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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 8th Aug 2016

It should go without saying that you should scan an executable before running it, even if it's coming from a trusted source. As the last few years have shown, though, a false sense of security loves to bite people over and over again.

On August 2nd 2016, for three hours, an external developer had their account compromised on Audacity's and Classic Shell's download server FossHub and was used to replace the legitimate installer with a malware that overwrite the master boot record. Thanks to the quick response of the Audacity team they quickly moved to take down the rogue download before too many people were affected.

Sadly it was a two for one deal, as not only Audacity was targeted, but also the popular Windows modification tool called Classic Shell. Classic Shell was also targeted and had their installer mirrored on FossHub replaced with the infected version. Unfortunately, this malware version of Classic Shell was downloaded approximately 300 times according to an official response posted by FossHub:

The attackers uploaded a malware file on Classic Shell page which was downloaded approximately 300 times. We removed the file in several minutes and we changed all passwords for all services we had.
- http://www.audacityteam.org/compromised-download-partner/

When installing the malware version of Classic Shell, it was fairly easy to spot that something was not right. When the normal version is installed, it will display a UAC prompt that shows Ivaylo Beltchev as the publisher of the program. On the other hand, the malware version would have the publisher listed as Unknown.

    

When the malware version of Audacity and Classic Shell were installed, the malware would overwrite the master boot record so that it displays a message when the computer starts. This message states "AS YOU REBOOT, YOU FIND THAT SOMETHING HAS OVERWRITTEN YOUR MBR! IT IS A SAD THING YOUR ADVENTURES HAVE ENDED HERE!". This quote is a reference to the 1987 video game called ShadowGate, which was notorious for the amount of ways you could die in the game.

A group named PeggleCrew claimed responsibility for the attack and explained that they did it to teach people a lesson.

@AuraTheWhiteHat We also compomised Audacity. FossHub was fully compromised, including (temporarily), the admin's email.

— Cult of Razer (@CultOfRazer) August 3, 2016

@AuraTheWhiteHat Because nobody will learn to check signatures and hashes if it isn't demonstrated bluntly.

— Cult of Razer (@CultOfRazer) August 3, 2016

 

If you or someone you know was affected by this malware, assistance can be received in the Am I Infected? forum. You may also attempt to repair the MBR yourself as seen in this video

 

 


There are a few lessons to take from this and (hopefully not) future incidents: 

1. As 2016 has shown us, never reuse passwords. Websites can easily be compromised and if the same password is used for different sites, it might just end up coming back to bite you in the end. It is also important to NOT allow browsers to remember passwords as there are various tools that can retrieve saved passwords from browsers like Chrome and Firefox.  If you must use a password remembering tool, I personally recommend 1Password, although it isn't free it does offer a trial that allows you to store up to 20 logins and offers more security than storing the passwords within the browser.

2. Always scan before running a program, even if a file is coming from a trusted source. Virustotal is a good online scanner that utilizes many different antivirus engines to scan files uploaded.

3. Keep an up to date Antivirus & Antimalware software on your computer. Everyone has their own opinions about security software and the ones personally prefer are Avast! Antivirus & Malwarebytes Antimalware.

4. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. The best security is common sense, if you choose to disregard it, you may find your security software won't be able to protect you.

If you have any security tips of your own, feel free to post them in the comment section below, you may end up helping save someone from becoming a victim.

Source: bleepingcomputer.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 1st Aug 2016

Email tries to trick users into giving up personal details

phishing-credit-card

Crooks go after Apple users with latest phishing scam

Apple has warned customers about a phishing scam that uses emails claiming that the recipient has been charged £20 to download a song from iTunes. 

The email purports to come from Apple and says that the user has mistakenly paid £23.34 to download a song or audio book from the iTunes Store. The victim is then encouraged to click on a link in an attachment to 'cancel and manage subscriptions'.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

 Follow

kevin ivers @kev74ivers

@AppleSupport is this a scam or what

6:26 AM - 28 Jul 2016

The link, in fact, leads to a fraudulent website that asks for personal details including iTunes email address and password, in turn giving the scammers access to payment details. 

