Bank of China Releases a Laser Blasted “Monkey” Coin

Tech is always advancing in new and exciting ways. With the aim of developing and modernizing techniques for the 21st century, the coin production process at The People’s Bank of China placed into circulation a $10 dollar limited edition of at least 500 million coins, but when you consider China has a current estimated population of at least 1.357 billion, this may well be a limited laser blasted and multilevel “Monkey zodiac coin”.

The coins in question use materials including a Brass Alloy for the outer ring, which is illustrated by the first image below, this is coupled with a Nickel Alloy composite which is implemented for the inner core and is conveyed by the second image. The technique used to make these commemorative coins changes the traditional moulding process in favour of a lower yet more efficient manufacturing footprint.

The coins have the word “SHIYUAN” which is located next to the selected domination, this word comes from the  Chinese phonetic alphabet. The coins, released to coincide with the 2016 Lunar New Year are also decorated to include a floral pattern as well as a traditional decorative monkey and also a lantern.

Collectors who wish to collect such a coin will be able to reserve a maximum of five coins, the date by which the coins will become available will be from the 16th January 2016.

CryptoWall 4 Is Being Distributed Via a New Campaign

There has been a huge explosion of online ransomware within the last year or two which has seen a huge number of consumer’s, unfortunately, falling victim to this ever present and growing technique. Now, there is a new technique which is being served to consumers via the PopAds network and it contains the Magnitude exploit kit via pop-under ads.

For those who are unfamiliar with a Pop-under ad, this is a type of online advertisement that appears behind the main browser window and remains open until the user manually closes it. Consumers who failed to update their version of Flash Player (which we are constantly being informed to do) were immediately infected with the CryptoWall ransomware.

The infection campaign began around the 1st January 2016 with ads being placed within avenues that included both NSFW and also video streaming sites. Below is an image to convey the geographic location of infections that have been caused by this new technique, as you can see, Spain is in the lead with 14.3% with the Netherlands, France and Poland that are next and are level with 11.4% each. The spread of countries according to this data is mostly within Europe, although an exception to this is South Korea.


Once a user has been infected they will typically see a CryptoWall ransom page window that will state the following as conveyed by the image below, it is a bit of an insult to say “Congratulations, you have become a part of  large community Cryptowall” Users will need to pay a ransom as is commonly associated with these typical types of ransomware infections.

These cases highlight the need for a strong and reliable backup system which will help to mitigate in the event that your hard drive is encrypted, also, it is always essential to keep your browser, plugins and various system updates current for your OS. If you wish to add further defenses then it may be worthwhile to either disable or uninstall Flash Player as well as running an up to date Anti-Virus and Malware scanner.

These types of infections will become more and more advanced and also very common in 2016 and vigilance is required by users in order to help to avoid such attacks.

Image courtesy of ssri

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Young Scientist Invents New Fingerprint Recovery Mechanism After Home Burglary

What sounds like the story from a Hollywood crime show is actually a real story originating from Australia. A young scientist, Dr Kang Liang, comes home one day to find his house burglarized. The thief got away with some of his favourite belongings and frustrated by the law enforcers limitations he uses his knowledge of science to create a new and improved method for fingerprint capturing.

The new process allows forensic investigators to use a new liquid instead of the old fashioned dusting technique. The liquid contains luminescent crystals that bond to the residue and become visible with UV light. The new technique will allow to take high-resolution digital images of the fingerprint and get much better and detailed images than previously possible. To get the same results, the item with the fingerprint currently needs to be shipped to a special lab where it will be heat and vacuum treated and thereby.

With this new method, investigators can take high-resolution digital photos of the fingerprints right away and transfer them digitally to a central for processing and matchmaking. This could save days if not weeks in investigations and eventually even save lives in some cases.

CSIRO said in a statement: “As far as we know, it’s the first time that these extremely porous metal organic framework crystals have been researched for forensics,” and they are now looking to partner with police forces around the Australia. A thing that I’m sure will spread around the world shortly thereafter, also aided by a large news outlet such as The Sydney Morning Herald bringing this news to everyone.

While the new process won’t help Dr Kang Liang of CSIRO in his own case and get his things back, it might make things a lot more difficult for any other criminal out there.

BBC Strictly Come Dancing Transformed into 360 Degree Video Wonder

Ok, I will be the first to admit that I do not sit down in front of a TV or computer on a Saturday evening to view BBC 1’s hugely popular show Strictly Come Dancing. I know people who do, I am just not one of them, but, when you place the technical filming innovation that is 360-degree video with the intention of creating something unique, well, even I want to know more.

The video below looks like a fairly standard YouTube flash video, I mean HTML 5 clip, but while playing the video, you now have the option of viewing the clip in a full 360 degrees. To do this simply hold the left click while moving the mouse or trackpad within the video, you will now experience a whole new immersive and interactive viewing experience.

