Tuesday, August 07, 2012

TED offers cybersecurity "short films", "All Your Devices Can Be Hacked"; also, recalling some 80's TV WWIII predictions



A website called TED, “Ideas worth spreading” (or maybe ideas worth giving to people, as my mother would have warned), has some interesting videos on threats to be prepared for.

A 16-minute talk from Feb. 2012 by Avi Rubin, called “All Your Devices Can Be Hacked” is definitely interesting.


Avi starts out by talking about how cardiac pacemakers (my mother never had one) can be manipulated wirelessly, but this is usually a good thing because you don’t want to shave and open someone’s chest repeatedly, do you.  (Not even Dick Cheney’s.) 

He then presents the vulnerability of all the electronics in your car, including the speedometer.  The main abuse would be tracking someone or, of course, auto theft (or knowing if someone is home).

He also talks about devices in cell phones that can spy on keystrokes from everyone around you.  At least not that many of us really want to eavesdrop on all those smartphone texts and conversations that “interrupt” the activity on a dance floor.

There’s a 9-minute video in French, from 2010, by Guy Pholippe-Goldstein, “How Cyberattacks Threaten Real World Peace”.  He starts by stating that in 1982 the US CIA performed a “cyberattack” on a remote Soviet pipeline (an incident reflected in the 1982 TV movie “World War III”, on NBC (directed by David Greene and Boris Segal), where the Soviets attack Jimmy Carter’s Alaska pipeline.  That film should not be confused with “The Day After”, also 1983 on ABC, by Nicholas Meyer. Where Kansas City takes the nuclear hit (the US ICBM’s are fired from Lawrence, KS); the film actually showed people turning to skeletons with the blast. Jason Robards starred in the aftermath. . Goldstein warns that the US government has plans for nuclear retaliation for big-scale cyber attacks.
   
Remember, as discussed in previous entries here, the increasing dependence on semiconductors makes us vulnerable to EMP and solar storms, until we get serious about hardening our systems.