• August 22, 2008
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI


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>>> Though he admits that no one has quantified the prevalence of virus and other malware attacks against smartphones like the iPhone or BlackBerry, Dan Hoffman, chief technology officer of SMobile Systems and a certified ethical hacker, is certain that they exist. In an email, Hoffman expressed the belief that few consumers understand the risks of using an unprotected smartphone: "Virtually all personal computers have antivirus applications installed. While smartphones are used for the same functionality, almost none of these devices have antivirus or other security applications installed. Without antivirus installed, the ability to track infection rates and discover new pieces of malware is drastically limited."

In addition, he maintains that malware writers are specifically writing their malicious viruses, trojans, and worms to be stealthy and reside as quietly as possible on the mobile devices.

It’s important to note that there hasn’t been a widespread, publicly notable virus outbreak in the computing world for more than three years.

But Hoffman assures us that "this doesn’t mean that malware writers and hackers have stopped and that there is no longer a need for security. Without question," he says, "there is malware today that is being proliferated and infecting mobile devices without the knowledge of anyone but the hackers themselves."

>>> Just in case you’re not scared enough, a handful of European companies have been working for years to improve voice controls for the Eurofighter Typhoon, a powerful fighter jet in use by Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, Italy, and Saudi Arabia. Though we’ve written before about voice controls for aircraft, none of these systems has been equipped with voice controls for the tactical systems. This one is different.

The Eurofighter cockpit system, called Direct Voice Input (DVI), uses a speech recognition module developed by Smiths Aerospace (now GE Aviation Systems) and Computing Devices (now General Dynamics UK). The technology lets a pilot control many of the basic in-flight navigation and communications functions with voice commands, and the system confirms them back to him by visual and/or audio feedback.

Though the plane’s developers say that DVI is not used for any safety-critical or weapons-critical tasks, they do acknowledge that in an air battle scenario, this system allows the lead pilot to assign targets to himself with two simple voice commands or to any of his wingmen using five commands.

Furthermore, all the other systems have been speaker-dependent, meaning that "not just anyone" could use them. EADS Defense and Security in Spain, however, has developed a new DVI module for the Eurofighter Typhoon that includes a continuous speech recognizer and speaker-independent voice recognition system based on common templates and a large vocabulary of more than 100 voice commands, all meant to reduce pilot workload, improve aircraft safety, and expand mission capabilities. I know I can rest easier now.

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