Canada’s PM Shows Reporter He Knows Quantum Computing

When you go to a press talk at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, you expect there to be some smart remarks about what people may or may not know. Be warned, if you try to do this to Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau he will show you just how much he knows.

The clip starts with the reporter asking that he “was going to ask you [Trudeo] to explain quantum computing” before going to ask a question regarding Canadas ISIL mission. Trudeau wasn’t going to let this slide though and began by fully explaining how quantum computing works. He explains everything from how regular computers currently work and how quantum computing could allow us to “encode more information into a much smaller computer”.

https://youtu.be/rRmv4uD2RQ4

Throughout the entire response, Trudeau is backed by cheers and laughter from the crowd, with many probably as surprised as the reporter that asked the question in the first place that he was able to accurately responds with a range of details regarding not only quantum theory but also how it would help computers.

With steps being made in quantum computing including the diamonds being used to maintain stable quantum superpositions and quantum entanglement working at room temperature, it is nice to know that some people in power understand how technology may change in the near future.

Police In Canada Used BlackBerry’s Key To Read Encrypted BBM Messages

When it comes to mobile phones Blackberry pride themselves on their security, with many companies taking up the device as their go-to model thanks to its support and security features. It now appears that those security features may not have been so secure after all with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) gaining the ability to read encrypted BBM messages.

When it comes to encryption, companies are having to be careful with the likes of Apple going to congress to discuss just how much they can be expected to help and support law enforcement without oversight or detailed rulings on how and when they can access private data. In this case, the RCMP gained access to BlackBerry’s BBM (BlackBerry messenger) services by using the encryption that came with your everyday BlackBerry, meaning the only ones that were safe from this interception are those connected to enterprise servers.

If you weren’t connected to an enterprise server, your BlackBerry would have used a peer-to-peer key that is loaded into your phone when it’s built, something that the RCMP managed to gain access to and in turn granted them access to people’s encrypted BBM messages and conversations.

As part of an operating, titled Project Clemenza, the RCMP intercepted and decrypted roughly one million messages as reported by Vice news in a joint investigation with Motherboard, who in turn revealed that the RCMP actually had a server in Ottawa that acted like a mobile phone by simulating “a mobile device that receives a message intended for [the rightful recipient]”.

With BlackBerry looking to step away from mobile devices and into security consulting, this news couldn’t come at any worse of a time given that if the server is still operational (key and all) then without a large update to its phones, the RCMP could still be reading people’s messages to this day even after the operation ended in 2012.

Ubisoft Seeks Canadian Help Against Vivendi Hostile Takeover

Even as Ubisoft has strong plans for the future, those goals may never be reached if the latest reports are true. According to French law, any shareholder with more than a 30% stake in a company must submit a takeover bid. French media giant Vivendi recently jumped over the 30% after growing their 15% stake and will soon launch an unsolicited offer to take over Ubisoft. Ubisoft and the current management however, are turning to Canadian investors in an attempt to beat back this bid.

Ubisoft was formed by the Guillemot brothers in France and the family holds a large but not majority stake in the company. Vivendi already took over another Guillemot game developer, Gameloft and the family likely doesn’t want to lose their crown jewel as well. The move is part of Vivendi’s strategy to take to expand their already massive media portfolio with more gaming oriented business.

Guillemot brother and CEO Yves Guillemot had this to say:

“We want to increase the number of Canadian shareholders in Ubisoft to have better control over the capital. … We feel it’s a good defense.”

Canada may very well step in as there are 3,000 jobs in that country, about one-third of Ubisoft’s current workforce. While Vivendi likely won’t close down any Canadian studios like Ubisoft Montreal, future investment may potentially be focused more on France. Ubisoft also currently has a strong plan to grow revenue and all that could change after a takeover.

A takeover could also see talent and those loyal to the Guillemot to initiate a mass exodus to form a new firm. On the other hand, Ubisoft has been somewhat lax recently and there have been many complaints about their recent releases. Wether Canadian investors and the government will come to the Guillemot’s aid if needed remains to be seen.

