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Danger of drone-jacking

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Drones currently play a large role in private and a state surveillance around the world. However, according to JARED HIGGINS of the Arcfyre Group, these devices can be easily hacked and used to access state information and spy on those protecting the public.

Drones currently play an invaluable role in surveillance conducted by both private and state security forces across the world. However, they can just as easily be utilised – or even hi-jacked – by terrorist organisations and used to access state information and spy on those protecting the general public.

And while drones have traditionally been associated with hobbyists for recreational use, their potential to drastically enhance and streamline the processes of delivery, movement and observation has seen them pique the interest of many organisations, governments and terror forces alike.

The increase in drone-jackings recently highlighted in the media, means that security and protective service organisations need to look beyond the traditional threats and be ever cognisant of the growing body of tech savvy cyber criminals. These individuals, whether for political, social or economic gain, are finding increasingly sophisticated ways of hacking into the operating systems of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

When it comes to the risks associated with drone-jacking within the security sector these vary, ranging from the potential loss of highly confidential surveillance footage, to the destruction of property and even the loss of human lives.

Travel in today’s volatile, politically charged global landscape is already fraught with multiple risks, and the advent of drone technologically adds another dimension to the security risk mix.

Although a relatively new concept, with the losses from reported drone-jacking cases being largely limited to the financial loss of the drone itself – which still comes with a hefty price tag, it is nevertheless a risk that all security and protective services organisations will need to incorporate into their risk mitigation strategies going forward.

Organisations that understand the importance of ensuring the safety, security and ultimately safe passage of their clients, expect their protective services provider to be on top of the latest technologies and trends.

As such, industry experts need to gain understanding and thorough insight into the implications of drone usage and what measures they can take to minimise it as a risk.

While front runners in the sector will perhaps – in time – invest in drone intelligence to stay better informed, the onus ultimately remains on drone owners to ensure that they invest in adequate cyber security measures.

At the end of the day there is only so much we as a protective services firm can do to mitigate the risk of drone-jacking. We have no control over what security measures have been deployed to protect the overall operating system.

It really comes down to the cyber security sector ensuring it continually develops solutions that make attacks, not only more difficult – but also costly – to carry out.

* Jared Higgins, CEO of leading protective and risk consulting firm, the Arcfyre Group

 

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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