New Google Search Feature Calls Up Data Related to Objects in Photos

Today’s topics include the new Google Lens image search technology; reports that the Wannacry ransomware has infected embedded windows medical devices; worries about new waves of ransomware attacks after Wannacry shows up in Metasploit; and the new Cloudflare Argo service that accelerates and secures internet traffic.

Soon, Android users will be able to search for relevant information on objects around them—and take related actions—simply by pointing their mobile device at the things that they are interested in.

For instance, a user looking for reviews on a specific restaurant or for ticket prices to a show could get that information by pointing their Android mobile devices camera at a restaurant sign or event marquee.

The new capabilities will become available sometime this year and are courtesy of Google Lens, an image-based search technology that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help people gain more actionable information about the things around them.

Health care systems using medical devices running embedded Windows have been infected with the WannaCry ransomware, highlighting that the impact of the malware goes beyond lost data or payoffs to cyber-criminals.

A handful of different types of medical systems have been infected with the WannaCry ransomware, disrupting some medical service providers, according to an advisory sent to health care organizations this week.

The advisory—part of an official alert issued by the HITRUST Alliance, a non-profit information sharing and analysis organization—stated that there is “[e]vidence that MedRad (Bayer), Siemens and other unnamed medical devices have been infected”.

Medical systems based on embedded Windows are called “devices” in the industry, but are not to be confused with medical devices that can be implanted in the human body.

The WannaCry ransomware worm that first struck organizations around the world on May 12 continues to be a threat to IT systems as new variants emerge and the underlying exploit is now freely available in the open-source Metasploit penetration testing framework.

Security firm Symantec reported that as of May 15, it had blocked about 22 million WannaCry infection attempts across 300,000 endpoints. The initial WannaCry malware attack included a 'kill switch' that has already been triggered.

With the kill switch, the WannaCry ransomware is supposed to stop encrypting data, if it is able to connect to a specific domain. The worm has also been modified in multiple ways since May 12, with different versions emerging.

The internet is not a static entity as traffic and connectivity demands constantly impact performance. In a bid to help improve performance and internet connectivity, Cloudflare is launching its new Argo service to help accelerate and secure internet traffic.

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince refers to the new Argo service as 'Waze for the internet', a reference to the popular consumer app for vehicle traffic.

The basic idea behind Argo is to use Cloudflare's globally distributed network as a virtual network backbone to make intelligent routing decisions with advanced protocols to improve internet performance. "Cloudflare sees approximately 10 percent of all internet request made on a daily basis," Prince told eWEEK.