Man creates traffic jam using mobile phones, Google reacts

Agencies
February 5,2020

San Francisco, Feb 5: After a German artist, Simon Weckert, demonstrated how he "hacked" Google Maps with 99 smartphones and a wagon to create "virtual traffic jams" on the streets of Berlin, Google responded to the incident saying it "appreciates" creative use of maps.

Admitting that it has not quite cracked travelling by wagon, the tech giant also hinted that it might use cases like this to improve how its maps work.

"We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time," 9to5Google quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.

In a YouTube video, Weckert showed that he put 99 smartphones with Google Maps onto a small wagon cart and then wheeled that cart around various streets in Berlin, including outside the Google office, Android Authority reported on Monday.

The smartphones "apparently fooled Google Maps" into thinking that there was a high concentration of users on those streets.

Because the second-hand phones were in a cart, Maps was further tricked into believing that the traffic was slow-moving.

As a result, the navigation app started showing virtual traffic jams by turning green streets to red in the online navigational tool, showcasing how digital technology can have a real impact on the real world.

"Traffic data in Google Maps is refreshed continuously thanks to information from a variety of sources, including aggregated anonymised data from people who have location services turned on and contributions from the Google Maps community," the Google spokesperson said.

"We've launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia and Egypt, though we haven't quite cracked travelling by wagon," the statement added. After a German artist, Simon Weckert, demonstrated how he "hacked" Google Maps with 99 smartphones and a wagon to create "virtual traffic jams" on the streets of Berlin, Google responded to the incident saying it "appreciates" creative use of maps.

Admitting that it has not quite cracked travelling by wagon, the tech giant also hinted that it might use cases like this to improve how its maps work.

"We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time," 9to5Google quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.

In a YouTube video, Weckert showed that he put 99 smartphones with Google Maps onto a small wagon cart and then wheeled that cart around various streets in Berlin, including outside the Google office, Android Authority reported on Monday.

The smartphones "apparently fooled Google Maps" into thinking that there was a high concentration of users on those streets.

Because the second-hand phones were in a cart, Maps was further tricked into believing that the traffic was slow-moving.

As a result, the navigation app started showing virtual traffic jams by turning green streets to red in the online navigational tool, showcasing how digital technology can have a real impact on the real world.

"Traffic data in Google Maps is refreshed continuously thanks to information from a variety of sources, including aggregated anonymised data from people who have location services turned on and contributions from the Google Maps community," the Google spokesperson said.

"We've launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia and Egypt, though we haven't quite cracked travelling by wagon," the statement added.

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India’s cybersecurity agency warns people of credit card skimming via e-commerce sites

Agencies
July 18,2020

New Delhi, Jul 18: India's national cybersecurity agency CERT-in, has warned people of credit card skimming spreading across the world through e-commerce platforms.

Attackers are typically targeting e-commerce sites because of their wide presence, popularity and the environment LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) said in a notice on Thursday.

Recently, attackers targeted sites which were hosted on Microsoft's IIS server running with the ASP.NET web application framework, it said.

Some of the sites affected by the attack were found to be running ASP.NET version 4.0.30319, which is no longer officially supported by Microsoft and may contain multiple vulnerabilities, CERT-In said.

The notice also included a list of best practices for website developers including the use of the latest version of ASP.NET web framework, IIS web server and database server.

The advisory is based on research by Malwarebytes which found that this skimming campaign likely began sometime in April this year.

Credit card skimming has become a popular activity for cybercriminals over the past few years, and the increase in online shopping during the pandemic means additional business for them, too, Malwarebytes said in a blog post, adding that attackers do not need to limit themselves to the most popular e-commerce platforms.

Researchers from global cybersecurity and anti-virus brand Kaspersky had warned in December last year that more cybercriminal groups will target online payment processing systems in 2020. 

It said that over the past couple of years, so-called JS-skimming (the method of stealing of payment card data from online stores), has gained immense popularity among attackers. 

Kaspersky researchers in their report said they are currently aware of at least 10 different actors involved in these type of attacks.

Their number will continue to grow during the next year, the report said, adding that the most dangerous attacks will be on companies that provide services such as e-commerce as-a-service, which will lead to the compromise of thousands of companies.

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Home-made face masks may need at least two layers to stop Covid-19 spread: Study

News Network
July 24,2020

Melbourne, Jul 24: Home-made cloth face masks may need a minimum of two layers, and preferably three, to prevent the dispersal of viral droplets associated with Covid-19, according to a study.

Researchers, including those from the University of New South Wales in Australia, noted that viral droplets are generated by those infected with the novel coronavirus when they cough, sneeze, or speak.

As face masks have been proven to protect healthy people from inhaling infectious droplets as well as reducing the spread from those who are already infected, several types of material have been suggested for these, but based on little or no evidence of how well they work, the scientists said.

In the current study, published in the journal Thorax, the researchers compared the effectiveness of single and double-layer cloth face coverings with a surgical face mask (Bao Thach) at reducing droplet spread.

They said the single layer covering was made from a folded piece of cotton T shirt and hair ties, and the double layer covering was made using the sew method described by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The scientists used a tailored LED lighting system and a high-speed camera to film the dispersal of airborne droplets produced by a healthy person with no respiratory infection, during speaking, coughing, and sneezing while wearing each type of mask.

Their analysis showed that the surgical face mask was the most effective at reducing airborne droplet dispersal, although even a single layer cloth face covering reduced the droplet spread from speaking.

But the study noted that a double layer covering was better than a single layer in reducing the droplet spread from coughing and sneezing.

According to the researchers, the effectiveness of cloth face masks is dependent on the number of layers of the covering, the type of material used, design, fit as well as the frequency of washing.

Based on their observations, they said a home made cloth mask with at least two layers is preferable to a single layer mask.

"Guidelines on home-made cloth masks should stipulate multiple layers," the scientists said, adding that there is a need for more research to inform safer cloth mask design.

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Siddaramaiah says BJP trying to destabilise Congress government in Rajasthan

News Network
July 28,2020

Bengaluru, Jul 28: Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Monday alleged that BJP is trying to destabilise the Congress government in Rajasthan.

"It is the duty of the Governor to act according to the decision of the state cabinet. But he is acting like a central government puppet," he said at a protest organised here by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).

He said the Congress is protesting across the country to save democracy and save the constitution.

"We are not fighting through violence. We are protesting peacefully. The Constitution has given the right to protest in a democratic system," he said.

He accused the BJP of "being disrespectful" to the Constitution.

"Governments must walk within the framework of the Constitution. The Constitution gives everyone rights and duties. BJP destabilises elected governments and buys our legislators by horse-trading by spending crores of money. The same thing happened in Karnataka as well," he alleged.

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