*The Financial Times* reports today that GM is recalling 4.3-million cars, SUVs, and trucks built from 2014 onwards because of a software fault that causes sensors to fail to detect a crash "in rare circumstances when a vehicle was moving in a certain way before the impact". It would be interesting to know whether it was an error in the specification, the design or the coding, what assurance methods would have prevented or detected the fault, and whether any changes have been made to GM's (or its supplier's) software development processes as a result.
Charlie Osborne for Between the Lines, ZDnet 12 Sep 2016 The engineer admitted to installing devices in Volkswagen "clean diesel" vehicles which circumvented legal requirements for many years. http://www.zdnet.com/article/volkswagen-engineer-behind-defeat-device-pleads-guilty-in-us-court/
The upgrades to Tesla's Autopilot system will require drivers to refrain from taking their hands off the wheel for long periods and will use radar to better identify potential obstacles in the road. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/12/business/elon-musk-says-pending-tesla-updates-could-have-prevented-fatal-crash.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/09/automobiles/your-cars-new-software-is-ready-update-now.html Automakers are taking advantage of connected cars by beaming improved features right into their vehicles via software upgrades.
The FT reports today that the FAA "strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board or to stow them in any checked baggage". Presumably it's Ok if your carry-on baggage bursts into flames.
http://www.smh.com.au/business/aviation/airasia-x-flight-from-sydney-to-malaysia-ends-up-in-melbourne-after-navigational-error-20160907-gratv6.html “A flight from Sydney to Malaysia ended up in Melbourne after the captain incorrectly entered the plane's location in its navigation system just before take-off, according to a safety investigation. The AirAsia X flight took off from Sydney Airport just before noon on March 10 last year, heading to Kuala Lumpur, but soon started experiencing technical problems.'' There are details such as critical systems failing, one by one, and all because of a single-digit entry error.
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/07/aviation/airasia-melbourne-malaysia-error/ ... When manually entering the coordinates of the plane's position, the pilot incorrectly entered the longitude from a sign outside the cockpit window as 01519.8 east (15 degrees 19.8 minutes east) instead of 15109.8 east (151 degrees 9.8 minutes east), the report said. "This resulted in a positional error in excess of 11,000 kilometers (6,835 miles), which adversely affected the aircraft's navigation systems and some alerting systems," the report said. READ: The real reason airline computers crash http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/08/technology/delta-airline-computer-failure/ The crew had "a number of opportunities to identify and correct the error," the report said, but didn't notice the problem until after the plane became airborne and started tracking in the wrong direction. Several message alerts and sounds suggested the error before takeoff, but the crew ignored them, according to the report. Once the captain and the first officer realized the mistake, they tried to fix the system. But it was too late. "Attempts to troubleshoot and rectify the problem resulted in further degradation of the navigation system, as well as to the aircraft's flight guidance and flight control system," the report said. As systems failed further, the crew asked to return to Sydney and conduct a landing without the use of navigation systems. However, weather conditions in Sydney forced the plane to land in Melbourne instead...
[This little gem chronicles an autonomously incremental excrementalism that was sadly self-propagating. I have retitled a Facebook posting by Jesse Newton with Kelly McQueen Newton, 9 Aug, Little Rock AR. PGN] https://www.facebook.com/jesse.newton.37/posts/776177951574
via NNSquad http://www.wcti12.com/news/5300-wells-fargo-employees-fired-for-creating-millions-of-phony-accounts/74912454 On Thursday, federal regulators said Wells Fargo employees secretly created millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts—without their customers knowing it—since 2011. The phony accounts earned the bank unwarranted fees and allowed Wells Fargo employees to boost their sales figures and make more money. "Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses," Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in a statement. Wells Fargo confirmed to CNNMoney that it had fired 5,300 employees related to the shady behavior over the last few years. Employees went to far as to create phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services, the CFPB said.
