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Face detection for any webcam

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IMRSV, a company specialising in real-world, real-time data analysis has announced Cara face detection software, which enables any standard webcam to become an intelligent one.

Cara software is a computing platform that solves the problem of optimizing efficiency for retailers and advertisers by measuring consumer demographics and engagement in real-time. Cara provides anonymous audience data such as gender, age, attention time, and glances in real world spaces. IMRSV has designed Cara as a way to measure retail, advertising and other real world environments that have typically required expensive research studies using a handwritten pen, paper and clipboard. Companies such as IPG, Reebok and Adflow Networks are initial customers for Cara. The technology enables smarter spaces and devices whether toys that smile back at you, or advertising messages that adapt to the audience automatically with real-time, continuous data collection. The software detects up to 25 people simultaneously up to 25 feet away using a basic web camera for real-time information gathering. Cara is being initially released for Windows and Linux and requires only a PC, Internet connection and a standard webcam. IMRSV is currently working to bring real-time face detection to tablet and mobile devices on both Android and iOS later this year. Available for download from the IMRSV site (http://www.imrsv.com), the initial version of Cara is $39.95 per month per camera. Designed as a Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering, Cara has pay-as-you-go monthly plans with a 14-day free trial. Cara is available to developers allowing third party developers to leverage real world data for custom applications. Developers can download the Developers Kit from http://www.imrsv.com/developers. Enterprise customers can inquire about the SDK, which provides a local real-time response and triggered events in milliseconds. ‚”The offline world is the largest untapped resources of information. Businesses are familiar with the power of online data, but in the physical world where 90% of commerce takes place there are mostly antiquated tools,‚” said Jason Sosa, founder and CEO of IMRSV. ‚”Cara is a new way to measure the real world. We want to bring the advantages of the online world into everyday life, from real-time audience measurement to new methods of human computer interaction.‚” The Cara product includes an analytics dashboard that provides real world audience stats including gender, age (child, young adult, adult, and senior) total duration, attention time, and glances. Attributes such as x/y coordinates, face size image width/height and distance are also being measured. The software performs with 92% detection accuracy on lightweight systems such as dual core atom processors. Possible applications include audience measurement, retail insights, adaptive advertising, gaming/entertainment, and internet of things capabilities. ‚”The essential data that we seek, as a retailer and a consumer product company, is found in the actual human response to product displays, including video content in stores, as well as product end-caps, and we now have a powerful tool for gathering this information in real-time,‚” said Claire Fahie, Head of U.S. Retail for Reebok. ‚”With advances in customer engagement, such as Cara, we can learn more from our customer and respond in ways that were previously not possible.‚” Cara has been designed to satisfy the most stringent privacy concerns and IMRSV has worked closely with privacy advocates to address both institutional and individual concerns regarding data collection. The technology behind this is proprietary real-time face detection software that adheres to privacy by design principles. Cara doesn’t record images, video or collect any personal information. “Privacy by design solutions are critical to implementing new technologies in a world where data collection has become ubiquitous.‚”” said Jules Polonetsky Co-Chair and Director at The Future of Privacy Forum. ‚””Steps that Cara takes such as not collecting any personal information, and not storing, transferring or recorded any images are key to ensuring privacy concerns are addressed as these technologies are rolled out.‚”” As part of a new wave of real-time ad-tech systems for richer data analysis, Cara is gaining strong support from ad agencies and media buyers. ‚””‚””The reason we’re so excited about working with IMRSV is that there’s a lot of bad advertising out there, and a lot of really poorly targeted ads, and we think Cara can help fix that. It enables us to run massive tests out in the real world, get results back in hours, and get rid of anything that isn’t working immediately instead of after months in-market. The real-time data this gives us about positive or negative reactions to advertising out in the real world is a game-changer.‚”” said Tim McAtee VP, Research Product Development at IPG Media Lab. ‚””The simplicity of the Cara set-up is what distinguishes it from any other solution, and it applies as much to creative campaign work as it does to audience measurement.‚”” The lightweight design of Cara enables digital signage and advanced display companies to integrate the software into their offerings for public venues, retail locations, and other facilities that can display relevant ads and messages to audiences, based on data gathered by Cara.

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Scammers cleaning up with gullible computer users

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Kaspersky experts have detected a two-fold rise in the number of users being attacked with fake system cleaners – fraudulent programmes designed to trick users into paying for alleged serious computer issues to be fixed. The number of users hit reached 1,456,219 in the first half of 2019, compared to just 747,322 for the same period in 2018. During this time, some of the attacks have become more sophisticated and dangerous.

A slow-working or poorly performing computer is a common complaint among PC users, and there are many legitimate tools available to solve such issues. However, alongside genuine system cleaners, there are fake ones developed by fraudsters that are designed to trick users into believing their computer is in critical danger, for example through memory overload, and needs immediate cleaning. The attackers then offer to provide such a service in return for payment. Kaspersky defines and detects such programmes as ‘hoax system cleaners’.

Upon receiving user permission and payment, the fraudsters install the hoax programmes that claim to clean the PC, but which often either do nothing or install adware – an annoying, but not critical, storm of unsolicited advertising – on the computer. Increasingly, however, the cybercriminals are using the installation of hoax cleaners to download or disguise malware such as Trojans or ransomware.

