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Archive for the ‘hacking’ category

Jun 2, 2017

Wallet Security: Cloud/Exchange Services

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, finance, hacking

3½ years ago, I wrote a Bitcoin wallet safety primer for Naked Security, a newsletter by Sophos, the European antivirus lab. Articles are limited to just 500 hundred words, and so my primer barely conveyed a mindset—It outlined broad steps for protecting a Bitcoin wallet.

In retrospect, that article may have been a disservice to digital currency novices. For example, did you know that a mobile text message is not a good form of two-factor authentication? Relying on SMS can get your life savings wiped out. Who knew?!

With a tip of the hat to Cody Brown, here is an online wallet security narrative that beats my article by a mile. Actually, it is more of a warning than a tutorial. But, read it closely. Learn from Cody’s misfortune. Practice safe storage. If you glean anything from the article, at least do this:

  • Install Google Authenticator. Require it for any online account with stored value. If someone hijacks your phone account, they cannot authenticate an exchange or wallet transaction—even with Authenticator.
  • Many exchanges (like Coinbase) offer a “vault”. Sweep most of your savings into the vault instead of the daily-use wallet. This gives you time to detect a scam or intrusion and to halt withdrawals. What is a vault? In my opinion, it is better than a paper wallet! Like a bank account, it is a wallet administered by a trusted vendor, but with no internet connection and forced access delay.

Exchange and cloud users want instant response. They want to purchase things without delay and they want quick settlement of currency exchange. But online wallets come with great risk. They can be emptied in an instant. It is not as difficult to spoof your identity as you may think (Again: Read Cody’s article below!)

Continue reading “Wallet Security: Cloud/Exchange Services” »

Sep 10, 2016

The Familiarity of the Future: A Look Back from 1999

Posted by in categories: counterterrorism, disruptive technology, futurism, governance, hacking, innovation, internet, law, policy

In preparation for writing a review of the Unabomber’s new book, I have gone through my files to find all the things I and others had said about this iconic figure when he struck terror in the hearts of technophiles in the 1990s. Along the way, I found this letter written to a UK Channel 4 producer on 26 November 1999 by way of providing material for a television show in which I participated called ‘The Trial of the 21st Century’, which aired on 2 January 2000. I was part of the team which said things were going to get worse in the 21st century.

What is interesting about this letter is just how similar ‘The Future’ still looks, even though the examples and perhaps some of the wording are now dated. It suggests that there is a way of living in the present that is indeed ‘future-forward’ in the sense of amplifying certain aspects of today’s world beyond the significance normally given to them. In this respect, the science fiction writer William Gibson quipped that the future is already here, only unevenly distributed. Indeed, it seems to have been here for quite a while.

Dear Matt,

Here are the sum of my ideas for the Trial of the 21st Century programme, stressing the downbeat:

Continue reading “The Familiarity of the Future: A Look Back from 1999” »

Sep 9, 2016

Three Ways To Unlearn Old Habits Faster — By Liz Alexander | Fast Company

Posted by in category: hacking

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“There’s something missing from the conversation about lifelong learning.”

Read more

Sep 4, 2016

‘Abolish artificial scarcity’: @KevinCarson1

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, economics, futurism, government, hacking, hardware, policy, transhumanism

Predicting an economic “singularity” approaching, Kevin Carson from the Center for a Stateless Society writes in The Homebrew Industrial Revolution (2010) we can look forward to a vibrant “alternative economy” driven less and less by corporate and state leviathans.

According to Carson, “the more technical advances lower the capital outlays and overhead for production in the informal economy, the more the economic calculus is shifted” (p. 357). While this sums up the message of the book and its relevance to advocates of open existing and emerging technologies, the analysis Carson offers to reach his conclusions is extensive and sophisticated.

With the technology of individual creativity expanding constantly, the analysis goes, “increasing competition, easy diffusion of new technology and technique, and increasing transparency of cost structure will – between them – arbitrage the rate of profit to virtually zero and squeeze artificial scarcity rents” (p. 346).

An unrivalled champion of arguments against “intellectual property”, the author believes IP to be nothing more than a last-ditch attempt by talentless corporations to continue making profit at the expensive of true creators and scientists (p. 114–129). The view has significant merit.

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Feb 22, 2016

Is San Bernardino iPhone Fully Encrypted?

Posted by in categories: encryption, government, hacking, law enforcement, mobile phones, policy, privacy, security

Here is a question that keeps me up at night…

Is the San Bernardino iPhone just locked or is it properly encrypted?

Isn’t full encryption beyond the reach of forensic investigators? So we come to the real question: If critical data on the San Bernardino iPhone is properly encrypted, and if the Islamic terrorist who shot innocent Americans used a good password, then what is it that the FBI thinks that Apple can do to help crack this phone? Doesn’t good encryption thwart forensic analysis, even by the FBI and the maker of the phone?

iphone-01In the case of Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone, the FBI doesn’t know if the shooter used a long and sufficiently unobvious password. They plan to try a rapid-fire dictionary attack and other predictive algorithms to deduce the password. But the content of the iPhone is protected by a closely coupled hardware feature that will disable the phone and even erase memory, if it detects multiple attempts with the wrong password. The FBI wants Apple to help them defeat this hardware sentry, so that they can launch a brute force hack—trying thousands of passwords each second. Without Apple’s help, the crack detection hardware could automatically erase incriminating evidence, leaving investigators in the dark.

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Oct 15, 2015

Billions in Change — Official Film

Posted by in categories: complex systems, energy, ethics, hacking, health, materials, sustainability, water

“The world is facing some huge problems. There’s a lot of talk about how to solve them. But talk doesn’t reduce pollution, or grow food, or heal the sick. That takes doing. This film is the story about a group of doers, the elegantly simple inventions they have made to change the lives of billions of people, and the unconventional billionaire spearheading the project.”

Sep 4, 2015

Changing the World Panel—Singularity Summit 2009—Peter Thiel, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Aubrey de Grey — MIRI | Vimeo.com

Posted by in categories: hacking, innovation, life extension, robotics/AI, Singularity University

Aug 18, 2015

FDA approved the first 3D-printed prescription drug

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, disruptive technology, drones, hacking

How 3D printing is changing the way we manufacture and produce is already a fact, step by step, in different areas, from aerospace to the medical areas.

How will this impact the established processes, the economy, the patient …

Is this the dawn of personalized medicine? patients will be able to print their own pills at home? Will 3D printing represent an enhancement to distribution processes?

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Jun 9, 2015

World’s first biolimb … By Akshat Rathi | Quartz

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, DNA, education, ethics, futurism, genetics, hacking, hardware, health

The idea is simple. First, they take an arm from a dead rat and put it through a process of decellularization using detergents. This leaves behind a white scaffold. The scaffold is key because no artificial reconstructions come close to replicating the intricacies of a natural one.

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Jun 3, 2015

How the Tech Behind Bitcoin Could Stop the Next Snowden — Klint Finley Wired

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, encryption, government, hacking, information science, privacy, security

The National Security Agency knows Edward Snowden disclosed many of its innermost secrets when he revealed how aggressive its surveillance tactics are. What it doesn’t know is just how much information the whistleblower took with him when he left.

For all of its ability to track our telecommunications, the NSA seemingly has little clue exactly what documents, or even how many documents, Snowden gave to the media. Like most large organizations, the NSA had tools in place to track who accessed what data and when. But Snowden, a system administrator, apparently was able to cover his tracks by deleting or modifying the log files that tracked that access. Read more

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