Technology

Stop trolls stealing your online identity

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Rachel Green's Facebook account

Your friend Monica calls you, agitated and angry, asking: “Why did you write that horrible thing about Ross?!”

You never said that, but all your friends on Facebook think you did because a profile claiming to be you has said it.

At a glance the account could be yours too.

From photos, to status updates, to your date of birth, the account is rich with information which has been lifted from your profile, which is public.

It is so convincing many of your friends have accepted a friend request.

The problem is that you have no control over what the account pretending to be you says, or who it says it to.

Rachel Green's Facebook account

After being granted rare access to Devon and Cornwall Police’s Hi-Tech Crime Unit, Newsbeat has learnt this scenario is becoming more frequent, particularly for young people.

It’s thought weak privacy settings combined with a rise in professional trolls who have the time and resources to steal your identity is to blame.

An anti-bullying group has told us replica accounts have sent death threats or told people “to get cancer”.

There have been incidents where people have been beaten up or were scared to leave their house after offensive messages were sent from an account pretending to be them.

Replicating a profile is all about piecing bits of information together, like a jigsaw. The more pieces there are, the more believable the account will be.

While you can never completely stop a troll from stealing your identity, here are some things you can do which will make a troll’s life a bit more difficult.

Facebook

The best way to protect your profile is to make it completely private so only people you know can see it.

However, even if your account has the highest privacy settings, if a couple of your friends have Public accounts and accept Friend Requests from strangers then a potential troll could still access your photos or comments.

By editing your account so only your Friends can see your Friend List it will be harder for a troll to work out who you know.

Facebook

If you want to see how strangers view your Facebook profile click on View As (see above) and it will show you.

We think Rachel may want to reconsider how much she is sharing with the world and keep it amongst her “Friends”…

Sorry.

Rachel Green's Facebook account

Instagram

There’s nothing wrong with letting people know where you are when you have taken a photo; if you are capturing the Eiffel Tower it can feel almost essential.

Instagram map

However, photos can soon add up, and if you do not keep an eye on your Instagram Photo Map and it is open to the public it soon becomes clear where you live, work and socialise.

That’s handy for a troll.

You can edit what pictures appear on your map by clicking on them.

If you don’t want any locations on any of your images you can make the switch on your privacy settings.

Instagram

Twitter

It’s one thing tweeting that you are rocking out to Taylor Swift at Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2015 and the message confirms to the world you are in Norwich.

It’s a bit different if you are at home and decide to tweet about Rita Ora on The Voice and the message confirms to the world exactly where you live.

To remove your location from a tweet choose Security and Privacy on the Account tab and untick Tweet Location.

Twitter

You may need to re-enter your password, but once you have done that you can tweet away from the comfort of your home, happy in the knowledge that only the people you want to know where you live, do.

Snapchat

The beauty of Snapchat is you take photos which you feel are important, for ten seconds or so, and then they disappear.

But are you sending these pictures to your Friends or to Everyone…

SnapChat

If your Privacy Settings looks like this, you can change it so only your Friends can see your photos.

It’s also important to be careful who is on your friends list to make sure you are only sharing your photos with those that you want to.

Detective Constable David Wright from Devon and Cornwall’s Hi-Tech Crime Unit told Newsbeat: “There are people with time and resources who have embarked on almost a career in creating an online presence pretending to be someone else.

“I don’t want to be too sinister because social media is supposed to be fun, but sometimes we do need to think about what we are sharing online.”

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter, BBCNewsbeat on Instagram and Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube

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Europe’s mini ‘spaceplane’ set to fly

E4y.net
11 February 2015Last updated at 02:38

By Jonathan AmosBBC Science Correspondent

IXVThe IXV is an Italian-led project within Esa. The vehicle is 5m long and and weighs almost two tonnes

Europe is all set to launch its mini ‘spaceplane’ demonstrator.

The unmanned Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) will launch atop a Vega rocket from South America, fly east around the globe, before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

The wedge-shaped craft is designed to gather information on how space objects fall back to Earth.

Engineers could use the data to inform a range of future technologies from re-usable rockets to Mars landers.

Lift-off for the Vega from French Guiana is timed for 10:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

It will throw the IXV to an altitude of 450km, from where the European Space Agency (Esa) test article will then begin its rapid descent.

IXVThe Vega rocket will throw the IXV to an altitude of 450km, ready for its descent

By the time it re-enters the atmosphere, the craft should be moving at 7.5km/s. As it pushes up against the air, the temperatures on its leading surfaces will soar to 1,700C.

Flaps and thrusters will be used to control the trajectory, ensuring the IXV comes down close to a recovery ship some 3,000km west of the Galapagos Islands.

A parachute system deployed in the very late stages of the flight will put the two-tonne vehicle gently in the water. Floatation balloons will come out to stop it from sinking.

Beginning to end, the complete mission is expected to last approximately one hour and 40 minutes.

