Tech Friday

  • Hackers can steal data via power lines:
    • "Air-gapped" devices, those not connected to a network, are the holy grail for hackers and have long been considered secure from attack
    • Researchers from Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGUN) in Israel demonstrated that this is not the case
    • Techniques they have demonstrated to defeat an air-gap thus far include:
      • A drone-assisted attack watch a computer's flashing LEDs
      • Accessing low-frequency magnetic radiation transmitted by a PC
      • Hacking CCTV cameras used to monitor computers
      • Monitoring the fluctuations of electrical current flowing through the power lines 
    • The last attack, dubbed PowerHammer, was recently revealed
    • BGUN researchers were able to exfiltrate data at 1,000 bits per second for power lines connected to the device and 10 bits per second from the grid
    • Mordechai Guri, lead author of the PowerHammer paper wrote "The data is modulated, encoded, and transmitted on top of the current flow fluctuations, and then it is conducted and propagated through the power lines. This phenomena is known as a 'conducted emission'."
    • Guri said "We show that a malicious code can influence the momentary power consumption of the computer, generating data-modulated conduction on the power lines in the low frequency band. The generated noise travels along the input power lines and can be measured by an attacker probing the power cables."
    • PowerHammer assumes that the air-gapped devices are compromised with malware that generates the "parasitic signals" 
    • In addition to working to ensure that a device has not been infected with malware, possible countermeasures include as monitoring the current, power-line filters and signal jammers
  • Encircling Earth with satellites capable of streaming 'live and unfiltered' video: 
    • Bill Gates, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Airbus are some of the backers of a start-up that hopes to provide "live and unfiltered" HD video coverage of every inch of the planet
    • EarthNow, a Bellevue, Washington based company founded in 2017, intends to launch 500 satellites that will provide the coverage
    • EarthNow founder Russel Hannigan said: "Our objective is simple; we want to connect you visually with Earth in real-time." and "We believe the ability to see and understand the Earth live and unfiltered will help all of us better appreciate and ultimately care for our one and only home."
    • Applications could include weather monitoring, migration tracking and law enforcement
    • At this time, there is no clear timeline, price-tag or technical details about the project, but it's expected to cost as much as $1 billion
    • "Big Brother is watching and he likes what he sees, a world for the taking when he's ready to squeeze..." – Kansas, Sparks of the Tempest
  • How technology impacts our well-being: 
    • A recent PEW study asked the question "Over the next decade, how will changes in digital life impact people’s overall well-being physically and mentally?"
    • 1,150 experts responded to this non-scientific survey
    • 47% predict that individuals’ well-being will be more helped than harmed by digital life in the next decade
    • 32% say people’s well-being will be more harmed than helped
    • 21% predict there will not be much change in people’s well-being compared to now
    • Of those who predict human well-being will be negatively impacted acknowledge that digital tools will continue to enhance some aspects of life. They also note there is no turning back 
    • Read more here:
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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