Information Security

Win Back Some Privacy With A Cone Of Silence For Your Smart Speaker

Hack a Day - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 16:00

To quote the greatest philosopher of the 20th century: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Take personal assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. When first predicted by sci-fi writers, the idea of instant access to the sum total of human knowledge with a few utterances seemed like a no-brainer; who wouldn’t want that? But now that such things are a reality, having something listening to you all the time and potentially reporting everything it hears back to some faceless corporate monolith is unnerving, to say the least.

There’s a fix for that, though, with this cone of silence for your smart speaker. Dubbed “Project Alias” by [BjørnKarmann], the device consists of a Raspberry Pi with a couple of microphones and speakers inside a 3D-printed case. The Pi is programmed to emit white noise from its speakers directly into the microphones of the Echo or Home over which it sits, masking out the sounds in the room while simultaneously listening for a hot-word. It then mutes the white noise, plays a clip of either “Hey Google” or “Alexa” to wake the device up, and then business proceeds as usual. The bonus here is that the hot-word is customizable, so that in addition to winning back a measure of privacy, all the [Alexas] in your life can get their names back too. The video below shows people interacting with devices named [Doris], [Marvin], [Petey], and for some reason, [Milkshake].

We really like this idea, and the fact that no modifications are needed to the smart speaker is pretty slick, as is the fact that with a few simple changes to the code and the print files it can be used with any smart speaker. And some degree of privacy from the AI that we know is always listening through these things is no small comfort either.

Oxford University reportedly turns off its Huawei money tap

The Register - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 15:01
No more Chinese tech vendor grants for at least three to six months, compsci students told

Oxford University is reportedly suspending all research grants and donations from Chinese tech giant Huawei, according to a Chinese newspaper.…

OpenWrt as Wifi Device?

Your hacking tutorial - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 14:44

Hello there, sorry for the crap title. I was wondering if I could use my D-Link DIR-835 that has OpenWrt installed with kali linux. Like would I be able to use aircrack or any other tools connecting to this over lan, or some other fashion? It can scan for networks and actually has a dedicated antenna for that (at least what sources say). Thanks alot!

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Categories: Information Security

Hackaday Superconference: Estefannie’s Daft Punk Helmet

Hack a Day - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 14:31

There’s no single formula for success, but if we’ve learned anything over the years of covering cons, contests, and hackathons, it’s that, just like in geology, pressure can create diamonds. Give yourself an impossible deadline with high stakes, and chances are good that something interesting will result. That’s what Estefannie from the YouTube channel “Estefannie Explains It All” did when Bay Area Maker Faire was rolling around last year, and she stopped by the 2018 Hackaday Superconference to talk about the interactive Daft Punk helmet that came out of it.

It’s a rapid-fire tour of Estefannie’s remarkably polished replica of the helmet worn by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, one half of the French electronic music duo Daft Punk. Her quick talk, video of which is below, gives an overview of its features, but we miss the interesting backstory. For that, the second video serves as a kickoff to a whirlwind month of hacking that literally started from nothing.

You’ll Learn it Along the Way

Before deciding to make the helmet, Estefannie had zero experience in the usual tools of the trade. With only 28 days to complete everything, she had to: convert her living room into a workshop; learn how to 3D print; print 58 separate helmet parts, including a mold for thermoforming the visor; teach herself how to thermoform after building the tools to do so; assemble and finish all the parts; and finally, install the electronics that are the hallmark of Daft Punk’s headgear.

The three videos in her series are worth watching to see what she put herself through. Estefannie’s learning curve was considerable, and there were times when nothing seemed to work. The thermoforming was particularly troublesome — first too much heat, then not enough, then not enough vacuum (pretty common hurdles from other thermoforming projects we’ve seen). But the finished visor was nearly perfect, even if it took two attempts to tint.

We have to say that at first, some of her wounds seemed self-inflicted, especially seeing the amount of work she put into the helmet’s finish. But she wanted it to be perfect, and the extra care in filling, sanding, priming, and painting the printed parts really paid off in the end. It was down to the wire when BAMF rolled around, with last minute assembly left to the morning of the Faire in the hotel room, but that always seems to be the way with these kinds of projects.

In the end, the helmet came out great, and we’re glad the run-up to the Superconference wasn’t nearly as stressful for Estefannie — or so we assume. And now that she has all these great new skills and tools, we’re looking forward to her next build.

Same nmap command shows different results

Your hacking tutorial - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 14:28

I'm trying to do a simple host discovery scan in my local network using the command "nmap -sn" and I try to predict the results, just to better understand the tool.

But, for some reason, I'm getting different results every time I run the exact same command (mentioned above), one right after the other.

My local network is composed of 4 desktop computers connected through a Ethernet cable and some phones connected through wifi.

For example, I run the command once, it shows that the 4 wired computers are up (I'm ignoring wifi for now as I know that they can connect and disconnect without me noticing it). Then I run it once more, right after the first time, and it shows only three 3 of the 4 wired computers. I know their local ip addresses, I verify before every scan, and I'm sure that all 4 are connected all the times.

For the wifi devices, I'm sure my phone it's connected to the network and know it's ip address. The same happens: sometimes it shows in the nmap scan, sometimes don't, even when I'm sure it is connected all the times (I don't let it go in standby and I'm pretty close to the wifi router).

I've done some research about this, but didn't find a answer.

So, if someone knows the cause of this, I would like to hear it, please.

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Categories: Information Security

Tech giant to spend $500m dealing with housing crisis caused by tech giants

The Register - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 14:15
Redmond to throw cash at the problem, hopes some might stick to affordable homes

Microsoft has revealed it is to spank the best part of $500m on attempting to deal with the lack of affordable housing in the Seattle area.…

Using google home voice controls to unlock Schlage door lock with Smartthings, sharptools and tasker

Tasker: Total Automation for Android - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 13:59

Hi All,

I am very new to tasker and sharptools and am completely lost in trying to accomplish my goal. Using Smartthings and Google home I want to be able to unlock my door using a phrase that only I know.

How can I get this done? I have tried watching tutorials but the the systems are so complicated that I just cannot figure it out. I have Smartthings linked up into my sharptools but setting up the automation in tasker is where I am stuck.



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[HELP] Receive telegram notification when file is downloaded.

Tasker: Total Automation for Android - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 13:47

Here's what I want to make happen:

I want to receive message on telegram when the file download is completed.

Progress So Far:

I've created a bot using botfather and connected it to a channel. Tasker successfully sends messages to it when action is executed. I'm using Auto Notifications to intercept notification of uc browser. I also found out using Auto Notification helper task that on completion of download %antexts() changes to this values: UC Music, File Name,Successfully downloaded.

Now, the Problem is I created a profile and it would run and send message to my telegram channel when the uc browser starts downloading and not when it finishes downloading. How do I query notification every few seconds to monitor changes in values and trigger task as soon as it's value has text: Successfully downloaded?

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

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Google-Home supports now chaining commands for 2-Devices in German-Language!

Tasker: Total Automation for Android - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 13:26

Google-Home supports now to chain 2-Commands in One-Sentence in German-Language (For example, - Turn on the kitchen-light and turn off the bathroom-light!), and it works! Can Anybody confirm this?

submitted by /u/roselanguste
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Oracle boss prevented from Brexit Britain trip due to US shutdown

The Register - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 13:15
Mark Hurd confesses: I didn't take my passport – but usually that's not an issue

Forget cyber security or emergency hamburgers – the real impact of the US government shutdown is only just beginning.…