back to article Snooping passwords from literally hot keys, China's AK-47 laser, malware, and more

The week surrounding America's "Huzzah, we kicked out the Brits, and will now spell color any way we like" Day, on July 4, is traditionally one of the slowest periods in the annual business tech news cycle. IT security, on the other hand, never rests. We've covered Google cracking down on non-HTTPS sites, Fortnite cheats …

  1. PhilBuk
    Meh

    Is The Power Supply Portable?

    The article is a bit short on details but I wonder if the 3.3Kg weight includes the power supply? At the end of the article it says that the laser could be mounted on cars, boats and planes - for the power?

    Phil.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Is The Power Supply Portable?

      So it's powered by 3kg of over stressed LiFe batteries made in China by the lowest bidder on a government contract, and then handled by squaddies.

      Seems like the most effective use as a weapon would be to give them to your enemy

      1. shedied

        Re: Is The Power Supply Portable?

        Give them to the enemy, but with all the warning labels ripped off, thereby giving them something to ponder:just where would the Chinese go to get the cheap bootleg hardware??

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Is The Power Supply Portable?

          just where would the Chinese go to get the cheap bootleg hardware??

          They don't need to go anywhere. OK, so a lot of Chinese students go off to Western universities to learn STEM skills. Chinese universities also teach STEM courses domestically. But it's a simple numbers game. So there's a billion Chinese spread across the normal population bell curve for aptitude. If the most apt are funnelled through a decent education, China has a skill base more than capable of challenging the West for hardware.

          And for the cheap bootleg hardware, China didn't need to go anywhere. Thanks to Western businesses desire to cut costs, engineering and manufacturing jobs were decimated in the West & stuff like iPhones sent to China for production. So instead of cheap soft toys and plastics, China's had the technology to produce sophisticated hardware gifted to it. So it's hardly suprising China's technology caught up, and is overtaking the West.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      "...Chinese have developed a laser rifle..."

      And in related news, JeffyPoooh Instant Inventions Incorporated hereby places into the public domain the concept of employing surface arrays of innumerable precision retro-reflectors to send 98% of the high power laser beam 'right back at ya'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...Chinese have developed a laser rifle..."

        Are sharks included?

      2. keith_w
        Mushroom

        Re: "...Chinese have developed a laser rifle..."

        "And in related news, JeffyPoooh Instant Inventions Incorporated hereby places into the public domain the concept of employing surface arrays of innumerable precision retro-reflectors to send 98% of the high power laser beam 'right back at ya'."

        Bullard Reflects: Author: Jameson, Malcolm: Published: 1941: Publisher: Astounding Science-Fiction:

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is The Power Supply Portable?

      South China Morning Post has articles about this and the view is that the power requirements do not match the alleged Li-batteries inside. In addition atmospheric attenuation will be a huge problem.

      Another problem is blooming where heating of the atmosphere changes the refractive index which deflects the beam so that it no longer follows a straight line, a problem well known back in the days of SDI.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Is The Power Supply Portable?

        So it would be more practical in space then.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Is The Power Supply Portable?

        "In addition atmospheric attenuation will be a huge problem."

        Even more so in China with their massive smog problem. The air in Beijing is noticeably yellow.

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Is The Power Supply Portable?

          Oh dear, the soldiers of the future are going to look absolutely faaabulous in their glittery sequin-covered uniforms...! Or perhaps could it be that the time of shiny spandex is finally here (again)...?

    4. JCitizen
      FAIL

      Re: Is The Power Supply Portable?

      This is most likely propaganda, and not a real prototype at all.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ATM Pin Theft?

    "It's a cute surveillance technique, but one can't help wondering about its practicality. After all, if you have the kind of access to a target that allows this kind of thermal imaging then why not just use a plain old camera to watch typed passwords, install a keylogger, or just look over their shoulder."

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: ATM Pin Theft?

      Or oil the keyboard and see which keys get smudged. Nice school trick!