The countries most affected by attacks with hoax cleaners in the first half of 2019 show how geographically widespread the threat is; leading the list is Japan with 12% of affectedusers, followed by Germany (10%), Belarus (10%), Italy (10%) and Brazil (9%).

“We’ve been watching how the phenomenon of hoax cleaners has been growing for the last couple of years, and it is a curious threat. On the one hand, many samples that we have seen are spreading more widely and becoming more dangerous, evolving from a simple ‘fraudulent’ scheme into fully functioning and dangerous malware. On the other hand, they are so widespread and seemingly innocent, that it is much easier for them to trick users into paying for a service, rather than frightening them with screen blockers and other unpleasant malware. However, these two ways end up with the same results with users losing their money,” says Artemiy Ovchinnikov, security researcher at Kaspersky.

Kaspersky detects hoax system cleaners as:

Hoax.Win32.PCFixer.*

Hoax.Win32.PCRepair.*

Hoax.Win32.DeceptPCClean.*

Hoax.Win32.Optimizer.*

Hoax.MSIL.Optimizer.*

To avoid falling victim to hoax threats, Kaspersky researchers advise users to:

  • Always check that the PC services that you are about to adopt are legitimate and easy to understand. If it sounds confusing, use a search engine to find out more about the service as there may be a more detailed explanation available
  • Use a reliable security solution for comprehensive protection with a clean-up function for a wide range of threats and PC cleansing, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud.
  • If you are purposely looking for a PC cleaner, use reliable, IT-targeted sources of information for recommendations, with a long-built reputation and software reviews.

Read the full report on Kaspersky Daily.

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Trend Micro unveils security suite for Azure in Africa

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Cybersecurity leader Trend Micro Incorporated has announced highly optimised security solutions for Microsoft Azure workloads for customers in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Trend Micro Deep Security suite takes into consideration that a customer needs to approach cloud security differently than one would traditional security. As a result, it is fully optimised for Microsoft Azure. The suite ensures that a customer can tap into a solution that provides flexible, scalable protection of operating systems, applications, and data without slowing you down.

“Microsoft is an important partner to Trend Micro and as a result we have built a series of technologies that support their position in the cloud,” says Indi Siriniwasa, vice president at Trend Micro Sub-Saharan Africa. “Our security solutions are uniquely optimised for Microsoft Azure and complement Microsoft Azure Security Centre so customers across the world continue to turn to Trend Micro to help better secure their Azure real estate. With Microsoft Azure now available from new cloud regions in South Africa, customers can rest assured that we support the use of Microsoft to streamline provisioning of security for Windows virtual machines and SharePoint workloads. 

“This will help customers to ensure that their security follows them from their physical environment to the cloud and back again, customers can automate security with Microsoft PowerShell scripting to streamline provisioning of security for Windows virtual machines and SharePoint workloads plus many other orchestration tools for Azure, including Chef, Puppet, and RightScale, we can also help clients to better automate security control deployments.”

With Deep Security for Azure, businesses can detect and protect against intrusions as well as protect their business against serious vulnerabilities with intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS). The solution will also help uncover suspicious changes to a system and immediately highlight and alert the business to these activities – without security admins having to manually sort through logs.

It also has the ability to keep malware off of workloads by using predictive machine learning mechanisms to detect unknown threats and prevalent attacks, so that a user can identify and then remove malware and blacklist domains known to be command-and-control (C&C) servers. Customers can also stop applications attached with IPS rules that block XSS or SQL attacks and other serious vulnerabilities until systems can be patched, as well as increase application visibility and control.

A particularly relevant feature within the South African context is that Deep Security is able to speed up a client’s route to PCI DSS compliance. The Deep Security solution allows a client to meet multiple PCI requirements with a single product, including intrusion detection and prevention, file integrity monitoring, and log inspection.

“Trend Micro’s integration with Microsoft Azure reduces the dependence on multiple point security tools, helping you to identify and address security and configuration issues quickly,” says Adwait Joshi, director, Azure Product Marketing at Microsoft Corp.

Trend Micro provided the following information:

Trend Micro’s Deep Security currently secures more servers globally than any other solution and specialises in protection for cloud and virtualised workload. It acts as part of the Trend Micro Hybrid Cloud Security solution, powered by XGen and provides comprehensive, flexible security for Azure workloads in a single product, so you can build new applications or move existing resources to the cloud with confidence.

Deep Security protects workloads by:

  • Defending against network threats with intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS)
  • Immediately protecting against vulnerabilities like Shellshock and Heartbleed
  • Keeping malware off Windows and Linux workloads
  • Alerting when unplanned or suspicious changes are made to systems
  • Stopping SQL injection and XSS attacks on applications
  • Gaining visibility and control of elastic workloads with application control that fits DevOps

Local Trend Micro customers can also turn to the company’s Trend Micro Cloud App Security which is directly integrated into Office 365 via APIs. This includes advanced email protection, as well as compliance on third-party cloud file sharing services such as: Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.

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