You may want to be more careful where you put that ATM card. There are now ATM skimmers with SMS notification. ATM skimmers are placed over real ATM slots and the information off the cards as they’re inserted. The new models will send the skimmed information via SMS notifications to a phone that’s attached to a computer. This solves the problem of scammers needing to retrieve their skimmers without attracting the attention of police. ATM skimmer manufacturers have so far been really successful because of their commitment to security, from the paint they use to cover their skimmers to their exclusive clientele. The manufacturer of this particular model claims that none of their clients who’ve used this new ATM skimmer has been arrested, and they only accept business from “recommended” clients. We think it’s interesting and ironic how these criminals have adapted their security procedures to deal with institutions we wish were more secure.
[Mohammed Mansoor Asghar Peerbhoy], a software engineer at Yahoo!’s Indian facility, has been accused of involvement with one of India’s most-wanted terrorist organizations, the Islamic Mujahideen. According to investigators, [Peerbhoy] wrote and sent emails just before and after terrorist attacks in Delhi, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, and Jaipur in Rajasthan. [Peerbhoy] makes an unlikely suspect; he visited the U.S. on several occasions for work without suspicion, but authorities claim that he was a “mastermind” who hacked into wireless internet sites to send hostile emails. The local community and his family have rallied around [Peerbhoy], calling the arrest an attempt to “defame the Muslim community”. There are also claims that his arrest, and other similar arrests, were made to soothe political pressures and not based on any factual evidence.
Mozilla Labs has launched yet another new project, this one a location based plugin for Firefox. Geode will let users to take advantage of location data embedded within a web page. Like [MG Siegler] at VentureBeat, we wondered what the point of a location-based desktop browser was, since most cell phones are now GPS-enabled. TechCrunch and CNET’s Webware, cite the example of a user who is looking for a place to eat while out of town. Using Geode, his favorite restaurant review site would know automatically to display eating establishments in the locale he is visiting. As semantic information permeates more and more of the web, we’re certain that we’ll see many more uses for a tools like Geode. Geode’s uses Skyhook’s Loki technology, which determines position base on what WiFi access points it sees just like the Eye-Fi.
The space elevator may be a very real possibility within our lifetimes. Previously the stuff of science fiction novels, scientists and engineers around the world will continue their discussion at a conference in Japan this November. The space elevator’s basic design would include a cable that is anchored to the Earth’s surface, and on the other end, tens of thousands of kilometers away, a counterweight for balance. The space elevator could be used to solve many different problems, from nuclear waste disposal to powering homes with solar panels.
The technology driving the development of the space elevator is the carbon nanotube. Its lightweight properties and tensile strength, over 180 times stronger than steel cable, make it the ideal cable for the space elevator. Currently there are several logistical problems, which range from designing a carbon nanotube strong enough to support the elevator to finding an ideal site to design and build the elevator, which would require international consensus and input. Several organizations are working on space elevator designs, and NASA is holding a $4 million Space Elevator Challenge to encourage designs.
Google introduced a new Labs feature named Mail Goggles. If you turn it on, on late night weekends, the feature will ask you to perform some math problems before you can send an email. We’re not sure how widespread a problem drunk emailing is, but maybe the delay will allow you to sober up and realize when you’re about to CC your entire company on a rant about your boss, or your adventures with the cute guy or girl in the office. It’s enabled for late nights on the weekends, but once you’ve turned it on, you can adjust the time in the General settings.
[acabtp] has already started hacking on his Dell Mini 9. He wanted to add GPS functionality, but didn’t want a dongle or anything external. After ordering the smallest GPS unit he could find, he found a place to wire it in internally. The end result had no bearing on the external looks of the computer. I wonder if he used the modification guide dell released?
Marketed as direct competition for the EEEPC, we’ll probably start seeing a lot more hacks for these. We’ve already seen the EEEPC taken hacked more than we ever expected.
[Andrey Mikhalchuk] Has posted some great instructions on how to build an inexpensive router based robot. Starting with a Linksys WRT54GL, he takes us through the process of disassembling and modifying it to directly control servos. He has put together a custom version of OpenWRT Linux that you can download from his site. After testing to make sure everything is functional, he goes through a quick and dirty chassis build. As you can see from the picture above, there are lot of household items thrown in there such as rubber bands and zip ties. After adding a camera mounted on two servos for x y movement, he fine tunes it and lets it go.
This project looks fairly simple, cheap, and fun. It may look familiar as it is very similar to our Wifi Robot post from August.