The Risks Digest

The RISKS Digest

Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems

ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator

Volume 30 Issue 40

Friday 28 July 2017


Keen Lab hackers managed to take control of Tesla vehicles again
Russian parliament bans use of proxy Internet services, VPNs
Hackers undermine Russia's attempts to control the Internet
Alex Luhn roundabout via Geoff Goodfellow
Hackers plan to break into 30 voting machines to put election meddling to the test
USA Today
Facebook helped blunt Russian meddling in French elections
World's most hi-tech voting system raises cyber-defences
Irish Examiner
China WhatsApp crackdown only scratches surface of worsening Internet censorship
A smart fish tank left a casino vulnerable to hackers
Beijing Wants AI to Be Made in China by 2030
The New York Times
Chinese Mind-Reading Computer Moves Closer to Reality
Patrick Nelson
Myopic CEO perspective, I think
Gabe Goldberg on Fortune item
45,000 Facebook Users Leave One-Star Ratings After Hacker's Unjust Arrest
Bleeping Computer
Wisconsin Company to Implant Microchips In Employees
KSTP via Gabe Goldberg
Chicago festival to mark Pokemon Go anniversary goes awry
San Francisco Chronicle
Massive Privacy Breach: Wells Fargo Accidentally Releases Trove of Data on Wealthy Clients
Roomba's Next Big Step Is Selling Maps of Your Home to the Highest Bidder
Student denied loan due to namesake
Amos Shapir on BBC item
Bugs in popular hacker tools open the door to striking back
Three Square Market microchips its employees
prlog via Steve Lamont
Pile driver vs. underground high-voltage cable. Oops
News Observer via danny burstein
Sweden drenched by "The Cloud"
Rick Falkvinge
Re: Leaping Kangaroos
Re: 'Energy firms can switch off your freezer for a few minutes at night'
Chris Drewe
Re: Bloomberg: A Solar Eclipse Could Wipe Out 9,000 Megawatts of Power Supplies
Kelly Bert Manning
Re: Wifi Webcam TENVIS sends all it knows to
David Alexander
Rob Slade
Re: Western tech firms bow to Russian demands to share cybersecrets
Martin Ward
NEC updates are like software updates
Re: Charging Phone Kills 14-Year-Old Girl in Bathtub
Burton Strauss III
Info on RISKS (comp.risks)

Keen Lab hackers managed to take control of Tesla vehicles again

geoff goodfellow <>
Fri, 28 Jul 2017 10:12:20 -1000
Last year, a Chinese whitehat hacker group, the Keen Security Lab at
Tencent, managed to remotely hack the Tesla Model S through a malicious wifi
hotspot.  Tesla quickly pushed a fix through an over-the-air software update
but now the same research group has managed to again gain control of Tesla's

The hack involved tricking a Tesla drivers into accessing a malicious
website through a wifi hotspot and then install their own software in order
to gain access to some of the car's features—more importantly, the
braking system.

Tesla's fix included adding code signing in order to prevent anyone else
from uploading software on Tesla's system, but now Keen Lab says that they
managed to by-pass the code signing with the latest round of vulnerabilities
testing on Tesla's car.

Here they list their new exploit this year: [...]

  [See also (noted by Monty Solomon):]
  Chinese group hacks a Tesla for the second year in a row

Russian parliament bans use of proxy Internet services, VPNs

Lauren Weinstein <>
Fri, 21 Jul 2017 08:16:45 -0700
via NNSquad

  Russia's parliament has outlawed the use of virtual private networks, or
  VPNs, and other Internet proxy services, citing concerns about the spread
  of extremist materials.  The State Duma on Friday unanimously passed a
  bill that would oblige Internet providers to block websites that offer VPN
  services.  Many Russians use VPNs to access blocked content by routing
  connections through servers outside the country.  The lawmakers behind the
  bill argued that the move could help to enforce Russia's ban on
  disseminating extremist content online.

This has nothing to do with terrorist extremism, and everything to do with
Putin's murderous censorship regime.

