Tag: Japan

Man arrested over 3D printed guns

NHK World said Japanese police nicked a man who made five 3D weapons.

The 27 year old man has admitted he made the plastic guns and is believed to have used a 3D printer he had in house near Kawasaki.

But the report said police haven’t found any ammunition but that of the five he made, two were viable as weapons.

They arrested the man after he put a video of the guns up on the internet and the police think he probably got the blueprint for the weapons from the net.

Japanese teens ran phone fraud ring

Inspector Knacker of the Tokyo Yard has fingered the collar of three Japanese teenagers on suspicion of running a telephone fraud ring which may have netted them $4 million

The 17-year-olds carried out a string of successful Ore ore frauds. Ore ore means “It’s me” and targets the elderly. Normally the con person calls up a victim and pretend to be a relative who has got himself into some kind of trouble.

The victim is then asked to transfer a large sum of money into their “relative’s” bank account to pay off lawyers or gangsters to sort the matter out.

According to NHK, the trio were arrested after attempting to withdraw over $10,0000 transferred by a couple in their 60s who twigged what was going on and called the cops.

The kids had pretended to be their son who needed cash to pay off a woman he’d got up the duff. The fraudster told them he had made a private settlement, but needed to pay for a lawyer.

Two of the students have apparently admitted to the coppers that they did it, while the third said it was nothing to do with him and they had “done him wrong”.

To be fair the coppers do not think the three are the criminal masterminds behind the crime, they are also looking for a Fagan type who might have shown the kids how to carry out the crimes and might pocketed the majority of the cash.

After conducting searches, Inspector Knacker found 550 cash cards in other people’s names which they said have been used to withdraw money linked to 160 phone scams since last July. Ore ore fraud is popular in Japan where adults tend to be a little trusting because the crime rates are still low. Apparently, the kids of today did not get the memo. 

Japanese PM picks Nintendo for role model

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has picked a strange role model upon which to base his cunning plan to save the Land of the Rising Sun’s economy.

In a speech to the Japanese Diet, Abe was asked about his cunning plan to get Japan to start growing again. Things are not going that well in Japan and there are those who would like it to do a little better.

To rally the troops Abe used the purveyor of the Wii itself, Nintendo:

“Over there, Nintendo made hanafuda cards, but gradually the people playing hanafuda decreased. However, that company called Nintendo makes hanafuda cards and whatnot, and I believe that only by doing that, it wasn’t able to protect hanafuda,” Abe said.

He said that Nintendo used technical expertise to lead the way in developing home video game consoles while at the same time keeping the traditional hanafuda cards. He thinks that this is something that the Japanese can learn.

Four years ago, Abe might have had an argument with his Nintendo comparisons. If Abe had time to check Nintendo financial statements, he might have not mentioned the outfit.

While he did make a good point about how Nintendo was able to protect its traditional business and at the same time expand into new areas, he failed to spot that the company, which depended on Italian plumbers is going down the gurgler.

Still, it could have been worse, he could have claimed that Sony was a success story. 

Japan to build ice wall under Fukushima plant

The Japanese government is once again being forced to deal with TEPCO’s mess. As if the company’s handling of the Fukushima disaster wasn’t bad enough already, the government is now forced to step in and foot the bill for a £300 million plan to construct a giant ice wall under the plant to stop Japan from becoming the world’s leading exporter of three-eyed green fin tuna.

It has recently emerged that up to 400 tonnes of radioactive water leaks from the wrecked nuke station out to sea every single day. Rather than changing all the menus in the country, the government decided radical measures are called for. Although the idea may sound radical, it is nothing new.

The Soviets also tried to place a huge cryogenic plant under the Chernobyl plant, but eventually they just decided to fill the excavated cavity with concrete. For some reason, people who opposed the cunning plan and didn’t agree with the cover-up were usually found dangling from ceiling fixtures and wooden beams. As Stalin once put it: “Death solves all problems – no man, no problem.”

Freezing the ground works, and the approach has been applied in many tunnel and mining projects around the world. But this time it is a bit different, as the patch of frozen ground will have to be quite a bit bigger than what engineers usually do when building tunnels or mineshafts, reports Gizmodo.

Some punters believe the announcement was timed to coincide with the Olympic Committee’s decision on Tokyo’s candidacy to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

We’re wondering where all the water will go once the “ice wall” is constructed? 

Japanese toilet can be hacked

A high tech Japanese toilet can be hacked remotely according to the latest security advisory from TrustWave.

The company has noticed that security is fast becoming a problem in high tech loos with lots of security problems coming up.

In fact, the outfit found security vulnerabilities in high tech loos since 2009, and it appears manufacturers are not trying too hard to tackle the problem.

After all the last thing you want when you have your trousers around your ankles is a hacker infringing your privacy. These high tech loos can shoot hot water into your undercarriage or eject rather than flush.

Otherwise they could just keep flushing like the loos in our pub. There is not much worse than a loo which is vulnerable to phishing. In the USA, there’s always the risk the NSA might use a backdoor to access your backdoor.

The latest warning is about a new Satis-brand internet toilet. Apparently it is not enough to control it on the throne, you have to be able to flush it while you away on business. Or, on a cold-winter’s day, heat up the seat for when you come home.

According to Trustwave, every Satis toilet has the same hard-coded Bluetooth PIN, which means any person using the ‘My Satis’ [Android] application can control any Satis toilet.

Chip sales continue to be weak

Apple and the PC market were slow in the second quarter, according to research published by Carnegie Research.

April has shown some changes from the traditional seasonal chip pattern, while sales of Apple handsets aren’t likely to show many gains either.

According to the research, Taiwanese exports in April also showed a slowdown. However, Korea showed some growth in April while Vietnamese handsets were boosted in May. Carnegie thinks that Korean company Samsung will produce 240 million handsets during 2013 – that’s 40 percent of the giant’s production.

