#376 Aug 25, 2014 – Computers with 20/20 Vision

This week’s headline story: Computers with 20/20 Vision

visionThe biggest competition in the field of computer vision, The Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge, was held last week and drew 38 entrants from 13 countries. The competitors use advanced software to detect, locate and classify a huge set of images taken from Internet sources like Twitter. The contest was sponsored this year by Google, Stanford, Facebook and the University of North Carolina. The results of the competition indicate huge strides forward in the field of AI and computer vision. Accuracy almost doubled in the 2014 competition and error rates were cut in half, according to the conference organizers. Winners included the National University of Singapore, the Oxford University, Adobe Systems, the Center for Intelligent Perception and Computing at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as Google in two separate categories. Soon computers with cameras will be able to recognize, evaluate and act on the images they collect, bringing a whole new level of applications and a whole new level of concern for privacy advocates.

Computer Eyesight Gets a Lot More Accurate [NYTimes]

and elsewhere in Tech News.

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and in Information Security news this week..

  • US warns ‘significant number’ of major businesses hit by Backoff malware [Computerworld]

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned that more than 1,000 major enterprise networks and small and medium businesses in the U.S. have been compromised by a recently discovered malware package called Backoff. Backoff first appeared in late 2013 and is capable of scraping the memory contents of cash registers and other point of sale terminals used at store checkouts to access credit cards, monitor keystrokes, and communicate with a remote server. Most of the targeted businesses are probably not yet aware that their systems were compromised.

  • Android Phones Hit by ‘Ransomware’ [NYTimes]

    A group of Eastern European hackers are hijacking Android devices, locking them up, sand demanding money from users who want to regain access to their phones. The “ransomware” named ScarePackage is spread through websites and bogus apps, posts a message claiming to be from the F.B.I., accusing the victim of child porn, child abuse, zoophilia or sending out bulk spam and demanding a few hundred dollars. ScarePackage has claimed over 900,000 victims over the past 30 days.

  • UPS now the third company in a week to disclose data breach [Computerworld]

    UPS has reported that credit card information belonging to customers who did business at 51 UPS Store in 24 states this year may have been compromised as the result of an intrusion into the company’s networks. UPS’s is the third major commercial data breach in a week following Supervalu grocery store chain, and Community Health Systems, one of the largest hospital networks in the country.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Carmakers put Apple’s CarPlay in the slow lane Computerworld

    Apple originally announced that its new CarPlay system that connects iPhones to indash computer systems would be available in “select new cars in 2014.” Now, automakers are indicating that it will more likely be sometime next year. The only car maker with hopes of getting the system out this year is Hyundai. Two dozen auto manufacturers have announced plans to implement CarPlay and/or Android Auto in new vehicles, either of which is sure to provide considerable improvements over today’s proprietary in-dash systems.

  • Microsoft engineer: ‘Definitely problems’ with test process after crippling Windows patch [Computerworld]

    Microsoft has pulled a Patch Tuesday update that crippled an unknown number of Windows 7 PCs. The company has yet to provide a working fix for either the original vulnerability or the resulting problem for people affected by the broken update.

  • Google’s search app gets friendlier to bilingual Android users [Computerworld]

    Google Now – the voice recognition app for Android, now allows users to switch languages in a single command without changing language settings. The app recognizes 50 languages and allows users to switch between any five, fluidly during conversations. Spanglish speakers rejoice!

and finally…

  • Cyborg moths could act like living drones in search and rescue Computerworld

    Researchers at Cornell are attaching tiny electrodes to specific muscle groups in MOTHS in hopes of controlling their flight. The tiny cyborg moths could fly over a disaster area to spot survivors, or perhaps enemy territory to target missile strikes.

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