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Drones to patrol borders

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Autonomous drones are set to take over border patrols, crime hotspot monitoring and more, says South Africa’s Airborne Drones.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)s, commonly known as drones, will soon be a common sight over border zones, crime hotspots and city streets, as public safety and security officials and police departments discover the cost saving and efficiencies offered by drone patrol ‘armies’, says Airborne Drones, a South African-based international manufacturer of enterprise-grade drones.

“Drones provide the ideal solution to the problems and limitations faced by other surveillance methods such as GPS tracking, CCTV camera observation, biometric surveillance and ground patrols,” says Airborne Drones South Africa. “Aerial surveillance is increasingly being harnessed for security monitoring; but traditionally, this has been carried out using helicopters – which are costly to deploy – and with drones controlled by a user – which can be somewhat limited in terms of operating hours. However, drone surveillance does present an easier, faster, and cheaper method of data collection, as well as a number of other key advantages. Specialised security drones can enter narrow and confined spaces, produce minimal noise, and can be equipped with night vision cameras and thermal sensors, allowing them to provide imagery that the human eye is unable to detect. In addition, these UAVs can quickly cover large and difficult-to-reach areas, reducing staff numbers and costs, and do not require much space for their operators.”

Autonomous, long-range security drones are at the vanguard of new policing methods, says Airborne Drones South Africa. “Offering live video feeds to ground control stations, these drones can range autonomously over pre-programmed flight paths for extended periods of time, allowing for ongoing routine patrols across wide areas such as borders, maritime regions and high security installations. Should an incident be detected, ground crews can then follow objects or intruders from a safe distance, providing visual support to safety and security teams. UAVs can provide detailed visual documentation of sites, enabling effective analysis, risk management and security planning.”

Numerous countries are already rolling out security drones to support their public safety and defence initiatives, says Airborne Drones. UAVs are also instrumental in managing transport infrastructure safety and security and event security, from event security infrastructure through to spectator and crowd control and safety, to overall health and safety planning around the world.

Israel has long harnessed advanced drones for military surveillance, and recently sold a fleet of so-called ‘spy drones’ to the Irish army; the US FBI has also used drones for surveillance and tracking for several years. In Australia, a new $50 million Defence Cooperative Research Centre will develop long-range drones, automated vehicles and robots to help Australian soldiers fight the wars of the future.  India is currently looking to military-grade UAVs for maritime and other surveillance and intelligence gathering, Brazil’s São Paulo last month became the first Latin American city to use drones for public security surveillance, and the German city of Hamburg this week said it would deploy surveillance drones as part of its arsenal against an expected 100,000 demonstrators at the G20 summit this weekend.

In Australia’s New South Wales, the authorities are even using helicopter and drone surveillance along the coast, to protect holidaymakers from rip currents and sharks.

“Drones are ideally suited for reconnaissance or rapid situation awareness with application for ground force units to detect and monitor potential threats; and they also provide an additional oversight in instances where security guards are deployed to ensure their adherence to patrolling routines. Their speed, size, maneuverability and additional technologies make UAVs the perfect supplement to ground security teams seeking to perform monitoring tasks more quickly and efficiently. Drones have a competitive edge over stationary cameras, as intruders can’t easily step out of sight, and they can cover areas that are normally out of reach.  Security drones add a whole new dimension to surveillance, safety and security, and as such, we can expect them to be commonly in use in every country in the world within just a few years,” says Airborne Drones.

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Samsung unfolds the future

At the #Unpacked launch, Samsung delivered the world’s first foldable phone from a major brand. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tried it out.

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Everything that could be known about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 range, launched on Wednesday in San Francisco, seems to have been known before the event.

Most predictions were spot-on, including those in Gadget (see our preview here), thanks to a series of leaks so large, they competed with the hole an iceberg made in the Titanic.

The big surprise was that there was a big surprise. While it was widely expected that Samsung would announce a foldable phone, few predicted what would emerge from that announcement. About the only thing that was guessed right was the name: Galaxy Fold.

The real surprise was the versatility of the foldable phone, and the fact that units were available at the launch. During the Johannesburg event, at which the San Francisco launch was streamed live, small groups of media took turns to enter a private Fold viewing area where photos were banned, personal phones had to be handed in, and the Fold could be tried out under close supervision.

The first impression is of a compact smartphone with a relatively small screen on the front – it measures 4.6-inches – and a second layer of phone at the back. With a click of a button, the phone folds out to reveal a 7.3-inch inside screen – the equivalent of a mini tablet.

The fold itself is based on a sophisticated hinge design that probably took more engineering than the foldable display. The result is a large screen with no visible seam.

The device introduces the concept of “app continuity”, which means an app can be opened on the front and, in mid-use, if the handset is folded open, continue on the inside from where the user left off on the front. The difference is that the app will the have far more space for viewing or other activity.

Click here to read about the app experience on the inside of the Fold.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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