Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hijacking Alexa…With a Song

Alexa photo via Shutterstock
I've had just a mild paranoia about someone using Alexa to eavesdrop on my conversations at home. Only mild, though, as I can't think of anything in my conversations with either my wife or my dog (yep, I talk to my dog) that I'd be particularly nervous about anyone hearing. But inaudible commands embedded in music might cause me incredible grief (see the UK Register article here).

Not only could my Alexa device make unwanted purchases from Amazon—who cares whether or not I get free shipping on a walk-in bathtub?—but I'd hate to see my bank account drained just because somebody hijacks an Oldies But Goodies music commercial and puts secret commands into the soundtrack.

So, ah, Dear Amazon, Google, Samsung and Apple: You might want to put frequency filters in your voice-recognition devices. Thank you very much.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Why Lenovo is on the Government Crap List: Another Supply Chain Hack

A security guard asleep
Check out the U. K. Register's story about Lenovo's "craptastic fingerprint scanner" if you want to see the result of supply chain hacking (read it here). For what it's worth, it also demonstrates again that the Windows OS is the most-hacked software on the planet. Selah.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Laptop: Don't Leave Your Hotel Room Without It

The Intel and AMD chip flaws are just one example of how seriously we all should pay attention to our computer or device purchase and their manufacturers' supply chain. Add to that the recent flaw in Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT) where just typing a Control-P during the boot process and using the password "admin" to gain instant root access, and we have a new mantra:  "Don't leave your hotel room without your laptop." See the UK Register story here.

Why not leave your laptop unattended? Simple: A hotel maid looking to supplement her income can have malware installed on your computer within 60 seconds.

So you're wondering why the government doesn't deal with Lenovo computers any more? Or why Huwei is on the blacklist? Answer: SUPPLY CHAIN.

Of course, I just swallowed hard and purchased a screaming new iMacPro with a 27-inch Retina display. It shipped from (gulp) China. Just shows there are some risks I'm willing to take for a spectacular product.

Taman Shud.