Researchers Prove How They Can Stop a Corvette with a Simple Text Message

Since a couple of hackers found a way to remotely control a Crysler, we’ve heard a lot of similar successful attempts on other vehicles. The latest comes from researchers over at the University of California, who have taken an interest in third-party devices coupled to the TCUs.

The TCUs are directly linked to a vehicle’s Controller Area Network bus, who sends and receives messages from all systems. The thing is that TCUs also have a SIM card to send data back to the manufacturer or insurance companies. This is how the researchers were able to discover, target and compromise a Corvette’s systems with just a simple text message.

The researchers made a two-staged attack, first by updating the device’s software, then making use of funnel commands which could be sent directly to the CAN bus. They were able to prove on a Corvette that they can remotely start the windshield wipers and ally the breaks while the car was moving.

In the researchers’ paper, they state that finding mobile numbers for TCU SIMs is fairly easy, having assigned numbers that start with the 566 area code. They also said that the TCUs are not cryptographically signed, allowing them to install the malicious software update without the TCU knowing and that TCU NAND flash units share the same SSH key, allowing hackers to use it on other TCUs.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Watch Out! Too Much Candy Crush Can Break Your Tendons!

Are you playing a lot of Match-3 games? Like every day of the week? Is it Candy Crush? If the answer to all previous questions is ‘Yes’, then you might want to know that you may already suffer from ruptured tendons or will do so in the near future!

According to a medical report from JAMA (via Pix11), a 29-year old man suffered from a ruptured tendon after playing the Candy Crush Saga game all day for about 6 or 8 months in a row.

” A 29-year-old, right hand–dominant man presented with chronic left thumb pain and loss of active motion from playing a Match-3 puzzle video game on his smartphone all day for 6 to 8 weeks. On physical examination, the left extensor pollicis longus tendon was not palpable, and no tendon motion was noted with wrist tenodesis.” the observations from JAMA state.

Ouch! that must have hurt. But wait, it didn’t? The physicians stated in their conclusions and observations that the more he played, the less pain he suffered. What?

“Future research should consider whether pain reduction is a reason some individuals play video games excessively, manifest addiction, or sustain injuries associated with video gaming.”

So if you got your thumb ruptured by the mobile game named Candy Crush, then it’s safe to say that the medical condition can be called ‘Candy Crush Thumb?’. Well, according to a report, that’s what people are calling it now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqx9o5-lsGY

This is a scary thing to consider. How about you, are you playing a lot of puzzle games on your smartphone and do you feel any pain (or don’t feel anything at all)?

Thank you Pix11 for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of AppGuru and video courtesy of YouTube

UK Intelligence Confirms They Can Break into Any System, Anywhere, For ANY Reason

There have been talks that the FBI will soon have permission to break into computers anywhere on the planet. However, it comes to no surprise that the UK is following the same approach, having granted similar authority to its Intelligence Services. However, the biggest surprise is that the UK Government openly admitted it has the power and liberty to do so.

The British Government has admitted its intelligence services have the broad power to hack into personal phones, computers, and communications networks, and claims they are legally justified to hack anyone, anywhere in the world, even if the target is not a threat to national security nor suspected of any crime.

This comes as a response to its ‘Open Response’ followed the court cases filed against GCHQ last year. This is what the Intelligence Services revealed, according to Privacy International:

Buried deep within the document, Government lawyers claim that while the intelligence services require authorisation to hack into the computer and mobile phones of “intelligence targets”, GCHQ is equally permitted to break into computers anywhere in the world even if they are not connected to a crime or a threat to national security.

In addition to the latter, the GCHQ openly admits and tells how it was able to hack into Gemalto’s SIM network, a story which was deemed as controversial last year.

The intelligence services assert the right to exploit communications networks in covert manoeuvres that severely undermine the security of the entire internet. The deployment of such powers is confirmed by recent news stories detailing how GCHQ hacked into Belgacom using the malware Regin, and targeted Gemalto, the world’s largest maker of SIM cards used in countries around the world.

The important part about this is not the actual information, but the fact that bringing court cases against the GCHQ has revealed more details which were previously kept as a secret. This apparently shows how effective this strategy is and how it could reveal even more secrets in the future, should it be used again.

Thank you TechDirt for providing us with this information

Rose Petals Inspire New Generation of Stretchable Circuits

Researchers have always turned to nature in order to find solutions to the most complex problems. This time, they turn to rose petals in order to get inspiration for a new generation of stretchable circuitry.

The race to find a way to make circuits stretch as much as possible has been on the back of the mind of researchers all over the world. Imagine the possibilities of rollable tablets or smartphones that could bend in your pocket without having to worry about them breaking.

