If you haven’t checked for an update for your Galaxy and Note phones recently, or have been putting off that update, go ahead and do it now.
Some of the holes in security include a Samsung specific IMEI manipulation vulnerability, in which if someone stole your phone and you had it blacklisted, there’s a method for getting around that. Basically it makes your stolen Galaxy more valuable as criminals can resell them.
That along with over 20 vulnerabilities have been patched, which mean about one in five people have bothered to install them as of today putting about 36 million people at risk if I did the maths right.
Basically update. Swipe down, cog, system updates, check for updates, boom.[Forbes]
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- Resilience Engineering Papers — This doc contains notes about people active in resilience engineering, as well as some influential researchers who are no longer with us, organized alphabetically. It also includes people and papers from related fields, such as cognitive systems engineering and naturalistic decision-making.
- Sweet 16 — a metaprocessor or “pseudo microprocessor” implemented in 6502 assembly language. Originally written by Steve Wozniak and used in the Apple II, Sweet 16 can also be ported to other 6502-based systems to provide useful 16-bit functionality. This article includes the source code for Sweet 16, along with a brief history, programming instructions, and notes to help port it. I was amazed at how soon emulators appear in the history of computing—eg., John Backus’s Speedcode from 1953.
- Thinking, Storytelling, and Designing with Long Timespans — syllabus for class taught by Stuart Candy at the Long Now Foundation. (via Twitter)
- Section 230 Going Into Trade Deals (NYT) — The protections, which stem from a 1990s law, have already been tucked into the administration’s two biggest trade deals—the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and a pact with Japan that President Trump signed on Monday. American negotiators have proposed including the language in other prospective deals, including with the European Union, Britain, and members of the World Trade Organization. […] The American rules, codified in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, shield online platforms from many lawsuits related to user content and protect them from legal challenges stemming from how they moderate content. Those rules are largely credited with fueling Silicon Valley’s rapid growth. The language in the trade deals echoes those provisions but contains some differences.
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- Ken Thompson’s Unix Password — Somewhere around 2014 I found an /etc/passwd file in some dumps of the BSD 3 source tree, containing passwords of all the old timers such as Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, Brian W. Kernighan, Steve Bourne, and Bill Joy. Those passwords are very amenable to modern cracking methods, but Thompson’s was the last to be cracked…
- How to Run a Remote-First Open-Space Un-Conference — neat!
- Libcaca — a graphics library that outputs text instead of pixels so that it can work on older video cards or text terminals.
- MIT’s AppInventor Now Does AI — AI with MIT App Inventor includes tutorial lessons as well as suggestions for student explorations and project work. Each unit also includes supplementary teaching materials: lesson plans, slides, unit outlines, assessments and alignment to the Computer Science Teachers of America (CSTA) K12 Computing Standards.
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Since 2016, the human pilots of the Drone Racing League have competed to see who could whip a quadcopter around pylons and through hoops the fastest. On Tuesday, they’ll get a new challenge: the fully autonomous RacerAI, a drone programmed to fly itself.
Nine teams of programmers from around the world have have been coding for months to come up with the best software to control the Drone Racing League-designed RacerAI. Their work, along with the drone itself, will debut at the Addition Financial Arena in Orlando, Florida. The software needs to take advantage of the drone’s four cameras, four propellers and Nvidia processor.
The RacerAI looks more like a flying fish or bird of prey than a conventional quadcopter. Its arrow-like body emphasizes its purpose: full speed ahead.
The race will be the first in the new Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing series, which uses simpler courses that pit computer-piloted drones against each other. The series culminates on Dec. 6, when the best AI-piloted drone will take on a human pilot in Austin, Texas.
“We’re here to watch as robotics evolve beyond humanity,” said Ryan Gury, DRL’s chief technology officer and designer of the league’s current racing drones. “We believe in the future of autonomous robotics.”
Competitions that pit humans against machines can be compelling. IBM computers famouslyand , and kicked up the difficulty level with its wins against the best players of the Go board game. We all know computers have us beat when it comes to doing math and remembering anniversaries, but it’s somewhere between fun and scary to watch the bots win in other domains.
The physical world is a less cerebral AI challenge than translating French into English or self-driving cars, passenger aircraft or delivery drones that have to deal with their surroundings.. Boston Dynamics’ humanoid and its . Similarly, the DRL’s RacerAI is designed to physically navigate on its own in the real world. Granted, it’s the limited domain of a race course inside a big arena, but it isn’t hard to see how this technology can apply to
Gury is a see what the drone sees over a wireless link. But he thinks AI-powered drones will ultimately prove superior. When? “2023 is our bet,” he said. “Everything really begins to shape up when you see robots outperform humans physically.”himself, one of those people who dons a headset to
RacerAI drone design
When human pilots fly a racing drone, a radio link lets them see things from the drone’s perspective. With the RacerAI, all the thinking takes place on the drone itself — specifically on an Nvidia Xavier processor designed for autonomous vehicles.
It’s pretty power-hungry, consuming 40 watts of power. That’s something like 20 times the power your phone processor uses. The RacerAI can fly only 2 to 3 minutes on one battery charge, about the same as the human-piloted racing drones, according to Gury.
Most drones, including the DRL’s Racer4 that the league’s human pilots fly and its record-setting RacerX that hit a top speed of 179.3 miles per hour, are an X shape, with two propellers in front and two propellers in the rear. The RacerAI takes a different approach — the shape of a plus sign. The propellers on the front, left and right point downward, while the rear propeller points upward.