Apple has pointed those affected by the scam to the firm's iTunes support page, and has advised people that they should avoid opening email attachments in shady looking emails. 

"The iTunes Store will never ask you to provide personal information or sensitive account information (such as passwords or credit card numbers) via email," the Apple page said.

"Email messages that contain attachments or links to non-Apple websites are from sources other than Apple, although they may appear to be from the iTunes Store.

"Most often, these attachments are malicious and should not be opened. You should never enter your Apple account information on any non-Apple website."

This isn't the first time that Apple users have been targeted in such a scam. A text message-based phishing campaign in April set its sights on iPhone users, and looked to pilfer their personal information. 

The scam message read: "The Apple ID associated with this number is due to be terminated. To prevent this, please confirm your details at supportatapple.com - AppleInc."

The bogus log-in page asks the usual questions, including password and mother's maiden name.

Phishing scams like this are nothing new but they remain common owing to their effectiveness. However, crooks increasingly target specific individuals, often high-ranking business execs, becauselarge amounts can be gained from a single scam.

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 1st Aug 2016

Going dark is harder than you think - but this is how you can do it

This is how to go dark by an ex MI5 agent who s done it

We live in a time when it's never been easier for people to get detailed information about us. We don't think twice about adding endless nuggets of facts about our lives to social networks, signing up to endless newsletters and allowing websites to track our moves over the web, so they can serve us up the same targeted ad time and time again.

No wonder there's been a wave of tech of late that's cashing in on making sure we stay as private as possible. From the recently announced BlackBerry DTEK50to the BlackPhone range.

 

BlackBerry DEKT

 

But it's not just on the web that we are being tracked. Step out your front door and into any city and your every move is being monitored by CCTV. All of this makes 'going dark' extremely hard to do but it is possible, according to ex MI5 agent Annie Machon.

On the run

TechRadar recently met up with Machon for the launch of Blacklist: Season 3 on Blu-ray. In the show, Raymond 'Red' Reddington (James Spader) and Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) are on the run, so who better to speak to about this than someone who absconded from the MI5 and went on the run herself?

Back in the '90s, this is exactly what Machon and her partner at the time, David Shayler, did. They ran because Shayler turned whistleblower, releasing myriad MI5 secrets to a journalist, because he felt there was inherent wrong-doing in the agency.

Once they were given the call that the secrets were to be published in the Sunday newspapers, Machon and Shayler fled the country to Amsterdam and went dark.

 

Blacklist Season 3

 

"We had a month on the run, moving hotel to hotel every night, paying in cash and if we needed to get more cash, we would make sure we withdrew it from a city then got the hell out of there within the next hour, as they could easily trace you that way," explained Machon.

Having been at the heart of the MI5 and been in constant contact with other European agencies, Machon used the skills she had acquired during her time at the MI5 to her advantage.

She had investigated targets before and knew the tricks that were used. Both her and Shaylor were gamekeepers turned poachers and it meant they knew how to evade capture.

"We thought 'okay, if I was sitting behind a desk investigating me, what would I do? What would be the tricks of the trade?'

"There was one time in Amsterdam early on, when David did his first TV interview and we just didn't trust the journalist. And, it turned out, the journalist went off and immediately contacted the MI5 about our whereabouts.

"At this point, I said we had to go right now and we did. They arrived at the hotel soon afterwards. We knew this would happen as we knew how quickly the MI5 can react to these things."

Endemic surveillance

Machon and Shayler managed a full month 'dark' by going the remotest parts of France, never paying for anything other than with cash, only using trains to get around and changing the way they looked. At any point they felt they had been rumbled, they just kept moving.

But this was 20 years ago. The world, and the world of technology, has changed significantly since then, so much that it's hard to ever stay completely anonymous.

