Talking the hacking of airliners on 2UE

2UE logoIs it possible to hack into a commercial airliner’s flight control systems by first hacking into its inflight entertainment system?

That’s the worry, certainly. But now the FBI has said that security researcher Chris Roberts told them he’d done exactly that hack 15 or 20 times, and on one occasion even managed to compromise the Thrust Management Computer, getting it to issue a “climb” command to one engine — with the result that the burst of increased thrust caused “lateral movement” of the aircraft.

Except Wired reports that Roberts told them that he claimed no such thing. He’d had many hours of conversations with the FBI, and in condensing that down to a few sentences they’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

This whole story caught the attention of 2UE morning presenter Stuart Hocking, we spoke about it for about seven minutes earlier today, and here’s the recording.

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This audio is ©2015 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd.

Who needs a Hummer, really?

Photograph of Hummer vehicle

A year-old post HUMMER to WANKER, originally a silly little piece of wordplay, has triggered a fascinating stream of comments today.

Does a suburban family of four — two adults and two children — really need a big vehicle like a Hummer to get around? I recall that as a kid we didn’t. A normal-sized Holden station wagon, which would even be considered small by today’s standards, did just fine for two adults and two kids and the everyday business of running a farm

Even with a farm, we didn’t need 4WD for the car. That’s what we had a tractor for.

If you want to have your two cents’ worth, do feel free to comment over at the original post.

Weekend reading revisited

Some things I found on the weekend which you might like. The UNIX-HATERS Handbook, which reminded me that for all the religious hype over Unix/Linux it really is just a kludge. (Hat-tip of the geekiest kind to Alastair Rankine.) A NY Times article How Dangerous Is the Internet for Children? Answer: not particularly. A fine Wired story about Titan Salvage, the smart, brave and somewhat scary guys who salvage ships. And Possums Pollytics’ wonderful response to an attack by The Australian‘s Dennis Shanahan.

In Finland, they go buses good!

Finland makes our buses look crap, as well as our phones. “Every bus and tram in Helsinki and the surrounding cities of Vaanta and Espoo are being fitted with Linux servers and GPS units. Every bus and tram in the conurbation will not only become a wireless hotspot serving broadband internet throughout the vehicle — for free — but every bus and tram is visible on a Google map (the beta version is at tinyurl.com/2gftso) that uses the same real-time passenger information as the controllers in their command centre.” Hat-tip to Guy Beres.