Tags Share your voice Comment James Martin/CNET Antivirus apps are supposed to protect you from attacks on your devices, but for years, stalkerware has evaded their scrutiny. On Wednesday, Kaspersky Lab said it would start flagging stalkerware as malicious, and warn people through its Android app when stalkerware is installed on their phones. In 2018 Kaspersky Lab detected stalkerware on 58,487 mobile devices. The warning allows people to delete the stalkerware app if it detects it. Kaspersky Lab There’s likely much more out there; the cybersecurity company can detect it only in devices running Kaspersky’s antivirus software.Stalkerware, which Vice’s Motherboard has reported on extensively, is frequently used by stalkers and abusers to spy on people through their phones. It essentially turns victims’ phones into surveillance devices, letting an attacker track a person’s every step and listen in on every word.Stalkerware is quietly installed on people’s devices, and then accesses personal data including GPS location, text messages, photos and microphone feeds. You don’t have to be an expert to get your hands on it — stalkerware is sold online, for as little as a few hundred dollars. Some purveyors offer subscription plans for $68 a month, according to Kaspersky Lab.Researchers from Cornell University, Hunter College and New York University found in 2018 that many antivirus programs don’t flag known stalkerware apps, many of which are marketed as tools for parents tracking children or people tracking stolen devices.Kaspersky Lab said it was motivated to start flagging stalkerware apps after speaking with Eva Galperin, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s head of cybersecurity. “As a result, we now flag commercial spyware with a specific alert which warns users of the dangers stalkerware poses,” Alexey Firsh, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said in a statement. “We believe users have a right to know if such a program is installed on their device.”Galperin told WIRED that she expects Kaspersky Lab’s new initiative to set an industry standard among antivirus companies.Kaspersky Lab’s scan will now detect stalkerware apps and give users the option to delete them. The protection is available on Android devices, because stalkerware isn’t as prevalent on iOS, Kaspersky Lab said. Symantec, an antivirus company that owns Norton, said it also blocks spyware and stalkerware, which its software considers malicious. One type of protection it offers is flagging when location information is being sent from apps, a Symantec spokesperson said. A Malwarebytes spokesperson said the company has been enforcing against stalkerware since 2014.Lookout, a mobile security app, said it’s also been tackling this as a serious security threat.”We’ve been flagging and fighting this kind of spouseware/stalkerware at Lookout for years, as it is a constant problem in the mobile security space,” a spokesperson said in a statement.Originally published April 3 at 10:01 a.m. PT.Update, 1:50 p.m. PT: Adds responses from other antivirus companies. 1 Mobile Security
Sci-Tech Tech Industry Comments 5:10 18:28 Neuralink brings the squishier, immensely complicated realm of biology into Musk’s purview. Human brains are famously hard to understand, though computer scientists at companies like Facebook and Google are progressing rapidly at emulating some of how brains work through technology called neural networks, the most practical and promising foundation for today’s artificial intelligence work. One of the most useful aspects of that research is getting computers to understand humans better by processing human speech.But as with his other projects, Musk sees Neuralink as important to civilization.”Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind. Hopefully it is a benign scenario,” in which superintelligent AIs surpass but don’t wipe out humans, Musk said. “With a high-bandwidth brain-machine interface, I think we can go along for the ride and effectively have the option of merging with AI.”First published July 16 at 8:41 p.m. PT.Update at 11:13 p.m. PT: Adds details, images and background. Update, July 17: Adds new graphics. Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice Elon Musk Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to hook your brain to a computer… Tags Controlling electronics with your mind! But the long-term goal is to build a “digital superintelligence layer” to link humans with artificial intelligence, a technology he views as an existential threat to humanity.”Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interfaces where we can achieve a sort of symbiosis with AI,” Musk said. One goal along the way will be letting people type 40 words per minute just by thinking.Neuralink has the potential to dramatically reshape both computing and humanity — if it and like-minded researchers can persuade regulators and society at large that we should be directly wired to machines. That’s a big if. The challenges are immense when it comes to developing the technology, making it practical and affordable, and convincing people it’s safe and desirable.The startup uses sewing machine-like technology this year to drill small holes into brains and insert super-slender electrodes called threads, steering clear of blood vessels as they go.Neuralink envisions brain-connected chips and accompanying communication wires placed under the skin. A data transfer system would then link to a wearable, removable pod behind the ear that communicates wirelessly with external devices like a phone or computer. Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET “We hope to have this, aspirationally, in a human patient by the end of this year. So it’s not far,” Musk said. He acknowledged, though, that approval from the US Food and Drug Administration “is quite difficult.”Brain-machine interface (BMI) technology is active research at competitors and other laboratories. But some worry that Neuralink’s invasive method is risky.Today, some epilepsy patients have dozens of wires inserted to monitor brain activity, said Bin He, head of biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and a researcher who favors noninvasive methods. “In the general population, I could not see how many of such inserted wires into a human’s brain would not cause risks or potentially impair the working of the brain,” He said.Noninvasive methods not only can read brain activity but also stimulate it. That’s easier at the surface, but new breakthroughs show promise for communications with neurons deeper in the brain, He said.Even if Neuralink’s approach works, don’t expect to download the ability to speak French anytime soon. The company’s first goals are dauntingly ambitious, and training the brain to understand the Neuralink signals won’t be easy, either, said Max Hodak, Neuralink’s president and co-founder. “It’s a long process. It’s like learning to touch-type or play piano,” he said.In a research paper — authored by “Elon Musk and Neuralink” but not published