Disgruntled Hacker [Debt Collector] Disables More Than 100 Cars Remotely
Cleveland-based Pay Technologies is a company that sells hidden wireless black boxes that allow car dealers to remotely disable a car’s ignition, or trigger the horn to begin honking, as a not-so-gentle reminder that a payment is due. The Webtech Plus responds to commands issued through a central website, and relayed over a wireless pager network.
A car dealer in Austin Texas began receiving complaints from hundreds of stranded customers late last month. According to the dealership's manager, the complaints stopped several days later, when he reset all the Webtech Plus employee passwords. Then police obtained access logs from Pay Technologies, and traced an IP address to a former employee. Police say he hacked into the dealership's computer system to deactivate the starters on the cars and set off their horns.
To call the suspect a "hacker" is really an insult to hackers. On the other hand, anyone who's ever spoken with a debt collector probably isn't very surprised by allegations of unethical behavior.
According to the dealership, the employee's account had been closed when he was terminated last month, but they allege he got in through another employee’s account. They claim he was working his way alphabetically through a database of all 1,100 customers whose cars were equipped with the device.
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Every time Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell takes a dump he learns something about himself. For instance, he know knows that he's visited 221,173 web sites in the last 8 years, and written or received 156,041 emails. He also knows how well his heart is pumping, how many miles he's walked, where he's been, and even with whom he's spoken and visited. In fact, from what most of us consider a waste product, Bell can even decipher how many songs he's listened to, and see pictures videos of the places he's been and the things he's seen.
Fantastic as this may sound, Bell is not the only person on earth who can do this. The same product is flushed from nearly every person every day in North America, and other industrialized nations. More significantly, while most of us are ignorant or deny the very possibility, the government and large corporations are secretly extracting much the same information from each of us that Bell collects himself. ... CONTINUE READING »
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OK, I'll admit it: I'm a reality TV junkie--including, but not limited to, CBS's Big Brother. (Go ahead, laugh, tease, ridicule. I can handle it.) And, now I come to find Big Brother is a fan of me!
Almost any night of the week, America tunes in to see good looking people who gave up their mundane lives and mediocre livelihoods for a chance have complete strangers watch their every move. If this has always been a dream of yours, I have great news:
Now, you can have complete strangers watch your every move! You don't have to be good looking, and you don't even have to give up your mundane life or mediocre livelihood.
What's the secret? It's called PrimeSense. PrimeSense is a revolutionary set-top box (STB) which, according to the company's web site, "allows a computer to perceive the world in 3D and derive an understanding of the world based on sight, just the way humans do. The device includes a sensor, which sees a user (including their complete surroundings), and a digital component, or 'brain' which learns and understands user movement within those surroundings."
According to CableFAX, a cable industry publication, a "chip resides in a camera on the STB that provides something similar to thermal images, showing how many people are in front of the TV, etc."
PrimeSense was voted Best New Product Idea at CableLabs' Innovation Showcase in Denver, CO. CableLabs (Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.) is a non-profit research and development consortium founded in 1988 by cable operating companies. Votes were cast through informal polling of cable industry executives. Which is good news, if you were hoping to have complete strangers watching your every move. Because, it could be coming to a cable set-top box near you.
Hey, Verizon customers -- ever get tired of having "The Network" following you around everywhere you go? It's such a hassle, especially when you have to use the restroom, or spend some "alone time" with your significant other.
The news was released on Joey Hess' blog. Hess, a programmer, noticed a log file on his Palm prē was being sent to http://ps.palmws.com on a daily basis. Among other things, the log file contained his GPS coordinates (in this case, his home address) in the form of longitude and latitude. This information is derived from the built in GPS common to most cellular telephones on the market today.
In addition to his location, the log file also recorded the name of every application he used, when, and for how long.
Although there has been some speculation that this information is only recorded when the device crashes, Hess has shown that, even though Palm's WebOS makes a record of device crashes, this is supplemental to the daily GPS location, and usage-tracking that is sent to Palm every day. (All of which, for now, he has disabled by hacking a file in the operating system.)
Palm's response to this shocking revelation?
"When you use location based services, we will collect, transmit, maintain, process, and use your location and usage data (including both real time geographic information and information that can be used to approximate location) in order to provide location based and related services, and to enhance your device experience."
This policy specifically addresses use of this data when "provid[ing] location-based and related services". That does not explain why they are collecting and transmitting GPS data as part of a daily log.
Frankly, I have some issues with Palm's right to this data, even if it has been disclosed. Although, arguably, Sprint has to process this data through their network to provide service to it's customers, Palm sells hardware and software, not network service, or even traffic and directions. As an individual who collects and analyzes similar data for criminal cases on a daily basis, I see no justification in Palm's Policy, or in terms of the way the equipment operates, for the transmittal of location-specific data to their company.
Read more @ InformationWeek (http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/privacy/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=219300120)
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