BlackBerry Lays Off 200 Employees in Restructuring Programme

BlackBerry’s position in the global smartphone market has been extremely fragile due to the rise of iOS and Android devices. Additionally, the BlackBerry 10 operating system was a commercial failure and struggled to entice app developers to the platform. Personally, I quite like Blackberry 10 but it’s difficult to make users migrate if their favourite apps are missing. This is a similar problem faced on Windows mobile handsets. Thankfully, Blackberry’s management finally realized the operating system was limiting the appeal of their devices, and decided to create a brand new model using Android. The Blackberry Priv has a sliding keyboard, gorgeous touch screen, and premium feel backing. It’s quite uncommon for modern handsets to include a keyboard, which makes it a great choice for business users writing long e-mails.

Whether or not the move to Android will reinvigorate Blackberry’s mobile sales is unknown. I don’t think the Priv name did them any favours because it doesn’t evoke any kind of enthusiasm for the product. This is a shame because the Priv is a fantastic device and well worth checking out! Sadly, BlackBerry’s turbulent financial situation means they have to make some pretty tough decisions. Recently, the company laid off around 200 employees in Canada and Florida. The official statement reads:

“As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce,”  

“As a result, approximately 200 employees have been impacted in Canada and Florida.”

BlackBerry also laid off 75 manufacturing workers at its Sunrise, Florida office between February 4th and February 26th according to a notice filed with the State of Florida. In theory, BlackBerry is working on two new handsets sporting the Android operating system. Although, it’s unclear if a BlackBerry 10 powered device will ever be released again. At the current time, BlackBerry could exit the smart phone sector unless efficiencies are made or there’s an upturn in profit margins.

Image courtesy of CrackBerry.com

Sony Denies PlayStation VR Price Leak

We’ve recently seen the Oculus Rift become available for pre-orders and the first batch of them was gone very quickly, so there is a market for these virtual reality devices despite their somewhat high price for some people. While the Oculus Rift will set you back $600 as a pre-order, you also get a controller and a couple of games included in the bundle. With that in mind, a lot of people that have both a PC and a PlayStation 4 had hoped that Sony’s PlayStation VR might be a cheaper option. That might or might not be the case, but if Amazon’s recent price leak was real, then it will cost more than the Rift.

Amazon Canada has started to list Sony’s PlayStation VR on their website and for a short while it had a price attached to it. The listing is still active at the time of writing this article, but the price has since been removed again. Amazon Canada had the Sony PlayStation VR headset listed for $1125.35 CAD which is about $800 USD, making it $200 more expensive than the Oculus Rift. Forbes was first to report on this, but Sony was quick to come out with a statement to the outlet. “This was an error by Amazon, we haven’t announced a price for PlayStation VR.”

While it is natural for Sony to come out and deny the leak right away with a phrasing that doesn’t really deny the leak itself, it is most likely just a price holder set by Amazon and one that shouldn’t have been shown. This is common practice and we’ve seen the PS4 being listed for $1000 before it officially became available – again just as a placeholder. We should also remember, as mentioned a few times already, that Oculus already revealed the price for their Rift headset. Sony will naturally try to compete with this price as much as it is possible for them. This will be the year where virtual reality really starts and it could make a lot of difference down the road who secures themselves the biggest userbase from the start.

While this $800 Sony PlayStation VR price leak might have been a letdown, I’m sure that we will know the real price very soon. After all, the PSVR headset is set for a Q1 2016 release.

Anonymous Attacks The Canadian Government and Leaks Classified Data

In the real world, the establishment counteracts instances of criminality by an extensive array of resources and a structured organisation. In cyberspace, groups such as Anonymous are organised, well versed in operational hacking activities and are able to use tools which are inexpensive, perhaps this is why governments and companies have yet to get a grip on data which has metaphorically walked out the door, hitched a plane and ended up on someone else’s computer.

The fore mentioned Anonymous have looked to be using techniques to again prise open the gates to documents, as reports have begun to circulate over the leaking of yet another high-level federal document concerning the redevelopment of Canada’s key diplomatic centres in Britain. This alleged leak is the second in a campaign against the Canadian government with the information purporting to include budgetary deficits and the “selling, relocating and refurbishing of Canada’s diplomatic buildings in London”

The documents belong to the Treasury Board of Canada and are dated 6th February 2014, or if this is as many are believing to be authentic, a now very irritated Treasury Board of Canada. These leaks are an attempt by the Cyber infiltration group “to pressure the government over the fatal shooting of a protester in B.C. and the passing of Bill C-51, the controversial anti-terrorism bill that gave expanded powers to police and Canada’s spy agency”.