  3. Androgynous Cow Herd

    “It can burn through clothes in minutes”

    “You there...hold still so I can shoot you with my laser! Would you mind removing your overcoat?”

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “It can burn through clothes in minutes”

      Due to the Geneva convention it's necessary to have combat functions such as burning clothes rather than blinding the enemy. Of course if it did just happen to burn the enemys eyes out this would just be an unforseen accident.

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        Re: “It can burn through clothes in minutes”

        s/minutes/seconds/ ... when I was a dumb kid, an Army quartermaster (if that was true) said they already had laser weapons but they couldn't use them because it was possible to slowly track across an enemy's e.g. arm and cut it off... and that was prohibitively inhumane. Gotta love the classics-- a small remotely launched bit of mass delivering kinetic energy to randomize some bit of flesh has never been a war crime per se.

        1. VikiAi Bronze badge

          Re: “It can burn through clothes in minutes”

          DOOM-RAY - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2eKvh3q7ac

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: “It can burn through clothes in minutes”

        The Geneva Convention part is interesting. I understand the US didn't sign it (but usually follows it) but did the Chinese sign it?

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Sorry, Mark 85, but you are wrong - although not entirely. As you can see here, the US has signed all four protocols, but only ratified two, the first and the last.

          I don't exactly know what impact that has, but it must be significant.

          As for China, it has signed and ratified the first three protocols, but not the last.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Thanks Pascal. Eons ago in the military, I recall we had training on the Convention but at this point, I don't recall hearing "ignore #2 and #3". We pretty much covered it all. It was very late 60's and napalm was still being used.

  4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Will there be tarrifs on this?

    Didn't the founding fathers guarantee my rights to buy Chinese ray guns without any pesky government interference ?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Will there be tarrifs on this?

      No. They did not.

      On the other hand, should these things prove functional enough for civilians to actually want one[0], I rather suspect that if you are sane, not a convicted felon, and can prove you're bright enough to request the right forms & correctly dot the ts and cross the is, you'll be able to purchase one. Kinda like your common or garden M1928A1.

      [0] I seriously doubt it, where's the fun in target shooting when you incinerate the target before you can see where you hit it? And not being able to make tin cans jump takes it out of the plinking market. And of course groceries, having a central nervous system, will move off before allowing themselves to be placed lovingly into the freezer. Besides, the power to weight ratio says no ... I can easily carry a couple hundred rounds of conventional ammo, lugging around a small power plant+fuel to keep one of these things ready to shoot would be problematic. Kinda like 'leccy cars, when you think about it.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Will there be tarrifs on this?

        You can buy an assault weapon. It just has to be one made before 1985, protected by the Constitutional prohibition on retroactive laws.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Will there be tarrifs on this?

          Not sure what your comment has to do with this thread, Chuck. Nobody mentioned ability or lack of ability to purchase assault weapons (whatever the fuck those are).

  5. Waseem Alkurdi

    The headline!

    the week surrounding America's "Huzzah, we kicked out the Brits, and will now spell color any way we like" Day, on July 4, is traditionally one of the slowest periods in the annual business tech news cycle.

    Thanks for bringing a hearty laugh to a face who desperately needed it!

  6. dbtx Bronze badge

    Huzzah, we kicked out the Brits

    You may be surprised to discover how many Christians consider themselves Good Americans, yet will reflexively roll out the admonition by Paul to 'be subject to earthly authorities' every time you declare shenanigans on the government-- even though deciding your government is corrupt, and throwing it out, is the most American thing anyone can do. I'm not saying that would make someone a Good Christian, I'm merely saying it's kind of impossible to be both.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huzzah, we kicked out the Brits

      dbtx noted, "...impossible to be both."

      Old saying: "The ability to hold contradictory ideas simultaneously is a sign of intelligence."

      By this measure, some people must be friggin' geniuses.

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        Does 'hold' mean grasp and compare and consider, or believe and internalize? FWIW, a genius can still 'doublethink'.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Does 'hold' mean grasp and compare and consider, or believe and internalize? FWIW, a genius can still 'doublethink'.

