My younger sister is mixing with the wrong kind of friends. She’s 19 and we are terribly worried. Please advise.Rajeev Shaw, NagpurJust sit down and have a discussion with her. Explain and express your concern and worry. This explanation should be more like a friend and not like a guardian. Help her understand life and help her fix her dreams. Remember, Always treat her like an adult and be a friend to her.I feel my husband is into a relationship. I asked him many times, but he has pointedly refused. I’m not convinced but don’t know how to find the truth. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Name withheld, New DelhiIt’s quite natural that if your husband is guilty he will not own up. You have two options. One, don’t stop asking questions till he tells the truth. Second, hire a private investigation company who would charge you a sum and would hand over the complete day-to-day schedule of your partner along with relevant photographs and evidence. I suggest, don’t linger in this shadow of suspicion for too long. Decide and delve into the situation tofind the solution. Once you have enough proof, face him and sort it out soon. All the best! Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixI’m suffering from depression after I lost my mother last year. I’m unable to cope up. Please help.Arjun, NoidaI completely understand what you are going through. Losing a parent/near one is a very difficult situation. But, life goes on and the show must go on too. I suggest, divert your mind on things that you like to do. Enroll in some hobby, explore an interest, meet friends, plan a vacation. Always remember, your mother is watching you and she gets very upset seeing you unhappy! Your smile is not for you but for her. You will have to control your depression and move on with a positive approach. All the best! My daughter has developed the ugly habit of smoking. I’m very upset. What can I do to help her come out of it?Diya Kapoor, New DelhiYou can directly tell her how you feel towards her habit. Make her conscious about your feelings. We all know the dark truth about smoking but kicking the butt is one’s own decision. This could be just a phase but you as a parent should insist so that she quits soon. Be firm but do not nag. Leave reading materials on quitting techniques on her desk/room. Emotional blackmails works wonders on kids and I’m sure she will soon realize and make you a happy parent!My wife and my mother are always breaking into fights. I feel helpless. What should I do?Dalip, PunjabDalip, you are in a sandwich situation. Both these relationships are very important and hence you have to be very careful in handling the emotions of the two. Firstly, try not to take ‘sides’ and always be neutral. Judge the situations and then handle it. If nothing is working, start your family set up independently (if you live with parents) or else change the city. And, please be sensitive about your wife’s expectations.Have a love or life query you cannot find an answer to? Send your questions to – [email protected]
India Art Festival in its fourth edition brought together 35 art galleries and 500 artists from 40 cities across the world under one roof at Thyagaraj Stadium, New Delhi. The event which was inaugurated on November 22 and was open for public till November 25, showcased all forms of artistic expressions including painting, sculptures, photography, ceramics, textiles and installations from rural India to metro cities. IAF, founded in 2011 by the publishers of Indian Contemporary Art Journal is the only art fair held annually in two cities – Mumbai and Delhi. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfRajendra, the Festival Director says, “The art scene in Delhi has become event driven and bigger art events are drawing more crowds than solo or group exhibitions in the individual art galleries. Economical art fairs in terms of participation cost are easy for exhibitors to exhibit and recover basic participation cost hence they participate every year. Almost 90% of art galleries and 60% of artists are repeat participants in India Art Festival; this growth is phenomenal in such trying times.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAnalysing the growth of art festivals in the sluggish art market, art experts say “The evolution of a strong secondary art market in India in the last decade has created opportunities for mid-level and smaller galleries to exhibit. The artwork of almost all master artists associated with major galleries floats in the secondary market and lands even in the smaller galleries for sale. These galleries look for opportunities to reach out to the larger buyer base in the metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai. As the figure of mid-level to smaller art gallery spaces outnumbered major art galleries in India, participating galleries increased rapidly in India Art Festival. This is also the main reason for the art scene turning more event based affair individual shows.” The participating art galleries in the fourth edition included AL – Yas Creationz, Eminent Art Gallery, F and P Art Gallery, Galerie Art Eterne, Gallerie Ruki, Gallery Pioneer, Grapes Art, Inside Me, Merakii Art House, Moon Beams – Arts Initiative, Shree Yash Art Gallery, Studio Endless Thoughts, Studio Paradise, among many others. IAF has a dual-module – the art galleries section and the artists’ pavilion. This year, besides showcasing the works of 400 established artists, the festival will offer an outstanding panorama of Indian art in the Artists’ Pavilion by 100 independent artists from cities like Chennai, Jammu, Tripura and Ahmedabad. The independent artists include mid-career, established as well as emerging artists. The India Art Festival has successfully expanded the periphery of art choice to city art buyers. The young talent teeming with the unbridled form of creativity will showcase new and radical visual art voices to the art festival.
