The FBI v. Apple isn’t at all the way you think it is

cookjpgThe FBI holds an iPhone that was owned by one of the San Bernardino terrorists, Syed Rizwan Farook, and wants Apple to crack it. Apple CEO Tim Cook is defying the FBI request and the court order that accompanied it, saying that cracking the phone would require developing a special version of iOS that could bypass passcode encryption. If such a genetically modified mobile OS escaped into the wild it could be used by anyone to crack any current iPhone, which would be bad for Apple’s users and bad for Amurica, Cook says. So he won’t do it, dag nabbit.

That’s the big picture story dominating the tech news this […]

Prediction #7: Internet of Things becomes a security nightmare

2016predictionsJust because IBM suffered a marketing hiccup doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about doing 2016 predictions. This one is simple — a confluence of anti-hacking paranoia combined with the Internet of Things (IoT), which will lead to any number of really, really bad events in 2016.

Remember how the CIA or the NSA or whatever agency it was hacked a few years ago the Iranian nuclear centrifuges making enriched uranium? The centrifuges updated their software over the Internet, loading doctored code that eventually caused the machines to overspeed and shake themselves to pieces, putting the Iranian nuclear program months or years behind.

Now imagine much the same thing happening to your Internet-connected thermostat, baby […]

2016 Prediction #1 — Beginning of the end for engineering workstations

2016predictionsFirst a look at my predictions from one year ago and how they appear in the light of today:

Prediction #1 — Everyone gets the crap scared out of them by data security problems. Go to the original column (link just above) to read the details of this and all the other 2015 predictions but the gist of it was that 2015 would be terrible for data security and the bad guys would find at least a couple new ways to make money from their hobby. I say I got this one right — one for one.

Prediction #2 — Google starts stealing lunch money. The title is 100 percent smart-ass but my point (again, […]

My fridge is listening to me


hal9KIt seems oddly fitting that this week — a week scarred by the bizarre and violent mass murder in San Bernardino — that I received a LinkedIn invitation to connect with someone who listed this as their job description:

Install, maintain, and repair GPS, WiFi, and security camera systems on tour buses. In 2010, working with grant money from Homeland Security, I installed security systems on a fleet of tour buses and I have been maintaining those systems since then. In 2011, I helped install multi-language listening systems on tour buses and have been the lead maintenance technician. Currently, I am project manager for upgrading a fleet of 50 tour buses with […]

Chinese talking cybersecurity means security is already lost

A longtime reader and good friend of mine sent me a link this week to a CNBC story about the loss of fingerprint records in the Office of Personnel Management hack I have written about before. It’s just one more nail in the coffin of a doltish bureaucracy that — you know I’m speaking the truth here — will probably result in those doltish bureaucrats getting even more power, even more data, and ultimately losing those data, too.

So the story says they lost the fingerprint records of 56 million people! Game over.

Remember how this story unfolded? There had been a hack and some records were compromised. Then there had been a hack and […]