In a relatively short period of time the AI technology of deep fakes has managed to create images which look real. Websites now exist where you can buy fake people photos.
People might use them on their gaming profiles. However, very often they are used for nefarious purposes. Such as online trolling, people seeking to infiltrate intelligence organisations, and dangerous political organisations.
The technology takes images of real people and feeds it into the program. The program then learns the way a human face is built, and using complicated mathematical modelling can recreate a human face, with parameters set by you; for example, gender, race, age.
As the Coronavirus pandemic has caused banks to shut down, more customers are using mobile banking apps to conduct their business. However, the FBI have warned there is an increase in the number of fake banking apps and other malware. Cyber criminals are seeking to steal personal data and gain access to bank accounts
Trojan banking apps have also been created. These apps masquerade as games or utilities which activate when a user opens their banking app. The trojan then takes over showing a fake log in screen.
Three US universities are working on a surveillance system to track Covid-19. The technology would be similar to the surveillance system in place in China which is used to create the Chinese Social Credit system.
University of Southern California, Emory University, and the University of Texas Health Science Center received federal funding to develop the contact tracing app. The system would track users locations in real time, their symptoms and give them a virus risk score.
Apple and Google have also announced they are working on bluetooth technology that could be used in third party apps for contact tracing.
Researchers are working on a new U.V. light technology which is completely safe for humans, but kills Covid-19. The team at Columbia University has said it is a game changer.
The findings are in line with other studies which show the potential for U.V. light to kill Coronavirus in the air and on surfaces. However Democrats this week mocked the President for asking the question is UV light could give a potential cure for Coronavirus.
David Brenner of Columbia University said:
Our system is a low-cost, safe solution to eradicating airborne viruses minutes after they’ve been breathed, coughed or sneezed into the air. Not only does it have the potential to prevent the global spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, but also future novel viruses, as well as more familiar viruses like influenza and measles.
Columbia University reported:
[The new technology] uses lamps that emit continuous, low doses of a particular wavelength of ultraviolet light, known as far-UVC, which can kill viruses and bacteria without harming human skin, eyes, and other tissues, as is the problem with conventional UV light.
The research team’s experiments have shown far-UVC effective in eradicating two types of airborne seasonal coronaviruses (the ones that cause coughs and colds). The researchers are now testing the light against the SARS-CoV-2 [coronavirus] virus at Columbia in a biosafety laboratory, with encouraging results, Brenner said.
A flaw in Apple iPhones and iPads has been discovered that could have given hackers access to devices for years.
ZecOps, a San Francisco-based mobile security forensics company discovered the issue whilst investigating a sophisticated cyber attack against a client in 2019.
Apple has said they have fixed the issue with their Mail App. To activate the hack a black email was sent that would trigger a crash and reset of the operating system, this then opened the door to the hackers to steal your data.
President Trump has signed an executive order which will allow the U.S. to mine the moon for minerals.
The hope would be that mining the moon would extend our ability to travel into space, in particular a launch pad to Mars.
Scientists have also pointed to the depletion of mineral resources on earth. It is thought lunar minerals could help with our need to build renewal energy sources, and long life batteries. Such technologies require rare minerals, which we have only a limited supply of on earth.
“Metals such as lithium or cobalt – which you need – are mainly in places like China, Russia or Congo. And it’s difficult to get them.” said Professor Benjamin Sovacool of Sussex University.
The big tech giants Apple and Google are teaming up to help develop technology to contact users if they have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19.
Initially they hope to work with third party apps.
However, they hope the need for users to download an app will not be needed as users will be encouraged to have such a feature as standard.
They hope to use bluetooth technology to trace who a person has been in contact with, how close and for how long. This data would then determine the risk that a person could have contracted the virus.
However, many are alarmed at the privacy concerns us technology poses.
“Privacy, transparency and consent are of utmost importance in this effort and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders,” Apple and Google said in a joint statement.
“We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyse.”
President Trump said his administration needed time to consider the development.
“It’s very interesting, but a lot of people worry about it in terms of a person’s freedom,” he said during a White House press conference.
“We’re going to take… a very strong long at it, and we’ll let you know pretty soon.”
Catholic Archbishop Vigano has asked bishops, and priests to pray exorcism at this time of “terrible tribulation”. He has said the Evil One has gone on a “frenzy” and has increase his attempts to “tempt souls into sin”.
The Archbishop has called on clergy to use Holy Saturday, traditionally a day of quiet meditation to be used. It is the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And according to Catholic tradition is when Christ descended into hell to preach to the souls in torment.
Vilano said, “I should like to ask all my brother Bishops and Priests to join me as I recite this Exorcism, knowing the power of this Sacramental – especially when it is recited together with all other Priests – to help the Church in Her fight against Satan. I should also like to recommend that all of you wear a stole, the sign of your Priestly power, and Holy Water.”
As Covid-19 sweeps through nations at a seemingly unstoppable rate, scientists desperately try to understand it. Most importantly they are seeking to find out what makes one person more vulnerable than another.
One trend that has become apparent from the data across every country is men are at a higher risk of dying than women.
“We are seeing with every country that provides us with sex-disaggregated data that men are more likely to die from the virus, anything from 10 percent to more than twice as likely,” said professor Sarah Hawkes, the director of the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health in the UK.
Scientists believe part of the disparity is driven by behaviour: men are more likely to smoke and drink heavily. However, this cannot explain the data entirely.
Hormonal differences are believed to also play a role; as well as genetic differences. Many of the genes that regulate the immune system are found on the X chromosome- men have one X chromosome whereas women have two.
“We know that women’s immune systems function differently to men’s – after all, women’s bodies are designed to host a foetus for nine months at a time without it being rejected as a foreign body,” professor Hawkes said.
In general women’s immune systems launch a better defence against infection and viruses.
Dr Sabra Klein, an immunologist has said she is disappointed by the lack of awareness of this issue:
“I am disappointed that many of the public health officials around the world are not speaking out that being male is indeed a risk factor for a more severe outcome and, in particular, being an older male. I do think that there could be public heath messaging [that] could occur in that context.” she said.
The tech website EFF has investigated the popular door bell app Ring. They found that the android version of the app is packed with third-party trackers. Ring sends out an array of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Ring has avoided a lot of scrutiny as it has successfully marketed itself as a company that helps customers with their personal security.
However, this investigation has drawn attention to the company for passing information, which is then used for marketing purposes, to branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com.
It has also been found that Ring and the companies who have access to the users information have at times mismanaged this information. Also when data has been used lawfully it is not always clear to customers that their data has been passed onto third party, or how it is used.