Covid-19 scams rise, China turns to AI for prevention and “till-less” shopping


Latest news and insight on how the technology sector is reacting to Covid-19

Majority of scams and cyberattacks now coronavirus themed

80% of scams, hacks and cyberattacks since January 29 have been Covid-19 themed, according to research from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint. It has found more than 500,000 messages, 300,000 malicious URLs and 200,000 malicious attachments with coronavirus themes since the outbreak. “Coronavirus-related threat volumes continue to be high, attacks are broad in both nature and scope, and the threat actors behind these attacks are wide and varied,” said Proofpoint. “Most importantly, these campaigns continue to grow, literally by the minute.” Scams have included instructions to “follow the company’s new protocol” in light of an employee testing positive for the virus and claims over availability of protective masks.

Smart bus to combat Covid-19

A bus that will autonomously and non-invasively screen passengers as they board, as well as actively sterilise the vehicle’s interior to prevent the spread of coronavirus has been launched in Shanghai. The ‘Healthcare Bus’, developed by Sunwin Bus Corporation, has

facial recognition powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and an infrared thermal imaging camera next to the ticketing machine, which alerts the driver when a person with a fever boards, and also identifies those not wearing face masks. The bus is also equipped with UV lighting in its air ducts, which are designed to sterilise and kill the virus. The company says that this new lighting can, with assistance of an enhanced air filtration system, sterilise the entire bus completely within 20 minutes.

Robo-cop to tackle coronavirus

Guangzhou Gosuncn Robot Co, a Chinese leading provider of smart city IoT products and services, has upgraded its 5G-powered police patrol robot with new capabilities to assist front line police officers in conducting disease prevention inspections. The robots are equipped with five high-resolution cameras and infrared thermometers capable of scanning the temperature of 10 people simultaneously within a radius of five meters. If a high temperature or the absence of a mask is detected, the robots send an alert to the relevant authorities. This information will be transmitted to a centralised control centre for real-time situational response and decision making. The robots are self-driving so reduce patrolling responsibilities and prevent cross-infection. They have already been spotted at airports and shopping malls in the cities of Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Guiyang.

App to enable “till-less” supermarket shopping

The Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing lockdown measures have resulted in supermarkets enforcing social distancing within stores and the use of cash has halved over the past week in the UK, with some stores refusing to accept it as payment. However, although Covid-19 is most commonly spread by through droplets when a person coughs and sneezes, the use of touch screens, such as those used in supermarket self-service checkouts, risks spreading the virus if hands are not washed sufficiently afterwards. According to a study by the National Institute of Health, the Sars-CoV-2 virus can survive on plastic and stainless steel for two to three days, and it is thought that Covid-19 has similar survival times. Ubamarket is launching a mobile app that allows customers to scan products as they shop, bypassing tills and queues by paying for their shopping in-app.

Free quantum computing to fight Covid-19

Canadian company D-Wave Systems Inc., a leader in quantum computing systems, software, and services, has allowed immediate free access to its quantum systems for anyone working on responses to the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative comes in response to a request from the Canadian government for solutions to the pandemic across industries. Unfettered, free access to D-Wave’s quantum computers via Leap quantum cloud service is available immediately to anyone working on Covid-19 responses in the 35 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia.

Source: Global Data


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