Posts Tagged “diane israel”
With frequent high-profile reports of sites, or even entire networks (Amazon AWS 2017) being shut down by hackers, it does beg the question: Can a hacker shut down the entire Internet? After all, if you can shut down Amazon, the CIA, or Twitter, could not a more wide scale, total blackout of the Internet be a reality?
Answer: Not really, and here’s why.
The Internet was designed to be resilient. In fact, the first vestiges of the Internet go back to the 1960s and the ARPANET and later DARPANET projects commissioned by the U.S. Defense Department. The initial objective was to develop a network of computers that could survive a nuclear attack. As such, redundancy was no afterthought. It was aforethought. Today this interconnectivity exists as the TCP-IP (Transmission Control Protocol – Internet Protocol), commonly known to today as simply the IP protocol.
All said, there are three areas where the Internet is vulnerable. The first one is rather recent, about ten years old. The Cloud. When Amazon AWS was shut down for nearly a day back in 2017, all its customers, primarily small businesses, but not all so small, who decided to put all their web services on AWS, went down too.
Tier-One ISP Backbone is where we are most vulnerable.
There are tens of thousands of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) out there but only a handful provide the backbone of Internet connectivity. In fact, most of the smaller ones are reselling services they purchase and rebrand as their own, typically from a bigger fish that makes their money from volume. Nothing new here.
But the big boys like AT&T, Comcast, Level 3 and Verizon are so vast in the amount of traffic that goes through them that if just one of them went down, 20 to 40 percent of the Internet would go down with them. And nobody really knows if the stress on the other backbone providers would provide a domino effect. So at least theoretically, the Internet could go down for a brief period. But theoretically only. These backbone providers invest billions each year to maintain and upgrade their resilience and redundancy. Actually, these backbone are probably the most redundant systems the world has ever seen. Arguably, not even the Space Shuttle had as much redundancy. So while theoretically possible, the bigger concern is hackers actually hacking their way inside the backbone. No one has ever succeeded in doing that. You’d probably have a better chance of hacking the CIA’s site than you would one of these backbones. The reason is that these companies all preceded the Internet as telecommunications backbones back when telephony was our most treasured and sophisticated communications network. In other words, our backbone providers have decades of experience in providing the most robust security standards, some of which will likely never be made public.
Aside from site hacking whereby one website is compromised due to a deliberate hack of that site, systemic outages either originate from cloud hacking or DNS (domain name service) hacking. DNS providers are basically the folks who manage where your domain points to. In other words, if you own thisismycompany.com, you must tell the DNS where that domain is hosted via IP. So the DNS not only knows your domain name but also tells all other computers the IP (or computer address) where it can actually be found. For fun, you can actually find a website by typing in its IP address only without the actual domain name. What this means is that if a hacker can mess with the IP address it can become a major nuisance, in effect, making your site unreachable while at the same time it is technically functioning. A bizarre state where your Internet browser cannot resolve the multiple redirects that the hacker assigned to say a cloud, like what happened when Amazon AWS went down.
Okay. So a complete shutdown of the Internet is not likely, just like a complete shutdown of our entire power grid. But put that into perspective. Remember when New York City lost power for several days back in the late 70s? Such a moment is a cautionary tale of how we need not a global shutdown of the Internet to be catastrophically impacted. Just imagine if New York City’s Internet went down even for a day. Everything would come to a screeching halt, not just electrical power. Everything. Banking, Gas stations, grocery stores. And if you don’t have a full tank of gas you wouldn’t be driving anywhere either. So despite the Internet’s truly global reach, a localized complete outage would all-encompassing. As a civilization, we have never been so dependable on technology as we are right now. All previous “blackouts” are not adequate comparisons for this very reason. As such, it wouldn’t hurt to have some extra food and water around at the very least.
By Diane Israel
The teens designed their experiments on Google Sheets, and these instructions were automatically carried out by a robot in a lab at the University of Massachusetts. Google Sheets is similar to Microsoft Excel. Comparatively, Google Docs is analogous to Microsoft Office or Microsoft 360. And while the applications are nearly identical, there are two striking differences, differences which explain why the students went the Google route on this one…
- Google Sheets is free
- All content creation, and collaboration is a snap since all content resides on Google Drive, Google’s cloud service.