Hackers undermine Russia's attempts to control the Internet

geoff goodfellow <>
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:18:29 -1000
John Gilmore famously stated of Internet censorship that "The Net
interprets censorship as damage and routes around it". [4]


> Date: July 25, 2017 at 10:49:19 AM EDT
> From: Dewayne Hendricks <>
> Subject: Hackers undermine Russia's attempts to control the Internet*

> [Note:  This item comes from friend Steve Goldstein.  DLH]

Alec Luhn in Moscow, The Guardian, 25 Jul 2017
Hackers undermine Russia's attempts to control the Internet.
Authorities have blacklisted thousands of sites for political dissent since
Putin's re-election in 2012—but activists have subverted the system

Moscow's attempt to control the Internet inside Russia has come unstuck
following a campaign by hackers who have subverted a system of
blacklisting sites deemed inappropriate.

Since Vladimir Putin's re-election in 2012, authorities have banned
thousands of sites—some for promoting social ills, others for political
dissent—by inscribing their particulars on a blacklist and forcing
Internet service providers (ISPs) to block them.

But in recent weeks, activists seeking to push back against the crackdown
have undermined the system by purchasing banned sites and inserting the
particulars of perfectly legal web pages into their domain names.

Havoc ensued.

Last month, cash machines belonging to big state banks VTB and Sberbank
stopped working. Major news sites and social media services were blocked
and even Google became inaccessible.

Andrei Soldatov, author of The Red Web, a book about Russia's online
surveillance: “The Kremlin proved incapable of putting the Internet under
control by technical means. The only thing that partly works is intimidation
of companies and users.  To make intimidation more effective you need to
make the rules more vague and complicated, to make almost everyone guilty by

With the blacklisting system looking vulnerable, the fear is that the
authorities will retaliate by introducing an even harsher system of control
on what web users can view.

Already they have created a new whitelist of sites that can never be
blocked. And last week, parliament passed a law banning the use of virtual
private networks (VPNs), used by many to access blocked content. Hundreds of
people staged a protest march in Moscow at the weekend to object to online

The Internet cat-and-mouse game started five years ago when the state
telecoms watchdog, Roskomnadzor, was given broad powers to censor the
Russian web via amendments to a law drafted to “protect children from
information harming their health and development.''

This provided for the creation of a register, or blacklist, of banned sites
that Internet service providers were required to block. Wikipedia,
LiveJournal, Russia's largest social network VK and largest search engine
Yandex protested the law as a crackdown on the freedom of information.

With its blacklist, Roskomnadzor went after sites containing child
pornography and information on narcotics and suicide. But it also bans pages
for *extremist statements*, a slippery term that has been applied to
everything from terrorist groups to liberal opposition news sites, and for
information about unsanctioned public demonstrations.

In the first two years, more than 50,000 web sites were blocked, some 4,000
of them for extremism. Sites can be blocked based on a court decision or a
complaint by government agencies or citizens.  [...]

Hackers plan to break into 30 voting machines to put election meddling to the test (USA Today)

Monty Solomon <>
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 23:57:09 -0400

Facebook helped blunt Russian meddling in French elections (Engadget)

Lauren Weinstein <>
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 08:40:30 -0700

  Facebook played a key role in identifying and stopping Russian
  interference in the recent French election, a US congressman has
  revealed. During the attack, Russian intelligence operatives attempted to
  spy on Emmanuel Macron's election campaign by posing as friends of
  Macron's and attempting to glean information. This was in conjunction with
  the previously reported Russian interference, where spies also used fake
  Facebook accounts to spread misinformation about the French election.

World's most hi-tech voting system raises cyber-defences (Irish Examiner)

Eugene Spafford <spaf@ACM.ORG>
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:13:56 -0400

China WhatsApp crackdown only scratches surface of worsening Internet censorship

Lauren Weinstein <>
Sun, 23 Jul 2017 08:48:17 -0700
via NNSquad

  As Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate, lay dying in a
  heavily-guarded hospital last month, there was little mention of his fate
  in China.  For many younger Chinese, Liu is an unknown figure, the
  culmination of years of intense censorship of his life and works.  The
  tiny minority who did attempt to express outrage online at Liu's
  treatment, or commemorate him after he succumbed to liver cancer on July
  14, saw their posts blocked and images deleted.  On Weibo, China's most
  popular Twitter-like platform, users were prevented from posting messages
  with the words "Nobel," "liver cancer," "RIP" or the candle emoji,
  according to researchers at Toronto's Citizen Lab and Hong Kong's

A smart fish tank left a casino vulnerable to hackers

Gabe Goldberg <>
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:18:04 -0400
Most people know about phishing—but one casino recently learned about the
dangers of actual fish tanks.

