Category Archives: Hacking

Lamps That Spy On People & Tweet Their Conversations

Be careful what you say in public. No, really – be careful what you say in public because you just never know who or what may be listening to your words. It could be the person sitting at the table beside you. It could be the waitress who overhears part of your conversation as she’s coming to take your order. It could be the person standing behind you as you’re waiting in line. Or, it could be one of the lamps residing on top of your table. Especially if you’re in New York City. I wish I was kidding, but I’m totally serious.

It has recently come to light that 2 people who wanted to try their hand at hidden surveillance did just that in the Big Apple. They went to Washington Square Park and put hidden wi-fi enabled listening devices inside of lamps at a bank, a library, McDonalds, and of all places, someone’s bedroom. But that’s not the end of the story. After the conversations are recorded by the lamps, they’re sent to Mechanical Turk, where they are transcribed and then tweeted out on Twitter. This has been going on for about 7 months under the Twitter handle @Conversnitch. Kyle McDonald and Brian House, who are behind the spying, state that they want people to be extra cautious about being watched.

Lamps That Spy On People & Tweet Their ConversationsLamps That Spy On People & Tweet Their Conversations

That Lamp Does More Than Just Light Up The Room

While this may seem (and probably is) slightly unethical, the pair seem to want to teach us all a lesson, that if they’re able to do this, just imagine what the government is able to do without our knowledge. It’s scary when you actually stop and think about it.

So, that old adage “be careful what you say” is never more true than in today’s world, because you never know who – or, what – is listening to your conversations.

http://motherboard.vice.com/tag/conversnitch

 

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Florida Man Used Cell Phone Jammer On Highway For 2 Years

I don’t exactly know how you feel about people talking on their cell phones while driving, but it certainly annoys some people more than it does others. While there are those who claim it’s perfectly safe, there are still others who think it distracts a driver too much to safely operate a vehicle. Even if you hate the fact that some people drive and talk, you’ve probably never gone to any kind of extreme measures to prevent it from happening around you. After all, what could you even do in the first place? I guess you could try giving out dirty looks until each car around you ends their call(s), but good luck with that. Or, you could just go out and get yourself a cell phone jammer and prevent anyone around you within a certain radius from making any type of cell phone call.

At least that’s the length one Florida man went to so he could make sure all of the drivers on the road around him focused solely on their driving

Jason Humphreys, a 60-year-old from Florida, used a personal cell phone jammer for 2 years whenever he decided to drive anywhere.

Florida Man Used Cell Phone Jammer For 2 Years On Highway

Obviously, while he was using the cell phone jammer, no vehicles within a certain distance were able to make or receive any type of phone calls. This worked out well for Humphreys until certain phone providers were noticing some peculiar activity around the town of Tampa. Eventually, it was discovered that certain frequencies which jammed cell phones were coming out of the vehicle driven by Humphreys.

It took a while, but Humphreys was eventually pulled over by the police who found the jammer in the car. He now must pay $48,000 in fines. Jeez – all this because he didn’t want anyone to talk on the phone while they were driving.

Microsoft Wants Better Security than Passwords

Security is the biggest issue for technology users today. From online passwords to passwords and/or passcodes for devices – we there are always people on the lookout for a flaw so that they can take advantage of unauthorized access. And Microsoft is dead serious about finding something better than passwords to keep users secure.

According to Dustin Ingalls, group program manager for Windows security and identity, “We have to solve this, ideally in a standard way across industry because the ecosystem will be better off if we can solve it for all devices and services users come across daily.” (Source)

passwords

I think we can all agree that the issue has to be solved, and that if a standard can be found that satisfies the entire industry, that would be great. Of course, ideal doesn’t always happen in real life!

Microsoft, however, is trying really hard and has joined up with the Fast IDentity Online (Fido) Alliance. Fido is a group that is working toward coming up with a standard that will give users strong, but simple, authentication. Microsoft is not the sole big name in the alliance, though, with the likes of Google, PayPal, Lenovo, and Mastercard joining the ranks.

So what else is Microsoft doing to do away with passwords and strengthen security?

Enter Windows 8.1 (remember: upgrade to Windows 8.1 and ditch Windows XP!). Ingalls says that Windows 8.1 is designed to incorporate security measures that will not rely on the faulty password system. This is due to a key element of the operating system, which is to provide “a single, easy enrolment experience for users regardless of what biometric device is being used.”

This also means that developers for the operating system will have an easier time of it, with Windows 8.1 doing all the work.

On the user side, we probably will just enjoy the experience of having a more secure system without having to keep track of all the passwords that we need.

 

 

Kickstarter hacked, user data stolen

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Hackers hit crowd-funding site Kickstarter and made off with user information, the site said Saturday.

Though no credit card info was taken, the site said, attackers made off with usernames, e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords.

“Actual passwords were not revealed, however it is possible for a malicious person with enough computing power to guess and crack an encrypted password, particularly a weak or obvious one,” the site said in a blog post, adding that “as a precaution, we strongly recommend that you create a new password for your Kickstarter account, and other accounts where you use this password.”

The site said law enforcement told Kickstarter of the breach on Wednesday night and that the company “immediately closed the security breach and began strengthening security measures throughout the Kickstarter system.” The site also said “no credit card data of any kind was accessed by hackers” and that “there is no evidence of unauthorized activity of any kind on all but two Kickstarter user accounts.”

You can read additional information about resetting a password here. We’ve contacted Kickstarter for more info on the attacks and will update this post when we hear back.