Google shows how AI might detect lung cancer faster and more reliably – MIT Technology Review

Google shows how AI might detect lung cancer faster and more reliably – MIT Technology Review

New research from Google shows how machine learning could one day be used to detect signs of lung cancer earlier than often occurs today.

Early warning: Danial Tse, a researcher at Google, developed an algorithm that beat a number of trained radiologists in testing. Tse and colleagues trained a deep-learning algorithm to detect malignant lung nodules in more than 42,000 CT scans. The resulting algorithms turned up 11% fewer false positives and 5% fewer false negatives than their human counterparts. The work is described in a paper published in the journal Nature today.

Killer problem: Lung cancer killed more than 160,000 people in the United States in 2018, making it the leading cause of cancer death. And while computed tomography (CT) scans can be a life-saving part of cancer screening, they are also often unreliable.

Big promise: Tse and colleagues argue that AI could help make lung cancer screening more reliable across the world, although they acknowledge that the work needs to be validated on larger patient populations. Indeed, there is growing interest in using AI to catch many types of cancer. Researchers have shown how machine learning can be used to spot both breast cancer and skin cancer, for instance.  

Small steps: These studies are exciting but should be treated as small advances. It remains challenging to use AI in health care for privacy reasons, and because real-world data sets are rarely as perfect as those used in research studies.

It’s also worth noting that treating cancer involves a lot more than just detecting the disease in the first place. Determining the right course of treatment, for instance, can depend on a range of factors that vary greatly from patient to patient, making that part of the process far harder to automate. 

Read More

Trump Moves to Ban Foreign Telecom Gear, Targeting Huawei in Battle With China – The New York Times

Trump Moves to Ban Foreign Telecom Gear, Targeting Huawei in Battle With China – The New York Times


American officials have warned allies for months that the United States would stop sharing intelligence if they use Huawei and other Chinese technology to build the core of their fifth-generation, or 5G, networks.CreditCreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Trump moved on Wednesday to ban American telecommunications firms from installing foreign-made equipment that could pose a threat to national security, White House officials said, stepping up a battle against China by effectively barring sales by Huawei, the country’s leading networking company.

Mr. Trump issued an executive order instructing the commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, to ban transactions “posing an unacceptable risk” but did not single out any nation or company. The action has long been expected and is the latest salvo in the administration’s economic and security battle with China. It is also the most extreme move in the Trump administration’s fight against China’s tech sector.

The executive order was “agnostic,” White House officials said in a call with reporters, declining to single out China as the focus. “This administration will do what it takes to keep America safe and prosperous and to protect America from foreign adversaries” targeting vulnerabilities in American communications infrastructure, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement.

Over the next 150 days, the Commerce Department will write the rules for reviewing transactions that fall under the ban, the officials said. The Commerce Department said it would work across the administration on the new rules, consulting with the attorney general, Treasury secretary and other agency heads.

The order, which applies only to future transactions, left many questions unanswered, including how the Commerce Department will define foreign adversaries and establish criteria to ban companies from selling equipment to the United States. The executive action did not address concerns by rural carriers that the order would hit them particularly hard. Some of them rely on equipment that already contains parts by Huawei and other Chinese companies.

Mr. Trump declared the threat posed by foreign adversaries on American telecommunications networks a national emergency under a law used to impose sanctions against nations like Iran and Russia.

Led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, American officials have warned allies for months that the United States would stop sharing intelligence if they use Huawei and other Chinese technology to build the core of their fifth-generation, or 5G, networks. The networks promise not only faster cellular service, but also the connection of billions of “internet of things” devices — such as autonomous cars, security cameras and industrial equipment — to a new internet architecture.

Pentagon and American intelligence officials have warned that Chinese firms will be able to control the networks and have expressed concerns not only that secure messages could be intercepted or secretly diverted to China, but that the Chinese authorities could order Huawei to shut down the networks during any conflict, disrupting American infrastructure as diverse as gas pipelines and cellphone networks.

