© Kirill Makarovy, 123RF.com

© Kirill Makarovy, 123RF.com

News for Admins

Tech News

Article from ADMIN 33/2016
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News for system administrators around the world.

Russian FindFace App is a Privacy Nightmare

The machine-learning capability that social networks are gaining is becoming a privacy nightmare. Anyone can take your photo then find everything about you via social networks. That's exactly what the Russian site FindFace is doing.

FindFace is bringing a very powerful facial recognition technology to VK, formerly known as VKontakte, the "Facebook of Russia."

What worries privacy advocates is that the site has a high accuracy rate when it comes to identifying a total stranger simply by snapping their picture and uploading to the FindFace site.

Antivirus firm Kaspersky wrote in a blog post, "If you upload ideal photos, that were taken when your target was posing, everything works just great. The program has successfully found 9 of 10 test 'victims' in the office."

The algorithm powering the facial recognition is developed by Russia-based N-Tech.Lab, which beat Google's face recognition software at the MegaFace challenge.

Google Wants to Kill Passwords for Android

Google is working on an authentication system called Project Abacus that will eliminate the need for passwords with Android devices.

Project Abacus provides authentication through the way you use your device. Google's machine-learning capabilities can identify you by learning the way you interact with your phone: the way you type, the way you speak, and by collecting signals from different sensors already present in your device. When Google's AI puts all of that together, it can tell whether you are who you claim to be.

During the Google I/O summit this year, Google said that it will start trials of Project Abacus with some large financial organizations this summer. Dan Kaufman, head of Google's ATAP (Advanced Technologies and Projects) division, said that if everything goes well, this project should go out to every Android developer by the end of the year. Project Abacus was initially announced at the Google I/O summit last year.

Qualcomm Bug Threatens Millions of Android Devices

FireEye, a cybersecurity firm, has found a flaw in Android devices running Qualcomm chips. The vulnerability has existed in Android devices for the last five years, and it affects devices with Qualcomm processors running Android 4.3 and older Android systems. Devices running newer versions of Android take advantage of Security-Enhanced Android (SE Android), but FireEye says they are still affected.

According to a FireEye blog post, "This vulnerability allows a seemingly benign application to access sensitive user data, including SMS and call history, and the ability to perform potentially sensitive actions, such as changing system settings or disabling the lock screen."

FireEye informed Qualcomm of the bug in January, and Qualcomm released a fix by April, making it available to all vendors. Google pushed the fix to Nexus devices in May. Although Google secured its own Nexus devices, the company has no control over the rest of the Android ecosystem. Carriers and Android hardware vendors control software updates on their own Android devices, and users of these devices will remain vulnerable unless these companies update the software.

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