In this roundup: A short film about a mother’s time travel adventure, the Internet of Stupid Things, and more.
1,000 hours of free jazz, ready to download.
Holy mackerel! I almost fainted when @OpenCulture tweeted last week about David W. Niven’s collection shared with the public at Archive.org. Just as amazing is Niven’s commentary, providing context we would never otherwise have about each piece.
I’ll embed some Louis Armstrong at the bottom of this post to get your weekend started. Mark this collection as one of my favorite things ever.
Malware discovered, targeting non-jailbroken Apple iOS devices in China
This is the second China-specific malware that researchers at Palo Alto Networks have found this year. Gee, why China?
UK’s Labour Party wankers want ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ because Snowden
Just the wankers, mind you, though it’s hard to tell which MPs were the wankers as Labour and SNP sat on their hands during the vote for the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB), not wanting to appear obstructive. Fondly called the ‘Snoopers’ Charter,’ the bill replaces Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and passed in the House of Commons on its second reading. The bill allows the UK government to amass all Internet Connection Records (ICRs) for a year’s time, including telecommunications connections. Restrictions on which government entities have access to these records and for what purpose is muddy at best, and the cost of collecting and storing these records will be borne by the network service providers who in turn will need to raise their rates. Sane people understand the IPB as passed is atrocious. The bill would not have passed the second reading at all had all of Labour and the SNP voted against it, but a number of wankers argue Edward Snowden is reason enough to dragnet the entire UK’s internet activity — which makes no sense whatsoever, based on the bill’s current formulation. The ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ now enters the Committee Stage, where it’s hoped somebody catches a cluestick and puts the brakes on this current iteration of government panopticon.
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FBI warn about automobile hacking
Hmm. A little late to the party after at least four different vulnerabilities were revealed over the last year, but better late than never. Rather annoying the public needs to be on guard against automakers’ naiveté/stupidity/hubris.
Google’s parent Alphabet selling its robot division Boston Dynamics
Remember the creepy four-legged robot ‘Big Dog’? It and its developer are up for grabs. Google (before it became Alphabet) bought Boston Dynamics in 2013, but now finds the firm doesn’t fit its strategy. Worth noting differences in reaction to the news:
- Why Google Is Selling Off Some of the Coolest Robots Ever Built (MIT Review)
- Robot maker Boston Dynamics put up for sale by Google, reports say (The Guardian)
The tone of the MIT Review piece — technology’s coolness is sufficient rationale for its creation and existence — offers interesting insight, explaining how awful technology ends up commercialized in spite of its lack of fitness.
Let’s call it a week and get on with our weekend. Have a good one!
Michigan’s winter storm expanded and shifted last night; Marcy more than caught up on her share of snow in her neck of the woods after all.
Fortunately nothing momentous in the news except for the weather…
Carmaker Nissan’s LEAF online service w-i-d-e open to hackers
Nissan shut down its Carwings app service, which controls LEAF model’s climate control systems. Carwings allows vehicle owners to check information about their cars on a remote basis. Some LEAF owners conducted a personal audit and hacked themselves, discovering their cars were vulnerable to hacking by nearly anyone else. Hackers need only the VIN as userid and no other authentication to access the vehicle’s Carwings account. You’d think by now all automakers would have instituted two-factor authentication at a minimum on any online service.
Researcher says hardware hack of iPhone may be possible
With “considerable financial resources and acumen,” a hardware-based attack may work against iPhone’s passcode security. The researcher noted such an attempt would be very risky and could destroy any information sought in the phone. Tracing power usage could also offer another opportunity at cracking an iPhone’s passcode, but the know-how is very limited in the industry. This bit from the article is rather interesting:
IOActive’s Zonenberg, meanwhile, told Threatpost that an invasive hardware attack hack is likely also in the National Security Agency’s arsenal; the NSA has been absent from discussions since this story broke last week.
“It’s been known they have a semiconductor [fabrication] since January 2001. They can make chips. They can make software. They can break software. Chances are they can probably break hardware,” he said. “How advanced they were, I cannot begin to guess.”
The NSA has been awfully quiet about the San Bernardino shooter’s phone, haven’t they?
‘Dust Storm’: Years-long cyber attacks focused on intel gathering from Japanese energy industry
“[U]sing dynamic DNS domains and customized backdoors,” a nebulous group has focused for five years on collecting information from energy-related entities in Japan. The attacks were not limited to Japan, but attacks outside Japan by this same group led back in some way to Japanese hydrocarbon and electricity generation and distribution. ‘Dust Storm’ approaches have evolved over time, from zero-day exploits to spearfishing, and Android trojans. There’s something about this collected, focused campaign which sounds familiar — rather like the attackers who hacked Sony Pictures? And backdoors…what is it about backdoors?
ISIS threatens Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Dorsey
Which geniuses in U.S. government both worked on Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey about cutting off ISIS-related accounts AND encouraged revelation about this effort? Somebody has a poor grasp on opsec, or puts a higher value on propaganda than opsec.
Wonder if the same geniuses were behind this widely-reported meeting last week between Secretary of State John Kerry and Hollywood executives. Brilliant.