Europe’s expertise on re-entry technologies is more limited than, say, the US or Russia. Something it wants to change with the help of the IXV.

Esa’s project manager Giorgio Tumino told BBC News: “Europe is excellent at going to orbit; we have all the launchers, for example. We also have great knowhow in operating complex systems in orbit. But where we are a bit behind is in the knowledge of how to come back from orbit. So, if we are to close the circle – go to orbit, stay in orbit, come back from orbit – this third leg we need to master as well as other spacefaring nations.”

Impression of re-entryThe IXV will use flaps and thrusters to control its automated descent through the atmosphere

Europe has produced one or two re-entry capsule systems in the past, but the IXV’s complex “lifting body” is new territory.

The vehicle is packed with sensors. Their data will feed back into materials research and into the computer models used to describe the energetic physics that occurs when an object plunges through atmospheric gases at hypersonic speeds.

The IXV will start its data dump the moment it clears the descent’s radio blackout phase, which occurs when the vehicle is enveloped by the hot plasma created during high-speed re-entry.

Getting all the information off the craft while it is still in the air means the mission can complete its objectives even if something goes wrong at splashdown and the IXV sinks.

X-37BThe X-37B is used by the US military. Europe’s version would be exclusively civilian in operation

Esa has already approved a follow-on project called Pride (Programme for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator in Europe).

This would see the development of another re-entry vehicle but with a key difference – the ability to land on a runway.

In this respect, the Pride craft would look very similar to the X-37B mini shuttle, which is operated by the American military.

No-one is quite sure what missions are flown by this unmanned craft, but they are likely to include the early testing of new technologies for future satellites.

This could be a role also for Europe’s future Pride vehicle. In-orbit servicing of satellites is a capability often discussed in this context as well.

Esa nations will meet shortly to define these roles.

“We need still to agree with all the member states all the different types of operations in orbit. But whatever the payload, it will always be in the perimeter space of civilian applications,” stresses Mr Tumino.

The UK is not involved in the Italian-led IXV programme, but it is signed up to Pride, albeit at a low contribution.

Britain’s interests relate to reusable launcher technologies and to the safe return of planetary samples, such as rock specimens collected on Mars.

Pride conceptThe Pride follow-on is expected to fly in space by 2020
Reusable rocket stagesFuture technologies could find their way into rocket stages that fly back to a runway after use

Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmosI

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UK kickstarts driverless car changes

E4y.net
11 February 2015Last updated at 00:08

By Jane WakefieldTechnology reporter

Richard Westcott has a closer look at new driverless technology

Changes to the Highway Code and the MOT test will be necessary to accommodate driverless cars on the roads of the UK, a Department of Transport report has revealed.

The government wants the UK to become a world leader in driverless technology.

It will publish a code of practice in the spring which will allow the testing of autonomous cars to go ahead.

Self-drive pods that will be tested in Milton Keynes and Coventry are unveiled for the first time.

The government promised a full review of current legislation by the summer of 2017.

That review will consider whether a higher standard of driving should be demanded of automated vehicles.

Aautomated passenger shuttle vehicleGateway will test self-drive passenger shuttle vehicles in Greenwich

It will also look at who would be responsible in the event of a collision and how to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians.

The Department of Transport report acknowledged that true driverless cars may be some way off and that current tests of the technology will need to include a qualified test driver to supervise the vehicle.

“Driverless vehicle technology has the potential to be a real game-change on the UK’s roads, altering the face of motoring in the most fundamental of ways and delivering major benefits for road safety, social inclusion, emissions and congestion,” said transport minister Claire Perry.

The government is providing £19m to launch four driverless car schemes in four UK locations.

Richard Westcott explains how the cars avoid hitting people

To mark the launch of the review, Ms Perry and Business Secretary Vince Cable highlighted some of the trials that they are funding, including a fully autonomous shuttle in Greenwich and a BAE System-developed Wildcat vehicle, which will be tested in Bristol.

Self-drive pods that will be tested in Milton Keynes and Coventry were also unveiled for the first time.

Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These trials are not just about harnessing technology to make our travelling lives easier and safer, they also involve getting the regulation right.

“Alongside the hi-tech innovation you need policy decisions on long-term, low-tech matters such as who takes responsibility if things go wrong. As and when these vehicles become commonplace, there is likely to be a shift from personal to product liability and that is a whole new ball game for insurers and manufacturers.”

But the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) said that it was concerned that, while the government is pushing ahead with making driverless cars a reality, the service and repair sector did not yet have the skills and infrastructure in place to deal with the new technology.

IMI chief executive Steve Nash is calling on businesses to take steps to address this sooner rather than later.

“We believe the government is yet to fully [realise] the pressures we are under,” he said.

