Issue 735

Tuesday, 2nd October 2018

In This Issue


US e-voting machines are ripe for hacking during the upcoming mid-term elections

A report published by the team who ran the "Voting Village" at DEFCON this year (remember the kiddies that pwnd a bunch of electronic voting machines?) has found that electronic voting machines are still in use across the USA and are wide open for a hacker to take advantage of, undermining the validity of results in the upcoming mid-term elections. The largest problem is with an electronic ballot scanner called the M650, that's used in 23 US states. It was identified back in 2007 as having flaws someone could remotely exploit, but the vast majority of these machines have not been updated, over 10 years later. The equipment could arguably be fine, but the lack of attention from electoral administrators means updates aren't applied and a severe lack of infosec best practice for the networks these devices are connected to. The perfect storm for vote rigging.

Google's dipping its toes in the internet game streaming market

Google is launching a game streaming service, called Project Stream, that's basically Google's take on PlayStation Now or GeForce Now. You play a game with super nice high quality graphics on Google's servers and they basically stream you an interactive video of it, so you don't have own a powerful gaming PC. Project Stream is a "technical test" that'll offer Assassin's Creed Odyssey to Chrome users on Mac, Windows & Linux (no mobile). As Arstechnica points out, "the hard part is latency. If you're playing a video game at 60fps, these services have 16 milliseconds to receive a button press over the Internet, render a new, live video frame, and send it back to you. This all has to happen with around zero lag or buffering, or playing the game will be very frustrating". Good luck achieving that on Australian internet connections - but if anyone can do it properly, it's Google.

There's a slight issue with charging the iPhone XS and XS Max

People are whinging that their fancy new iPhone XS or XS Max is having trouble charging. "Users are experiencing issues where phones will not charge if the Lightning cable is plugged in while the device is asleep. The problem appears to be a software bug — perhaps related to the phone's USB accessory settings — and requires iPhones to be unlocked (or at least have the screen lit up) in order to begin charging". That's kinda shit. Unbox Therapy has a video demonstrating the issue on multiple XS and XS Max iPhones they just happen to have lying around their studio. Apple will probably push out an update in a few days, but until then, owners of $1500 smartphones will have to double check their device is actually charging.

Netflix is making "choose your own adventure" TV shows, starting with Black Mirror

Netflix has confirmed that an episode in the upcoming 5th season of Black Mirror will have alternate endings and viewers will be able to decide which one they watch. It's like a "choose your own adventure" book, but TV. The new season of Black Mirror will come out in December. Netflix plans to make a bunch of other TV shows with storylines users can select and has actually already done so with a kids show called Puss in Book. Well that's one way to boost engagement stats and offer something traditional cable TV (*cough* HBO *cough*) can't. I wonder if it'll be limited to specific Netflix clients (i.e: the more advanced ones like Android & iOS)?

Want a laptop wrapped in 100-percent chromed tan, full-grain leather? HP's got ya covered

HP announced some laptops, which I wouldn't otherwise mention here except for the fact they've been mentioned on every tech blog, it's a slow news day and they're kinda weird units. The Spectre Folio is a computer literally clad in "100-percent chromed tan, full-grain leather". It's not just a leather case either, the Spectre Folio uses the leather as a hinge and has "magnets strategically placed to lock the laptop into the various positions". The computer itself is your typical 2-in-1 style machine that's actually a little on the heavy side at 1.49kg and expensive, starting at USD$1299. Microsoft's Surface event is tomorrow and I bet whatever they release will be cooler than HP's leather folio.

Not News, But Still Cool

It's apparently legal in the USA to force someone to look at their iPhone X to unlock it

Forbes has an interesting story of police in the USA getting a warrant forcing a pedo to look at an iPhone X in order to unlock it with Face ID and look for proof he's been chatting to kiddies. This kinda contradicts the USA's 5th Amendment, which is supposed to prevent people incriminating themselves. For some reason asking a suspect to enter a password isn't allowed, but Face ID/Touch ID is okay with most judges. The article then goes on to explain that if you keep your iPhone up to date with the latest software and use a secure password instead of a PIN, the chances of the cops using something like Cellebrite or Grayshift to get into your iPhone is practically zero. I wonder what the law is in Australia regarding someone being forced to unlock a smartphone for the cops?

AU Pricing for the Hyundai Ioniq EV has leaked, ~$47k drive away

Pricing for the Hyundai Ioniq has leaked via the Australian Electric Vehicle Association's Facebook page. A screenshot of a flyer sent around to Hyundai dealers has shown that the Elite spec (i.e: fully optioned), pure electric Ioniq will cost $44k-$45k before on road costs. That means in Victoria, the drive away price will probably be at least $46,973.10 ($44,000 + $500 dealer delivery + $1873.20 stamp duty + $599.90 discounted rego for an EV). Wouldn't surprise me if they advertise it at $47,999. Which would make it the cheapest brand new EV in Australia - if we had incentives like Europe and California, the Ioniq would be even cheaper. The Ioniq is a really nice, practical car and 200km of real-world range is enough for most people with a garage attached to their home. I should do a TCO comparison between the EV Ioniq and the petrol Sonata.

Cheap 400GB microSD card, Xbox One X with games & WD Green SATA SSDs

Not many bargains today:

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

The Ernies - Here & Now