Archive for the ‘Software News’ category

Sketch software helping law enforcement catch suspects

September 2nd, 2014

The fight against crime is getting a high-tech boost.

New technology is lending a hand when it comes to solving crimes and it’s done through new software that’s essentially the eyes of the victim.

For 32 years, sketch artist Lois Gibson has been scratching out composite drawings of the faces behind crimes.

Working for Houston police, Gibson has helped solve more than 1,200 crimes, putting faces to the monsters that crime victims describe to her.

Now there are new tools that victims of crime everywhere can use to actually help bring their attacker to justice.

Computer programs allow victims to create a professional looking sketch of the criminal who wronged them.

“I think it’s important for people to realize they can be empowered to solve their own crime,” said Greg Micek, president of IQ Biometrix.

Micek is the president of a company that sells Faces, one of the computerized sketch programs already being used by thousands of police agencies worldwide.

“We have a database of 45,000 images of eyes, noses, ears, that we’ve had drawn so when you build a sketch, you’re building a sketch just like a sketch artist would,” said Micek.

Another website called Ultimate Flash Face gives the user different choices of face parts to create the suspect’s face.

Rania Mankarious, executive director of Crime Stoppers, calls this sketch software an invaluable new tool in the war on crime.

“I think anything a victim can do, or any eyewitness can do, to help solve a crime is extremely important and I would say ‘yes, use it,’” said Mankarious.

Even Gibson, who believes human sketch artists are irreplaceable, feels this software can really help if victims use it right after the crime.

“When the face is fresh, just do a little mock up from a free computer program,” said Gibson. “I think that’s actually an excellent idea.”

The Faces program was used on the TV show America’s Most Wanted and has already helped put 10 different suspects behind bars.

Source:http://www.ksat.com/content/pns/ksat/news/2014/09/01/sketch-software-helping-law-enforcement-catch-suspects.html

Industrial software website used in watering hole attack

September 2nd, 2014

AlienVault Labs has discovered a watering hole attack that’s using a framework developed for reconnaissance as the primary infection vector.

The criminals responsible for the incident compromised an unnamed industrial software firm’s website, suggesting the potential for future attacks against several industries.

The unnamed victim produces software used for simulation and system engineering for a wide range of industries, AlienVault said, including automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing.

The attack starts on the compromised firm’s website, where a malicious JavaScript file is loaded from a remote server. Unlike most watering hole incidents, where the visitor is infected with malware, this attack delivers a framework called Scanbox.

Scanbox collects data from the victim and delivers it to the command and control server.

Using plug-ins, the framework has the ability to detect dozens of third-party software installations, including browsers, instant messengers, remote access software, business software, and security software. Finally, keylogging is used to capture data periodically, as well as when information is submitted by the victim to the compromised website.

This isn’t the first time such techniques have been seen in the wild. AlienVault noticed this type of reconnaissance in July after observing a number of attackers.

“This is a very powerful framework that gives attackers a lot of insight into the potential targets that will help them launching future attacks against them,” commented AienVault’s Jaime Blasco.

“We have also seen several Metasploit-produced exploits that target different versions of Java in the same IP address that hosts the Scanbox framework.”

For now, AlienVault suggests that administrators watch for traffic from mail.webmailgoogle.com and js.webmailgoogle.com, as those are indicators of this attack in action.

The IP address that is hosting the command and control server is 122.10.9.109; it’s assigned to a data center in Hong Kong.

Source:http://www.csoonline.com/article/2600772/data-protection/industrial-software-website-used-in-watering-hole-attack.html

BBC launches kids TV shows with coding and computing content

September 2nd, 2014

In a push to get the younger generation more familiar with programming, a new computing curriculum with an upgraded syllabus has been introduced in schools across England. To aid the new initiative, BBC Children’s and BBC Learning has announced a new range of coding and computing content which aims to encourage and help improve children’s understanding through its TV series, games and competitions.

“We know that many children are genuinely interested in technology and we want to play our part in inspiring and empowering them to pursue their passions and to find out even more,” said Sinéad Rocks, Acting Head of BBC Learning. “Our new education resources are designed to give a hands on approach through a range of great animation, video and interactive games that we hope will really engage and entertain whilst also enabling our audiences to develop key digital skills.”

The TV broadcaster has published study guides, quizzes and support materials for computer programming on its Bitesize exam revision site to correspond with the new curriculum, along with several programming-themed TV shows aimed at children. The TV shows will start broadcasting in the autumn, however, the new Bitesize content will not be available until early next year.

The move was described as an “early start” to BBC’s coding and digital creativity initiative for 2015, which seeks to shine a light on coding, programming and digital technology for the new generation. The initiative has been designed with components to include children of all ages, with the full curriculum said to follow through their education up to the age of 16.

“It’s about giving the next generation a chance to shape their world, not just be consumers in it,” said Jessica Cecil, controller of the BBC’s coding and digital creative initiative. “Clearly this is all about partnerships, this is not about us saying, ‘This is the way you do it because the BBC says so’. Partnership is absolutely the watchword. We know there is a fantastic landscape out there and we want to play our part in it.” Cecil hopes to sign formal agreements with between 10-20 organisations to be involved in next year’s effort by Christmas. Partnerships with Microsoft, BT, Google and Samsung are already in consideration and some of these big hitting tech companies have already been in talks with the BBC.

The initiative is, of course, welcomed by many in the computer coding business, whose numbers include Eben Upton from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. “I think it’s a fantastic initiative – the BBC is getting back to its roots and advocating for computing education in the same way it did in the 1980s, but with all the advantages of doing it with a modern, internet-enabled platform. The bits and pieces I’ve seen so far look very promising,” Upton said.

Source:http://hexus.net/tech/news/software/74017-bbc-launches-kids-tv-shows-coding-computing-content/

Get Adobe Flash player