Two webcams livestreamed the robot’s results on YouTube so the kids in both locations could monitor and provide input to the experiment via changes to the Google Sheets, explained project initiator Amir Mitchell, a Weizmann Institute alumnus who heads a research group at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.
“We developed a science education platform in which geographical distance is irrelevant,” said Mitchell. “High school students from all over the world can do empirical research, direct the process, check results and make new decisions based on those results.”
During initial hands-on experiments in their own schools’ science labs using equipment developed in Mitchell’s lab, the students in six Israeli schools and in two classes at Worcester Technical High School grew bacteria and exposed them to antibiotics, controlling the types, timing and concentrations.
“The research level of this project was fairly complex,” said Dahan. “It was amazing to see the creativity, time and thought the students put into their work, and the levels of commitment and excitement showed in the lively discussions over the 10 days.
While the decision to go with Google for document management and centralized services, all cloud applications, especially with anyting with Google’s name on it, are big targets for pranksters, scammers and otherwise people with nefarious intent. But the benefits outweighed the risks for this record-setting teamwork. However, over the long-term, the reliability of publically available cloud solutions will always be suspect as individual and state-sponsored cyberattacks learn new ways to attack an already vulnerable cloud.
By Diane Israel
It’s about time. For many, say around 40 percent of the U.S. voting population, there are but two expressions of news. FoxNews and everyone else, with much derision, referred to by president Trump and many others as, Fake News. Similarly, the Robert Mueller III investigation into, among other things, Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, there is no longer any doubt that the Russians did indeed meddle, and meddle big time, creating Fake social personas, pages, events and Facebook advertising to create as much political division as possible with the hopes of a prescient Trump victory.
To counteract at least some of this mayhem, Israeli and American researchers have developed a method to detect fake user accounts on Twitter, Facebook and many other social networks.
Although not exactly a product, but an algorithm which can detect unusual link building that does not unfold in the way a human would do, it automatically flags these improbable links.
“With recent disturbing news about failures to safeguard user privacy, and targeted use of social media by Russia to influence elections, rooting out fake users has never been of greater importance,” said Dima Kagan, lead researcher and a PhD student in BGU’s department of software and information systems engineering.
The algorithm consists of two main iterations based on machine-learning algorithms.
- The first constructs a link prediction classifier that can estimate, with high accuracy, the probability of a link existing between two users.
- The second iteration generates a new set of meta-features based on the features created by the link prediction classifier.
The algorithm can also be used to reveal the influential people in social networks, but how it does it is still a mystery that compels additional scrutiny.
The irony is that human deceipt and meddling may have met its match, and not by any populist pushback, but rather, through an ethical algorithm. Perhaps the time has come whereby what’s wrong with human behavior can be best countermeasured by ethically-minded data mining. Of course, countermeasures to the countermeasure should be expected to follow suit. And maybe this is the future of artificial intelligence with automation serving as proxies to our moral dilemmas.
By Diane Israel
The Internet of Things (IoT) just added a new “thing” to its portfolio. At first blush, it’s just another sensor, a peripheral hardware piece that typically is the data capture point of a wholistic IoT data capture, sharing, and transactional framework. Indeed, IoT sensors are quickly becoming the widgets of IoT deployments as their costs continue to drop — about a dollar each right now and forecasted to be less than a dime each in the next two years.
All good news. But Israeli tech company Vayyar enters the sensor business as the latest sensor disruptor. And by digital disruption, I don’t mean a price disruption but rather a technological advancement so quantum at its very core that the definition itself must gain a second usage. That’s because this sensor doesn’t just capture data from shoppers walking down a retail store aisle, or passing data from a heard of cattle to a central server, or providing health diagnostics of the latest autonomous vehicle.
This sensor actually sees, and sees like Superman…literally. Vayvar’s sensor can, among other things, see through walls, human bodies, closed doors and what we mortals would consider to be otherwise sold objects.
The sensor comprises 72 receivers can also differentiate between human objects and nonanimated ones.
The practical uses include:
- home monitoring
- elderly care
- distinguish between a walking person, a sitting person, or a person lying down
While Vayyar’s product might at first seem fantastical, the device has several practical uses when applied to the fields of breast cancer imaging, elderly care, robotics, retail, and more. The sensor was initially designed as an imaging device to detect cancerous growths, the applications for the product’s technology is now being applied in a myriad of fields.
