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The Telecom Digest for August 8, 2014
Volume 33 : Issue 131 : "text" format

Messages in this Issue:
Security expert calls home routers a clear and present danger(Monty Solomon)
How to Keep Data Out of Hackers' Hands(Monty Solomon)
This thumbdrive hacks computers. "BadUSB" exploit makes devices turn "evil"(Monty Solomon)
Re: Verizon defends wireless data download slowdowns(Michael D. Sullivan)
Re: Verizon defends wireless data download slowdowns(Barry Margolin)
No Takeover, but Plenty of Taunts(Monty Solomon)
Wireless Charging, at a Distance, Moves Forward for uBeam(Monty Solomon)
Re: Wireless Charging, at a Distance, Moves Forward for uBeam(Bill Horne)
Sprint Names New Chief Executive(Monty Solomon)
Cutting the High Cost of Digital Living(Monty Solomon)
Secret Papers Describe Size of Terror Lists Kept by U.S.(Monty Solomon)

We must fight spam for the same reason we fight crime: not because we are naive enough to believe that we will ever stamp it out,
but because we do not want the kind of world that results when no one stands against crime.  - Geoffrey Welsh


See the bottom of this issue for subscription and archive details.


Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 00:23:32 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: Security expert calls home routers a clear and present danger Message-ID: <p06240830d008af91ca4d@[172.16.42.2]> Security expert calls home routers a clear and present danger In Black Hat Q&A, In-Q-Tel CISO says home routers are "critical infrastructure." by Sean Gallagher Aug 6 2014 Ars Technica LAS VEGAS-During his keynote and a press conference that followed here at the Black Hat information security conference, In-Q-Tel chief information security officer Dan Geer expressed concern about the growing threat of botnets powered by home and small office routers. The inexpensive Wi-Fi routers commonly used for home Internet access-which are rarely patched by their owners-are an easy target for hackers, Geer said, and could be used to construct a botnet that "could probably take down the Internet." Asked by Ars if he considered home routers to be the equivalent of critical infrastructure as a security priority, he answered in the affirmative. ... http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/08/security-expert-calls-home-routers-a-clear-and-present-danger/ ***** Moderator's Note ***** I'm surprised that Mr. Geer didn't mention that most of the risk may be ameliorated simply by turning off Internet access to the router's control panel. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 00:39:53 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: How to Keep Data Out of Hackers' Hands Message-ID: <p06240838d008b32ba260@[172.16.42.2]> How to Keep Data Out of Hackers' Hands By MOLLY WOOD August 6, 2014 The numbers sound abstract: Hundreds of millions of email addresses and other types of personal identification found in the hands of Russian hackers. For people worried that they are caught in the mix, however, the discovery by Hold Security of a huge database of stolen data is very personal. But personal doesn't mean helpless. There are common sense steps everyone can take to keep the impact of hackers to a minimum. ... http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/05/technology/what-you-need-to-know-with-russian-hack.html ***** Moderator's Note ***** I will modestly point out that Ms. Wood mentions a password security measure which I suggested to Bruce Schnier, although I recommended using the lyrics of a favorite song. Ahem. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 00:31:42 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: This thumbdrive hacks computers. "BadUSB" exploit makes devices turn "evil" Message-ID: <p06240834d008b16e3a2f@[172.16.42.2]> This thumbdrive hacks computers. "BadUSB" exploit makes devices turn "evil" Researchers devise stealthy attack that reprograms USB device firmware. by Dan Goodin July 31 2014 Ars Technica When creators of the state-sponsored Stuxnet worm used a USB stick to infect air-gapped computers inside Iran's heavily fortified Natanz nuclear facility, trust in the ubiquitous storage medium suffered a devastating blow. Now, white-hat hackers have devised a feat even more seminal-an exploit that transforms keyboards, Web cams, and other types of USB-connected devices into highly programmable attack platforms that can't be detected by today's defenses. Dubbed BadUSB, the hack reprograms embedded firmware to give USB devices