quantifiable self

Monoculture 2.0: Will Android’s Rise Be A Security Nightmare?

Monoculture 2.0: Will Android’s Rise Be A Security Nightmare?

There have been a bunch of interesting articles in recent weeks that highlight the rapid expansion of Google’s Android operating system from phones and tablets to all kinds of intelligent devices. They beg the question: is Android becoming the Microsoft Windows of the fast-emerging “Internet of Things.” And, if so, we might ask: ‘What are the security implications of that?’ First the skinny on Android’s growing dominance of the intelligent device sector. Ashlee Vance over at Businessweek.com delved into that with an article “Behind the Internet of Things is Android – and its everywhere.” Vance makes the point that Android is not only the choice for 75% of the handset makers these days – it’s also become the OS of choice for anyone making anything with a processor and a networking stack. The effect of that is akin to what Microsoft encountered when Windows went from being just another PC […]

Paul speaks with Nick Percoco of SpiderLabs on Black Hat and hacking smart homes - July, 2013.

Podcast: The Big Truth – Responding To Sophisticated Attacks

If you work at a rank and file corporation in the U.S. or Europe, stories like those about the breach at the defense contractor Qinetiq are terrifying. Here’s a company that’s on the bleeding edge of technology, making autonomous vehicles and other high-tech gadgetry for the U.S. Military. Despite that, it finds itself the hapless victim of a devastating cyber breach that lasts – by all accounts – for months, or years. In the end, the attackers (likely linked to China’s People’s Liberation Army) make off with the company’s intellectual property (likely all of it) and, soon, defense contractors in Mainland China start turning out devices that look eerily similar to the ones Qinetiq makes. Ouch! If a company like Qinetiq can’t stop an attack by advanced persistent threats (APT) – or whatever name you want to use –  what hope do overworked IT admins at rank and file enterprises […]

Update: Researchers Use Weezer Tune To Knock Defibrillators Offline

Update: Researchers Use Weezer Tune To Knock Defibrillators Offline

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include comment from Medtronic and from the researchers. A bit more on that: I spoke to the fine researchers who conducted this study. They are concerned that people might casually read the headline or first couple paragraphs and conclude that listening to Weezer will kill them. Listening to Weezer will not kill you. Listening to Weezer will not interfere with your implanted defibrillator if used under normal conditions. Their experiment (and my article) make this clear, but you do have to  read down a bit in the article to get that, and I know not everyone does that. In any case, the health benefits of using an implanted defibrillator in accordance with your doctor’s instructions, far outweigh any risk from EMI or other electronic tampering. – PFR 5/22/2013. Listening to Weezer could kill you. Literally. That’s the conclusion of an unusual experiment […]

Fitbitten: Researchers Exploit Health Monitor To Earn Workout Rewards

Fitbitten: Researchers Exploit Health Monitor To Earn Workout Rewards

Call it “the quantified self” – that intersection of powerful, IP-enabled personal health monitoring tools and (usually) Web based tools for aggregating, analyzing and reporting. The last five years has brought an explosion in these products. In addition to the long-popular gear like Garmin GPS watches – must have items for the exercise addicted – there’s a whole range of new tools for the merely “exercise curious” or folks interested in losing weight or just figure out what, exactly, they do all day. Count  Nike’s FuelBand, Jawbone’s UP, and Fitbit in that category. Alas, a growing number of reports suggest that, when it comes to medical devices and health monitoring tools, the security of sensitive personal data isn’t a top priority. The latest news comes by way of researchers at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. A team of three researchers, composed of students and faculty, analyzed the Fitbit health monitoring device […]