Last month, researchers from USA, China, and Hong Kong published a paper in collaboration, titled as ‘Beware of Your Screen: Anonymous Fingerprinting of Device Screens for Off-line Protection’. This paper, presented at The 34th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, highlights a new technique to enhance the security protection of QR-based payment, without undermining the payer’s privacy. The technique used by the researchers takes advantage of the unique luminance unevenness of a payer’s screen that is introduced by the imperfect manufacture process. The paper also presents a way to ensure that even when the payer’s digital wallet has compromised, an unauthorized payment cannot succeed. Besides this, the paper also takes into consideration the privacy issues that may arise if the screen’s features were naively deployed to authenticate the payer; as it could be misused by the vendors to link one’s different purchases together. To tackle this, the researchers have presented ‘AnonPrint’ that obfuscates the phone screen during each payment transaction. QR-code mobile payment systems are used by almost everyone today, including banks, service providers, and other commercial organizations. These payment systems are deployed solely using software without any hardware support. The paper highlights that in the absence of hardware support, a users wallet ‘can be vulnerable to an Os-level adversary’ which could be misused to generate a user’s payment tokens. To overcome this adversary, the researchers have demonstrated a method as a second factor authentication mechanism in the form of the physical features of a mobile’s screen. The research takes advantage of the taried luminance levels of the pixels on the screen (which occurs due to the flaws in the manufacturing process) and can be used to uniquely characterize the screen. An advantage of this method is that, since the adversary cannot observe the physical features of the screen the physical fingerprint cannot be stolen even when the OS is fully compromised. Also, this second-factor authentication is fool-proof even when the secret key for generating QR codes is stolen or when a user’s phone has been fully compromised by the adversary. How is Anonymous screen Fingerprinting carried out? In order to enable service providers to utilize the screen to enhance security protection as well as preserve users privacy, the researchers have designed a new technique called ‘AnonPrint’. AnonPrint randomly generates visual one- time masks which is a pixel pattern with dots set to various brightness levels to obfuscate the distinguishable features of a user’s screen. The technique randomly creates a smooth textured pattern for each transaction (this pattern is also known to the provider), and displays a pattern as the background of QR code to disarrange the brightness of a screen, in line with the screen’s real-world physical properties i.e. the neighboring dots are correlated and the levels of brightness change smoothly. This will hide the physical properties of a screen, and the party that knows the mask, like the payment service provider, can verify whether the features collected from the protected screen are related to the authorized device or not. Here is an overview of how the system works: First, the user needs to submit the original screen fingerprint of their device to the payment provider when they open an account. The wallet app is modified to synchronize a secret random seed with the provider. This seed could be achieved through hashing the time for the payment together with a shared secret using a cryptographic hash function (e.g., SHA-256). This duo then bootstraps a pseudo random number generator (PRNG) each time when the wallet app needs to provide each party a sequence of random numbers for mask generation. The mask is displayed as the background for displaying the QR payment token, from which the POS scanner extracts the obfuscated screen fingerprint in addition to decoding the QR code, finally passing the information to the payment provider. The provider retrieves the shared secret and the original screen fingerprint using the claimed ID. Next, the same mask used by the payer is re-constructed and used with the with the original ngerprint as inputs for synthesizing a new obfuscated fingerprint. This is compared with the fingerprint from the payer’s screen and the transaction can be approved the similarity of these two prints is above a certain threshold and other security checks are completed. How does AnonPrint obfuscate the screen? AnonPrint creates a ‘mask’, to hide the screen’s hardware fingerprint for every