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Apple to read emotions on your faces as it acquires AI firm Emotient

Apple to read emotions on your faces as it acquires AI firm Emotient

Apple Buys Artificial-Intelligence Startup Emotient That Reads People’s Emotions

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple has acquired Emotient, a San Diego artificial intelligence (AI) technology startup that reads people’s emotions by interpreting their facial expressions.

Basically, the AI technology used by Emotient read the emotions on the faces of people, mainly for advertising and marketing purposes, such as measuring a customer’s response to ads and products. It adds to a growing string of artificial intelligence technology purchases Apple has made over the years.

A spokesperson for the Cupertino-based tech giant confirmed the acquisition with the standard statement that Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we do not discuss our purpose or plans.” The spokesperson declined to provide further information regarding the transaction.

Apple is interested in the field of artificial intelligence. In September, it was reported that the tech giant increased its efforts in hiring AI experts, mainly in machine learning to help develop smarter phones.

In October, Apple confirmed that it had acquired another artificial-intelligence startup, VocalIQ Ltd., a company working on voice-recognition tech that can interpret dialogue and natural language. It was purchased for a sum of between $50 million and $100 million dollars, according to Britain’s Business Weekly.

In a 2014 patent application, it described a software system that would analyse and identify people’s moods based on a variety of clues, including facial expression.

With fewer than 50 employees according to its LinkedIn profile, Emotient had raised about $8m from investors including Intel Capital. Its early customers included marketers and retailers that wanted to understand how consumers were responding to their products. However, according to people familiar with the situation said that the startup was trying to look for a new round of financing from venture capital firms but failed to secure favourable terms. Last year, it released a Google Glass app that could be worn by salespeople, for training and to analyse customer reaction in real time.

In May, Emotient announced that it had been granted a patent for a method of collecting and labelling as many as 100,000 facial images a day. The process allows computers to identify different facial expressions better.

In its website, Emotion claims to a leader in emotion detection and sentiment analysis based on facial expressions. Its cloud-based services provide a direct measurement of a customer’s unfiltered response to ads, content, products, customer service or sales interactions.

Emotient had also suggested its technology might be useful in education or even medical diagnosis. However, Apple often makes technology-focused acquisitions that end up being used in entirely different applications to when the company was independent.

Where there is no clarity as to why Apple acquired Emotient, which mostly sold its software to advertisers, the company has made some other recent acquisitions that are likely complementary. Faceshift, a Swiss company that develops real-time facial motion capture technology, and Perceptio, a company with deep-learning image recognition technology designed for mobile processors, are now also under Apple’s umbrella.

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Linux Ransomware creators third time unlucky as researchers crack encryption again

Linux Ransomware creators third time unlucky as researchers crack encryption again

Researchers find Linux.Encoder 3 version still uses buggy encryption and allows file recovery

Much to the delight of security researchers, a group of malware creators are currently having difficulty getting cryptographic implementations right in their ransomware. This has not happened once but thrice.

A group of cyber criminals for the past several months have been trying to infect Linux systems, mainly Web servers, with a file-encrypting ransomware program that the security industry has nicknamed Linux.Encoder.

According to security researchers from antivirus vendor Bitdefender, the third version of Linux.Encoder has infected at least 600 vulnerable servers worldwide.

The good news is that this version of the program also has a fault that makes decryption possible without paying the ransom, in spite of its creators’ attempts to address their previous failures.

Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist at Bitdefender, said: “As we expected, the creators of Linux.Encoder have fixed their previous bugs and created a new and improved variant. Luckily for the victims, the new variant of Linux.Encoder is still vulnerable to key recovery attacks.

“The old version of the Linux.Encoder ransomware used to generate a 16-byte initialisation vector and a 16-byte AES key by calling the rand() function. The initial seed to the RNG was taken from the current timestamp, which was actually very close to the modification time of the file after encryption.”

When Bitdefender documented the flawed approach to generating IVs and keys in the previous versions, the Twitter community ridiculed the ransomware developers by suggesting wild improvements to the ransomware’s functionality.

