When wifi first appeared, it was secured by something called "WEP" that was so laughably weak that many people believe it was deliberately sabotaged by US spy agencies (who have a history of sabotaging security standards in order to preserve the ability to spy on their adversaries).
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Five years after activists forced Seattle's mayor to return the city's surveillance drones to their manufacturer, the city has announced that it is terminating its warrantless mass-surveillance program altogether.
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A leaked White House Powerpoint deck published by Axios reveals that some elements in the Trump administration are trying to sell a plan for the US government to build the nation's "5g" wireless infrastructure, hardened against Chinese surveillance and attacks, and then lease access to the private telcoms sector; the network architecture could then be reproduced and given to US allies to help them defend themselves against Chinese attacks.
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How did a bug like krack fester in WPA2, the 13-year-old wifi standard whose flaws have rendered hundreds of millions of devices insecure, some of them permanently so? Read the rest
Subaru's wireless keyless entry protocol uses a system of "rolling codes" that jump from one value to another in a way that is supposed to be impossible to predict without possession of a cryptographic secret, shared by both the keys and the cars' firmware. Read the rest
Security research firm Armis has disclosed eight new Bluetooth vulnerabilities it collectively calls "Blueborne" that take less than 10 seconds to penetrate and take over device with Bluetooth switched on, without the user having to connect to a compromised device or take any other action. Read the rest
Why we secretly love our cords. Tamara Warren:
There’s a certain security in the cord. It’s the idea of connection, perhaps even dating back to our days in the womb. ... A battery, no matter how sophisticated, is fleeting. When we have our cords with us, we are in constant pursuit of power, even when we are fully charged, as a form of security. We often discover our misfortune — the loss of power — when it’s too late. The opposite of being fully charged is dead. Cords, and our attachment to them, have taken on a metaphor weighted in existentialism. There is anxiety in being too far removed. We are in a relationship with our cords.
Allow me to retort!
The cord is a chain. It's the imposition of place, perhaps even dating back to our days in the mire. ... A cord, no matter how comforting, is invariable. When we wander, we are in pursuit of freedom; we often discover our misfortune — the tether — too late. The opposite of mobility is stasis.
Honestly, I hate cords so much! The first trillionaire will be put there by batteries. Read the rest
Eser Dominoes are an interesting proof of concept that won a juried award at the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival. Read the rest
With just a few keystrokes, you could be the proud owner of a few dozen wireless towers, thanks to a flaw in the FCC's Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) database. Aura Holdings of Wisconsin, Inc. is now being investigated for changing registrations for 40 towers without authorization. Read the rest
My friend, John Edgar Park, has a video about low-bandwidth, long-range packet radio signals, which he uses to make a remote effects trigger box. Really cool! Read the rest
An outstanding post on the EFF's Deeplinks blog by my colleague Ernesto Falcon explains the negligent chain of events that led us into the Stingray disaster, where whole cities are being blanketed in continuous location surveillance, without warrants, public consultation, or due process, thanks to the prevalence of "IMSI catchers" ("Stingrays," "Dirtboxes," "cell-site simulators," etc) that spy indiscriminately on anyone carrying a cellular phone -- something the FCC had a duty to prevent. Read the rest
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used ultrasound to transmit high-speed data through pork loin and beef liver. Why? They're developing a system for controlling wireless medical implants and also stream high-definition video from inside the body.
"You can imagine a device that is swallowed for the purposes of imaging the digestive tract but with the capability for the HD video to be continuously streamed live to an external screen and the orientation of the device controlled wirelessly and externally by the physician," says engineering professor Andrew Singer.
Singer and his colleagues posted their results on arXiv in a paper titled "Mbps Experimental Acoustic Through-Tissue Communications: MEAT-COMMS."
“To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has ever sent such high data rates through animal tissue,” Singer said. “These data rates are sufficient to allow real-time streaming of high definition video, enough to watch Netflix, for example, and to operate and control small devices within the body.”
That's a whole new spin on dinner and a movie.
(Engineering at Illinois)
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If your car has a proximity-based ignition fob that lets you start the engine without inserting a key, thieves on the street in front of your house can use an amp to detect its signal from your house and relay it to the car, getting away clean. Read the rest
It's $35/month for the service, from San Francisco's coolest indie ISP (founded by Rudy Rucker's son, Rudy Jr, it was the inspiration for Pigspleen, the fictional ISP in my novel Little Brother) and if you opt to pay a little extra, they'll install a free link in a low/medium income neighborhood, too. Read the rest
The U.S. government today filed a lawsuit against AT&T, accusing the nation's second-largest wireless carrier of selling users unlimited data plans, then slowing down Internet speeds after they hit a certain data use threshold. Read the rest
Jonathan Zittrain writes, "Ad hoc mesh networking has been developed to enable free and censorship-resistant communications in places like Egypt and Syria. (The New America Foundation's Commotion project is an example of that kind of network.)
Less explored has been this kind of networking for public safety purposes, such during attacks or natural disasters. In this article, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and I explain why it'd be a good idea to develop these kinds of networks, and sketch out how they might work."
Former FCC Chairman: Let’s Test an Emergency Ad Hoc Network in Boston Read the rest
In the NYT, a story about "endangered satellites" that orbit the earth and provide essential data for tracking storms like Hurricane Sandy. But because of "years of mismanagement, lack of financing and delays in launching replacements," they could begin falling apart—with no functional plan in sight to maintain those resources. Read the rest