Newsletter: A Personal Language Translator & A Malware That Could Plunge USA Into Darkness!

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The science of today is the technology of tomorrow.” ~Edward Teller

THE STORY

In a first, Australian startup Lingmo is launching an earpiece that can translate 8 languages within seconds.

IS THIS FOR REAL?

Very much so! A lot gets lost in translation. This earpiece which will make its debut next month could be the first step towards solving language barrier between people.

Lingmo’s Translate One2One earpiece translates spoken conversation across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese, all without the need for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Using IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding and Language Translator APIs, the company says the device can translate words “within 3-5 seconds.” reported Cnet.

OK, SO WHEN CAN I GET MY HANDS ON IT?

By next month. Yeah, you heard that right!

It’s not that language translation technologies aren’t already available. What will set Lingmo’s earpiece apart is probably its accuracy level.

Google Translate already uses machine learning to translate typed phrases and even signs and menus (with varying degrees of success) into more than 100 languages, while US company Waverly Labs showed off a prototype in-ear translator known as the Pilot at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

But while Waverly Labs claims the Pilot is “the world’s first smart earpiece language translator,” IBM and Lingmo claim the Translate One2One will be “the first of its kind to hit global markets” when it ships next month.

AND WHAT’S THE COST?

Good question!

The device is available for purchase online for $179 (that’s roughly £140 or AU$237) for delivery in July. I am huge fan of Lost in Translation, the movie. But Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson probably wouldn’t feel half as lonely if they had One2One with them in Tokyo.


THE STORY

A new strain of malware could cause power outages by attacking grids in the US.

HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE!

The malware intercepted in Ukraine last year could disrupt power grids in the USA and elsewhere.

Codenamed Crash Override, this is the second malware program that can disable industrial systems like power plants, according to a report from the software security firm Dragos. The first, called Stuxnet, was reportedly developed by the US government and successfully used to disable parts of the Ukranian power grid in 2015.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS MALWARE…

It is still not clear as to who is behind the Crash Override attack, that shook Ukraine last December. In line with the on again-off again tiff with their more powerful neighbour,  Ukrainian officials accused Russia of triggering the attack. Predictably Moscow had denied all such allegations, Reuters reported. Dragos had identified a hacker cell known as Electrum

as the malware coders. It is suspected that the group is related to the Sandstorm hackers responsible for the 2015 attack as well.

HOW DOES THIS MALWARE FUNCTION?

Quite simply, it makes the affected power plants go offline. Once Crash Override hijacks a plant’s computers, it creates a software loop that forces the plan’t circuit breakers to stay open. This in turn makes the the plant go offline, according to the Dragos evaluation. The only way to stop the hijack is for a repair crew to manually assume control of the breakers to close them. Crash Override’s modus operandi is likely to work for any power station with computer-controlled breakers. What’s more alarming is that it can even expand to affect other industrial plants.

WHAT ARE SECURITY EXPERTS SAYING?

“It’s a nightmare. The malware in its current state would be usable for every power plant in Europe. This is a framework designed to target other places.” Dragos CEO was quoted as saying.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp., the industry group responsible for power grid security in the US, said that they are aware of the malware and working with its member companies to come up with a defense, the Daily Beast further reported.

Liked this post? Stay tuned for regular updates!

Gargi Sengupta

Gargi is working with Systweak Software as Content Editor and Strategist. She believes Technology laced with Pop Culture, makes for an interesting combination. Beyond her work space, she fancies herself as a left-brained, right leaning conscientious individual with a weakness for good food, films, and fiction.

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