Cosoi said: “Apparently, the operators actually took note of these recommendations; as a result, the IV is now generated from a hash of the file size and the filename – 32 bytes from rand () are hashed 8 times and used as the AES-256 key.”

And the attackers still made n00b-level coding errors. For instance, there’s a missing static link in the libc library that stops the ransomware launching on older systems that would be easier to pwn.

The ransomware creators failed to select a hashing algorithm, due to which the output of the hashing function remains unchanged. The Bitdefender researchers said in a blog post Tuesday. “As a result, the full AES key is now written to the encrypted file, which makes its recovery a walk in the park.”

This means that all calls to the Update and Finish primitives are ineffective. As a result, the full AES key is now written to the encrypted file, which makes its recovery a simple process.

Bitdefender has released a new tool that can decrypt files affected by this latest Linux.Encoder version for those who have been affected by the new version of this ransomware.

Unfortunately, the people behind this ransomware program seem pretty determined and are unlikely to keep making mistakes. It’s safe to assume that they’ll get their implementation right at some point, and when that happens files encrypted by Linux.Encoder will be unrecoverable without backups or paying the ransom.

BitDefender researcher Radu Caragea called the last Linux.Encoder variant a counterstrike a “close shave” and says victims who escape the hold of the third version may not get a fourth chance.

“While this is the third lucky strike, please make sure that, after recovery, you update the vulnerable platforms and stop this type of attack cold in the first place.”

“Next time, hackers could actually come up with a working version of the ransomware that won’t be as easy to decrypt.”

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How to use your Android smartphone as remote mouse and keyboard for your PC

Here is how you can control your PC/laptop with your Android smartphone/tablet using it either as keyboard or mouse.

Android OS has increased the overall usage domain of mobile phones in a short period of time. Since it is always fun to do the awesome things with your smartphone, we are presenting a new way to use your Android smartphone/tablet. That is as a keyboard or mouse for your PC.

Before we begin, you must know this “this process will only work with Intel based PCs”. Now first of all you have to get Android Remote Keyboard App and software.

How to Set Up Intel Remote Keyboard

  1. Download Intel Remote Keyboard on your Android device or tablet.
  2. Download and install the Intel Remote Keyboard Host on your Windows PC. You will need to choose x86 or x64 depending on your Windows. If you aren’t sure what you are running, there are four easy ways to know if you’re on 64-bit Windows.
    (Important: Make sure your Android and Windows devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.)
  3. On your Android phone, tap the Windows device name.
  4. Your Windows PC will now show a large QR code. Just scan it with your Android smartphone’s camera (following the on-screen instructions) and the two devices will be paired.
  5. You’re all set!

What you can do:

How to use Android as keyboard or mouse for PC

The App is basically a virtual trackpad and keyboard for your computer. You can use it in portrait or landscape mode.

In portrait mode, your screen is divided into the trackpad area on the top and keyboard at the bottom. Intel’s keyboard looks much like any Android keyboard, but also has a Windows button, an Esc button, and the four arrow keys.

How to use Android as keyboard or mouse for PC
remote keyboard

Stuff which should have been there:

There could be some enhanced controls to fully optimise the facility. First, there is no “continuous scrolling” , that means you have to touch scroll button many times for scrolling upto a large distance. Second there is no “direct volume control” , since it is always convenient to adjust volume by using a dedicated key than to use mouse. We firmly expect that these features will be added in the upcoming updates.

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Microsoft to offer its own contract less SIM for providing cellular data to users

Microsoft to offer its own contract less SIM for providing cellular data to users

Microsoft Will Be Providing Its Own SIM Card to Provide Contract-less Cellular Data

If you are a Windows 10 living in United States, you will soon be getting a contract-less SIM from Microsoft for surfing on the Internet. The Redmond based software giant is currently testing a cellular data app that lets Windows 10 devices connect to various mobile network operators without a contract.

Though the service is still under wraps, the listing for the cellular data app has been published to the company’s Windows Store.