Huawei has denied those charges, and its chief executive has said he would shut down the company rather than obey Chinese government orders to intercept or divert internet traffic. American officials say he would have no choice: Chinese law requires that the country’s firms obey instructions from the nation’s Ministry of State Security.

Mr. Trump has been deeply involved, quietly meeting with American telecommunications executives at the White House and weighing different versions of the executive order. He has insisted that the United States must “win” at the 5G competition, only to be told that no American firms make the core switches that will direct 5G internet traffic.

The executive order came amid an escalating trade war between the United States and China, with the two sides imposing hundreds of billions of dollars of tariffs in recent days. Mr. Trump has accused the Chinese government of unfair trade practices and announced increased tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods last week.

But few issues have gained as much bipartisan support in Washington as the Trump administration’s warnings of the security threats posed by Huawei and ZTE, another company with deep links to the Chinese government. The calls have gotten so intense that some have warned of a new red scare, and Chinese officials have said the United States has moved beyond caution to paranoia.


Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said at a hearing this week that he doubted that Chinese companies could meet American standards and laws on surveillance.CreditAmr Alfiky for The New York Times

On Wednesday, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the order “a needed step” that “reflects the reality that Huawei and ZTE represent a threat to the security of U.S. and allied communications networks.”

He pushed for further action. “We have yet to see a compelling strategy from this administration on 5G,” he said in a statement. “A coherent coordinated and global approach is critically needed.”

The major mobile phone companies have renounced the use of Huawei equipment in their 5G systems, but the order will ensure that smaller, rural telecom companies avoid Huawei when they build new networks.

Because 5G systems feature high-speed, low-range equipment, the technology is more suited for now for urban areas than rural areas. But Huawei remains appealing to rural networks because it is cheaper than alternatives.

The ban could also help with the Trump administration’s campaign to get European allies to block Huawei. Some allies had questioned why they should block Huawei if the United States had not. Other European officials have suspected that Mr. Trump will soften or eliminate the ban as part of a trade deal with China. Most major allies have resisted the Trump administration’s push, except Australia, which banned Huawei last summer.

The White House, intelligence officials and lawmakers from both parties argue that China has already shaped its telecommunications and that tech industries have also given rise inside Chinese territory to facial recognition, constant surveillance of the population and human rights abuses.

American officials have also warned that China’s exports of Huawei and other tech products have allowed other authoritarian nations to spy on their citizens and access sensitive security and trade secrets.

“We must have a cleareyed view of the threats that we face and be prepared to do what is necessary to counter those threats,” Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said in a statement. “Today’s executive order does just that.”

But even if Huawei is banned from the United States, it will likely control 40 to 60 percent of the networks around the world. It has made a strong marketing pitch in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia where it holds huge economic influence. American officials have said China has offered subsidized prices and low-interest loans to outmaneuver the few Western competitors, chiefly Nokia and Ericsson, both European firms.

The United States will have to connect to those nations — and must prepare for a day when the American government and companies will have to live in “dirty networks,” Sue Gordon, the deputy director of national intelligence, recently warned.

In January, prosecutors in Washington State charged two units of Huawei of conspiring to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile and of wire fraud.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he doubted that Chinese companies could meet American standards and laws on surveillance.

“There is no way in hell China can meet those criteria because of the way they’re governed,” Mr. Graham said at a hearing this week. “The only way China can meet the criteria is to stop being China.”

The Federal Communications Commission is considering regulations that would bar broadband providers that receive federal subsidies from using Huawei or ZTE equipment in their networks. It also recently approved an order that barred China Mobile Limited from providing service in the United States. The agency said it was exploring similar rules against China Unicom and China Telecom Corporation.

Cecilia Kang reported from Washington, and David E. Sanger from Seattle. Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting from Washington.

Read More

San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Technology – The New York Times

San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Technology – The New York Times


Attendees interacting with a facial recognition demonstration at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.CreditCreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday enacted the first ban by a major city on the use of facial recognition technology by police and all other municipal agencies.

