Doorbell Cameras Like Ring Give Early Warning of Police Searches, FBI Warned

Found on The Intercept on Wednesday, 02 September 2020
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According to a leaked FBI bulletin, law enforcement has discovered an ironic downside to ubiquitous privatized surveillance: The cameras are alerting residents when police show up to conduct searches.

Sometimes the police are the unannounced, unwanted visitor: “Subjects likely use IoT devices to hinder LE [law enforcement] investigations and possibly monitor LE activity,” the bulletin states. “If used during the execution of a search, potential subjects could learn of LE’s presence nearby, and LE personnel could have their images captured, thereby presenting a risk to their present and future safety.”

Well that took them long enough to realize that.

Yet Another Study Shows U.S. 5G Is Far Slower Than Many Other Nations

Found on Techdirt on Tuesday, 01 September 2020
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U.S. regulators failed to make mid-band spectrum (which offers faster speeds at greater range) widely available, many U.S. wireless carriers like Verizon embraced higher millimeter wave spectrum (which has trouble with range and building wall penetration) or low-band spectrum (which offers greater range but at notably reduced speeds).

Companies like Verizon advertise 5G as a near-mystical panacea that's capable of revolutionizing everything from smart cities to cancer treatment, even though a closer examination usually shows that's simply not true.

5G is just buzzword bingo.

An Alexa Bug Could Have Exposed Your Voice History to Hackers

Found on Wired on Saturday, 22 August 2020
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Findings published on Thursday by the security firm Check Point reveal that Alexa's web services had bugs that a hacker could have exploited to grab a target's entire voice history, meaning their recorded audio interactions with Alexa.

Check Point's Vanunu says that the attack he and his colleagues discovered was nuanced, and that it's not surprising Amazon didn't catch it on its own given the scale of the company's platforms. But the findings offer a valuable reminder for users to think about the data they store in their various web accounts and to minimize it as much as possible.

Just don't let a bug into your house.

Boeing 747s receive critical software updates over 3.5" floppy disks

Found on The Register on Thursday, 13 August 2020
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Boeing 747-400s still use floppy disks for loading critical navigation databases, Pen Test Partners has revealed to the infosec community after poking about one of the recently abandoned aircraft.

"This database has to be updated every 28 days, so you can see how much of a chore this has to be for an engineer to visit," Lomas said, pointing out the floppy drive – which in normal operations is tucked away behind a locked panel.

So what? It seems to work and it is much more secure than having the plane join some wireless network, or rely on someone plugging a USB stick in that comes with preinstalled malware, or even causes physical damage.

Adverts for large polluting cars 'should be banned'

Found on BBC News on Monday, 03 August 2020
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A new campaign called "Badvertising" is demanding an immediate end to adverts for large polluting cars.

The authors want to outlaw advertising for cars with average emissions of over 160g CO2/km, and those exceeding 4.8m in length.

Would an ad ban work, though? Steve Gooding, from the RAC Foundation, said: "People spending £70,000 on a new car are probably not swayed much by ads – they’re attracted to the prestige brand. I suspect banning adverts wouldn’t make a great deal of difference."

You don't take over a market by outlawing your competitor, you do it by offering a better product; and it seems like electric cars are not appealing the majority yet.

UK electrical waste mountain growing

Found on BBC News on Wednesday, 15 July 2020
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UK households and businesses produce 1.45 million tonnes of electrical waste each year, research shows.

That issue is now being discussed by the government. A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “We are committed to moving to a more circular economy."

That's the price for neverending growth (which does not exist so the system will collapse sooner or later). People do not value products anymore so it turns into a throwaway economy.

Hacker Bypasses GE's Ridiculous Refrigerator DRM

Found on Vice on Thursday, 18 June 2020
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Earlier this year, we brought you the sordid tale of the GE refrigerator that won’t dispense filtered water unless consumers pay extra for “official” filters from the company.

For reference, third-party filters cost as little as $13; GE filters cost $55. I’m gonna go ahead and call this a “hack,” because they’re bypassing an artificial software lock to circumvent DRM, which is, at least in spirit, a hack, and a cool one at that.

Why would you even buy a fridge that locks you down to overpriced replacement parts?

Germany will require all petrol stations to provide electric car charging

Found on Reuters on Sunday, 07 June 2020
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The move could provide a significant boost to electric vehicle demand along with the broader stimulus plan which included taxes to penalise ownership of large polluting combustion-engined sports utility vehicles and a 6,000 euro subsidy towards the cost of an electric vehicle.

“Internationally this puts Germany in the leading group of battery electric vehicle support.”

Even with Superchargers it will take way longer than filling your car with gasoline. Petrol stations are an emergency charging place at best; charging needs to happen at the endpoints. Unfortunately, his plan is very useful for politicians to say "we are doing something".

Tesla on autopilot crashes into overturned truck

Found on Taiwan English News on Monday, 01 June 2020
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A Tesla crashed into an overturned truck on National Highway 1 this morning, and the driver said the car was on autopilot at the time, according to reports in United Daily News, and Liberty Times today, June 1.

Video footage of the accident showed the truck driver standing around 25-30 meters behind the overturned truck attempting to warn drivers, but as the Tesla approaches at full speed, the truck driver is forced to stand aside.

So you have cars which can read speedlimit signs, but cannot see a huge truck?

Canceled Dyson electric vehicle boasted 600-mile range per charge

Found on Digial Trends on Tuesday, 19 May 2020
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Codenamed N526, Dyson’s electric SUV weighed 2.6 tons and could fit up to 7 people. Its top speed was 125 miles per hour, and it could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds.

A more impressive statistic for the scrapped vehicle was its 600-mile range in a single charge.

Anybody can make bold claims to attract attenion. What counts is what gets delivered; and that is nothing in this case.