New words – 13 April 2020


seksan Mongkhonkhamsao / moment / Getty

fearware noun [U]
UK /ˈfɪə.weəʳ/ US /ˈfɪr.wer/
a type of cyber attack that exploits an existing sense of fear among people and encourages them to click on a link that will harm their computer

Cyber criminals are exploiting fears surrounding the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic to spread dangerous malware and hack government computer systems. Security experts have labelled the new trend “fearware”, warning that victims may be more susceptible to be tricked or scammed during times of global uncertainty.
[independent.co.uk, 14 March 2020]

xenobot noun [C]
UK /ˈzen.ə.bɒt/ US /ˈzen.ə.bɑːt/
a type of very small robot that can move independently, created from living cells

This week scientists announced that they had created the first living robots by building machines using stem cells taken from African frogs. So far they cannot do anything useful, such as delivering Amazon packages, but they do glory in a new name: “xenobots”.
[theguardian.com, 16 January 2020]

bracelet of silence noun [C]
/ˌbreɪ.slət.əv.ˈsaɪ.ləns/
a device worn around the wrist that prevents smart devices from listening to the conversations of the person wearing it

How worried are you about technology listening to your conversations? Have you ever had an experience that made you think your phone, computer or smart home device was eavesdropping on you? This “bracelet of silence,” developed by two computer science professors and an assistant professor, emits ultrasonic signals when activated, preventing nearby microphones from listening to the wearer’s conversations.
[nytimes.com, 5 March 2020]

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