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Samsung announces a new product Ballie - a robot companion

Samsung has launched a new product at CES 2020, named Ballie a tennis ball-like robot that rolls around following the owner. The bot Ballie has a built-in camera to follow it's the owner and capture special moments, Samsung South Korean tech giant announced the product at CES tech show in Las Vegas.

"I love this guy," said president and chief executive H S Kim as Ballie whizzed around the stage chasing him. 
He said the product is a combination of 5g and Artificial Intelligence, both areas in which Samsung plans to focus on in 2020.

Ballie is being received with both positive and negative views. One analyst said that it seems fun but might struggle with stairs. It has roared on the internet and is already being compared with robot companions from several movies - including BB-8 from the latest Star Wars trilogy films.

Along with being a perfect robot companion, Ballie overshadows it's owner, acts as a fitness assistant and can help in household chores like switching on smart devices at home. 
"It's fun - it reminded me of a cross between a Sphero toy and R2-D2 with the sounds it was making," said Simon Bryant at market research firm Futuresource.
He also mentions that it's strange that Samsung introduces Ballie with its own voice recognition ability without any mention of the company's virtual assistant Bixby.

Paul Gagnon, an analyst at IHS Markit comments, "I can see a lot of people who will be hesitant with security and privacy concerns". Though, Samsung assures that Ballie would strictly follow privacy and data protection standards. 

Samsung has not yet revealed when Ballie will be available in the market to buy or how much it will cost. 
When asked by the BBC why a product like this now, Samsung spokesman Benjamin Braun said, "There are two technologies that are helping this come to life. One is artificial intelligence and the other one is 5G. Those very much focus areas for Samsung in 2020."
Though, Mr. Bryant said he was unimpressed by these ideas, "I thought it just smacked as a desperate attempt to move on from mobile," he said. 

Amazon, Sony, Xiaomi, Samsung Devices Hacked at Pwn2Own Hacking Contest at Tokyo


In a hacking contest held at Tokyo, a duo of white-hat hackers known as Fluoroacetate breached pass devices of some of the most popular tech companies namely Amazon, Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi and others. On the first day itself, the team won prize money of $145,000 (around 1.02 crore) and 15 Master of Pwn points which secured them a dominant lead ahead of others in the competition. The contestants receive a bounty for each successful breach and points that add on to the total ranking. However, the overall winner obtains the grand title 'Master of Pwn'.

The leading team, Fluoroacetate which comprises Hacker Amat Cama and Richard Zhu, amassed a lot of success early on as they managed to bypass five devices. Making history, the duo cracked down Sony X800G, first-ever Television exploited in the contesting history of Pwn2Own. Moving onto their next targets, Amazon Echo Show and Samsung Q60 television, the hackers employed an integer overflow in JavaScript to compromise both the devices. While hacking Xiaomi Mi 9, the duo used a JavaScript exploit to extract a picture from the smartphone. Next up on their list was Samsung Galaxy S10, which the remarkable duo slashed down by pushing a file on the phone via a stock overflow. The last contributor for the team's winning streak was Netgear Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router R6700 (LAN interface).

Points and bounty distribution 

Team Fluoroacetate piled up a total bounty of $145,000 and 15 Master of Pwn points at the end of the first day at Pwn2Own, in the following order.

Sony X800G smart TV: $15,000 and 2 Master of Pwn points.
Amazon Echo Show 5: $60,000 and 6 Master of Pwn points.
Samsung Q60 smart TV: $15,000 and 2 Master of Pwn points.
Xiaomi Mi9 smartphone: $20,000 and 2 Master of Pwn points.
Samsung Galaxy S10: $30,000 and 3 Master of Pwn points.

Pwn2Own is the top computer hacking contest that was first conducted in 2007 with the purpose of demonstrating the security flaws present in widely used software and devices. The hackers gather at the contest to demonstrate vulnerabilities for a pre-set list of software and devices, to earn points on successful discoveries the hackers must ensure that all the exploits put forth at the contest are new. After the contest, the event organizers take charge of all the bugs and vulnerabilities discovered throughout the competition and subsequently hand them over to the respective companies.

After the final day of the tournament, Fluoroacetate, accumulating total prize money of $195,000, 18.5 Master of Pwn points along with a shining trophy and other goodies, has emerged victorious and as the rightful owner of the title 'Master of Pwn'. Notably, the team's most striking accomplishment has to be the bypassing of Samsung Galaxy S10 that won the duo a whopping sum of $50,000 and 5 valuable Master of Pwn points.

Apple and Samsung smart phones emits more radiofrequency radiation than allowed


Radiofrequency radiation emitted from popular smartphones like iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8 is more than double over the legal safety limit set by the US regulators, a Chicago Tribune investigation reveals.

The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates phones emission, cleared the devices for the sale, on its website it states that the device “will never exceed” the maximum allowable exposure limit, which is harmful to humans.

“We take seriously any claims on non-compliance with the RF (radiofrequency) exposure standards and will be obtaining and testing the subject phones for compliance with FCC rules,” agency spokesman Neil Grace said.

The test was sponsored by the Tribune and conducted as per the federal guidelines at an accredited lab.

A year ago, the Tribune set out an important question to explore: Are cellphones as safe as manufacturers and government regulators say?

The Tribune tested 11 cellphones by measuring how much radiofrequency radiations were absorbed by the human body if the device is positioned near to it. Most of the popular smartphones were proved to be hazardous for the human body.

Apple then issued a statement, questioning the Tribune's test results for the iPhone 7s “were inaccurate due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the iPhone models.”

“All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold,” the statement said. “After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable … exposure guidelines and limits.”

The Tribune tested 11 cellphone models by measuring how much radiofrequency radiation was absorbed by a simulated body positioned near the phone. The Federal Communications Commission has set an exposure limit of 1.6 watts per kilogram averaged over one gram of tissue.

Samsung advised its smart TV customers to scan for malware




Samsung recently advised smart TV users’ to scan their devices regularly as it is susceptible to malware just like PCs.

The company tweeted through their US Support Twitter account but later deleted the tweet without any reason. 

The tweet read: “Scanning your computer for malware viruses is important to keep it running smoothly. This also is true for your QLED TV if it’s connected to Wi-Fi! Prevent malicious software attacks on your TV by scanning for viruses on your TV every few weeks.”

The tweet also had a demonstration video showing how to scan your Samsung TV. 

This action has raised a question whether its smart TVs are vulnerable to virus attacks.

However, the firm clarified that the tweet was a response to a query made by a customer and nothing to worry. 

Scanning smart TV is really easy. Go to the settings menu on your Samsung TV and then select General. Click on System Manager and scroll down to Smart Security. 

Click on Smart Security, then select Scan and your Samsung TV will start scanning for viruses and malware.