3D-Print Your Own TSA Master Keys

In a not too distant future your average person will be able to print their own door keys thanks to the technique of 3D printing. Which is great news for those who have lost there’s, not so good if some bright spark has created and uploaded the plans so that you can print your very own TSA Master Keys.

These keys were designed by the Transportation Security Administration following the 9/11 attacks to ensure the safety of travellers into and around the US by requiring any lock on bags to be branded as “travel sentry approved”. This is to enable airport security staff to carry out searches without having to break the lock or bag. These keys are meant to be kept secret; this was up until an article by The Washington Post which was uploaded in 2014 and conveyed a photograph of seven master keys. The respected news source finally took the pictures down in August 2015, but not before a security researcher by the username “Xyl2k” managed to both create and post 3D printing files of all seven master keys to code site Github.

Do they work? Yep, others have test printed them and it turns out you really can open other people’s luggage, sorry, I meant your own. below is a video which has been uploaded to Twitter concerning this.  This might be going off topic, but the source for this story is The Guardian, who decided to place an image to illustrate the story, what did they go for? see for yourself, the link is at the end of the article, let’s just say it looks to be potentially painful to a poor flyer.

“Xyl2k” has stated that the reason the plans were uploaded was to warn against the security flaws in “master keys” and the potential for them to be exploited as in this case. The laughable aspect concerns The Washington Post and their willingness to exist in a parallel universe, a month before the photos were published, the news source rallied for a so-called “Golden Key” which could be used by tech companies, this theoretical key would be then only used with a court order. The big glaring elephant in the room lies with the very fact that it could be copied and then misused by a wide variety of individuals, organisations and groups.

I do wish people would stop simplifying tech to the point of stupidity, for example, the general consensus from powerful officials is that encryption is bad, so why not simplify it and remove it. There is a philosophy term for this and it is called Occam’s Razor, the principle states that among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Therefore, The Washington Post has simplified the many outcomes by suggesting a “Golden Key” to be stored by various tech companies. The only problem with that is the many hackers which include state sponsored virtual safe crackers are smarter than your average David Cameron.

This article has been written on September 11th 2015 but would be published on the 12th, this may seem a bit late when reading this, but I would just like to take a minute to pay respects to the near 3000 people who tragically lost their lives on that day 14 years ago to the most brutal of acts.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” –Nelson Mandela

Thank you The Guardian and Github for providing us with this information.

The Privacy Question Of Windows 10

Windows 10 is out as of today (Wednesday 29th July 2015) and on the surface is a major improvement over the much maligned Windows 8. This should be excellent news for consumers, which it is to a large extent, but what is lurking under the hood in terms of privacy?

Well, according to the Windows 10 piracy and service agreement (even word knows where I am going with this as I typed privacy and this was changed to piracy) There are a few settings which you might want to take note of.

Data Sync

Firstly, Microsoft has implemented “Data Syncing” by default, this means when you sign in with your Windows account, the operating system immediately syncs settings and data to the companies servers. This includes your browser history, favourites and the websites you currently have open as well as saved app, website and mobile hotspot passwords and Wi-Fi network names and passwords.

You can opt out of this if you look under “settings” but just to be clear, you are already opted in to Data Sync unless you decide that you would rather not have your history on Microsoft’s servers.

Information Cortana shares

Like the idea of voice assistant “Cortana” you might also like to know what data is also shared within this feature, which includes information such as your device location, data from calendars, the apps you use, data from emails and texts, who you call, your contacts, how often you use your device (takes in a deep breath) What music you like, alarm settings, if you have the lock screen on, what you view and purchase, your voice input as well as nicknames, names of people and appointments, whether or not you’re building an underground lair aaannnndddd how often you interact with them on your device. Granted Cortana is designed to “learn” from analysing information, a lot of information as it turns out.

Microsoft’s encryption and collection of data

The terms and conditions also state that Microsoft will collect app use data for apps that run on Windows’ and ‘data about the networks you connect to” Windows 10 will also generate a unique advertising ID for each user on each device, this can and probably will be used by developers and ad networks to profile you. You can turn advertising profiling off in the settings, which might be worth a look.