The hi-tech startup has already raised over $78 million in venture capital. Vayvar’s next vertical target is the automotive industry as an augmentation to current relatively homogenous sensor devices with its smart device that can be configured to act as the car’s extra set of eyes.
By Diane Israel
If you can see a faint or shadowy image, but can’t tell what it is due to visual impairment, now by simply pointing to it, MyEye1 will tell you what it is. It’s like having a seeing-eye dog that can speak to you in English, but it’s much smaller and doesn’t poop! The device wears pretty much like any set of eyeglasses.
Consider my friend Larry as a case-in-point. Twenty years ago, Larry developed Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.
While Larry and I were on a road trip through Northern Arizona last summer, we stopped for a bite to eat and to walk his dogs. While in the parking lot, Larry asked me if the tall, skinny object behind me was a tree or a telephone pole. That’s the extent of his visual capabilities. And there’s no medical procedure that has any promise of restoring his vision to reasonable standards.
Artificial Intelligence Meets Artificial Vision: Introducing Orcam’s MyEye!
Now Larry, and those like him, can enrich their daily experiences and enjoy greater independence with OrCam.
Israeli tech is on the rise.
OrCam MyEye 1 is a breakthrough wearable artificial vision device designed to assist people who are blind, visually impaired, or have a reading disability. The intuitive, lightweight smart camera instantly and discreetly reads printed and digital text aloud – from any surface – and recognizes faces, products, and money notes, all in real time.
And now, with the release of MyEye 2.0, the benefits go far beyond MyEye1, including…
- Read from any surface. Real-time identification of faces is seamlessly announced
- Recognize known faces. Intuitively responds to simple hand gestures
- Identify products. Identification of products, enabling an independent shopping experience.
- Easy to use. Intuitively responds to simple hand gestures
OrCam was jointly founded in 2010 by Prof. Amnon Shashua and Mr. Ziv Aviram, who are also the co-founders of Mobileye, the collision avoidance system leader, and autonomous driving innovator. The original OrCam MyEye device was launched in 2015, and the next generation OrCam MyEye 2.0 was launched in 2017.
By Diane Israel
Better, stronger, faster. Those words and the rapid patter in which they captured my imagination as they introduced each episode of The Six Million Dollar Man was the science fiction of the day. Dad, while captivated, had his doubts about a human becoming half a machine in his lifetime. It really did seem far-fetched. And so did StarTrek‘s communicator at the time. Fast-forward a few decades and Voila!, smartphones are literally everywhere.
And while bionics are still not ubiquitous, if you’re anything like me, you had no idea that they are indeed commercially available today. Actually, there are both superhuman and augmentation versions on the market, the former which provides additional strength and stamina to a healthy human body, and the latter which does something even more awe-inspiring: Allowing the handicap to walk again.
This is where the story gets personal. A good friend of mine, Monique, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1993. The first symptoms showed up at a party I threw at my house. Monique was having difficulty keeping her balance. And no. She wasn’t drinking. Three weeks later, the diagnosis was official.
A year later she was walking with the assistance of a cane. Five years later, she required a walker along with handheld pedals affixed to the steering wheel so we could continue to drive. Ten years after that, she was confined to a wheelchair or a scooter.
Today, 2.2 million Americans are confined to a wheelchair while another 6.5 million require a cane or walker to assist with their mobility.
But now there’s a Six Million Dollar Man kinda option. A bionic exoskeleton developed by the Israeli company ReWalk Technologies is allowing those with mobility handicaps that ability to walk again.
Now in the 6th generation release of its personal exoskeleton technology, ReWalk is the first and only technology of its kind to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. The company offers two kinds of exoskeletons:
- ReWalk Personal 6.0: Designed for in-home and community use.
- ReWalk Rehabilitation: Designed for training centers.
Now, people like Monique who suffer from an incurable degenerative disease can, with an assist from ReWalk, walk again. In addition, ReWalk 6.0 assists paraplegics, who have no motor activity in their lower extremities, the ability to walk as well. ReWalk Rehabilitation is commonly used to help speed the recovery and rehabilitation of stroke victims.
About ReWalk Technologies
ReWalk Robotics is an innovative medical device company that is designing, developing and commercializing exoskeletons allowing wheelchair-bound individuals to stand and walk once again. The company has offices in Israel, Germany, and the United States.