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Driverless cars around the world

Google's self-drive carGoogle is the most high-profile company to run self-drive car trials to date
  • The US was the first country to introduce legislation to permit testing of automated vehicles. Four US states have done so but 15 have rejected bills related to automated driving
  • In Europe, only Germany and Sweden have reviewed their legislation in this area
  • Those wishing to conduct tests in the UK will not be limited to test tracks or certain geographical areas and will not need to obtain certificates or permits
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Smartphone app

The Lutz Pathfinder pod which will be tested on the pavements of Milton Keynes later this year is a two-seater, electric-powered vehicle that is packed with 19 sensors, cameras, radar and Lidar – a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analysing the reflected light.

In a panel behind the seat is the computing power equivalent to two high-end gaming computers.

Three pods will drive themselves on the pavements and pedestrianised areas of the city initially and, if successful, a fleet of 40 vehicles will be rolled out. These vehicles will be able to talk to each other as well as being connected to a smartphone app to allow people to hail them.

Lutz Pathfinder pod

Alongside the trials in Milton Keynes and Coventry, Bristol will host the Venturer consortium, which aims to investigate whether driverless cars can reduce congestion and make roads safer.

Its members include the insurance group Axa, and much of its focus will be on the public’s reaction to the technology as well as the legal and insurance implications of its introduction.

Greenwich is set to run the Gateway scheme. This will be led by the Transport Research Laboratory consultancy and also involves General Motors, as well as the AA and RAC motoring associations. It plans to carry out tests of automated passenger shuttle vehicles as well as autonomous valet parking for adapted cars.

In addition, a self-drive car simulator will make use of a photorealistic 3D model of the area to study how people react to sharing the driving of a vehicle with a computer.

Research untaken by Virgin last year suggested that 43% of the British public wouldn’t feel comfortable with the presence of driverless cars on the roads.

A quarter of those surveyed said that they would not get inside such a car.

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Language apps are lost in translation

E4y.net
11 February 2015Last updated at 00:06

By Kevin RawlinsonBBC News

BilbaoThe BBC road-tested a host of translation apps in the Spanish Basque city Bilbao

They are going to remove language barriers forever. Or so it has been claimed.

Google recently released a real-time translator, while Microsoft-owned Skype is beta-testing its own.

Both firms make grand claims about their services, while other smaller rivals offer alternatives, but the question remains: do they actually work?

I took a selection of apps to Bilbao in the Spanish Basque Country to find out, testing them by completing tasks set for me by colleagues on the BBC’s tech desk.

The first job was to find the northern city’s Guggenheim museum and ask what was its most valuable work of art.

Getting to the museum was not a challenge; another Google app saw to that. The problem was getting my question across.

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Bilbao to-do list

Basque flag
  • Get to Guggenheim museum and find out what is its most highly insured work of art
  • Get to Moyua metro station and ask someone there the best way to get to Plaza Nueva
  • In Plaza Nueva find someone to tell the story of their first kiss
  • Find Gili-Gili and ask someone inside to take a selfie posing with you and an item sold there
  • Catch a taxi to Cafeteria Concha and, when you arrive, ask what their bestselling pintxo is
  • Go to the city’s bullfighting museum and ask the staff inside how many people the bullring could hold when full and when the original was destroyed
  • Buy a one euro stamp and postcard and send it to the Tech team
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Google Translate doesn’t yet support spoken Basque, so I opted for its English-to-Spanish setting.

Despite near-perfect conditions – indoors with no background noise and a volunteer who was familiar with the concept of the real-time translators – it initially struggled to convey relatively simple phrases.

“OK, so I’ve arrived at the Guggenheim and I’m here with Begoña and I have to ask her a question, according to my list of things to do,” became “ok so the rise of the guggenheim and and and i have got acid? On my list of things to do.”

While it got it the second time round, the answer that came back was not exactly perfect:

The piece of art mask museum's own collection is a Rothko painting called Untitled

It was, at least, comprehensible. An inauspicious start, nevertheless.

First kiss

At nearby Moyua metro station, the app had to face an even stiffer test – one that exposed what is perhaps its biggest weaknesses: background noise and the rigours of real life.

The weather was crisp but dry when I managed to stop a woman at the building’s entrance to ask for the quickest route to the old town’s main square.

By the time she had grasped the concept of listening for a translation into Spanish and answering the question clearly and slowly – delivering the directions bit-by-bit and waiting for the app to catch up – a sudden hailstorm had struck, shaking her resolve to persevere with struggling software and British tourist alike.

Nevertheless, I eventually found Plaza Nueva.

There sat 22-year-old Yurena, who agreed to share the story of her first kiss with me.

Apparently, it was at a party in Bilbao. She cuddled up with Miguel on the sofa and then “muy bien”. The couple are still together, she said.

A romantic story, without doubt. Unfortunately, none of it told using Google’s real-time translator, which could not deal with the fact that she was speaking at the speed of a normal conversation.