Meanwhile, sources say that federal authorities are comparing versions of the documents and scanning for discrepancies that may help track down from whose hands it may have slipped.

Have I any sympathy for the Canadian government? Well, you know me don’t you; it demonstrates poor Cyber awareness and a lack of safe practise in the storage of classified documents, remember, the infrastructure has not been breached by a country attacking another state but by a hacktivist group.

Governments are losing the argument when it comes to attacking the criminality of these acts, after all, the actions by this group are against the law, but for me, so are the increased surveillance capabilities of agencies and the implementation and recruitment of external hacking teams, as in the case of, well Hacking Team to be precise.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same”. Ronald Regan

Thank you nationalpost for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of occupycorporatism

The Latest Adventure of John McAfee? Arrested Again!

Oh John, you’re entertaining but as sane as a lorry load of peanuts. John has been arrested again and this time the charge is for DUI and possession of a handgun while under the influence, this was after legging it from police in Belize; it takes some talent to be drunk, high and armed at the same time.

I am not quite sure police are taking him seriously after an individual by the name of Sheila Austin, who is the warrants clerk for the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that he was that McAfee before stating “I don’t know why he would move to a little town like ours,” According to authorities, McAfee resides in a place by the name of Lexington Tenn, yep me neither, so I researched this and it turns out Tenn is short for Tennessee and is located within the western part of the state between Nashville and Memphis, which is based ideally for the music scene.

John McAfee was released on a bond of $5,000 (£3228) approx, but not before a mug shot was taken, which is below, in the great words of noted wordsmith Afroman, because I got high, because I got high, la, la, la, la.

On a serious note, it just goes to show how John McAfee has fallen after losing most of his $100 million dollar fortune which is owed to the stockmarket crash of 2008. He had been living in Belize until police paid him a visit to ask why his neighbour was dead, at which point he fled to Montreal Canada where he lived with his wife before eventually moving to Tennessee. John McAfee stated in an interview that his assists were frozen by law enforcement in Belize with the outcome being close being broke.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what this eccentric entrepreneur will do next. He is the type of person to be involved with a tank, or a rocket or possibly blowing something up, good job hes not allowed anywhere near nuclear missiles.

Thank You CNN Money and image for providing us with this information

Hitchhiking Robot Is Vandalised After Just Two Weeks in the US

You did indeed read this correctly, a hitchhiking robot which was created by a team of intelligent minds with the aim of experimenting with artificial intelligence and human interaction, has become unstuck after entering and travelling through the US.

Below is a full length image of Hitchbot, which sounds like a futuristic Will Smith dating movie, was vandalised in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City.   Ironically all went well for the robot when it previously travelled through Canada; the US, on the other hand, was less kind.

The team behind this experiment has vowed to continue this innovative project and will also analyse the very nature of human and AI interaction, more details of any future plans will be detailed on the 5th August 2015.

The design of the robot may look slightly malevolent, but I do think this experiment has so far allowed for research to be undertaken within the effects of a machine has on the general public. The website for Hitchbot is written in first person as if the robot is narrating his story; this includes “Family” for the team which created it. As humans we have become accustomed to interacting with technology on a more human level, from Apple’s Siri to battle warzone robots which are being developed with the aim of “thinking” for themselves.

It will be thought-provoking moving forward when the day arrives for both calling a robot “Him or Her” rather than it and also how we interact with a non-human entity.

Thank You to both Hitchbot and Instagram account for providing us with this information.

KFC Puts a Printer in its Chicken Bucket

The brains behind KFC’s masterworks, the ketosis-inducing Double Down and the Zinger Tower burger, the perfect nightcap to an evening on the ale – not to mention the Colonel’s secret blend of eleven herbs and spices (I’ve worked out at least eight of them. Anyone with inside knowledge, please help me out in the comments) – has developed a marvel to be included in that famous bucket, alongside the mountain of fried chicken. Yes, KFC has put a printer in a bucket.

To celebrate the 60th year of KFC’s presence in Canada, the fast food chain has launched the Memories Bucket. If your fingers are not too grease-tastic, you can send photos from your smartphone to the bucket, which will then print them out for you.

KFC is yet to reveal if the Memories Bucket will be made available for mainstream release, but it is to be assumed that it will be available in select Canadian restaurants during the 60th Anniversary celebrations.

