Technology has a way of scaring people, from the original fears that the TV would create a horde of mindless zombies to the argument that video games promote violence. One of the oldest fears though is with wireless technology, something that is relatively modern in the world, and the effect that it may have on our bodies given how recent its mainstream usage has become. Don’t worry though because a company has come up with some nifty underwear to help protect you from your mobile phone radiation.
Kronjuwelen (translated as “crown jewels”) is the German startup responsible for the underwear in question, a set of clothing designed specifically to protect men’s nether regions from the effects of mobile phones radiations.
The underwear itself is lined with “protective silver threads”, designed to absorb 70 percent of WiFi signals and 98% from your mobile phone. With four different sizes (but sadly only one colour) the underwear comes in at $32. The four co-founders state that they don’t want to “live with these potential risks anymore”, with the disclaimer that they are “neither radiologists, physicists, nor cancer researchers, and we cannot finally determine the risks of mobile phone radiation.”
Better safe than sorry, especially when your future family may be involved seems to be the policy behind these boxers and I’m certain that others will feel the same way. With some studies showing abnormalities in sperm counts following on from exposure to wireless signals (please note there is no scientific consensus on if wireless signals do in fact affect sperm concentrations), some people will sleep better knowing that their future is safe with a silver lining.
We use our mobile phones for everything these days, from playing your latest game or reading your latest to talking about the last few days to your friends. Sometimes you just want to escape this, as a man from Chicago wanted when he started blocking cell phones on his daily subway trip.
Undercover officers arrested a 63-year-old man, who according to his lawyers just wanted to have a little quiet on his commute. The device he used to get that quiet was apparently imported from China, being used to block signals going to and from cell phones in his train car.
Dennis Nicholl’s lawyer stated that “he’s disturbed by people talking around him”. While this may be the case, people have been fined up to $48, 000 for using cell phone jammers, something that apparently Nicholl’s was doing for a while now.
The police were apparently told months ago and had even managed to obtain his photo, the end result being the undercover police. With a picture of Nicholl’s using the device on the subway, it was only a matter of time before they acted on the information. The charge Nicholl’s now faces is “unlawful interference with a public utility”, something he was also charged with back in 2009 for the same action.
Encrypted communication tools and software have seen a steady rise since the many surveillance revelations that were exposed by whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowdon. The notion of encrypting your emails, web browsing history and even phone calls have led to a battle over security vs state monitoring, but, what are the weaknesses within these various encrypted apps? A new study has found that we humans often compromised our own anonymity.
The observation in question was discovered by researchers at the University of Alabama who performed a study that “Mimicked a cryptophone app”. These apps including Signal may ask both parties who are either texting or calling to “verbally compare a short string of words they see on their screens which is often referred to as a checksum or short authentication string” This is with the aim of ensuring that a new communication session has not been intercepted by a third-party, if it has, the words will not match up and thus it is not secure.
Sounds secure, the study has found that the flaw lies in many cases with human error itself, let me explain. Researchers designed the aforementioned mimicking of a cryptophone app before asking participants within the control group to use a web browser to make a call to an online server. They were then asked to listen to a random two or four word sequence before determining if it matched the words they saw on the computer screen in front of them. The control group were also asked to determine if the voice they heard was the same as one they’d heard previously reading a short story.
Researchers found that the study control group would more often than not accept calls when hearing the wrong sequence of words and reject calls when the sequence was transmitted correctly. It was also found that a four word checksum decreased the overall level of security when it should in theory increase it. To put it into perspective, out of 128 participants, an incorrect two-word string was accepted 30% of the time, while the same level two-word string that was spoken correctly was rejected 22% of the time. Four word strings had even worse results with incorrect strings being accepted 40% of the time while rejecting ones that were in fact correct 25% of the time.
A possible cause could lie in the fact that these words are random and not easily placed in a sentence, therefore, we humans tend to zone out and therefore lose concentration, the result could be that we think we hear something which is in fact incorrect or vice versa.
It’s an interesting experiment which could lead to better development of apps that aim to keep conversations secure.
A private instant messaging app that has the approval of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has finally been released for Android devices. Signal, developed by Open Whisper Systems, has been available for iOS since 2014, combining its previous two apps RedPhone and TextSecure, and is considered the most secure messaging and voice call app available, also garnering the support of online privacy advocates the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Signal is open source, available on GitHub, and uses advanced end-to-end encryption protocols to secure data for both sender and receiver, and allows message verification via key fingerprints and call integrity through checking matching words on both ends. The app also supports group chat, with none of the metadata related to group membership stored by Open Whisper Systems.
“As always, Signal uses your existing phone number and address book. There are no separate logins, usernames, passwords, or PINs to manage or lose,” the Signal webpage reads. “We cannot hear your conversations or see your messages, and no one else can either. Everything in Signal is always end-to-end encrypted, and painstakingly engineered in order to keep your communication safe.”
Snowden is a famous advocate of Signal, reaffirming his support following the release of the app for Android:
We have been talking a lot about the limitations of fibre optic cabling and signal transfer for a while now; if you recall back a few weeks, we covered a story regarding how we could be ‘running out of internet‘. Well, it now seems that scientists have overcome these issues. Researchers in the San Diego-based University of California have demonstrated a new way of passing signals through fibre optical cabling over vast distances with very little to no signal loss.
