Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • Karsten Nohl (Forbes photo)You might think that by not clicking on strange links from your phone, you’re keeping your mobile device safe from identity theft attacks. Unfortunately, some recently revealed research shows you may not be so safe, after all.

    German mobile security expert Karsten Nohl says he has found a weakness in certain SIM cards which could allow hackers to listen to phone conversations and steal personal information.

    “We can remotely install software on a handset that operates completely independently from your phone,” Nohl told The New York Times. “We can spy on you. We know your encryption keys for calls. We can read your SMSs (text messages). More than just spying, we can steal data from the SIM card, your mobile identity, and charge to your account.”

    Nohl discovered the flaw as part of a widespread research project. He and his team tested about 1,000 SIM cards in Europe and North America over two years, and found that about one quarter of the SIM cards tested were susceptible to the

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  • Four high-tech ways to beat the heat this summer

    With half of Canada being caught in the grips of a heat wave this past week, many of us are on the hunt for ways to keep cool. And even when the heat breaks for a couple of days, I have some bad news for you: it’s only July. We’re not out of the woods yet.

    If you’re one of those people who thrives in this heat and are enjoying baking in feels-like-40-degrees temperatures, this article isn’t for you. But if you’re like me, and are desperate for some relief, here are some ways technology can rescue you from the miserable, sweaty torture:

    1. Regulate your home cooling system

    (Image from Nest)During this time of year, the power grids in major metropolitan areas have to deal with the heavy load of running thousands of air conditioning units. This can result in overworking the system, forcing rolling blackouts, and then even though you have that great AC, you’re forced to swelter.

    You can do your part to minimize your impact on the power system by digitally managing the temperature in your home, helping it run

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  • In this Oct. 11, 2009 photo, a 64 gigabyte SanDisk Ultra Backup USB 2.0 flash drive is shown in New York.Cyber-security is a big deal to Canadians, and with good reason: with the right information, an identity thief can take out a credit card in your name and rack up debt. Or worse. And based on recently released emails, it looks like the Canadian government isn’t taking digital information safety lightly, either.

    In an email obtained by Postmedia News, it says that senior bureaucrats were considering paying a professional dumpster diving company $15,000 to locate the missing USB drive. It contained the personal information of more than 5,000 Canadians.

    [ Related: Government warned before loss of student loan, CPP data ]

    The email also shows that they also considered burning the garbage, in hopes of destroying the USB key and preventing the information from being found:

    “Bryan is looking (at) burning the garbage so if USB key is there this will protect the department (from ) impact or ‘repercussion,’” a Nov. 23 email from Service Canada corporate security manager Jeanne Dufour said, according

    Read More »from Loss of USB key prompted Ottawa to consider hiring dumpster divers, emails show
  • (Image from Walmart.com)If you’re familiar with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program, you may be surprised to hear that the company is in a new partnership with Walmart. The non-profit organization, normally known for its work bringing laptops to children in the developing world, will now be selling OLPC tablets at the largest retailer in the United States.

    They haven’t completely dropped their original mission, though. According to ZDNet, the aim of bringing inexpensive devices to people who would otherwise be unable to access them is still a key priority. The XO Kid’s Tablet PC comes as a successor to last year’s XO 3.0, but this is the first time the tablet will be made available through a major national distributor.

    And the potential to do good in the United States for children in low-income families is tremendous. Despite how reliant society has become on technology, there are still thousands of school children who don’t have access to a computer or tablet in their homes across Canada and the United

    Read More »from Tablet designed for students in developing countries now being sold at Walmart
  • A woman wears a sticker supporting Trayvon Martin during a protest of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Los Angeles, July 15, 2013.
    The most vocal of the Zimmerman trial jurors so far, known as B37, announced last night that she’d signed a book deal detailing her experience in the trial. And almost as quickly as she said it, the deal was over in no small part because of the actions of one Twitter user.

    Juror B37, who participated on the jury that found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, made an appearance (albeit cloaked in darkness) on the show Anderson Cooper 360 on July 15. She said that Zimmerman’s heart was in the right place, and that he had every right to carry a gun:

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    It enraged many of the people who are currently protesting the jury’s verdict, and was made doubly worse when on the same day, Juror B37 announced that she’d signed a book deal to talk about the trial and what it was like from her and her husband’s perspectives.

    [ Related: Juror B37: 'Race did not play a role' in Zimmerman trial ]

    For Twitter user @MoreandAgain, the book deal didn’t sit right, and she sought to

    Read More »from Twitter user gets Zimmerman juror’s book deal swiftly cancelled
  • In what looks like something out of a spy movie, university researchers have come up with electronic devices that self-destruct.