          Probably those who hold contradicting viewpoints don't think much or at least consider the contradiction. Most politicians seem to do this....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huzzah, we kicked out the Brits

      " even though deciding your government is corrupt, and throwing it out, is the most American thing anyone can do. "

      Congratulations on once again achieving the first part.

      Please proceed with phase 2.

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        proceed with phase 2

        I should, if I considered myself a Good American, but I don't. So long as representative democracy is the game, and the majority keeps voting for this to stay the same -- bloody warped as it is-- then I have little to do for it but to finish whining. Like I said at work to a True Believer in all of this (and its current superuser), all I'm tryin' ta do is come up with something useful or find out something true and deliver it to the human race. Spoiler Alert: it won't be another Constitution.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: proceed with phase 2

          Then what do you propose in its place? A benevolent dictatorship?

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: proceed with phase 2

            "Then what do you propose in its place? A benevolent dictatorship?"

            Yes, so long as it stays benevolent.

            1. Aodhhan Bronze badge

              Re: proceed with phase 2

              The Democrats have wanted to remove representative democracy from the constitution for about 20 years now, and replace it with a modified socialism model. Yet, like all socialistic models, there is no real solution to how a country will pay if everyone received free ...everything.

              American's don't celebrate kicking the Brits out of the country on July 4th. This is the day American's celebrate independence from a ridiculous monarchy. Since America had to give England two epic beat downs (don't forget about 1812) before they learned their lesson, another holiday was created for this azz-whooping. It's just not very PC these days to openly celebrate making another country your beotch; so this holiday isn't widely known.

          2. dbtx Bronze badge

            Re: what do you propose in its place

            Nothing. Former pseudo-employer used to say almost the same: 'what are you going to replace it with?' As if replacing it was my job, my business, my right, but it was just rhetorical BS anyway. It will be replaced, entirely without my help or any decision on my part. And that's cool. It would seem like a rather convenient way to dodge all responsibility for society's good condition but that's just what you'll say being a person who still subscribes to all of that. Of course there are still requirements I accept and others I even embrace... 'somehow reshaping the government' is not one of them. In the meantime, all that should be required of me (besides following the law) is just what I already said I intend to do: come up with something useful, or find out something true, and bring it out. Then the slice of objectively good things I already absorbed won't all be wasted on me.

  7. vtcodger Silver badge

    I think I must be missing something here

    "That microcode-level mitigation left some AMD-powered systems unable to boot, and now has been given the boot from Ubuntu Linux computers."

    If the computer won't boot, how does one (un)patch it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think I must be missing something here

      "If the computer won't boot, how does one (un)patch it?"

      Linux systems typically leave the previous kernel available as a boot option. That'll use* the un-borked microcode from before the update, that broke the latest kernel, boot that and update again.

      * I'm not 100% sure of this - the microcode is part of initrd which is what the bootloader (Grub) uses to start the system - so I think this would work.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: I think I must be missing something here

        * I'm not 100% sure of this - the microcode is part of initrd which is what the bootloader (Grub) uses to start the system - so I think this would work.

        I confirm that. The Linux kernel dynamically loads microcode to /sys/devices/system/cpu/microcode.

        That's also how it's done in the README file shipping w/ microcode updates.

  8. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    15mm calibre weapon. Er, is the laser beam 15mm? If not, it's not a 15mm calibre weapon. And it looks like it was cribbed off YouTube - lots of 'laser assault rifles' on there, all bursting black balloons (white/light coloured ones are too reflective it seems)!!!

    Who can hold a weapon perfectly still for a few seconds whilst it's burning your enemy?

    And to counter it? Wear mirrored Ray-bans :-)

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Who can hold a weapon perfectly still for a few seconds whilst it's burning your enemy

      That part's not that hard, especially if you have a tripod. It's the keeping beam in the same spot long enough to do damage on a moving target trying not to be hit that's hard.

