Blog

Archive for the ‘security’ category

Jul 24, 2017

Cory Doctorow on technological immortality, the transporter problem, and fast-moving futures

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, government, life extension, neuroscience, security, surveillance

Cory Doctorow has made several careers out of thinking about the future, as a journalist and co-editor of Boing Boing, an activist with strong ties to the Creative Commons movement and the right-to-privacy movement, and an author of novels that largely revolve around the ways changing technology changes society. From his debut novel, Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom (about rival groups of Walt Disney World designers in a post-scarcity society where social currency determines personal value), to his most acclaimed, Little Brother (about a teenage gamer fighting the Department of Homeland Security), his books tend to be high-tech and high-concept, but more about how people interface with technologies that feel just a few years into the future.

But they also tend to address current social issues head-on. Doctorow’s latest novel, Walkaway, is largely about people who respond to the financial disparity between the ultra-rich and the 99 percent by walking away and building their own networked micro-societies in abandoned areas. Frightened of losing control over society, the 1 percent wages full-on war against the “walkaways,” especially after they develop a process that can digitize individual human brains, essentially uploading them to machines and making them immortal. When I talked to Doctorow about the book and the technology behind it, we started with how feasible any of this might be someday, but wound up getting deep into the questions of how to change society, whether people are fundamentally good, and the balance between fighting a surveillance state and streaming everything to protect ourselves from government overreach.

Read more

Jul 21, 2017

3D-Printed Gun Designs Are Selling for $12 on the Dark Web

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, computing, internet, security

A new report shows just how easy it is becoming to download designs for difficult-to-trace arms.

In the darker corners of the Internet where search engines cannot go, black markets offer pistols, machine guns, even explosives — and most worrisome to security researchers, computer aided design, or CAD, files for 3D-printed guns.

A new report from RAND looked at 811 weapons listings on a dozen dark-web markets, which continue to thrive despite the shuttering of sites like the Silk Road and, just this month, AlphaBay. Firearms were the top-selling category, with was 339 active listings, roughly 42 percent of the market. But the next-largest share, with 222 listings, was a variety of digital products, from build-it-yourself explosives manuals to CAD files.

Continue reading “3D-Printed Gun Designs Are Selling for $12 on the Dark Web” »

Jul 20, 2017

Building the Safe Genes Toolkit

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, health, security

DARPA created the Safe Genes program to gain a fundamental understanding of how gene editing technologies function; devise means to safely, responsibly, and predictably harness them for beneficial ends; and address potential health and security concerns related to their accidental or intentional misuse. Today, DARPA announced awards to seven teams that will pursue that mission, led by: The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Harvard Medical School; Massachusetts General Hospital; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; North Carolina State University; University of California, Berkeley; and University of California, Riverside. DARPA plans to invest $65 million in Safe Genes over the next four years as these teams work to collect empirical data and develop a suite of versatile tools that can be applied independently or in combination to support bio-innovation and combat bio-threats.

Gene editing technologies have captured increasing attention from healthcare professionals, policymakers, and community leaders in recent years for their potential to selectively disable cancerous cells in the body, control populations of disease-spreading mosquitos, and defend native flora and fauna against invasive species, among other uses. The potential national security applications and implications of these technologies are equally profound, including protection of troops against infectious disease, mitigation of threats posed by irresponsible or nefarious use of biological technologies, and enhanced development of new resources derived from synthetic biology, such as novel chemicals, materials, and coatings with useful, unique properties.

Achieving such ambitious goals, however, will require more complete knowledge about how gene editors, and derivative technologies including gene drives, function at various physical and temporal scales under different environmental conditions, across multiple generations of an organism. In parallel, demonstrating the ability to precisely control gene edits, turning them on and off under certain conditions or even reversing their effects entirely, will be paramount to translation of these tools to practical applications. By establishing empirical foundations and removing lingering unknowns through laboratory-based demonstrations, the Safe Genes teams will work to substantially minimize the risks inherent in such powerful tools.

Continue reading “Building the Safe Genes Toolkit” »

Jul 18, 2017

‘Suicidal’ security robot ‘drowned itself’ at Washington office

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, security, transportation

July 18 (UPI) — Officials at a Washington, D.C., office building patrolled by a security robot they are investigating after workers reported the robot “drowned itself.”

MRP Realty announced last week there was a “new sheriff in town,” namely a K5 security robot developed by Silicon Valley startup Knightscope, but Bilal Farooqui, a worker at the office complex, tweeted a photo Monday revealing the mechanical guard had met with a watery end.

