Click looks at whether we might one day drive on solar roads and explores the hacker conventions in Las Vegas looking into cyber security.
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writing and selling malware code.
Now on BBC News it's time for Click.
This week, the Sun's the star as it defeats ice cream.
And dazzles geeks.
Take them off guys, you're indoors.
They're ugly, huge and they ruin the landscape,
but we do kind of need them to get from A to B.
But sometimes a road can be more than just a road.
And that's the idea behind a French government backed initiative
using the massive space given over to the transport network
to also capture the Sun through solar roads.
I mean, look at this road, what's it doing right now?
It's looking straight up the sky.
And it's estimated that even busy roads can see the sky
for 70-90% of the time.
But it's not all plain... Sunning.
The problem with putting photovoltaic cells into roads
is the slightest bit of pressure, the slightest bend, and...
So the cells are stuck onto slabs and covered with crushed glass
and a translucent resin.
At the facility near Versailles, in France, these seven millimetre
thick panels are being tested for their strength and durability
so they can withstand heavy traffic as well as ensuring
that they aren't slippery.
We have the cell and on each face we added polymer to increase
the stiffness and the durability of the cells itself.
So do they bend or are they just, are they resistant to bending?
Yes, of course they bend, but just a little bit.
So it resist.
And they are pretty strong.
I'm a geek, I can't open a jar let alone bend a piece of road.
All right, OK, can I smack it on the...?
Uhhhh... Maybe not!
Not so in the corner you know?
The costs though are proving high.
Although the panels can be laid over existing roads,
this one-kilometre stretch in Normandy covering 2,800 square
metres came in at 5 million euros.
That's an estimated 4-6 times the price of covering the area
with conventional solar panels.
Currently, yes, of course the cost is quite high.
The aim is to divide by three the current cost.
It will be within at least one year.
After concerning the interest it's really a political approach.
Critics have questions about the viability of panels
on busy roads and the efficiency of laying panels down flat
on the road surface.
The angle or the tilt angle of the panels will also
influence the efficiency.
If we have them lying on the floor, on the road,
then we are influencing the tilt angle.
One possible advantage of having the panels flat on the ground
is that in the future they could be used to charge electric vehicles
as they move along the road.
And charging vehicles as they move is another idea on the horizon.
Developed by Qualcomm Technologies, this 100-metre stretch
of dynamically charging road is also being trialled in Versailles.
I do like the idea that although the road networks have
obviously been a major source of the planet's pollution problems,
they could also be, in the future, one of the solutions
to the planet's energy crisis.
And with the UK Government phasing out diesel and petrol vehicles,
renewable transport solutions like this might just be the ticket.
Stationery induction charging works like wirelessly charged phones,
producing a magnetic field that's converted to DC power.
Though this technology has been with us for a while, dynamic roads
are an exciting development.
How accurately do you have to park this thing so
the two pads are aligned?
At the moment we're talking about an area the size
of about a dinner plate, as long as that's aligned on both
sides you should be able to send the charge through that.
You have a line of these on a road and you simply connect them all up
and that would effectively give you a charging road.
As long as the car was obviously aligned with that,
and the technology was all linked and synced up, the car
could actually charge while it's driving along using exactly the same
principles and technology.
Critics though worry about the infrastructure costs
of dynamically charging roads.
Others point to the rapid developments in electric vehicle
battery capacity that may remove the need for electric cars
to charge while on the move.
But if solar roads can be made cheaply enough
and withstand heavy traffic, this could be one to watch
in the not too distant future.
It's not just roads that will be changing in the future,
the cars that travel on them will be changing to.
There's a good chance that lots of cars in the future
will be self driving.
The technology to allow this is improving all the time.
Autonomous cars use a suite of sensors to ensure that they drive
safely and one of the most important is lidar, light
detection and ranging.
By bouncing pulses of light from a sensor, the vehicles
autonomous systems can figure out how far away objects are, allowing
it to recognise its surroundings and avoid an accident.
Well now one US start-up has gone further, with a system
that can see further.
We're starting to look more like a camera image almost.
In 3-D, rather than just a few points.
And that's why as I'm zooming around here with this virtual camera,
we can start to make out objects like people and bikers
and those types of things.
