Tech Friday

  • Hacked IoT devices in your home could shut down the power grid:
    • Security researchers have been worried about the power grid and critical infrastructure for some time 
    • Much of their concern thus far has been focused on direct attacks on the grid
    • Security researchers from Princeton are concerned that an ever growing number of IoT devices could be hacked and used to attack the power grid
    • The Princeton researchers are concerned that a botnet of millions of compromised IoT devices could bring the grid down by overwhelming it
    • Using simulation software, researchers determined that even a 1 percent demand surge could impact the grid
    • Researchers said "We hope that our work raises awareness of the significance of these attacks to grid operators, smart appliance manufacturers, and systems security experts in order to make the power grid (and other interdependent networks) more secure against cyber attacks"
    • The also said "This is especially critical in the near future when more smart appliances with the ability to connect to the Internet are going to be manufactured"
    • I encourage folks to resist the urge to plug in every "smart" device they can find, many of them are rushed to the market and security is a mere afterthought
    • These devices may not only compromise your security and privacy, they may be used to perpetrate larger attacks including bringing down the grid
    • Learn more here:
  • Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile may have a major problem: 
    • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funded researchers at Kryptowire have discovered vulnerabilities in phones from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile
    • Kryptowire discovered vulnerabilities in the phone's firmware and pre-installed mobile apps 
    • These flaws circumvent existing defenses which can't detect vulnerabilities below the application layer
    • The vulnerabilities create holes that can allow the exfiltration of data, emails and text messages
    • So far, DHS hasn't specified the manufacturers affected, but a source has revealed that millions of US user are at risk 
    • Kryptowire's Vincent Sritapan said the vulnerability could "escalate privileges and take over the device", and it's very difficult to know that a device has been compromised
    • "This is something that can target individuals without their knowledge,” Angelos Stavrou, the founder of Kryptowire told Fifth Domain. He said it was difficult to tell if, and how, the vulnerability has been exploited. These vulnerabilities “are burrowed deep inside the operating system"
    • According to Stavrou, manufacturers were notified of the flaws as early as February of 2018
    • The research was officially presented by Kryptowire’s Ryan Johnson and Angelos Stavrou at the 2018 DEFCON
    • Johnson and Stavrou hinted that more flaws would be announced, so stay tuned
    • Sadly, these flaws remind us that the technology we increasingly rely is not secure and we must be careful how we use it
  • Have saturation, scandals, privacy violations and censorship caught up with the social media titans?
    • Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter captured nearly half the world's population 
    • Users are starting to drop these platforms and stock prices have dropped from their lofty heights  
    • Facebook recently announced that daily active users fell from 282 million to 279 million in Europe
    • Facebook also reported that it is no longer growing in the US and Canada
    • Twitter has reported that active user counts dropped more than 1 million over the last 3 months
    • I have stopped using the apps for these platforms on my mobile device due to privacy concerns
    • Are people tiring of these platforms? Only time will tell
Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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