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Defense Distributed claims working 3D printed handgun


Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson claims he has attained his stated goal of 3D printing a working handgun. There's no footage of it firing yet, nor details on how many rounds it fires before the plastic is worn out. And although this is a fascinating provocation, it is not (yet) a game-changer, especially in America where traditional guns (capable of firing thousands of rounds without melting down) are cheap and easy to get. You can even "3D print" a gun by asking different CNC shops to cut and overnight you all the parts to make up a working gun, breaking the job down into small pieces that are unlikely to arouse suspicion.

All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the exception of a single nail that’s used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition.

Technically, Defense Distributed’s gun has one other non-printed component: the group added a six ounce chunk of steel into the body to make it detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. In March, the group also obtained a federal firearms license, making it a legal gun manufacturer.

This Is The World's First Entirely 3D-Printed Gun (Photos) [Andy Greenberg/Forbes]

Video from my book tour: Cincinnati presentation

Kevin Loughin came out to my Homeland tour-stop in Cincinnati on Valentine's Day and made a great video of the presentation and Q&A. He was kind enough to post it to YouTube -- thanks, Kevin!

Cory Doctorow talk on Homeland.

Congressman calls for ban on 3D printed guns


Well, that was predictable: days after a 3D printed gun fired a few rounds, Rep Steve Israel has called for a ban on of Wiki Weapons. The congressman points out (correctly) that all-plastic 3D printed weapons would not be easy to spot using traditional methods, such as metal detectors.

However, what Rep Israel doesn't say is how he hopes to accomplish his goal. Firmware locks for 3D printers? A DMCA-like takedown regime for 3D shapefiles that can be used to generate plastic firearms (or parts of plastic firearms?). A mandate on 3D printer manufacturers to somehow magically make it impossible for their products to print out gun-parts?

Every one of those measures is a nonsense and worse: unworkable combinations of authoritarianism, censorship, and wishful thinking. Importantly, none of these would prevent people from manufacturing plastic guns. And all of these measures would grossly interfere with the lawful operation of 3D printers.

Rep. Steve Israel urges Congress to renew ‘Wiki Weapon’ ban

Microsoft patents spying on you with your TV's camera and fining you if there are too many people watching

Kotaku's Luke Plunkett delves into a newly disclosed Microsoft patent that covers spying on people in their homes using cameras attached to their TVs, in order to levy fines against them for allowing too many people to watch movies at once:

Basically, when you buy or rent something like a movie, you’ll only be granted a “license” for a certain number of people to watch it. If Kinect detects more people in the room than you had a licence for, it can stop the movie, and even charge you extra. So if Microsoft has its way, you won’t just be renting movies any more. You’ll have to decide how many people are watching, and no doubt pay more. And if one extra person turns up to your movie night? So help you God, you are going to pay.

Of course, big companies patent all sorts of stupid ideas, many of which never get incorporated into products. But hey, now you know that researchers at Microsoft sit around spitballing ideas like, "Wouldn't it be awesome to spy on our customers in their homes so that we could fine them for having too many people over to watch movies? Wonder if anyone is Hollywood would give us preferential access to movies if we could promise them that they could do nose-counts of people in their own homes?"

This Kinect Patent Is Terrifying, Wants To Charge You For License Violation

Razer Naga gaming mouse requires always-on Internet connection, license agreement says they can use this to spy on you

Channelx99, a poster on the overclock.net forums, says that the Razer Naga gaming mouse comes with special drivers that require your computer to be connected to the Internet at all times in order to play -- and this means that the mouse was useless when it was first plugged in, because Razer's servers were down.

Parsing the Razer license agreement, Channelx99 finds that Razer reserves the right to spy on all your activity and to sell or data-mine that data. Multiple emails to Razer from Channelx99 have not created any clarity on this, as the company only sends back generic customer-service messages that don't explain whether the purpose of the drivers is really to spy on and monetize users.

Other commenters on the forum note that Razer's always-on drivers cause all sorts of performance issues with the mouse, making it slow and unresponsive during gaming sessions, and they say that earlier Razer products have had built-in memory that was used to store user preferences for the programmable buttons and functions.

Apparently, the Razer Naga will still work as a normal mouse -- without any of its crucial, scriptable extra buttons and functions -- if you don't install the driver, but of course, that's not how gamers expect to use their fancy programmable mice. And according to the forums, all Razer products will require always-on Internet connections and round-the-clock user surveillance in order to work.

Razer forces you to create an account with them before you can use the software with the mouse. You cant configure the mouse in any way until you make an account with them and activate your computer and account through their server. If they decide to take down their activation server for any reason, you will never be able to use the software. If you live somewhere without access to internet, you will not be able to activate and use the software. If you work somewhere that has a network behind firewalls, chances are even though you can download the Synapse software, the firewall may also block you from activating and using the software as well.