Diagonal struts connect the front propeller to the left and right propellers, and each of those diagonals has a pair of fisheye cameras about 8 inches (20cm) apart. Each camera pair can be used to see in 3D stereoscopically, like human eyes. With two pairs, the drone gets that 3D vision ability for the entire 180-degree view, Gury said.
Nine drone programming teams
The nine AIRR teams, selected from more than 340 that tried out, are from around the world. They have names like the Warsaw MIMotaurs from Poland, MAVlab from the Netherlands, Team Puffin from Sweden and Icarus from Georgia Tech in the US.
Their job is to write software that interprets data from the cameras and the drone’s inertial tracking system and then instructs the drone on how to fly.
This year, the autonomous drone race courses won’t be as complex as those the human pilots tackle. Expect straight lines and basic slaloming, with gates helpfully marked so they’re easy for computer vision systems to spot. The first drone races will likely each take about a half minute.
But DRL will make the courses harder. “As we see competition evolve, we start to raise the stakes,” Gury said.
Bot versus bot
Researchers can learn a lot by pitting one chess-playing computer against another, and indeed the AlphaGo system partly learned how to win by playing itself. But the rise of robot pilots raises a new question for the relatively young league: Will people want to watch machines races machines?
It’s easy to anthropomorphize the physical ordeal that BattleBots face as they smash, pound and saw each other. But even there, a human is behind the remote control. It’s harder to put yourself in the shoes of a programming team trying to optimize training data and figure out how many layers deep a drone’s neural network programming should be.
It’s definitely enough to get Gury’s juices flowing: “What we want to see is the greatest autonomous drones in the world.”
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Aerial threat: Why drone hacking could be bad news for the military
Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly called drones, are now a fundamental part of defense force capability, from intelligence gathering to unmanned engagement in military operations. But what happens if our own technology is turned against us?
Between 2015 and 2022, the global commercial drone market is expected to grow from A$5.95 billion (Australian dollars) to A$7.47 billion.
However, as with all IT technology, manufacturers and users may leave the digital doors unlocked. This potentially leaves opportunities for cyber-criminals and perhaps even cyber-warfare.
Imagine a defense operation in which a drone is sent out to spy on enemy territory. The enemy identifies the drone but instead of disabling it, compromises the sensors (vision, sonar, and so on) to inject false data. Acting upon such data could then result in inappropriate tactics and, in a worst case scenario, may even lead to avoidable casualties.
U.K. cybersecurity consultant James Dale warned earlier this year that “equipment is now available to hack drones so they can bypass technology controls.”
Drones are relatively cheap technologies for military use — certainly cheaper than the use of satellites for surveillance. Off-the-shelf drones can be used to gather intelligence, without any significant development effort.
Meanwhile, governments have cracked down on illegal civilian drone use, and imposed no-fly zones around secure infrastructure such as airports. Drone manufacturers have been forced to provide “geofencing” software to avoid situations such as the recent drone strike in a Saudi oil field. However, cyber criminals are smart enough to bypass such controls and openly provide services to help consumers get past government and military-enforced no-fly zones.
Russian software company Coptersafe sells such modifications for a few hundred dollars. Anyone can buy a drone from a retail store, purchase the modifications, and then send their drone into no-fly zones such as military bases and airports. Ironically, Russia’s military base in Syria came under attack from drones last year.
Australia on the frontline
Australia is at the frontier of the military drone revolution, equipping itself with a fleet of hundreds of new drones. Lieutenant Colonel Keirin Joyce, discussing the program in a recent defense podcast, declared Australia will soon be “the most unmanned [air vehicle] army in the world per capita.”
It will be essential to safeguard every single component of this sophisticated unmanned aerial fleet from cyber attack.
When drones were developed, cybersecurity was not a priority. Let’s explore a few potential threats to drone technology:
- Drone navigation is based on the Global Positioning System (GPS). It’s possible an attacker can break the encryption of this communication channel. Fake signals can be fed to the targeted drone and the drone effectively gets lost. This type of attack can be launched without being in close physical proximity.
- With knowledge of the flight controller systems, hackers can gain access using “brute force” attacks. Then, the captured video footage can be manipulated to mislead the operator and influence ground operations.
- A drone fitted with sensors could be manipulated by injecting rogue signals. For example, the gyroscopes on a drone can be misled using an external source of audio energy. Cyber criminals may take advantage of this design characteristic to create false sensor readings.
- Drones’ onboard control systems are effectively small computers. Drone control systems (onboard and ground-based controllers) are also vulnerable to malicious software or Maldrone (malware for drones). The founder and CTO of CloudSEK, Rahul Sasi discovered a backdoor in the Parrot AR.Drone. Using malicious software, an attacker can establish remote communication and can take control of the drone. Attackers can also inject false data to mislead the operators. This type of malware can be installed silently without any visible sign to the operators. The consequences are significant if the drones are used for military operations.
As with traditional cyber-crime, it’s likely 2019 will see a sharp rise in drone-related incidents. However, these security breaches should not discourage the use of drones for personal, industrial or military applications. Drones are great tools in the era of smart cities, for instance.
But we should not forget the potential for cyber crime — and nowhere are the stakes higher than in military drone use. Clearly, the use of drones needs to be carefully regulated. And the first step is for the government and the Australian Defence Force to be fully aware of the risks.
This article first appeared on The Conversation.
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