new, covert capabilities. In a demonstration scheduled at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, a USB drive, for instance, will take on the ability to act as a keyboard that surreptitiously types malicious commands into attached computers. A different drive will similarly be reprogrammed to act as a network card that causes connected computers to connect to malicious sites impersonating Google, Facebook or other trusted destinations. The presenters will demonstrate similar hacks that work against Android phones when attached to targeted computers. They say their technique will work on Web cams, keyboards, and most other types of USB-enabled devices. ... http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/07/this-thumbdrive-hacks-computers-badusb-exploit-makes-devices-turn-evil/ ***** Moderator's Note ***** Sounds a bit alarmist to me: I think Mr. Goodin does good work, but this seems a little over-the-top. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 06:12:27 -0400 From: "Michael D. Sullivan" <mds@camsul.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: Re: Verizon defends wireless data download slowdowns Message-ID: <CA+K-LfY04-rBdnC3b9d7-L2SdVAjYhX3tS0S5VRYyUQkDH7FwQ@mail.gmail.com> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:25:15 -0500, Dave Garland wrote: >>If you limit the throughput, ultimately you are limiting the volume. While that's true enough as an abstract matter, "unlimited" data plans do not promise unlimited volume at maximum throughput. They simply don't place a fixed ceiling on volume of data, with overages being subject to a higher price. Those unlimited plans have always been subject to throughput controls. -- Michael D. Sullivan Bethesda, MD
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:08:54 -0400 From: Barry Margolin <barmar@remove-this.alum.mit.edu> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: Re: Verizon defends wireless data download slowdowns Message-ID: <barmar-85BEB9.21085406082014@remove-this.news.eternal-september.org> In article <lrts0k$nr8$1@remove-this.dont-email.me>, Dave Garland <dave.garland@remove-this.wizinfo.com> wrote: > On 8/6/2014 10:17 AM, Barry Margolin wrote: > > In article <b1fbc15d-a57b-44d8-a813-8f5ac27c8239@remove-this.googlegroups.com>, > > hancock4@remove-this.remove-this.bbs.cpcn.com wrote: > > > >> IMHO, it seems pretty sleazy to offer an "unlimited" service plan and then > >> fail to provide it. > > > > What's unlimited is the volume, not the throughput. Even if they didn't > > throttle that artificially, it would still be inherently limited by the > > capacity of the network. > > > > If you limit the throughput, ultimately you are limiting the volume. Technically, you're right. There's some huge amount of data that if you tried to download it at the limited rate, it might take so long that it's useless by the time you're done. But in realistic terms that's highly unlikely. They're not throttling by an order of magnitude, are they? It's probably at worst 50%, so you'll still be able to get all you need, you'll just have to be more patient. It would only be eggregious, IMHO, if they throttled so much that video didn't play properly. > It's not that they don't provide infinite speed and volume, it's that > they intentionally limit them. IMHO "unlimited" is false advertising, > unless they add "unless you're in the top 5%" in type at least as big > and prominent as the word "unlimited". It's unlimited in the same sense that a salad bar is bottomless, or a buffet is all-you-can-eat. If you're not full when closing time comes, they're going to kick you out. Good luck trying to sue them for false advertising because of that. Anyway, there's probably some clause in the actual contract that qualifies "unlimited" in such a way that this is legal. -- Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu Arlington, MA *** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 04:21:14 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: No Takeover, but Plenty of Taunts Message-ID: <53185922-463E-49A9-85C9-3B8DDD19DD2D@roscom.com> No Takeover, but Plenty of Taunts When Sprint officially announced on Wednesday that it had abandoned its plans to buy T-Mobile, John J. Legere, chief executive of T-Mobile, had plenty to say. http://nyti.ms/X2Vvb8
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 04:23:11 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: Wireless Charging, at a Distance, Moves Forward for uBeam Message-ID: <6D1E29A2-F7FE-42E5-9B2B-F005BC64D31C@roscom.com> Wireless Charging, at a Distance, Moves Forward for uBeam The technology makes it possible for a device to move freely around a room, in a pocket or purse, while constantly charging. http://nyti.ms/1umoYrf