"There are ways to go dark now but it's difficult because we are now in an endemic surveillance state - a global surveillance panoptic is probably the best way to put it," says Machon, who now spends some of her time in the Berlin hacker scene.

"Back in the '90s the MI5 could do everything that's done now but it was very labour intensive so you could only do it against one target. Now, with the internet and this huge 'flick a switch' surveillance that goes on, they can track you easily. But if you know the tech then you can protect yourself a little bit."

 

ThinkPad

 

This is the technology that Machon recommends:

Don't use proprietary software

"Get off Apple, get off Microsoft and use Linux open source software, because you can at least check the code to see if there is anything bug-wise built into it."

But if you are, then get this program...

"If you are using a proprietary software then there are a suite of tools you can use. One is called Tails and this is a secure operating system. You can just put it on a flash drive and it means that your computer is empty of anything until you put this flash drive in and then that is what your computer runs off. That is fairly safe and fairly new."

When browsing the web and texting, go REALLY private

"To web browse securely then always use the onion router (TOR) and if you want secure instant messaging then there is something called OTR, which is 'off the record' messaging. I always think it means 'on the run' as that's what OTR stands for in MI5 terminology.

"If you want to hide where you are connected to the internet, then always use a VPN and always use email encryption. The best one to use is PGP - Pretty Good Privacy - which you can just download from the internet and install. Then you should install a Bitcoin wallet so you can make transactions anonymously."

Use computer hardware that's pre 2008...

"According to Edward Snowden's revelations, all hardware post 2008 has backdoors built into it. That means computers, telephones, even USB cables post 2008 can have bugs in them.

"There's is a raging hot market across Europe at the moment for pre-2008 ThinkPads. If you have an old computer and an old burner phones, then they should be safe and secure as well.

"That is the tech stuff that, if I was going on the run now, would give me a fighting chance to not be traced by technology."

The Blacklist: Season 3 is out on Blu-ray & DVD now

Source: techradar.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 27th Jul 2016

The popular "Carpool Karaoke" series has a new owner — but not everyone is happy about it.

Apple Music has emerged as the buyer for the series, which is a spinoff of a segment on CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”

For the uninitiated, the series involves Corden picking up a celebrity guest to ride along with him in a compact car while singing their and others' hit songs — past guests have included AdeleJustin Bieber and most recently, First Lade Michelle Obama. According to Variety, the series has helped boost sales and streaming for those songs that are performed on the segment. 

The "Carpool Karaoke" spinoff will be available on Apple Music worldwide, and apparently "The Late Late Show" segments will still be available on YouTube — but fans are notpleased, because a spinoff could still affect the original show. More resources could be allocated to a spinoff or more celebrity guests could start appearing on the Apple Music show instead. Plus, some fans wondered whether a show hosted by anyone other than James Corden might just not be as good. 

Carpool Karaoke reaction

Jillian D'Onfro/Business Insider

Fans of the show took to Twitter to express their displeasure, too — although they mostly seem unsure what to expect with the new version.

Milla @MissMilla17

I don't know how to feel about this. Carpool Karaoke without JCo just isn't the same. https://twitter.com/michaelausiello/status/758030874029985792 …

 

Milla @MissMilla17

I don't know how to feel about this. Carpool Karaoke without JCo just isn't the same. https://twitter.com/michaelausiello/status/758030874029985792 …

Lisa ~ I❤⚾ @BeSafe71

@MissMilla17 Definitely won't be the same. He's the reason I'm obsessed with Carpool Karaoke. @MichaelAusiello

Josh Williams @josh_c_williams

I can not wait for @AppleMusic to completely ruin Carpool Karaoke. They can’t make Music reliable but their worrying about taking on YouTube

Grant McManus @Gr3ant

I'm not a James Corden fan, but Carpool Karaoke without him seems like not the best idea.

laur @fireproofnarrie

If this means carpool karaoke isn't gonna be on YouTube anymore I'm suing https://twitter.com/cbstvstudios/status/758022246308777984 …

 

The episode featuring Michelle Obama already has more than 32 million views on YouTube since it was posted on July 20, which means there's a huge following for the show — one that may not want to pay for an Apple Music subscription to watch the new show. 