You can see the sort of stripes on each object like a topographic
map of the scene around it.
The laser pulses reach up to 200 metres by using a 1550 nanometre
laser, that's far larger than the current standard of 905.
This means that at high speeds, the Luminar system will be able
to detect obstacles earlier and reduce the chance
of an accident.
What this whole games comes down to in the autonomous vehicle space
is all about these edge cases that happen.
It's easy to get an autonomous vehicle to work 99% of the time.
It's very difficult to get it to work that last 1%.
Those are the cases that we have to be able to take into account
and make sure we confidently see and understand.
And autonomous cars today cannot reliably see those
situations up ahead.
But while the automotive industry tries to get up to speed on lidar,
it is being used for other, more portable purposes.
Here's Marc Cieslak.
There are lots of different industries which can take advantage
of lidar technology.
Industries like architecture and construction are very keen
to make use of accurate, quickly created 3-D models.
And the kit is getting smaller all the time.
Wade Sheen is from a US company called Kaarta and they make
hand-held lidar scanners.
Wade, how does the kit work?
Well, the Kaarta system uses a 360 degrees lidar scanner that's
gathering data in three dimensions, an IMU which detects our motion,
and an image sensor.
In combination we know exactly where we are within the environment
without using any other signals such as GPS or radio signal.
Because we know exactly where we are at all times,
within millimetres, we are gathering a point cloud, and that point cloud
can be used by architecture, engineering and construction
industry for them to build accurate 3-D models of their buildings
for both in construction, to verify what they are building
correctly and for older buildings to establish what is already there.
So can you demonstrate for me now, can you make a model
of the exterior of the BBC for me?
OK, I'll let you take it away, Wade.
OK, and now we are building the model.
The red lines we can see on screen here are harmless laser pulses
from the scanner bouncing off the surfaces of the buildings.
The more that Wade walks, the more data he captures.
And that's all there is to it.
24 million point cloud dots pack together to make the finished 3-D
model which is a 100% accurate rendering of the area that is just
been walked through, made in just two minutes.
And then we'll start building the point cloud.
Then we're free to move.
While this scanner is designed for outdoor use, there
is a specially adapted version of the same tech used
for scanning indoors.
It builds internal 3-D models just as quickly as the person wielding
it's legs will carry them.
And while this technology has been designed for industrial use,
there's a certain beauty to the images it creates.
Hello and welcome to The Week in Tech.
It was the week that the script for an unseen episode of Game
of Thrones, as well as those from other HBO shows, was leaked
online by a group of hackers.
An new version of Bitcoin was mined for the first time as the crypto
currency split into two.
And the US Navy's launched its first fighter jet powered
by electromagnetic energy.
The high-tech, high speed, Hyperloop One has
completed its first journey.
A test that propelled this pod through a tube
in the Nevada desert at 192 mph, edging closer to its eventual aim
of one day transporting passengers at speeds of up to 650 mph.
Meanwhile a security researcher managed to hack an Amazon Echo,
making it possible to remotely stream audio from someone's device.
The attack could only work on pre-2017 versions though,
and physical access to the Echo is needed first.
And finally the team behind the hand-held spray
printer painting device, which we showed you a couple
of months ago, have developed a robotic version that made it
possible to paint this giant masterpiece on an abandoned power
station, using five different colours at once.
The sky's the limit.
Last week Kate and Dan were in Vegas at the meanest,
baddest Hackers Expo on the planet.
Well this week one of those hackers, Scott Helm, has offered to give
us his view of what goes on in Vegas during one crazy week each year.
I'm Scott Helm, here to give you a 101 to Black Hat,
BSides and DEF CON, which all happen during one crazy week in Las Vegas.
This is a very, very popular course, we've got some of the latest stuff
that we've found in our own hacking that we do for clients
and we put it into the class.
The good guys have got to learn it because the bad guys already do.
I've embedded some code into the page and then when you load
the page it puts that message up, that it's not supposed to do.
It was a nice introductory level course.
It was a nice introductory level course.
So obviously this could be used for harm and the flip side of this
is, if you were setting up to be a cybercriminal would you come
to a formal conference like this and register to do a training course
under your name?