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 11:21:00 -0400 From: bill@horneQRM.net (Bill Horne) To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: Re: Wireless Charging, at a Distance, Moves Forward for uBeam Message-ID: <20140807152100.GA30215@telecom.csail.mit.edu> On Thu, Aug 07, 2014 at 04:23:11AM -0400, Monty Solomon wrote: > Wireless Charging, at a Distance, Moves Forward for uBeam > > The technology makes it possible for a device to move freely around a > room, in a pocket or purse, while constantly charging. > > http://nyti.ms/1umoYrf I'll just mention that when I first saw this article, I thought it referred to "charging" as in "credit cards", but YMMV. I am sometimes thought to be opposed to "smart" phones, so I'll add that I'm not writing about the phones involved, just the idea of using ultrasonic energy to charge their batteries. The actual article is just a piece of puffery that is long on "might" and "maybe" but short on "did". AFAICT, it was a PR effort by a company seeking to attract investors: they don't have a design yet, let alone a product. Of course, announcements such as this always beg the question - "Is this a solution in search of a problem"? Battery technology is well beyond the point where "wireless" charging is useful for homes or offices, and such a system won't work for those who might actually need it: road warriors away from AC for most of their day. In any case, I doubt most consumers are going to trust a charging system that puts ultrasonic energy into their environment: I know people who refuse to eat in restaurants which use microwave ovens, so there's a long way to go before this idea becomes saleable. Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my address to email me directly)
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 04:21:57 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: Sprint Names New Chief Executive Message-ID: <163D97C0-828A-4CED-B66F-03ED16E8F31E@roscom.com> Sprint Names New Chief Executive Marcelo Claure, founder of the wireless company Brightstar, will start his new role next week. Sprint also said it had given up on a T-Mobile US merger. http://nyti.ms/1ofP5zx
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 12:12:33 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: Cutting the High Cost of Digital Living Message-ID: <p0624084bd00954c78344@[172.16.42.2]> Cutting the High Cost of Digital Living JULY 9, 2014 Molly Wood Sometimes the modern world feels like death by a thousand little subscription payments. In a lot of ways, we can live in an on-demand, la carte dream. We can collect, stream and store movies, TV shows, photos, videos and music nearly wherever and whenever we desire. It's almost irresistible, and definitely addictive. But boy, the cost of this fun-at-your-fingertips life adds up quickly. It is easy to owe subscription fees or other payments to almost a dozen services. And even if you try to be less indulgent, the bills can pile up without realizing it. To keep all the subscriptions straight, and to avoid paying for services no longer wanted or needed (or forgotten about entirely), it is worthwhile to conduct a regular audit of your digital life. When I recently did this math, adding up my cable, Internet and cellphone bills, the total was a real eye-opener: nearly $400 a month. .. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/technology/personaltech/cutting-the-high-cost-of-digital-living.html -or- http://goo.gl/9UBmHg
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 01:14:20 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org (Telecom Digest) Subject: Secret Papers Describe Size of Terror Lists Kept by U.S. Message-ID: <p06240846d008bb9d9d18@[172.16.42.2]> Secret Papers Describe Size of Terror Lists Kept by U.S. The newly disclosed information could not have come from Edward J. Snowden because it refers to events after he finishing downloading documents and left the United States in the spring of 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/us/secret-papers-describe-size-of-terror-lists-kept-by-us.html -or- http://goo.gl/9bSlDn ***** Moderator's Note ***** What I want to know is - "How do I find out if I'm on the list"? Bill Horne, who encrypts his emails so the FBI will never find out how boring he is. Moderator

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