Like the idea of encrypting your drive? It might be worth mentioning that your BitLocker recovery key will be backed up to your OneDrive account.

Disclosing data

Now for the killer privacy lacking feature, the following is what Microsoft defines as to who they might disclose your data to.

“We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services”

This is not clear when the criteria would be met and who they might disclose private data in folders to. Behind the glossy façade lays at the very least a few questionable policies which might infringe on basic liberties. If you’re using Windows 10, I would have another look at the settings to see what can be turned off, that is unless you’re happy with Microsoft’s new arrangements with its customers.

Thank You thenextweb, Microsoft Privacy and service agreement

Image courtesy of christianpost

Drones Could Be The Next Weapon Of Choice For ISIS

With each new tech invention arrives the phenomenon of how quickly it can be weaponised, from servers to self-driving cars; there is always a fixation with causing harm to others from certain sections of society. As Drones are becoming more popular with the mainstream, so have the coined IS or ISIS or whatever David Cameron insists on calling them, have reportedly noticed.

An unnamed counter-terrorism source told the Express that terror groups had beentrying to launch a drone-borne bomb attack for some time, as these machines are getting more hi-tech every year.” This has echoed a report which was published In March by the House of Lords EU Select Committee which highlighted some of the risks derived from the rapid increase in the use of commercial and civilian drones for services including photography and land surveillance.

So is the threat which is stated within the report genuinely authentic? Possibly, Drones are a convenient way to have your very own miniature air weapon. But one aspect which frustrates me is the use of the phrase “Unnamed counter-terrorism source” If the threat is substantial then we the public need to be correctly informed by a well-known and respectable official, an Unknown Source could lead to an individual with an agenda that has no reliable facts.

Thank you RT for providing us with this information

Robot Hotel Opens And Greets Human Guests

Science fiction dictates that a variation of building will be or is being run by robots, the notion of walking into a complex and being confronted by the manager who is “Dave 2.0” and is a shiny robot seemed farfetched. Well, now you can experience just this with the grand opening of a hotel which is staffed almost entirely by robots.

The hotel in question is based within south-western Japan and is rather bluntly called “Weird Hotel” Which is a bit of an understatement considering the hotel is situated within an amusement park. Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel, states the opinion that by using robots, it’s less of a gimmick and more of a serious effort to utilize technology and achieve efficiency.

The hotel was unveiled to journalists with the centre piece being robot demonstrations and the use of facial recognition technology. This means instead of the normal electronic keys, this new tech allows guests to register the digital image of their face during check-in. The roles for humans are limited but exist in the form of security and also making beds, the last thing the hotel owner wants is a human breaking in and stealing the robot cook from the resort.

On the surface, this seems a unique yet futuristic adoption of modern tech into real life. Unfortunately if this is the future, then where will humans exactly find employment? A hotel run where wages are not factored in is a worrying trend for society moving forward, even if it looks cool.

Thank You NBC News for providing us with this information

Zhuhai CTC To Unveil New 3D Printer

3D printing is promising to be the future tech of choice, the notion of printing a vast array of objects in your own living room appeals to a wide range of people and also sectors.

A company by the name of Zhuhai CTC Electronics who are notable 3D printer manufacturer based in China have confirmed that they will be unveiling a new “affordable” desktop 3D printing machine at the International Software Convergence & Innovation Expo, which is being held within a coastal city by the name of Qingdao eastern China in early July. According to reports, this will be the first high-resolution 3D printer which will be affordable for the average consumer. How affordable? Well the price with which this machine is being marketed at is around $1480 dollars, this is around £943.07, and of course this is assuming the price does not jump when it reaches the shores of the EU.

In order to achieve high user growth, the electronics firm has adopted the minimum layer detail thickness of 0.1mm which veers away from the common 0.025mm of similar 3D printers. This is not as detailed as the latter’s measurements, but this is what keeps this machine cheaper than its competitors.

As you can see below, this 3D printer is portable and will not take up much space, the specs which have been released for this potential machine is as follows.