Though we have had screens which can bend for some time now, they are no good without the circuitry to go with it. Electronic circuits nowadays are made out of silicon substances, which break if bent beyond their limits. Numerous attempts of making the substance elastic have been made, but scientists were faced with headaches when creating the right circuitry to go with the elastic compound.

However, a team of researchers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University have taken a more ‘natural’ approach, having rose petals as inspiration for their work in this field. The team is said to have used the surface topology of the rose petal in order to create a material that allows standard printed circuits to flex without breaking.

“[W]hen conducting materials such as metal thin films are deposited on top, the sharp ridges can effectively stop the propagation of microcracks in the conducting layer formed under large strains. As a consequence, the electrical resistance of the conducting layer shows remarkable stability in large-strain deformation.”

It is said that the electrical properties of the material were consistent when stretched to lengths 40% greater than their original size and continued to function until reaching a value of 90%.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Man Breaks Into Neighbor’s Apartment Using His Phone and An App

Andy Greenberg from Wired has apparently shown us how easy it is to break in someone’s house nowadays. You don’t need sophisticated lock-picking skills or need to be a professional thief to do it. All you need is an app and an iPhone, as he puts it.

Greenberg used an app called KeyMe, which lets users 3D scan any key and uploads the images to the company’s cloud. Once that is done, you can head over to either one of their kiosks or order a 3D printed copy online.

He apparently went to his neighbor’s appartment, 3D scanned his key in a few seconds using the app and told him that he will be back in his apartment the next day ‘uninvited’. His neighbor did not believe him at first (who would believe you when saying you will break an entry with an iPhone?), but it did surprise him the day after.

KeyMe, KeyDuplicated and Keysave are apps that serve pretty much the same purpose, which is scanning keys. Some even let you scan more complex keys, such as car keys, having KeyMe stating it will even duplicate keys that “do not duplicate”. The service however describes the scanning process to be more complicated than just point the camera and take a picture.

KeyMe states that in order to duplicate a key, customers need to take it off the keychain, scan it on both sides against a white background and from approximately 4 inches away. However, Greenberg told that he did not follow any of the rules when he made his ‘stairwell creep-scans’.

With so many app alternatives and 3D printing aid nowadays, every commercially available piece of tech can be used to break into houses, amongst other ‘unintended’ uses. As Greenberg stated, breaking an entry nowadays has proven to be quite “idiot-proof”.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information

Drink Coffee During the Day… At the Scientifically Proven Best Times!

Most people drink coffee early in the morning, during the day or at night in order to last the night. Either at work, at home or out with friends, it seems that most people go out for a coffee as a way to socialize nowadays. But the question is, when is it the best time to drink a cup of coffee?

Neuroscience doctoral student, Steven Miller, seems to explain that the best time for drinking coffee is between 9:30 and 11:30. He states that careful timing of when you get your daily dosage of coffee is important and prevents people from building up a tolerance to it. Miller says that it is the same as with painkillers and antibiotics, having them administered only when needed so as to prevent individuals from becoming resistant to their effects. Coffee however does not alter the body’s pain or pleasure, it is merely a way to alter its alertness to fatigue, prolonging the daily activity.

This is why Miller suggests to avoid drinking coffee during time periods when the body is naturally more alert. Just as nobody takes a prescription painkiller for a mild headache, coffee should only be drank at certain times in order to feel the desired effect. More information about the body’s internal clock, the hormones it releases periodically throughout the day and other coffee-drinking best times throughout the day can be found on Miller’s blog here.

Thank you Popular Science for providing us with this information

iPad Mini Dubbed ‘World’s Most Breakable Gadget’ by SquareTrade Europe Insurer

Smartphones and tablets are more fragile than we think, and that’s why some people get to have broken displays or other damage (even water damage) to their devices. Some may come with harder cases which can withstand some impact, and other may be even waterproof, but they are not invincible.

That’s why most people have their handsets and tablets insured, to prevent breaking your wallet along with your device. SqareTrade Europe is one of these insurers which provide this service. This is where they created a list of the “world’s most breakable gadgets” and guess what is sitting on the top of that list? The iPad Mini.

SquareTrade Europe did not perform any detailed scientific tests, rather they approached the problem with having real life situations at hand. They first dropped a few handsets from a considerable height after being submerged under water. At the end, scores were awarded to each device based on how well it passed the test, and Apple’s iPad Mini apparently came out at the top having a score of 7.5.

“By putting devices through tests that replicate real life situations, we want to help people make smart choices when it comes to choosing gadgets.” said Kevin Gillan, a managing director at SquareTrade Europe.

Other handsets following the iPad Mini are Samsung Galaxy S4 with a score of 7, the iPad Air and Galaxy S3 with a score of 6.5, and the iPhone 5c with a score of 6. Through these tests SquareTrade Europe aims not only to draw people to have their devices insured, but also express awareness of the incidents which might inevitably occur with the handsets.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information