KEYLESS HACK: Researchers at Germany's Ruhr University Bochum found a way to hack one of the most popular radio-frequency identification (RFID)-based keyless entry systems. Image: Courtesy of iStockphoto; Copyright: korhan hasim isik
Face it: Looks can kill—and also give away lovers' intentions
British researchers confirm what both sexes have always suspected: Men generally prefer flings to romance, whereas women are searching for true (long-term) love. But they add a new wrinkle to the equation. You can be tipped off to a potential mate's intentions by their facial features. Researchers report in Evolution & Human Behavior that they gave 700 volunteers composite images of men and women in their 20s who had previously been polled on their sexual attitudes. For each male or female image pair, subjects were asked to pick out the one they considered to be more attractive and more masculine or feminine as well as the person more inclined to have a one-night stand and the one to have a long-term relationship, and, finally, with whom they would prefer to have a relationship. The participants pointed out the more promiscuous person in a pair with more than 50 percent accuracy. The research team found that men preferred women who turned out to be those more open to short-term relationships; women, on the other hand, accurately identified—and often ruled out—studs on the prowl by their macho facial features, including a square jaw, small eyes and a larger nose. Sorry guys, scientists say they haven't quite nailed down exactly what facial features give away women of the one-night-stand variety…. (Newsweek, The Guardian)
Keyless car entry systems vulnerable to digital attack
PCs aren't the only high-tech devices vulnerable to security breaches. Researchers at Germany's Ruhr University Bochum recently described a way to hack one of the most popular radio-frequency identification (RFID)-based keyless entry systems in Europe and the U.S., an act that could give strangers access to any cars or buildings seemingly protected by the popular KEELOQ data encryption technology. A KEELOQ system includes active RFID transponders (typically embedded in a car key or key chain) and a receiver (embedded in the car door). Both the receiver and transponder use KEELOQ as an encryption method for securing the over-the-air communication. But researchers led by Christof Paar, a professor in the school's information sciences department, who were positioned about 325 feet (100 meters) away were able to poach data that could be used to unlock KEELOQ encryption after eavesdropping on wireless signals sent between a car and its handheld keyless entry system. Using this information, they were then able to clone the signals and gain entry to vehicles and buildings supposedly protected by KEELOQ's cipher.
Cars get smarter—Now how about their drivers?
A $79-million European road safety research initiative called PReVENT has developed a system that will read satellite navigation maps and warn drivers of upcoming hazards—sharp bends, dips and accident black spots—that may catch drivers off guard. In addition to the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that scans digital maps for the "speed profile" of the road ahead (based on the hazards detected), PReVENT projects include LATERAL SAFE (which uses sensors to scan blind spots on multilane roads); SAFELANE (designed to ensure that drivers stay in the correct lane); and INTERSAFE (a program that helps drivers negotiate intersections by, for example, having the car alert drivers when a light is about to turn red). The goal: create a single data interface that different car manufacturers can use so that all automobiles on the road can share information with one another and their surroundings.