istock
istock

11 Ways Technology Will Keep You Safe

istock
istock

Advancements of modern technology are actually making us safer—not only can new forms of password protection help to safeguard our digital files and documents, advances in voice recognition and gesture control also create a heightened degree of security for our devices and homes.

1. DATA ENCRYPTION KEEPS YOUR INFORMATION FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

As remote computer hacking becomes a greater concern, the marriage of data to a local hard drive—or better yet, to a small set of drives—can be the best course of action for any individual or company hoping to keep information safe. Hardware- and software-based data encryption systems encode your information so that only authorized parties are able to retrieve and read it.

2. TRACK DOWN AND LOCK YOUR COMPUTER IF LOST

You can safeguard all the prized data you have stored on a particular computer even if the device has been misplaced. New free apps (like Prey) and paid software (like LoJack) allow you to locate your missing device and lock your hard drive by phone or Internet on a trusted second device.

3. FINGERPRINTS REPLACE PASSWORDS

Traditionally, access to a secure personal computer is granted via a typed password. Now, many devices come equipped with an option to unlock with a fingerprint scan. Hackers might be able to guess your password, but it’ll be pretty tough for them to reproduce your fingerprint!

4. AS DOES FACIAL RECOGNITION

For another (and arguably even more impressive) option, the Intel Security True Key™ app can actually memorize the mathematical structure of your face and grant access to your files following facial scans. Minute details like the distance between your eyes register with your computer’s memory, enabling it to discern between your visage and somebody else’s.

5. USE YOUR MOBILE DEVICE AS AN ADDITIONAL MEASURE

To double down on the security of your personal files, make sure that you can only access one of your devices with another of your devices. The True Key app also allows you to program your cell phone to act as a “key” needed to unlock your laptop or tablet.

6. APPLY THESE PASSWORD SUBSTITUTES TO YOUR FRONT DOOR

The beauty of such security upgrades is that they are not exclusive to your laptops and cell phones: True Key will one day enable you to gain entry to your home.

7. LOCK YOUR DOORS AND ARM YOUR SECURITY SYSTEM REMOTELY

Say you left the house in a rush, forgetting to lock your doors or arm your home security system. Both tasks can now be done via mobile phone. This also comes in handy for house sitters, dog walkers, or any other trusted parties who might be stopping by while you’re not home. Keep the doors locked all day until the friend in question is scheduled to arrive, and then allow access as simply as flipping a digital switch.

8. RECEIVE ALERTS OF UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY

In the event that an intruder does manage to breach your front door, ADT home automation technology can send immediate alerts to your mobile device—whether you are in the house or miles away at the time of break-in—allowing you to take the necessary precautions to ensure your and your household’s safety.

9. IT CAN WORK FOR YOUR CAR, TOO

The same remote locking and unlocking capabilities applied to your computer or household could soon be available to your car. True Key is even working toward applying fingerprint and facial recognition technology to car security.

10. WIRELESS CHARGING

Connecting your phone to a strange charger, wire, or outlet can prove dangerous, as there is no shortage of means that hackers and thieves use to interlope computers and apprehend data. The integration of wireless charging technology, possible through the electricity-sharing capabilities of metal coils, into storefronts and business sites all across the world not only reduces the risk of connecting to a dangerous power source, but also leaves you far less likely to wind up without an active phone or computer in a time of need.

11. BANK MORE SAFELY

If you conduct your banking online, it might be worthwhile to sync up your personal computer to your digital bank account. On top of mandating your username and password upon login, the program necessitates that you access it through a specific device (or devices) previously decreed by you as safe. If you bolster these computers with fingerprint or facial recognition security, yours will be a tough vault to crack even if your account information does happen to fall into the wrong hands.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
Undersea Internet Cables Could Be Key to the Future of Earthquake Detection
iStock
iStock

Considering that 70 percent of the planet is covered by oceans, we don't have all that many underwater earthquake sensors. Though there's plenty of seismic activity that happens out in the middle of the ocean, most detection equipment is located on land, with the exception of a few offshore sensor projects in Japan, the U.S., and Canada.

To get better earthquake data for tremors and quakes that happen far from existing sensors, a group of scientists in the UK, Italy, and Malta suggest turning to the internet. As Science News reports, the fiber-optic cables already laid down to carry communication between continents could be repurposed as seismic sensors with the help of lasers.

The new study, detailed in a recent issue of Science, proposes beaming a laser into one end of the optical fiber, then measuring how that light changes. When the cable is disturbed by seismic shaking, the light will change.

This method, which the researchers tested during earthquakes in Italy, New Zealand, Japan, and Mexico, would allow scientists to use data from multiple undersea cables to both detect and measure earthquake activity, including pinpointing the epicenter and estimating the magnitude. They were able to sense quakes in New Zealand and Japan from a land-based fiber-optic cable in England, and measure an earthquake in the Malta Sea from an undersea cable running between Malta and Sicily that was located more than 50 miles away from the epicenter.

A map of the world's undersea cable connections with a diagram of how lasers can measure their movement
Marra et al., Science (2018)

Seismic sensors installed on the sea floor are expensive, but they can save lives: During the deadly Japanese earthquake in 2011, the country's extensive early-warning system, including underwater sensors, was able to alert people in Tokyo of the quake 90 seconds before the shaking started.

Using existing cable links that run across the ocean floor would allow scientists to collect data on earthquakes that start in the middle of the ocean that are too weak to register on land-based seismic sensors. The fact that hundreds of thousands of miles of these cables already crisscross the globe makes this method far, far cheaper to implement than installing brand-new seismic sensors at the bottom of the ocean, giving scientists potential access to data on earthquake activity throughout the world, rather than only from the select places that already have offshore sensors installed.

The researchers haven't yet studied how the laser method works on the long fiber-optic cables that run between continents, so it's not ready for the big leagues yet. But eventually, it could help bolster tsunami detection, monitor earthquakes in remote areas like the Arctic, and more.

[h/t Science News]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
AI Remade Old Music Videos, and You'll Never See 'Sabotage' the Same Way Again
iStock
iStock

From rewriting Harry Potter scripts to naming guinea pigs, getting artificial intelligence to do humans' bidding is the latest trend in internet entertainment. Now, we can all enjoy AI remakes of iconic music videos such as "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler, and "Take On Me" by A-Ha.

As spotted by Co.Design, these "neural remakes" were uploaded to YouTube by Mario Klingemann, an artist-in-residence at Google Arts. The AI model he created is capable of analyzing a music video and then creating its own version using similar shots lifted from a database of publicly available footage. The results are then uploaded side-by-side with the original video, with no human editing necessary.

"Sabotage," a spoof on '70s-era cop movies, might be the AI's "most effective visual match," at least by Co.Design's estimate. The AI model found accurate matches for vintage cars and foot chases—and even when it wasn't spot on, the dated clips still mesh well with the vintage feel of the original video. Check it out for yourself:

"Total Eclipse of the Heart," a bizarre video to begin with, spawned some interesting parallels when it was fed through the AI model. Jesus makes a few appearances in the AI version, as does a space shuttle launch and what appear to be Spartan warriors.

And finally, 11 years after the original rickroll, there's now a new way to annoy your friends: the AI version of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," featuring John F. Kennedy and Jesus, yet again. This one is presented on its own in full-screen rather than split-screen, but you can rewatch the original video here.

To see more videos like this, check out Klingemann's YouTube channel here.

[h/t Co.Design]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios