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Tag Archives: Security

Hey, Lets Put A Touchscreen On Our Locks, Because Touchscreen

By David Ponce

Master Lock’s dialSpeed electronic combination padlock looks pretty darn futuristic. It’s got a touch sensitive screen, few cryin’ out loud! Is there something wrong with current combination padlocks? No of course not, but hey, we’re living in 2012 and flying cars are on the way. The way you unlock the dialSpeed is by entering a series of center-up/down, center-left/right swipes. But it’s pretty hard to remember something like “up, up, down, up, left, right, up” so each arrow is matched with a set of letters. You’re then free to create your own mnemonic acronym. Other features include the ability to set up to 3 guest combinations, and to retrieve your lost key from some website. It runs off a CR 2032 battery which should keep it ticking for about 5 years. When it runs low, an indicator tells you its time to change it, though the presence of electronics does mean the dialSpeed is an indoors-only device. Rounding out the specs is a boron-carbide shackle, which we’re told is pretty tough to cut.

It’s $25. Not bad for a padlock from the future.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

That Shiny New BMW Of Yours? Yeah… Turns Out It’s Pretty Easy To Steal

By David Ponce

The newer generations of BMW’s have keys that would appear to make theft pretty hard to accomplish. There’s really no way to start the car without them, and since they’re encoded right at the dealership (with blanks sent over from Germany), no one but you has access to them. The encryption is strong, so they can’t be hacked… and yet… Turns out that some enterprising thieves have found a way to steal a new BMW in less than 90 seconds. The ways this is done is by purchasing a key encoder, which is sold on the black market in some parts of Europe for $8,000 or thereabouts. They then smash the driver’s side window and attach this encoder from the outside to the ODB-II port, which is not password protected. It appears that the cars’ alarm system has a blind spot right in front of the ODB-II port, so sticking your arm inside doesn’t seem to trigger anything. From there it’s just a matter of programming a blank (which the miscreants also appear to be able to acquire, although an old fob can also be reprogrammed) and leaving with the car, making use of their newly minted keyfob. This seems to affect every BMW, from the 1-series to the X6.

BMW’s official response? “Yeah, we know about this. And guess what, it’s a problem all premium, luxury cars face. (Not in those actual words.)” So, uh, looks like BMW won’t do much for you. Maybe keep a dog next to your car at night?

Anyway, hit the jump for a video of a car being stolen using this method, and another of a key being programmed with one of the illicit encoders.

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MacBook Pro Security Case

By David Ponce

Almost as soon as the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display was announced, bank accounts everywhere were drained of upwards of $2,000. Matter of fact, this dreamy machine cost a small fortune with some configurations reaching close to $4k. And yet Apple didn’t see fit to include a cable lock port on the device. You can remedy this unfortunate situation with the above MacBook Pro Security case. The clear acrylic base attaches to the laptop and features a security lock. It also slightly elevates the MBP for added ventilation, though we suspect that this became a “feature” only after the fact. If you wish, you can add a top cover and completely envelop your portable, though at this point you’ll be adding 0.7lbs of weight to your setup, which may become a deal killer for some. Still, if protection is high on your mind, $70 will get you this product which includes the cable.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Techcrunch Gadgets ]

Data Killer Erases Discs At The Press Of A Button

By David Ponce

Getting sensitive data off a hard drive isn’t as simple as deleting the files. The true geeks in the audience already knew that. But in case that’s not you, just know that simply deleting a file only tells the operating system that the area on the disc it once occupied is now free to be overwritten. But it’s not until this done, that your data is really gone. There are programs that will format, and reformat any given area with the aim to do just that, but the Data Killer machine goes the brute force way instead. It passes strong magnetic currents over the discs, realigning the microscopic bits on the surface of the platters without damaging them, and it does this quickly, at the simple press of a button.

Our product line-up can handle everything from a single 3.5-inch hard disk, to 14 of them at once. With our larger models, you can also instantly obliterate the data on a notebook PC.

There’s no word on price or availability.

[ DigInfo ] VIA [ Engadget ]

In A Throwback To Days Of Yore, USB Stick Lets You Use Wax Seal

By David Ponce

The best way to make sure no one accesses your documents is to use a strong encryption algorithm and a long, hard-to-guess password. But hey, everyone knows that, and it’s new and modern and sort of expected. To add an old-timey twist to your data securing needs, the above Top Secret Custom Made USB stick is made out of porcelain. This makes it possible to apply a wax seal to it. Seal is unbroken when you receive the stick: you know the contents haven’t been peeked at. If it is… well, then we hope you used a password, like we told you.