The vote was 8 to 1 in favor, with two members who support the bill absent. There will be an obligatory second vote next week, but it is seen as a formality.

Police forces across America have begun turning to facial recognition to search for both small-time criminal suspects and perpetrators of mass carnage: authorities used the technology to help identify the gunman in the mass killing at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper in June. But civil liberty groups have expressed unease about the technology’s potential abuse by government amid fears that it may shove the United States in the direction of an overly oppressive surveillance state.

Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who announced the bill, said that it sent a particularly strong message to the nation, coming from a city transformed by tech.

“I think part of San Francisco being the real and perceived headquarters for all things tech also comes with a responsibility for its local legislators,” said Mr. Peskin, who represents neighborhoods on the northeast side of the city. “We have an outsize responsibility to regulate the excesses of technology precisely because they are headquartered here.”

Similar bans are under consideration in Oakland and in Somerville, Mass., outside of Boston. In Massachusetts, a bill in the state legislature would put a moratorium on facial recognition and other remote biometric surveillance systems. On Capitol Hill, a bill introduced last month would ban users of commercial face recognition technology from collecting and sharing data for identifying or tracking consumers without their consent, although it does not address the government’s uses of the technology.

Matt Cagle, an attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, summed up the broad concerns of critics Tuesday: Facial recognition technology, he said, “provides government with unprecedented power to track people going about their daily lives. That’s incompatible with a healthy democracy.”

The San Francisco proposal, he added, “is really forward-looking and looks to prevent the unleashing of this dangerous technology against the public.”


A security camera in San Francisco.CreditEric Risberg/Associated Press

In one form or another, facial recognition is already being used in many U.S. airports and big stadiums, and by a number of other police departments. The pop star Taylor Swift has reportedly incorporated the technology at one of her shows, using it to help identify stalkers.

The issue has been particularly charged in San Francisco, a city with a rich history of incubating dissent and individual liberties, but one that has also suffered lately from high rates of property crime. A local group called Stop Crime SF asked supervisors to exclude local prosecutors, police and sheriffs from the ordinance when performing investigative duties, as well as an exemption for the airport.

The group had been encouraging residents to send a form letter to supervisors. It argued that the ordinance “could have unintended consequences that make us less safe by severely curtailing the use of effective traditional video surveillance by burying agencies like the police department in a bureaucratic approval process.”

The facial recognition fight in San Francisco is largely theoretical — the police department does not currently deploy facial recognition technology, except in its airport and ports that are under federal jurisdiction and are not impacted by the legislation.

Some local homeless shelters use biometric finger scans and photos to track shelter usage, said Jennifer Friedenbach, the executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness. The practice has driven undocumented residents away from the shelters, she added.

Mr. Cagle and other experts said that it was difficult to know exactly how widespread the technology was in the U.S. “Basically governments and companies have been very secretive about where it’s being used, so the public is largely in the dark about the state of play,” he said.

But Dave Maass, senior investigative researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, offered a partial list of police departments that he said used the technology, including Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose, San Diego, New York City, Boston, Detroit and Durham, N.C.

Other users, Mr. Maass said, include the Colorado Department of Public Safety, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Justice and the Virginia State police.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now using facial recognition in many U.S. airports and ports of sea entry. At airports, international travelers stand before cameras, then have their pictures matched against photos provided in their passport applications. The agency says the process complies with privacy laws, but it has still come in for criticism from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which argues that the government, though promising travelers that they may opt out, has made it increasingly difficult to do so.

But there is a broader concern. “When you have the ability to track people in physical space, in effect everybody becomes subject to the surveillance of the government,” said Marc Rotenberg, the group’s executive director.

Read More

San Francisco may ban use of facial recognition by police and city – Los Angeles Times

San Francisco may ban use of facial recognition by police and city – Los Angeles Times

San Francisco is on track to become the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition by police and other city agencies, reflecting a growing backlash against a technology that’s creeping into airports, motor vehicle departments, stores, stadiums and home security cameras.

