war on general purpose computers Archive

The clumsy, amateurish IoT botnet has now infected devices in virtually all of the world's countries

Mirai, the clumsily written Internet of Things virus that harnessed so many devices in an attack on journalist Brian Krebs that it overloaded Akamai, has now spread to devices in either 164 or 177 countries — that is, pretty much everywhere with reliable electricity and internet access. Imperva, a company that provides protection to websites against Distributed Denial of Service …

The malware that's pwning the Internet of Things is terrifyingly amateurish

Following the release of the sourcecode for the Mirai botnet, which was used to harness DVRs, surveillance cameras and other Internet of Things things into one of the most powerful denial-of-service attacks the internet has ever seen, analysts have gone over its sourcecode and found that the devastatingly effective malware was strictly amateur-hour, a stark commentary on the even worse security in the …

HP blinked! Let's keep the pressure on! [PLEASE SHARE!]

Only three days after EFF’s open letter to HP over the company’s deployment of a stealth “security update” that caused its printers to reject third-party cartridges, the company issued an apology promising to let customers optionally install another update to unbreak their printers. That’s good for starters, but it’s a long way from making up for one of the most egregious abuses of …

Electronic voting machines suck, the comprehensive 2016 election edition

It’s been thirteen years since we started writing here about the shenanigans of the electronic voting machine industry, who were given a gift when, after the contested 2000 elections, Congress and the Supreme Court signaled that elections officials had to go and buy new machines. Over the past decade-plus, it’s only gotten worse. There was that time that Diebold sent thousands of …

EFF to court: don't let US government prosecute professor over his book about securing computers

In July, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Dr Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute Assistant Professor of Computer Science; now the US government has asked a court to dismiss Dr Green’s claims. A brief from EFF explains what’s at stake here: the right of security experts to tell us which computers are vulnerable to attack, and …

HTML standardization group calls on W3C to protect security researchers from DRM

The World Wide Web Consortium has embarked upon an ill-advised project to standardize Digital Rights Management (DRM) for video at the behest of companies like Netflix; in so doing, they are, for the first time, making a standard whose implementations will be covered under anti-circumvention laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it a potential felony to reveal defects in products without the …

John Oliver on subprime auto-lending and its killswitches

We’ve been following the trade in remote kill-switches for cars sold to subprime borrowers since 2009, and watched in dismay as they got worse and worse: though John Oliver’s report on the billions inflating the subprime auto-lending bubble touches on these, he focuses on the economic factors — sleaze, corruption, moral hazard — driving the tech. It’s a kind of re-run of the …

A free/open computer on a card that you swap in and out of a 3D printed laptop

Lou Cabron writes, “Finally, after five years of work, Rhombus Tech has gone from a free/libre/open source “spec” to their first actual modular devices! The video is amazing. ” You can literally plug in a new CPU — or swap your CPU into a variety of devices. (Laptops, phones, tablets — all powered by the same motherboard!) 3D print a new …