Saturday, April 11, 2015

TECHNOLOGY: Columbia Engineering Team Finds Thousands of Secret Keys in Android Apps

From Engineering.columbia.edu:
In a paper presented—and awarded the prestigious Ken Sevcik Outstanding Student Paper Award—at the ACM SIGMETRICS conference on June 18, Jason Nieh, professor of computer science at Columbia Engineering, and PhD candidate Nicolas Viennot reported that they have discovered a crucial security problem in Google Play, the official Android app store where millions of users of Android, the most popular mobile platform, get their apps. 
“Google Play has more than one million apps and over 50 billion app downloads, but no one reviews what gets put into Google Play—anyone can get a $25 account and upload whatever they want. Very little is known about what’s there at an aggregate level,” says Nieh, who is also a member of the University’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering’s Cybersecurity Center. “Given the huge popularity of Google Play and the potential risks to millions of users, we thought it was important to take a close look at Google Play content.” 
Nieh and Viennot’s paper is the first to make a large-scale measurement of the huge Google Play marketplace. To do this, they developed PlayDrone, a tool that uses various hacking techniques to circumvent Google security to successfully download Google Play apps and recover their sources. PlayDrone scales by simply adding more servers and is fast enough to crawl Google Play on a daily basis, downloading more than 1.1 million Android apps and decompiling over 880,000 free applications.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

INNOVATION: You will be able to touch the internet by 2035, and it will touch back

Via Quartz.com:
With smartphones and their touchscreens, we were given the ability to interact with the internet like never before—we could touch, pinch, and zoom in on webpages—but aside from occasional popups and notifications, we didn’t get much interaction in return. The next generation of wireless devices could change that. 
In perhaps 20 years, we could have a wireless network that would send and receive vast amounts of data in less than one millisecond. At that speed, we would be able to match the reaction speed the human body has to touching something, meaning we could control objects anywhere in the world, in real time, from a mobile device and get the sensation that we were controlling something right in front of us. 
Gerhard Fettweis, a professor at the Dresden University of Technology, believes that 5G, the next generation of wireless technology, could be fast enough to create a network of instant-reaction internet devices, mimicking the experience of real life. A study released in December exploring the future of 5G includes Fettweis’ connectivity concept, which he’s calling the “Tactile Internet.”

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Which came first - the chicken or the egg?" - a new result

I have a new result on the question of which came first - the chicken or the egg.

My Facebook post on the same is below. Please access the article from SSRN.

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Which came first - the chicken or the egg? In a new paper on SSRN, I (and Devi) argue that Wikipedia is wrong and the correct answer to the question is : it is unknowable.
Details here:

Monday, January 19, 2015

INNOVATION: Development of software that “predicts” sudden cardiac death

At Galway Hospital, in Ireland, a device is currently used to "predict" cardiac events in people at risk of sudden cardiac death. This technology was developed by a Mexican, and the city's University patented it looking to sell it to specialized companies. 
In 2013, the hospital cardiologists used this technology to diagnose and test its accuracy. The software is in the process of prototype and marketing.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

INNOVATION: Researchers target new form of RAM from rare materials

From ZDNet.com:
Researchers from Victoria University, in New Zealand, are studying the application of a class of materials called rare earth nitrides (RENs) to create a new type of non-volatile RAM memory.

Dr Ben Ruck, Professor Joe Trodahl and Dr Franck Natali from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, are studying potential commercial applications of RENs, thin films grown under ultra-high vacuum which are both magnetic and semiconducting.

Two concepts already patented include developing the first magnetic memory storage devices based on RENs, called "magnetic tunnel junctions".

The issue with current forms of RAM is that it does not retain information when the host computer is turned off, says Ruck.

Friday, October 31, 2014

TECHNOLOGY: Shortage of cybersecurity professionals poses risk to national security

Via Phys.org:
The nationwide shortage of cybersecurity professionals – particularly for positions within the federal government – creates risks for national and homeland security, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation.

Demand for trained cybersecurity professionals who work to protect organizations from cybercrime is high nationwide, but the shortage is particularly severe in the federal government, which does not offer salaries as high as the private sector.