The music giant has licensed 16 episodes at a half-hour each — current episodes are more like 10 or 15 minutes — that will be produced by Corden and Ben Winston, the executive producer of "The Late Late Show." A different host will be cast later. 

Apple did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 27th Jul 2016

Earlier this month in Dallas, a sniper killed five officers and injured nine others before he was cornered in a parking garage.

Instead of putting bodies in the way of harm, police strapped a bomb to a MarkV-A1 bomb disposal robot and drove it with a remote control. Once the robot arrived, it detonated an explosive, killing the sniper.

"The only way to get a sniper shot, to end his trying to kill us, would be to expose officers to great danger," Brown said on CNN afterward.

It appears to be America's first great example of using an armed robot to avoid putting police officers in danger. Police analysts say that national grants are bringing ever more robotics into police departments across America, causing ethicists to worry about a future with more ubiquitous surveillance and automated killing machines. But if we used robots regularly to remove police bodies from tense situations, it could protect not just police officers, but bystanders.

"If an officer goes into a room and there's an armed adversary, he has no choice except to shoot," said Sean Bielat, a former marine and CEO of Endeavor Robotics, a company that manufactures robots for the military and police departments. "By adding time and space between the operator, you've introduced an element that can potentially reduce casualties."

Bielat used a provocative example. In Minnesota in early June, a police officer killed black man Philando Castile during a traffic stop after Castile said he was lawfully carrying a registered firearm. In video of the incident taken by Castile's girlfriend, the officer is appears nervous.

"Fuck," he yells repeatedly as the victim lies bloodied in the driver's seat. 

It's unclear if the reason the officer fired was because he was nervous, but even routine traffic stops can increase an officer's adrenaline and anxiety. The fear of immediate harm, real or perceived, can hamper decision-making and lead to snap judgement about lethal use of force.

An operator who sent a slow-moving, unarmed robot in his or her stead would be less likely to act on impulse out of fear. Officers projecting their presence through a robot could carry on a conversation, or even manage a hostile encounter, without threat to their own body.

"The more we get robots into a dangerous situation instead of a person, the better off outcomes will be," Bielat said.

Robots have already begun their entry into police work. In 2014, police in Grand Forks, North Dakota, used flying drones to chase four men through a cornfield who were suspected of drunk driving. In one instance last year in San Jose, police used a robot to deliver a pizza to a man threatening suicide on an overpass. In another case, a bomb disposal robot helped negotiators through a potentially deadly standoff in a quiet Canadian neighborhood without anyone needing to fire a weapon.

And then there are the futuristic possibilities for robots that we already have on manufacturing assembly lines, but haven't put to use. Flying quadcopters could be used to scope out a scene or evaluate fires and disasters from hard-to-reach vantage points. Bulky search and rescue bots could be used to extract the injured from dangerous situations, or protect a prone officer by acting as a shield.

Another concern in the Dallas case is that a remote-controlled killer robot resembles our assassination-based drone program overseas, according to Ken Williams, a former homicide detective who speaks publicly about police reform and use of force. A police officer can use deadly force and is trained to aim for the center of the targets mass when firing a weapon, but the aim isn't explicitly to kill. Williams worries that by introducing a more sophisticated, targeted weapon like a remote-controlled robot, it means police are more able to make cold, advanced decisions about who lives or dies.

"You'll never find a policy manual where it says you're authorized to kill," Williams said. "It'll say you can use deadly force, but at the same time, it's not going to say in the policy that you're authorized to kill that person."

As Cornell University's Sarah Kreps pointed out to Mic over the phone, these fears are causing police and military alike from deploying these systems.

When Seattle residents found out the Seattle Police Department had two small drones, the public backlash forced the department to shunt them off on the Los Angeles Police Department. LAPD won't use the drones for the same reason as Seattle: public outcry.

