Tech Friday

  • Many airplanes are vulnerable to remote attacks:
    • Back in 2014 Ruben Santamarta published a research paper describing theoretical attack scenarios on satellite communications (Satcom)
    • In 2017 Santamarta resumed his research after passively collecting traffic from a Norwegian airplane’s WiFi network
    • He noticed several commonly used Internet services were available as were interfaces for  the plane’s Satcom system
    • Santamarta discovered a number of security issues with Satcom systems that could allow an attacker to remotely take control of affected devices on airplanes as well as earth stations on ships and those used by the U.S. military
    • The flaws can be used to hack millions of devices found in aircraft, government agencies, and smart cities
    • Santamarta reported that hackers could have targeted hundreds of planes from Southwest, Norwegian and Icelandair from the ground
    • Especially alarming was the fact that he found one plane's Satcom terminal had been targeted from the ground by a botnet and another's Antenna Control Unit was infected with the Mirai malware
    • The good news its that remote attacks on an aircraft’s Satcom equipment does not pose a safety risk due to the isolation between systems
    • These flaws could be used to disrupt communications or launch cyber-physical attacks using High-intensity Radiated Field (HIRF)
    • Attackers could subvert Satcom systems to find military units, disrupt their communications, and conduct HIRF attacks on them
    • Santamarta disclosed the findings of his research at the Black Hat security conference
  • You're worth up to $1,170 on the Dark Web:
    • Top10VPN recently reported that a thief could purchase your entire online identity for approximately $1,170
    • This could include proof of identity, credit and debit accounts, online banking information, user credentials for sites such as your bank and other accounts, and contact information
    • Credit card information goes for about $50, less than debit card or PayPal information most likely because thieves find it easier to drain a bank account or make PayPal purchases and with less risk
    • Passport information sells for $62.61 and a Social Security numbers can go for as little as $1
    • Sadly, it's getting easier for hackers with limited skills to steal this information
    • The Dark Web Market Price Index for Hacking Tools shows how little hacking tools cost
    • For example, password hacking tools and fake pages for major entities like Facebook and Amazon sell for around $2
    • Complete cybercrime hacking kits are available for as little as $125
    • You have to take steps to protect your information:
      • Use strong unique passwords and change them regularly
      • Use anti-malware software and update it regularly
      • Avoid free WiFi
      • Use a firewall
      • Use a VPN
      • Vet software and apps before downloading them
      • Beware of Phishing via email, text or social media
      • Check your credit report regularly
      • Check your accounts regularly
      • Stay on top of trends. Education and awareness are critical
      • Remember, if you're not paying with money, you're paying with data
      • Be skeptical
    • If you make it hard to get your information, thieves are likely to move on to softer targets
  • The new Apple iPhones:
    • Apple recently announced a new lineup of phones which includes the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR
    • The XS and XS Max are premium models with high-resolution OLED screens and top-notch specs
    • The iPhone XR is less powerful and has a lower-resolution screen, but is less expensive
    • The iPhone XS starts at $999 and comes in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations 
    • The iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099 with the same storage configurations
    • All three models are powered by the new A12 Bionic chip which Apple says can process 5 trillion operations per second, up from 600 billion for the iPhone X's A11 chip
    • Both XS phones include improved color management, stereo sound, and IP68 waterproofing up to 2 meters deep and 30 minutes submerged
    • The XS line also has major improvements to the photo and video capabilities
    • Additionally, the XS line supports dual-SIM technology allowing two phone numbers, two different plans, or travel with a local data plan
    • The iPhone XR starts at $749 with 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB configurations
    • The 5.8-inch XS and 6.5-inch XS Max are available for pre-order starting today, Friday, September 14th. They begin shipping on September 21st
    • The 6.1-inch XR is available for pre-orders beginning October 19th and will start shipping on October 26th  
    • Learn 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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