Hacker Shows How To Attack An Airplane’s Systems—Using A Phone
A German security researcher has demonstrated how easy it can be to hack into the digital systems of an airliner in flight using the right coding knowledge and hardware that’s not hard to get—including a Samsung smartphone.
Comedy Hack Day, a 36-hour hackathon where participants from both the comedy and tech communities worked together to create some future funny business, appears to have been a crapload of fun.
The big winner of the event is ShoutRoulette, which connects opinionated users to other people with the exact opposite opinion, allowing them to shout at each other. Each member wins a class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and entry into the New York Tech Meetup. Other winners include the McKayla Is Not Impressed Chrome Extension (a meme generator), and Spacebar to Money Shot (um, don’t ask.) Even ScatRoulette wins something: The Chris Gethard Memorial Award, which consists of a hug from the judge that goes on for an exceedingly long period.
Co.Create looks at some of the projects showcased at Art Hack Day, from an iPhone-powered jump rope to Kinect Russian Roulette.
The 50 (mostly male) participants hailed from all over the globe, and included the founder of 4Chan, tech-philosopher Kyle McDonald, Star Wars Uncut creator Casey Pugh, and members of open-source organizations like F.A.T. Lab and openframeworks. Fueled by the inevitable coolers of Red Bull, they took advantage of the available equipment, from DVD players and laser cutters to Technics turntables and MakerBot 3-D printers, which by Saturday night’s exhibition was cranking out replicas of the beloved anime character Totoro.
“With more than 600,000 hacking attempts on Facebook every day, one might be forgiven for asking why we’re so willing to share the intimate details of our everyday lives. Apparently, we have absolutely no trouble doing so, if whatever we see there looks good.”
Yesterday, Senator Charles Schumer held a press conference in an unusual place: Birch Coffee, a cafe near Madison Square Park in Manhattan.
With the funny choice of venue, the senator was making a point: even your friendly neighborhood barista might just be a malevolent hacker. And he doesn’t even need to know how to write a line of code to do so.
It seems likely that Schumer’s recent concern was piqued by a New York Timesarticle from February 16th, which drew attention to the new vulnerabilities faced by WiFi users. In particular, a free program called Firesheep, which first made waves in October. Firesheep makes hacking your fellow cafe-goer a simple, user-friendly, DIY affair. Firesheep takes advantage of a lack of end-to-end encryption, allowing hackers to grab cookies, the snippets of code that indentify your private information. This, in turn, enables hackers to masquerade as you on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or eBay. Over a million people have downloaded the program. (Fast Company covered Firesheep months ago.)
Sites that use HTTPS, rather than HTTP, are safe from this sort of hacking. Banking sites tend to use HTTPS, but other sites like the ones mentioned above do not. The purpose of the Schumer conference was to call on sites like Twitter and Amazon to start beefing up their security, acting more like banks.
So just how easy is Firesheep is use? Even a Senator’s aide can do it! A Schumer staffer hacked into the Twitter account of a nearby colleague. Call it consensual hacking. Anyhow, it impressed reporters, as did Schumer’s talk of the HTTP protocol as “a welcome mat for would-be hackers” and a “one-stop-shop for identity theft.”
Easy solution: Don’t go to Starbucks or any coffee shop. Better yet, never leave your house. Stay at home with all the safe Internet you can have, where you belong.