Hacking your car

As we move into the “internet of things”–objects and devices connected to the internet–we are learning that those things can be hacked.  This is especially true of late-model automobiles, which are packed with computers and online connections.  Hackers can access your car via OnStar, navigation systems, diagnostic programs, bluetooth connections, etc., etc., whereupon they can unlock your doors, start your engine, turn your steering wheel, and shut off your brakes, among other kinds of havoc.

Craig Timberg has written a fascinating article on how all of this is done and the little that automakers are doing to stop it. [Read more…]

The epic cybersecurity fail

A hacker–probably connected to the Chinese government–has hacked into the databases of the Office of Personnel Management, stealing personal records on some 21 million federal employees.  The stolen information includes the results of security clearances, as well as coercion material on people with security clearances, meaning that this is an intelligence disaster.  Nebraska freshman Senator Ben Sasse, perhaps my highest-ranking personal acquaintance, has written perceptively about this in Wired Magazine, no less.  Excerpt and link after the jump.

(HT to Anthony Sacramone, whom you should also read on the subject.) [Read more…]

North Korean hackers win

We blogged about  the hack of Sony pictures, apparently by North Koreans angry about “The Interview,” a comedy about an attempt to assassinate that country’s dear leader, Kim Jong-un.  The organization that broke into the company’s data released vast amounts of embarrassing information online, including racially charged remarks about President Obama from chief executives, insulting information about how the studio viewed certain stars, and financial details about who makes more than who.  Not to mention entire movies that can now be pirated before their release.

But then the hackers had this to say about the release of the movie on Christmas day:  “The world will be full of fear.  “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

With this dirrect threat,  many theater chains and distributors cancelled the showings.  Whereupon Sony has killed the movie completely. [Read more…]

Hacked and attacked

This blog was down for much of the weekend due to some hacker! I prefer to think that it was some automatic spammer that detected a vulnerability in some outdated software rather than some individual person acting out of malice or antagonism. Before too much mayhem could ensue, DreamHost, the company whose server hosts us, shut everything down.

Thanks to my former student Stewart Lundy for staying up until at least 1:42 a.m. in Sunday fixing everything, which included installing all kinds of updates and extra security features. If anything like this ever happens to you, or if you need someone to work on your blog or even your computer, let Stewart take care of it via his brand-new company Bulldog Technology.

I should also put in a plug for DreamHost, which has always handled my problems quickly and with great dispatch, e-mailing me back within minutes of my pleas for help. (If you want to use them for your own web hosting, click that link and enter the promo code “cranach” and I believe you’ll get some kind of deal. It’s only $5.95 a month, with lots of freebies.)

Anyway, I never thought a hacker would attack this blog, uncontroversial as we always are.