1. Security Flaw found in 900 million Android phones
Bugs were found in the Qualcomm processors which are installed in 900 million Android smartphones. It took six months to reverse engineer the code and find the flaws in the software that handles the graphics and the code that controls the communications.
Although the software found in the smartphone has serious security flaws, there is no indication the vulnerabilities are currently being used by cyber thieves. In the event of a malicious attack, exploiting the bugs would potentially allow the hacker to take control of the device and access user data. Checkpoint researches found the bugs and provided information to Qualcomm earlier this year. Qualcomm is believed to have patched the bugs and use the fixed processors in its factories. The company has also issued patches to phone makers and operators, although it is unclear as to whether the companies have issued updates to the infected phones.
Image source: Google
2. The first website went public 25 years ago
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the first website, launched by Tim Berners-Lee with the description of the World Wide Web. Hosted at http://info.cern.ch the website contains information for how the web works. At the time, Berners-Lee was frustrated by the loss of data due to high staff turnover and lack of communication between employees. At CERN’s European Organization for Nuclear Research, where Berners-Lee worked as a computer programmer, he watched researches waste weeks of work on problems that had already been solved. Less than two years later, Berners-Lee had built the web. He wrote the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and used it to create his first web page.
“The WWW project merges the techniques of information retrieval and hypertext to make an easy but powerful global information system,” said Berners-Lee on the world’s first public website. “The project started with the philosophy that much academic information should be freely available to anyone.”
Image source: CERN
3. Google Requests Permission to Test Fiber in 24 US Locations
Google has filed with the FCC to test new, faster wireless technology in 24 locations across the United States. One impetus may be Google’s acquisition of the Webpass service provider, which delivers fiber internet to more locations than Google. Another cause for the expansion may be because Google wants to test its new 3.4 to 3.8 GHz wireless transmission technology.
Below are the 24 locations in alphabetical order:
- • Phoenix, Arizona
- • Atwater, California
- • Los Angeles, California
- • Mountain View, California
- • Palo Alto, California
- • San Bruno, California
- • San Francisco, California
- • San Jose, California
- • Boulder, Colorado
- • Tampa, Florida
- • Atlanta, Georgia
- • Chicago, Illinois
- • Des Moines, Iowa
- • Kansas City. Kansas
- • Omaha, Nebraska
- • Las Vegas, Nevada
- • New York, New York
- • Raleigh. North Carolina
- • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- • Portland, Oregon
- • Austin, Texas
- • Provo, Utah
- • Blacksburg, Virginia
- • Reston, Virginia
4. Paralyzed Patient Regains Muscle Control with VR
A 32-year-old woman who had been paralyzed from the waist down for 13 years has regained partial control over her legs after a revolutionary new treatment.
The woman, dubbed “Patient 1,” is part of an ongoing research study that uses a system of brain-controlled robotics and virtual reality to restore neurological and physical interactions.
To induce the brain to remember what it’s like to have legs and how to walk, the Oculus Rift headset was used to help patients control a digital representation of themselves. The patients first walk in virtual reality, fooling the brain to interpret sensations from the movement of their feet and legs. Then the patients graduate to a brain-controlled robotic walker to move their real bodies.
The researchers believe this treatment can be made available in the future due to the inexpensive VR and haptic systems.
Image source: CNN money
5. How a Chatbot Fights Parking Tickets and Homelessness
The artificial-intelligence lawyer chatbot, which successfully overturned 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York, is now tackling homelessness. Its 19-year-old inventor, Joshua Browder, a London-born Stanford student, created the DoNotPay bot to help people contest tickets with a chat-like interface. It works by asking a series of questions, and then guides the user through the appeal process. The success rate for the parking ticket bot has been at 64% over the last two years, winning 160,000 out of 250,000 cases.
Now Browder is using the chatbot to fight homelessness. This year, tenant evictions reached the highest on record. The bot asks questions about people’s circumstances and uses the details to help the person. Usually this means drafting a legal letter that the chatbot sends to the local council to apply for emergency housing. A charity for young homeless people in the UK, Centrepoint, said their databank found only 13,000 out of 130,000 young people who went to the local authorities for support were successful.
Browder hopes to bring the housing chatbot to New York and San Francisco.