Yum! Brands, the owner of both KFC and Pizza Hut, pulled a similar trick with the latter only last month, introducing a Pizza Hut pizza box that could be converted into a digital film projector. It seems the company has quite a taste for making its ephemera multi-purpose.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information.

PayPal’s One Touch Feature Expands to Other Non-US Markets

PayPal introduced the One Touch feature last year when it first rolled out to mobile devices in the US. Retailers who already had a PayPal payment feature could switch automatically and allow customers to make payments without the need of entering their passwords again. This was ideal for people who wanted to quickly check out their products, but it was available just for mobile.

A month ago, PayPal launched the feature for the web in the US. This meant that you could log into a website, place everything you wanted in your basket and then quickly make a PayPal One Touch check-out. While no official stats have been disclosed, the feature seems to be so popular that PayPal now wants to make it available in other markets too.

The company said that it will make their One Touch feature for web available for Canada and the UK at first, but more countries are on the list. The mobile version is said to also be live in Australia, France, Italy, Sweden and Spain, with more countries being considered for the near future.

The move also comes after Apple announced that it is expanding the Apple Pay feature to the UK, so it’s likely that PayPal wants to join its service with Apple’s own payment feature once it gets released in other countries. Still, I think we will have to wait a bit longer for people to actually get comfortable with paying in stores with their iPhones.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Website can Identify Birds Through Photos

A new website has crept up recently, created in a collaboration between Cornell University and Visipedia research project.

The website isn’t fully automated just yet; it current works off an image that you upload and then asks you to pinpoint certain features such as the beak, tail and eye(s). From here it will search through the millions of archived images from eBird.org and find matching images with known species. Along with other images and the possible species, it will give you sounds and songs that the bird is known to make

Along with other images and the possible species, it will give you sounds and songs that the bird is known to make. The only drawback is that the service only currently works on birds found in North America and Canada.

The system uses machine-learning technology, which betters itself the more it is used; Science professor Serge Belongie said:

“Computers can process images much more efficiently than humans—they can organize, index, and match vast constellations of visual information such as the colors of the feathers and shapes of the bill. The state-of-the-art in computer vision is rapidly approaching that of human perception, and with a little help from the user, we can close the remaining gap and deliver a surprisingly accurate solution.”

I tested out the service, but because I have zero knowledge on North American or Canadian birds; it didn’t work. However, the service did present me with similar images. The service is free to use but is currently unavailable on smartphones and tablets. It will be added to the Merlin app once all of the kinks have been sorted.

Are you an avid bird watcher? or do you have an image of a bird that you want to know the species of? Then head over to Merlin Bird Photo ID and take a look at what it has to offer.

Thank you to engadget for providing us with this information.

Canadian Telecoms Boss Publicly Shames Daughter For Netflix VPN “Piracy”

The new President of Canadian telecoms company Bell Media has branded her daughter a “thief” and reprimanded her for watching US Netflix through a VPN. Mary Ann Turcke found out that her 15-year-old daughter was accessing the US Netflix, rather than make do with the inferior Canadian service, but Turcke rebuked the girl for “stealing” and put a stop to it, an audience at the Canadian Telecom Summit heard.

Turcke recalled her daughter asking her, “Mom, did you know that you can hack into U.S. Netflix and get so many more shows?” Rather than question a system that restricts content based on exclusive deals based on geographical lines, the Bell Media boss instead chose to overreact, telling the Toronto audience, “She is 15 and she was stealing. Suffice to say, there is no more VPNing.” Sounds like a fun household.

“It has to become socially unacceptable to admit to another human being that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix,” she continued. “Like throwing garbage out of your car window, you just don’t do it. We have to get engaged and tell people they’re stealing.”

Watching Netflix via a VPN might contravene the streaming service’s terms and conditions, but it is not illegal – certainly not “stealing, as Turcke puts it – and points to a larger problem with geo-blocking and the availability of content. The fault lies with studio policy regarding their properties, studios that have indicated that they have little interest in tackling piracy.

These people want to pay for content; “Netflix pirates” have to subscribe to the service in order to bypass region locks, and instead of being celebrated they are chastised and treated like criminals. If all these “thieves” cared about was getting content by any means, they’d be downloading torrents for free. Watching Netflix through a VPN is unethical, at worst. Not a crime. But I’m sure Turcke’s daughter really appreciated being publicly shamed by her mother for the sake of a flimsy political point.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Computing.co.uk.

