Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #235
October 12th, 2008

D-Day for RFID-based transit card systems

Want to ride the subway for free without having to jump the turnstiles? Well, as of Monday, you’ll be able to do that by making a fake transit card. A scientific paper detailing the security flaws in the Mifare Classic wireless smart card chip used in transit systems around the world is being published by the Radboud University Nijmegen. And a researcher at Humboldt University in Berlin has published a full implementation of the algorithm.
Source: Elinor Mills, CNET’s Security blog, October 6, 2008

Boston University partners in NSF challenge to create wireless network using visible light

Boston University’s College of Engineering is a partner launching a major program, under a National Science Foundation grant, to develop the next generation of wireless communications technology based on visible light instead of radio waves. Researchers expect to piggyback data communications capabilities on low-power light emitting diodes, or LEDs, to create “Smart Lighting” that would be faster and more secure than current network technology.
“Imagine if your computer, iPhone, TV, radio and thermostat could all communicate with you when you walked in a room just by flipping the wall light switch and without the usual cluster of wires,” said BU Engineering Professor Thomas Little.
Source: Boston University news release, October 6, 2008

Increased Retail Security with Smart Items

It is not uncommon for a few boxes of valuable goods to disappear from palettes on the way to retail outlets. That is why Fraunhofer IIS is working on a new technical platform to safeguard such items. This involves using wireless ad-hoc sensor networks to create logistical information systems that allow them to be tracked along the entire distribution chain. Fraunhofer IIS is showing the VitOL project, a technological platform for the realization of logistical information systems based on sensor networks at French European Union Presidency Conference in Nice, France.
Source: Fraunhofer IIS news release, October 6, 2008

Peer-to-peer networking takes internet out of the equation

When people working on a project get together with their laptops and PDAs, they share information via the internet and a client server. But new software developed by European researchers allows independent, ad hoc, secure networking anywhere.
Source: ICT Results, October 3, 2008

How Much Security Do You Expect From Your Pacemaker?

A University of Massachusetts Amherst researcher who earlier this year showed that an implantable heart defibrillator is vulnerable to hacking has received a three-year, $449,000 National Science Foundation grant to improve future security in implanted cardiac devices without compromising safety and effectiveness. Kevin E. Fu, assistant professor of computer science, is designing and testing zero-power technology and low-power cryptographic protocols for implantable medical devices for the two-part study.
Source: University of Massachusetts Amherst news release, October 3, 2008

In Defense of Piracy

Digital technology has made it easy to create new works from existing art, but copyright law has yet to catch up.
Copyright law must be changed. Here are just five changes that would make a world of difference:


  • Deregulate amateur remix

  • Deregulate “the copy”

  • Simplify

  • Restore efficiency

  • Decriminalize Gen-X


Source: Lawrence Lessig, The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2008


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