Case 98476302, Don’t text while walking
So many people claimed to have bumped their heads on a large statue while texting that the statue was moved. The stupid, it burns…or bumps, in this case.
House Select Intelligence Committee hearing this morning on National Security World Wide Threats.
Usual cast of characters will appear, including CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers, and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart. Catch it on C-SPAN.
Snow’s supposed to end in a couple hours, need to go nap before I break out the snow shovels again. À plus tard!
Hollywood hospital paid ransom — $17K in bitcoin, not millions
See the official statement linked in this updated report. Speed and efficiency drove the payment. Given the difference between the original amount reported and the amount paid in ransom, one might wonder if there was a chaining of devices, or if many less important devices will be bricked.
Laser pointed at Pope Francis’ plane over Mexico
Someone pointed a laser at the Pope’s flight just before it landed in Mexico City yesterday, one of the highest profile incidences of “lasering” to date. The incident follows an international flight forced back to Heathrow on Monday after one of its pilots suffered eye injury from a laser. Thousands of laserings happen every year; it’s illegal in the U.S. and the U.K. both, but the U.S. issues much stiffer penalties including fines of $10,000 and prison time. If Mexico doesn’t already treat lasering firmly, it should after this embarrassing and threatening incident.
Air strike on Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières’ Syrian hospital spurs call for investigation
It’s absolutely ridiculous how many MSF medical facilities have been hit air strikes over the last year, the latest west of Aleppo in Syria. MSF has now called for an independent investigation into this latest attack which killed nine medical personnel and more than a dozen patients. This particular strike is blamed on the Syrian government-led coalition, but Russia and the U.S. have also been blamed for attacks on MSF facilities this year, including the hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan last October. You’d think somebody had it out for MSF specifically.
Is China rousing over Korean peninsula escalation?
Tension spawned by North Korea’s recent nuclear test, missile and satellite launches, as well as South Korea’s pull back from Kaesong industrial complex and U.S. F-22 flyovers have increased rhetoric in media.
- [Analysis] Geopolitical tensions now posing risk to S. Korean economy (The Hankyoreh-South Korea)
- Seoul’s spy service says North Korea is preparing cyber and other attacks (South China Morning Post)
- China calls for demilitarisation in South China Sea (GBtimes)
- Chinese military adviser Major General Wang Haiyun: “[China] must adjust the force deployment along northeastern borders…” (South China Morning Post)
Just as it is in the U.S., it’s important to note the origin and politics of media outlets covering China. GBtimes, for example, covers Chinese stories, but from Finland. ~head scratching~
All Apple, all the time
A huge number of stories published over the last 24 hours about Judge Sym’s order to Apple regarding unlocking capability on San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone.
- Some of the stories followed Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s reaction — was he or wasn’t he supportive of Apple’s position in his tweet-only response?
- Some posts claim Apple can comply with the order and FBI’s request — technically speaking, yeah, they can.
- Others oppose compliance as it may establish a new precedent and increase risks to other law-abiding iPhone users’ personal data.
- This is a pretty decent overview of the entire FBI vs. Apple case.
I wonder if this is really a Third Amendment case, given the lack of daylight between the FBI and the U.S. military by way of Joint Terrorism Task Force involvement, and the case at hand in which a non-U.S. citizen’s illegal activities (Farook’s wife Tashfeen Malik) may have triggered related military counterterrorism response. Has the U.S. government, by demanding Apple create code to permit unlocking the shooter’s iPhone, insisted on taking private resources for government use? But I’m not a lawyer. What do I know?
That’s it for now. Thursday, February 18th is also “Teen Missed the Bus Day”; ‘Agapitos’ he is not at the moment. Kid’s going to owe me some time helping with the next morning post.
Mississippi John Hurt’s lyrics seem appropriate this morning — get a pick and shovel to dig your way out of all that snow and ice this Monday morning.
Getting a late start here because I stayed up watching the X-Files revival.
Apple iMessage users’ content at risk if backed up to iCloud
While iMessages themselves use end-to-end encryption, the same content when backed up to iCloud is encrypted by an Apple-controlled key. As many as 500 million users have data in iCloud services, at risk of exposure. You’d think after The Fappening, Apple users would be more leery about enabling iCloud backup.
Network problems affect NFL’s Microsoft Surface tablets, left New England Patriots in the dark
Wow, right down to the “last defensive possession” and *blip* — nothing on the Surface tablets for Pats’ coaches to show their players. Not the first time there’ve been problems with this technology, either. NFL’s network problems are blamed for the loss of play information, but Microsoft’s tablets are taking the brunt of it. Have to wonder why there wasn’t adequate redundancy to ensure network burps would not affect the game. Can’t fault the tablets or the network outage for the delay of X-Files on FOX, though, since the Patriots vs. Broncos were on CBS.
Donald Rumsfeld, video game designer
One of the last things I ever expected to see in my feed: Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, designed a video game. It’s an obscure form of solitaire attributed to Winston Churchill. “…I’ve signed off on something they call ‘UX’,” Rumsfeld said. Heaven help us.
I’m deferring my date with a shovel for later today and crawling back into bed. Stay safe and warm, gang.