600,000 GPS trackers left exposed online with a default password of '123456'

Found on ZDNet on Saturday, 07 September 2019
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Avast researchers said they found these issues in T8 Mini, a GPS tracker manufactured by Shenzhen i365-Tech, a Chinese IoT device maker.

Avast said the issues also impacted over 30 other models of GPS trackers, all manufactured by the same vendor, and some even sold as white-label products, bearing the logos of other companies.

A hacker can launch automated attacks against Shenzhen i365-Tech's cloud server by going through all user ID's one by one, and using the same 123456 password, and take over users' accounts.

Unfortunately for everyone, the issue persists to this day, as Shenzhen i365-Tech did not respond to Avast's emails when the company tried to warn the vendor. Similar contact attempts made by ZDNet's sister site CNET didn't succeed either.

It could be really simple: every device that comes with some sort of authentication has to have a unique random password that's printed onto a label on the device, and which has to be changed to something different when the device is first used. Companies which do not follow these guidelines will face hefty fines and already sold devices will be recalled.

White House to Relax Energy Efficiency Rules for Light Bulbs

Found on The New York Times on Thursday, 05 September 2019
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The proposed changes would eliminate requirements that effectively meant that most light bulbs sold in the United States — not only the familiar, pear-shaped ones, but several other styles as well — must be either LEDs or fluorescent to meet new efficiency standards.

Calling the move an “unforced error,” he said, “Wasting energy with inefficient light bulbs isn’t just costly for homes and businesses, it’s terrible for our climate.”

Because of their long life and energy efficiency, an LED bulb can save consumers an estimated $50 to $100 over its several-year lifetime.

It's not a matter of prohibiting classic light bulbs, but a matter of teaching people about the drawbacks.

Doorbell-Camera Firm Ring Has Partnered With 400 Police Forces, Extending Surveillance Reach

Found on Slashdot on Friday, 30 August 2019
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The doorbell-camera company Ring has quietly forged video-sharing partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them access to homeowners' camera footage and a powerful role in what the company calls America's "new neighborhood watch."

Ring is owned by Amazon, which bought the firm last year for more than $800 million, financial filings show. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

So if your neighbor across the street has a Ring, your house can be watched 24/7? What an ugly new world.

The world's first solar road has turned out to be a colossal failure

Found on Business Insider on Sunday, 18 August 2019
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The unfortunate truth is that this road is in such a poor state, it isn't even worth repairing. Last May, a 100-meter stretch had deteriorated to such a state that it had to be demolished.

Despite costing up to roughly $6.1 million, the solar road became operational in 2016 — 75% of the panels were broken before being installed, it doesn't generate any energy, it can't be driven on, and 83% of its panels are broken, according to Daily Caller.

Such a massive failure raises the question if any serious scientists or engineers were asked before starting the project, or if it was just a politicial decision of blind actionism in order "to do something cool".

Amazon to kill Dash button functions on August 31—you have a month to hack yours

Found on Ars Technica on Friday, 02 August 2019
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Amazon justified its plans by saying that consumer use of the devices "has significantly slowed" since the retailer stopped offering them as a buyable option.

What will you use leftover Dash buttons for? Beats us. But anything has to be better than pressing the thing and not getting a massive carton of Doritos as expected.

Another pile of junk created in an attempt to boost sales.

Verizon wants you to pay $650 plus $85 a month for a 5G hotspot

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 20 July 2019
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Verizon yesterday announced its first 5G hotspot, namely the Inseego MiFi M1000 that Verizon is selling for $650. On top of the device cost, the monthly fees for 5G service will be higher than 4G even though Verizon's 5G network barely exists.

But the fine print states that customers get 50GB of high-speed 5G data, and 5G speeds are reduced to 3Mbps after that.

Verizon has said its 5G users "should expect typical download speeds of 450Mbps, with peak speeds of above 1.5Gbps and latency less than 30 milliseconds."

So in about 15 minutes your monthly traffic is busted and you connections are throttled. It's about time that this BS-bingo about 5G ends.

Samsung asks users to please virus-scan their TVs

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 18 June 2019
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Does Samsung believe there's a real danger of malware infection on its smart TVs? Obviously, any computing device with random-access storage can run malicious code.

The best way to keep your big, expensive smart TV safe is never to allow it access to your network in the first place.

Everyhing that is network-connected can be exploited; and the security history in the IoT world shows well enough that it will happen.

3D-printed guns are back, and this time they are unstoppable

Found on Wired on Wednesday, 22 May 2019
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Unlike previous attempts to popularise 3D-printed guns, this operation is entirely decentralised. There’s no headquarters, no trademarks, and no real leader. The people behind it reckon that this means they can’t be stopped by governments.

There is no way to stop the anonymous file sharing of 3D-printed guns online. Whether they’re just pretending to be doing this for reasons of liberty or otherwise, their message is clear: it’s already too late to stop.

It was just a matter of time. Knowledge, good or bad, can not be kept under tight control forever.

Millimeter-wave 5G will never scale beyond dense urban areas, T-Mobile says

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 22 April 2019
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While all four major nationwide carriers in the United States have overhyped 5G to varying degrees, T-Mobile today made a notable admission about 5G's key limitation. T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray wrote in a blog post that millimeter-wave spectrum used for 5G "will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments."

Despite Ray's realism about the limitations of millimeter-wave signals, T-Mobile hasn't shied away from exaggerating the benefits of 5G.

No, 5G will not be the next saviour, despite what marketing guys preach. It is just a wireless network with shortcomings that should be treated as such. Don't fall for the propaganda.

Bendgate 2.0: Samsung’s $2,000 foldable phone is already breaking

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 18 April 2019
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During the run-up to the device's launch, there were concerns about the durability of the folding display, and now after just a few days with the public, the device is already experiencing problems.

It looks like Steve Kovach of CNBC has experienced everyone's worst fear: his Galaxy Fold display broke right along the fold crease—all the pixels in the folding area went black and the screen started flickering like crazy.

The early hype for the Galaxy Fold seems to have struck a chord with consumers, with Samsung.com citing "overwhelming demand" and selling out of Galaxy Fold pre-orders in just a day.

Samsung will have fun times after the device hits the masses. The display might work fine in the laboratory, but the life is different outside.