Entries with tag german researchers.

Password Theft Affects 18 Million Computer Users

German officials are investigating the discovery of about 18 million stolen email passwords. The Federal Office for Information Security, the German Internet security agency, found that at least 3 million of the discovered passwords belong to German users, according to Interior Ministry spokesperson Harald Neymanns. Law-enforcement officials from Verden in northwest Germany made the discovery. In compliance with German data-protection laws, officials didn’t say where the passwords originated or how they were stolen, but did say the discovery was made during research into botnet activity.  (The Associated Press)(Deutsche Welle)

Android Application Counts Stars to Measure Light Pollution

German researchers created an application that lets Android smartphone users count visible stars. Scientists with the Loss of the Night/Verlust der Nacht project will use the data sent to them to better understand global light pollution and how it influences health, biodiversity, and other important matters. The interactive application asks users to indicate what individual stars are visible in the night sky. This lets researchers use the faintest visible star seen to extrapolate how bright the sky is at a given location. In most large cities, light pollution is an issue and, biologists say, the artificial light changes habitats. An added benefit discovered during testing the application, is that users learned the names of several stars and constellations. The German Ministry of Education and Research funds the Loss of the Night project, which involves researchers from various organizations throughout the country. (PhysOrg)(Verlust der Nacht)

Mobile Application Finds Fastest Route for Drivers


German researchers are developing a commercial mobile phone application that lets users bypass traffic congestion and travel routes in the shortest time possible. Greenway uses software to predict its drivers’ routes to help them avoid congestion. It provides a standard route that would be quickest if there wasn’t traffic and one that is optimized to help the driver avoid congestion en route, and shows the travel time and fuel consumption for each option. When a driver selects the optimized route, the application contacts the Greenway server once every 30 seconds, providing the current GPS location. Greenway also receives position information from other drivers. All this data lets the application determine if a route continues to be the best possible. Smartphone users are now testing the application in Munich. The researchers, who are students at Bielefeld University and University of Hanover, say it has helped drivers reach their destination twice as fast using 20 percent less fuel. They note that at least 10 percent of drivers in a city would have to use Greenway for the application to work best. They will not charge for the application itself but will collect 5 percent of the estimated amount of gasoline saved multiplied by the current average fuel price—no more than 30 cents per route—unless a driver doesn’t arrive in the time predicted. The developers recently won the Microsoft Imagine Cup for environmental sustainability. (Technology Review)(The Wall Street Journal)(Greenway)

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