NASA’s Voyager probes are soon in for a long slumber
NASA will begin shutting off some onboard systems of its two Voyager probes soon. The two probes, which were built in the 1970s, are still operating, but their power levels have been dropping in recent years. The fact that the probes are still operating is remarkable, as they were only designed for a four-year mission. Now, 44 and a half years on and the probes’ power levels aren’t what they were, so NASA wants to start switching off some systems to keep them going for as long as possible.
Voyager 1 and 2 entered interstellar space in 2013 and 2018 respectively after passing the heliopause, the edge of the suns’s solar wind. Their journey until now hasn’t been without problems. Voyager 1 recently suffered an error with its altitude system and in 2020 Voyager 2 had a power glitch. Both probes are still sending and receiving data, though. NASA wants the probes to continue until 2030. After that, it’s off to the great black beyond for the probes where they’ll likely outlive the Earth. You know, if they aren’t demolished by an asteroid or something.
Source: Digital Trends
South African Police Service to use drones for crime monitoring
Police minister Bheki Cele wrote, in response to a recent parliamentary Q&A, that the South African Police Service (SAPS) was in the process of procuring a total of 166 drones to be deployed in three phases across 43 areas. Cele said the drones were being acquired for use in operational command centres, the Safer City Projects, and in rural safety plans across the country.
This might seem like a big first step for SAPS but it has already conducted a few trials in some areas of Johannesburg. But this will be the first time drones are used as part of a national rollout for SAPS. Private security companies have been using drones for a few years already, especially in built-up areas and secure complexes. It can be difficult to track burglars on foot, so having a few eyes in the sky can help tremendously.
The Indian Government has sprung an infosec leak
Don’t you hate it when you ask people to stop leaking things and they leak that request? Apple does and now the Indian government knows how that feels, according to a report from The Register. Last week, the government circulated a document containing confidential information security details and guidelines for its employees and contractors. Well, it didn’t take long, or much effort, for The Register to find a copy on an Indian government website.
It seems likely that whoever posted the letter either didn’t read it or has a cruel sense of irony because, as you’d imagine, one of the points on the “Cyber Security Don’ts” list is “Don’t share any sensitive information with any unauthorized or unknown person over telephone or through any other medium.” That’s gotta sting.
It wasn’t all bad news though. The “Do’s” part of the letter contained some helpful tips that we’re sure many South Africans, like those that used to work for TransUnion, need to read. Those include using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, always install security updates, and don’t leave your work station logged in and unattended. These are all good things to practice for anyone but the fact that India’s government had to send out a letter stipulating everything might be cause for concern.
Epic Games launches ratings and polls feature
Late last week, Epic Games rolled out an update to the Epic Game Store to add user reviews and polls, a feature many had been asking for since the platform launched. The new feature allows users to provide direct feedback to community members on the games they’re playing. But, instead of a system like Steam, Epic’s system will randomly ask players with over two hours on record to score the game on a 5-star scale. The user’s score will be calculated into the game’s overall score which will be displayed on the games store page.
The company says the randomness of the system will prevent angry users, trolls, and bots from spamming a game with negative reviews. Only players of the games will be asked to provide feedback and not everyone will be asked to score all of their games. In addition to the rating, Epic will also poll players with multiple-choice questions after a gaming session, like if the game is good to play with friends or how challenging the combat is. It will then use poll results to generate tags for the games’s store page to make it a little easier to find games of a similar nature. Doing things this way seems like a decent attempt to curb review bombs but we’re sure the trolls and bots will find a way around it.