Fibre optic cables are simply amazing, high-speed data transfers have allowed us to jump from basic <20mbps internet connections to >100mbps in the last few years alone. The issue with this method of data transfer is that over a certain amount of cable, the data can start losing integrity without the use of amplifiers. These amplifiers (repeaters) boost the signal to overcome the signal loss, but fibre optic repeaters are expensive. With the new method of ‘combing’ the data signals into much more concentrated signals, researchers have managed to send data over a huge 7,400 miles of fibre cable with little to no signal loss and only using standard amplifiers; which is a massively cheaper option.
What does this mean for us? We could see much faster and cheaper fibre optic connections in the near future. Are you currently using a fibre optic based internet connection? Why not drop into our forums and join the Internet Speed conversation.
Thank you to Slashdot for providing us with this information.
Yes this is still eTeknix and no you haven’t tuned in for the latest Jamie Oliver recipe, oh and before you ask, no I am not wearing a tin foil hat while preaching that the world is going to end. This is the slightly bizarre story of how a Pitta Bread has been used by researchers from Tel Aviv University to conceal a radio transmitter capable of stealing encrypted keys.
As this image below demonstrates, the PITA Device uses an unshielded loop antenna made of plain copper wire which is wound into 3 turns of diameter 13 cm. A tuning capacitor is chosen to maximize sensitivity at 1.7 MHz; this technique captures the key-dependent leakage signal with an SDR receiver being used and which is controlled by a small embedded computer.
How this device connects and steals an encrypted key is by monitoring the differing signals a CPU makes while undertaking various activities, by analysing these radio signals it became possible to discover the key being implemented to secure an encrypted email.
Well this certainly adds a new meaning to the phrase “I think there’s something wrong with that loaf” On a slightly serious Bagel, I mean note, the research demonstrates albeit in a controlled test environment that it is possible, in theory for an attacker to conceal a small device within an object which in turn could possibly decrypt a key which is potentially guarding sensitive documents.
Currently the researchers have developed a range at which this transmitter would be able to steal encryption keys at around (1ft 8in) from said target device. Which is compelling considering this project has been developed at a university with the potential for an unknown source to harness and develop this technique with the aim of executing this device in the real world.
Scientists from Melbourne’s Swinburne University have detected alien radio signals from space in real time. The signals were captured by the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia, famously part of the communications network that helped relay the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing footage for TV broadcast around the world.
Emily Petroff, lead researcher at Swinburne University, was excited by the discovery, saying, “Fast radio bursts only last as long as it takes a human to blink their eye. That is what makes this discovery so exciting.”
“Because we were able to catch the act, as opposed to existing data sets, we were able to reveal that the radiation produced by FRB was more than 20 per cent circularly polarised and this suggests there were strong magnetic fields near the source.”
The waves picked up by the Parkes telescope were circular in shape, meaning the signal was on two planes – signals from Earth are commonly only one plane.
“There are two competing models to explain the phenomenon,” Petroff said.
“One suggests it is caused by the collapse or explosion of a star in other another galaxy, while the other suggests it comes from some sort of energy flaring from a neutron star.”
“However, both of these could be incorrect and it could be something entirely different.”
AOC has just released their new 17″ USB-powered monitor. Utilizing DisplayLink Technology, the E1759FWU is designed to be utilized as a secondary option for desktop PCs and laptops alike.
This monitor will be compatible with both MAC and PC, drawing its power and video signal through a single USB 3.0 cable. If you’re wondering why people would care about such a small screen in this day and age, the monitor will certainly be a handy second screen addition to people who are that way inclined. It also enables the user to have a further clutter-free work space, removing the need for external monitor power.
Providing a 1600 x 900 resolution at 60Hz and a total screen surface size of 17.3″, AOC’s new piece of tech can be used in either portrait or landscape modes in a 10ms response time. Given the features on offer, it’s obvious that this new model doesn’t offer anything ground breaking when compared to IPS and 120Hz monitors – but it will certainly be a nifty addition to those who work on a laptop and are looking for a little extra screen space.
The screen is now available at a price tag of $199, meaning it sits slightly higher than high-end 24″ ‘consumer’ panels currently on the market like ASUS’ VS248H-P.
How come my neighbour can steal my internet, but I can’t browse YouTube while on the toilet?
The age old question of signal issues irks most of us, it was also a problem for PhD Physics student, Jason Cole. Unlike the rest of us, he was determined to find out why – putting his knowledge to good use, he mapped out his apartment, assigning refraction values to the walls and applied ‘Hamholtz equations’ to model the electromagnetic waves.
Interested in the nitty gritty full information? If so, you can find it all listed in his blog which reaches a seemingly obvious solution. If you want the best signal for your house, put your wireless emitting device in the middle.
The basic findings of his research found that the centre is best, but putting your router in the corner of the apartment might be suitable – although signal was only achieved by “judiciously shifting around your laptop” as explained by Engadget.
What’s the tl;dr? If you want the best signal for your home wireless solution – put your router in the middle of the house.