Researchers used a laser to hack Alexa and other voice assistants

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San Francisco (CNN Business)Usually you have to talk to voice assistants to get them to do what you want. But a group of researchers determined they can also command them by shining a laser at smart speakers and other gadgets that house virtual helpers such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications figured out they could do this silently and from hundreds of feet away, as long as they had a line of sight to the smart gadget. The finding could enable anyone (with motivation and a few hundred dollars’ worth of electronics) to attack a smart speaker from outside your house, making it do anything from playing music to opening a smart garage door to buying you stuff on Amazon.

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7 arguments against the autonomous-vehicle utopia

Neolix self-driving vehicle seen at the IEEV New Energy Vehicles Exhibition in Beijing

All the ways the self-driving future won’t come to pass.

Self-driving cars are coming. Tech giants such as Uber and Alphabet have bet on it, as have old-school car manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors. But even as Google’s sister company Waymo prepares to launch its self-driving-car service and automakers prototype vehicles with various levels of artificial intelligence, there are some who believe that the autonomous future has been oversold—that even if driverless cars are coming, it won’t be as fast, or as smooth, as we’ve been led to think. The skeptics come from different disciplines inside and out of the technology and automotive industries, and each has a different bear case against self-driving cars. Add them up and you have a guide to all the ways our autonomous future might not materialize.

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The big hack: How China used a tiny chip to infiltrate U.S. companies

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The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.

In 2015, Amazon.com Inc. began quietly evaluating a startup called Elemental Technologies, a potential acquisition to help with a major expansion of its streaming video service, known today as Amazon Prime Video. Based in Portland, Ore., Elemental made software for compressing massive video files and formatting them for different devices. Its technology had helped stream the Olympic Games online, communicate with the International Space Station, and funnel droone footage to the Central Intelligence Agency. Elemental’s national security contracts weren’t the main reason for the proposed acquisition, but they fit nicely with Amazon’s government businesses, such as the highly secure cloud that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was building for the CIA.

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The World Wide Web’s inventor warns it’s in peril on 28th anniversary

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, now wants to save it.

The computer scientist who wrote the blueprint for what would become the World Wide Web 28 years ago today is alarmed at what has happened to it in the past year.

“Over the past 12 months, I’ve become increasingly worried about three new trends, which I believe we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool which serves all of humanity,” he said in a statement issued from London. He cited compromised personal data; fake news that he says has “spread like wildfire”; and the lack of regulation in political advertising, which he says threatens democracy.

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Hacking for a cause is today’s growing trend in cyber security

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What is the overriding theme that all of the following data-breach headlines have in common from the past year? The Sony Pictures hack: Everything we know so far; Anonymous hackers release emails ordering bear cubs be killed; Hackers threaten to release names from adultery website; How Latest Snowden Leak Is Headache for White House; How DID hackers steal celebrities’ private iCloud photos? Connecting the dots yet? If not, here are a two more headlines to tip you off: Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway – With Me in It and Hacktivists taking aim at Dallas-Fort Worth police departments.

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Building the next generation of smart cities

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Smart cites tap into technology and social experiments.

Cities are becoming the focal point for policy and investment activities that drive economic growth and build more resilient social structures to address disasters, climate change, and healthcare. The ongoing financial crisis has prompted city managers globally to think about ways to achieve greater efficiencies and compete against other cities and regions for talent and business.

 

 

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NSA installed spy malware on laptops purchased online

Der Spiegel based on internal NSA documents, reports that the signals intelligence agency’s elite hacking unit (TAO) is able to conduct sophisticated wiretaps in ways that make Hollywood fantasy look more like reality. The report indicates that the NSA, in collaboration with the CIA and FBI, routinely and secretly intercepts shipping deliveries for laptops or other computer accessories in order to implant bugs before they reach their destinations.

 

 

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To understand new technology ask the people using it for crime

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The best way to understand new technology, according to futurist Jamais Cascio, isn’t to ask people who made it, but you need to ask the people who are using it in off-label ways to do potentially illicit things. These are the people who are going to find the most compelling ways of using things, and also unpack the ways a new tech might impact society in unpredictable ways.

 

 

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Brazilian doctor caught using silicon fingers to hack biometric scanner

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Finger-scanning biometric security technology as it turns out is pretty easy to hack,  A news report from the BBC reveals that a 29-year-old Brazilian doctor, Thaune Nunes Ferreira, working in a small town outside Sao Paulo was arrested over the weekend for allegedly using prosthetic silicone fingers to fake the presence of six of her colleagues.

 

 

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Chinese City is World Capital of Cyber-Espionage

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30% of “malicious” emails were sent from China and that 21.3% came from the city of Shaoxing alone

A city in eastern China has been identified as the world capital of cyber-espionage by an American internet security company.  The firm traced 12 billion emails in a study which showed that a higher number of “targeted attacks” on computers come from China than previously thought.

 

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Spherical Cows Help to Dump Metabolism Law

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According to a new mathematical analysis, the mysterious “3/4 law of metabolism” — proposed by Max Kleiber in 1932 and later described as “extended to all life forms” from bacteria to whales — is wrong.

Apparently, the mysterious “3/4 law of metabolism” — proposed by Max Kleiber in 1932, printed in biology textbooks for decades, explained theoretically in Science in 1997 and described in a 2000 essay in Nature as “extended to all life forms” from bacteria to whales — is just plain wrong.

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First Electronic Quantum Processor Created

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The two-qubit processor is the first solid-state quantum processor that resembles a conventional computer chip and is able to run simple algorithms

A team led by Yale University researchers has created the first rudimentary solid-state quantum processor, taking another step toward the ultimate dream of building a quantum computer.

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