Microsoft Will Be Providing Its Own SIM Card to Provide Contract-less Cellular Data

From the listing it can been seen that the App will work only with Windows 10 and “requires a Microsoft SIM card.” Other features of the App are as follows :

Service is available in some markets and offers are for domestic plans only – international roaming offers will be available soon. To purchase a data plan, you can follow these simple steps:

1. Click the WiFi icon at the far right of the taskbar

2. In the list of networks, look for one called Cellular data, then select it

3. In Mobile settings, select ‘View plans’, then follow the steps to buy mobile data and get online

As said above it is not immediately clear which markets Microsoft plans to launch its SIM card in, and the pricing of the cellular data however a US launch looks feasible. Microsoft is planning to sell plans through the Windows Store, so the data will be tied to a Microsoft Account.

Depending on availability, Microsoft could be planning to create its own mobile virtual networks to allow Windows 10 users to connect to partner carriers. As the App says the SIM will be contract-less, it means that Microsoft may need to create its own network with partners.

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Former Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged with Child Porn

Former Greene County Sheriff's Deputy Charged with Child Porn

Dropbox helps nab a former Sheriff’s Deputy indulging in child pornography

We all look to law to protect our near and dear ones from criminal elements in the society. So what happens when these purveyors of justice become the ones to exploit it. This is what happened in a remote county of United States when a former Sheriff’s Deputy was found to be indulging in child pornography.

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former Greene County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Deputy has been charged in federal court with possessing child pornography.

The former Sheriff’s Deputy, Juan Jones, 27, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court on Jan. 6, 2015.  Jones will remain in federal custody until the detention hearing.

Jones was charged of being in possession of child pornography between Aug. 21, 2015, and Jan. 6, 2016. The charge was made based on a tip from the cloud services company, Dropbox Inc.

Dropbox had originally filed a complaint with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when it found that Jones’ Dropbox was filled with images of child porn.

In the complaint, Dropbox said they had discovered many video and image files that they believed contained child pornography.Upon investigation the police determined that Jones was connected to the account responsible for uploading those files to Dropbox.

A search warrant was executed for the Dropbox account, which contained 168 video files and approximately 1,500 image files depicting child pornography. Some of the files depict children as young as infants being sexually abused by adult males. Further searches were made at Jones’s residence.

Jones was arrested at the same time when the warrant to search his premise was being executed according to the police.

Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller.

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This is why Snapchat CEO hates Microsoft and won’t put Snapchat on Windows Phones

Snapchat, Microsoft, Windows Phones

Turns out there was some really bad blood between Snapchat CEO and Windows

While Windows Phones have one of the smoothest interfaces as far as mobile operating systems are concerned, the only element that will be their downfall is the lack of applications present on it. With this latest story, it looks like that freefall will continue to take place thanks to the story you are about to hear. Rudy Huyn, who happens to be the creator of several successful Windows Phone apps, had his Snapchat application pulled from the store after the company specifically wanted all third-party clients to be banned on Windows Phone.

The reason for this is that Snapchat originally stated that the removal of third-party apps was needed due to security concerns and targeted all platforms, but in the end, only Windows Phone was affected. Huyn successfully managed to create a Snapchat client called 6snap, but it was ultimately removed for the very same reason. Huyn explains the following, though he does state that he was not allowed to speak on the matter at all otherwise he could have been met with a serious lawsuit on his hands.

“And one year later, an answer to a regular question: why I don’t speak about 6snap why it was removed… Cause I’m not allowed to speak. They don’t care. They hate Microsoft and will do everything to kill you. Whatever the API you use, Snapchat’s lawyer will send you a mail, don’t lose your time. Remember one thing: there is a lot of Snapchat third-party apps on Android/iOS, but they send lawyers to WP only. Sideloading is not an option.”