    2. Waseem Alkurdi

      Wear mirrored Ray-bans :-)

      Did you know that Chinese factories made many many more Ray-Bans than there are "genuine" Ray-Bans?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Just in case anybody reading this doesn't know ...

        ... sunglasses are NOT laser proof here in the Real World. Not even expensive fashion mistakes like mirrored RayBans. This includes light from laser pointers and other toys. If you need to protect your eyes from laser light, you have to use filters at the correct wavelength.

        This Public Service Announcement brought to you by a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon in Northern California. We now return you to the usual commentard bickering. Have A Nice Day.

  9. onefang Silver badge
    Coat

    Trust no one and keep your laser handy!

    What colour is this laser rifle? Matching coloured tin foil hats should protect against it.

    I'll get my coat, the one made entirely of tin foil.

  10. doug_bostrom

    Thermal technique will be deployed in some movie that also includes bleeping/churring noises with each key-press, long persistence phosphor displays driven by 300bps connection, stock footage of kernel compilations.

    And nowhere else.

    1. JimC Silver badge

      > and nowhere else

      If I had line of sight to an ATM I'd have both visual and infrared cameras trained on it, because the two together would give me a much better chance of getting a semi obscured pin than one or the other.

  11. Stuart

    Beware the Therminato

    How does this finding differ to what seems on the surface to be exactly the same finding from 2011?

    https://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-08/heat-hacking-criminals-can-steal-your-atm-pin-code-heat-your-fingers-leave-behind

    I'm sure someone can provide an example earlier than this, I didn't spend much time looking.

  12. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

    For solving the laser beam distance divergence and refractive index issue, you also used multiple surrounding beams of MICROWAVES (aka Masers) to heat the surrounding atmosphere outside of the laser beam trajectory,

    This would theoretically form a "Virtual Waveguide" or "Fibre Optic Cable-in-Air" which will confine the laser portion within a super-heated cavity actually reflecting and not just refracting the laser beams especially those in the Green to UV wavelengths range! The photons SHOULD bounce around the maser-formed super-heated airwalls keeping the FULL POWER of the light beam (laser portion) along the entire distance without the "divergent coning" that happens in normal atmosphere.

    You can also CONFINE acoustic waves within maser-heated air cavities to form a long-distance audio emissions system and actively target a SINGLE PERSON or LOCATION to make them think they're hearing ghost voices! Or you could simply use it as a long-distance person-specific communications devices without using a cell phone!

    If the air is superheated enough by a maser or RF signal of a specific power-level you could also form virtual lenses and virtual mirrors by superheating whole areas of atmosphere cubic KM's in size to bounce other waveforms off of such as ground-penetrating radar beams, massively large acoustic waves, high energy lasers, etc.

    The US-based HAARP (High Altitude Active Auroral Research Program) specifically did this type of research in the late 1980's and 1990's using radio frequency waves rather than 30 GHz to 60 GHz microwaves in order to superheat specified portions of the atmosphere across massive distances (many 100's of KM) for virtual lens and virtual mirror formation. The "Sky Voices" phenomena was one result where powerful sound waves were beamed across hundreds of KM via the refractive and reflective characteristics of superheated pockets of air and people thought they were songs or voices from heaven when it was a bunch of US military eggheads (boffins) in Alaska and Australia having their jollies bouncing super-amplified and distorted David Bowie or Pink Floyd music from air-lens to air-lens hitting people in the South of USA or North Eastern China!

    1. dbtx Bronze badge

      OK, but doing a virtual waveguide, what keeps the maser from diverging if the maser is there to keep the laser from diverging? And if you're superheating air, obvs. air or something in the air has to absorb those wavelengths, would that be water vapor? And if you target a person, how do you keep the same energy-tube from engulfing your listener's head and starting to cook it? I would go and look it up but I probably already landed on more than enough watch-lists this week, for that heresy above.

