Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, October 06, 2017

Four Things

1. Why I am leery of the Internet of Things, part 876:

Internet-enabled devices are so common, and so vulnerable, that hackers recently broke into a casino through its fish tank. The tank had internet-connected sensors measuring its temperature and cleanliness. The hackers got into the fish tank's sensors and then to the computer used to control them, and from there to other parts of the casino's network. The intruders were able to copy 10 gigabytes of data to somewhere in Finland. [bold added]
That's right up there with using thermostats to extort ransom payments and the infamous spamming refrigerator.

2. While researching fracture fixation methods for a client, I accidentally clicked an image, yielding an amusing computer-generated juxtaposition, circled below, despite the fact that it immediately caught my eye:
That's about the reaction such a sight would elicit from me. Snopes has it that the zipper was digitally added, not that the surgical alteration isn't disturbing enough without the zipper.

3. Quote of the Week:
I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.
-- Thomas Sowell

4. Credit card skimmers are showing up on gas pumps in North America. Fortunately, they are easy to detect:
  1. These skimmers are cheap and are becoming more common and more of a nuisance across North America.
  2. The skimmer broadcasts over bluetooth as HC-05 with a password of 1234. If you happen to be at a gas pump and happen to scan for bluetooth devices and happen to see an HC-05 listed as an available connection then you probably don't want to use that pump.
  3. The bluetooth module used on these skimmers is extremely common and used on all sorts of legitimate products end educational kits. If you detect one in the field you can confirm that it is a skimmer (and not some other device) by sending the character 'P' to the module over a terminal. If you get a 'M' in response then you have likely found a skimmer and you should contact your local authorities. [minor edits]
The man who figured this out supplies the gory details at the above link and, better yet, has built a phone app that can do the detection for you. He also provides a link for that.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...


Someone apparently didn't understand that the phrase, "Keep it Zipped" was a
figure of speech.

c andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

And yet reacted defiantly all the same...

Dinwar said...

I have never trusted the Internet of Things. Security is impossible, as you point out. The other thing is, my purchase can be rendered useless because of someone else's actions. I have a Skype camera for a TV that is now an expensive paper weight because someone shut down their website, and a few stuffed animals for the kids that no longer work properly for the same reason. If I can't be confident that a kid's toy will work in a week, why would I trust it with something as important as my security or my food?

Gus Van Horn said...

Regarding that last sentence: Well said.