Russia firm unveils ‘surveillance-proof’ smartphone

A view of a TaigaPhone, a brand new smartphone created by InfoWatch Group. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2017
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Russia firm unveils ‘surveillance-proof’ smartphone

Moscow: For Russians who fear that someone may be eavesdropping on their phone conversations, leading IT entrepreneur Natalya Kaspersky says she has a solution.
At a business forum in Moscow on Friday she presented “TaigaPhone,” a brand new smartphone created by InfoWatch Group, her software development company, costing around 15,000 rubles ($260).
The TaigaPhone is entirely green to represent the Russian northern forest after which it is named and has a five-inch touch screen.
“We have created it for the corporate market,” said Kaspersky, president of InfoWatch Group and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, Russia’s leading antivirus software development company which some believe may have links to Russian intelligence.
Kaspersky Lab has over the past months been at the center of controversy in the United States.
In July, the US government removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors, weeks after top US intelligence agency and law enforcement officials expressed concerns about the safety of its software.
But no evidence has been presented to back up vague assertions that it might be a tool of Moscow, offering Russian spies back-door entry into computers worldwide.
The company has repeatedly denied working with any government agency.
The TaigaPhone is not the first Russian-made smartphone. YotaPhone, which first appeared on the market in 2013, is back this year with a new device: the YotaPhone 3.
InfoWatch wants to sell TaigaPhone to Russian companies at a cost of between 12,000 and 15,000 rubles, almost five times cheaper than the cost of an iPhone in Russia.
“Half of all data loss in Russia happens on mobile devices, we intend to fix that problem with the TaigaPhone,” company representative Grigoriy Vasilyev told investors at the forum.
InfoWatch says the device can guarantee the confidentiality of all TaigaPhone users, track the location of each device and prevent information leakage.


Upgrade to boost capacity of CERN’s giant particle smasher

Updated 15 June 2018
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Upgrade to boost capacity of CERN’s giant particle smasher

  • The LHC is undergoing a major upgrade to help further explore the fundamental building blocks of the universe
  • The work involves heavy civil engineering at CERN's LHC’s two main sites in Switzerland and France

GENEVA: A major upgrade began Friday for the world’s most powerful proton smasher to increase the number of particle collisions inside the Large Hadron Collider and help further explore the fundamental building blocks of the universe.
The work involves heavy civil engineering at the LHC’s two main sites in Switzerland and France which are run by Europe’s physics lab CERN, that will allow it to operate in a high-luminosity mode from 2026.
“By 2026, this major upgrade will have considerably improved the performance of the LHC, by increasing the number of collisions in the large experiments and thus boosting the probability of the discovery of new physics phenomena,” CERN said.
The aim is increase tenfold the amount of data which can be picked up by the LHC, which is housed in a 27-kilometer (17-mile) ring-shaped tunnel buried more than 100 meters underground that runs beneath the border of Switzerland and France.
The powerful accelerator, which began operating in 2010, smashes high-energy protons into each other at velocities near the speed of light.
These collisions generate new particles, giving physicists an unprecedented look at the laws of nature in the hope of better understanding particles and matter.
Until now, the LHC has been able to generate nearly a billion collisions per second but the so-called high-luminosity upgrade will allow it to increase the collision rate, thereby allowing for the accumulation of 10 times more data between 2026 and 2036.
“The High-Luminosity LHC will extend the LHC’s reach beyond its initial mission, bringing new opportunities for discovery, measuring the properties of particles such as the Higgs Boson with greater precision, and exploring the fundamental constituents of the universe ever more profoundly,” said CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti.
In 2012, the LHC was used to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson — also dubbed the God particle — which has allowed scientists to make great progress in understanding how particles acquire mass.
A year later, two of the scientists who had theorized the particle’s existence nearly five decades earlier, won the Nobel physics prize for its discovery.
In the works since 2011, the upgrade will allow the LHC to start producing data in high-luminosity mode from 2026.
The project will involve the replacement of high-tech components along 1.2 kilometers of the machine, such as magnets, collimators and radiofrequency cavities.
It will also see the construction of new buildings, shafts, caverns and underground galleries, as well as tunnels and halls to house the new cryogenic equipment, as well as power supplies and cooling and ventilation kit.