Car hacker sought by Canadian military –

The Canadian military is looking for a car hacker to hack into its vehicles to test how vulnerable they are to cyberattacks.

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It’s a little bit funny, but of course the best way to test the security of your systems is by paying a hacker to try to crack it. For my part I think this is an essential part of the process.

In this case it is about military vehicles and the last thing you would want would be for an enemy to be able to hack into your vehicle and potentially use it against you.

The new world of military vehicles is going to be about driverless vehicles ranging from robotic mine detectors to people movers to attack vehicles in the theater. I understand they already remotely control drones in various parts of the world, such as Afghanistan from inside buildings that look like shipping containers on mainland USA. I saw this in operation on a CNN program.Obviously the benefit is that the fewer people you need to send into the theater, the less lives are lost.

Hopefully the knowledge gained from this research will be shared with the civilian motor vehicle industry. We are placing a lot of faith in being able to travel in a vehicle, which in some cases like one of the Google prototypes, doesn’t even have a steering wheel as a back up.Imagine if someone wanted to remotely push the accelerators on full bore in all the cabs in Manhattan, or Volvo’s on the Autobahn in Germany!

The benefit of this sort of process is that a hacker would have a very different point of view to a security engineer. If I think about the brilliant engineers I have had the pleasure to work with in Japan in the past, they are extremely logical people and they would probably struggle to put their mindset into that of a criminal hacker. They would lack the sophistication of someone looking to wreak havoc.

This will offer a great career opportunity for someone that might otherwise end up in a life of crime. They could earn an excellent lifestyle, without risking jail-time.

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Posted in cybercrime, Driverless car, Hacker, Military | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Police thank LandSAR volunteers who helped in search Whitecliffs area | New Zealand Police

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I have posted several blogs around the costs of searching for people who may have health problems and become disoriented. The devices these days are relatively low cost, but when landsar or Search and Rescue people have to go and look for missing people, the costs are horrendous.

In this instance over 4 days, volunteers invested more than 1100 man hours searching for this man who had recently suffered a stroke. Now I know nothing more about this instance, but if I had a friend or relative who had health issues, at the very least I’d be keen for them to be carrying a smartphone with GPS and a simple app, even just a ‘where’s my phone’ app, to be able to track them down if something happened.

I know, batteries go flat, but possibly not on the first day.You can think, it won’t happen to me, but it happens to people every day.

On the 15th of October we are having a New Zealand ShakeOut Day When we had the Christchurch Earthquakes one of the first and biggest problems was the question of where friends, colleagues and family were. I wonder if we have learned from that and if we would now have the ability to locate our own friends and family if they were incapacitated due to an incident?

Could you?

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Posted in earthquake, GPS Tracking, landsar, Police, SAR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Woman follows Waze GPS app to her death in Brazilian slum – CNN

A couple followed the Waze GPS app to the wrong address in a slum near Rio de Janiero, Brazil, where the wife died in a hail of gunfire, police say.

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This is a very sad story and one that in my humble opinion unfairly targets Google’s Waze. If Waze is correct and the couple in fact entered an address that was in a dangerous area, even if that wasn’t the address they thought they were going to, that doesn’t put Google’s GPS navigation and crowd sourced traffic information app at fault.

Personal danger from criminals has never been a criteria for car navigation.

There are exceptions in some systems to avoid toll roads and dirt roads. You can choose fastest vs shortest, but danger has never been a criteria and in my mind it can’t  for lots of reasons:

-Danger is relevant. On my first trip to Manhattan around 1990, the hotel have me a printed map and shaded a number of areas off, telling me not to go near them after dark. That is no longer the case, so how do you update that. How do you categorize crime? A large percentage of crimes are domestic. Burglaries frequently happen in expensive affluent areas.

-There are real time online crime maps of cities, showing activity in and around certain neighborhoods in the USA, UK and Europe for which you will find links in my book about buying Real Estate.

