Learn about infrared communications and maybe have a bit of fun too

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2013 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: reverse engineering, IR sensor, hack, DIY, arduino

You can buy the USB Infrared Toy v2 from Dangerous Prototypes and get right to turning cheaply made IR devices off and on but you would miss out on a chance to build one yourself.  If you follow the links from Slashdot you will get a quick tutorial on how to determine the oscillation frequency of a broadcaster by looking at the components of the circuit and how to use an Arduino UNO to create your own.  If you are already familiar with this type of project consider teaching someone who needs their fear of electronic devices reduced through understanding how these magic boxes work.

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"Cheap home alarms, door opening systems and wireless mains switches can be bypassed with low-cost and home-made devices that can replicate their infrared signals. Fixed-code radio frequency systems could be attacked using a $20 'toy', or using basic DIY componentry."

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Source: Slashdot

Block Second Generation GSM texts and calls

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 26, 2013 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: sweet justice, GSM, hack

[H]ard|OCP has stumbled upon some research even more wonderful than TV-B-Gone, a way to mod your GSM phone to be able to block the reception of phone calls and texts on cellphones using the same provider as you do.  No longer will idiots who are unable to watch a movie in the theater without constantly calling their friends to let them know what they think of it impinge upon your experience.  The hack essentially makes your phone respond to every query from the phone provider as being the target device for the call or text and thanks to a tweak to the software on the phones baseband processor the hacked phone responds to that query before the legitimate phone has a chance.  This will not work on 3G or 4G phones as it is only effective against GSM but the researchers who developed the tweak estimate that 11 modified phones would be enough to completely take down the ability of Germany's third largest provider to provide service in a single cell.

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"By making simple modifications to common Motorola phones, researchers in Berlin have shown they can block calls and text messages intended for nearby people connected to the same cellular network. The method works on the second-generation (2G) GSM networks that are the most common type of cell network worldwide. In the U.S., both AT&T and T-Mobile carry calls and text messages using GSM network."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Bring dead data on an SD card back to life with the power of Arduino

Subject: General Tech | August 19, 2013 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: arduino, hack, sd card

It would seem that there is more than one way to access an SD Card, and the usual interface used by your devices called SDIO can be the failure point preventing you from accessing your data.  The alternative method is called SPI mode which is significantly slower but also less complex which means that when SDIO fails you may still be able to access and copy your data using SPI mode.  Over at Hack a Day you can read about how to use a Playduino One Arduino clone and a SD card shield along with some custom Python scripts to recover those vacation snaps. 

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"A few days ago, one of [Severin]‘s SD cards died on him, Instead of trashing the card, he decided to investigate what was actually wrong with the card and ended up recovering most of the data using an Arduino and an immense amount of cleverness."

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Source: Hack a Day

Gain root to your Chromecast dongle

Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2013 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: streaming, media, google. chrome, chromecast, hack

The Chromecast streaming dongle you heard about just a few days ago has now been opened up thanks to a quickly discovered exploit.  As a bonus, the page on Hack a Day also shows off more of the internals of the device including 17 unused connection just begging for hacks to be created. The exploit allows you to dial in to a root shell which will exist on port 23 although as of now there is little you can do but examine the modified Google TV OS but this should change as creative people have a chance to play with the new device.

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"Well that didn’t take long. The team over at GTVHacker have worked their magic on Chromecast. The HDMI dongle announced by Google last week was so popular they had to cancel their 3-free-months of Netflix perk. We think the thing is worth $35 without it, especially if we end up seeing some awesome hacks from the community."

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Source: Hack a Day

Prius owners can be annoying but this is going a bit too far

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2013 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: prius, hack

At Defcon this year there will be some rather disturbing hacks presented dealing with the popular Prius hybrid car along with some less dangerous examples.  While convincing your car it is going 199 mph when it is standing still is somewhat amusing, the ability to disable the brakes while the car is in motion is a much more serious vulnerability.  The presenters will also show how the assisted parking feature can be used to turn the wheel while a car is at highway speeds which could well cause serious accidents.  This is not quite the Hollywood-style complete remote control of a car you should check out the story at Hack a Day to get an idea of what is now possible on at least one model of vehicle.

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"This one’s a treasure trove of CAN bus hacks that will scare the crap out of an unsuspecting driver — or worse. [Charlie Miller] and [Chris Valasek] are getting ready to present their findings, which were underwritten by DARPA, at this year’s Defcon. They gave a Forbes reporter a turn in the driver’s seat in order to show off."

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Source: Hack a Day

Hackers Compromise Ubuntu Forums Database, Deface Website, And Make Off With The Encrypted Passwords and Email Addresses of Nearly 2 Million Users

Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2013 - 12:16 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu forums, ubuntu, hack, Data Breach, Customer Data, canonical

A group of hackers attacked and defaced the  Canonical-backed Ubuntu Forums website yesterday. The hackers used an exploit to gain unauthorized access to the forum database and made off with data from approximately 1.82 million users. To make matters worse, the attackers then defaced the forum site itself by placing a landing page poking fun at the site administrators and boastfully including two twitter handles: @Sputn1k_ and a mention of @rootinabox.

