Eye Reflections in Photos Could Help Solve Crimes


Eyes are supposed to be windows to the soul — but they make even better mirrors. And what they reflect will astonish you.

Researchers studying the incredible level of detail in modern digital photographs were able to pick out the tiny reflections of faces hidden in the eyes of the subject. By zooming in on the subject’s eyes in high-resolution, passport-style photographs, they were able to pick out the faces and accurately identify them.

“The pupil of the eye is like a black mirror,” said Rob Jenkins, of the Department of Psychology at the University of York. “To enhance the image, you have to zoom in and adjust the contrast. A face image that is recovered from a reflection in the subject’s eye is about 30,000 times smaller than the subject’s face.”

Working with Christie Kerr, of the School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Jenkins recovered the images of bystanders that were as small as 27 pixels across (1 megapixel is about a million pixels). Yet when presented to panelists in a face-matching task, observers were able to match the diminutive faces 71 percent of the time. When the faces were familiar ones, people recognized identity correctly 84 percent of the time.

“Our findings thus highlight the remarkable robustness of human face recognition, as well as the untapped potential of high-resolution photography,” Jenkins said.

The pictures were taken with a high-end, 39-megapixel Hasselblad camera, snapped while the onlookers were close to the subject and the room well lit. But with smartphones that pack increasingly better digital sensors, even ordinary photos may soon capture a similar level of detail.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41-megapixel camera, for example; AT&T sells the phone for just $199.99.

The researchers say that in crimes in which the victims are photographed, such as hostage taking or child sex abuse, reflections in the eyes of the photographic subject could help to identify perpetrators.

Images of people retrieved from cameras seized as evidence during criminal investigations may be used to piece together networks of associates or to link individuals to particular locations.

Cosmo, the Hacker ‘God’ Who Fell to Earth.


Cosmo is huge — 6 foot 7 and 220 pounds the last time he was weighed, at a detention facility in Long Beach, California on June 26. And yet he’s getting bigger, because Cosmo — also known as Cosmo the God, the social-engineering mastermind who weaseled his way past security systems at Amazon, Apple, AT&T, PayPal, AOL, Netflix, Network Solutions, and Microsoft — is just 15 years old.

He turns 16 next March, and he may very well do so inside a prison cell.

Cosmo was arrested along with dozens of others in a recent multi-state FBI sting targeting credit card fraud. It is the day before his court date, but he doesn’t know which task force is investigating him or the name of his public defender. He doesn’t even know what he’s been charged with. It’s tough to narrow it down; he freely admits to participation in a wide array of crimes.

With his group, UGNazi (short for “underground nazi” and pronounced “you-gee” not “uhg”), Cosmo took part in some of the most notorious hacks of the year. Throughout the winter and spring, they DDoS’ed all manner of government and financial sites, including NASDAQ, ca.gov, and CIA.gov, which they took down for a matter of hours in April. They bypassed Google two step, hijacked 4chan’s DNS and redirected it to their own Twitter feed, and repeatedly posted Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s address and Social Security number online. After breaking into one billing agency using social-engineering techniques this past May, they proceeded to dump some 500,000 credit card numbers online. Cosmo was the social engineer for the crew, a specialist in talking his way past security barriers. His arsenal of tricks held clever-yet-idiot-proof ways of getting into accounts on Amazon, Apple, AOL, PayPal, Best Buy, Buy.com, Live.com (think: Hotmail, Outlook, Xbox) and more. He can hijack phone numbers from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and your local telco.

“UGNazi was a big deal,” Mikko Hypponen, the chief security researcher at F-Secure, told Wired via email. “The Cloudflare hack was a big deal. They could have done much more with that technique.”

So, yes, he is Cosmo the God. But before he was Cosmo, he was Derek*. And while Cosmo may be a god, Derek is just a kid. A high school dropout. A liar, fraud, vandal and thief. But ultimately a kid, without much adult supervision or guidance.

I met Cosmo by accident and opportunity, after hackers used social-engineering techniques to circumvent Apple’s and Amazon’s security mechanisms and break into my accounts. They wrought enormous damage, wiping my computer, phone and tablet, deleting my Google account, and hijacking my Twitter account.