in a peer-reviewed journal — Neuralink described progress using its technology with rats. In one case, it laced electrodes into a rat’s brain and fitted it with a USB-C port so the sensor data can be monitored. “This system serves as a state-of-the-art research platform and a first prototype towards a fully implantable human BMI,” the paper says.Thousands of electrodes implanted by robotWith Neuralink’s approach, a robot inserts tiny threads a quarter the width of a human hair. “The threads are about the same size as a neuron,” Musk said. “If you’re going to stick something in your brain, you want it to be tiny — approximately on par with the things that are already there.”Enlarge ImageOn this rat, Neuralink’s sensor chip connects to the outside world with a USB-C port. On humans, the plan is to communicate wirelessly so there won’t be a cable plugged into your skull. Neuralink A “wisp” of 1,024 threads attach to a small chip, up to 10 of which will be embedded under your skin. Each will connect wirelessly to a wearable, detachable, upgradable “pod” behind your ear that communicates wirelessly with a phone. “The interface to the chip is wireless so you have no wires poking out of your head. It basically Bluetooths to your phone,” Musk said.The installation takes place through holes 2mm wide, temporarily expanded to 8mm, then glued shut, Musk said. Among the company’s challenges are developing electrodes that will last “many decades,” but “getting the right coatings is a tough materials science problem.” The human brain is not a hospitable environment.Electrodes read and write brain dataNeuralink is designing its electrodes not just to “read” from neurons what’s going on in the brain, but also to “write” signals into the brain. “You can use this technology in the brain to restore a sense of touch or vision,” said Neuralink scientist Philip Sabes.Connections to the motor control parts of the brain also could help people with brain disorders, Sabes said.Neuralink’s N1 sensor chip, measuring 4x5mm in its present incarnation, can detect spikes of neural activity and send signals back to the brain. Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET “A person could imagine running, dancing or even kung fu,” Sabes said, with the Neuralink connection controlling their 3D avatar in a digital realm. “Ultimately, if and when technology for spinal cord nerve or muscle stimulation gets far enough, it could be used to restore that individual’s control over their own body.”Neuralink hopes its procedure will be safe and easy enough that people will choose to undergo it. “This should be safe enough that it can be an elective procedure,” said company neurosurgeon Matthew MacDougall.In tests so far, “we’ve been able to rapidly place thousands of electrodes into the brain without any bleeding,” MacDougall said. That’s because the electrodes are small — far smaller than the deep-brain stimulation electrodes that currently come with about a 1-in-100 risk of causing bleeding in the brain, he said.In an era dominated by tech giants that have succeeded through computing hardware, software and services, Musk stands out as an entrepreneur who’s got a knack for other parts of the physical world — things like electricity, rocks and gravity. Musk is pretty busy. He’s got Tesla, which makes electric cars and trucks, massive electric power storage batteries and solar roofs. He’s got SpaceX, which is launching satellites — including its own set for providing internet service — and is working on rockets to get people to orbit, Mars and the other side of Earth. Then there’s the Boring Company, which is trying to create tunnels to relieve automobile congestion on ordinary roads. Neuralink plans to test its brain machine interface technology with four of its N1 chips installed under patients’ skin. Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET Neuralink, Elon Musk’s startup that’s trying to directly link brains and computers, has developed a system to feed thousands of electrical probes into a brain and hopes to start testing the technology on humans in in 2020, Chief Executive Elon Musk revealed Tuesday. And it’s working already in animal tests. “A monkey has been able to control a computer with his brain,” Musk said at a San Francisco livestreaming the presentation on YouTube Tuesday, revealing even more research results than the company’s scientists expected.Neuralink’s initial goal is to help people deal with brain and spinal cord injuries or congenital defects, Musk said. The technology could help paraplegics who have lost the ability to move or sense because of spinal cord injury — a medical treatment that’s a lot less shocking than radical sci-fi ideas like “consensual telepathy.” Now playing: Watch this: 23 Photos Every Elon Musk project right now 6
The common human default mode is that we focus our energy on the here-and-now, and care less about ourselves and the events of the farther-off future. The creative mind may tell us still more about how we connect to our future selves. Read the whole story: Quartz Researchers that include UCLA Anderson’s Hal E. Hershfield have established that prompting individuals to think about their own distant future reduces acts of present-bias. Young adults shown a photographic rendering of their retirement-age self committed to saving more today for retirement. Individuals prompted to think about themselves 20 years on chose to exercise more often. It also prompted participants in one study to make more ethical choices. This present-bias can get in the way of all sorts of decisions that might improve our lot. The struggle with delayed gratification is what makes it hard to choose saving for retirement over spending today, or committing to a diet or exercise plan for our future health at the cost of spending less time on the couch binging Netflix and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Or, say, supporting public policy aimed at tamping down the march of global warming for the benefit of future generations. An inability to think far into the future has also been shown to influence our empathy and ability to consider the perspective of our enemies.
Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA Stoke-on-Trent road looks set to be closed for several hours following a serious accident in the early hours of the morning. Birches Head Road, Birches Head, is closed in both directions as accident investigation work continues between Fairhaven Grove and Diana Road. The road looks set to remain closed through the morning rush hour, according to traffic data company INRIX. It is understood the road has been closed since at least 4.20am, and possibly for some time before. Read More1,178 children with disabilities from Stoke-on-Trent and further afield contact Childline in just one year Emergency services are believed to remain at the scene. The A500 is also closed in both directions following an accident involving two lorries. More on that story here. We will bring you further information in this story when we get it.