Government agencies across the U.S. have used the technology for more than a decade to scan databases for suspects and prevent identity fraud. But recent advances in artificial intelligence have created more sophisticated computer vision tools, making it easier for police to pinpoint a missing child or protester in a moving crowd or for retailers to analyze a shopper’s facial expressions as they peruse store shelves.

Efforts to restrict its use are getting pushback from law enforcement groups and the tech industry, though it’s far from a united front. Microsoft, while opposed to an outright ban, has urged lawmakers to set limits on the technology, warning that leaving it unchecked could enable an oppressive dystopia reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel “1984.”

“Face recognition is one of those technologies that people get how creepy it is,” said Alvaro Bedoya, who directs Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology. “It’s not like cookies on a browser. There’s something about this technology that really sets the hairs on the back of people’s heads up.”

Without regulations barring law enforcement from accessing driver’s license databases, people who have never been arrested could be part of virtual police line-ups without their knowledge, skeptics of the technology say.

They worry people will one day not be able to go to a park, store or school without being identified and tracked.

Already, a handful of big-box stores across the U.S. are trying out cameras with facial recognition that can guess their customers’ age, gender or mood as they walk by, with the goal of showing them targeted, real-time ads on in-store video screens.

If San Francisco adopts a ban, other cities, states or even Congress could follow, with lawmakers from both parties looking to curtail government surveillance and others hoping to restrict how businesses analyze the faces, emotions and gaits of an unsuspecting public.

The California Legislature is considering a proposal prohibiting the use of facial ID technology on body cameras. A bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate would exempt police applications but set limits on businesses analyzing people’s faces without their consent.

Legislation similar to San Francisco’s is pending in Oakland, and on Thursday another proposed ban was introduced in Somerville, Mass.

Bedoya said a ban in San Francisco, the “most technologically advanced city in our country,” would send a warning to other police departments thinking of trying out the imperfect technology. But Daniel Castro, vice president of the industry-backed Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said the ordinance is too extreme to serve as a model.

“It might find success in San Francisco, but I will be surprised if it finds success in a lot of other cities,” he said.

San Francisco is home to tech innovators such as Uber, Airbnb and Twitter, but the city’s relationship with the industry is testy. Some supervisors in City Hall are calling for a tax on stock-based compensation in response to a wave of San Francisco companies going public, including Lyft and Pinterest.

At the same time, San Francisco is big on protecting immigrants, civil liberties and privacy. In November, nearly 60% of voters approved a proposition to strengthen data privacy guidelines.

The city’s proposed face-recognition ban is part of broader legislation aimed at regulating the use of surveillance by city departments. The legislation applies only to San Francisco government and would not affect companies or people who want to use the technology. It also would not affect the use of facial recognition at San Francisco International Airport, where security is mostly overseen by federal agencies.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday.

San Francisco police say they stopped testing face recognition in 2017. Spokesman David Stevenson said in a statement that the department looks forward to “developing legislation that addresses the privacy concerns of technology while balancing the public safety concerns of our growing, international city.”

Supervisor Aaron Peskin acknowledges his legislation, called the “Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance,” isn’t very tech-friendly. But public oversight is crucial given the potential for abuse, he said.

The technology often misfires. Studies have shown error rates in facial-analysis systems built by Amazon, IBM and Microsoft were far higher for darker-skinned women than lighter-skinned men.

Even if facial recognition were perfectly accurate, its use would pose a severe threat to civil rights, especially in a city with a rich history of protest and expression, said Matt Cagle, an attorney at the ACLU of Northern California.

“If facial recognition were added to body cameras or public-facing surveillance feeds, it would threaten the ability of people to go to a protest or hang out in Dolores Park without having their identity tracked by the city,” he said, referring to a popular park in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Local critics of San Francisco’s legislation, however, worry about hampering police investigations in a city with a high number of vehicle break-ins and several high-profile annual parades. They want to make sure police can keep using merchants and residents’ video surveillance in investigations without bureaucratic hassles.