"Technophobia can distort a rational reading of an incident," Kreps said. "So people who are using this technology know they have a great incentive to use it properly, because the last thing they want is that they use the robot to kill the wrong person."

But the trouble with getting these gadget into the hands of police, largely, is paying for it. The robot used in Dallas was worth about $100,000, and is typically available only if a city is large enough to warrant a bomb squad. Endeavor Robotics' cheapest robot, a rugged little 5 lb. robot with cameras and a microphone that can be thrown through windows, costs about $19,000. Trying to purchase just one in a small city's police budget is a headline-making event.

"The demand is much greater than the ability to pay for the robots," Bielat said. "Budgets are tight, and these are expensive pieces of technology. That's the primary limitation."

But police budgets are also responsive to popular demand, and as long as police robots are seen more as a threat than a way to mitigate harm to both police and the people they serve, the number-one barrier in adopting the use of robots in police work could be the public's dystopian imagination.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 26th Jul 2016

Intel Kaby Lake, 4K screen and new Surface Pen expected

Surface Pro 4 Surface Pen

The Surface Pro 4 has impressed despite a troubled launch, and a follow-up is definitely on the cards. The only question surrounding Microsoft's next tablet is when.

Specs
The biggest revelation to-date comes courtesy of MobiPicker, which cited manufacturing sources in China in shedding some light on the expected specs.

Surface Pro 4 rear

The Microsoft Surface Pro 5 will use Intel's 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors, which improve on the current-generation Skylake chips in terms of power efficiency and therefore battery life.

The Kaby Lake CPU also means even faster integrated graphics chips as standard, so expect an upgrade to the Iris GPU.

The Surface Pro 5 won't have impressive 4K visuals as standard, but they will be offered as an option. The Surface Pro 4 currently ships with a 2K display, which will remain a staple of the base model.

There are also whispers of the new Nvidia Pascal or AMD Polaris GPUs making an appearance, but these dedicated GPU offerings will come at a premium.

Microsoft's Surface Pen is reportedly getting an upgrade to support wireless charging with the introduction of a replaceable battery. Patently Mobile recently showed a patent that points to such an innovation.

Surface Pen for Surface Pro 5. Credit-patently-mobile

We could also see USB Type-C (rather than USB 3.0 on the current Surface Pro 4) and better camera technology.

Windows 10 Redstone 2
It's also been suggested that a new Surface Pro will launch only after the next major update to Windows 10. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update lands on 2 August, but a second, codenamed Redstone 2, is expected to arrive in spring 2017.

Release date
The Surface Pro 4 was launched in October 2015, which has led eagle-eyed commentators to perhaps read too much into the recent Surface Pro 4 price reductions.

A photo taken at Microsoft's Building 88 in Redmond seems to suggest that a new Surface-branded product will arrive before the end of the year, but it just might not be the one we expected.

Microsoft Surface Pro 5 rumours and leaks

This image points to one Surface device in 2016 and three in 2017.

We were led to believe at Computex in May that production of the new Kaby Lake processors would begin by the end of the quarter. However, a consumer roadmap seen in leaks implies that the first Kaby Lake-powered devices will break cover in 2017.

Intel consumer roadmap

So any Surface devices introduced before the end of this year will not feature Intel's next-generation CPU, suggesting that the next Surface will be an incremental upgrade rather that a completely new machine.

Microsoft officials have also been quoted as saying that manufacturing of the Surface 3 family will cease in December. If true it's highly likely that another range will take its place.

Price
We can once again expect a range of configuration options with the Surface Pro 5, with i7 and 16GB RAM combinations sitting at the top end. Prices should start as low as £749 if Microsoft sticks with the entry-level i3.

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 26th Jul 2016

Amazon's drone's are capable of delivering goods weighing almost 2.5kgs

Amazon's drone's are capable of delivering goods weighing almost 2.5kgs

Amazon is launching a new project exploring the safe use of drones for home deliveries in Britain, with support from the UK government.

