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Hackers Hold Silicon Valley's Hometown Newspapers Hostage

The Mr. Robot television series has some real world imitators

1 min read
Hackers Hold Silicon Valley's Hometown Newspapers Hostage
Screenshot: Mischa Nee

Sometime yesterday, 17 September, hackers took over the websites of Silicon Valley’s Embarcadero Media Group, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, the Almanac, the Mountain View Voice, the Pleasanton Weekly, and Palo Alto Online. The group’s newspapers and websites are a key source of local news for Silicon Valley residents, and the Palo Alto Weekly is credited as being the first newspaper in the U.S. to make all of its content available online.

The hackers initially replaced the websites’ normal pages with the image above. At the moment, however, the sites are not loading. The message reads in part:

“Greetings, This site has been hacked.

“Embarcadero Media Group (Almanac) has failed to remove content that has been harmful to the safety and well being of others.

“Failure to honor all requests to remove content will lead to the permanent shutdown of all Embarcadero Media Group Websites….

“We do not forgive, we do not forget, we are legion.”

Embarcadero News Group management has indicated that it will release a statement shortly.

Update: According to a statement issued by Jocelyn Dong, editor of the Palo Alto Weekly, the hackers took over the sites at 10:30 pm Pacific Time on Thursday. The sites are now offline, and the organization is working to restore them. In the meantime, Dong suggests readers visit  the publications’ Facebook pages.

Embarcadero Media Group CEO Bill Johnson stated: “It was an intentionally malicious act. The message indicated a dispute with the Almanac newspaper but didn’t point to any specific article or information, so we really don't know what the significance of that statement is.”

The Palo Alto police department is investigating the incident.

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Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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