Canonical has not released details on how the attackers accomplished the data breach, but stated that its security team is working to get the site back up and looking into what exactly happened.

From what has been discovered thus far, the hackers have reportedly made off with the passwords, usernames, and email addresses of all its users.

The company recommends that users change passwords on any other services immediately if they used their Ubuntu Forums password for log-ins on other websites or online services.

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ZDNet managed to snag a screenshot of the defaced web page.

Fortunately, all of the passwords in the database were salted and hashed, and not stored in plain text. The exact hashing method was not detailed, however. Also, other Ubuntu services were not affected and user data in services such as Ubuntu One (Canonical’s cloud storage offering) is still safe.

If you had an account on the Ubuntu Forums and used the same password, you should change your passwords now just to be on the safe side. Users of the forum should keep an eye on this announcement page for more details on the hack and updates on the forum restoration process as it progresses.

With just $70, you can save an underprivileged Retina.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Displays | April 22, 2013 - 05:34 PM |
Tagged: LG, ips, hack

Operators are standing by...

Of course Apple is not a primary manufacturer of LCD panels; like everyone else, they buy their panels from someone like LG. Due to how much Apple loves IPS technology, which I cannot blame them for, they in fact do purchase their displays from LG.

If you have an itchy soldering iron, so can you.

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According to EmertHacks, the LG part number for retina iPad screens is LP097QX1-SPA1. The blog post states that he could find the panel for as cheap as $55, but my own digging game up with costs between $60 and $200 plus shipping. These panels are mostly destined to iPad repair shops, but you can give it a better home.

With under $20 of other parts, this panel could be attached to a DisplayPort connection. All said and done, you could have a 2048x1536 9.7" display with an 800:1 static contrast ratio for about $70.

Source: EmertHacks

Turn half your GTX 690 into a Quadro or Tesla?

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2013 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, hack, GTX 690, K5000, K10, quadro, tesla, linux

It will take a bit of work with a soldering iron but Hack a Day has posted an article covering how to mod one of the GPUs on a GTX690 into thinking it is either a Quadro K5000 or Tesla K10.  More people will need to apply this mod and test it to confirm that the performance of the GPU actually does match or at least compare to the professional level graphics but the ID string is definitely changed to match one of those two much more expensive GPUs.  They also believe that a similar mod could be applied to the new TITAN graphics card as it is electronically similar to the GTX690.   Of course, if things go bad during the modification you could kill a $1000 card so do be careful.

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"If hardware manufacturers want to keep their firmware crippling a secret, perhaps they shouldn’t mess with Linux users? We figure if you’re using Linux you’re quite a bit more likely than the average Windows user to crack something open and see what’s hidden inside. And so we get to the story of how [Gnif] figured out that the NVIDIA GTX690 can be hacked to perform like the Quadro K5000. The thing is, the latter costs nearly $800 more than the former!"

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Source: Hack a Day

Quadrocopters are cool; hacked ones so much more so

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2012 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: parrot, quadrocopter, AR.Drone 2.0, hack, cortex-a8

Quadrocopters are still fairly new compared to other remotely controlled flying vehicles but they are perfect for beginners as they are also the easiest to learn to fly on.  That is not just because of extra control you get from four rotors but also because they are a little more robust than many alternatives and should survive the occasional crash.  For the price, the AR.Drone 2.0 Parrot is a great choice, at around $300 depending on where you buy it it is nowhere near as expensive as more intricate models but it does offer a lot more than the basic $100 models as you can control it from many mobile devices and it is hackable.  Hack a Day has assembled a number of already existing hacks for this ARM Cortex A8 powered machine, as well as ones not yet developed which go beyond cameras and move into lasers and flamethrowers.

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"Ever since we played with the original AR drone back at CES a few years ago, we’ve been keeping an eye on them. While we all agree there are better quadcopters out there, the price point for a ready-to-fly quadcopter of this size is really great with these.

When the fake video from FPS Russia of the weaponized drone made the rounds earlier this year, we were surprised at how people reacted. Anyone who has messed with quadcopters recognized it as fake right off the bat (not to mention the overly cliche fake russian character)."

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Source: Hack a Day

Buzz bugging you buddy? Hack your speakers and get rid of it for good

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2012 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: audio, corsair, corsair sp2200, DIY, hack

Some people you know might refer to your favourite music as noise, but you know better; what is worse than that is when you can hear noise in your music.  The annoying intermittent buzz/crackle coming out of your speakers is something a lot of us have experienced and it has a wide variety of sources, from bad cables to electronic noise effecting the signal sent from your onboard audio to defects in your speakers ... and many more reasons.  At Hack a Day is a good solution to rid yourself of noise that is caused by the speakers, this guide is specifically aimed at the Corsair SP2200s but could be applied to a wide range of speakers.  Follow along with this step by step process to use the headset amp as a pre-amp and clean up your music.

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"[Michael Chen] liked the sound he was getting out of these Corsair SP2200 computer speakers, with one big exception. They were giving off some unpleasant crackling sounds. He figured this might be as easy as replacing a faulty potentiometer, but soon found out the fix was going to be more complicated than that. All said and done he ended up reworking the design of the speakers’ amplifier board."

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Source: Hack a Day