A Canadian Hoverboards Across Lake & Makes World Record

Catalin Alexandru Duru, a Canadian inventor just managed to use his invention, the first real-life hoverboard, to cross by hovering across over 300 Meters (1000 feet) the Quebec lake. He invented a hoverboard which he claims that it can be used anywhere (on any terrain). His device seems to be inspired by the gadget called Hoverboard present in the Sci-Fi movie named ‘Back to the Future’ franchise. The world record was made in the presence of the crew from the Guinness Book of World Records there to confirm the “Farthest Flight by Hoverboard”.

Duru just had to fly a distance of 48.7 Meters (160 feet) to qualify for the record but that was apparently just a starting point of the flight for Duru. He kept flying for more 275 Meters (905 feet and 2 inches) before touching the water surface and sink.

“The prototype can be used anywhere,” Duru explains. “But is usually tested over water because of how dangerously high it can fly.

Put your money back in the wallet as this is just a prototype and has no date for official release in the market. It isn’t even confirm that if the product will ever make it to the market for interested folks to buy.

Thank you Popular Sciences for providing us with this information.

Secret Service Agencies Wanted to Put Malware on Your Android Phones

I don’t think it will be a shock to hear about yet another way government agencies try to spy on people, but they are getting bolder day after day it seems. A recently leaked document by Edward Snowden, dubbed IRRITANT HORN, reveals how agencies from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia wanted to infect your smartphones through Google and Samsung App Stores.

The agencies wanted to use their XKEYSCORE system to trim Internet traffic in order to find smartphone data that goes to and from the Google and Samsung stores. With the latter, they would have performed a man-in-the-middle attack to get your smartphone thinking it was downloading something from the store, but instead it would have downloaded malicious software that would track and record your data.

The document apparently reveals more than just hacking and infecting smartphones. The agencies were also planning to send “selective misinformation” to targeted handsets. This means that the agencies wanted to control and alter more than just a few emails or messages, but rather use the system to control events from underneath the curtain.

Up until now, Google made no comment regarding this matter, while Samsung decided not to comment “at this time”.

Thank you The Intercept for providing us with this information

University of Toronto Creates Online Database of Leaked Snowden Documents

The University of Toronto, in partnership with Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), has created an online searchable database of every document leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that has been subsequently been published in the media. The Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive aims to “provide a tool that would facilitate citizen, researcher and journalist access to these important documents.”

Edward Snowden, a former NSA data analyst, leaked documents related to massive and pervasive illegal global surveillance programs run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) in conjunction with UK intelligence service GCHQ.

The CJFE is an organisation that “monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad.” The creation of the Snowden Archive is part of its remit to promote “free media as essential to a fair and open society” and the “free expression rights of all people”.

“We are extremely proud to launch the Snowden Archive as a tool for Canadians, and the world, to better understand the scope and scale of mass surveillance programs,” said CJFE Executive Director Tom Henheffer in a press release. “We believe this tool is just the start of many important stories to come, and hope this will help the public engage in conversation about government surveillance practices.”

The archive allows users to search by the following criteria:

  • Agency that created the document in question;
  • Journalist and media outlet that first broke the story from the document;
  • Full text of the document;
  • Keywords, surveillance program names and more.

Source: Canadian Newswire

Apple Increases Prices of Its Products in Non-US Countries

While Apple has discounted the price of its Apple TV in North America to $69, the company seems to be doing the exact opposite to a lot of its products around the world. This comes as a result of the US Dollar gaining some ground and becoming stronger in the market.

Apple products which suffered an increase in pricing include the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Thunderbolt Display, and are now more expensive in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and other countries to reflect currency adjustments.

For example, the Canadian Apple Store shows an increase in unlocked iPhone 6 from between $749-$969 to $839-$1,099, Thunderbolt Displays from $999 to $1,199, and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros from between $2,099-$2,699 to $2,449-$3,049. Apple also upped the price on its 15-inch MacBook Pro in France, with the base model now starting at €2,249 up from €1,999, and the higher-spec model up to €2,799 from €2,499.

Apple is said to continue to make the adjustments in order to ensure that its products and services are as consistently priced as possible throughout the world. However, in some cases, international prices will remain higher than North America prices as a ‘safety’ against currency fluctuations.

