Saturday, October 22, 2016

DRV hijacked?

How your DVR was hijacked to help epic cyberattack
Excerpt: Technology experts warned for years that the millions of Internet-connected "smart" devices we use every day are weak, easily hijacked and could be turned against us. (Scary! Because I’m very old fashioned, not quite Amish, in fact, I think the only connectable device I have–other than my computer itself–is the cable modem and router that handles my landline, TV, and computer’s internet. I’d hate to think those hunks of plastic and metal were capable of being used for such a purpose, but how would I know for sure? The answer, of course, is that I couldn’t. Even if it appears turned off, a camera can take images and transfer them electronically. We know this because it is done regularly by both hackers and law enforcement, each for their own purposes. If a machine that appears off can turn itself on and lie about it to us, which of us really controls the other? Some years ago I decided the Turing Test for determining when a machine was "alive"–that it couldn’t be distinguished in conversation from a known living human–was insufficient. The answer I eventually came up with was "if a computer tells an untruth for its own purposes, it’s alive." I may have to revise that. Fortunately, since my modem and router connect only to the cable coming into the house, I suppose I can disconnect the cable when I’m not using it. No, I can’t because then I’d have no landline phone. At least it can’t connect to the 14 wireless networks available here since I know none of the passwords. But, the machine is much faster than I am, and has lots of time–suppose it began trying to "guess" one of those passwords. Any bets on whether any of them would allow "password" or "guest" or "incorrect" [as in your password is incorrect] to connect? Don’t be quite so anxious to get one of those fancy new refrigerators that can order groceries for you. It may someday take a bite out of you. Ron P.)

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