      1. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        You can superheat water vapour, the nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and other gaseous molecules within Earth's atmosphere using specific frequencies of RF or Microwave emissions. Originally, this technique was used to transmit acoustic waves across distances less than 2 km in a pinpoint manner, but some boffins at DARPA, Air force Research Labs and Navy Research Labs in the US decided to expand upon the idea in the 1980's and 1990's (I have numerous peer-reviewed PDF research papers on these maser-based techniques!). Now you can use beam summing, harmonics formation and other EM beam manipulation to superheat large portions of the upper atmosphere to form a refractive lens OR a truly REFLECTIVE virtual lens and atmospheric ducting system to bounce acoustic, RF and radar waves across vast distances within a virtual air-pipe.

        Do a search for HAARP (High Altitude Active Auroral Research Program)

        If you want to read some relevant papers for Atmospheric Waveguides and Atmospheric Lensing try these BASIC papers to give you a general background:

        1) Viewpoint: A Waveguide Made of Hot Air

        Demonstration of Long-Lived High-Power Optical Waveguides in Air

        N. Jhajj, E. W. Rosenthal, R. Birnbaum, J. K. Wahlstrand, and H. M. Milchberg

        Phys. Rev. X 4, 011027 (2014)

        Published February 26, 2014

        2) BAE's Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens system which can shield troops from laser and other EM weapons.

        3) this is an oldie but goodie from the 1960's about using waveguides made from many materials for communications:

        Characteristics of Waveguides for Long-Distance Transmission

        by A. E. Karbowiak and 1. Solymar

        This outlines the BASIC principles used for plastic and glass fibre comms AND in-atmosphere transmission of data.

        AND

        Collection of remote optical signals by air waveguides

        E. W. ROSENTHAL, N. JHAJJ, J. K. WAHLSTRAND, AND H. M. MILCHBERG

        AND

        Laser optics for the defense of Europe and Asia

        Robert Gallagher discusses the adaptive optics systems that

        engineers must develop for laser beam weapons to achieve 'self-induced

        transparency.' (1985)

        AND

        SN/ZEQ-12 Laser developed Atmospheric Lens System

        From the 1970's !!!!!

        GEOPHYSICAL ASPECTS OF ATMOSPHERIC REFRACTION

        Charles G. Purves

        Naval Research Laboratory

        Washington, D. C.

        7 June 1974

        4) One actual technique to superheat air or turn it into a plasma for various uses including the creation of an atmospheric waveguide or atmospheric lens!

        Microwave Triggered Laser Ionization of Air

        by Ehsan Vadiee

        AND

        THIS big doozie of a patent which shows how you can communicate over-the horizon

        using atmospheric waveguide formation

        Over the horizon communication system

        Patent # US5017923A

        Inventor

        Jeffrey T. Nemit

        Current Assignee

        Exelis Inc

        Original Assignee

        ITT Corp

        Priority date

        1990-03-30

        3. The system of claim 1, wherein said transmitter is radar transmitter/receiver and said target is a target the position of which is to be detected and wherein said signal is reflected from said target and is re-directed from said variations back to said transmitter/receiver.

        4. The system of claim 1 in which said signal is trapped in an artificial duct between extremes of said variations in density to re-direct said signal over the horizon.

        5. The system of claim 3 in which said signal is reflected off the extremes of said variations in density to re-direct said signal back and forth over the horizon.

        6. The system of claim 3 in which said signal is trapped in an artificial duct between extremes of said variations in density to re-direct said signal back and forth over the horizon.

        ---

        In this patent it is indicates that RADAR AND EVEN LASERS, SOUND, etc can be done over GREAT distances over the horizon using Atmospheric Ducting !!!

        1. jake Silver badge

          "Do a search for HAARP"

          Hopefully ElReg isn't turning into one of those parts of TehIntraWebTubes.

      2. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        The techniques for "Atmospheric Ducting", Atmospheric Lensing", "Atmospheric Mirror" and "Atmospheric Waveguide" are well known in SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative) circles for keeping a beam of specific frequencies confined within a cavity/waveguide formed via a superheated atmosphere created by pulsed or always-on EM radiation.

