Tag Archive | technology

NIST drops random number generator under suspicion of NSA tampering

For those of you who don’t know, certain forms of analysis require the usage of random number generators. A basic example of this can be found in even in the most widespread of programs like Microsoft Excel.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has discovered weaknesses in a number generating algorithm, and it is essentially blaming the NSA for creating backdoors to these generators. Randomness is crucial for different types of analysis/modeling. If your numbers are not random, it will adversely affect your analysis. Accusations like these are not new, however. NIST will no longer be using the algorithm – the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator.

Another interesting tidbit from the article:

NIST advised in September against using the DUAL_EC_DRBG module, shortly after news reports based on leaks from Edward Snowden appeared to confirm earlier suggestions dating from the algorithm’s 2006 publication that the NSA inserted a backdoor into it.

 

NIST drops random number generator under suspicion of NSA tampering

Google to buy drone-maker Titan Aerospace

reuters:

image

Google Inc said it will buy drone-maker Titan Aerospace in an attempt to provide Internet access to more parts of the world, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Google did not disclose a purchase price for Titan, whose solar-powered drones are intended to fly for years, the paper said. 

Read more: http://reut.rs/1iiYGlx

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder)

Google to Obama: Leave Us Out of Your Spying Fight

Seems as though the tech giant is motivated by bad publicity. Has anyone forgotten that they were compliant in the spying?

The politics between the feds and the tech giants are fascinating.

Google to Obama: Leave Us Out of Your Spying Fight

U.S. regulator says knocking out nine key substations could cause nationwide blackout

U.S. regulator says knocking out nine key substations could cause nationwide blackout

Utilities testing techology to track guns within 10 meters of gunfire

With the shooters who attacked a Silicon Valley power station last April still at large and Congress increasing pressure on utilities to do more to protect such facilities, electricity companies are looking at a new security technology popular among urban police forces.

Sensors that can immediately track, within 10 meters, the location of gunfire will soon be tested at two power stations. An executive at the Bay Area firm that manufactures that technology, ShotSpotter, said public safety concerns preclude him from disclosing exactly where.

The test run comes as the FBI remains flummoxed by the shooting at the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power station near San Jose. The attack on the transformers caused considerable damage and came dangerously close to knocking out power in Silicon Valley.

Energy experts, including the former chief of the Federal Regulatory Commission, have since warned that the assault could have been a dress rehearsal for a larger attack on electricity infrastructure. A coordinated series of similar shootings, they say, has the potential to knock out power in a large part of the West for an extended time.  

The ShotSpotter audio sensors can triangulate the sound of a gunshot to pinpoint its exact location and send an alert to law enforcement. The technology is used by police forces across the country, including in the city of South Gate, parts of Oakland and a large swath of Washington D.C. It costs $150,000 to $200,000 to install at a substation, plus annual monitoring costs of about $20,000.

Read more.

Utilities testing techology to track guns within 10 meters of gunfire

Facebook to create floating internet of drones and satellites (Wired UK)

Mark Zuckerberg is putting together a lab where a team of Facebook engineers will build flying drones, satellites, and infrared lasers capable of beaming internet connections to people down here on earth.

Revealed yesterday by the Facebook CEO and founder, it’s known as the Facebook Connectivity Lab. According to Zuckerberg, the lab’s engineering staff already spans “many of the world’s leading experts in aerospace and communications technology,” including researchers from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Nasa’s Ames Research Center, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. And the company is now adding engineers from a British company called Ascenta, an outfit that helped create the world’s longest solar-powered unmanned aircraft.

All this may seem like a stretch for a social networking company. But it’s a necessary part of Zuckerberg’s efforts to bring the net to the vast parts of the world that still don’t have it — an effort known as Internet.org that makes an awful lot of sense for a company whose continued expansion depends on the continued expansion of the net. And though the general public may not realise it, Facebook has a long history with building new hardware that can advance its cause. The company declined to comment on the lab, but it confirms that the lab will be run by Yael Maguire, the former MIT Media Lab researcher who played a big role in the Open Compute Project, Facebook’s effort to build a more efficient breed of computer servers and data centres for driving its web and mobile services.

Hinted at in earlier press reports, Facebook’s flying-internet efforts mirror a similar project that’s underway at Google. Known as Project Loon, it seeks to provide internet access to the hinterlands through high-altitude balloons. Like Facebook, Google stands to benefit in big ways if the net expands. The original services built by these two web giants are now used by enormous swaths of the online population, and eventually, the companies must push into an entirely new audience. As public companies, they’re under enormous pressure to continue the growth of their businesses — in perpetuity. In addition to Loon, Google is looking to expand the reach of high-speed internet landlines through a service called Google Fiber.

According to a post on the website by Internet.org — a consortium that also includes such tech outfits as Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, and Qualcomm — the new Facebook lab is exploring the possibility of using solar-powered high-altitude planes to provide internet access in suburban areas. These could “stay aloft for months, be quickly deployed and deliver reliable internet connections,” the site says. Then, for more remote areas, the lab is looking towards low-orbiting satellites. In both cases, it aims to beam internet access to the people using what’s called free-space optical communication, or FSO. Basically, this is a way of transmitting data through infrared lasers.

Facebook’s announcement comes two days after the company acquired a startup called Oculus, saying it would use the startup’s gaming headset as a way of moving its social network into the world of virtual reality. Compared to that, the Connectivity Lab is a rather straightforward business move. On Tuesday, while discussing the Oculus buy, Zuckerberg painted both projects as platforms that represent not the near future of Facebook, but the distant future.

This is unbelievable. I thought my imagination assumed things were going to get pretty bad, but this has surpassed even that. It is hard to believe how big Facebook has gotten in such a short time. It is only a ten-year-old company.

Facebook to create floating internet of drones and satellites (Wired UK)

NATO Reportedly Uses Twitter To Fight Gaddafi

This article is a bit dated but informative.

NATO Reportedly Uses Twitter To Fight Gaddafi

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