In 2009 the then Conservative government of Canada decided to consolidate all public service pay administration in one location with one large system. (Conservatives and Liberals are actual political parties in Canada.) The system was to replace the pay advisors in the various departments with skills peculiar to the various union agreements and work practices in force with 550 personnel in Miramichi, New Brunswick. In 2011 a contract was let to build the system. Meanwhile the expert pay advisors mostly declined to move to Miramichi. One can see the scene for a disaster being set. After some delay, part of the system was rolled out in February of this year (2016) by the newly elected Liberal government. It functioned badly, i.e., people were underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all. Despite obvious problems and justified protests from the unions the system was rolled out further to cover 2/3 of the public service in April 2016. At the same time the old system was decommissioned. Now, at the beginning of September, public servants who have not been paid are having to get loans, cash in retirement savings, live day to day, and face tax problems. The present additional costs for "fixing" the system are estimated at $50,000,000 and the end is not really in sight. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/credit-union-warns-phoenix-pay-problems-taking-increasing-toll-on-public-servants?__lsa=462d-abd6 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/phoenix-ottawa-timeline-1.3691812 Norman Augustine's phrase about disaster not having been left to chance fits perfectly. When renewing my passport last month I casually asked the passport officer when he had last been paid - 9 weeks ago was the answer. I did not bother to catalog all the mis-steps in the process because I am certain that RISKS readers are preternaturally fitted to fill in the blanks. John Bauer, Manotick, Ontario, CANADA 613-692-4839
Computerworld, 12 Sep 2016 Researchers warned that a telephony denial of service (TDoS) attack, launched by a mobile phone botnet, could cripple America's 911 emergency call system. http://www.computerworld.com/article/3118703/security/researchers-warn-that-hackers-can-ddos-911-emergency-phone-service.html
Lucas Mearian, Computerworld, 8 Sep 2016 The device discharges 200 volts into the host computer http://www.computerworld.com/article/3118344/computer-hardware/this-usb-thumb-drive-will-fry-your-unsecured-computer.html opening text: A Hong Kong-based technology manufacturer, USBKill.com, has taken data security to the "Mission Impossible" extreme by creating a USB stick that uses an electrical discharge to fry an unauthorized computer into which it's plugged.
Peter Sayer, Computerworld, 7 Sep 2016 A Frenchman who sought a refund of the cost of the Windows OS bundled with his new laptop is out of luck http://www.computerworld.com/article/3117334/microsoft-windows/consumers-have-no-right-to-buy-a-pc-without-an-os-european-court-rules.html opening text: Bare-metal buyers beware: PC makers have no obligation to offer you a machine without an OS, the European Union's highest court has ruled.
Angelica Mari for Brazil Tech, ZDnet, 5 Sep 2016 http://www.zdnet.com/article/brazilian-government-could-ban-waze/ Proposed legislation could make alerts of traffic blitzes and radars illegal selected text: Traffic and navigation app Waze could face trouble in Brazil as proposed legislation could make tools that enable alerts of traffic blitzes and speed radars illegal. By connecting drivers to each other, Google-owned Waze allows motorists to warn one another of car crashes and traffic backups, but also if there are police officers or radars nearby. The debate on whether the public can monitor the police and to what extent this can be done grabbed the headlines late last year, when Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck wrote a public statement linking the killings of two New York police officers to Waze use by the shooter at some point before the crime. Writing to Google chief executive Larry Page, Beck says that Waze "poses a danger to the lives of police officers in the United States." The company has since responded, saying that "police partners support Waze and its features, including reports of police presence, because most users tend to drive more carefully when they believe law enforcement is nearby." [Most? It is the ones who do not that are the concern.]
Zack Whittaker, ZDnet, 3 Sep 2016 More than 80 signatories are putting their weight behind Microsoft's cause. http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-the-aclu-fox-news-and-microsoft-are-fighting-the-us-government/ opening text: Dozens of US businesses, tech companies, and prominent rights groups have filed in support of Microsoft, which is currently suing the Justice Department over its use of gag orders.
Ian Paul, PC World, 2 Sep 2016 Smart TVs look like a great idea, but they have a serious downside as demonstrated by Sony's recent announcement. http://www.pcworld.com/article/3115730/home-tech/youtube-disappearing-from-50-sony-bravia-sets-highlights-why-smart-tvs-suck.html opening text: If ever there was a cautionary tale about why it's a bad idea to buy Smart TVs, this is it. Sony recently announced on its UK support site that 50 different 2012 Bravia TV models will lose their YouTube app on September 30, as first reported by 9 to 5 Google.
Lucian Constantin, InfoWorld, 6 Sept 2016 The Umbreon rootkit runs from user mode but hijacks libc system calls http://www.infoworld.com/article/3116908/malware/stealthy-tricky-to-remove-rootkit-targets-linux-systems-on-arm-and-x86.html opening text: Security researchers have identified a new family of Linux rootkits that, despite running from user mode, can be hard to detect and remove.