In the USA, retail sales were weak in April and PC imports weakened.in March. There’s a slowdown in handset retail sales in mainland China, partly caused by price pressure. However, Chinese handset exports grew.

Fujitsu to dump microcontroller chips

Japan’s Fujitsu is close to flogging its mirocontroller chip business to Spansion.

According to Reuters, the deal will broaden the US semiconductor company’s product line-up so it can better cater to automotive clients.

The car industry is being seen as the saviour of many chip industry companies as cars become more intelligent and computers less so.

Reuters did not get details of the deal, which apparently will include Fujitsu’s microcontroller design and development business as well as a Japanese plant.

It is also a coming of age for Spansion which was set up as a joint venture between Fujitsu and Advanced Micro Devices in 2003. The outfit specialises in flash memory and has been trying to diversify its product range.

Semiconductors were once a key business for Fujitsu, but the company could not keep up with rivals like Samsung. Fujitsu also plans to merge its LSI chip business with that of Panasonic this fiscal year, Reuters claims.

Microcontrollers are an important part of Fujitsu’s device solutions business, which also includes LSI chips. The division made $6 billion in sales in the year ended March 2012, accounting for 12 percent of Fujitsu’s total cash take.

Fujitsu insisted that nothing had been decided with regards to its microcontroller chip business, but the news was reported by Japanese media, including the Nikkei business daily. 

Japanese police want Tor switched off

Japanese authorities are approaching ISPs in a bid to get them to switch off the Tor network.

According to the local press, the National Police Agency (NPA) have been saying that Tor stops them identifying cyber criminals.

Hackers are making Japanese coppers a laughing stock. Just last year a hacker, going by the name Demon Killer, took remote control of systems across the country and posted death threats on public message boards. The police thought that it would be easy to arrest people based on the IP addresses from which the messages were posted. One of the people arrested even confessed. However, after the arrests the death threats continued – and police had to apologise to the people they arrested.

Eventually they did catch Yusuke Katayama but when his PCs were investigated they found he used Tor to anonymise his online activities. A panel formed by NPA has compiled a special report which claimed that Tor is being used by people for financial fraud, leaks of confidential police information and child abusers.

It appears that the police have not quite worked out what to do about Tor. They don’t seem to have a problem with the service, which can be used by those living in oppressive regimes to carry out activism online.

The special panel’s report notes “abuse” of Tor has to be blocked, but the meaning of ‘abuse’ is not clear. Parity News thinks that the only way for the police to stop abuse of the Tor network is to shut it down completely. However we would have thought that if it was that easy, some regimes would have done so a long time ago.

Tor directs internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers to conceal a user’s location. This makes it a nightmare to trace and we are not sure how getting an ISP to block it is possible.

It could be that the naivety of the Japanese police regarding what they can do to tackle cyber crime has struck again. 

Thieves steal hi-tech toilet

As public toilets have become hi-tech, it appears that they have become a target for criminals to point at.

Japan’s cops are hoping to flush out a group which has been on a roll stealing hi-tech toilets. Although the expensive loos have all the electronic gadgets on board, they do not have anything inside which allows them to raise the lid on the thefts.

In the latest case, a man living in the town of Fukuchiyamashi, Kyoto, called the police after he discovered that the light of a nearby parking lot had been vandalised with white spray paint. It was only when the cops arrived on the scene that they discovered the toilet had been stolen from a nearby park.

The thieves took the entire multi-function toilet, complete with its accompanying hand rails from the public restroom. Further investigations showed that the special washlet-style toilet seat and lid from another toilet were also missing. These don’t come cheap and the estimations are that the thieves had gotten away with over $3000 worth of gear. We guess this is bad for the local council’s bottom line as they are already having to paper the cracks during the recession.

Sankei News West said that it was rare that thieves take a whole loo, normally they are content to stuff it full of paper or write their names on the walls. But it is clear that those who nicked the loo wanted to pass it on.

It is not clear why anyone would poo-poo the idea that there is a movement against high-tech public loos, or a rage against the latrine,  but it is certain that at the moment the police have nothing to go on. 

Robot assisted doctors create legal questions

The future of robot surgery is becoming mired because the US legal system cannot work out who can be sued if something goes wrong or if doctors are getting enough training on the gear.

More than 2,500 da Vinci robots are at work in world hospitals and generally their work means less blood loss, smaller scars and quicker recovery time.

But there have been a few accidents. In 2007, surgeons in Aalst, Belgium, had a surgical robot’s arm broke off inside a patient with prostate cancer. The instrument was so badly bent it could not be removed through the original keyhole incision.

The firm that makes da Vinci, Intuitive Surgical, has attracted the attention of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which is asking surgeons about the system.

There are 10 product liability lawsuits have been filed against da Vinci’s makers in the past 14 months.

The FDA wants to find out if the rise in reports is a true reflection of problems, or simply an increase due to other factors.

And this is the problem. If the robot is breaking, you sue Intuitive Surgical, if the problem is caused by a badly trained surgeon, you sue the hospital, if it is dodgy doctors playing with a patient like they are a computer game you sue them.

This question appears to be overtaking the more important fact that the robot aims to offer minimally invasive, highly accurate surgery with a human in control at all times.

The technology allows a surgeon to handle the instruments on the robot’s four arms from a console with a stereoscopic 3D view of the operation, magnified up to ten times.

But if the surgeon is not using the robot correctly, how does the insurance company prove that? If they sue the company, then that is hardly fair if the surgeon cocked up.

James Breeden, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told New Scientist that studies show there is a learning curve with new surgical technologies, during which there is an increased complication rate. Some surgeons only get two days’ training on da Vinci.