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Researchers Steal Cars With Wireless Ignition

(Image is used under the Pixabay license)

If you read this site much, you probably know I have a "guilty till proven innocent" attitude when it comes to new technology, particularly wireless technology. That's why it's no surprise to me (and hopefully no surprise to you), that they've discovered they can break into and steal cars that use wireless entry and ignition.

The researchers tested a few scenarios. An attacker could watch a parking lot and have an accomplice watch as car owners as entered a nearby store. The accomplice would only need to be within eight meters of the targeted owner's key fob, making it easy to avoid arousing suspicion. In another scenario, a car owner might leave a car key on a table near a window. An antenna placed outside the house was able to communicate with the key, allowing the researchers then to start the car parked out front and drive away.

Companies need to stop with this high-tech gadgetry until they commit to hiring brilliant security experts to design these systems for them. Even then, using simple wireless radio transmissions that any regular joe can produce with less than $500 of equipment is just a bad idea.

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Forida Pays $35 Mil for E-voting mistake

(Image is in the Public Domain)

Here's a heartwarming tale. Forida decides that the e-voting was a mistake and goes back to optical votes:

Rumor has it that Florida governor Charlie Crist will announce tomorrow that his state plans to scrap tens of millions of dollars worth of touchscreen voting equipment and move to a system based completely on optical scan ballots. The Miami Herald claims that the total tab for overhauling the state's electoral system could be as high as $35 million.

They made a mistake and now they're paying for it. Hopefully, the cost will make them think twice before adopting a voting system that was proven again and again to be worthless.

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More Vista Trouble

Microsoft - profits before customers
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Apparently, Vista will not let you install on an empty hard drive with the "upgrade version" as previous versions of Windows did. This is a problem only for some, but it's significant.

What Microsoft is trying to do is convert their software market into a licensing market. This way, no one owns software, only licenses. As an analogy, assume you've purchased the ever so expensive xbox 360, but you're moving across town next month. When you hook up the game system in the new place, it refuses to play games stating that you need to call Microsoft to purchase a new site license. You call and demand to know what happened and the foreigner who answers says that the original purchase price of the xbox allows for only one site so you need to purchase the right to use it elsewhere.

Consumers who want to be in control of their own computers should stay away from Vista.

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Don’t Buy Windows Vista

If you don't want bad press, try making a better product.
(Image used under: Fair Use doctrine)

That seems to be an undercurrent (or more than an undercurrent) of thought on the web. Here is a list of 10 good reasons not to buy Vista.

The point about Windows being released with the need for a hardware upgrade is something I can relate to. When XP came out and I was still working retail, they were recommending a Pentium 333Mhz with 256Mb of RAM. I told people not to even try XP without a bare minimum of 400Mhz and 512Mb of RAM.

My experience is that they list what it takes to make the computer not fail when loading, not what it takes to make it run decently. And from Badvista.org, where I found the link to the top 10 list, I also found this article:

Vista is being marketed to content producers, not consumers... These changes won’t enhance user security unfortunately as they were designed to protect only “premium content ?... The new Vista scheme signals to me that they have exhausted new customer acquisition and are now focused on milking their existing market.

Ouch. Well, if you don't want bad press, try making a better product.

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Nintendo to Look into “Remote Destruction”

Eventually, they just upgraded the strap to prevent breakage.
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Gamasutra reports that Nintendo is looking into possible solutions for the accidental destruction of TVs or nearby items/people when players in America get a little too excited when playing and accidentally throw the remote.

The article quotes Ninetendo execs as having considered ways to prevent people from getting so excited or by making a special glove people could wear. Apparently they haven't thought that strengthening the wrist strap and putting a small amount of rubber gripping on the edges of the remote where it's held would likely fix the problem just fine. For an extra measure, put rubber edge protectors on the four corners of the front of the remote so if it did fly, it would be less likely to damage anything.

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Senate Banking Committee Member Denounces”No-Swipe” Credit Cards

Wireless credit cards aren't ready. Avoid them.
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC])

From the CASPAIN newsletter:

A member of the Senate Banking Committee denounced RFID "no-swipe" credit cards at a press conference Sunday. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said contracts for the cards should have warning boxes disclosing "the known weaknesses of the technology." He cautioned cardholders about their vulnerability to identity thieves, commenting you "may as well put your credit card information on a big sign on your back."

RFID is an extremely dangerous technology if left unregulated and businesses are rushing to get it to the market before people know what's happening. That's why situations like this happen:

CASPIAN demanded a recall of RFID credit cards last month after the New York Times reported that a team of security researchers found that virtually every one of the "no-swipe" credit cards it tested was vulnerable to unauthorized charges and put consumers at risk for identity theft.
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