Joel Engardio, vice president of the grass-roots group Stop Crime SF, wants the city to be flexible.

“Our point of view is, rather than a blanket ban forever, why not a moratorium so we’re not using problematic technology, but we open the door for when technology improves?” he said.

Such a moratorium is under consideration in the Massachusetts Legislature, where it has the backing of Republican and Democratic senators.

Often, a government’s facial-recognition efforts happen in secret or go unnoticed. In Massachusetts, the motor vehicle registry has used the technology since 2006 to prevent driver’s license fraud, and some police agencies have used it as a tool for detectives.

“It is technology we use,” said Massachusetts State Police Lt. Tom Ryan, adding that “we tend not to get too involved in publicizing” that fact. Ryan and the agency declined to answer further questions about how it’s used.

Massachusetts Sen. Cynthia Creem, a Democrat and sponsor of the moratorium bill, said she worries about a lack of standards protecting the public from inaccurate or biased facial-recognition technology. Until better guidelines exist, she said, “it shouldn’t be used” by government.

The California Highway Patrol does not use face-recognition technology, spokeswoman Fran Clader said.

California Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Marty Greenstein said facial-recognition technology “is specifically not allowed on DMV photos.” State Justice Department spokeswoman Jennifer Molina said her agency does not use face ID technology, and policy states that “DOJ and requesters shall not maintain DMV images for the purpose of creating a database” unless authorized.

Legislators also sought a face-recognition moratorium this year in Washington, the home state of Microsoft and Amazon, but it was gutted following industry and police opposition. Microsoft instead backed a lighter-touch proposal as part of a broader data privacy bill, but deliberations stalled before lawmakers adjourned late last month.

Read More

Recommended Reading: Google Duplex still confuses restaurants – Engadget

Recommended Reading: Google Duplex still confuses restaurants – Engadget

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Still recovering from an awkward band phase as a guitarist who dreamt of world tours, Billy now covers the audio beat, spanning everything from headphones to streaming. He lives in the great state of North Carolina where a good biscuit is the only thing that matters. He’s also a Cheez-It expert and a graphic designer on nights and weekends.

Read More

Cruise Drives Away With $1.15B In Funding At $19B Valuation – Crunchbase News

Cruise Drives Away With $1.15B In Funding At $19B Valuation – Crunchbase News

Cruise, a developer of technology for self-driving vehicles and a division of General Motors, just raised $1.15 billion in fresh funding from a cohort of institutional and corporate investors.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

The financing sets a post-money valuation of around $19 billion for the San Francisco-based company, “inclusive of SoftBank Vision Fund’s previously announced investment commitment,” Cruise said in a press release issued this morning.

The money came from a group consisting of institutional investors, including funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates and existing backers General Motors, SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda, according to Cruise.

The latest financing brings the company’s total raised since inception to $7.25 billion, it said. In May 2018, SoftBank and GM led a $3.4 billion round that gave the company a post-money valuation of $12.7 billion, according to its Crunchbase profile.

“Developing and deploying self-driving vehicles at massive scale is the engineering challenge of our generation,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, in the press release. “Having deep resources to draw on as we pursue our mission is a critical competitive advantage.”

Besides its San Francisco headquarters, Cruise has offices in Seattle, Pasadena, and Phoenix. Its mission is to build “the world’s most advanced self-driving, all electric vehicles.” GM acquired the six-year-old company, formerly known as Cruise Automation, for $1 billion in 2016. We reached out to the company for more details and will update the story when we have them.

