Facebook Is Developing a Helicopter to Deliver Internet Access in Emergencies

The Verge, 4/20/2017

Facebook is developing a small helicopter to provide wireless Internet access in emergencies. Where cellular infrastructure is damaged, the “Tether-Tenna” helicopter would latch onto functioning fiber data lines, along with electric lines, and rise up in the air to broadcast a signal. This technology, along with others currently being built, is part of Facebook’s efforts to make Internet access more widely and consistently available.

As Congress Repeals Internet Privacy Rules, Putting Your Options in Perspective

National Public Radio, 3/28/2017

Rules made in October by the Federal Commercial Commission (FCC) are expected to be overturned by Congress and President Trump. These rules would have regulated how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) collected and used data from users, by giving users more control over what information ISPs collect. This rule set would not apply to websites and app providers, like Facebook or Google. However, critics of the overturn argue that it is much more difficult for users to choose to avoid ISPs if they do not wish to be tracked.

Scanners Can Be Hijacked to Perpetrate Cyberattacks

Ben-Gurion University, 3/28/2017

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University demonstrated the ability to communicate with and potentially activate malware on a computer by directing pulsing lights to a typical office scanner that was left open on the same network. These exploits exemplify how seemingly secure devices could be a potential security threat to other networked machines.

Protecting Web Users’ Privacy

MIT News, 3/23/2017

MIT and Stanford University researchers are developing Splinter, an encryption system that hides online database queries. Splinter splits up and encrypts the request for data, sending subparts of the query to different database servers. The user’s computer organizes the returned data to determine the answer. The researchers seek to protect a user’s sensitive information as it travels through the Internet, and in some cases to keep the database systems themselves from knowing who’s searching for what.

Wi-fi on Rays of Light: 100 Times Faster, and Never Overloaded

Eindhoven University of Technology, 3/17/2017

Work by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology could lead to wi-fi that transports data via infrared rays. This approach would have huge data capacities compared to current standards. It would use fiber-optic antennas that keep track of every connected device’s exact position, and emitting rays with a wavelength that is totally safe for the human eye.

New Internet Security Device Launched to Safeguard Schools Against Child Abuse

Plymouth University, 2/20/2017

The University of Plymouth has developed ICAlert, an easy-to-install device that monitors network traffic and sends alerts if users try to access dangerous web content (such as child pornography or terrorist sites). They aim to make browsing safer for children and teens by providing the devices and software to schools at a low cost.

Twitter Data Could Improve Subway Operations During Big Events

University at Buffalo News Center, 1/26/2017

Research performed at the University at Buffalo has suggested that the swelling of subway usage during large events correlates closely with increases in Twitter activity. The Twitter data, which can be filtered by location and content, could potentially become a cost-effective aid to event planning and transit scheduling for crowded occasions.

Net Providers to Begin Sending ‘Pirate’ Emails

BBC, 1/11/2017

A group of UK Internet service providers are attempting to crack down on piracy by sending emails to users of peer-to-peer services who have been flagged for piracy. The emails inform users about legitimate ways of acquiring content. Some argue that this is “too little, too late”, and that monitoring P2P traffic is not sufficient since many pirates now use direct downloads and streaming, which are not monitored.

Ultrasound Tracking Could Be Used to Deanonymize Tor Users

Bleeping Computer, 1/3/2017

Cybersecurity researchers recently discovered that ultrasound cross-device tracking (uXDT), in which a web page plays an ultrasound signal that prompts nearby devices to identify themselves via ultrasound, could be effective even when users are using the anonymization proxy Tor. This provides an example of the continual arms race between privacy-enhancing technologies and privacy-invading technologies.

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