NNSquad http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/09/stealing-login-credentials-from-a-locked-pc-or-mac-just-got-easier/ Snatching the login credentials of a locked computer just got easier and faster, thanks to a technique that requires only $50 worth of hardware and takes less than 30 seconds to carry out. Rob Fuller, a principal security engineer at R5 Industries, said the hack works reliably on Windows devices and has also succeeded on OS X, although he's working with others to determine if it's just his setup that's vulnerable. The hack works by plugging a flash-sized minicomputer into an unattended computer that's logged in but currently locked. In about 20 seconds, the USB device will obtain the user name and password hash used to log into the computer. Fuller, who is better known by his hacker handle mubix, said the technique works using both the Hak5 Turtle ($50) and USB Armory ($155), both of which are USB-mounted computers that run Linux. [Also reported by Gene Wirchenko. PGN]
Anonymous Internet users routinely collect copies of stolen databases Michael Kan, PC World, 8 Sep 2016 http://www.pcworld.com/article/3118357/security/data-hoarders-are-shining-a-spotlight-on-past-breaches.html opening text: Old data breaches carried out years ago are entering into the limelight thanks to anonymous Internet users like Keen. Earlier this week, Keen, a data collector who runs the site Vigilante.pw, helped to uncover details about stolen data taken from the popular porn site Brazzers. A copy of almost 800,000 accounts, probably originally hacked back in 2012, fell into his hands. The stolen database is just one of the many Keen has on file, in fact, and each one can involve thousands or even millions of Internet accounts. Vigilante.pw continually archives past data breaches as a way to warn the public. "I figured it would be a good way to raise awareness about breaches," Keen said in an instant message. [Note that 2012 was when hacks occurred in the recently released Dropbox and Last.fm cases noted in RISKS-29.74. PGN]
via NNSquad https://globalvoices.org/2016/09/12/how-fake-stories-reported-in-russias-news-media-regularly-fool-everyone/ This story was originally written in Russian and published on the website Noodleremover.news. The English translation below was written by RuNet Echo's Kevin Rothrock. Just last month, something all too typical happened in Russia's news media: a perfect example of where fake news stories originate, how they're spread, who is responsible, and who believes them.
The highly sensitive rerun of the Austrian presidential elections has been postponed because of bad glue that caused mail-in ballot envelopes to open. No computer apparently involved, but an illustration of the influence of technology [*] on elections. See http://bit.ly/2cSMrkH, in German. An earlier article in *The Washington Post* mentioned the postponement as a possibility: http://wapo.st/2c3ozpD [* Low technology, at that. PGN]
via NNSquad https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/11/a-cautionary-tale-about-humans-creating-biased-ai-models/?ncid=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29 Natural language models need annotations that teach the models the sentiment of a tweet, for example, or that a string of words is a question about the status of an online purchase. Before a computer can know or "see" these things itself, it must be shown many confident positive and negative examples (aka ground truth or gold standard data). And you can only get that certainty from the right human annotators. So what happens when you don't consider carefully who is annotating the data? What happens when you don't account for the differing preferences, tendencies and biases among varying humans? We ran a fun experiment to find out.
There is an intriguing article about how the the US Moscow ambassador was eavesdropped on by means of a wall ornament donated by the Russians and hung in the ambassador's office. The great seal had an embedded passive RF resonator, illuminated by a transmitter outside the building and broadcasting a voice-modulated signal. https://decorrespondent.nl/3789/Operation-Easy-Chair-or-how-a-little-company-in-Holland-helped-the-CIA-bug-the-Russians/116534484-2a3d7f11 There is also the story of how a small Dutch company designed a similar device for the CIA that was installed in the Soviet embassy in The Hague. The operation was nicknamed Easy Chair. The rather long article in mainly about the company and people involved, but also contains some technical information about how these devices worked. [EK, Dank U wel for the elaboration. PGN]
> Unfortunately your link to the article in *The Australian* is paywalled > for subscribers only. Do you have another link? Paywalled links are not > optimal for a wide readership. When I initially sent that article to RISKS, the URL led to the complete article. (I double checked with multiple systems and browsers). However, the website moved the text behind the paywall. If you pull up your favorite search engine and simply type in "submarine secrets australian france" (without quotes) you'll get links to plenty of articles, many of which will display for free.
It's not necessary to tie into the DMV computers to restrict tracking to the authorized person. From my experience, paid parking garages issue a ticket at time of entry that you hand in at exit, so the collector can verify how long you have been parked (and therefore the appropriate payment). If a serial number (run through a hashing routine to avoid the stalker guessing the serial number based on another ticket issued close to the time of the target's arrival) were printed on the ticket (camera can match plate to the ticket issued), require the person requesting tracking to enter both the license plate and the number from the ticket. The person who parked the car but can't remember exactly where in the garage they did so will have the ticket in their pocket/wallet/etc., and will therefore have access to the number printed on it. A stalker won't have the ticket, so it would be pure guesswork trying to find the number (tracking application should detect and slow down response in cases of multiple incorrect entries - and when a correct number is given, tell the user not only where their car is, but that there have been X attempts to guess the "password").
Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; - Jonathan Swift A lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on - attributed to Mark Twain, but probably of less certain provenance; --- used by Terry Pratchett as " A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on."
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