The technology giant has been developing drones that can deliver its parcels to private addresses over a short distance as part of its Prime Air initiative.

Amazon is now working with the government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to develop better safety regulations, improve drone technology and conduct the first tests of the technology in the UK.

Current regulations do not permit drone operators to lose line of sight of their device or operate over densely populated areas, unless they have CAA permission.

Technology to overcome these restrictions will be explored in the new programme, which will also test sensor performance to help drones detect and avoid obstacles.

The US launched a registry system for owners and operators of drones in December last year that became a mandatory requirement for all owners of drones above a certain size. 

While a similar system has not yet been implemented in the UK, the government has considered implementing mandatory geo-fencing technologywhich acts as virtual walls to prevent drones from entering restricted areas such as airports or military bases. 

Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of global innovation policy and communications said: "The UK is a leader in enabling drone innovation. We've been investing in Prime Air research and development here for quite some time.

"This announcement strengthens our partnership with the UK and brings Amazon closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers in the UK and elsewhere around the world.

"Using small drones for the delivery of parcels will improve customer experience, create new jobs in a rapidly-growing industry and pioneer new sustainable delivery methods to meet future demand."

"The UK is charting a path forward for drone technology that will benefit consumers, industry and society."

The drones themselves are capable of transporting loads weighing up to 2.5kg, but will probably be initially confined to high-population density areas.

The CAA's policy director Tim Johnson said: "We want to enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology by safely integrating drones into the overall aviation system. These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach."

In the US, the first fully autonomous delivery of goods to a commercial customer by a drone only took place last Friday in Reno, Nevada. 

Source: eandt.theiet.org
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 26th Jul 2016

US ARMY reveals it will be switching to iOS devices for soldiers in the field.


US Army will apparently now use iPhonesGETTY

US Army will apparently now use iPhones over Android devices

Doubts have been raised over the performance of some Android smartphones after one of its biggest customers pulled support for the platform.

Reports from Military.com claim that the US Army is set to switch allegiance across to Apple's iPhone devices for the choice of mobile phone it includes in its field operations pack.

Previously, the Army has given soldiers an Android Tactical Assault Kit which included a Samsung device (thought to be a specially equipped version of the Samsung Galaxy Note). 

However this will now change with the introduction of a new iPhone Tactical Assault Kit,.

The iPhone 6S broke all sales records

GETTY

The iPhone 6S broke all sales records following its release last year

A source said that the iPhone is, "faster; smoother. Android freezes up" and needs regular restarting, making it unsuitable to use in combat situations.

The performance issues were particularly noticeable when viewing live video feed from an unmanned aerial system on an Android device.

These quickly ran into problems when attempting to run a split screen showing both the route and UAS feed, often freezing up and failing to refresh properly.

However, the source said that a similar task was, “seamless on the iPhone…The graphics are clear, unbelievable.”

The US Army has made no official comment yet, but 9to5Mac notes that the news is not the first time Apple products have been used by the United States Army. 

Following deployments into Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010, the Army gave out iPod touch devices to soldiers loaded with language modules including Iraqi Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, and Pashto.

Source: express.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 26th Jul 2016

You can pick one up from Kickstarter for €5,000.

Sponsored Links by Taboola

The manufacture, dissemination and use of anti-personnel mines were effectively banned in the late 1990s when 133 nations signed the Ottawa Treaty. But despite that international agreement, an estimated 100 million mines remain buried beneath former war zones where they kill or maim an average of 10 people per day. Using conventional methods -- whether that involves detector animals, human deminers or armored vehicles -- we'd need more than millennium to deactivate them all. The creators of this mine-hunting UAV, however, figure they can get it done in a little over a decade.

