Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for April 24th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: BoatingWithTR.com ) BrickerBot, the botnet that permanently incapacitates poorly secured Internet of Things devices before they can be conscripted into Internet-crippling denial-of-service armies, is back with a new squadron of foot soldiers armed with a meaner arsenal of weapons. Pascal Geenens, the researcher who first documented what he calls the permanent denial-of-service botnet, has dubbed the fiercest new instance BrickerBot.3. It appeared out of nowhere on April 20, exactly one month after BrickerBot.1 first surfaced. Not only did BrickerBot.3 mount a much quicker number of attacks—with 1,295 attacks coming in just 15 hours—it used a modified attack script that added several “fork bomb” commands designed to more completely shock and awe its targets. BrickerBot.1, by comparison, fired 1,895 volleys during the four days it was active, and the still-active BrickerBot.2 has spit out close to 12 attacks per day. “Just like BrickerBot.1, this attack was a short but intense burst,” Geenens told Ars. “Shorter than the four days BrickerBot.1 lasted, but even more intense. The attacks from BrickerBot.3 came in on a different honeypot than the one that recorded BrickerBot.1. There is, however, no correlation between the devices used in the previous attack versus the ones in this attack.” Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Disney is taking scary clown makeup to the next level. It’s using a new projection system to transform the appearance of actors during live performances, tracking facial expressions and “painting” them with light, rather than physical makeup. Called Makeup Lamps, the system was developed by a team at Disney Research, and it could potentially change the way stage makeup is used in future theater productions. Makeup Lamps tracks an actor’s movements without using the facial markers common in motion capture, then it displays any color or texture the actor wants by adjusting the lighting. It can make someone appear older by creating “wrinkles” on their face, for example, or it can paint their face in creepy clown makeup, à la Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight . And all of it is done in real-time. A similar technology was used earlier this year during Lady Gaga’s performance at the Superbowl. Nobumichi Asai, creative director of Japanese visual studio WOW, was brought in to create a red lightning bolt on Gaga’s face during her David Bowie tribute. The attention that performance received has helped the technology become more mainstream. Latency — the time between generating an image that matches the actor’s pose and when the image is displayed — is a big challenge to live augmentation, of course. Large amounts of it will cause the projection and the actor’s face to appear out of sync. Disney’s research team combated this problem by limiting the complexity of its algorithms and employing a method called Kalman filtering, which uses measurements over time to make predictions and minor adjustments. “We’ve seen astounding advances in recent years in capturing facial performances of actors and transferring those expressions to virtual characters, ” said Markus Gross, vice president at Disney Research. “Leveraging these technologies to augment the appearance of live actors is the next step and could result in amazing transformations before our eyes of stage actors in theaters or other venues.” Source: EurekAlert

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Harvard researchers have discovered a parchment manuscript of the Declaration of Independence at a small archive office in the United Kingdom. Only the second parchment copy known to exist, it contains several features that mark it as distinct from the original. Read more…

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It isn’t only the junk processor that makes a really cheap computer slow. Or the memory or the video card (or lack of video card). The primary reason your cheap laptop loudly chugs along at glacial speeds is because of the hard drive. Cheap laptops use cheap hard disk drives, which are much slower than the solid state… Read more…

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