BilbaoYurena dispensed with the realtime translator, which couldn’t keep up with her

In the end, Yurena had to give up and type her message manually, pressing a button to get it translated into text for me to read.

Her task was made no easier when Google Translate turned “can you speak slower, please” into “can you speak Spanish Big Show”.

Una selfie, por favor

VocreVocre supports 38 languages, but is not free like some rival apps

Vocre is one of the most prominent other apps to provide real-time translations. And, at Bilbao’s bullfighting museum, it achieved a similar rate of success to Google’s.

Converting between English and Spanish, it managed to convey a question about the bullring’s capacity relatively well.

The answer that came back from staff member Joaquín Vega was clearly mangled: “Around 14 thousandth people.”

Imperfect, but at least it was understandable.

Such apps performed best with measured speech and low background noise, as illustrated by my experience in Gili-Gili – a local clothes shop.

Inside, where it was relatively quiet, Google Translate managed to convey my request for a posed selfie almost perfectly.

After some explanation of how the system worked, Pedro Aramaio – who spoke little or no English – agreed to pose for the photo, ticking another task off my list.

That was, however, a brief highlight.

BilbaoPedro Aramaio agreed to pose for a selfie after conversing using Google’s app

At nearby Cafeteria Concha, which was significantly louder, the same app had trouble picking out any speech at all.

The barman there professed to speak very little English.

But when the software took an age to detect my request to identify his bestselling pintxo – a word for Basque bar snacks – he opted to attempt an answer in my language, rather than to persevere with the smartphone.

BilbaoThat’s definitely not what I said

‘Awkward’ apps

If real-time translation apps can get it right, they could upend a lucrative sector.

According to a recent report by the Economist newspaper – which cited consulting firm Common Sense Advisory – the language interpretation industry generates about $37bn (£24bn) worth of sales every year.

But the problems I experienced in Bilbao suggest that processor-powered translations still have far to go.

Those issues are indicative of speech recognition tech’s limitations in general, according to Joseba Abaitua, an academic at the modern foreign languages department at Bilbao’s University of Deusto.

Mr Abaitua, who specialises in online communication, suggests that interacting via a smartphone while face-to-face with someone else is always going to be “awkward”. But, he adds, apps will become more effective as people get used to them.

Watch: Rory Cellan-Jones tests Skype’s real-time translator

“In a way, you have to… make a compromise, you have to know who are you talking to – you are talking to a speech recogniser, a machine,” he says.

“So, the machine can start understanding you quite well and, if your sentences are short and well recognised, the translation system… may make a good job.

“But, if you start talking unexpected things with a lot of colloquialism, then the whole system breaks down.”

He adds that systems need to get much better at recognising people’s different accents and ways of speaking.

BilbaoNone of the apps had Basque, but they did have Spanish

Smartphone-based translators also face technical limitations, such as their reliance on internet connections and limited battery life.

And, in some cases, they simply promise more than they can delivery.

One app I tried called Interpreter steadfastly refused to live up to its name.

When I attempted to use it to find a postcard shop it failed to translate either my questions or the replies I was given, despite near-ideal conditions.

A helpful shopkeeper ultimately had to regress to pen and paper to draw a crude map of the area.

Eventually, I bought a stamp and card to send back to London. But not before Google Translate managed to maul this last request.

“I speak English,” the bemused card salesman said, finally putting me out of my tech-induced misery.

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VIDEO: Bafta winner talks future of film

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Bafta and Oscar winner Paul Franklin says that film still offers a better quality of image than its digital counterpart.

Franklin worked as the Visual Effects Supervisor on the film Interstellar and this week won a Bafta award for his effort.

The film is also nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Visual Effects category.

Interstellar was shot on film and marked Franklin’s fifth collaboration with director Chris Nolan.

BBC Click’s Al Moloney spoke to him about the future of film and why he feels it is still superior to more modern methods of shooting.

Clips provided courtesy of Warner Bros

More at BBC.com/Click and @BBCClick.

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IBM’s Watson supercomputer learns Japanese, set for robot launch

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IBMRobot.jpg

(IBM)

IBM’s Watson supercomputer is learning Japanese as the tech giant attempts to extend the reach of its supercomputing technology.

Watson, famous for its appearance on the quiz show “Jeopardy,” is at the center of an alliance between IBM and Japanese telecom heavyweight SoftBank, which was announced on Tuesday.

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IBM and SoftBank will bring new Watson-powered apps and services to Japan, according to a statement released by the two companies. Specifically, the firms will focus on cloud-based services in industries such as education, banking, healthcare, insurance, and retail.

Watson technologies could also be embedded in the likes of desktops, tablets, mobile devices, and robots in Japan. For example, SoftBank will use Watson artificial intelligence in its empathetic robot Pepper that goes on sale in Japan this month.

