Let’s picture the scene, you upload a snap of a special occasion to your Facebook account to share with your friends, family and followers, as there are many people in the scene you decide to tag everyone individually, you think this will be easier for everyone, but there’s a problem, Facebook doesn’t recognize you as the moment the flash went off, you were pictured with your head to one side attempting to avoid a wasp which came hurtling towards you at warp speed.
Help may soon be at hand with an experimental algorithm which has been devised by Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab. This new technique is software which can recognise people in photographs even when it is unable to see their faces; instead it relies on points of reference which are unique to each individual. This can include hair style, specific clothing and even the pose which you often strike.
In order to test the final algorithm, researchers downloaded 40,000 public photos from Flickr which contained a mixture of clearly and obscure images of individuals. The algorithm was able to recognize the identities of individuals with an 83% success rate. As this is Facebook I am sure privacy of these photos were high on their agenda, cough cough.
This experiment does have the potential for real world applications, but there needs to be caution exercised if a machine can identify you without you wanting it to. If someone takes a photo before uploading the image to Facebook and you happen to be in the background, this algorithm will identify you for all to see.
One of the best security experts in the field, the guys over at Kaspersky Lab, got hacked this Wednesday. They say that the method employed was so complex and stealthy that they believe the hackers originate from a government agency.
Kaspersky stated that no services were affected or data compromised prior to the attack, but that does not mean the hack itself is to be taken lightly. They named the attack Duqu 2.0, an upgraded version of the original Duqu attack from September 2011.
The original Duqu attack employed a variety of malware delivered through the so-called Stuxnet worm. The latest attack on Wednesday is also believed to take advantage of some zero-day vulnerabilities found in Microsoft’s operating system.
Kaspersky said that the hackers were interested in proprietary information such as ongoing investigations, detection methods and analytical capabilities. In addition, the company found that that the attackers previously spied on other targets such as participants in the international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program and people attending the 70th anniversary event of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The investigation is still ongoing, but Kaspersky said it will take only a few weeks to figure out what the purpose of these attacks may be. However, the hackers may not be able to pull this off any longer, since Kaspersky already added a Duqu 2.0 detection tool in its latest update.
Kaspersky has also expressed no interest in getting involved in any political matter, but has notified relevant law enforcement agencies of the attack nevertheless. Also, the company forwarded the zero-day exploit to Microsoft so the company may patch the exploit in future updates.
Researchers from Yahoo labs are said to have examined more than two million users exchanging about 16 billion messages in search of patterns. In order to conduct the study, they are said to have tracked the identities of senders and recipients, the time of day emails were sent, email length, the number of attachments, the type of device used, as well as demographic factors, including age and gender.
The study concluded that younger people tend to send shorter and faster replies compared to older people and that men send shorter and faster replies than women. This might not seem as something unfamiliar to us all, but the study has been performed on an extremely wide range of users and with actual proof, meaning it gives a lot more credibility to it.
Researchers also have proved that we respond more promptly during weekdays and working hours and that we respond to only a small fraction of messages, with short replies, when our inboxes get filled with new items.
The information gathered here is not only valuable to us as, but it is also valuable to computer algorithms. Developers can then use this data to create better email management applications to help and stop us from experiencing “overload”, a scientific term used when we would rather do anything else than open our inbox.
Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information
Snazzy Labs has reviewed the LogBar Ring, the result of a highly publicised $1 Million Kickstarter campaign, and concluded that it is, quite simply “the worst product ever made”.
The ring was featured all over the web, TV and print, being included in Time Magazine and on almost every tech site you can think of. It promised the user that it would be the ultimate wearable, allowing them to control pretty much any device with in-air hand gestures – like a swipe of the finger to change channel on your TV for instance.
Well Snazzy Labs found that most of this was pretty much nonsense, and what is included with the device mostly doesn’t work. They concluded that the gestures only work about 5-10% of the time and they’re largely pointless because you have to have the app open on your iOS or Android device for them to work. A quick look at their Kickstarter pages reveal comments like:
“So who’s in for a group lawsuit? This thing is a piece of crap and they won’t even respond to requests for refunds.”
Just watch the review and you’ll know why you need to stay well away from this product.
Bell Labs, part of Alcatel-Lucent have achieved a jaw dropping world record of 10Gbps over a standard copper telephone line. Achieved as part of a research project to investigate the possibility of bringing Gigabit internet to broadband networks that encompass copper lines along with high-speed fibre, Bell Labs were able to maintain the 10Gbps speeds over a distance of 30 metres using two pairs of lines in a bonded connection.
Although the top speed was recorded over a 30 metre stretch of standard telephone cable, past this distance and particularly past 70m, the speed drops down to 1Gbps, however this is still good news as it means that 1Gbps connections in both directions may be possible for broadband users who have FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) type connections.
High speed connections over short runs of copper cables are a common sight these days thanks to the above mentioned FTTC type connections, with speeds in the region of 80Mbps possible depending on your proximity to the nearest cabinet. To go past this level of speed and on to the 1Gbps barrier, Bell had to rethink how data is sent across the copper and this meant using a new DSL standard known as G.fast. Further more Bell Labs have developed an extension of the G.fast standard known as XG-FAST allowing the faster speeds to be obtained over shorter distances – say 10Gbps over 30m.
Following the new record, Federico Guillén, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Networks gave a statement saying:
“The Bell Labs speed record is an amazing achievement, but crucially in addition they have identified a new benchmark for ‘real-world’ applications for ultra-broadband fixed access. XG-FAST can help operators accelerate FTTH deployments, taking fiber very close to customers without the major expense and delays associated with entering every home. By making 1 gigabit symmetrical services over copper a real possibility, Bell Labs is offering the telecommunications industry a new way to ensure no customer is left behind when it comes to ultra-broadband access.”
Simply put, this news means that the prospect of having 1Gbps internet connections without the need for a FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) type connection is on the horizon and in the next few years Google (who currently offer Gigabit Fibre internet in the US) are likely to have a whole lot more competition to deal with. Should we be excited? Simply put yes – especially if you struggle to get high-speed internet right now.