Hackers attempted to steal data from a North American casino through a fish
tank connected to the Internet, according to a report from security firm

Despite extra security precautions set up on the fish tank, hackers still
managed to compromise the tank to send data to a device in Finland before
the threat was discovered and stopped.

"Someone used the fish tank to get into the network, and once they were in
the fish tank, they scanned and found other vulnerabilities and moved
laterally to other places in the network," Justin Fier, director for cyber
intelligence and analysis at Darktrace, explained to CNN Tech.

Beijing Wants AI to Be Made in China by 2030 (The New York Times)

Gabe Goldberg <>
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 11:48:38 -0400
The country laid out a development plan on Thursday to become the world
leader in AI by 2030, aiming to surpass its rivals technologically and
build a domestic industry worth almost $150 billion.

Released by the State Council, the policy is a statement of intent from the
top rungs of China's government: The world's second-largest economy will be
investing heavily to ensure its companies, government and military leap to
the front of the pack in a technology many think will one day form the basis
of computing.

The plan comes with China preparing a multibillion-dollar national
investment initiative to support moonshot projects, start-ups and academic
research in A.I., according to two professors who consulted with the
government about the effort.

The United States, meanwhile, has cut back on science funding. In budget
proposals, the Trump administration has suggested slashing resources for a
number of agencies that have traditionally backed research in AI.  Other
cuts, to areas like high-performance computing, would affect the development
of the tools that make AI work.

Chinese Mind-Reading Computer Moves Closer to Reality

"ACM TechNews" <>
Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:00:32 -0400 (EDT)
Patrick Nelson, *Network World*, 19 Jul 2017
via ACM TechNews, 21 Jul 2017
Read TechNews Online at:

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have developed Deep
Generative Multiview Model (DGMM), a mind-reading program that deciphers
symbols that people have viewed.  The software scans a person's brain
activity and then redraws the numerals and symbols previously seen by the
subject.  The program uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
imaging to analyze the visual cortex and capture brain activity data.  The
researchers then run an algorithm on the data, which interprets the signals
and maps them, thus recreating the image.  "Now, eerily sophisticated
software is starting to decode that brain activity and assign meaning to it;
fMRI is also becoming a window on the mind," the CAS researchers say.
Although other techniques have been used to achieve the same feat, the CAS
researchers claim their method is the most accurate.  The researchers say
their technology eventually could be used to record and re-watch dreams.

Myopic CEO perspective, I think

Gabe Goldberg <>
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:01:57 -0400
Dear Technologists: User Experience Isn't an App or a Feature. It's

What about the unboxing experience? What about customer service? It all
matters, Siminoff said. "Talking someone through downloading an app is user
experience. It's really the end-to-end [experience]."

Siminoff added that he often receives feedback that a competitor's video
doorbell has better hardware. "Who gives a shit?" he asked. "Our customers
aren't buying it because of that. They're buying it because it makes their
homes safer." It's the complete package that matters, he added. The only
danger is to not get too far behind on technology relative to competing

CEO wondering "Who gives a sh*t?" about better hardware seems good argument
against buying Ring.  Better hardware might last longer, not rust, be
upgradeable, have better connectivity, be more reliable.  Even look better.

45,000 Facebook Users Leave One-Star Ratings After Hacker's Unjust Arrest (bleeping computer)

Gabe Goldberg <>
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:17:01 -0400
Over 45,000 users have left one-star reviews on a company's Facebook page
after the business reported a security researcher to police and had him
arrested in the middle of the night instead of fixing a reported bug.

The arrest took place this week in Hungary after an 18-year-old found a flaw
in the online ticket-selling system of Budapesti Közlekedési
Központ (BKK), Budapest's public transportation authority.  Teen
hacks company using browser's DevTools.

The young man discovered that he could access BKK's website, press F12 to
enter the browser's developer tools mode, and modify the page's source code
to alter a ticket's price.

Because there was no client or server-side validation put in place, the BKK
system accepted the operation and issued a ticket at a smaller price.

As a demo, the young man says he bought a ticket initially priced at 9459
Hungarian forints ($35) for 50 Hungarian forints (20 US cents).

Wisconsin Company to Implant Microchips In Employees

Gabe Goldberg <>
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:50:08 -0400
Pay by the hand. A Wisconsin software company called Three Square Market is
offering to implant microchips in employees' hands. The chip will work for
mobile payments and as a computer ID, but does not have GPS or a tracking
component. "It's the next thing that's inevitably going to happen and we
want to be a part of it," says CEO Todd Westby.

