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+ - Reverse Engineering the Nike+ FuelBand's Communications Protocol->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Security researcher Simone Margaritelli has reverse engineered the Bluetooth low-energy communications protocol for his Nike+ FuelBand SE, a wrist-worn activity tracker. He learned some disturbing fact: "The authentication system is vulnerable, anyone could connect to your device. The protocol supports direct reading and writing of the device memory, up to 65K of contents. The protocol supports commands that are not supposed to be implemented in a production release (bootloader mode, device self test, etc)." His post explains in detail how he managed this, and how Nike put effort into creating an authentication system, but then completely undermined it by using a hard-coded token. Margaritelli even provides a command list for the device, which can do things like grab an event log, upload a bitmap for the screen, and even reset the device."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Let's have a War on Corn! (Re:Obama oops...) (Score 4, Interesting) 125

by mi (#48939185) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

President Obama Announces Major Initiative to Spur Biofuels Industry and Enhance America's Energy Security

That's Big Government for you. Instead of various people acting as they see fit — some making mistakes and some not — we have a government, that's big enough to make a mistake for all of us at once...

Competing ideas? To each his own? Personal responsibility? No way, no how — citizen, the Science is Settled[TM] and you are blocking our progress towards the Common Good[TM].

Fat is bad for you — all of you! Until it is not. Except it still is...

Biofuels is about to become the latest example of this. As our benevolent and omniscient overlords in Washington jump from one trend to another, the whole country is supposed to rejig, retool, and reorient itself each time: from "low-fat" to "low-sugar", from growing biofuels to drilling oil. Because they "know" better — and they are 100% confident in that settled "knowledge" of theirs. Until it changes to the exact opposite like some kind of quantum particle — and only the confidence remains.

How about we — the subjects — make our own choices, huh? Leaving only the courts, police and military to you, our beloved government class? Yes, we — some of us — will be making the same mistakes. But, at least, they will be neither coercing nor outright forcing the others to repeat them.

+ - Computers are evil in early education-> 1

Submitted by nbauman
nbauman (624611) writes "Middle school students who got computers did worse in school. They wasted their time on games, social media, and entertainment (just like adults), according to Susan Pinker in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01... Computers only help when they're used by good, trained teachers. Infants who interact with parents do better in school. Screen time reduces interaction with parents.

In the early 2000s, economists tracked the academic progress of nearly one million disadvantaged middle-school students against the dates they were given networked computers. They assessed math and reading skills for 5 years.

“Students who gain access to a home computer between the 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math scores,” they wrote. The Internet was also linked to lower grades in younger children.

Weaker students (boys, African-Americans) were affected more than others. When their computers arrived, their reading scores fell off a cliff.

Technology has a role in education — but only when it’s perfectly suited to the task, and only when it's deployed as a tool by a terrific, highly trained teacher."

Link to Original Source

+ - New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance on Biofuels

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The NYT reports on a new study from a prominent environmental think tank that concludes that turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand and that continuing to pursue this strategy is likely to use up vast tracts of fertile land that could be devoted to helping feed the world’s growing population. “I would say that many of the claims for biofuels have been dramatically exaggerated,” says Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization based in Washington that is publishing the report. “There are other, more effective routes to get to a low-carbon world.” The report follows several years of rising concern among scientists about biofuel policies in the United States and Europe, and is the strongest call yet by the World Resources Institute, known for nonpartisan analysis of environmental issues, to urge governments to reconsider those policies.

Timothy D. Searchinger says that recent science has challenged some of the assumptions underpinning many of the pro-biofuel policies that have often failed to consider the opportunity cost of using land to produce plants for biofuel. According to Searchinger if forests or grasses were grown instead of biofuels, that would pull carbon dioxide out of the air, storing it in tree trunks and soils and offsetting emissions more effectively than biofuels would do. What is more, as costs for wind and solar power have plummeted over the past decade, and the new report points out that for a given amount of land, solar panels are at least 50 times more efficient than biofuels at capturing the energy of sunlight in a useful form. “It’s true that our first-generation biofuels have not lived up to their promise,” says Jason Hill said. “We’ve found they do not offer the environmental benefits they were purported to have, and they have a substantial negative impact on the food system.”"

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48937501) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Name calling is not shunning or shaming. It is attaching the person and not the argument and therefore has no place on civil discourse.

By the way, now that I re-read this during a spare moment and once again think about it, I can again respond to you in what I hope to be a worthy way, yet this time focus on a different dimension of the thing at hand.

