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Scientists Demonstrate Nanoscale Waveguides

Optical computing could get a push from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers who have successfully demonstrated what they call “the first true” nanoscale waveguides. The waveguides could enable on-chip optical communications. The researchers used a quasi particle they call the hybrid plasmon polariton and routed the light in a nanostructure constructed from a metal/dielectric material. They say what helped the device performance was inserting a thin, low-dielectric layer between the metal and a semiconductor strip. This layer redistributes the incoming light wave’s energy, which ultimately decreases the optical signal’s loss. The researchers say the system is compatible with CMOS processing techniques and say products could be available within five years. Among the other nanoscale photonic applications the waveguide could be used for include signal modulation and bio-medical sensors. The full work was published in Nature Communications.(redOrbit)(Nature)(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Cisco: Device Adoption on Track to Create Explosive Internet Use

Cisco released its fifth annual predictions for networking trends and contends the adoption of Internet connected devices is set to explode in the next four years. The number of tablets, mobile phones, connected appliances and other devices is expected to exceed 15 billion -- double the world’s population -- by 2015.  Cisco's Visual Networking Index also estimated more than 40 percent of the world's projected population will be online, a total of almost three billion people. This will increase traffic to 966 exabytes – almost a zettabyte or a trillion gigabytes -- by 2015. “The most important question we face is how to manage all this traffic intelligently,” said Cisco’s Suraj Shetty. The annual report is focused on providing information to Cisco’s customers, which include network service providers such as AT&T and Verizon with information regarding consumer trends and promoting Cisco solutions for those challenges. (BBC)(Bloomberg)(Forbes)(Cisco)(Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2010-2015))

New Android Malware Found

Google has removed 34 applications from its Android Market after security researchers notified the company that they had found malware-infected applications on the site. The applications were pirated versions of legitimate programs that had been modified to contain malicious code and then re-released to the Android Market under false names. The applications were infected with a variant of the DroidDream code that was discovered in March. Another malware strain was found in more than 20 Android applications. BaseBridge is also embedded in legitimate applications and used to install auto-dialing malware that is able to complete calls and send SMS messages to premium services that rack up user fees. Users are unaware of this activity until they receive the bill because malware hides its activities by blocking messages from the mobile carrier regarding fees. It is similar to infections previously found on the Symbian platform. Juniper Networks reports Android-based malware has grown 400 percent in the last month. (SlashDot)(Security Week)(Computerworld)(InfoWorld)

Researchers Demonstrate that Eavesdropping on Encrypted VoIP is Possible

Computer scientists and linguists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say encrypted VoIP conversations may not be secure. Eavesdroppers can understand parts of communications via networks such as Skype using basic computational-linguistics techniques. The researchers used the size of the encrypted data packets to reconstruct words and phrases from a VoIP call. They also correlated the packets’ sequence to the basic phonetic units known as phonemes. They applied linguistic rules to translate a series of phonemes into words and phrases. The method was tested using 6,300 recordings in eight US English dialects. The researchers evaluated their approach’s performance using a metric for comparing machine-translation techniques, which showed that its success varies widely. Still, they said, it shows more work is needed to ensure supposedly encrypted communications cannot be decoded by eavesdroppers. (SlashDot)(New Scientist)(The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Museum Completes Restoration of WWII Code-Breaking Machine

The UK’s National Museum of Computing has completed the restoration of an Allied code-breaking machine from World War II. The Tunny machines, the first of which started deciphering transmissions in 1942, helped Allied forces decode intercepted German High Command radio communications. The Allies knew how the Germans’ cipher machine worked and basically reverse-engineered its operations to build their decryption device. The Tunny machines were used at Bletchley Park in the UK, the headquarters of the Allies’ decoding operations. The National Museum of Computing’s restoration of the Tunny began in 2005 and was challenging because there were few circuit diagrams or parts remaining because the machines were dismantled after the war. Researchers could use only a few circuit elements drawn from memory by engineers who worked on the original, as well as parts from analog telephone exchanges that are like those used in the Tunny machine.  (BBC)(The National Museum of Computing)

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