply to delete it and never open attachments.

Safe surfing: Beware of botnets and the rise in ransomware threats

Image: Safe surfing: Beware of botnets and the rise in ransomware threats

A report by the European policing agency Europol has revealed that the proliferation of ransomware has topped other forms of cyber crime in 2017. According to the 80-page report, ransomware has outperformed other forms of cybercrime and has steadily impacted victims across multiple industries in both the public and private sectors. The policing agency has coordinated several successful cross-border operations against cybercriminals in the previous year, and has cited some high-profile threats such as the WannaCry attacks that have affected millions of computer users.

Europol director Rob Wainwright has stressed that national authorities are in dire need of allocating more resources to targeting the makers of hacking tools. The director has also noted that the increasing sophistication of cybercrime community, which has enabled criminals and groups to band together in providing cybercrime services, has now become the key driver in the growth of online crime.

“The last year has been exceptional, given the size and the type and the range of the attacks that we’ve seen…The global impact of huge cyber security events such as the WannaCry ransomware epidemic has taken the threat from cybercrime to another level. Banks and other major businesses are now targeted on a scale not seen before and, while Europol and its partners in policing and industry have enjoyed success in disrupting major criminal syndicates operating online, the collective response is still not good enough…In particular people and companies everywhere must do more to better protect themselves,” Wainwright has stated in a Daily Mail article.

The Europol report has also listed other cybercrimes — such as data breaches, darknet markets, payment fraud, and youth extortion for child pornography — as growing concerns among security experts. Likewise, the report has also highlighted the risk of direct attacks on bank networks, which in turn could be used by criminals to directly transfer funds, take control of card balances, and regulate ATM transactions. The policing body is slated to establish a special unit in order to address darkmarket operations, Wainright has noted.

Botnets also pose increasing threat to cyber security

Aside from the rise in ransomware attacks, a new report carried out by researchers at Norton Security has shown that the sudden lagging and crashing of both Wi-Fi connections and devices may be traced to hackers breaking into computer and device systems. According to online security experts, a large number of electronic devices — including iPhones and tablets, baby monitors and other smart devices — can now be easily hacked and turned into botnets.

Researchers have defined bots as internet-connected devices that have been infected with malware to enable hackers to remotely manage many devices at a time. Combining infected electronics such as smart devices, Wi-Fi connection, and computers make up a powerful interconnected network called botnets. According to the Norton report, European countries have accounted for 18.7 percent of the world’s total bot population last year. Russia has appeared to be the most affected country, which made up 14 percent of the continent’s total botnet population.

“More than 13.8 million people in the U.K. were victims of online crime in the past year, and bots and botnets are a key tool in the cyber attacker’s arsenal. It’s not just computers that are providing criminals with their robot army. In 2016, we saw cybercriminals making increasing use of smartphones and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to strengthen their botnet ranks. Servers also offer a much larger bandwidth capacity for a DDoS attack than traditional consumer PCs,” Norton official Candid Wueest has told the Daily Mail online.

Security experts cautioned that users are rarely aware of the tapping being done to their devices, which makes the activity even more dangerous as the perpetrator may well do all the dirty work once it takes full control of the system.

Sources include: 

DailyMail.co.uk 1

DailyMail.co.uk 2

Russia’s Combat Suit Gets A Nuke Resistant Upgrade

russiancombatsuit

Russia’s new combat suit is getting a major upgrade. With threats of nuclear warfare pending in important regions of the globe, the nuclear resistant watch was a necessary addition to the futuristic fight suit designed by the former Soviet Union.

According to Newsweek, citing Rostec, the Russian defense contractor building the suit, the third-generation Ratnik-3 suit “comprises five integrated systems.” Those five subsystems include “life support, command and communication, engaging, protection, and energy saving subsystems,” according to Tass, a Russian state-owned media outlet. This could be the most advanced combat suit on the planet.

In total, the suit comes with 59 items, Tass said, including a powered exoskeleton that supposedly gives the soldier more strength and stamina, along with cutting-edge body armor and a helmet and visor that shields the soldier’s entire face. The suit also has a “pop-up display that can be used for tasks like examining a plan of the battlefield,” Andy Lynch, who works for a military company called Odin Systems, previously told The Daily Mail Online.

Russia did release a video of the combat suit in late June, but it only showed a static display of the suit making it incredibly difficult to discern if it actually has any of the capabilities that are claimed.

But the newest addition to this high-tech combat suit is fitting with the state of things on our politically volatile planet. The suit is being fitted with a watch that “retains its properties upon the impact of radiation and electromagnetic impulses, for example, upon a nuclear blast,” according to Rostec’s chief designer of the suit, Oleg Faustov.

The first-generation Ratnik suit was reportedly given to a few Russian units in 2013, and some pieces of the suit were spotted on Russian troops in Crimea, according to a report by The New York Times. The third-generation Ratnik suit will supposedly be ready for service in 2022, said Russian Colonel General Oleg Salyukov.

The US hopes to unveil its own Tactical Light Operator Suit which would be similar to Russia’s Ratnik. The US’s suit is also known as the “Iron Man” suit and plans to show it off are scheduled for 2018. France is working on one too, the Integrated Infantryman Equipment and Communications system, or FELIN.

It’s the “space race” of combat suits. But in this contest, it appears that Russia is winning handily.