    No, you’re not going to see any Mission: Impossible-style explosions here. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, they’re working on electronics that dissolve in water.

    While this may seem like a really, really bad idea if you’ve ever dropped your phone into a body of water, the idea is that these dissolving electronic parts will actually be better for the environment, and better for the health of humans in the long run.

    John Rogers, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the university, is one of the researchers behind the ‘born to die’ program, and says that the technology isn’t there yet, but the proof-of-concept certainly  is there.

    “You don’t need your cell phone to last for 25 or 50 years,” Rogers said to The Associated Press. “Nobody wants to keep it for that long anyway.”

    [ Related: Motorola proposes pills, tattoos as future of

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  • (Image by jmv on Flickr)When it comes to the most recognized or most powerful superhero, Aquaman is often overlooked. Without a blockbuster film in the last several years (this TV short with Lou Diamond Philips doesn’t count), he doesn’t have the same sort of visibility as Batman, Spider-Man or Superman. He does, however, apparently prove to be quite the threat in cyberspace.

    According to a recently compiled list by McAfee, known for its virus detection and removal software, Aquaman is the superhero name that results in the greatest number of risky websites returned in search engine results. In a recent blog post, McAfee says that when partnering a superhero’s name with search terms like “free torrent download,” “watch,” “online” and “free trailer,” these superheroes were found to deliver the most search results that tested positively for malicious content links, including spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware:

    1. Aquaman 18.60%
    2. Mr. Fantastic 18.22%
    3. The Hulk 17.30%
    4. Wonder Woman 16.77%
    5. Daredevil
    Read More »from ‘Aquaman’ dubbed most dubious superhero by virus removal software company
  • 'Animal Crossing: New Leaf'

    This week, PBS’s Idea Channel on YouTube posited an interesting notion: the recently released game Animal Crossing: New Leaf from Nintendo may promote "otaku citizenship." And for many people, that just causes more questions, like, what’s an otaku? What’s otaku citizenship? And for some out there, what's Animal Crossing and why are so many adults playing what looks like a game for children?

    Starting with the basics, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the latest installment in the popular Animal Crossing series, and the second handheld offering (this one is for the Nintendo 3DS). The premise is simple: your human character moves to a brand new town, and through a mix-up, you become the mayor. It is your responsibility to lead the town populated by anthropomorphized animals to prosperity and success while raising funds to build improvements and pay off your home.

    As for why people are playing it, there's a much simpler answer: it’s an incredibly well-made game. The concepts are basic, are well

    Read More »from ‘Animal Crossing: New Leaf’ and the kind of people it teaches its players to be
  • How rice could one day power your smartphone

    Ah, rice: food staple enjoyed by billions of people around the world every day. And according to a recent report, it could soon be used to help power your cell phone.

    Not the edible part of the rice, mind you: about 20 per cent of the total weight of all rice is its inedible husk, Wired reports. Researchers have found a way to recycle those husks and use them to make silicon for batteries.

    In a study published with the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, researchers say they believe there is a way to convert the silica layers found in rice husks and convert it to silicon, which can then be used in high-capacity lithium battery anodes. The researchers say that the structure of the rice husks gives it “excellent electrochemical performance as a lithium battery anode,” the study’s abstract states. By applying heat and acid to the husks, the silica can be extracted, and then converted into silicon.

    Up until now, the waste husks have largely been

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  • Guests at Nokia's unveiling of its new Lumia 1020 smartphone use the new phone's 41-megapixel camera.
    There’s no question: many of us have given up lugging around a separate camera in favour of snapping photos with our smartphones. Yet for many photo purists, the quality of a phone camera just can’t compare to using a proper point-and-shoot. Nokia attempted to bridge that gap today by unveiling the Nokia Lumia 1020, its first 41-megapixel phone on the Windows 8 operating system.

    Following in the steps of the Nokia 808 PureView, the newly-unveiled Lumia 1020 has a 41-megapixel camera sensor, which allows the user to take 5MP photos using ‘oversampling:’ seven pixels are combined into one super-accurate pixel, Mobile Syrup explains. It also has a Xenon flash built in, for point-and-shoot quality lighting, and six Zeiss lenses in wide-angle for sharp images.

    Along with all the other bells and whistles on the new camera phone, like ‘floating lens’ technology that helps reduce image shake, 1080p video shooting and high-resolution 3x zoom, the Lumia 1020 also comes with an impressive price

    Read More »from Nokia Lumia 1020’s impressive camera may not be enough to justify hefty price tag

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