In general, the self-driving space is heating up. Interestingly, SoftBank is funding more than one related initiative. Last month, we reported on how Uber confirmed that its cash-burning self-driving unit received a $1 billion investment from auto giant Toyota Motor, Japanese automotive components manufacturer Denso Corp., and the SoftBank Vision Fund. As part of that, Uber said it would spin out the unit into a newly-formed advanced technologies “entity” focused on “the development and commercialization” of automated ride-hailing services.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Read More

Scientists connect quantum bits with sound over record distances –

Scientists connect quantum bits with sound over record distances –

Scientists connect quantum bits with sound and over record distances
Researchers work on superconducting quantum technology at the Institute for Molecular Engineering. Credit: Nancy Wong

Scientists with the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago have made two breakthroughs in the quest to develop quantum technology. In one study, they entangled two quantum bits using sound for the first time; in another, they built the highest-quality long-range link between two qubits to date. The work brings us closer to harnessing quantum technology to make more powerful computers, ultra-sensitive sensors and secure transmissions.

“Both of these are transformative steps forward to ,” said co-author Andrew Cleland, the John A. MacLean Sr. Professor of Molecular Engineering at the IME and UChicago-affiliated Argonne National Laboratory. A leader in the development of superconducting , he led the team that built the first “ machine,” demonstrating quantum performance in a mechanical resonator. “One of these experiments shows the precision and accuracy we can now achieve, and the other demonstrates a fundamental new ability for these .”

Scientists and engineers see enormous potential in quantum technology, a field that uses the strange properties of the tiniest particles in nature to manipulate and transmit information. For example, under certain conditions, two particles can be “entangled”—their fates linked even when they’re not physically connected. Entangling particles allows you to do all kinds of cool things, like transmit information instantly to space or make unhackable networks.

But the technology has a long way to go—literally: A huge challenge is sending any substantial amount of distance, along cables or fibers.

In a study published April 22 in Nature Physics, Cleland’s lab was able to build a system out of superconducting qubits that exchanged quantum information along a track nearly a meter long with extremely strong fidelity—with far higher performance has been previously demonstrated.

“The coupling was so strong that we can demonstrate a quantum phenomenon called ‘quantum ping-pong’—sending and then catching individual photons as they bounce back,” said Youpeng Zhong, a graduate student in Cleland’s group and the first author of the paper.

Scientists connect quantum bits with sound and over record distances
Postdoctoral researcher Audrey Bienfait (left) and graduate student Youpeng Zhong work in the laboratory of Prof. Andrew Cleland in UChicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering. Credit: Nancy Wong

One of scientists’ breakthroughs was building the right device to send the signal. The key was shaping the pulses correctly—in an arc shape, like opening and closing a valve slowly, at just the right rate. This method of ‘throttling’ the quantum information helped them achieve such clarity that the system could pass a gold standard measurement of quantum entanglement, called a Bell test. This is a first for superconducting qubits, and it could be useful for building quantum computers as well as for quantum communications.

The other study, published April 26 in Science, shows a way to entangle two superconducting qubits using sound.

A challenge for scientists and engineers as they advance quantum technology is to be able to translate quantum signals from one medium to the other. For example, microwave light is perfect for carrying quantum signals around inside chips. “But you can’t send quantum information through the air in microwaves; the signal just gets swamped,” Cleland said.

The team built a system that could translate the qubits’ microwave language into acoustic sound and have it travel across the chip—using a receiver at the other end that could do the reverse translation.

Scientists connect quantum bits with sound and over record distances
Credit: Nancy Wong

It required some creative engineering: “Microwaves and acoustics are not friends, so we had to separate them onto two and stack those on top of each other,” said Audrey Bienfait, a postdoctoral researcher and first author on the study. “But now that we’ve shown it is possible, it opens some interesting new possibilities for quantum sensors.”

More information:
Y. P. Zhong et al. Violating Bell’s inequality with remotely connected superconducting qubits, Nature Physics (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41567-019-0507-7

A. Bienfait et al. Phonon-mediated quantum state transfer and remote qubit entanglement, Science (2019). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw8415

Scientists connect quantum bits with sound over record distances (2019, May 1)
retrieved 1 May 2019

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More

New mobile Phishing Method using fake address bar and scroll locking – Ghacks Technology News

New mobile Phishing Method using fake address bar and scroll locking – Ghacks Technology News

by Martin Brinkmann on April 29, 2019 in Internet, Security – Last Update: April 29, 2019 – No comments

Phishing, the attempt to steal important data such as login information, passwords, or credit card numbers from unsuspecting users, is still a major threat on today’s Internet. Microsoft’s Security Intelligence report saw phishing emails increase by 250% in 2018 alone.