Thank you MacRumors for providing us with this information

Phone Tech Support Scammer Threatens to Kill Sceptical Mark

Ten years ago, the most common internet-related scam was the infamous “419” confidence trick, e-mails promising vast wealth in exchange for a small investment. So infamous, in fact, that few people fall for it anymore. So, criminals had to evolve their approach, instead tricking their mark (or victim, to us) into thinking that they are getting a legitimate service for their money.

Thus was born the fraudulent technical support phone call, preying on people’s ignorance of computers to fool them into giving the tricksters unrestricted access to their computer. Thankfully, call victim Jakob Dulisse of British Columbia, Canada, wasn’t naive enough to fall for the fake tech support call he received, refusing them remote access to his PC to install malware and branding the caller a crook; the scammer didn’t take kindly to being called out.

“You do understand we have each and every information, your address, your phone number. We have our group in Canada. I will call them, I will provide your information to them, they will come to you, they will kill you,” the tech support scammer threatened.

Dulisse recorded the call two weeks ago, and the recording was picked up by CBC News:

Dulisse told CBS that he found the threats “chilling, but hard to take seriously.”

“He was still trying to get me to do what he was trying to do with my computer,” Dulisse said. “He was actually threatening me as a tactic.”

Source: Ars Technica

HitchBOT, the Hitchhiking Robot, to Travel Across Germany

HitchBOT, the Canadian hitchhiking robot, is set for a road trip across Germany. Last year, HitchBOT thumbed its way around Canada, from Halifax to Victoria, talking and tweeting along the way.

Professor Frauke Zeller, HitchBOT’s co-creator and German national, is looking forward to the robot’s trek across her homeland, and the spirit of altruism she hopes it engenders, saying, “I think being helpful to something that needs help is something that is innate to everybody.”

Upon being given a ride, HitchBOT explains to the driver what its purpose is, and ask if it can be plugged in to charge its battery. The robot has built-in WiFi and GPS, so its progress can be tracked and the bot can post live updates to Twitter and Instagram.

In anticipation of the impending journey, HitchBOT tweeted on Monday:

HitchBOT’s German adventure begins on 13th February, and is expected to last for 10 days.

Source: The Star

Samsung Purchase of BlackBerry Rumoured

Canadian smartphone giant BlackBerry is set to be bought by rival Samsung for a massive £4.9 billion ($7.9 billion), if rumours are to be believed.

News outlet Reuters reports that the news comes from someone “familiar with the matter”, and that Samsung value BlackBerry at somewhere between $13.35 and $15.49 per share, greater than the share price of $10, as it was at the time. Since the rumour broke, shares rose to $12.60 before dipping back to just below $11.

According to Reuters’ source, negotiations are at an advanced stage, with both parties involved in discussions last week. BlackBerry has denied the reports, stating that it is “not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry.”

Any takeover of BlackBerry would need to be approved by the Canadian government, as the move would be considered a foreign takeover of one of the county’s most prestigious companies.

Source: KitGuru

Canada Blames Chinese Army Unit for Cyberattack

Canada announced on Tuesday that A highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor had hacked into the National Research Council, a leading body that works close with major companies such as aircraft and train maker Bombardier Inc. The Chinese government denies all claims and accuses Canada of making irresponsible accusations without credible evidence.

While Canada didn’t provide any details to the attack, CrowdStrike Chief Technology Officer Dmitri Alperovitch said “it was similar to other hacking campaigns launched by a Unit 61486 of the People’s Liberation Army, nicknamed Putter Panda”. The group has thousands of people and conduct intelligence on satellite and aerospace industries. “It certainly looks like one of the actors we track out of China that we’ve seen going after aircraft manufacturers in the past,” Alperovitch said to Reuters.

This is the first time ever they managed to identify a suspect in a long string of attacks on government and commercial computers. Former Canadian cabinet minister Stockwell Day separately confirmed that Chinese operators were suspect of hacking the Finance Department and the Treasury Board in 2011. The Canadian government has never publicly said who it thought was behind the 2011 attacks.

China’s Foreign Ministry demanded that Canada “cease making groundless accusations against China”.

“Canada, lacking reliable evidence, has wrongly censured China without any provocation, and this is an irresponsible action,” said ministry spokesman Qin Gang. “China resolutely opposes this.”