I would ask you to consider, simply, this other and possibly alien point of view: the "name-calling" types are simply enacting the lower (or if you like, "gutter") form of an idea that is nonetheless technically true. The name-callers are merely those who recognize this but also have a need to make you look worse in order that they know better, or otherwise focus on what they think is wrong with you, with little or no serious constructive suggestion concerning what precisely is wrong with your view and how better to regard the situation. Liike the thinking individuals, they see what the problem is; otherwise, they lack the clarity and objectivity to identify the problem and suggest a sensible solution. By contrast, they're simply bitching. But even those people are correctly identifying that somethng is amiss. They're just the least clever and easiest to ridicule among those who all arrive at the same conclusion.

Comment: I am actually excited about Intel AMT (Score 0) 153

by iamacat (#48937355) Attached to: FSF-Endorsed Libreboot X200 Laptop Comes With Intel's AMT Removed

If I understand it correctly, I would be able to power on, fix or reimage my home desktops/laptops while at work or away on a trip. Or fix my moms crashed computer from half way around the globe. And, since all communication is authenticated with a TLS certificate, there is little danger of other taking over my hardware.

I understand people's right to be paranoid or want 100% open systems, and hope that appropriate choices remain available. But even for most Linux kernel developers a failsafe way to repair an unbootable system from remote is a good thing.

Comment: Re:that's the problem. 3/16th" hole = opened (Score 1) 352

by hey! (#48935183) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

The issue as I'm sure you know isn't "opened", but rather "opened within a certain length of time." Obviously given unlimited time you can get into anything, and you probably can get into an ATM a lot faster than a decent safe. But once you have the explosion routine down pat, you can probably be away with the ATM money in *seconds*. In terms of practicality and low risk, that's hard to beat.

Comment: Re: Honestly... (Score 1) 326

by digsbo (#48934949) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister
You're not reading the news, are you? On this planet, the central bank loans money to the government and commercial and commercial banks at well below the inflation rate. The europeans are actually paying the Swiss to borrow their currency now! http://www.bbc.com/news/busine... http://www.theguardian.com/bus...

Comment: Re:Can someone explainn (Score 1) 158

by ScentCone (#48934533) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated
The problem is that if the airframe is moving directly at the White House from, say, New York Ave, it could do so at ten feet above the ground. Would still clear the fence, but anybody on the roof of the White House opening up with any sort of AA or even conventional small arms fire would be, essentially, shooting right at hundreds of people, cars, trucks, and office buildings. NOT an easy problem to solve.

Comment: Re:Seems a bit unfair (Score 2) 158

by ScentCone (#48934445) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

I think you mean to say, "If drones are illegal, only criminals will have drones".

Yes. And drones don't kill people, people kill people. It's actually kinda funny to watch a lot of normally "progressive" types who've always reflexively ridiculed the sport shooting types for their defensive postures regarding irrational gun laws ... suddenly find themselves in exactly the same predicament. "But I just want to do some fine art landscape photography from 50' feet up!" Uh huh, and I just want to break some clay pigeons. But we're BOTH evil now! How's it feel buddy!

Comment: Re:Can someone explainn (Score 1) 158

by ScentCone (#48934173) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

And you think that's going to get by undetected?

Scenario: pop away some sort of cover on a flatbed truck a couple of blocks from the White House. Fire up a very un-sexy, easy to build hexa than can easy lift a few pounds. It could quickly self-navigate straight up to a couple hundred or more feet (these things can climb like rockets), above any local building tops, and then move horizontally towards the White House at the better part of 50mph. Who CARES if it can be detected? If there are people on the White House lawn doing some sort of camera op or press conference, that bird would be right over them in the blink of an eye, and could drop something nasty with shocking accuracy, within a meter of a typical presser podium. It would happen so fast that being detected or not doesn't really matter.

I love these machines. They're great for all sorts of fun and creative uses. But a smart, determined bad guy really could put them to some very evil, if innovative, use. And that's the point. New government limits on their use make the bad guys just laugh!

Comment: Re:Can someone explainn (Score 1) 158

by ScentCone (#48934101) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

the payload of the DJI Phantom line is measured in low-double-digit grams

I have a pimped out Phantom. The extra payload it carries:

1) GCU
2) Gimbal
3) GoPro with Battery
4) Video Downlink TX with cloverleaf antenna
5) iOSD
6) Various related cables, mounting hardware

Which all adds up to almost 340g - and it still maneuvers like crazy, and stays up for an easy 15 minutes.

No, it's not a lot. But it's lot more than low-double-digits. My bigger rig can easily carry 8 or 9 pounds while climbing to hundreds of feet faster than you'd believe. And it can go horizontally at a pretty frightening speed.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann

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