Saturday, May 16, 2015

Silly headline. Is the FBI confirming that flight controls are part of the entertainment system? After repeated warnings? The airlines don't have a simple maintenance switch they can turn off after updating their systems? If the FBI cold prove any of this, wouldn't they arrest this guy?
Hacker told F.B.I. he made plane fly sideways after cracking entertainment system
A well-known U.S. hacker told F.B.I. agents he took momentary control of an airplane’s engines mid-flight by hacking into its inflight entertainment system, according to a document filed in U.S. federal court and obtained by APTN National News.
… Roberts has not yet been charged with any crime. The allegations contained in the search warrant application have not been proven in court.
… F.B.I. agents obtained the search warrant on April 17 to probe a number of electronic items seized from Roberts after he arrived in Syracuse, NY, from Chicago on April 15. Roberts had posted a joke tweet earlier in the day while on a United Airlines flight between Denver and Chicago. The tweet referred to hacking into the airplane’s in-flight entertainment and passenger oxygen mask system.
… Roberts also told the agents he hacked into airplane networks and was able “to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”
According to the search warrant application, Roberts said he hacked into the systems by accessing the in-flight entertainment system using his laptop and an Ethernet cable. [What would he plug the Ethernet cable in to? Bob]
… F.B.I. agents let Roberts go after they seized his equipment and questioned him in Syracuse. The agents then tracked the Denver to Chicago airplane Roberts took before connecting to Syracuse. Roberts sat in seat A3 on the Chicago flight. The airplane was traced to Philadelphia and F.B.I. agents discovered the boxes in seats A2 and A3 showed evidence of tampering, according to the warrant application document.
The document stated the box under A2 was “damaged” with the outer cover “open approximately” half and inch and “one of the retaining screws was not seated and was exposed.”
… Shortly after the incident with Roberts, Wired reported that the TSA and the F.B.I. issued a bulletin to airlines to be on the lookout for passengers showing signs they may be trying to hack into an airplane’s Wi-Fi or inflight entertainment system. Wired also reported that the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report warning that electronic systems on some planes may be vulnerable to hacking.

Peter Swire provides a summary of the history of Section 215 and how we got to where we are right now in this article on IAPP.

Local scofflaws. Sometimes government moves too slow. (Okay, usually government moves too slow)
Farmers Flying Drones May Soon Be Given Clearance
NUNN, Colo. — As the sun peeks over the fields of organic grain in this grassy patch of the state, some mornings, a dark dot appears in the sky as well, and a loud buzz slices through the pastoral scene.
It is a drone, and its pilot is a farmer named Jean Hediger, one of a growing number of American agrarians who have taken to using unmanned aircraft — better known for their use in war-torn lands far from the wheat fields of eastern Colorado — to gather information about the health of their crops.
In doing so, these farmers are breaking the law. It is illegal to fly drones for commercial purposes without permission from federal authorities, and those who do so risk penalties in the thousands of dollars. But the technology holds such promise that many farmers are using it anyway, dotting the country’s rural skies with whirring devices saddled with tiny video cameras.
… “Our intent is pure,” she added. “Without being able to fly drones over our fields, they are asking us to remain in the dark ages.”

Humor every week.
Hack Education Weekly News
… “Bills that would decriminalize truancy are moving through the Texas legislature, with the state House recently passing HB 2632. The bill would eliminate criminal penalties and institute fines for students who chronically skip school,” reports Politico.
… The Colorado Commission on Higher Education says it will standardize how colleges in the state accept “prior learning” for credit.
… Virginia’s community college system is piloting an open textbook initiative, reports Campus Technology. “VCCS plans to model its open textbook initiative on Tidewater’s Z-Degree program. The pilot program will run at 15 of Virginia’s community colleges and is expected to save 50,000 students more than $5 million dollars in the first year.”
Via The Atlantic: “Long-Range Iris Scanning Is Here. An engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon says he’s invented technology that can identify someone from across the room with the precision of a fingerprint.” What could possibly go wrong?

Very cool for my Android toting students. Convergence?
How To Dual Boot Your Android With Ubuntu
… We provided readers with the steps they need to install Ubuntu Touch on their Nexus handsets, but since 2013 additional devices have been added to the list of supported tablets and phones.

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