Most web browsers come with certain defenses, usually in form of blacklists and other defensive measures to detect phishing attacks.

One problem with the approach is that it addresses known phishing sites for the most part. The Inception Bar is a new phishing method designed specifically for mobile.

Many mobile web browsers hide the address bar when a user starts to scroll to expand the content of the active webpage. Since space is a premium on mobile, it makes sense to use the address space for that. Doing so removes the strongest identifying indicator for that webpage, and it also makes way for the new phishing method.

chrome phishing

Basically, what the phishing method does is put a fake copy of the address bar at the top of the screen in the fixed location the address bar is found in usually. Browsers would normally display the address bar again when users scroll up but the implementation of a scroll lock on the page prevents that from happening.

The effect is that the fake address bar — that looks similar to the real one — is shown to users and that it becomes difficult to exit the page. Even worse, since it is fake, it is possible to make it display any site URL. A dedicated web developer could create a full copy of Chrome’s address bar and not just a lookalike.

You can see it in action on James Fisher’s website. Note that you will experience this method first hand if you use the mobile version of Chrome to access the site; on desktop, you may watch the animated GIF to see how it works when you connect using mobile devices.

Fisher’s method works in Chrome for mobile; he notes that one could check for the user agent to display similar fake address bars for other mobile web browsers.

I accessed the site on Chrome Stable and Chrome Canary for Android. The replacement worked in Canary but it did not in Chrome Stable. Whether that is caused by a setting in the browser or something else is unclear.

You can get out of it by activating any link on the site if you are stuck in mobile Chrome.

Detecting that it is fake

For now, it is easy to detect whether the address bar is real or fake; the tab and menu icons don’t do a thing, and it is not possible to edit the URL either.

Things could get more complicated if the phishing method is developed further. Someone could use a form instead that accepts input and make the icons behave more or less like they would.

The tab count that is displayed could still be an indicator, and most users probably know the site they accessed and may notice that the new site displayed is different from it.

Now You: What is your take on this method?


New mobile Phishing Method using fake address bar and scroll locking

Article Name

New mobile Phishing Method using fake address bar and scroll locking


A new phishing method displays a fake address bar to mobile Internet users and prevents them from scrolling up to display the real one again.


Martin Brinkmann


Ghacks Technology News


Ghacks Technology News


Read More

iPhone XR sequel might gain twin-lens rear camera in 2019 – AppleInsider

iPhone XR sequel might gain twin-lens rear camera in 2019 – AppleInsider

By Roger Fingas

Friday, April 26, 2019, 02:05 pm PT (05:05 pm ET)

Rumors suggest Apple’s iPhone XR follow-up will upgrade to a dual-lens rear camera in 2019, potentially delivering the company’s advanced photographic technology to an entry-level smartphone model for the first time.

iPhone XS

As with the iPhone X and XS, one lens would be wide-angle and the other telephoto, Mac Otakara said on Friday, citing information from Chinese suppliers. The current XR has a single wide-angle lens, identical to recent base level iPhone offerings.

Traditionally Apple has used telephoto lenses for two purposes, the first being 2x optical zoom instead of digital enlargement. The second, though, is Portrait Mode photos accomplished in the iOS Camera app — the telephoto becomes the primary lens, while the wide-angle captures depth data used to isolate the subject and simulate DSLR-style bokeh.

The XR employs specialized algorithms to achieve a similar Portrait effect, but the resulting image is zoomed-out and not necessarily as accurate as its XS counterpart.