So what does Microsoft have to do to bring Snapchat on Windows 10 Mobile? Meet up with them and settle on a deal that will bring an official app to the store. The whole reason why the entire scuffle took place was because Microsoft chose to bring 3rd party applications to the Windows Store rather than an official one. So is it possible that an official Snapchat app will appear on the app store anytime soon? It is highly unlikely, but if both companies are willing to bury their differences then who knows.

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FBI give 1,500 Pedophiles a slice of justice as its hacks site on Dark Web

FBI give 1,500 Pedophiles a slice of justice as its hacks site on Dark Web

This is perhaps the largest pedophilia website on the Dark Web so kudos to the FBI

FBI was successfully able to infiltrate the darkest corner of the World Wide Web, known to nearly everyone as the Dark Web and manage to hack a website whose primary content was child pornography. The agency was able to accomplish this using a hacking method to track IP addresses on the Dark Web. The bulletin board was named Playpen and was launched in August 2014 and in just a time span of 12 months, the board was able to accumulate 215,000 accounts with over 11,000 unique visitors each week.

According to a source, the FBI’s completed the process as follows:

“The bureau seized the server running Playpen in February 2015, but didn’t shut it down immediately. Instead, the FBI took “unprecedented” measures and ran the site via its own servers from February 20th to March 4th, at the same time deploying a hacking tool known internally as a network investigative technique. The NIT identified at least 1,300 IP addresses belonging to visitors of the site.”

In its crusade against exposing website owners that peddle child pornographic content, the FBI’s efforts are only now coming to light, with court documents revealing that the agency had to hack over a 1,000 computers in order to reach its goal. However, Playpen server was not shutdown, but seized by the authorities in order to monitor the activities of other visitors, which is a good course of action, because it will lead to the capture of other child pornographic websites that are scattered across the Dark Web.

The FBI has not commented on what is going to be aftermath of this hacking campaign, but we know for sure that several websites owners have definitely been put on guard after this incident, and will probably keep their activities limited. Despite the fact that the agency conducted an operation that might have been outside of the legal boundary, hacking one of the largest hidden child pornographic websites on the Dark Web is no small feat at all.

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iPhone 7 May Get Tech To Heal And Fix Itself During the Night

iPhone 7 May Get Tech To Heal And Fix Itself During the Night

Apple patents auto-healing tech which will allow iPhone 7 heal itself during night

Apple has been awarded patent technology for the iPhone that detects when you’re not using it and automatically cleans or fixes itself.

The patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark office back in July 2014, the Automated Maintenance of an Electronic Device patent describes a number of different ways that an iPhone could keep itself running.

This means that the future versions of the iPhone will be able to self-heal, ‘performing maintenance, repair and recalibration functions’ while you sleep, including fixing dead pixels on the screen.

‘Exposure to environmental elements may take its toll on portable devices over time which necessitates increased maintenance, recalibration and repair services to the portable electronic devices,’ according to the patent.

‘This increase in service requirements could become an annoyance to a user and result in significant user dissatisfaction.’

‘These maintenance and repair services may be time consuming to perform and result in unavailability of certain services and user down time which may be unacceptable to many users who rely on these devices during, and as part of, their daily routines and activities.’

According to the information included in the patent indicates that the iPhone could automatically repair itself in case water or any other liquid reaches the speaker.

Apple seems to have found a way that let’s the device to automatically remove the liquid by generating a special sound in the speaker. This process would obviously be quite invasive during the night, but the patent says that the phone’s sensors could scan the surroundings and find out when the owner is in a loud environment to generate this sound.

“The maintenance services may be performed if the device determines that it is not being used such as when the user is sleeping or is engaged in other activities which would make the user unaware that such maintenance or remedial operations are being performed,” the patent reads.

The patent also explains how an iPhone could fix issues with their screens, such as dead pixels. Apple says this can be fixed by cycling through a screen diagnostic schedule that lights up the screen in different ways.

It can take several hours to do this – but the iPhone could wait until its owner is asleep, and automatically do it then.

It can also run other diagnostics while you are asleep, like testing the camera, as well as checking on the handset’s components to make sure your phone is able to connect to the internet properly, make calls and send texts.

