Monthly Archives: March 2016

Chinese Aerospace Businessman Pleads Guilty in Data Conspiracy Case

Su Bin (also known as Stephen Su and Stephen Subin), a resident of the People’s Republic of China, recently pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to steal sensitive military and export-controlled data from major U.S. defense contractors. The Chinese aviation and aerospace businessmen allegedly entered into a deal in which he would steal the data and then send the information to China, according to the United States Department of Justice.

su bin4Su Bin entered his plea before Judge Christina A. Snyder of the Central District of California. Bin’s original indictment was issued against him in 2014. According to the indictment, Bin was part of a criminal conspiracy to steal military technical data, including data relating to the C-17 strategic transport aircraft and a variety of other fighter jets produced for the U.S. military. Bin was arrested from Canada and transported to the United States shortly after the indictment was issued and Su waived his extradition.

“This plea sends a strong message that stealing from the United States and our companies has a significant cost; we can and will find these criminals and bring them to justice,” stated assistant attorney general for national security John P. Carlin.

Su’s plea agreement involved him admitting to conspiring with two people in China from October 2008 to March 2014 to break into protected American computer networks, including computers belonging to Boeing in Orange County, California, with the intention of stealing “sensitive” military detail and sharing it with counterparts located in China. Su’s plan was to email his co-conspirators and inform them regarding who and what to target after having penetrated a computer network, according to the Department of Justice.

Su’s co-conspirators would then send Su lists of files and folders that were successfully accessed during a network invasion. Su would then instruct the conspirators on which files and folders should be stolen of the list provided.

Su also held another skill valuable to his co-conspirators; he was able to translate stolen files and folders from English to Chinese. He could then write reports regarding the thieved data, approximating its value to its beneficiary.

su bin3Although Su in many ways played the role of a spy, at no point during the proceedings was there any mention of Su and his co-conspirators being associated with the Chinese central government.

“The plea agreement steers clear of accusing China of being behind it, even thouh Su Bin was working with two members of the military,” stated Richard Steinnon, chief research analyst with IT-Harvest.

“The two co-conspirators were identified as military officers, but it seems like these guys were moonlighting,” ventured CEO of Taia Global Jeffrey Carr. “This was not a PLA (People’s Liberation Army) operation. If it was, they wouldn’t have needed Su Bin,” he continued. “Neither would one of the co-conspirators be trying to buy malware on the dark web. The PLA doesn’t have to buy malware on the dark Web to attack a targeted company.”

The true story may be impossible for any standard onlookers to access, but it looks like either way Su Bin will be doing five years in American prison and a fine of around $250,000 for his snooping.

Toyota Creates Device for Blind People

Toyota recently announced its development of a wearable device engineered with the intention of enabling blind and visually impaired people to have greater mobility.

The gadget is a cushioned U shaped object worn around the neck, somewhat like a long and thin neck pillow. It is packed with sensors and cameras that, with the help of computers, can recognize surroundings and direct the wearer accordingly using speakers and vibration motors.

Toyota released these details last week, but the actual day that the product will become available has yet to be specified. That said, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has stated that it finds the creation an exciting development.

*COMPOSITE*The device owes its existence to the research and development team working on Project Blaid. According to the researchers, they’re working on plans to introduce mapping, object identification and facial recognition technologies to the device as well.

This news all came after Microsoft claimed that it was designing a headset that utilizes location and navigation data along with a network of information beacons in urban locations to verbally inform visually impaired people of where they are and how to get where they want to go in urban areas.

“This is a very exciting development within the rapidly growing field of wearable assistive technology,” stated Robin Spinks, senior strategy manager at the RNIB. “Mobility is at the heart of so much in our society and a device like Blaid could open up limitless possibilities for millions of blind and partially sighted people.”

Toyota stated during its announcement that its device was not made with the intention of replacing the aids currently available to blind and visually impaired people. The device would be complimentary to the devices already owned by any visually impaired people, and perhaps “help to fill the gaps left by canes, dogs, and basic GPS devices by providing users with more information about their surroundings.”

For example, a video that Toyota shared online demonstrated the way that the device could inform the user/wearer about the distinction between a bathroom door marked gentlemen’s toilet and another marked exit. This is a crucial detail that unfortunately no amount of hearing aids or seeing eye dogs will be able to explain to a blind or partially-sighted person.

toyotaAccording to Toyota, Project Blaid’s device is made primarily with the intention of allowing the partially-sighted or blind to navigate indoors.

“Project Blaid is one example of how Toyota is leading the way to the future of mobility, when getting around will be about more than just cars,” stated Totoya executive Simon Nagata. “We want to extend the freedom of mobility for all, no matter their circumstance, location or ability.”

Project Blaid has certainly been a team effort; Toyota apparently requested employees to submit videos of common indoor landmarks so that developers could use them to teach the device to recognize them.

Toyota is likely to also come out with an autonomous car sometime soon in the future; autonomous driving has been seen as one of the most mobilizing and empowering upcoming technologies to hit the blind and partially sighted community.