Smart TVs Not So Smart

Don’t worry, I’m sure the people building self-driving cars are doing a much better job. Maybe. Probably. Perhaps. Investigation finds major security flaws with smart TVs

Consumer Reports has found millions of smart TVs from major manufacturers can be controlled by hackers exploiting easy to-find security vulnerabilities.

This focuses on hackers controlling your TV, but experience has shown that if they can get in, they won’t wreak havoc, so much as steal things.

Why you want a camera and a microphone in your living room/family room/wherever you have a TV is beyond me. Especially when we KNOW that the vendors of smart devices couldn’t care less about security. Hat tip: I, For One, Welcome Our New Self-Driving Overlords.


Now That’s What You Call Ironic

UK’s data watchdog agency hit by hackers. Cryptojacking attack hits ~4,000 websites, including UK’s data watchdog – TechCrunch

There were actually several thousand government sites hit across the US, UK and Australia. Apparently the malware Coinhive was added to the plugin Browsealoud which lets visually impaired and blind users surf the internet. The company, Texthelp, which produces Browsealoud is “investigating.”

German military procurement is “one hell of a complete disaster.”

Remember when Trump accused NATO allies of not pulling their weight in the treaty organization? They aren’t. German Navy experiences “LCS affect” in spades as new frigate fails sea trials | Ars Technica

The German Navy has a lot of problems right now. It has no working submarines, in part because of a chronic repair parts shortage. The Deutsche Marine is still flying helicopters older than their pilots—the Sea Lynx entered service in 1981, and the Sea King in 1969—and has long-delayed their replacement. And now the service is facing problems with its newest ships so severe that the first of the class failed its sea trials and was returned to the shipbuilders in December.

Now a ship failing sea trials is most definitely NOT the fault of the NAVY. (Though this is a new design, and that may be the fault of the navy.) But not having any operational submarines due to lack of parts is a logistical problem, and probably has a budgetary cause – as in the politicians don’t want to pay for defense. As witnessed by the age of the helicopters flying off frigates and destroyers.

Of course the problems are not limited to the Deutsche Navy, they are just buying really large items. German military is falling behind, and the US is putting it on notice – Business Insider

A few of things that are wrong:

  • Helicopter pilot training has been outsourced to a private company – most of the Bundeswehr helicopters are out of commission.
  • Only 95 of 244 Leopard 2 tanks are in service.
  • Only 29 of 93 commissioned fighter jets are combat-ready. (Only 66 are operational)
  • In recent NATO war games they were forced to disguise broomsticks as machine guns to hide the fact that they don’t have enough equipment.

Things haven’t been getting better the past 4 years.

All these problems are hurting recruiting. (Gee, you think?) Even German politicians are beginning to bring some heat.

“We should not develop the reputation of being one of the world’s best freeloaders,” Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference and Germany’s former envoy to Washington said.

I don’t believe that the current government of Germany (Angel Merkel was finally able to get a coalition government formed 6 months after the election) will be able to do anything like increase defense spending. Certainly not to the 2% of GDP level that was in an agreement.

The Center for Humane Technology

A bunch of formerly-insiders of various tech companies are sounding the alarm. Center for Humane Technology. Might be putting a guard on the picket lines after the horses have been stolen.

Our society is being hijacked by technology.
What began as a race to monetize our attention is now eroding the pillars of our society: mental health, democracy, social relationships, and our children.

They’re getting a lot of media attention. From places like The New York Times.

The effect of technology, especially on younger minds, has become hotly debated in recent months. In January, two big Wall Street investors asked Apple to study the health effects of its products and to make it easier to limit children’s use of iPhones and iPads. Pediatric and mental health experts called on Facebook last week to abandon a messaging service the company had introduced for children as young as 6. Parenting groups have also sounded the alarm about YouTube Kids, a product aimed at children that sometimes features disturbing content.

Are people going to be willing to turn off their tech, even if it is “for the children?” Somehow I doubt it.

I Hope They Got a Good Price on Last Year’s Tech

NYPD finally booted the Windows Phone. NYPD begins deploying iPhone 7 & 7 Plus to officers as it officially moves on from Windows Phone | ZDNet

NYPD deployed the Windows Phone, several years ago, but AFTER it was clear (to everyone else in the Universe) that the Windows Phone was DEAD.

So now, they are going with the 2016 iPhone.

The switch to the Apple iPhone was revealed last year and given that Windows Phone is essentially dead it is no surprise that NYC selected the Apple iPhone as the successor.

600 phones per day.

It’s a BIT ironic that NYC went with the iPhone, because the state of NY (briefly) considered a ban on the iPhone. (Encryption is Eeeeevil!)

Color Me Shocked – Amazon’s Smart Lock Has Been Hacked (again)

So the first hack required an evil-doer as a delivery driver. This hack doesn’t require a delivery driver be in on the break-in, only that a delivery take place. Amazon Key smart lock security integrity called into question by hack

A hacker known online as “MG” posted the above clip, showing the Amazon Key’s security protocols being overriden in a controlled situation.

Though MG is withholding the details of how his hack works until Amazon has had an opportunity to address the issue, the video shows the Amazon Key’s lock potentially remaining open even when a delivery driver’s access allowance has expired.

I expect the details to be interesting. Losing game in the long-run?

This is the Stupidest Thing I’ve Heard in a Long Time

Why are people so happy to share every corner of their lives with the internet? Fitness tracking data on Strava app reveal US military bases details, sparking security concerns | Fox News

In some ways this is worse than the people who take photos of every meal, because the corner pub has the best corned-beef sandwich in the world.

Data from fitness trackers that clearly show the movement of personnel at U.S. military bases is sparking major concerns, with experts citing potential dangers to base security.

Now maybe this story is overblown. Maybe the military isn’t that worries about people knowing the main-streets in their bases. But it is still stupid to share every aspect of your life online.