The company designs software for break room markets that are commonly found
in office complexes.

...because carrying cash or a phone is too hard?

Chicago festival to mark Pokemon Go anniversary goes awry

Lauren Weinstein <>
Sat, 22 Jul 2017 17:44:58 -0700
NNSquad (PGN-rearranged)

  Niantic Inc.'s John Hanke said "the whole Niantic team" was working to fix
  a glitch in the server and log-on problems with cellular service providers
  AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.  Some in attendance paid as much as $400 online
  for the tickets when they sold out within minutes of their June release.
  The Chicago Tribune reported the festival's organizers decided to issue
  refunds for the $20 tickets and $100 in credits for use on the app.  The
  Chicago Sun-Times reported the CEO of the game's developer was booed when
  he tried to explain the problem to the crowd.

Massive Privacy Breach: Wells Fargo Accidentally Releases Trove of Data on Wealthy Clients (The New York Times)

Lauren Weinstein <>
Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:15:33 -0700

  When a lawyer for Gary Sinderbrand, a former Wells Fargo employee,
  subpoenaed the bank as part of a defamation lawsuit against a bank
  employee, he and Mr. Sinderbrand expected to receive a selection of emails
  and documents related to the case.  But what landed in Mr.  Sinderbrand's
  hands on July 8 went far beyond what his lawyer had asked for: Wells Fargo
  had turned over—by accident, according to the bank's lawyer—a vast
  trove of confidential information about tens of thousands of the bank's
  wealthiest clients.  The 1.4 gigabytes of files that Wells Fargo's lawyer
  sent included copious spreadsheets with customers' names and Social
  Security numbers, paired with financial details like the size of their
  investment portfolios and the fees the bank charged them. Most are
  customers of Wells Fargo Advisors, the arm of the bank that caters to
  high-net-worth investors.  By Mr. Sinderbrand's estimate, he has financial
  information for at least 50,000 individual customers. In all,
  Mr. Sinderbrand said, these clients have tens of billions of dollars
  invested through Wells Fargo, all laid out in vivid detail for him as part
  of the discovery process in his lawsuit.

Roomba's Next Big Step Is Selling Maps of Your Home to the Highest Bidder

Gabe Goldberg <>
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:59:30 -0400
The Roomba is generally regarded as a cute little robot friend that no one
but dogs would consider to be a potential menace. But for the last couple of
years, the robovacs have been quietly mapping homes to maximize
efficiency. Now, the device's makers plan to sell that data to smart home
device manufacturers, turning the friendly robot into a creeping, creepy
little spy.

Very helpful, article shows ad for ... Roomba.

Student denied loan due to namesake

Amos Shapir <>
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:25:10 +0300
A student has been unable to get a loan for university because someone with
the same name, birthday and born in the same area has already applied for
one.  Full story at:

Isn't it time designers of personal info database systems would learn that
name and DOB are not enough to identify a person uniquely?  A search through
the RISKS archive comes up with about 20 items of "your computer cannot do
twins" type; the earliest is in RISKS-4.05, dated Nov.1986!

Bugs in popular hacker tools open the door to striking back (WiReD)

Lauren Weinstein <>
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:50:42 -0700

  The concept of "hacking back" has drawn attention-and generated
  controversy-lately as geopolitics focuses increasingly on the threat of
  cyberwar. The idea that cyberattack victims should be legally allowed to
  hack their alleged assailants has even motivated a bill, the Active Cyber
  Defense Certainty Act, that representative Tom Graves of Georgia has
  shared for possible introduction this fall. And though many oppose hacking
  back as a dangerous and morally ambiguous slippery slope, research shows
  that, for better or worse, in many cases it wouldn't be all that hard.  It
  turns out that many popular hacking tools are themselves riddled with
  vulnerabilities. That doesn't necessarily make returning fire on incoming
  hacks a good idea, but it does show that attackers often don't pay all
  that much attention to security.  As the idea of hacking back gains
  support it could eventually cost them.

