Issue 1263 - Thursday 3rd December, 2020

I was on 3RRR's Byte Into It radio show last night, talking about some of the stuff I've crapped on about in The Sizzle in 2020. Byte Into It is also available as a podcast, which you should subscribe to because they talk to a very diverse range of people about technology.

In Today's Issue

The News

Protocol that allows AirDrop on iOS leveraged for a remote, wormable, total device control exploit

Ian Beer, a researcher at Project Zero, Google's vulnerability research arm discovered an absolutely wild iPhone vulnerability. This exploit leveraged a flaw in Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL), which is normally used for stuff like AirDrop and Sidecar, that allowed "remote access to the entire device—over Wi-Fi, with no user interaction required at all. Oh, and exploits were wormable—meaning radio-proximity exploits could spread from one nearby device to another, once again, with no user interaction needed". Here's some videos of the exploit in action. Apple patched it months ago and Project Zero has no evidence of it used in the wild, but who's to say someone like the NSA, GRU, or MSA didn't find it before Ian did?

Bitcoin isn't dead, it's thriving, hitting a record value of over $26,000

You thought it was a fad, but Bitcoin has hit an all time record price. It peaked on Monday at A$26,756.93. It was hovering around A$7,500 as late as March. Chainalysis attributes the rise to buyers "treating Bitcoin as an alternative asset, somewhat like gold" with investors "using Bitcoin as a place to park part of their investment portfolios outside the influence of governments and the traditional financial system". Because I'm a masochist who loves wallowing in his own pity, if I had kept the 13.4 BTC I held back in around 2014 after mining a bunch of Litecoin, it would be worth over $350,000. I sold it all for around $11,000. Please send me with your pissing away Bitcoin stories to make me feel better.

Chang'e 5 lands on the moon whilst Arecibo Observatory totally collapses

Two bits of space related news today. The good news first - China's Chang'e 5 probe successfully landed on the moon and has sent back a massive 15,000 x 7,947 pixel image of its landing spot. Over the next few weeks a rover will go around scooping up moon rocks, then return to the lander, shoot off the moon and dock with an orbiter that will return to Earth. 我 为 你 加 油! Now for the bad news - after two recent cable failures, the famous Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has totally collapsed. The images are pretty sad. A symbol of US scientific achievement left to rot and decay. Right now there's no commitment to repair or replace the telescope.

Something I Saw On The Internet

A video tear-down of SpaceX's Starlink user terminal reveals that it's a very fancy antenna

SpaceX's Starlink user terminal (aka Dishy McFlatface) has been torn down in a 55-min YouTube video. This unit is significantly more advanced than a typical satellite dish. Not only is an antenna, it's got a motor built-in that it uses to align itself at the best angle to talk to all those little satellites buzzing overhead. There's a full computer in there to "run the software that aims the phased array" and there's a few custom-made ICs designed specifically for SpaceX. I don't know shit about this kinda stuff, but it looks impressive and the bloke tearing it down is also very impressed. Not shown in the tear-down, but Starlink supplies a router with the dish too.


The End

📻 I Don’t Love Me Anymore - Oneohtrix Point Never

😎 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon.

💬 Did you know that The Sizzle has a Slack group? Join in and chat with other subscribers like you.

💳 Paid subscriber looking to manage your billing info? Visit the customer portal.

🌐 Aussie Broadband is the best ISP in Australia. If it's good enough for Simon Hackett, it's good enough for us plebs! Sign up using my referral code (1001031) and we both get $50 credit.

The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​