-Imagine what would happen to real estate values if car navigation manufacturers arbitrarily started saying certain areas are dangerous. When are they dangerous? I suspect the law suits would start very quickly.

-Many tourist attractions are dangerous. Would you say Amsterdam city is dangerous, or London? Most major cities in Europe have active bands of pick pockets. I saw warning signs on buildings in many parts of Europe this year.

Navigation is about providing accurate driving directions according to the parameters you set when you use your navigation application. I can’t imagine in this instance that you would get a different outcome irrespective of what GPS Nav brand, app or device you used.

It is a tragic outcome, but once again I have to repeat, don’t blame the nav. In a city known for danger, it is up to the city to make people aware of where they have the most likelihood of being safe, or the least risk and then up to tourists and travelers to take head of that advice.

There are countless cases of people allegedly being told to drive down steps into canals, into the sea and lakes, through narrow and difficult mountain passes, despite signs saying they are closed in winter because of danger (An Avis rental car in New Zealand where the defaults were set at ‘avoid main roads and use the shortest route’) and trucks in the UK finding themselves on a road where the houses were so close together that the truck couldn’t get through, but the truck driver tried anyway and got wedged between the historic buildings.

Common sense isn’t always very common and often people don’t read the set up or usage instructions on their device before they start using them. Computers are very simple and in pretty much all the incident cases I’ve read, the nav did exactly what it was told.

As your Mum used to say, well mine did, “If I told you to jump in the river with your clothes on, would you do it?”

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Posted in Car Navigation, Google, GPS Nav, Waze | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

All Blacks take a break from their Rugby World Cup preparations to put schoolchildren through their paces – Wales Online

Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams and Codie Taylor traded passes with pupils in Bridgend

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Ever wondered what was in the hump at the top of the All Blacks and other rugby players jerseys? The hump is called a Bro, which some say is named after the bra, but anyway, contained in this pocket is a tracking device.

There are various suppliers, but fundamentally it is able to track their GPS location, monitor their movement including G-Forces in a tackle and other factors such as respiration and heart rate.

Apparently it was of little interest to the schoolboys as the All Blacks trained with school children in South Wales, no surprises there, they are in high demand as role models and respected for their achievements anywhere i the world where rugby is enjoyed.

This technology has been developing at a rapid pace and is extremely useful in learning about peak fitness, injuries and of course improving player and team development.

There are now new technologies being marketed which will do the same and more indoors and in other places where you can’t get an accurate, or in some cases any GPS signal.

Currently the information is used by team coaches and management, physios etc, but the next step with companies like STATSports is that they are now signing deals which will give access to information to broadcasters which will power them with instant information about things like how far a player has run, acceleration, G-Forces in tackles and much more.

Where will this head in the future? Think the rugby games on your Play Station are cool? One day you will be able to put on a VR or virtual reality onesie, full of sensors and with VR goggles and you will be able to play your favorite rugby game, as the player of your choice, and even replay the moves of a particular match as it was played, bumps and all.

If Steve Hanson is worried about opposition knowing what the All Blacks set pieces and secret plays are, they had better watch the chip on their backs and make sure they are not transmitting them to opposition analysts.

What I find really exciting is that his type of technology has the ability to improve sports competitors abilities without the need for drugs or enhancers. There has to be a lot more satisfaction in knowing that using science, we can advance naturally by understanding our bodies better. At the same time we are spawning all sorts of new technology that will help people with disabilities and conditions have better lives.

So next time you ask a rugby player about his Bro, make it clear which one you are asking about.

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Posted in All Blacks, GPS, GPS Player Tracking, GPS Tracking, RWC, Sports GPS, World Cup Rugby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Google Maps can now tell you if it’s worth installing solar panels on your roof | The Verge

Google wants to help you harness the power of the sun. A new service called Project Sunroof aims to provide a “treasure map” of solar energy with the help of Google Maps. Sunroof gives homeowners…

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If I was to build a new house today, I would probably put solar panels in by default, because the cost of doing it as part of the build would be more economical than retrofitting and the house electrical system could be set up to maximize the use of any power generated.