“As the world’s third largest economy with the second most patents in the world, we feel this innovative economy holds the potential to unlock Watson for many industries across the Japanese market,” John Gordon, vice president of IBM’s Watson Group, told FoxNews.com, in an e-mail.

The partnership involves the acquisition of new language skills by Watson.

“The Japanese language presented IBM researchers with a number of unique challenges to overcome, most notably the first time the Watson system has learned a language that relies on characters not shared by the Western alphabet,” added Paul Yonamine, general manager at IBM Japan, in a statement.

Last year IBM enhanced Watson in an attempt to speed up the pace of scientific breakthroughs.

Watson’s ability to trawl vast troves of data has already been targeted at the healthcare sector via partnerships with insurance firm WellPoint and New York’s famous Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Care Center. In 2014 IBM announced an investment of more than $1 billion in its Watson Group in an attempt to boost development of cloud-based applications and services.

The supercomputer is also being used to help U.S. military personnel make the transition back to civilian life.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Neil Armstrong’s widow finds spacecraft artifacts packed away

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Story highlights

  • Artifacts from Apollo 11 are found in Neil Armstrong’s closet
  • Armstrong’s widow, Carol, notified the Smithsonian Air and Space museum of her find
  • Among the items: The camera that recorded Armstrong’s moonwalk

The Art of Movement is a monthly show that highlights the most significant innovations in science and technology that are helping shape our modern world.

(CNN)Any traveler who returns with mementos from their adventures might struggle deciding what exactly to do with them.

Perhaps that’s why astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the moon, left some of his personal artifacts from his journey to the moon in a closet.

Armstrong’s widow, Carol, found the items, and she snapped a picture of them that she shared with curators at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, a release from the museum said.

Armstrong, who uttered those now famous words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” died in 2012 after complications associated with heart surgery.

In the wake of his death, Carol Armstrong donated many of the Apollo 11 artifacts to the museum’s National Collection. She also shared some of her husband’s correspondence and paper files to his alma mater, Purdue University in Indiana.

Not until recently did Carol Armstrong email the museum with the news she’d found, “a white cloth bag filled with assorted small items that looked like they may have come from a spacecraft.”

    With the email, she included a picture of the items, spread out on her carpet.

    On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission put the first humans on the moon. Neil Armstrong famously commemorated his first steps on the moon by saying, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Click through the gallery to see other milestones in space exploration. And go inside "The Space Race" on <a href="http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/us/the-sixties">"The Sixties,"</a> Friday, July 25, at 9pET and Saturday, July 26, at 10p ET.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space 19 photos
    On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission put the first humans on the moon. Neil Armstrong famously commemorated his first steps on the moon by saying, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Click through the gallery to see other milestones in space exploration. And go inside "The Space Race" on <a href="http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/us/the-sixties">"The Sixties,"</a> Friday, July 25, at 9pET and Saturday, July 26, at 10p ET.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceOn July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission put the first humans on the moon. Neil Armstrong famously commemorated his first steps on the moon by saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Click through the gallery to see other milestones in space exploration. And go inside “The Space Race” on “The Sixties,” Friday, July 25, at 9pET and Saturday, July 26, at 10p ET.
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    Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Armstrong's fellow astronaut on Apollo 11, salutes the U.S. flag on the lunar surface. Aldrin followed Armstrong and became the second man to walk on the moon on July 21, 1969.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceEdwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Armstrong’s fellow astronaut on Apollo 11, salutes the U.S. flag on the lunar surface. Aldrin followed Armstrong and became the second man to walk on the moon on July 21, 1969.
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    This is the first photograph of Earth's south polar ice cap. It was taken by the crew of Apollo 17 as the astronauts traveled to the moon in December 1972.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceThis is the first photograph of Earth’s south polar ice cap. It was taken by the crew of Apollo 17 as the astronauts traveled to the moon in December 1972.
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    The Soviet Union launched the Space Age and the space race with the successful launch of Sputnik I, the world's first satellite, on October 4, 1957. It orbited the Earth every 98 minutes.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceThe Soviet Union launched the Space Age and the space race with the successful launch of Sputnik I, the world’s first satellite, on October 4, 1957. It orbited the Earth every 98 minutes.
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    Laika the dog is pictured aboard Sputnik II on November 13, 1957. She was the first animal to orbit the Earth. She did not survive her trip, but the mission provided valuable data that paved the way for the first human in space.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceLaika the dog is pictured aboard Sputnik II on November 13, 1957. She was the first animal to orbit the Earth. She did not survive her trip, but the mission provided valuable data that paved the way for the first human in space.
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    Soviet pilot and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made history as the first human to fly into space. On April 12, 1961, Gagarin took off in the Vostok 1, orbited the Earth and parachuted back to firm ground.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceSoviet pilot and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made history as the first human to fly into space. On April 12, 1961, Gagarin took off in the Vostok 1, orbited the Earth and parachuted back to firm ground.
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    Less than a month after Gagarin's trip, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American to travel into space. On May 5, 1961, Shepard piloted Freedom 7, the first manned Mercury program mission, in a suborbital flight that lasted a little more than 15 minutes.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceLess than a month after Gagarin’s trip, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American to travel into space. On May 5, 1961, Shepard piloted Freedom 7, the first manned Mercury program mission, in a suborbital flight that lasted a little more than 15 minutes.
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    John Glenn, aboard the Friendship 7, became the first American to orbit the planet on February 20, 1962. He also set a record as the oldest astronaut in space when, at the age of 77, he went on a mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in November 1996.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceJohn Glenn, aboard the Friendship 7, became the first American to orbit the planet on February 20, 1962. He also set a record as the oldest astronaut in space when, at the age of 77, he went on a mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in November 1996.
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    Valentina Tereshkova, seen here with Gagarin, piloted the Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963, becoming the first woman to fly into space.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceValentina Tereshkova, seen here with Gagarin, piloted the Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963, becoming the first woman to fly into space.
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    Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov died during his second flight when the Soyuz 1 spacecraft crashed during its return to Earth on April 23, 1967. He was the first human to die during a space mission.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceSoviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov died during his second flight when the Soyuz 1 spacecraft crashed during its return to Earth on April 23, 1967. He was the first human to die during a space mission.
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    Skylab, the United States' first space station, orbited Earth from 1973 to 1979. The Soviet program had launched their first space station, Salyut, in 1971, and it stayed in space for 15 years.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceSkylab, the United States’ first space station, orbited Earth from 1973 to 1979. The Soviet program had launched their first space station, Salyut, in 1971, and it stayed in space for 15 years.
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    On July 15, 1975, Cold War adversaries temporarily broke the thaw when the United States and the Soviet Union embarked on their first joint space mission. Russia's Soyuz craft launched seven hours before the U.S. Apollo craft, and the two vehicles linked up 52 hours after Soyuz lifted off. Here, the two crews pose for a portrait.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceOn July 15, 1975, Cold War adversaries temporarily broke the thaw when the United States and the Soviet Union embarked on their first joint space mission. Russia’s Soyuz craft launched seven hours before the U.S. Apollo craft, and the two vehicles linked up 52 hours after Soyuz lifted off. Here, the two crews pose for a portrait.
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    Gen. Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, center, looks at a homemade rocket in Havana, Cuba, in 2009. Mendez became the first Latin American, the first person of African descent and the first Cuban to fly in space when he flew aboard the Soviet Soyuz 38 on September 18, 1980.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceGen. Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, center, looks at a homemade rocket in Havana, Cuba, in 2009. Mendez became the first Latin American, the first person of African descent and the first Cuban to fly in space when he flew aboard the Soviet Soyuz 38 on September 18, 1980.
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    Taking off on April 12, 1981, Columbia made the first orbital flight of NASA's space shuttle program. Here, crew members John Watts Young, left, and Robert Laurel Crippen hold a model of the orbiter in 1979.

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    Famous firsts in spaceTaking off on April 12, 1981, Columbia made the first orbital flight of NASA’s space shuttle program. Here, crew members John Watts Young, left, and Robert Laurel Crippen hold a model of the orbiter in 1979.
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    Sally Ride became the first American woman to go into space when she was part of a crew aboard the space shuttle Challenger in June 1983.

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    Famous firsts in spaceSally Ride became the first American woman to go into space when she was part of a crew aboard the space shuttle Challenger in June 1983.
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    Guion "Guy" Bluford was the first African-American to go into space. He was a mission specialist on the space shuttle challenger in 1983.

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    Famous firsts in spaceGuion “Guy” Bluford was the first African-American to go into space. He was a mission specialist on the space shuttle challenger in 1983.
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    In February 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless became the first astronaut to float in space untethered, thanks to a jetpack-like device called the Manned Maneuvering Unit. The units are no longer used, but astronauts now wear a similar backpack device in case of emergency.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceIn February 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless became the first astronaut to float in space untethered, thanks to a jetpack-like device called the Manned Maneuvering Unit. The units are no longer used, but astronauts now wear a similar backpack device in case of emergency.
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    Jan Davis and Mark Lee were the first couple to go into space together when the husband and wife were astronauts on the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992.

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    Famous firsts in spaceJan Davis and Mark Lee were the first couple to go into space together when the husband and wife were astronauts on the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992.
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    The private company SpaceX sent an unmanned capsule with supplies to the International Space Station on October 7, 2012. It was the first commercial space mission and the first of a dozen commercial cargo flights under a contract with NASA.