Or would you go and learn how to do this on the dark web somewhere else?
I don't think we would really expect to see criminals coming
here to learn how to be criminals.
So we are in the vendor hall right now.
This is where all the different companies have their stands,
they can demo their products.
This represents what they do inside your network,
in that an attacker now doesn't know where the real target
is and which one to attack.
I don't know where to look.
Tell me if I'm doing it wrong.
This in the front?
Hang on, wait a minute...
One, two, three, go!
Top three tips?
We're in the desert, drink plenty of water.
Get a goodie bag and fill it with swag.
And don't use the Wi-Fi.
So we've just checked in B-Sides, I have my bag, everyone that attends
the conference gets a little bag of goodies so we're just
going to take a look.
Got a few stickers here, the little Hawaiian necklaces,
a BSides beach towel.
It's very corporate, it's very kind of official and formal.
This is like a much more relaxed setting, it's much more enjoyable.
The opening key note is taking place just behind me,
and we're going to go and take a look around the vendors around
the outside of the chill out room.
Scott, what did you just do?
So, the Wi-Fi network here is monitored,
and the screen behind me shows you things that people
are doing on the network.
So we managed to just get the BBC Click logo and Rory
up on the big screen.
This is a tool called a doppler.
The whole idea is it's analysing the network,
and then carving out images real time, and displaying them up
for everybody to see.
So anything that anybody is looking at on the network,
we can see as well.
I found some friends.
I found some ex-colleagues of mine from England.
So which talks are you going to?
I'm going to the banking on insecurity nets,
which you are banned from.
As members of the press.
Yes, so being members of the press at BSides,
we can't go into the underground track, which is no
press, no filming.
Most people don't even use their real names in the schedule,
and unfortunately we're banned, we can't go in there.
It's like a party in here.
I can't hear anything.
It's a tech conference, it's a hacker conference.
People often think it might be less sociable,
but this is where most of us do our networking.
We're in the middle of filming and somebody has just hacked the PA
system in the hotel.
Yes. Thank you.
We made it, we got one.
Effectively, this badge is like a tiny computer,
and I can make it do like really cool stuff.
Yeah, we have come to the chill out zone just to take a little break.
I bumped into an old work colleague and friend of mine, Andy.
He's a goon here, at DEF CON this year.
Most people probably won't know what being a goon is, so...
So being a goon is basically the enforcement of fun.
So we were walking the corridors earlier today, and we heard some
numbers being thrown around, in the region of 50-60,000
attacks a day are launched against the DEF CON network,
is that accurate?
It's what you would expect of a hacking conference's network.
There's no official challenge, but hackers going to hack.
Federal agents attend the Conference dressed in plain clothing.
There's 30,000 people here.
It's easy for them to blend in, and there's a running competition
every year to try and spot and identify federal agents.
My guesses would be they're looking out for people they may
need to keep an eye on, and the other side of
that is talent acquisition.
So we were watching somebody get their first implant.
Are you nervous?
Yes, a little bit.
I'm kind of wondering, how much it will hurt.
Oh, that felt weird!
I am going for the NFC chip.
I'm going to apply a little bit of pressure.
It was literally like something poking around inside my hand.
My front door lock at home, I'm going to replace
it with an NFC lock, and it will sense the chip in my
hand and unlock my door for just me.
When you're at DEF CON, you just never know
what is going to happen next, it could be a complete surprise.
It's through here.
Scott and I have been exclusively invited for a first
look at this black box.
A box allowing anyone to go undercover on the net.
So what we have created is a VPN and Wi-Fi hotspot
which is the size of a match box.
What it also has the ability to do, is mask your location
and the person you might be communicating with's location.
Additionally, we have the ability to take this VPN and connect it
to a server, your laptop, a desktop, a smartphone
or any IOT device.
It's so new, the company doesn't even know what they are
going to call it yet.
A few days ago, it bought up start up Casala, which makes the box,
a new version of which Silent will put on sale in
the next few months.
There are other boxes like this out there -
Shellfire, for example, and VPN software for routers, though
these can be fiddly to set up, but this nameless cube comes
from a recognised brand.
Silent Circle made its name with the Blackphone,
the first, it's claimed, to be built with security in mind
from the ground up and NSA proof.