There’s no guarantee that the technology described will make it into the iPhone 7, but given the fact that Apple applied for the patent in 2014, the company has the necessary technology and know-how to introduce it in the next model.

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Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google attack United Kingdom for its hacking law

Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google attack United Kingdom for its hacking law

United Kingdom lambasted by Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft over its proposed hacking law

In a rare bonhomie the three tech giants came together to criticize United Kingdom’s new hacking law. Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook criticized plans by the UK government for a new law that would allow government authorities and law enforcement agencies to hack computer systems to access data.

According to the provisions of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, government authorities and law enforcement agencies like intelligence and security services, police and the armed forces would be free to hack into devices belonging to Britons and visitors to United Kingdom to obtain data, such as communications, when they have a warrant to do so.

The draft bill has been pilloried by netizens on social network however, the government argues that the hacking provisions – part of the wider internet surveillance legislation – are needed so that law enforcement can intercept the communications of criminals even when they are encrypted.

However the gang of four tech companies have put together a warning saying that the plan would set a dangerous precedent that would be followed by other countries, will damage trust in their services and may be impossible to implement anyway.

The tech giants have issued a joint submission to the committee of MP’s overseeing the nitty gritties of the bill before it is submitted before the UK’s parliament for vote.

In the joint submission, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo state that, “To the extent this could involve the introduction of risks or vulnerabilities into products or services, it would be a very dangerous precedent to set, and we would urge your government to reconsider.”

“We urge the government to make clear that actions taken under authorization do not introduce new risks or vulnerabilities for users or businesses” they said.

In its submission Apple said the plans would put tech companies in a very difficult position. “For the consumer in, say, Germany, this might represent hacking of their data by an Irish business on behalf of the UK state under a bulk warrant – activity which the provider is not even allowed to confirm or deny. Maintaining trust in such circumstances will be extremely difficult.”

All the tech companies have warned that the bill if passed by UK’s parliament would spell doom for, “if followed by other countries, could endanger the privacy and security of users in the UK and elsewhere.”

UK’s largest mobile operator, Vodafone also joined the anti bill bandwagon. It warned that equipment interference elements are perhaps the most contentious of all the powers within the scope of the draft bill.

“The obligations relating to equipment interference have the potential to significantly undermine trust in the United Kingdom’s communications service providers”, it warned.

Firefox maker Mozilla warned that the “bulk systems intrusion” provisions in the bill could be used to “compel a software developer, like Mozilla, to ship hostile software, essentially malware, to a user — or many users — without notice.”

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Bug in Google Translated Russia as ‘Mordor’ from Lord of The Rings

Bug in Google Translated Russia as 'Mordor' from Lord of The Rings

Wicked : Google Translate terms Russia as ‘Mordor’ and Russians as ‘Occupiers’

Looks like some engineer at the Google’s Translate service has a very wicked sense of humor. The Google’s Translate tool translated Russian Federation as Mordor, the fictional wicked city of evil lord ‘Sauron’ from J.R.R.Tolkien’s fiction, The Lord of The Rings.

Even more wicked is that the same tool translated  “Russians” to “occupiers” and the surname of Sergey Lavrov, the country’s Foreign Minister, to “sad little horse”.

According to Google, the wicked translations happened due to an automatic bug which appeared in the online tool when users converted the Ukrainian language into Russian. However the terms actually mirror the language used by some Ukrainians for Russia following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 so Google pinning the bug on ‘automatic’ holds shallow.

The bug has now been patched according to Google. In a statement provided to the Guardian, Google said its translator tool works “without the intervention of human translators”.

“When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide the best translation.

Wicked : Google Translate terms Russia as 'Mordor' and Russians as 'Occupiers'

“Automatic translation is very difficult, as the meaning of words depends on the context in which they’re used. This means that not all translations are perfect, and there will sometimes be mistakes or mistranslations.”

Many screenshots were taken of the erroneous translations in the past few days and shared widely on social media, particularly on VKontakte (VK) – the Russian language equivalent of Facebook.

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