“Our D.C. office building got a security robot. It drowned itself,” Farooqui wrote alongside an image of the robot horizontal inside a fountain. “We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots.”

Continue reading “‘Suicidal’ security robot ‘drowned itself’ at Washington office” »

Jul 5, 2017

Study finds hackers could use brainwaves to steal passwords

Posted by in categories: entertainment, robotics/AI, security

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggest that brainwave-sensing headsets, also known as EEG or electroencephalograph headsets, need better security after a study reveals hackers could guess a user’s passwords by monitoring their brainwaves.

EEG headsets are advertised as allowing users to use only their brains to control robotic toys and video games specifically developed to be played with an EEG . There are only a handful on the market, and they range in price from $150 to $800.

Nitesh Saxena, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Computer and Information Sciences, and Ph.D. student Ajaya Neupane and former master’s student Md Lutfor Rahman, found that a person who paused a video game and logged into a bank account while wearing an EEG headset was at risk for having their passwords or other sensitive data stolen by a malicious software program.

Continue reading “Study finds hackers could use brainwaves to steal passwords” »

Jun 29, 2017

‘Biological Teleportation’ Edges Closer With Craig Venter’s Digital-to-Biological Converter

Posted by in categories: alien life, biological, security

The year is 2030. In a high-security containment lab, scientists gathered around a towering machine, eagerly awaiting the first look at a newly discovered bacterium on Mars.

With a series of beeps, the machine—a digital-to-biological converter, or DBC—signaled that it had successfully received the bacterium’s digitized genomic file. Using a chemical cocktail comprised of the building blocks of DNA, it whirled into action, automatically reconstructing the alien organism’s genes letter-by-letter.

Within a day, scientists had an exact replica of the Martian bacterium.

Continue reading “‘Biological Teleportation’ Edges Closer With Craig Venter’s Digital-to-Biological Converter” »

Jun 5, 2017

BITNATION: Governance 2.0

Posted by in categories: governance, security

Bitnation provides the same services traditional governments provides, from dispute resolution and insurance to security and much more.

Read more

May 22, 2017

Robot cop begins patrolling the streets of Dubai tomorrow night

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, security

A robotic police officer is making its debut on the streets of Dubai tomorrow night — and I hope everyone there has watched Robocop.

The uniformed bot greeted visitors to the Gulf Information Security and Expo Conference. After the conference wraps on Tuesday, it will be deployed to the streets of Dubai.

The robot rolls around on wheels. It can salute, bow, speak in multiple languages, and recognize hand gestures from up to 1.5 meters away, according to the Khaleej Times. It also has a tablet lodged in its chest which civilians can use to report crimes, according to The Daily Mail. It was designed by the Dubai police, with assistance from IBM’s Watson and Google.

Continue reading “Robot cop begins patrolling the streets of Dubai tomorrow night” »

May 20, 2017

Court Strikes Down FAA’s Drone Registration Rule

Posted by in categories: drones, security

Despite its Big Brother-ish nature, the rule was ostensibly enacted to improve safety as more and more drones take to the air. In his decision, Judge Kavanaugh noted that although the rule is unlawful, “aviation safety is obviously an important goal, and the Registration Rule may well help further that goal to some degree.”

The FAA said on Friday that it is reviewing the court decision, but did not immediately announce whether it would appeal.

“The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats,” the agency said in a statement. “We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision.”

Continue reading “Court Strikes Down FAA’s Drone Registration Rule” »

May 11, 2017

Homeland Security is building a ‘biometric pathway’ for the airport

Posted by in categories: government, privacy, robotics/AI, security, transportation

The US government has rolled out a plan to reshape airport security around facial recognition, playing off a wealth of passport photos and visa applications.

Led by Customs and Border Protection, the plan is built around the Biometric Exit program, which will register visitors leaving the US using facial recognition. But new statements show that CBP’s plans could make facial scans necessary for US citizens as well, documenting them when they reenter the country or pass through TSA checkpoints. The result would eventually grow into an airport-wide system Customs officials call “The Biometric Pathway.”

John Wagner, deputy assistant commissioner at CBP, laid out that vision at the ConnectID conference last week. “We’re going to build this for [Biometric] Exit. We’re out of time, we have to,” Wagner told the crowd. “But why not make this available to everyone? Why not look to drive the innovation across the entire airport experience?”

Continue reading “Homeland Security is building a ‘biometric pathway’ for the airport” »

Page 1 of 3712345678Last