The box's launch could be of the moment, as Apple succumbs
to Chinese Government pressure to withdraw VPN apps
from its online store last week - the very ones that would allow users
to circumvent China's great firewall.
Big claims come with the box, but Silent Circle is being
Secret Squirrel about how they work.
What is Government grade encryption, exactly?
And will its estimated $500 plus price tag be
justified by the claim it's completely snoop free?
We have specifically designed a device to not allow anyone
in the outside world, or our company, to access any
of the data or box itself.
Our response to any Government inquiry is to push it
back to the end user.
After the exclusive reveal to Click, was our security
man Scott buying in?
It offers the same level of security as any VPN provider in that
from you to the VPN end point you are secure.
As the provider, though, the service provider,
they have the ability to inspect and monitor your traffic.
So they do.
They can intercept it?
Yes, they are the service provider, they have to be able to see
the traffic because they're handling it and routing it.
It would be down to them to choose not to do that and respect
their customer's privacy.
Which, for a firm like Silent Circle, I think we could have
faith in them that they wouldn't do that, but at a purely
technical level that is a capability they have.
We went back to Silent Circle, which told us that it was able
to monitor customers' traffic, but added it would only hand over
data to a government if forced to by law.
This room is full of people trying to break the encryption
we rely on every day.
But in the next 15 years or so, these clever exploits might be
superseded by a new type of computer that can breakthrough current
security barriers 100 million times faster than even the fastest
supercomputer in use today.
With this new threat comes a new type of encryption that
using particles of light and makes it impossible for for hackers
to cover their tracks.
The Chinese government think this tech is so important,
it's already testing satellites in orbit.
During the next three minutes I'm going to explain this futuristic
technology using ice-cream.
Because - well, why not?
Today's computers send data using electricity,
which can only exist in two states.
On or off.
One or zero.
Quantum technology uses quantum bits, or qubits.
In one form, these can be particles of light,
smaller than an atom, which, like conventional bits,
can be a one or a zero, but they can also be both
at the same time.
To understand why, you would have to understand quantum physics, and -
well, good luck with that.
For the rest of us mere mortals, all we'd to know is because of this
while a collection of regular bits can represent only a single number
at one time, the same number of qubits can
represent many numbers.
Making them vastly more complex and powerful.
Another feature of quantum physics is that the mere act of observing
a particle changes its state.
And that is the really important thing for cyber security.
It makes it physically impossible for a hacker to hide the fact
they have looked at the data, because doing so changes
So, if I want to create a secure communications link with Scott,
I send him a quantum key that only he and I will know.
I don't need to lock the box I send it in,
because if someone intercepts it and looks inside,
its state will change.
When the key reaches Scott, he will know it's been hacked,
so we can throw it away, and try again until it
gets through safely.
We will then know we have the only two copies of a completely secret
quantum key, to unlock encrypted messages between us,
making them incredibly secure.
Until recently quantum communications was limited to hops
of a couple of kilometres at a time because light signal breaks down
when travelling great distances through fibre cables.
Much like I would if I had to walk all the way back to Vegas in this
heat without taking a break.
But last month, the Chinese reported successful tests covering 1,200
kilometre using a dedicated low orbit satellite.
North America, European, Australia and Japan are other big
players in the race.
Given the development in the last five years,
it's impressive to see how much better the systems have got
and how much more powerful the technologies have become,
so it's not impossible, in my opinion, we could
have a quantum computer in the next five to ten, or maybe 20 years.
It's an exciting advance, and has massive implications
for securing channels that carry sensitive information,
like banking or health records.
It could even revolutionise democracy, as it opens
the possibility of digital voting, in way that cannot be tampered
with without someone knowing.
That's our team in Las Vegas, demystifying some of the darker
realms of cyber security and the sort of things we might be
talking about in the coming years.
And you will find plenty more on hacking, privacy and security
at our website and on our social media, as part of the BBC's
cyber hack season.
You can follow us on Twitter, at BBC Click and Facebook too.
Thanks for watching and we'll see you soon.
Thanks for watching and we'll see you soon.
Whatever you have in mind this particular weekend,
be it some rest for some play or for some, just more work,