Advertisements

Hackers Reproduce A German Politician’s Fingerprint From Photos


Post 6319

George Dvorsky

http://io9.com/hackers-reproduce-a-german-politicians-fingerprint-from-1676024550

Hackers Reproduce A German Politician’s Fingerprint From PhotosHackers Reproduce A German Politician's Fingerprint From Photos

A member of the Chaos Computer Club has shown how you can use photos to reconstruct a person’s fingerprint — and to prove his point, he replicated the thumbprint of the German defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen.

For years, security experts have been warning about the inadequacies of fingerprint biometrics. It’s a particularly worrying assessment, when you consider how many devices now rely on this technology. This point was driven home a few days ago by Jan Krissler, aka “Starbug,” at the 31st annual conference of the Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg where he reproduced von der Leyen’s thumbprint using a few photos and some software. DW reports:

Krissler explained that he didn’t even need an object that von der Leyen had touched to create the copy. Using several close-range photos in order to capture every angle, Krissler used a commercially available software called VeriFinger to create an image of the minister’s fingerprint.

Along with fellow hacker Tobias Fiebig, Krissler has been working at the Technical University of Berlin on research into weaknesses of biometric security systems. Krissler pulled a similar stunt in 2008 with a fingerprint of then interior minister and current Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

The photos of von der Leyen, which were taken at a conference in October, were captured by a regular camera.

“Biometrics that rely on static information like face recognition or fingerprints — it’s not trivial to forge them but most people have accepted that they are not a great form of security because they can be faked,” noted cybersecurity expert Alan Woodward in a BBC article. “People are starting to look for things where the biometric is alive — vein recognition in fingers, gait [body motion] analysis — they are also biometrics but they are chosen because the person has to be in possession of them and exhibiting them in real life.”

More at DW and BBC.

Top image: Starbug/CCC

Advertisements

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive


Post 6318

Mika McKinnon

http://space.io9.com/finding-the-tallest-mountain-in-the-world-is-strangely-1676235897/+katharinetrendacosta

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

It seems like a 8,848-meter mountain would be easy to spot, but it’s oddly challenging to find Mount Everest from a few hundred kilometers higher in elevation. The famous mountain is visible in each of these photos from the International Space Station, but can you find it?

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

December 2014. Image credit: NASA/Butch Wilmore

Mount Everest is inarguably the tallest mountain on the planet when measured strictly as an elevation above sea level, but the superlative gets less clear-cut depending on how you measure:

  • From base-to-peak, the gentle roundness of Mauna Kea ranks as the tallest mountain at 10,203 m, yet less than half peeks above the waves for a skimpy 4,207 m above sea level.
  • Nested in a range of mountains on a bulging plateau, Everest is merely the tallest amongst giants: it takes meandering over to Alaska’s Mount McKinley or Africa’s Kilimanjaro to find the mountain that looms most menacingly above the surrounding terrain (and deciding how to measure what are surroundings verses foothills will likely lead to blows between scrapping geological surveys).
  • Arguing which mountain will carry you farthest from the center of the Earth adds on another layer of complication: our not-so-spherical planet features an equatorial bulge that boosts either Peru’s Huascarán or Ecuador’s Chimborazo into the top slot for that particular measure of “tallest.”

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

December 2014. Image credit: NASA/Butch Wilmore

When sticking to the traditional pure elevation as measured above sea level, while Mount Everest is clearly the tallest of mountains, its exact height is subject to a bit more finickiness. The mountain stretches somewhere between 8,84o and 8,850 meters above sea level. The official height of 8,848 meters was surveyed by geometry and angles using theodolites and included snowpack, while a later survey using the same technique parked the height at 8,844.43 meters without snowpack. In yet another survey attempt, a GPS unit nabbed the rock height at 8,850 meters with an additional one-meter snowpack. To make it all even more confusing, Mount Everest is in an active tectonic zone, so that height keeps on changing.

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

December 2014. Image credit: NASA/Butch Wilmor

Mount Everest is near-smothered in the exuberant tallness of surrounding peaks as the entire Himalayan mountain range climbs towards the sky. The region owes its voluptuous heights to the inexorable mechanics of plate tectonics: the Indian Plate has been crashing into the Eurasian Plate for 50 million years, piling continental plate into rocky bergs with roots extending even deeper into the crust than the mountain range and Tibetan plateau climb above the surrounding topography.

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

November 2003. Image credit: NASA. Read more: Earth Observatory

As part of maintaining spatial awareness and orienting their observations, astronauts train to be able to quickly identify Mount Everest as it comes into view. This isn’t always easy, particularly when racing around the planet fifteen times a day and seeing the mountain in all sorts of weather, snow coverage, and light angles, so it takes a lot of practice.

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

October 2011. Image credit: NASA. Read more: Earth Observatory

If you need a hint to find the strangely-elusive Everest, here’s more views of the stunning mountain as seen by astronauts on the International Space Station over the years:

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

January 2004. Image credit: NASA

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

October 1993. Read more: Earth Observatory. Image credit: NASA [left]; March 2002. Earth Observatory. Image credit: NASA [right]

Finding The Tallest Mountain On Earth Is Strangely Elusive

Watch a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet land without one of its landing gears


Post 6317

Watch a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet land without one of its landing gears

Casey Chan

Watch a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet land without one of its landing gears

Planes just fly themselves, right? Not exactly. And especially not when one of the main landing gears of the plane isn’t working properly. That happened earlier today, when a Boeing 747-400 flying for Virgin Atlantic had to make an emergency landing because the right landing wheels were stuck.

The plane needed to land on three wheels (in the back) as opposed to the typical four. Which meant that one of the plane’s wings wouldn’t have any cushion when it hit the ground. It seemed like the pilot handled the jumbo jet as best he could though, the plane made two low passes and circled around dumping fuel before the landing was done.

Here’s footage from inside the plane:


SPLOID is delicious brain candy. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

15 Amazing Space Missions to Watch in 2015


Post 6316

15 Amazing Space Missions to Watch in 2015

The Biggest Alien Planet Discoveries of 2014


Post 6315

The Biggest Alien Planet Discoveries of 2014

The 29 Most Spectacular Space Photos Of 2014


Post 6314

The 29 Most Spectacular Space Photos Of 2014

Can You Guess The Subject Of This Photo?


Post 6313                                                                                                                                                                                                  Robbie Gonzalez                     http://io9.com/can-you-guess-the-subject-of-this-photo-1675405741

Can You Guess The Subject Of This Photo?                                              Can You Guess The Subject Of This Photo?

Here’s a hint: It’s hot, but it moves in waves.

Give up? Flames. The answer is flames. Presented by researcher Christophe Almarcha and his colleagues at the 67th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, the image above is cropped from a time-lapse photograph of propane air flames propagating downward between two panes of narrowly spaced glass. Here’s the full image, and an explanation from FYFD‘s Nicole Sharp:

Can You Guess The Subject Of This Photo?

Like many flows, flames can be unstable and undergo a transition from orderlylaminar flow to chaotic turbulent flow. The timelapse image above shows the propagation of a flame front traveling downward. Each blue line represents the forwardmost position of the flame at a specific time. The flame is essentially two-dimensional, held between two glass plates separated by a 5-mm gap. The V-like points in the flame front are called cusps, and if you look closely, you can see cusps forming and even merging as the flame moves downward.

More details at the always-excellent FYFD. See also this abstract from Almarcha et al.