    Photos: Famous firsts in space19 photos
    Famous firsts in spaceThe private company SpaceX sent an unmanned capsule with supplies to the International Space Station on October 7, 2012. It was the first commercial space mission and the first of a dozen commercial cargo flights under a contract with NASA.
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    EXPAND GALLERY

    Most of the artifacts Carol Armstrong had made available to the museum prior to her closet find, weren’t any actual flown artifacts, but were still exciting, Allan Needell the Apollo curator at the National Air and Space Museum told CNN.

    Carol Armstrong’s locating the bag and turning to the museum “to help determine the significance of the items it was an immense honor and challenge,” Needell said.

    The physical challenge of conserving and protecting the items, which Carol Armstrong shipped to the National Air and Space Museum, along with the intellectual challenge of determining what they were led Needell to enlist a team of experts from the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (ALSJ).

    For a year, the team worked to document and understand the “function and significance of each of the items in the bag,” confirming recently that a few definitely came from Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 mission.

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    The first they were able to verify was the white cloth bag in which the items were found.

    The temporary stowage bag was often called the “McDivitt purse,” named after Apollo 9 Commander James McDivitt, who suggested astronauts might need a place to temporarily stow items.

    Evidence that the bag and its contents were a part of the moonwalk mission were confirmed through Armstrong’s own words.

    He’s recorded as having said, “You know that that one’s just a bunch of trash that we want to take back — LM parts, odds and ends, and it won’t stay closed by itself. We’ll have to figure something out for it.”

    But transcripts from the ALSJ provide evidence Armstrong alerted mission control to the bag of “odds and ends” on board before their return. This was imperative as the return trajectory calculations would have needed to accommodate the additional weight (about 10lbs) in order to allow the team’s safe re-entry to Earth, explained the curator in a blog post on the museum’s website.

    Inside the bag was the camera that recorded Armstrong’s landing on the moon, as well as his famous remarks upon his landing. The 16mm data acquisition camera was mounted in the window of the lunar module Eagle and recorded historic images: Armstrong just before he stepped onto the moon. Armstrong planting the American flag with Buzz Aldrin.

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    Also a part of the haul was a waist tether used by Armstrong to help support his feet during a rest period on the moon. Astronauts used these tethers as security in case they were forced to do a spacewalk during orbit, the museum release said.

    These items are now on display as a part of the Air and Space museum’s temporary exhibition, “Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity.”

    Needell said the Armstrong artifacts “tell a number of stories” – the technical story that has been so carefully documented and the human story of those who were involved.

    “It was a most satisfying discovery process,” he said.

    A team of experts is still cataloging some of the items found inside to determine whether any others were a part of the Apollo 11 mission.

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Microsoft patches ‘China spy bug’

E4y.net
10 February 2015Last updated at 20:15

By Mark WardTechnology correspondent, BBC News

Adobe officesAdobe’s Flash software was used to try to compromise vulnerable machines

Microsoft has released a patch to close a bug exploited by hackers, who targeted US military and government networks.

The flaw was used to compromise Windows PCs that visited sites seeded with other malware created by the group.

Popular news site Forbes was one victim unwittingly enrolled into the cyber-espionage campaign.

Security systems on US military networks ultimately foiled attempts to steal data, said one expert.

“It’s fairly brazen for a Chinese cyber-espionage group to use such a public site,” said John Hultquist from iSight Partners, which said it had traced the attack back to a group called Codoso.

Data grabbing

Forbes’ site was compromised via a software add-on, or widget, that made use of a version of Adobe’s Flash software, which in turn was vulnerable to an exploit believed to have been created by Codoso.

This was paired with a separate vulnerability that the hackers used to takeover Windows machines.

The booby-trapped widget was present on the Forbes site between 28 November and 1 December, 2014, said a spokeswoman for the news site.

“Forbes took immediate actions to remediate the incident,” said the spokeswoman.

“The investigation has found no indication of additional or ongoing compromise nor any evidence of data exfiltration.”

No group had claimed responsibility for the attack, she added.

Mr Hultquist told the BBC that iSight had been tracking Codoso since 2010 and was confident it was behind the attack.

Additional intelligence about its origin has been provided by security company Invincea which spotted machines infected via the Forbes exploit on military networks.

Once it took hold on a Windows machine the Codoso malware sought to log what software the machine ran and to map networks to find other machines to compromise, Mr Hultquist explained

“It’s all about land and expand,” he said.

“They want to get in and stay in and be as persistent as possible and gather intelligence over a long period of time.”

No data was stolen from official US networks using this exploit, said Norm Laudermilch from Invincea.

However, he said, analysis of the malware showed that it had been used to get at various other sites and the sheer number of people visiting Forbes would suggest a lot had been caught out by it.

Adobe patched the Flash bug on 9 December and Microsoft has now moved to close the other loophole found and exploited by Codoso.

Mr Hultquist said the evidence suggested Codoso was no common-or-garden cybercrime group.

“There are different motivations for hacker groups, but this one is about espionage and that, by definition, is not about making money,” he said.

