The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Over the weekend, the Japanese game company Nintendo announced that it had been hacked a few weeks ago, but that the damage it suffered was minimal. A story in the New York Times reported that the server hacked had no consumer information resident, and that nothing of substance appeared to have been taken.

The Times story states that the hacker group LulzSec, which recently claimed credit for another hack of a Sony website late last week (and which was confirmed by Sony this weekend), also claimed credit for this intrusion.

Sony's stock prices fell this morning on the news of the latest hacking attack.

The LulzSec group also apparently broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) affiliate web site operating in Atlanta, Georgia, causing the FBI to shut the site down over the weekend. According to this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"InfraGard Atlanta, a nonprofit partnership between local business, government and academic security experts and the FBI, was hacked late last week by Lulz Security. LulzSec, as it’s known on-line in cyber security channels, hijacked the InfraGard site and published the email addresses, usernames and passwords of its 180 members."

LulzSec also hit PBS last month as well.

Of more serious implications is the New York Times story on Friday that reports that Lockheed Martin claims it has proof that the hackers who attacked its networks were using stolen SecurID tokens taken during the cyber attack on RSA in April. RSA did not dispute Lockheed Martin's findings, the Times stated.

This latest information should place all 30,000 companies and 40 million users of SecurID on notice that they may be much more vulnerable than they were led to believe.

PHOTO: iStockphoto

The Conversation (0)

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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