Will it take off? This depends if consumers will adopt this new form of printing while having the ability to market a product at the price indicated when we are still very much in the midst of a flat lining economy. It’s a step forward for this new tech innovation, but adoption will need to be realistic until the price matches the budgets and expectations of a wider section of society

Thank You PR Newswire for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of tagloom  computerweekly and PR Newswire

Toshiba Developing New Encryption?

Encryption is an essential and fundamental way to keep people safe online, Hear that world governments! ESSENTIAL! From keeping information away from hackers in the banking sector to assisting journalists in their exceptional work exposing corruption within various forms, encryption is imperative.

But it does have its weaknesses which have been highlighted by many cases involving individuals who would rather all information be freely available within many communications outlets. Encryption is in need of a revamp which might be a reality thanks to tech company Toshiba who will be undertaking verification testing on a new form of encryption technique which the Tokyo based firm says is “unbreakable”

Toshiba are naming this project a testing of Quantum Cryptographic Communication System. So what is a Quantum Cryptographic system? Well according to Toshiba’s website this technique uses quantum physics to ensure that genomic data encrypted with digital keys remains secret. This differs from standard communications which are being intercepted by measuring a part of the optical signal, Toshiba aims to bring this project to market within five years of full development.

Sounds promising, but Toshiba also states that potential users will be public agencies and also medical institutions, as yet it’s unclear if Mr Average Jo will benefit from this potential innovation. It also remains to be seen if this technique is “unbreakable” as this definition is open to interpretation.

Thank You Toshiba for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of Bloomberg Business

When Two Robot Cars Meet On A Street

When a car driver pulls out in front of a fellow motorist, you will more often than not be called a variation of the word banker, although to be fair most bankers are called, well as this is eTeknix there described as individuals with little intelligence of risk taking, as this is what I have been told to say by the editor.

But what happens when two robot cars meet each other on a regular everyday street? Wonder no more as on Thursday one robot car decided to cut off another robot vehicle on a San Antonio Road in Palo Alto US. The incident took place between a Google self driving prototype car which decided to cut off a robot car which was operated by Delphi Automotive, forcing the later to change lanes.

Google have been testing a prototype Lexus RX400h crossover which has been adapted to include sensors and cameras which hopefully enables the car to drive itself and allegedly see where it’s going. This tech may need tinkering with after forcing the Audi Q5 crossover which is operated by Delphi to change lanes.

The fail safe to these cars arrives courtesy of a human passenger who is sitting in the car for those occasions when the AI fancy’s a trip through Walmart, or Asda if you’re a reader in the UK. To my mind it just goes to show how advanced a human brain is and how as yet under developed artificial AI is. I am glad these cars are prototypes at this stage; otherwise I would certainly feel less confident pulling up at the traffic lights, only to look to my left and see a robot car who suddenly fancies a race with its owner reclining while playing Mario on the 3DS.

Thank You Reuters for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of Cosmoso

Bacteria Free BlackBerry Arriving At Hospital?

Before Apple and Samsung became kings of the smartphone market, BlackBerry used to be ubiquitous for businesses who desired a convenient way of communicating. But over recent times Blackberry has fallen somewhat from the tree? Bush possibly? Anyway from plummeting sales to whatever the hell Alicia Keys role was, it’s been a turbulent trading period for the smartphone maker.

But BlackBerry is not quite out of ideas with Chief Executive Officer John Chen stating that they may design a bacteria-free smartphone, Yes not quite the showstopper you were all thinking. The concept behind this is BlackBerry envisages a world where Health care professionals will adopt this innovation as a secure device with which to communicate with.

This does not sound important, but a bacteria free smartphone will be of significant benefit once a study by the Journal of Applied Microbiology is taken into account. This study found that about 20 – 30 percent of germs are transferred between a phone and a fingertip. This is a sizeable proportion which could lead to an infection being transported to a patient which in turn could be life threatening

Although this is nothing more than a concept at this stage, BlackBerry is teaming up with ThoughtWire and Cisco Systems to provide nurses and doctors at a Canadian hospital with a portable alerts and messaging system.