Quick tip, if the video seems a lower definition than normal, don’t worry, eTeknix has not suddenly leapt back to the 90s, the video quality menu is located in the normal position which is within the black bar that incorporates the volume icon etc, for some reason the icon does not clearly show up when embedding; this video goes up to 1080p.

This project was a collaborative effort that incorporated the technical skills of Rewind, BBC Technology and the Strictly production team.  The clip is choreographed to include the shows regular dancers who are dancing to a classical version of music star Rihanna’s hit “Only Girl In The World”

This project certainly pushes both the boundaries and also opens up a world of possibilities for future broadcasts which could, in theory, utilize the 360-degree technique. Hopefully, the BBC will remain a vibrant source of creative output which will in turn offer audiences greater interactivity with programmes in the future. Technology accomplishments such as this open the door for an exciting future where 360-degree online streaming could revolutionize TV habits.

 

Cracking Millions Of Ashley Madison Passwords In Quadruple Quick Time

Signing up to a dating site which offers the platform for affairs while expecting all your data to remain safe looks to be rather stupid, after the many revelations which have been exposed concerning the Ashley Madison website. If the owners thought it could not be embarrassed any further, a cracking team by the name of Cynosure prime, not affiliated with Amazons video service, has cracked roughly 11 million passwords in just 10 days.

They managed this with help from an error implemented by Ashley Madison themselves, this involved breaking the passwords which were secured using MD5 (Message Digest Algorithm) which is a faster algorithm but far less secure than others. Using the second leak of data as a study group, cynosure prime attacked the md5 tokens, the passwords were set to bcrypt which is much more secure and therefore should have been harder to crack. Problem is, cynosure prime found that the commit was changed on the 14th June 2012 to 1c833ec7, this meant accounts could be cracked which had been created prior to this date with “simple salted MD5”.

What was expected to take years to solve only took 10 days to expose such naïve security protocols within Ashley Madison’s tech structure. The era of basic security has long since ended and businesses need to understand the scale of threats which are targeting their valuable data, Mrs Madison won’t be the last to experience such data loss. This should also be yet another warning against the crusade to ban effective encryption which is an essential tool to protect consumers from web-based data theft.

If you have a spare few minutes then by all means take a look at the full detailed explanation of the techniques used to crack the passwords, its worth a read.

Thank you cynosureprime for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of winknews

World’s First 3D-Printed Pill Approved By US Authorities

Damn I really love the concept behind this, in what would be a world first, the US Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for a 3D-printed pill to be produced. I envisaged many things which could possibly be printed using this technique, but not a pill.

The new drug, has been coined Spritam, whether this was inspired by the word “Sprit” is open to interpretation, this drug has been developed by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. The company also plans to produce many different types of medical drugs using its very own 3D platform. This technique also has other advantages including the ability to print layers of medication more precisely so that dosages are even more accurate than before.

The most compelling aspect lies within production; the standard procedure is to manufacture medications in factories before shipping them to pharmacies, doctors and hospitals. If you are able to print them, this opens up the ability to create production lines nearer the patient. This also means in theory, doctors will not need to wait too long for medications to arrive which in turn would assist patients.

Spritam is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016, according to Aprecia. Exciting times ahead if this technique makes it to market and hopefully, it will be available to everyone, not just for the wealthy or patients willing to pay over the odds.

Breaking Bad would be a different TV series if they 3D printed everything.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information

Nvidia Researcher Discovers a Way to Quadruple Future VR Headset Resolution

A researcher from NVIDIA has apparently discovered a new manufacturing technique which could quadruple the perceived resolution of virtual reality gear in the future. The technique in question is called ‘display cascading’ and uses cascade displays (of course).

Nvidia is said to already have produced a prototype of a headset using the above mentioned technique. A report from MIT is said that the new technique improves the perceived resolution of virtual reality displays. Senior director of research in visual computing at NVIDIA, David Luebke, is said to be the man behind the new technology. He has been stated to use a cascaded display system made up of two modified ‘off-the-shelf’ liquid crystal display panels.

A layer of tiny shutters (one per pixel) which can block off or allow light through, called the spatial light modulation panel, is said to be removed from one LCD and placed over a second panel, offset from its own. This method is said to split each pixels into four individually addressed areas, thus quadrupling the effective resolution at a cost of a decrease in brightness.

Luebke states that along with some driver optimizations, a cascade display should provide both improved resolution and a double perceived framerate, achievable by having both panels run in perfect synchronization. Also, the NVIDIA researcher stated he will unveil the manufacturing technique at a conference in August. For those interested, the research is currently available over at NVIDIA’s website.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information