The reason I haven’t retrofitted solar panels is largely because the power companies are still so profit focused that they don’t see the benefit of consumers having their own infrastructure and are not obliged by law to allow consumers to feed back into the grid and those that do pay something, I’m told, pay so little in feed-in tariffs that connecting to the grid doesn’t offer any payback. I’ve been told this at home shows by sales people whose job it is to sell systems such as solar power for water and home heating. I appreciate their integrity but am very disappointed by the position of our Government and the power companies.

The irony of this for clean green New Zealand is that one day they will need consumers to provide power to the grid if we want to honor our commitments to being clean and green, especially as our population continues to grow.

If the El Nino weather forecast is right, we will be having a late but long dry summer, great for generating clean electricity.

I’m keen to check out this service and do the sums, but I think the payback down-under will be about the same as the design life of the products currently on the market. It’s a shame when we call ourselves clean and green, that in cases like this, other parts of the world are leaving us in their wake when it comes to this obvious solution.

I’ll report back when I have the sums.

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Parents use GPS tracking devices on their children –

Hundreds of Kiwi parents are placing GPS tracking devices on their children for “peace of mind” while apart.

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Great to see these are now available in New Zealand, I looked very closely at setting up a similar business a couple of years ago. There is a real need to be able to locate people of all ages based on health conditions and disabilities as well as at risk children.

RF devices often used for elderly people with dementia are extremely inefficient, but they are used because they are cheap. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the technology may be cheap, but search and rescue people aren’t.

Pretty much every day I see Police reports of elderly people going missing which is distressing for them and their families and very costly on people resources which could be focused in other areas.

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Posted in GPS, GPS Tracking, people tracking, Tracking Children | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Eastbound rubberneckers cause delays; I-78 westbound crash cleared by 6:30 –

The initial accident happens about 4:30 a.m. east of Exit 24 in Hunterdon County. The crash was cleared by 6:30.

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This is a global problem. The accident is on one side of the road and the congestion is worst on the other side of the road, because of people wanting to have a look.

We had a classic situation on the North Western Motorway a couple of months ago. There was a 5 car pile up heading towards Auckland City, but traffic on that side of the road was still safely flowing with some assistance from the road safety crew. On the other side of the road the concertina affect was causing massive delays as wave after wave of vehicles slowed down to view the carnage, although there actually wasn’t much to see. People were going onto Twitter to complain to roading authorities about not spending enough money on highways. I repeat, the worst traffic congestion was on the side where there was no incident, no obstruction, no problem, just nosy people.

As an industry we really struggle with this, not only because the congestion has a significant cost to all involved including people’s quality of life, being home late for family time, work not being completed, missing out or being late to important events, or simply being stressed out and taking the stress with you. Sometimes it causes additional crashes as well due to inconsiderate behaviour and distracted driving, following too close, or not paying attention to what is going on. It’s also of course a great time to slow down, call your friends and family or perhaps send a txt message, take a couple of photos.

My question is how to we stop people from following their innate curiosity? We have discussed all sorts of things, for major incidents there are vision barriers, but of course people want to slow down even more to see if there is something really gory behind those.

People, we all need to take responsibility for our own behaviour. If it is a major, it will be on TV and you’ll be home in time for the news if you don’t slow down. If it isn’t a major, is it worth making yourself and everyone behind you late? 10 minutes of people slowing down to see what is going on can cause 20 minutes of other people to be forced to slow down. As this goes in waves, do you wonder why peak congestion is sometimes so bad?

Next time you pass an accident on the other side of the road where it is not safe or appropriate for you to stop and help out, keep moving at normal speed. Pass it on.

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Posted in rubberneckers, traffic, traffic congestion | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment