Tag Archives: internet

Hackers demonstrate they can remotely take over moving vehicle

Does this make you feel safer? In a demonstration of the vulnerability of modern cars that are linked to the internet, two hackers took over the operation of an unmodified moving Jeep Cherokee.

A pair of Missouri-based hackers have put on an extraordinary demonstration by logging into a Jeep Cherokee remotely, while it was being driven by a Wired reporter Andy Greenberg, and systematically taking over the car’s functionality. First, they hit him with cold air through the air-con system, then they blasted Kanye West through the stereo at full volume, rendering the volume knob completely useless. They flashed up a picture of themselves on the car’s console and set the windscreen wipers going full blast, squirting cleaning fluid onto the windscreen and making it difficult to see.

But these were just warmups to the main event – next, they took over the engine and shut it off completely, leaving the driver powerless and coasting on the freeway as traffic flashed past around him. Then, once he was off the highway, they showed how they could completely disable the brakes, and take over the steering of the car – only at slow speeds and in reverse, but they’re working on unlocking new abilities every day.

This suggests to me that linking any car directly to the internet is probably a very bad idea.

SpaceX begins planning a 4,000 satellite internet constellation

The competition heats up: SpaceX has filed papers with the FCC to begin testing the design and construction and launch of a constellation of 4,000 satellites for providing global internet access.

Musk’s FCC filing proposes tests starting next year. If all goes well, the service could be up and running in about five years. The satellites would be deployed from one of SpaceX’s rockets, the Falcon 9. Once in orbit, the satellites would connect to ground stations at three West Coast facilities. The purpose of the tests is to see whether the antenna technology used on the satellites will be able to deliver high-speed Internet to the ground without hiccups.

It appears to me that Musk’s constellation will be made up of cubesats, small and cheap to build, and easy to launch in large numbers as secondary payloads on every Falcon 9 launch. In other words, as long as SpaceX can get customers to pay for launches of large satellites on its Falcon 9, Musk will be able to launch and maintain his constellation of cubesats for free.

Google and Facebook cancel satellite plans

The competition cools down? Facebook and Google have both cancelled their plans to build satellite systems to provide global internet access.

It appears Google pulled out earlier this year, while Facebook’s decision was revealed today. Google however remains a partner in Skybox, a space imaging company, as well as O3b, which is trying to provide internet using satellites.

Google and SpaceX team-up?

The competition heats up: A news report today claims that Google will invest $1 billion of the $10 billion SpaceX plans to spend to build a space-based internet system.

More here. Whether true or not, this story illustrates the growing buzz for the idea of investing, building, and making money in space. Increasingly, the biggest and most innovative capitalists in the world want a piece of that endless pie.

Musk hints at a team-up with space-based internet provider

The competition heats up: Elon Musk yesterday revealed that he is in negotiations to team-up with a venture that would put in orbit a constellation of 700 satellites to provide low-cost internet access.

The venture was originally linked with Google, but that partnership has faded. Musk meanwhile said that his deal will be announced within the next three months.

O boy! Obama wants to regulate the internet!

On Monday the Obama administration declared its desire that the FCC should increase its regulation of the internet, embracing White House proposals for something progressives like to label “net neutrality.”

By backing a policy commonly referred to as Net Neutrality, President Barack Obama is advocating for that the internet to be regulated like any other public utility. “To put these protections in place, I’m asking the [Federal Communications Commission] to reclassifying internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunications Act,” Obama said in a statement on Monday.

Since the issue of “net neutrality” became a hot button progressive issue several years ago, I have tried to figure it out, all to no avail. The issue is so complex that my first instinct is that the government should simply leave well enough alone, since any action the government takes is usually harmful.

Now, however, with Obama putting his brilliant support behind it I have no doubts — these regulatory proposals should be doused with gasoline, burnt to a crisp, then buried in a hole so deep no one will ever be able to dig them up.

I say this not because of any personal hatred of Obama, but because I have seen the disaster of Obama’s biggest regulatory effort, Obamacare. Why should anyone with any brains at all ever trust him again with any future regulatory effort in any area of public policy? No one should. He and the present generation of Democrats proved with Obamacare that their ideas about government regulation are bankrupt. They should quietly sit down and shut up, and let some adults who know how to think run things.

According to two industry sources, the U.S. government has demanded that major internet companies provide it the stored passwords of their customers.

According to two industry sources, the federal government has demanded that major internet companies provide it the stored passwords of their customers.

“I’ve certainly seen them ask for passwords,” said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We push back.” A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies “really heavily scrutinize” these requests, the person said. “There’s a lot of ‘over my dead body.'”

So far at least, it appears that the companies are doing the right thing and telling the government to go to hell.

China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members have proposed giving the UN more control over the governance and operation of the internet.

What could go wrong? China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members have proposed giving the UN more control over the governance and operation of the internet.

Fortunately, it appears that members of Congress from both parties seem hostile to this idea.

LightSquared touts new tests prove its internet service will not interfere with GPS

In a press event today, LightSquared announced that just-completed tests prove that its internet service will not interfere with GPS.

According to the company, the three private companies — Javad GNSS, PCTel and Partron — that make GPS equipment have been testing interference solutions and those tests have gone well. “Preliminary results show that GPS devices tested in the lab easily surpass performance standards thanks to these newly developed solutions,” Ahuja said. “We are confident that this independent testing will mirror testing being done by the federal government.”

Here’s another perspective:

Jim Kirkland, vice president of Trimble and a founding member of The Coalition to Save Our GPS, is trying to slow LightSquared’s momentum. “It is obviously extremely premature to claim at this point that these latest tests demonstrate that LightSquared’s proposed repurposing of the mobile satellite band for terrestrial operations is ‘compatible’ with high-precision GPS,” Kirkland says in a statement. “Even if new equipment solutions are fully tested and verified, these existing high-precision receivers will have to be retrofitted or replaced. LightSquared still refuses to accept the financial responsibility for addressing interference to existing devices, and so has not offered a comprehensive solution in any way, shape, or form.”

NBC employee who distributed “What is the internet?” video fired

The NBC employee who distributed the “What is the internet?” video was fired this week for doing so. First, if you haven’t seen it, here’s the video:

Though this video is hilarious, and does illustrate how completely contemptuous TV news anchors can be about new things they haven’t bothered to do any research about, it is also unfair to laugh at them with 20-20 hindsight. At one point or another we were all as ignorant as they are. Note also that we do not know the whole story about why NBC fired this employee.

Arab world shaken by power of Twitter and Facebook

The truimph of freedom: The Arab world, shaken by the power of the internet. Key quote:

On Dec. 17, in Sidi Bouzid, deep in the interior, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself aflame in front of a government building, in protest after police confiscated his produce stand. Horrible images of his act circulated lightning-fast on the Internet. Protests followed.

“Thanks to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, images of those first protests went around the world instantly, and everyone knew about it,” says Tlili. “Even 20 years ago, you could have had those uprisings in the interior and few would have known.”