payment transaction. Such a mask is automatically generated by a digital wallet app, seeding a PRNG with a random number synchronized with the payment service provider. To obfuscate this hardware fingerprint and to maintain a screen’s realistic look, the researchers performed the following steps: (1) They first performed a ‘Random zone selection’, in which they produced a 180*108 pure white (with all pixels set to 255) image as the background and randomly selected from the image 20 mutually disjoint zones, each of size 16*16. (2) Next, came the ‘Dot darkening’ step. From each zone, they randomly chose 3 pixels and set their pixel value to a random number between 0 to 100. (3) The team then performed Smoothing in which for every zone, AnonPrint blurs it using Gaussian Smoothing that , “smoothes out” the dark color of the selected pixels to its neighboring pixels. (4) Finally, they performed ‘Resizing’ where the mask image is resized and scaled to a 1800*1080 matrix whose values range from 220 to 255. The size of this image is iden- tical to the original fingerprint. Each user needs to register to the payment provider with an image of their unprotected screen when all pixels are set to the maximum gray-scale. During the payment, an image of a masked screen is used to authenticate the payer done on the payment service provider’s side by reconstructing the mask using the shared secret, and then obfuscate the fingerprint for comparing with the image from the vendor. Results and Discussion The researchers conducted various experiments in which they collected 100 smartphones- including iPhone, Samsung and many others. All 100 phones were used to understand the effectiveness of the screen fingerprint in identifying the device. 50 phones were used to evaluate the anonymity protection and the effectiveness of AnonPrint separately. iPhone 6s was used to capture images for screen fingerprinting. They implemented an Android application to display QR code and obfuscate a screen using masks derived from given random numbers for anonymous payment. To collect the fingerprints from each device, they displayed a QR code without obfuscation, and then continue to show 5 different masks on the screen with the same code. Each time, they took a picture from the screen and used the image to extract fingerprints. Their experiment concluded that for 88.75% of transactions, the vendors can accurately identify other transactions from the same customer, by simply looking at the features of their screens. Their experiment also proved that Anon Print indeed breaks vendors’ capability of linking screen fingerprint and that the overhead introduced by AnonPrint (only 50ms) is small for the offline payment. Fingerprint verification takes 2.4 seconds on average to be completed. You can head over to the paper for a detailed explanation on every experiment conducted to check fingerprint accuracy, anonymity protection, fingerprint verification and much more. The research results look promising and it will be interesting to see some potential implementation in the QR-payment systems of today. Head over to the paper for more insights on this news. 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MONTREAL — According to a recent Ipsos poll, 33% of Canadians haven’t taken a vacation in the past two years. The situation has become so dire, in fact, that Air Transat is now stepping in to stage a “vacation intervention” for those who need it most.As part of its brand promise to “brighten the everyday with the joy of vacations”, the airline has released a new video starring one of its representatives who ‘infiltrated’ a select group of companies in a covert mission. Masquerading as a “performance optimization specialist”, Jacob Moore pretended to evaluate the performance of several hard-working employees, giving them high scores in all key areas except one: vacation performance.Noting how all of the employees had failed to take a vacation in years, Moore then surprised them with a free vacation at the end of each meeting. Cue the stunned faces and joyful tears!In that same spirit, Air Transat has launched a ‘Vacation Intervention’ contest in which Canadians are invited to nominate a deserving friend, family member or co-worker who hasn’t been on a holiday in a long time. Entries are being accepted until Feb. 4 via one of the participating radio stations or the Air Transat contests page. There are 19 all-inclusive Sun destinations packages to be won.More news: Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsFor more information go to airtransat.com/en-CA/contests/vacation-intervention. Share Tuesday, January 23, 2018