This concept does have real world applications if developed, but it remains to be seen if BlackBerry are able to reach former glories in an ever-evolving market.

Thank You to BNN for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of Daily Mobile

Google’s Inception Module

Google are an innovative bunch who invest in concepts which can be visually stimulating, I could have found a more apt word, but will stick with it. This time around the search giant’s creation, in this case goes by the name of “The Inception Module” and is software which is an artificial neural network which identifies certain characteristics within an image.

Sounds complicated but look at it this way, when you gaze at clouds you may find these clumps of water vapour morph into objects. This is a rudimentary viewpoint of the software which, when processing an image can over analyse what it sees and therefore, perceive something which is not present. Look below; it looks as if this jpeg has been designed by a Photoshop beginner, what it actually represents is the picture of the clouds was loaded into the software, the end result being the code has over defined to include the same result as following Ozzy Osborne on a night out.

At this stage, the software is attempting to mimic the human brain which is extremely complex, in fact, scientists have yet to discover every part of the brain and the function with which it represents.   It’s a clever piece of software which no doubt will improve over time and with it, a greater understanding of how we perceive images.

Image Courtesy of New Scientist and ColdBox

Thank You arxiv and New Scientist for providing us with this information

Solar Cell Hits High efficiency, Can Power Remote Locations

Another day towards greener future has passed and researchers over Aalto University with Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya has managed to boost the efficiency of solar cell by 4 percentages on nanostructured silicon solar cells. These solar cells are also referred as ‘Black Silicon’. These solar cells can convert solar energy to usable energy (electrical) with an efficiency of 22.1%. The Black silicon is far better at collecting light from the sun at low angles and thus can be used in northern regions where it is common.

This is an advantage particularly in the north, where the sun shines from a low angle for a large part of the year. We have demonstrated that in winter Helsinki, black cells generate considerably more electricity than traditional cells even though both cells have identical efficiency values, Professor Hele Savin said. In the near future, the goal of the team is to apply the technology to other cell structures – in particular, thin and multi-crystalline cells.

The new Black Silicon is expected to be cheap and good for mass production. It can replace the current solar cell and should reach the end market soon. It is going to be a very useful tool to produce electricity in remote locations where power supply via grid is not yet possible. We currently do not have any more information on any release date, but we will keep you up to date as soon as we do.

Thank you Nature for providing us with this information.

Samsung Working On Phone With Three-Sided Screen

Samsung Electronics is planning a Galaxy smartphone next year with a three-sided display that wraps around the edges so messages can be read from an angle. Having the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex on the market, the trend is due to continue next year.

A tweaked version of Samsung’s technology called Youm ,currently featured in the curved Galaxy Round handset, is likely to be the prime candidate that we’ll see in future phones. The display may be used in the S or Note series of premium handsets or may be the first in a new line. Samsung plans to have each side of the display operate independently.

Samsung is competing with Apple to introduce innovative devices as they brace for a slowdown in the high-end smartphone segment, where Samsung sells about one of every three devices. Apple is developing new iPhone designs including bigger screens with curved glass and enhanced sensors that can detect different levels of pressure, a person familiar with the plans said Nov. 10.

Thank you Bloomberg and Android Central
Image courtesy of BGR

Apple Reportedly Working On iPhone With Curved Screen

As every year, we get a lot of rumors about what Apple is going to release next in terms of its well known handset, the iPhone. The most questionable one so far is what Bloomberg uncovered as being an iPhone with curved screen.

According Bloomberg’s report, Apple is designing iPhones with screen sizes between 4.7-inch to 5.5-inch. Not only that but these big screens are apparently curved around the edges. The company is also said to be experimenting with touchscreens that can detect different levels of pressure. Two models are rumored to be planned for release in the second half of next year would feature larger displays with glass that curves downward at the edges.

Apple’s testing and development of new materials follows its history of working with suppliers to produce new technologies that can enhance device functions. However, testing continues on the pressure-sensitive technology, which is unlikely to be ready for the next iPhone release and is instead planned for a later model.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information