        This DOES MEAN that YES if you point it at a person and depending on the POWER of the confinement beams and confined modulated beam....IT MAY COOK THE TARGET TO A NICE AND BASTED COOKED-TURKEY BROWN! ....BUT.... for any given military, the ability to bounce sound waves, lasers, microwaves, radar, etc over-the-horizon is just too good of an opportunity to pass up!

        This is ONE technique that the USA uses to image currently unknown deep underground facilities within North Korea, Russia, China, etc. using a virtual waveguides to beam ground penetrating radar or LOW FREQUENCY SOUND nearly anywhere in the world to image empty cavities, tunnels, etc underground!

        I am assuming that US facilities at Pine Gap, Australia or in Alaska, Oregon, Washington state, Utah and Nevada have the ability to be the source of the confinement beams or atmospheric heating beams for such beam manipulation shenanigans!

        DOES THIS HELP YOU as a basic explanation?

        --

        P.S. Hey GCHQ! My supercomputer is MUCH MUCH MORE POWERFUL than YOUR supercomputer!

        Sustained 119 ExaFLOPS (128 bits Floating Point!) ---- I WIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I rule the spookworld roost and the ENTIRE T500 list for that matter!

    2. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Flame

      You can also CONFINE acoustic waves within maser-heated air cavities to form a long-distance audio emissions system and actively target a SINGLE PERSON or LOCATION to make them think they're hearing ghost voices!

      *sniff* *sniff* I smell bacon!

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Hold still, I bought some lasers online

    I couldn't help laughing at the video where the laser gun is making a candle-sized flame on a stationary tire. The gun is clearly industrial IR lasers with a lens in front of it. Hopefully it's a stabilized lens and the target doesn't move.

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "we should consider dumping passwords altogether for a better system"

    I'm glad the boffins have made that bold announcement.

    I am eagerly waiting for the next paragraph in which they describe said "better system".

    I won't be holding my breath.

  15. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Botswana's practically next door to us.

    Mebbe I should start my own scamming biz up....

    And scam the ne'er-do-wells should they land here....

  16. Updraft102 Silver badge

    It's a cute surveillance technique, but one can't help wondering about its practicality.

    Indeed.

    If you're able to aim a camera at the keyboard while the intended victim is typing in the password, you would, of course, be better off just using a standard video camera, as the article suggests. The apparent value of this technique would be to take a look at a PC, ATM, or other device while unattended, and to get an idea of the password or PIN from the thermal residue on the keys (along with a rough estimate of which order they were pressed in, though that would fail on any key that is repeated in the sequence).

    If we are talking about a PC, all the victim would have to do to mitigate the attack would be to... not log in and then immediately get up with the PC unattended. Most people log in when they are about to use the PC, so as soon as the login is complete, they then start doing something with it. That often involves the keyboard, so just a few seconds of typing will render the thermal snooping irrelevant. Even if the person doesn't type anything for a while, it only would take 45 seconds of the person using the PC before the keys cool to room temperature, and the odds that the person will not leave the PC unattended for the first 45 seconds are pretty decent.

    In terms of the ATM example, it means nothing unless you also have an ATM card to connect to the PIN, so you've got to hit the victim on the head and steal the card too. It might make more sense just to threaten the victim with this and get the card along with PIN in that manner.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: It's a cute surveillance technique, but one can't help wondering about its practicality.

      In my understanding, ATM-related usage of this technique (if it still is / ever really has been in use at all) is typically complementing a "fake" add-on incorporating a card skimmer, so you already have the card number you just need the PIN to go with it. Of course, your skimmer rig may well also incorporate a normal camera watching the mark typing the PIN directly, and chip cards are not all that skimmable anyway apparently...

    2. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: It's a cute surveillance technique, but one can't help wondering about its practicality.