You get to pick your colour of wax from bordeaux red, orange, pink, blue and green. You also get to pick which “classic letter” to have imprinted on the wax press. The entire kit consisting of the wax, the press, the porcelain 2, 4 or 8GB stick costs €35 or about $46.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ ]

Anonymous Hacks Into Syrian President’s Email — Password Was 12345

By David Ponce

Syria’s uprising could take on a new twist in the coming days as news that hacker group Anonymous has gained access to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad’s personal email account surfaces. Unfortunately for the leet pride of most of Anonymous’ hackers, they didn’t have to do much work to gain entry as Al-Assad’s password was simply “12345″. Once in, the group had access to 78 different inboxes belonging to either the president or his staffers. We have no doubt that these emails are being read as we type this and once the good bits start to surface, it’ll be interesting to see who gets embarrassed. We just need to look back a few months at the fallout from the WikiLeaks cables to see how damaging this type of information can be to governments worldwide.

We should soon find out more. In the meantime, if your password is something as stupid as “12345″ or even “password”, do yourself a favor and just go change it. It doesn’t even need to be anything too elaborate; a short string of hard-to-remember unrelated random characters is less secure than a longer string of say, a few related words. Like “idontlikerememberingpasswords”.

VIA [ ]

Be Careful What You Say On Twitter, It Could Get You Kicked Out Of The U.S.A.

By David Ponce

Because it’s well known that terrorists will openly talk about their plans on Twitter, the DHS and CIA monitors the service for keywords. This practice has led recently to the unfortunate detention and immediate deportation of two Brits visiting the States. And what were the evil, offending tweets that had them explaining themselves for 12 hours? Leigh Van Byran said:

“free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?”

Destroy… as in “get trashed and party” as he explained to the Daily Mail. And Emily Banting offense? A Family Guy quote!:

“3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA pissing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”

So watch out, what everyone knew has been confirmed. A sense of humor is an automatic disqualification for anyone working at DHS, as is common sense, logic and any of the skills that everyone outraged at this story clearly has. And the message is clear: foreigners, watch what you say online. The dumbest stuff will come back and bite you.

[ The Daily Mail ] VIA [ DVice ]

Polo Shirt Will Also Stop Bullets

By David Ponce

Products like this are certainly nothing new, but it’s nice to be reminded now and then that it is possible to don a little protection while avoiding the look-at-me-I’m-a-high-value-target look altogether. Miguel Caballero Bulletproof Men’s Polo Shirt features a cotton exterior for an attempt at a casual look, while the innermost layer is microfiber. It tries to keep you warm in the cold and wick the sweat away in the heat. The middle layer is the company’s proprietary bullet proof section, and comes in three flavors:

    OPTION IIA: 9mm / 40 Smith and Wesson FMJ
    OPTION II: 9mm / .357 Magnum / 38 Super / Mini Uzi submachine gun
    OPTION IIIA: Uzi machine gun / MP5,MP9 submachine gun / 44 Magnum SJHP / Stab-proof

Some clients include “action hero Steven Seagal, King Abdullah of Jordan, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, Prince Felipe of Spain.” A small degree of peace of mind comes at a hefty price, of course. It’s between $3,500 and $4,500.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ RedFerret ]

Facebook’s White Hat Credit Card Rewards Responsible Hacking

By David Ponce

Following in the footsteps of Google and Mozilla, Facebook launched a program called “White Hat Bug Bounty Program” last July. The idea was to encourage hackers in the wild to find security holes in Facebook’s code and report it to the company for a reward. This reward takes the shape of the credit card you see above. As long as the vulnerability is disclosed to Facebook by following their Responsible Disclosure Policy and the hacker does not go public with the vulnerability information until the hole has been fixed, they are promised to get a reward of at least $500. There is no set maximum, though the highest amount paid so far is $5,000.

Possessing this card has become somewhat of a status symbol as only 81 of them have been doled out so far.

Ryan McGeehan, manager of Facebook’s security response team, told CNET in a recent interview. “Having this exclusive black card is another way to recognize them. They can show up at a conference and show this card and say ‘I did special work for Facebook.’”

As anyone who’s ever come across a hardcore hacker surely knows, it is respect and appreciation, almost as much as money, that can drive them. A token such as this is a smart move. Too bad the program was unable to prevent Zuckerberg’s personal photos from leaking into the wild.