China was not alone in setting up such groups and trying to gather data by hacking, he added.

“We’ve seen dozens of them,” he said.

“It’s a very inexpensive way to get an advantage over your adversaries.”

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As hackers breach digital defenses, experts say internal protections needed

E4y.net

Ever since the Internet blossomed in the 1990s, cybersecurity was built on the idea that computers could be protected by a digital quarantine. Now, as hackers routinely overwhelm such defenses, experts say cybersecurity is beyond due an overhaul.

Their message: Neutralize attackers once they’re inside networks rather than fixating on trying to keep them out.

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First they need to convince a conservative business world to gamble on a different approach. And having sold generations of defensive systems that consistently lagged the capabilities of the most advanced hackers, the industry itself must overcome skepticism it’s flogging another illusion of security.

According to U.S. cybersecurity company FireEye, 229 days is the median length of time attackers lurk inside their victim’s computers before being detected or revealing themselves, underscoring the weakness of conventional tools in identifying sophisticated intruders.

The traditional defenses must “have a description of the bad guys before they can help you find them,” said Dave Merkel, chief technology officer at FireEye Inc. “That’s just old and outmoded. And just doesn’t work anymore,” he said.

“There’s no way to guarantee that you never are the victim of cyberattack.”

Merkel said in the worst case he knows of, attackers hid themselves for years.

Experts aren’t recommending organizations stop deploying perimeter defenses such as antivirus software or firewalls that weed out vanilla threats. But they say a strategy that could be likened to laying traps is needed to counter the sophisticated hacks that can cause huge losses.

The weakness of relying on a firewall is that it’s like building a fence around a housing complex but not hiring a guard to patrol the interior streets, said Ed Amoroso, chief security officer at AT&T.

The hackers who targeted Anthem, the second biggest U.S. health insurer, and accessed personal information of 80 million customers, may have been inside its system for more than a month before being detected, according to the company.

In the famous Sony Pictures hack, the attackers who breached the Hollywood studio’s network went unnoticed until computers were paralyzed and a mountain of data was dumped on the Internet.

The amount of data copied and removed from Sony’s systems should have set off internal alarms long before Sony workers found their PCs taken over by malware, said Mike Potts, CEO of Lancope, a network security company based in Alpharetta, Georgia.

The cybersecurity industry characterizes such long-term intrusions as advanced persistent threats or APT. They are often sponsored by states and target valuable commercial and military information.

In South Korea, where government agencies and businesses have come under repeated attacks from hackers traced by Seoul to North Korea, several security firms have jumped on the growing global trend to develop systems that analyze activity to detect potentially suspicious patterns rather than scanning for known threats.

Kwon Seok-chul, CEO at computer security firm Cuvepia Inc., said it has been tough to convince executives that it’s more effective to catch bad guys after they’ve infiltrated a network instead of trying to keep them out, which he believes is impossible anyway.

Kwon said his company’s latest monitoring product keeps a log of all activity, dividing it into authorized users and possible attackers. When certain conditions are met, the program sounds an alarm. A response team, he said, can sit back and watch what hackers copy and respond before damage is done. The security team can cut the hacker’s connection or trick the intruder into stealing empty files.

“Because hackers are in your palm, you can enforce any measures that you want,” said Kwon, member of an advisory board for South Korea’s cyberwarfare command.

In one case, the security team at one of Kwon’s clients “enjoyed” watching for about an hour as a hacker scanned its network and installed tools to unlock passwords and counter antivirus programs.

He said that for skilled hackers, it usually takes about 20 minutes to lay out the initial steps of the attack that allow them to stealthily roam a network. Normally the security team would counterattack within a few minutes after gathering intelligence about the hacker’s tools. But in this case, the hacker was not sophisticated and employed well-known programs mostly made in China.

Eventually, the security team severed the hacker’s connection to the victim’s computer based on the unique ID of the program that Cuvepia’s software showed the hacker was using.

According to FireEye’s Merkel, there is a rise in awareness in the U.S. and growing interest in Asia in modern approaches to information security that include using automated programs to scan for unusual network activity, encryption and segregating sensitive data in special “domains” that require additional credentials to access.

But many companies are in denial about their vulnerability or are reluctant to spend more on cybersecurity, he said.

In the financial industry at least, part of the reason is greater concern with meeting regulatory requirements for security than improving security itself.

When encryption is used, South Korean courts have limited the liability of companies that faced lawsuits from customers over stolen data, said Hwang Weoncheol, a former chief information security officer at a South Korean financial institution. That reinforces the security strategy centered on compliance with regulation, he said.

Protecting high value information often comes with a high price tag.

Installing Cuvepia’s cheapest monitoring product on 1,000 computers for a year costs 450 million won ($410,000). That is many times the cost of installing antivirus software though the cost drops significantly after the first year.

The answer for executives, said Kwon, is to see cybersecurity as an investment not a cost.

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