Three Square Market microchips its employees (prlog)

Steve Lamont
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:44:01 -0700

Three Square Market Microchips Employees Company-Wide—Three Square Market
PRLog, July 20, 2017

River Falls, Wis. - Three Square Market (32M) is offering implanted chip
technology to all of their employees on August 1st, 2017.  Employees will be
implanted with a RFID chip allowing them to make purchases in their break
room micro market, open doors, login to computers, use the copy machine,
etc. This program, offered by 32M, is optional for all employees. The
company is expecting over 50 staff members to be voluntarily chipped. 32M is
partnering with BioHax International and Jowan Osterland, CEO, based out of

RFID technology or Radio-Frequency Identification uses electromagnetic
fields to identify electronically stored information. Often referred to as
"chip" technology, this option has become very popular in the European
marketplace. The chip implant uses near-field communications (NFC); the same
technology used in contactless credit cards and mobile payments. A chip is
implanted between the thumb and forefinger underneath the skin within

A micro market, also known as a break room market, has become a staple in
the U.S. with over 20,000 locations and growing. While in existence for over
a decade in the American workplace, the international community began to
embrace this only a few years ago. A micro market is a mini convenience
store located right in the employee break room using a self-checkout kiosk,
similar to what is found at many major retailers. Businesses see multiple
benefits when adding a micro market to their location, such as increased
employee morale and productivity.  32M entered this growing industry over
four years ago and is rapidly growing in market share and believes this
technology will help it continue this trajectory.

"We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making
purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy
machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing
business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at
other RFID terminals. Eventually, this technology will become standardized
allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing
opportunities, etc." commented 32M CEO, Todd Westby.


I'd like mine implanted on the tip of my middle finger, please. . .

Pile driver vs. underground high voltage cable. Oops

danny burstein <>
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:54:32 -0400 (EDT)
Ranks right up there with backhoe vs. fiber optic line..  or squirrel
vs. transformer..

[North Carolina]

OBX blackout: Mandatory evacuation, state of emergency on Ocracoke Island

Thousands were without power on Ocracoke and Hatteras islands on Thursday
and officials were unsure when it will be restored.

The Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said on Thursday that it could take
several days or even weeks before power can be restored on Hatteras and

PCL Construction, the company building the new Bonner Bridge, told CHEC that
at about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, its crews drove a steel casing into the
underground transmission cable running between the south end of the bridge
and the overhead riser pole, causing the outage.  [...]

Sweden drenched by "The Cloud"

"Peter G. Neumann" <>
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:05:30 PDT
Sweden's Transport Agency moved all of its data to "the cloud", apparently
unaware that there is no cloud, only somebody else's computer. In doing so,
it exposed and leaked every conceivable top secret database: fighter pilots,
SEAL team operators, police suspects, people under witness relocation. Names,
photos, and home addresses: the list is just getting started. The responsible
director has been found guilty in criminal court of the whole affair, and
sentenced to the harshest sentence ever seen in Swedish government: she was
docked half a month's paycheck.

Worst known governmental leak ever is slowly coming to light: Agency moved
nation's secret data to "The Cloud".

Rick Falkvinge, Privacy News Online, 21 Jul 2017

Many governments have had partial leaks in terms of method (Snowden) or
relations (Manning) lately, but this is the first time I'm aware that the
full treasure chest of every single top-secret governmental individual with
photo, name, and home address has leaked. It goes to show, again, that
governments can't even keep their most secret data under wraps - so any
governmental assurances to keep your data safe have as much value as a
truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory.

It started out with a very speedy trial where a Director General in Sweden
was fined half a month's pay. Given how much the establishment has got each
other's backs, this sentence was roughly equivalent to life in prison for a
common person on the street, meaning they must have done something really
awful to get not just a guilty verdict, but actually be fined half a month's

On digging, it turns out the Swedish Transport Agency moved all its data to
"the cloud", as managed by IBM, two years ago. Something was found amiss when
the Director General of the Transport Agency, Maria Egren, was quickly
retired from her position this January - but it was only on July 6 that it
became known that she was found guilty of exposing classified information in
a criminal court of law. The scandal quickly escalated from there.

There's an enormous amount of data in Swedish about the overall leak scandal,
but among all that data, one piece bears mentioning just to highlight the
generally sloppy, negligent, and indeed criminal, attitude toward sensitive

Last March, the entire register of vehicles was sent to marketers subscribing
to it. This is normal in itself, as the vehicle register is public
information, and therefore subject to Freedom-of-Information excerpts. What
was not normal were two things: first, that people in the witness protection
program and similar programs were included in the register distributed
outside the Agency, and second, when this fatal mistake was discovered, a new
version without the sensitive identities was not distributed with
instructions to destroy the old copy. Instead, the sensitive identities were
pointed out and named in a second distribution with a request for all
subscribers to remove these records themselves. This took place in open
cleartext e-mail.