If your connection drops out for any reason, the Synapse software will make a habbit of locking up on you while it transitions to offline mode. During that time your settings may revert or possibly not be saved.

Yes, you can use the mouse as plug and play with basic functionality if you choose not to make an account and activate your computer, but who pays $80 for a basic plug and play mouse? The reason people buy the Naga 2012 is the configurable buttons and to change the DPI, polling rate, set up macros and profiles along with everything else. Razer has no right to lock this away from customers who paid for these features. For the Naga 2012 mouse, there is no other offline drivers to revert to. Synapse 2.0 is your only option.

Razers Synapse 2.0 software is always online. If you have an internet connection active, Razer will be constantly using it constantly downloading updates and interrupting your full screen applications. Not only that, as I suspected, the Synapse 2.0 software is spying on you

Razer Synapse 2.0 software/mouse unusable if you dont have an internet connection or their... (Thanks, JimDiGritz!)

Kindle user claims Amazon deleted whole library without explanation

When your Kindle is wiped by Amazon without explanation, refund, or appeal, it’s time to wake up and realize the truth: ebook readers treat you as a tenant-farmer of your books, not an owner. You have no rights, only a license-agreement that runs to thousands of words, and that you’ll never fully satisfy.

Read the rest

Researcher claims feasibility of writing lethal wireless pacemaker viruses


In a presentation at the BreakPoint security conference in Melbourne, IOActive researcher Barnaby Jack described an attack on pacemakers that could, he says, deliver lethal shocks to their owners. Jack claims that an unspecified pacemaker vendor's devices have a secret wireless back-door that can be activated by knowledgeable attackers from up to 30 feet away, and that this facility can be used to kill the victim right away, or to reprogram pacemakers to broadcast malicious firmware updates as their owners move around, which cause them to also spread the firmware, until they fail at a later time. Darren Pauli from Secure Business Intelligence quotes Jack as saying,

“The worst case scenario that I can think of, which is 100 percent possible with these devices, would be to load a compromised firmware update onto a programmer and … the compromised programmer would then infect the next pacemaker or ICD and then each would subsequently infect all others in range,” Jack said.

He was developing a graphical adminstration platform dubbed “Electric Feel” which could scan for medical devices in range and with no more than a right-click, could enable shocking of the device, and reading and writing firmware and patient data.

“With a max voltage of 830 volts, it's not hard to see why this is a fairly deadly feature. Not only could you induce cardiac arrest, but you could continually recharge the device and deliver shocks on loop," he said.

Manufacturers of implanted devices have been resistant to calls to publish their sourcecode and to allow device owners to inspect and modify that code, citing security concerns should latent vulnerabilities be exposed, and put implantees at risk. But as Jack's presentation demonstrates, vulnerabilities can be discovered without publication -- and if they are discovered and not disclosed, they may never be patched (or may not be patched until coming to light in some kind of horrific attack). In other words, secrecy helps bad guys, but keeps good guys and innocent bystanders in the dark.

Hacked terminals capable of causing pacemaker deaths (Thanks, Jon!)

(Image: Atlas Pacemaker, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from travisgoodspeed's photostream)

Laptop rental companies reach cash-free, pointless settlement with toothless FTC for taking secret naked pictures of customers having sex, harvesting medical records and banking passwords and more

The FTC has settled with seven rent-to-own companies and a software company called DesignerWare of North East Pennsylvania for their role in secretly installing spyware on rental laptops, which was used to take "pictures of children, individuals not fully clothed, and couples engaged in sexual activities."

Under the terms of the settlement, the companies are free to go on engaging in this behavior, but now they'll have to notify customers. They won't pay a fine. The FTC won't say if it's referred any of the companies for criminal prosecution. The rental companies used the spyware to harvest renters' bank passwords, private emails to doctors, medical records, and Social Security numbers, and they used it to pop up deceptive windows on customers' computers to trick them into entering personal information.

Wired's David Kravets has more:

The software, known as Detective Mode, didn’t just secretly turn on webcams. It “can log the keystrokes of the computer user, take screen shots of the computer user’s activities on the computer, and photograph anyone within view of the computer’s webcam. Detective Mode secretly gathers this information and transmits it to DesignerWare, who then transmits it to the rent-to-own store from which the computer was rented, unbeknownst to the individual using the computer,” according to the complaint.

Under the settlement, the companies can still use tracking software on their rental computers, so long as they advise renters, the FTC said. The companies include Aspen Way Enterprises Inc.; Watershed Development Corp.; Showplace Inc., doing business as Showplace Rent-to-Own; J.A.G. Rents LLC, doing business as ColorTyme; Red Zone Inc., doing business as ColorTyme; B. Stamper Enterprises Inc., doing business as Premier Rental Purchase; and C.A.L.M. Ventures Inc., doing business as Premier Rental Purchase.

Rent-to-Own Laptops Secretly Photographed Users Having Sex, FTC Says