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Top Stories for the Week of February 20, 2019

  • Episode 596
  • February 20, 2019

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday February 20, 2019


Research suggests thousands of websites are being hit by cyber-thieves who implant code to scoop up payment card numbers.

Research suggests thousands of websites are being hit by cyber-thieves who implant code to scoop up payment card numbers.

Security giant Symantec found more than 4,800 websites were being hit by these "form-jacking" attacks every month.

High-profile victims of these attacks include British Airways and Ticketmaster.

According to Orla Cox, director of Symantec's security response unit, formerly profitable ventures involving ransomware and mining crypto-currencies now made gangs much less money, so they have instead turned to inserting "attack code", either when sites failed to update core software to close loopholes or via insecure third-party apps, such as chat apps, analytics packages or other extras.

It's a tiny line of code in there and that's enough for attackers to monitor payment card info being entered and they siphon it off.

Cox goes on to say "Its often not obvious that the website has been compromised. To the naked eye everything would look fine."

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


The no-fly zone for drones around airports is to be extended following the disruption at Gatwick in December.

The no-fly zone for drones around airports is to be extended following the disruption at Gatwick in December.

From March 13th onward, it will be illegal to fly a drone within three miles of an airport, rather than the current 0.6-mile exclusion zone.

The government also said it wants police to have new stop and search powers to tackle drone misuse.

Gatwick Airport was shut for more than a day due to drone sightings near the runway.

It caused chaos for travellers, affecting more than 1,000 flights and about 140,000 passengers.

Since then airports have been trying to improve their procedures to detect drones, but they continue to see illegal flights near their perimeters.

In January departures at Heathrow were temporarily stopped after a drone was reportedly sighted.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act."

He continues, "We're now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe. Anyone flying their drone within the vicinity of an airport should know they are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment."

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


A wakeup call as Quadriga's founder takes $135m of their customers' cryptocurrency to the grave.

A wakeup call as Quadriga's founder takes $135m of their customers' cryptocurrency to the grave.

When the 30-year-old founder of a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange died suddenly, he took the around $180m CAD in cryptocurrency to his grave. Now, tens of thousands of Quadriga CX users are wondering if they will ever see their funds again.

Back in 2014, one of the world's biggest online cryptocurrency exchanges - MtGox - unexpectedly shut down after losing 850,000 Bitcoins valued at the time at nearly $0.4bn.

Its meltdown shook investors in the volatile emerging marketplace - but the calamity at the Tokyo-based company proved a boon for a new Canadian online cryptocurrency exchange.

Quadriga CX founder Gerald Cotten said at the time, "People like the fact we're located in Canada and know where their money is going".

Some five years later, Cotten's sudden, untimely death has left thousands of his customers scrambling for information about their own missing funds.

This month, Quadriga - which had grown to become Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange - was granted temporary bankruptcy protection in a Canadian court.

The firm said it had spent the weeks since Cotten's death trying desperately to locate and secure their cryptocurrency reserves.

In court documents, Quadriga says it owes up to 115,000 users an estimated $250m CAD - about C$70m in hard currency and between $180m and $190m in cryptocurrency, based on recent market rates.

It believes - though it's not certain - that the bulk of those millions in reserves was locked away by Cotten in cold storage, which is an offline safeguard against hacking and theft.

For now, all trading has been suspended on the platform.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


A New AI is able to generates freakishly realistic people who don't actually exist.

A New AI is able to generates freakishly realistic people who don't actually exist.

At first glance, they just look like average-looking people. The catch is, none of them exist. All of these faces you're seeing are fakes, put together by artificial intelligence.

To be more precise, these faces are created by a generative adversarial network (GAN) developed by Nvidia, using deep learning techniques to produce realistic portraits out of a database of existing photos.

Head over to the [This Person Does Not Exist .com] to see for yourself: every time you refresh the page, the network will generate a new facial image from scratch!

With a GAN, two neural networks – neural as in designed to mimic the brain's decision-making process – work in tandem. Here, one network generates a fake face, while another decides if it's realistic enough by comparing it with photos of actual people.

If the test isn't passed, the face generator tries again; this feedback loop is responsible for the images you can see here. Similar GANs have been used to switch a scene from winter to summer.

Nvidia's impressive face coding is now managing to add a new level of authenticity through what's known as "style transfer": processing different parts of the image (like face shape and hair style) separately.

It means different faces can be more easily and more realistically blended together, in a similar sort of way that photo apps turn your face into a painting or sketch.

After training, the programmers can combine these aspects in any way they like. The weighting of these different facial aspects can be tweaked and adjusted as necessary, giving the programmers greater control over the end output.

Source: www.sciencealert.com

Sent to us by: Jeff Weston


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