Take this incident and scale it up to everyday behavior at a whole agency
with key responsibility for safeguarding national secrets.

At present, these databases are known to have been exposed, by moving them to
"The Cloud" as if it were just a random buzzword: [...]

  [Also, Donald B. Wagner noted this item:]

Re: Leaping Kangaroos (Thorn, RISKS-30.38)

"3daygoaty ." <>
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:31:20 +1000
Squirrels causing self-driving car accidents (that inadvertently also kill
the squirrel) will never occur more than ten times in Perth, Western

There's only ten of them.

Re: 'Energy firms can switch off your FREEZER for a few minutes at night'

Chris Drewe <>
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:28:25 +0100
Probably not news, but an article in a recent newspaper gives a clue to
possible UK future electricity policy.  Problem is that many conventional
coal and gas power stations are being closed due to being too old and/or too
polluting, renewable energy (wind and solar) is only available in short
bursts and not necessarily when needed, European natural gas sources are
dwindling and a lot of other countries are competing over supplies, and
nuclear power is still some years in the future, as it has been since the
1950s; reportedly, the margin between available generating capacity and
likely demand peaks is becoming vanishingly small, while the Government has
just announced a big plan to change us all to electric cars...

One obvious RISK is worrying if your freezer will still be frozen in the


> Energy firms could be allowed to switch off consumers' freezers during
> times of high demand as part of a new Government initiative designed to
> save billions in electricity bills.
> Customers who opt into the scheme would be offered reduced costs if they
> allow a third party to power down their appliances at peak times.
> The Government, regulator Ofgem and the industry are rolling out smart
> meters and will bring in 'smart tariffs' for consumers to pay less for
> off-peak power.
> The Government will also introduce standards for electric vehicle
> charging points so consumers can charge their cars when demand is low
> and be paid for feeding power from cars back to the grid.
> The Government hopes this will alleviate the need for expensive power
> stations in the future.

Re: Bloomberg: A Solar Eclipse Could Wipe Out 9,000 Megawatts of Power Supplies (Kuenning, RISKS-30.39)

Kelly Bert Manning <>
Sun, 23 Jul 2017 11:45:04 -0400 (EDT)
Geoff Kuenning wrote that something similar happens for up to 14 hours
per day when the Sun sets. Night can be longer than that at high latitudes.

There is also the issue of wind generated power being intermittent.

Fortunately there is a solution for large-scale storage of grid connected
power. Folks can be forgiven for not being aware of this novel solution. It
was such an obscure solution that Swiss and Italian Electric Utilities did
not begin using it for leveling out electric supply and demand until the

Re: Wifi Webcam TENVIS sends all it knows to

David Alexander <>
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:58:14 +0000 (UTC)
I read the posting by Turgut Kalfaglu and thought "what's new?" Brian Krebs
posted a long expose of the problems of this sort associated with the FOSCAM
units in Feb 2016. To summarize: They reach out to servers in China by
default. There is an option to disable this in the menus but it doesn't
work, they keep on doing it. The FOSCAM is white labeled into a lot of
different products by different manufacturers. It wouldn't surprise me if
this was another variant of the same hardware.

I've been talking about these and other problems with IoT products for over
2 years.  This is me (Youtube video) presenting at the Institute for
Information Security Professionals conference in London last year on this
very subject.  F-Secure put out a press release in June this year about
insecure webcams, including FOSCAM. There is a headline article on the front
page of the (UK) Daily Telegraph today (25 July 2017) "Internet of things'
will leave home gadgets vulnerable to hacks, senior police officer warns".

For a variety of reasons that I won't speculate on for fear of being sued,
many manufacturers are either not building in security to IoT products, not
doing it right, not making products that are patchable or a combination of
these things. I don't have the time or inclination to test these kind of
devices myself and I've lived for a great many years without them. I don't
have any IoT products in my house, and I don't plan to either.

Re: Wifi Webcam TENVIS sends all it knows to (RISKS-30.39)

Rob Slade <>
Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:06:32 -0700
> Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2017 07:47:32 +0300
> From: turgut kalfaglu <>

> Nowhere in the configuration does it mention that it sends information to
> some "cloud".

