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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] Facebook drones to offer low-cost Internet access

    Facebook has ambitious plans to connect the two-thirds of the world that has no net access, using drones, satellites and lasers.

    Mais do mesmo: Suckerberg anuncia mais um factóide para ganhar destaque na imprensa

    The move was announced on the social media platform by founder Mark Zuckerberg.

    It will put it in direct competition with Google, which is planning to deliver net access via balloons.

    Both of the net giants want to extend their audiences, especially in the developing world.

    Details about Facebook's plan were scant but it will include a fleet of solar-powered drones as well as low-earth orbit and geosynchronous satellites. Invisible, infrared laser beams could also be used to boost the speed of the net connections.

    Last year Facebook and other technology companies launched to help bring net access to the huge swathes of the globe that are still not connected.

    Aerospace experts

    The social network has already teamed up with telecoms operators in the Philippines and Paraguay to double the number of people using the internet in that region.

    "We're going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too," Mr Zuckerberg said in his post.

    To bring the project to fruition, Facebook has set up a Connectivity Lab that will include experts in aerospace and communication technology, from Nasa's jet propulsion lab and its Ames research centre.

    It has also hired a five-member team that worked at British firm Ascenta, which developed the Zephyr, which holds the record for the longest-flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft.

    Earlier this month there were rumours that the social network was interested in buying drone-maker Titan but there was no mention of this in the announcement.


    The plans form part of Facebook's ambitions to extend its reach beyond its 1.2 billion audience, thinks Ovum analyst Mark Little.

    "Zuckerberg is pushing this as an altruistic way of connecting more people in the world - the net as a basic human right - but by increasing the total of net connections it also increases Facebook's members and the amount of sharing done, which in turn creates more space for advertising and drives its revenues in a massive way."

    Last year Google announced similar plans to develop solar-powered balloons to deliver net access to remote areas of the world.

    Code-named Project Loon, 30 of the super-pressure balloons were launched in New Zealand in June.

    "It is perhaps aptly named," said Mr Little.

    "It is going to have a lot of political hoops to jump through. Some governments won't put up with having that fleet over their airspace."

    Mr Little thinks that for both Facebook and Google, the technology in their projects may prove to be "the easy bit" and that the real challenge will lie in persuading governments around the world that its alternative networks are viable.

    "Mobile operators are always under threat from alternative ways of delivering net services. This becomes a concern for governments when a nation's communications rest on an outside provider," he said.

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Snoopy drone sniffs public's data

    28 March 2014 Last updated at 07:07 GMT
    Data-stealing Snoopy drone unveiled at Black Hat
    By Kim Gittleson BBC reporter, Black Hat, Singapore

    Security firm SensePost has unveiled its Snoopy drone, which can steal data from unsuspecting smartphone users, at the Black Hat security conference in Singapore.

    The drone uses the company's software, which is installed on a computer attached to a drone.

    That code can be used to hack smartphones and steal personal data - all without a user's knowledge.

    It does this by exploiting handsets looking for a wireless signal.

    Glenn Wilkinson, who developed Snoopy, says that when the software is attached to a drone flying around an area, it can gather everything from a user's home address to his or her bank information.

    "Every device we carry emits unique signatures - even pacemakers come with wi-fi today," Mr Wilkinson tells the BBC.

    "And - holy smokes, what a bad idea."

    'The machines that betrayed their masters'

    Many smartphone users leave the wireless option constantly turned on on their smartphone. That means the phones are constantly looking for a network to join - including previously used networks.

    "A lot of [past] network names are unique and it's possible to easily geo-locate them," says Mr Wilkinson, who explains Snoopy uses a combination of the name of a network a user is looking for as well as the MAC address that uniquely identifies a device to track a smartphone in real-time.

    Beyond that, Snoopy demonstrates how someone could also impersonate one of those past networks in a so-called karma attack, in which a rogue operator impersonates a past network that a user then joins, thinking it is safe.

    Once the user has joined the disguised network, the rogue operator can then steal any information that the user enters while on that network - including e-mail passwords, Facebook account information, and even banking details.

    This is why Mr Wilkinson says that smartphones and other devices that use wireless technology - such as Oyster cards using RFID (radio frequency identification) or bank cards with chips - can betray their users.

    'Am I on candid camera?'

    Mr Wilkinson - who began developing the Snoopy software three years ago as a side-project - gave the BBC a preview of the technology ahead of its release.

    Pulling out a laptop from his bag, Mr Wilkinson opened the Snoopy programme - and immediately pulled up the smartphone information of hundreds of Black Hat conference attendees.

    With just a few keystrokes, he showed that an attendee sitting in the back right corner of the keynote speech probably lived in a specific neighbourhood in Singapore. The software even provided a streetview photo of the smartphone user's presumed address.

    "I've gathered smartphone device data from every security conference that I've been at for the last year and a half - so I can see who was at each event and whether or not they've attended multiple events," says Mr Wilkinson.

    He then shows this data to conference attendees - who often ask, when presented with a photograph of their home or office, if they're on candid camera.

    Bringing awareness

    Mr Wilkinson is quick to acknowledge that the Snoopy software is not new technology - but rather, just a different way of gathering together a series of known security risks.

    "There's nothing new about this - what's new is that Snoopy brings a lot of the technology together in a unique way," he explains.

    For instance, the Snoopy software has been ground-based until now, operating primarily on computers, smartphones with Linux installed on them, and on open-source small computers like the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black.

    But when attached to a drone, it can quickly cover large areas.

    "You can also fly out of audio-visual range - so you can't see or hear it, meaning you can bypass physical security - men with guns, that sort of thing," he says.

    It's not hard to imagine a scenario in which an authoritarian regime could fly the drone over an anti-government protest and collect the smartphone data of every protester and use the data to figure out the identities of everyone in attendance.

    Mr Wilkinson says that this is why he has become fascinated with our "digital terrestrial footprint" - and the way our devices can betray us.

    He says he wants to "talk about this to bring awareness" of the security risks posed by such simple technologies to users.

    His advice? Turn off the wireless network on your phone until you absolutely need to use it.

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