After it happened I fell into their world and began communicating regularly with the very hacker who jacked me, a kid named Phobia. He introduced me to Cosmo, who wanted to tell me about all manner of other account vulnerabilities. And last month, I flew down to Long Beach to talk to him face to face.

His real name is classified by FBI.

Source: weird.com

 

Why Apple Made Three iPhone 5 Models and What That Means For You.


Apple has finally made its latest iPhone compatible with LTE networks. But it’s not all good news for the company’s customers. Due to 4G LTE fragmentation, Apple has had to make three different models of the iPhone 5. Where the iPhone 4S was a dual GSM/CDMA device, meaning one model for all carriers, the LTE-enabled iPhone 5 comes in two separate GSM models and one CDMA model. This means that consumers will have fewer choices when switching carriers, and that LTE access will be limited when traveling abroad.

Since carriers utilize different radio frequencies (also known as frequency bands) for LTE service, Apple has had to diversify its iPhone 5 portfolio. This largely has to do with the fact that 4G LTE is still in the early stages of development, compared to more mature networks like 2G and 3G. It’s a messy situation that Android handset makers like Samsung and HTC have been dealing with when it comes to their 4G LTE devices. For example, the Samsung Galaxy SIII comes in nine model variants, five of which are specific to North American carriers.

The three iPhone 5 models include: GSM model A1428 that supports LTE Bands 4 and 17; GSM model A1429 that supports LTE Bands 1, 3, and 5; and CDMA model A1429 that supports LTE Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, and 25.

In layman’s terms, this means an iPhone 5 user who wanted to jump from, say, AT&T to Verizon or vice versa, would have to buy a new handset, since AT&T runs a GSM network and Verizon is CDMA. And where owners of GSM handsets previously enjoyed wide compatibility with foreign networks, LTE fragmentation means that AT&T customers using an iPhone 5 in Europe, for example, won’t be able to take advantage of LTE speeds while abroad and will instead get kicked down to the 3G network.

“With 2G, pretty much everything has matured to use four main frequency bands,” IHS analyst Francis Sideco told Wired. “And the components have matured enough so there are a lot of multiband components out there. 3G is in a similar state, where the bands are known and components are becoming more integrated with multiband capability…. When we get to LTE, neither one of those things is true. The bands that are being selected by operators globally have not coalesced, nor are the components mature enough where they are integrating to the same degree as far as multiband capability.”

The GSM A1428 model appears to be made specifically for AT&T, which is the only carrier that uses both LTE Bands 4 and 17. It will also support T-Mobile’s U.S. LTE network as well as several Canadian networks. But don’t expect any LTE service outside of North America — currently no carriers in other countries use Bands 4 or 17. Even though GSM networks are more common worldwide, this particular iPhone 5 model is not a global phone when it comes to LTE support. Instead, Apple has opted to make a second GSM model for other countries. Model A1429 supports the three more common LTE Bands in places like Asia and Europe, but none for North America use.

The CDMA phone, however, is more of a global device. It supports the same three LTE bands as the non-U.S. GSM phone, as well as the two main bands used by U.S. carriers Verizon and Sprint. Another benefit to the CDMA phone is that it supports GSM/EDGE radio frequencies, while the GSM phones do not support CDMA frequencies. Unfortunately, that GSM support is limited to international use for stateside customers. What is oddly missing from all three phones is LTE support for a large portion of Western Europe, which uses LTE Band 7.

When asked why Apple chose to make two GSM phones, instead of one that could work globally with LTE networks, Sideco pointed to the bands each of the phones supports. It could be that there are no multiband components for AT&T frequencies (Bands 4 and 17), while there were for Verizon and Sprint’s LTE networks. We won’t, however, know for sure until we get a peek inside the iPhone 5 models.

“After we’ve done a teardown and know exactly which companies have been used for the different models, we’ll actually be able to provide more insight to what might have driven these decisions,” Sideco said. “It could come from many different factors.”

Source: wired.com