I wish people would stop using "cloud."  To use "cloud" clouds one's
judgment.  "Cloud" is the same thing we used to call file-sharing,
distributed computing, or time-sharing.  It just means "somebody else's

Re: Western tech firms bow to Russian demands to share cybersecrets

Martin Ward <>
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:31:21 +0100
On 20/07/17 18:24, Wols Lists wrote:
> On 20/07/17 14:41, Martin Ward wrote:
>> Anthony Youngman <> wrote:
>> The last occasion when a flaw was discovered in the axioms used
>> to prove the correctness of programs (logic and basic set theory)
>> was Russell's Paradox:
> And? The maths was flawed, it was incorrect.

You claimed that "we keep on discovering, all too often, reality has a habit
of saying `you've got the wrong axioms'".

"We keep on discovering..." implies something which happens over and over
again: certainly more than once!

But that happened *once* over 100 years ago: and the flaw was discovered
almost as soon as the set of axioms were proposed, and the flaw was fixed
shortly afterward.

The phrase "keep on discovering..." implies many occasions, certainly more
than one. What are these occasions?

Do you know how much mathematics has been built on top of the axioms of
logic and set theory, and how many applications of that mathematics have
been tested in reality in the last 100 years without uncovering a *single*
further flaw in the axioms?

Your argument has a much stronger application to engineering than computing:
Newton's laws of motion are insufficient for space travel and needed to be
"corrected" by special and general relativity. But rocket scientists still
make extensive use of mathematics and rockets still (usually) reach their
destinations. So your argument fails.  But if it fails for rocket science, a
fortiori it fails for software engineering (where the mathematics is much
simpler and the axioms have not needed to be fixed for over 100 years).

The application of mathematics to engineering is only valid when the laws of
physics are understood to a sufficient degree of accuracy.  Newton's laws
are accurate enough for bridge building, but not for space travel.

Physical laws are only valid in some possible worlds: the laws of physics
are contingent. But mathematics is valid in *every* possible world: so there
is no need to ensure that the axioms match reality (we don't do experiments
to test if addition is commutative, for example!).  This does not eliminate
the need for testing, however.

> After all, didn't Knuth understand exactly this when (I can't remember the
> quote exactly) he said "I don't guarantee it will work, I have merely
> proven it correct"?

The correct quote is "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved
it correct, not tried it".  (See A proof does not guarantee
the absence of bugs: because the proof might contain an error or the
typed-in code might contain a typo.  My first version of the polynomial
algorithm had a bug caused by a typo.  Bugs caused by typos are usually easy
to spot: either via more careful proofreading, or because (as in my case)
they cause the program to fail on almost every input value. But testing
informally developed code is usually a long process with many iterations of
the test/debug/fix cycle, and a high probability of residual security
holes. On the other hand, testing provably correct code usually involves an
initial proofread/test, fix any typos if necessary, then *all* the tests
pass (in my experience).

NEC Updates like software updates (Re: Charging Phone Kills 14-Year-Old Girl in Bathtub)

Burton Strauss III <>
Sun, 23 Jul 2017 13:45:57 -0500
In RISKS-30.39, Paul Fenimore makes the case "There is an analogy of old
power circuit designs to old software that is not maintained but continues
to operate in the high-risk environments found on networks."

That reality is a lot closer than is comfortable.

Although it's called the National Electrical Code, this is purely a model
code, intended to be adopted by local jurisdictions. (To the poster in
another forum that said it's nuts, only in the US would building codes be a
local issue, please do remember that the building INSPECTOR is a local

In the case of Lovington, NM, it appears that the NEC was adopted,
specifically the 1956 version and has not been updated since.

15.08.020   National Electrical Code adopted.

The regulations contained in the National Electrical Code, 1956 Edition, as
the same are now or may be amended, is adopted by reference and is declared
to be a part of this chapter when not in conflict with a specific statement
contained in the body of this chapter to the contrary. Copies of such
regulations shall be kept on file in the office of the city manager.

(Prior code 16-1-2)

The use of GFI/GFCI became part of the NEC in 1975. As with software in
various devices, just because the manufacturer (the NEC here) provides an
update, there is no requirement to update requirements (the town code) or
the installations (specific houses).

The building code was updated to a more recent code (2009), e.g., but not as
far as I can see, the electrical code!

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