Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Clare beach lifeguards take to the skies

An Irish software start-up has teamed up with Clare County Council to boost lifeguarding operations by trialling the use of drone technology for automated beach patrols for the first time ever in Ireland.

The partnership will see DroneSAR – developers of a new drone search and rescue app – combine their expertise to allow lifeguards to quickly deploy drones as their first response to monitor those in distress.

DroneSAR’s flight-planning software allows drones to scan large areas from above, reduce risk to search and rescue personnel, shorten search times, and ultimately save lives. In a recent study in Sweden, it took a 14-strong lifeguard team an average of 4 minutes 34 seconds to search and locate a manikin in a 100m by 100m area. The drone team, comprising one pilot and lifeguard, took an average of 47 seconds to search the same area.

Clare McGrath, Water Safety Development Officer, Clare County Council, said: “Our lifeguards are tasked with quick response times and do so over large distances. Fast detection is crucial in the Drowning Chain of Survival. DroneSAR’s flight management technology, will deliver key operational advantages for our counties beach lifeguard operations by enabling them to quickly search for missing, injured or get early notification of people in distress. Any piece of equipment that will allow a quicker dispatch time for ambulances, medical assistance and increased beach patrols will be a huge advantage.”

The new partnership will see lifeguards in Spanish Point beach equipped with the most modern drone technology and the DroneSAR software. DroneSAR will provide the drones and Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) drone instructors to supervise the drone flights in the early stages. Drones will be flown within the bounds of the IAA drone regulations.

A live-video downlink will enable the search pattern of each drone to be monitored by the lifeguard from the lifeguard hut. The Water Safety Development Officer can use the live browser secure link to remotely monitor search progress from any computer or laptop.

Oisin McGrath, DroneSAR CEO, said: “Lifeguard teams using DroneSAR will now be able to monitor live footage from the furthest reaches of their patrol areas, with instant access to call emergency services should the need arise. Drones can now be viewed as airborne lifeguards who cover large amounts of ground quickly and easily. As a past beach lifeguard, I am extremely excited about the endless possibilities that these trials will bring to the world of beach patrols.”

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Civic launches Secure ID Platform

In a world where privacy concerns and data hacks are becoming increasingly frequent, US-based venture Civic has developed a Secure Identity Platform (or SIP) for storing sensitive contact information online. Users don’t need a password, username or third-party authenticator to access their information, as everything is protected by biometrics – they access and share their data via their own fingerprint. Whether buying a plane ticket or signing up with a new online service, everything can be done quickly and easily through Civic’s dedicated app, which is available for both iOS and Android.

Monday, 3 July 2017

ESET uncovers Sathurbot, distributed WordPress password attack

Sathurbot backdoor trojan uses torrents as a delivery medium to compromise weak WordPress administrator accounts.

Looking to download a movie or software without paying for it? There might be associated risks. It just might happen that your favourite search engine returns links to torrents on sites that normally have nothing to do with file sharing and when you begin torrenting in your favourite torrent client, you will find the file is well-seeded and thus appears legitimate.

If you download the movie torrent, its content will be a file with a video extension accompanied by an apparent codec pack installer, and an explanatory text file. It is in the “codec pack installer” that the malicious payload is embedded and running it infects the victim’s computer.

The infected computer is then remotely controlled by the attackers and used as part of a botnet, to try to break into various other websites. Through examination of logs, system artefacts and files, ESET researchers found that the current botnet consists of over 20,000 infected computers and has been active since at least June 2016.

ESET Ireland recommends users to avoid running executables downloaded from sources other than those of respected developers, and downloading files from sites not designed primarily as file-sharing sites.

The full analysis of the Sathurbot attack is available on ESET Ireland’s official blog.