With China being Canada’s second largest import-trading partner, they generally enjoy a good relationship. The latest attack on the National Research Council must however have made it impossible for them to keep quiet. By making it public, it could also be considered a warning shot across the bow, saying ‘We treat this stuff very seriously’.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Hitchhiking Robot Is Halfway across Canada

Meet hitchBOT, this very colourful robot is making its way across Canada by hitchhiking.

Although this robot might be lacking some fashion sense, it does have a few tricks up its sleeve. It has twitter so that it can keep people updated on what it’s doing, a camera to take pics every half a hour and also GPS so that the creators can track it’s progress.

HitchBOT can also talk. It has speech recognition, can answer simple questions, make small talk and can also resite Wikipedia articles. It can be hard to get it to be quiet once he has started.

It’s creators said “We knew that sometimes … hitchBOT won’t be able to properly understand what people are saying. For these cases, we came up with the solution to let hitchBOT simply chatter away. We taught hitchBOT to say that sometimes it gets a bit carried away, and that its programmers could only write that many scripts, hoping for people to be patient.”

The creators of the hitchBOT were worried people might not look after it, but so far people have only been interested and some have had some fun with with it. Due to the generosity of humans, hitchBOT has travelled over 4000 miles and on that journey has gained a cape made from a plastic sheet, had a ‘meal’ of nuts and bolts and has also been pictured placed on the toilet and in a camp bed.

HitchBOTs final destination is the Open Space Artists Center in British Colombia, the creators don’t know how long it will take it to get to this destination but they do know it will have to eventually take a ride on a boat which could be interesting.

Thanks to CNN for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of National Post.

Canada and NASA Team Up To Stop Asteroid That Could Hit Earth

Canada is said to be teaming up with NASA to work on its Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer mission, or OSIRIS-REx for short, having its main objective be the first US probe to return samples from an asteroid.

A $61 million laser-based system named the Laser Altimeter (OLA), provided by Canada, is said to be mounted on the side of the probe and will serve scientists with high-resolution 3D maps of the asteroid named Bennu. With the images, scientists are then able to search for a safe place to land the probe in order to collect samples.

The Bennu asteroid is said to be 500 meters in diameter and regularly crosses Earth’s orbit, posing a chance to will hit our planet each time it passes. Calculations have previously indicated that there is one chance out of 1,800 that Bennu will hit Earth in 2182. However, the calculations are still not that precise. This is why scientists are anxious about the project and are eagerly awaiting the samples from the asteroid.

The probe is said to be ready for launch in 2016 and will reach the asteroid in 2018. The mission the will consist of the probe hovering Bennu for approximately 8 months, time that will be used for searching for a safe spot to collect the samples. Once that has been found, the probe is said to hover a few meters above the surface of the asteroid and collect the samples, having a return to Earth date set for 2023.

While the mission aims to serve scientist with the knowledge needed to predict the asteroid’s true path, it is said that the project itself aims at providing a deeper understanding of how asteroids are connected to the origins of the solar system as well.

The public is said to also be invited for the ride by sending their names on the round-trop journey to the asteroid. It is said that the name will be on the spacecraft, which will remain in space long after returning the sample return capsule to Earth. Sign-ups are said to close on September 30th, 2014 and people who would like to have their names floating around in the galaxy could fill up the form here.

Thank you Yahoo News for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Yahoo News

Uncovered Hacking Plot Points to China Buying Stolen US Military Data

The recent news reveals that the US authorities have charged a Chinese business man with hacking into the Boeing computer systems and other firms with large defense contacts, stealing their data and then selling it to China.

Mr. Su Bin has been arrested last month in Canada after being accused of working with two other suspects to steal data about military projects amongst other similar data. The prosecutors have stated that Mr Su was mostly targeting information regarding fighter jets, military cargo aircraft and weapons. The information does not come as a big surprise, given that the 2013 reports have revealed that industrial spying from China is continuously becoming a threat. Though no specific proof has been found that the Chinese government is involved in Mr Su’s case, the US still accuses China of systematically stealing American high-tech data.

“We have repeatedly made it clear that the United States will continue using all the tools our government possesses to strengthen cyber-security and confront cyber-crime,” spokesman Marc Raimondi said.

