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    Digital License Plates

    news.movim.eu / Schneier · Wednesday, 12 October - 19:52 · 1 minute

California just legalized digital license plates, which seems like a solution without a problem.

The Rplate can reportedly function in extreme temperatures, has some customization features, and is managed via Bluetooth using a smartphone app. Rplates are also equipped with an LTE antenna, which can be used to push updates, change the plate if the vehicle is reported stolen or lost, and notify vehicle owners if their car may have been stolen.

Perhaps most importantly to the average car owner, Reviver said Rplate owners can renew their registration online through the Reviver mobile app.

That’s it?

Right now, an Rplate for a personal vehicle (the battery version) runs to $19.95 a month for 48 months, which will total $975.60 if kept for the full term. If opting to pay a year at a time, the price is $215.40 a year for the same four-year period, totaling $861.60. Wired plates for commercial vehicles run $24.95 for 48 months, and $275.40 if paid yearly.

That’s a lot to pay for the luxury of not having to find an envelope and stamp.

Plus, the privacy risks:

Privacy risks are an obvious concern when thinking about strapping an always-connected digital device to a car, but the California law has taken steps that may address some of those concerns.

“The bill would generally prohibit an alternative device [i.e. digital plate] from being equipped with GPS or other vehicle location tracking capability,” California’s legislative digest said of the new law. Commercial fleets are exempt from the rule, unsurprisingly.

More important are the security risks. Do we think for a minute that your digital license plate is secure from denial-of-service attacks, or number swapping attacks, or whatever new attacks will be dreamt up? Seems like a piece of stamped metal is the most secure option.

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    The chip shortage is driving up tech prices–starting with TVs

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 15 May, 2021 - 11:15

The chip shortage is driving up tech prices–starting with TVs

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

Televisions, laptops, and tablets have been in high demand during the Covid-19 pandemic , as people worked and learned via Zoom , socialized over Skype, and binged on Netflix to alleviate the lockdown blues. But all that extra screen time also helped set in motion a semiconductor supply crunch that is causing prices for some gadgets to spike—starting with TVs.

In recent months, the price of larger TV models has shot up around 30 percent compared to last summer, according to market research company NPD . The jump is a direct result of the current chip crisis, and underscores that a fix is more complicated than simply ramping up production. It may also be only a matter of time before other gadgets that use the same circuitry—laptops, tablets, and VR headsets among them—experience similar sticker shock.

Some manufacturers have already flagged potential price rises. Asus, a Taiwanese computer maker, said during a quarterly earnings call in March that a shortage of components would mean “price hikes further upstream,” which would likely affect consumers.

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    Thousands of infected IoT devices used in for-profit anonymity service

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 16 October, 2020 - 12:00 · 1 minute

A stylized human skull over a wall of binary code.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Ars Technica )

Some 9,000 devices—mostly running Android, but also the Linux and Darwin operating Systems—have been corralled into the Interplanetary Storm, the name given to a botnet whose chief purpose is creating a for-profit proxy service, likely for anonymous Internet use.

The finding is based on several pieces of evidence collected by researchers from security provider Bitdefender. The core piece of evidence is a series of six specialized nodes that are part of the management infrastructure. They include a:

  • proxy backend that pings other nodes to prove its availability
  • proxy checker that connects to a bot proxy
  • manager that issues scanning and brute-forcing commands
  • backend interface responsible for hosting a Web API
  • node that uses cryptography keys to authenticate other devices and sign authorized messages
  • development node used for development purposes

Keeping it on the down-low

Together, these nodes “are responsible for checking for node availability, connecting to proxy nodes, hosting the web API service, signing authorized messages, and even testing the malware in its development phase,” Bitdefender researchers wrote in a report published on Thursday . “Along with other development choices, this leads us to believe that the botnet is used as a proxy network, potentially offered as an anonymization service.”

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    How a hacker turned a $250 coffee maker into ransom machine

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 26 September, 2020 - 14:58

With the name Smarter, you might expect a network-connected kitchen appliance maker to be, well, smarter than companies selling conventional appliances. But in the case of the Smarter’s Internet-of-things coffee maker, you’d be wrong.

As a thought experiment, Martin Hron, a researcher at security company Avast, reverse engineered one of the $250 devices to see what kinds of hacks he could do. After just a week of effort, the unqualified answer was: quite a lot. Specifically, he could trigger the coffee maker to turn on the burner, dispense water, spin the bean grinder, and display a ransom message, all while beeping repeatedly. Oh, and by the way, the only way to stop the chaos was to unplug the power cord. Like this:

What a hacked coffee maker looks like

“It’s possible,” Hron said in an interview. “It was done to point out that this did happen and could happen to other IoT devices. This is a good example of an out-of-the-box problem. You don't have to configure anything. Usually, the vendors don’t think about this.”

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