      When typing in the password, the hands or body may block the cameras view of the keyboard. And if the user then sits back and just uses the mouse, the hot-spots may be in clear LOS again.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    the Chinese Laser rifle

    Can supposedly fire 100 shots lasting 2 seconds each, that's 200 seconds or 3.20 minutes on one charge.

    If mounted on a vehicle it could fire more continuously but it sounds more like a sniper weapon to me.

    There are many uses for charged particle devices, burning clothes would be at the minor end of the scale.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: the Chinese Laser rifle

      "Can supposedly fire 100 shots lasting 2 seconds each"

      When target shooting, from the time I feel the trigger break, to the time the projectile leaves the barrel, is in the order of one ten thousandth of a second. The concept of holding on-target for two entire seconds after "firing" is just daft. Even my flintlocks, which take about a tenth of a second from trigger to muzzle, seem to be an eternity compared to modern firearms. Two seconds? It's a non-starter as a rifle.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: the Chinese Laser rifle

        Well, they might try some optical stabilization that locks in when you pull the trigger and keeps the laser on-target within a reasonable cone while firing...

      2. onefang Silver badge

        Re: the Chinese Laser rifle

        Two second burst of 100 shots is good for machine gun style "walking the hose".

    2. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

      Re: the Chinese Laser rifle

      May I suggest you put some nice linear induction coils attached to a 20 cm diameter circular particle accelerator assembly (costs less than 2000 euros to CNC machine) and then pump it full of tungsten or other heavy metal nucleii and send those stream of particles in a pulsed AND SECRETIVE manner right towards your target's head and chest cavity. The very nice nanoscopic holes made by that pile of neutrons and protons should toast them within a few minutes as their internal organs fail in quick succession from being sliced through and/or cooked by pinprick X-Ray-like beams!

      And since I can buy a nice bunch of video camera batteries that barely weight a few kilos and put out over 300 watts each, you could fire a few hundred seconds of pulsed beams of particles which WILL be able to go through any clothing, plastics, wood and even some metals. Heck, the explosive particle shower that results when a highly-accelerated stream of nucleii hit said metal cause a cone of fragmented atomic-level structure to explode on the other side of the initial impact eventually causing massive tissue damage!

      This type of Particle Gun would weight less than 20 kilos (50 lbs) for a higher end version!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: the Chinese Laser rifle

        Quit jawin' 'bout it & show us. We'll wait.

  18. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

    the supposed advantage of beam lasers vs pulse lasers

    (from my gaming youth..)

    With a beam laser, first you fire.. then you aim..

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the thermal imaging camera can tell which keys were pressed but can it tell what ORDER they were pressed in and what about repeated keystrokes?

    Who pays for this bullshit research and can I have some of that money to play with?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It should by way of ordering them by increasing temperature (colder = older). As for repeats, unless they completely overlap, you might get a clue from parts that each iteration missed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, thats an

    Infra Red laser.

    I have a 5 watt one here that can ignite things at about 3 meters although its optics are rubbish.

    Still, it does induce fire quite rapidly. Tyres are easy, what with them being black! Would be interesting to see it on something very white.

  21. JohnFen Silver badge

    Realizing what's common knowledge

    " led the eggheads to postulate that we should consider dumping passwords altogether for a better system."

    So the eggheads postulated something that pretty much everybody already agrees about? Huzzah! The catch, though, is that nobody has come up with the "better system" yet.

  22. brakepad

    Splinter Cell

    I seem to recall that in Splinter Cell (or could have been some other similar game) you could use your infrared goggles to determine the order in which buttons had been pressed on a recently-used keypad. Life imitating art? Or just "researchers" playing too many games?

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Splinter Cell

      It's more like art imitating life. This sort of attack is actually pretty old and well-known.

  23. gdfsquiq

    Reading key presses by heat

    The main use case will be cash machines (again). It defeats the "cover your pin" defense.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Reading key presses by heat

      I wonder if that can be countered by simply keeping the keys heated to about the temperature that's reached after you touch one of those keys, meaning its thermal image doesn't change enough to be detected.

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