While there have been plenty of terrifyingly realistic card skimmers in the past, we have bad news for you: the latest breed of skimmers are so thin that they’re inserted into the ATM, so you can’t see them at all.
Krebs on Security rounds up a handful or recent reports, and the news makes for grim reading. According to the European ATM Security Team, the latest ATM skimmers are in fact wafer-thin card reading devices, which are inserted up inside the card acceptance slots of cash machines. You can’t even see they’re there.
Of course, the good news is that these kinds of insert skimmers need to be able to record your PIN as you type it in—and that requires some secondary recording device. Usually that’s a keypad overlay, or a tiny camera, so there are still clues to look out for as you take out your cash.
So, the advice remains the same: if anything ever looks suspicious at an ATM, don’t use it. It’s just annoying that spotting the problem is getting more and more difficult. [EAST via Krebs on Security]
Images by Catatronic and EAST
Who doesn’t love filling an idle hour with a good ol’ bit of TED? Now, the people behind those share-worthy ideas are bringing us TED-Ed: a new lesson-based YouTube channel. Aimed primarily at high-schoolers, the initiative invites teachers to submit their “best lesson” in a youthful mind-friendly ten minutes or less. If chosen, TED will ship out a “portable recording booth” — which look suspiciously like an iPad in a sound-absorbing flightcase. Once the knowledge has been preserved, it’s sent over to a team of animators to bring it to life. If you know a great teacher, or animator, you can also nominate them to the TED-Ed team if they’re too humble to put themselves forward. The TEDEducation YouTube channel is up and running right now, but the new original content won’t land until a dedicated site is launched next month. There’s a typically heartwarming and informative video about the project after the break.
TED launches ‘TED-Ed’, hopes to make lessons worth sharing originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Mar 2012 10:12:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
One of the new iPad’s video features—along with 1080p recording and video stabilization—is temporal noise reduction. Apple claims it will improve the quality of footage in low-light conditions. OK, but what the hell is it?
It’s a clever technique…
There’s no getting around this: temporal noise reduction is tough to explain. That’s because it’s a complex process used to improve image and video rendering. This is very much a simplified explanation of what happens.
…that greatly reduces the noise of video…
When you record footage in low-light conditions, the resulting images are often noisy—speckled with pixelation that looks like a staticky TV screen. Why? Because there’s just not enough light hitting the sensor. In bright conditions, all the light provides a huge signal; noise—from electrical interference or imperfections in the detector—is still present, but it’s drowned out. In low light, the signals are much smaller which means that the noise is painfully apparent.
…by comparing what pixels actually move…
So, onto temporal noise reduction itself. Basically, it exploits the fact that with video there are two pools of data to use: each separate image, and the knowledge of how the frames change with time. Using that information, it’s possible to create an algorithm that can work out which pixels have changed between frames. But it’s also possible to work out which pixels are expected to change between frames. For instance, if a car’s moving from left to right in a frame, software can soon work out that pixels to the right should change dramatically.
…and guessing what is noise and what is actual detail…
By comparing what is expected to change between frames, and what actually does, it’s possible to make a very good educated guess as to which pixels are noisy and which aren’t. Then, the pixels that are deemed noisy can have a new value calculated for them based on their surrounding brothers.
…to make low-light video super-sharp.
So, the process manages to sneakily use data present in the video stream to attenuate the effects of noise and improve the image. It’s something that’s been used in 3D rendering for years, but it requires a fair amount of computational grunt. Clearly, the new iPad can handle that—and as a result, we’ll be fortunate enough to have better low-light video.
Google recently announced it was unifying its privacy policies and would be sharing the data it collects about users between all of its products, starting March 1st. That means your web searches and sites you visit will be combined with other Google products like Google Plus and YouTube. If you’d rather avoid that, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reminds us you can remove your Google search history and stop it from being recorded.
Turning off search history is one of the top Google settings you may already know about anyway if you didn’t want Google recording any sensitive searches (health, location, interests, religion, etc.), but with Google becoming more like AOL these days, now’s as good a time as any to check if you’ve got your web history paused or not.
If you’re not logged into Google already, log in. Then, go to https://google.com/history. Click “remove all Web History” and “OK”. Doing so will pause the recording of your searches going forward until you enable it again.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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