LBS News


May 2016 | No Comment

Imaginary mobile devices to deceive location-based apps

Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara have uncovered a hacking technique that could allow bad actors to sabotage location-based mobile apps — including the maps and navigation app Waze — by simulating large number of mobile devices that don›t actually exist.

According to a new report, hackers can use malicious “Sybil” scripts, which appear to application servers as “virtual mobile devices,” to overload mobile services with fake traffic, in what is for all intents and purposes a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Furthermore, by generating fake traffic, adversaries can also supply false data to location-based apps that rely on crowdsourced data from its active user base. In the case of Waze, the researchers were actually able to create imaginary traffic jams and road congestion on various highways, which theoretically could have caused the app to reroute genuine users on unwanted detours. (Researchers conducted these tests in the middle of the night and halted operations whenever a genuine user was within 10 miles of an affected area.)

Chinese driverless cars tests begin, aim to beat Google car

Two driverless cars produced by a Chinese automobile company began a 2,000-kilometre test drive in a bid to steal a march over US giant Google, which hopes to release its self-driving cars to the public by 2020. Li Yusheng, engineer-in-chief of Chang’an Automobile Engineering & Research Institute, said the drive will help test their functions in diverse conditions. “We want to improve the vehicles’ sensors and processing technology, and then to prepare models for mass production,” Tan Benhong, deputy director of the institute was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Chang’an aims to put its driverless cars into commercial use in 2018. They are expected to pose a competition to Google’s self-driving cars currently under development. Google’s cars have already travelled over 1 million miles without anyone at the wheel. The internet search company hopes the vehicles will be released to the public in 2020.

Google Maps gets live traffic alerts in India

The navigation mode of Google Maps has turned the free app into an invaluable tool for hundreds of millions of drivers worldwide. Now, drivers on India’s notoriously congested roads can use Google Maps to steer away from the worst jams, in real time. When users enter a destination, the app warns them about any segments with heavy traffic on route. Based on the explanation, users are able to pick alternate routes that are longer, but may actually be more convenient.

Malaysia introduces professional title “Geospatialist”

The Institution of Geospatial and Remote Sensing Malaysia (IGRSM) has recently introduced the Geospatialist (Gs) title to its members. The title is part of an initiative by IGRSM to increase recognition of the role of geospatial practitioners in both public and private sectors. According to IGRSM’s constitution, the minimum requirements for a Malaysian geospatial practitioner to be eligible to use the title Gs is minimum qualification of degree in Geospatial or related fields; and at least 3 years of professional experience or equivalent in the field of Geospatial.

Pune, India starts GIS-enabled tree census

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) started a high-tech tree census to track the location, type and other details of every tree in the city. PMC will use GIS to effectively map and enumerate the trees. The census data will be available to citizens at a click of the mouse. Citizens will also be able to send suggestions and objections regarding the data and the administration make changes based on these, if needed.

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