Multiple reports have pointed to flagship 5.8- and 6.5-inch “XI” and “XI Max” OLED iPhones coming with a triple-lens camera, the third lens possibly being a super-wide unit. Mac Otakara added that two out of three lenses/sensors may be used as common parts to keep costs down.

Separate design changes may include iPad-style mute switches and the use of 3D-molded rear glass, even covering the phones’ larger camera bumps. That same all-glass design is expected with the dual-camera XR successor, which could rely on a familiar 6.1-inch LCD screen, the report said.

It is also possible that the new phones will include USB-C to Lightning cables and 18-watt USB-C power adapters, but keep Lightning as their wired data type.

Read More

Scientists pull speech directly from the brain – TechCrunch

Scientists pull speech directly from the brain – TechCrunch

In a feat that could eventually unlock the possibility of speech for people with severe medical conditions, scientists have successfully recreated the speech of healthy subjects by tapping directly into their brains. The technology is a long, long way from practical application but the science is real and the promise is there.

Edward Chang, neurosurgeon at UC San Francisco and co-author of the paper published today in Nature, explained the impact of the team’s work in a press release: “For the first time, this study demonstrates that we can generate entire spoken sentences based on an individual’s brain activity. This is an exhilarating proof of principle that with technology that is already within reach, we should be able to build a device that is clinically viable in patients with speech loss.”

To be perfectly clear, this isn’t some magic machine that you sit in and its translates your thoughts into speech. It’s a complex and invasive process that decodes not exactly what the subject is thinking but what they were actually speaking.

Led by speech scientist Gopala Anumanchipalli, the experiment involved subjects who had already had large electrode arrays implanted in their brains for a different medical procedure. The researchers had these lucky people read out several hundred sentences aloud while closely recording the signals detected by the electrodes.

The electrode array in question

See, it happens that the researchers know a certain pattern of brain activity that comes after you think of and arrange words (in cortical areas like Wernicke’s and Broca’s) and before the final signals are sent from the motor cortex to your tongue and mouth muscles. There’s a sort of intermediate signal between those that Anumanchipalli and his co-author, grad student Josh Chartier, previously characterized, and which they thought may work for the purposes of reconstructing speech.

Analyzing the audio directly let the team determine which muscles and movements would be involved when (this is pretty established science), and from this they built a sort of virtual model of the person’s vocal system.

They then mapped the brain activity detected during the session to that virtual model using a machine learning system, essentially allowing a recording of a brain to control a recording of a mouth. It’s important to understand that this isn’t turning abstract thoughts into words — it’s understanding the brain’s concrete instructions to the muscles of the face, and determining from those which words those movements would be forming. It’s brain reading, but it isn’t mind reading.

The resulting synthetic speech, while not exactly crystal clear, is certainly intelligible. And set up correctly, it could be capable of outputting 150 words per minute from a person who may otherwise be incapable of speech.

“We still have a ways to go to perfectly mimic spoken language,” said Chartier. “Still, the levels of accuracy we produced here would be an amazing improvement in real-time communication compared to what’s currently available.”

For comparison, a person so afflicted, for instance with a degenerative muscular disease, often has to speak by spelling out words one letter at a time with their gaze. Picture 5-10 words per minute, with other methods for more disabled individuals going even slower. It’s a miracle in a way that they can communicate at all, but this time-consuming and less than natural method is a far cry from the speed and expressiveness of real speech.

If a person was able to use this method, they would be far closer to ordinary speech, though perhaps at the cost of perfect accuracy. But it’s not a magic bullet.

The problem with this method is that it requires a great deal of carefully collected data from what amounts to a healthy speech system, from brain to tip of the tongue. For many people it’s no longer possible to collect this data, and for others the invasive method of collection will make it impossible for a doctor to recommend. And conditions that have prevented a person from ever talking prevent this method from working as well.

The good news is that it’s a start, and there are plenty of conditions it would work for, theoretically. And collecting that critical brain and speech recording data could be done preemptively in cases where a stroke or degeneration is considered a risk.

Read More