 

 

 

It's called the Mine Kafon Drone (MKD) and its creators have just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its production. The MKD is a hexcopter with three interchangeable arms: a high resolution camera, a metal detector and a robotic arm. The drone first flies over the field and uses its camera to both create a 3D aerial map and mark potentially dangerous areas with GPS waypoints. Then, using its metal detector attachment, the MKD rescans the field looking for actual mines. It uses the 3D map it made in the previous step to keep the detector just 4 cm from the ground as it flies by. Any mines that it finds are geotagged for removal. To actually do that, the MKD attaches its gripper arm to drop a small, timed detonator atop the mine. Once the drone is safely out of range, the detonator explodes, setting off the mine underneath. Overall, the MKD's creators estimate that this process can clear a minefield up to 20 times faster -- and for 200 times less cost -- than conventional methods.

The MKD team is trying to raise €90,000 to get the project going. A €17 donation will allow you to sponsor 7,500 square meter of mine field mapping. €75 earns you a miniature replica of the drone. €5,000 will get you an MKD of your very own, complete with robo-arm. That's not a bad deal given that the final version of the drone is expected to retail for 4 times that amount -- a whopping €20,000. Should the campaign reach its funding goal, MKDs could begin demining the world's war zones as early as next June.

Source: Kickstarter

Source: engadget.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 26th Jul 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been teasing the world for a few weeks now about an update to what he's been calling Tesla's "top secret master plan" (TSMP).

At least, he's been calling it that since the reveal of the Model 3 mass-market vehicle earlier this year.

The plan summarizes Musk's vision of accelerating humanity's exit from the fossil-fuel era, and it involves all of his companies: Tesla for all-electric car and energy storage, Solar City — he's the chairman, but his cousins founded the startup — for easy and inexpensive solar-panel installation, and SpaceX to provide us with a way to "back up" our threatened biosphere by colonizing the rest of the solar system, starting with Mars.

Musk discussed this vision at some length in Paris in December.

Over the past few days, he's been tweeting that he's holed himself up while listening to the soundtrack to the film "Gatsby," even pulling an all-nighter to finish the plan. He now says that Tesla will publish it at 5 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on Wednesday.

 

Will be working at Tesla on Autopilot & Model 3 today, then aiming to pull an all-nighter and complete the master product plan

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 19, 2016

 

Finishing off the plan while listening to the soundtrack from Gatsby. Seems appropriate...

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2016

 

We'll cover that event when it happens, but until then, the 2.0 version of the TSMP could be one of two things:

1. A laying out of all the new vehicle models that Tesla will produce using the Model 3 platform

The Model 3 isn't a single car. It's a platform upon which numerous types of vehicles can be built. This is a common practice in the auto industry, but a carmaker does need to have a lineup beyond the two vehicles that Tesla is selling — the Model S sedan and the Model X crossover utility vehicle (CUV) — to make it effective.

At the Model 3 reveal, we saw a four-door smaller than the Model S. What we could get on Wednesday night is a lineup that also features a sporty coupe, a compact CUV, and possibly even a pickup truck. Enthusiasts will also hope for a new Roadster.

We could also get some color on updates to the Model S, pricing for the Model X, forthcoming software updates and new features, the ongoing development of Tesla's charging network, and some thoughts on the investigation of a fatal Autopilot crash in Florida in May.

2. An explanation of how Tesla and Solar City will be fully integrated

Tesla wants to buy Solar City. Naysayers argue that this is a backdoor bailout because Solar City has been struggling and Musk owns about a fifth of the company. All Tesla will get in the merger is $3.2 billion in additional debt and a giant speed-brake on its ability to deliver 500,000 vehicles annually by 2018.

Musk maintains that putting Tesla — which is now a car company and an energy-storage company — together with Solar City will create an integrated enterprise that can more effectively pursue the TSMP agenda. In fact, the TSMP will be turbocharged by the acquisition.

Those are my bets, and I'm leaning toward the first because Musk is calling this a "product plan" in his tweets.

But we could also see Musk roll out a shared-mobility platform along the lines of Uber or the General Motors-Lyft partnership, leveraging Tesla's position as the world's most successful electric automaker and as the purveyor of the controversial but quite advanced Autopilot semi-self-driving technology.

Tune in later on Wednesday night to find out!

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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