My keynote from the O'Reilly Security Conference: "Security and feudalism: Own or be pwned"

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Here's the 32 minute video of my presentation at last month's O'Reilly Security Conference in New York, "Security and feudalism: Own or be pwned." Read the rest

Car Wars: a dystopian science fiction story about the nightmare of self-driving cars

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Melbourne's Deakin University commissioned me to write a science fiction story about the design and regulation of self-driving cars, inspired by my essay about the misapplication of the "Trolley Problem" to autonomous vehicles. Read the rest

A lightbulb worm could take over every smart light in a city in minutes

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Researchers from Dalhousie University (Canada) and the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) have published a working paper detailing a proof-of-concept attack on smart lightbulbs that allows them to wirelessly take over the bulbs from up to 400m, write a new operating system to them, and then cause the infected bulbs to spread the attack to all the vulnerable bulbs in reach, until an entire city is infected. Read the rest

Winter Denial of Service attack knocks out heating in Finnish homes

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A DDoS attack that incidentally affected the internet connections for at least two housing blocks in Lappeenranta, Finland caused their heating systems to shut down, leaving their residents without heat in subzero weather. Read the rest

Sole and Despotic Dominion: how a 20th century copyright law is abolishing property for humans (but not corporations)

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In the 18th century, William Blackstone wrote the seminal "Commentaries on the Laws of England," which contained one of the foundational definitions of property: "that sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe." Read the rest

New, fast-spreading IoT botnet hybridizes two less-effective strains to achieve quick dominance

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Linux/IRCTelnet is a new strain of Internet of Things malware that borrows its password-guessing routines from Mirai, the malware that helped take down Paypal, Netflix and Twitter, and adds them to the scanning routines from a newer IoT bot called Bashlight. Read the rest

Why are license "agreements" so uniformly terrible?

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An excerpt from The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy, by Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz, coming this Friday from MIT Press.

Warner Bros angry that someone other than the MPAA is running an illegal internal movie server

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Warner Bros has sued talent agency Innovative Artists for running an internal-use Google Drive folder that let its clients and staff review movies in the course of their duties. They say the company ripped "screeners" (DVDs sent for review purposes) and put them on the server, whence they leaked onto torrent sites. Read the rest

Every Android device potentially vulnerable to "most serious" Linux escalation attack, ever

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The Dirty Cow vulnerability dates back to code included in the Linux kernel in 2007, and it can be trivially weaponized into an easy-to-run exploit that allows user-space programs to execute as root, meaning that attackers can take over the entire device by getting their targets to run apps without administrator privileges. Read the rest

Mercedes' weird "Trolley Problem" announcement continues dumb debate about self-driving cars

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In 1967, Philippa Foot posed the "Trolley Problem," an ethical conundrum about whether a bystander should be sacrificed to rescue the passengers of a speeding, out-of-control trolley; as self-driving cars have inched toward reality, this has been repurposed as a misleadingly chin-stroking question about autonomous vehicles: when faced with the choice of killing their owners or someone else, who should die? Read the rest

Internet-destroying outages were caused by "amateurish" IoT malware

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Some of the internet's most popular, well-defended services -- including Twitter -- were knocked offline yesterday by a massive denial-of-service attack that security experts are blaming on botnets made from thousands of hacked embedded systems in Internet of Things devices like home security cameras and video recorders. Read the rest

Game developers say no to DRM: "hurts our customers"

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The developers behind the hotly anticipated Shadow Warrior 2 have gone on record explaining why they didn't add DRM to their new title: they themselves hate DRM, and understand that DRM disproportionately inconveniences legit customers, not pirates who play cracked versions without DRM. Read the rest

The clumsy, amateurish IoT botnet has now infected devices in virtually all of the world's countries

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Mirai, the clumsily written Internet of Things virus that harnessed so many devices in an attack on journalist Brian Krebs that it overloaded Akamai, has now spread to devices in either 164 or 177 countries -- that is, pretty much everywhere with reliable electricity and internet access.

Imperva, a company that provides protection to websites against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, is among the ones who have been busy investigating Mirai. According to their tally, the botnet made of Mirai-infected devices has reached a total of 164 countries. A pseudonymous researcher that goes by the name MalwareTech has also been mapping Mirai, and according to his tally, the total is even higher, at 177 countries.

Internet of Things Malware Has Apparently Reached Almost All Countries on Earth [Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai/Motherboard] Read the rest

The Copyright Office wants your comments on whether it should be illegal to fix your own stuff

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Under Section 1201 of the DMCA, a law passed in 1998, people who fix things can be sued (and even jailed!) for violating copyright law, if fixing stuff involves bypassing some kind of copyright lock; this has incentivized manufacturers so that fixing your stuff means breaking this law, allowing them to decide who gets to fix your stuff and how much you have to pay to have it fixed. Read the rest

Johnson & Johnson says people with diabetes don't need to worry about potentially lethal wireless attacks on insulin pumps

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Rapid7 security researcher Jay Radcliffe (previously) has Type I diabetes, and has taken a personal interest in rooting out vulnerabilities in the networked, wireless-equipped blood-sugar monitors and insulin-pumps marketed to people with diabetes, repeatedly discovering potentially lethal defects in these devices. Read the rest

The malware that's pwning the Internet of Things is terrifyingly amateurish

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Following the release of the sourcecode for the Mirai botnet, which was used to harness DVRs, surveillance cameras and other Internet of Things things into one of the most powerful denial-of-service attacks the internet has ever seen, analysts have gone over its sourcecode and found that the devastatingly effective malware was strictly amateur-hour, a stark commentary on the even worse security in the millions and millions of IoT devices we've welcomed into our homes. Read the rest

HP blinked! Let's keep the pressure on! [PLEASE SHARE!]

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Only three days after EFF's open letter to HP over the company's deployment of a stealth "security update" that caused its printers to reject third-party cartridges, the company issued an apology promising to let customers optionally install another update to unbreak their printers. Read the rest

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