It is reported that Mr. Su runs a Chinese aviation technology company, having its office in Canada. On June 28, he apparently was detained while attempting to gain Canadian citizenship, being accused of attempting to sell the stolen data to state-owned firms in China. While the US justice department remains “deeply concerned about cyber-enabled theft of sensitive information”, Boeing has apparently released a statement in which the company admits it was co-operating with the US authorities to uncover industrial espionage hacking attempts against the US companies.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BBC

Tor/Tails Linux Users and Linux Journal Readers Tagged as “Extremists” by NSA

Tor and Tails Linux Users, as well as Linux Journal readers have been apparently tagged as ‘extremists’ by the National Security Agency, having leaked documents reveal that the XKeyscore snooping program is apparently targeting anyone who is interested in online privacy and use the latter software.

For those who do not know, XKeyscore is a piece of software which was among a number of surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden last year. Having said that, sources say that a number of Tor project members and security specialists from NDR and WDR in Germany have analyzed the source code and identified two German Tor Directory Authority servers as being under surveillance by the NSA, having other specific IP addresses cited.

However, the code appears not to keep every country in ‘lockdown’. Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia and the US have apparently been given a free pass from the NSA’s surveillance program. For those who are not, the program is stated to mark and track IP addresses of users who search for keywords such as ‘tails’ or ‘Amnesiac Incognito Live System’, along with ‘Linux’, ‘ USB ‘,’ CD ‘, ‘secure desktop’, ‘ IRC’, ‘truecrypt’ or ‘ tor’, having also referring to the Tails Linux distribution as “a comsec mechanism advocated by extremists on extremist forums”.

The report also states that, aside from Linux Journal, other websites such as privacy.li, FreeProxies.org, HotSpotShield, MegaProxy, FreeNet, Centurian, and an anonymous email service called MixMinion are on the surveillance list. Aside from the surveillance details, nobody knows who leaked source code in question. While the obvious ‘target’ would be Snowden himself, other security specialists point to a ‘second leaker out there’.

Following the leaked information, the NSA has apparently released an official statement (available here), stating that the agency only collects data relevant for them and authorized by law, pointing out that tools such as the XKeyscore have different layers of searches and data gathering, relevant to and in accordance with every nation’s laws.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information

Windows 8 Usage Growing Rapidly In Canada

It isn’t news to say that Windows 8 has had a tough time in many markets and uptake had been fairly slow. However, in the last year Microsoft’s newest OS has gained significant traction and new data from the Sage Group suggests that in the last year Windows 8 uptake has surged, at least in Canada it has. Between 2013 and 2014 the share of Windows 8 running on Canadian desktops increased by 19%, taking it from less than a tenth to over a quarter of the entire market. A similar trend was observed in laptops but to Microsoft’s surprise gains were also made in both the tablet and smartphone markets. The below figures include Windows 8.1 and Windows 8, irrespective of whether users have made the upgrade or not, and they also include Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 for smartphones and Windows RT 8 and 8.1 for tablets. It isn’t clear why Microsoft has made such significant gains over the past year but a combination of the retirement of Windows XP, the success of Nokia Lumia sales and the growing popularity of Windows 8 based tablets and ultrabooks probably has a lot to do with it.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Sage Group

Worldwide Bitcoin Regulations Still Unclear, Law Library of Congress Survey Reports

There were many questions on how can the Bitcoin be taxed, having more and more countries coming up with different ways on how the cryptocurrency could be treated. While countries such as Germany do not consider Bitcoin a legal tender and cannot be considered as taxable income, Canada was pro-taxing Bitcoin incomes.

“At the moment, we’re studying Bitcoin and we have no plan to issue a regulation on it,” a spokesperson for the Bank of Indonesia told the Jakarta Globe in December.

Law Library of Congress has surveyed 40 jurisdictions and the European Union to see what laws have been implemented for the Bitcoin all around the world. They found that China has declared it illegal to use Bitcoin as a currency, while Brazil has successfully adopted and made regulations for it, having been adopted under Law No. 12,865. And while the U.S. is the place where most Bitcoin makers and users are, the New York State Department of Financial Services are said to be in talks to consider Bitcoin-specific regulations.

While we see most countries accepting or letting Bitcoin have its way for the moment ( and of course China that bans just about anything that looks democratic ), the U.S. might be preparing something to take a bite out of every profit made through Bitcoin, especially having more and more companies starting to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information