Tag Archives: hacking

Clap for Kano’s Camera Kit at CES 2018



Kano‘s mission is to encourage people, particularly children, to see computers not as unchangeable appliances but as tools to be made, shaped, coded and shared. Their kits plug together bits, boards, buttons and cables to make individual and personalised computers. Bruno gives Todd a hand to develop a selfie camera from their new Camera Kit.

Kano’s approach is to challenge each young developer into programming simple apps that achieve technical goals. Using Kano’s development tools it’s really easy to build programs as the tools come with code building blocks for things like taking a picture or responding to noise via a microphone. Consequently, even Todd can code an app to take a picture when someone claps.

The Camera Kit‘s not expected until next year but you can sign up to hear the latest news. Expect the price to be around US$99.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Hijacking a Drone



droneDrones are unmanned flying vehicles which are controlled by operators from thousands of miles away. They are used extensively in Afghanistan to track the Taliban’s activities. There has been increase talk among law enforcement in the United States that using drones might be useful in fighting crime. There is a Federal mandate that would permit drones to be used in US airspace. There are many questions involving the use of drones including privacy rights, lack of search warrants …. There are also technical questions. Right now the biggest problem that the DHS and the FAA are facing involving drones are jammers which don’t control the drones but simply jam the signal. This is the way the Iranians insist they were able to bring down a drone in 2011. Although that is still disputed by the US who insist it was operator error and not Iranian jamming that caused the drone to land off course.

However solving the jamming problem maybe easy compared to the problem of spoofing. Spoofing is where the drone is actually controlled by a third-party. In order for spoofing to be successful the drones GPS system must be hacked. That is what the University of Texas, Cockrell School of Engineering did under Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys when it hijacked a drone using $1,000 worth of equipment and custom software. These drones were using unencrypted software that the University of Texas team was able to hack. Their signal was more powerful than the GPS signal that the drone was receiving from the satellite that was originally controlling it. They were able to over ride that GPS signal sending the drone where they wanted to. As you can image this is a huge potential problem. Imagine what would happen if a terrorist group was able to hack a drone and send it where ever they wanted it to. They could control it from anywhere and sending it crashing into buildings with no risk to themselves.

Right now the DHS is still working on the jamming problem through the Patriot Watch and the Patriot Shield programs but the programs are underfunded and haven’t even started looking into the spoofing problem. Before we allow drones to fly above US cities we might want to find a solution to both jamming and spoofing first.


Battle For The Internet Looms



Image - BigStockPhoto.com

With the perpetually refreshed glut of information available on the Web, it’s rare to find a thoroughly researched, thoughtful and meaningful piece on – of all things – the State of The Internet. In the May issue of Vanity Fair, contributing editor Michael Joseph Gross writes a captivating article, “World War 3.0,” that is both rich with history and chilling in his description of the challenges facing a tough-to-tame digital behemoth.

In this lengthy (by Web standards, anyway) piece leading up to a December conference in Dubai where the world will meet to discuss and renegotiate a UN treaty – International Telecommunications Regulations – as it relates to the Internet, Gross pens a somber outlook on where things are headed with the Web. Crisis, Gross asserts, is in store for the Internet and its users because of four main issues:

Sovereignty – the Internet was created and has developed specifically to exist outside or above the worldly territories we’ve mapped out

Piracy and Intellectual Property – the battle between freedom of information and folks wanting to protect their work and, more importantly, get paid

Privacy – the incomprehensible mass of information on the Internet and our ability to contribute and participate with relative anonymity is great for creativity and freedom, but it’s also awesome for criminals and folks who want to use your information for nefarious purposes.

Security – Code written is code hacked. It’s all just a matter of time and effort. With so much at stake and with so much money being made from the Web, how on Earth do we protect it all?

Four main issues – each extremely difficult to solve. In most cases, it’s damn near impossible to get consensus on the terms of each of these issues. You’ll have to read the article to see how Gross places this all in a context that makes the battle over the Internet one of the most important showdowns we might ever see.

The chill-factor for me comes from the last paragraph of his article – discussing the options for achieving security in such a connected world:

Aside from wealth or arcane knowledge, the only other guarantor of security will be isolation. Some people will pioneer new ways of life that minimize their involvement online. Still others will opt out altogether—to find or create a little corner of the planet where the Internet does not reach. Depending on how things go, that little corner could become a very crowded place. And you’d be surprised at how many of the best-informed people about the Internet have already started preparing for the trip.

Image: Blue Digital Background by BigStock


GNC-2012-02-23 #744 Listen and Win!



Unexpected Trip to Washington DC next week. I get back to Hawaii on Thursday, will make a decision on Monday show in next day or so. Listen today to get your name in the hat for the show 750 giveaway.

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GNC-2012-01-27 #737 Shame on Hawaii Legislature!



Going to be implementing some Studio upgrades in the next couple of weeks should be fun. I go after a couple of my state legislatures pretty hard tonight on two idiotic bills that they introduced. Also hope I was not to punchy on the last show notes. I am feeling much better by the way and although the voice is not a 100% I feel a 100% better.

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GNC-2011-12-01 #725 Foot in Mouth



Between the phone ringing, computers rebooting and me sticking my foot in my mouth 2-3 times I have a great show for you.. Back for one show here in Honolulu and off to Austin next week. Then home for Christmas and to prepare for CES 2012!

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The War in Cyber Space



Cyber Security
Symantec's report on a recent wave of cyberattacks includes the geographic breakdown of computers used in the attacks.

What do these four articles have in common.

They are all signs that cyber espionage is growing as a threat in today’s increasingly interconnected world. Not only for the U.S but for other countries and groups around the world. Many believe that most attacks are coming out of China and Russia. Countries like the U.S., Israel also use cyber espionage when it is to their advantage. The use of infected machines by hackers often makes it difficult to know where the attacks actually originate from.  Attacks maybe either done by nation-states, private groups or individuals and telling the difference is very difficult. Some hackers may try to attack defense targets, but most target businesses and involve attempts to steal intellectual property, including design documents, formulas and various manufacturing processes. How many attacks occur yearly is unknown, since many companies do not report such attacks publicly.

The critical importance of the fight against cyber espionage was underscored by retired four star Marine Corps general James Cartwright, in an interview with Reuters. He believes that we should be more public when it comes what general deterrents we have and are willing to use. He said “You can’t have something that’s a secret be a deterrent. Because if you don’t know it’s there, it doesn’t scare you. Many experts believe that a deterrents policy needs to be created to indicate the threat of possible action without being too specific. For now U.S officials are silent on the type of deterrents that the US has, however it is assumed that it has both defensive and offense ones it can use.

The Obama administration is currently crafting rules of engagement in cyber space after releasing its general policy earlier this year. Many see cyber space as the fifth pillar of defense, which had been land, sea, air and space. The one thing that is clear cyber espionage is only going to increase in sophistication and intensity as cloud computing becomes more popular.