Tag: detection

Japanese company makes flu-detecting mirror

Japanese firm NEC Avio Infrared Technologies has today announced the development of a mirror that can detect flu-like symptoms, such as a fever.

The Thermo Mirror has a built-in thermometer, but an individual does not need to make any physical contact with the device for it to measure their temperature, making it a handy reusable instrument for measuring flu.

While a person admires their beauty or frets about how many extra stones they put on over Christmas, the mirror displays their temperature and an alarm sounds if they are deemed feverish.

NEC Avio said that it expects that the device will be used in corporate receptions, schools, hospitals and public facilities, but it could also replace more expensive technology used in airports. Many airports currently use thermography cameras to detect feverish travellers to prevent them from travelling in a constricted air space, a perfect condition for spreading disease. 

These devices are expensive, however, usually costing well over $10,000 each, but the Thermo Mirror can be bought for either 98,000 yen ($1,180) or 120,000 yen ($1,445), depending on the version, which means you can get a lot more for your money.

NEC Avio plans to sell 5,000 units of the Thermo Mirror this year.

With the recent increases in cases of swine flu, we may in future ditch the doctor to turn to our trusted mirror and say: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, do I have the flu at all?”

Almost undetectable ZeuS variant discovered

A variant of the key-logging ZeuS trojan that is almost undetectable has been discovered by anti-malware researchers at Trend Micro.

The variant, known as TSPY_ZBOT.BYZ, uses a number of techniques to avoid automatic heuristics-based detection, such as importing a large number of external APIs, a characteristic not shared by other ZeuS trojans, and one that means there is a significantly lower chance of detection.

The trojan is also compressed in a different manner to other ZeuS variants, meaning that the calculable entropy is different. This is usually similar and allows anti-malware researchers and software to analyse and detect the trojan, but the difference in this variant helps keep it under the radar.

Trend Micro said the trojan is “designed to make analysis in sandboxed environments more difficult.” This makes things harder for anti-malware researchers who provide virus database updates to keep computer users protected, allowing for the spread of the trojan to many more machines.

The ZeuS trojan has been responsible for a string of major attacks throughout the year, including most recently on LinkedIn. The prevalence of the malware has led to multiple arrests around the world, including 19 people involved in a £6 million bank scam in the UK and further arrests in the US, which could see dozens of people jailed.

The problem is also getting worse. Trend Micro issued an update today that a further variant, named  TSPY_ZBOT.SMEQ, has been detected, and there could be many more of them, slipping under the watchful eyes of our anti-malware software.

“These new variants show the impact of TSPY_ZBOT.BYZ being able to avoid heuristic detection. Determining the relationship between TSPY_ZBOT.BYZ and the new variants would become harder; correspondingly the new variants would be more difficult to detect,” said Julius Dizon, Research Engineer at Trend Micro. 

“To properly guard against this threat, conventional antivirus [software] is not sufficient. Both improved detection techniques and proactive blocking of the websites, working together, can protect users.”

Software detects depressed bloggers

We’re a sunny bunch here at TechEye. It’s partly the gleaming offices and enlightened management, but it’s probably got more to do with the white powder the news editor pours in the water cooler every morning.

But other online writers are not so lucky. Many bloggers sit on their own every night in darkened bedrooms, weeping gently as the government yet again ignores their inspired advice.

But help is at hand.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a software program that can detect depression in blogs and online texts. It analyses the language used, looking for the signs of despair – words like ‘darkness’, ‘alone’ and ‘down’.

The system could potentially be used to screen for would-be suicides, says its developer, associate professor Yair Neuman.

The software was used to scan more than 300,000 English language blogs, and was asked to pick out the most-depressed and least-depressed 100. Its opinion was endorsed in 78 percent of cases by a panel of four clinican psychologists.

It took us a few days to track down Professor Neuman. He agreed to talk to us on condition that he was allowed to remain under the blankets.

“The software program was designed to find depressive content hidden in language that did not mention the obvious terms like ‘depression’ or suicide,’ explained the softly weeping professor.

“A psychologist knows how to spot various emotional states through intuition. Here, we have a program that does this methodically through the innovative use of ‘web intelligence.'”

The next step is to bolt on a little application that automatically emails depressed bloggers and tells them to pull themselves together.