Show of 06-17-2017

Tech Talk

June 17, 2017

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Paul Arfanis: I was driving through Washington DC yesterday and tuned in to your show. You were discussing the first wireless telephones and mentioned that the inventor got the idea from watching Captain Kirk use his communicator. If you go back and look at the first James Bond Movie, Dr No, in the opening scene Bond gets out of the water and goes back to his car and picks up a wireless phone and calls M. Check it out. Thought you would like to know. Paul Arfanis
  • Tech Talk Responds: That is a very good observation. There are many examples about how both Star Trek and James Bond influenced today’s technology. One was science fiction and the other was advanced technology used by a spy. Both were forward thinking.
  • Email from Tim in Ohio: Dear Tech Talk. I am a Verizon user and was forced to port my email account to an AOL server. Now I am trying to get Microsoft Mail to work properly on my laptop and am having trouble configuring it for AOL mail. Please help. Tim in Ohio
  • Tech Talk Responds: Setting up your AOL account in Microsoft Mail quite easy. As long as you know the specific configuration items. To set these items select tools and then add a new account.
    • Make sure IMAP is selected under Incoming e-mail server type.
    • Enter “imap.aol.com” under Incoming mail server:
    • Enter “smtp.aol.com” under Outgoing e-mail server
    • Outgoing server requires authentication should be on.
    • Under the advanced properties tab, Server Port Number for Outgoing mail is 587
  • Configuration should not take more than a few minutes. Good luck, Tim.
  • Email from Rich in Silver Spring: Dear Dr Shurtz, I so enjoy your show and show archives. It’s funny and very informative and I have learned a lot. I bought an HD Flow system, Model HDS200, several years ago several years ago for wireless TV connections. The Transmitter does work with its built in wireless, but is easily interrupted and the Receiver outputs choppy or delayed results on the receiving TV. It’s antennae is not very good unless there are no walls, ducts to go through. Of course, it works great if no no one walks through the transmitter beam. So I thought my router antennae would work better.
  • I read Peerless’ information manual and they say they have a peer to peer LAN option (p24,25) , but instead of RJ45 hard wire connections they claim,”IP address of the Transmitter and Receiver need to match the domain IP of the router.” I set the Transmitter and Receiver IP addresses to that of our Verizon router’s IP 192.168.1.1, but I have router WEP Encryption enabled & there’s no way in the TR interface to enter that WEP. What are my options? Thanks a bunch, Rich in Silver Spring, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: The peer-to-peer connection through the router is strictly a wired connection. You need to have IP addresses in the routers domain, but they cannot be the same. In your case, I would choose 192.168.1.153 and 192.168.1.154. The gateway address would be the routers IP address: 192.168.1.1. The subnet mask is 255.255.255.0. They you can connect through the router network via Ethernet.
  • In the peer-to-peer wireless mode, the transmitter is always 192.168.0.151 and the receiver is 192.168.0.151. They do not interfere with your router and are not encrypted.
  • I you want a wireless connection, it will not involve the router. You have two channels available to you. You might try the other channel. You might try putting a parabolic reflector behind your unit to direct the signal better. I could not find a way to connect an external antenna to the device.
  • Email from Tuc in Virginia Beach: Dear Tech Talk. I always use a VPN on my cell phone. Recently, I have have not been able to log into Pokemon Go unless I turn off my VPN. I am using ExpressVPN. Is this a configuration problem? This is a recent experience. Love the show. Tuc in Virginia Beach
  • Tech Talk Responds: You are experiencing the VPN war. Users are hacking Pokemon and using GPS spoofing. In order to keep from being detected they are using VPN to mask their true location. PokemonGo was blocking ExpressVPN this week. As of this moment, it is not blocked.

Profiles in IT: Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi

  • Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission.
  • Marconi was born in Bologna, Italy, on 25 April 1874.
  • At the age of 18, University of Bologna physicist Augusto Righi, neighbor of Marconi who had done research on Heinrich Hertz’s work, permitted Marconi to attend lectures at the university and use the lab and library as well.
  • Marconi’s first transmitter incorporating a monopole antenna. It consisted of an elevated copper sheet connected to a Righi spark gap powered by an induction coil with a telegraph key to switch it on and off to spell out text messages in Morse code.
  • In the summer of 1894, he built a storm alarm made up of a battery, a coherer, and an electric bell, which went off when it picked up by lightning. A coherer is a detector that changes resistance when exposed to radio waves
  • Late one night in December of 1894 he demonstrated a radio transmitter and receiver to his mother, a setup that made a bell ring on the other side of the room.
  • Marconi found that much range could be achieved after he raised the height of his antenna and grounded his transmitter and receiver, transmitting up to 2 miles.
  • Marconi travelled to London in early 1896 at the age of 21, accompanied by his mother, to seek support for his work.
  • In 1897, Marconi communicated over the Bristol Channel, a distance of 3.7 miles.
  • In 1899, he sent radio transmissions across the English Channel.
  • That same year, he communicated 66 miles from an ocean liner to the English coast.
  • In December 1901, he heard three short beeps across the Atlantic between St. John’s Newfoundland and Cornwall, England, using a 500-foot (150 m) kite-supported antenna for reception. The distance was about 2,200 miles.
  • In 1902, he west from Great Britain, recording signals sent from England. He achieved coherer-tape reception up to 1,550 mi and audio reception up to 2,100 mi.
  • On 17 December 1902, a transmission from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia became the world’s first radio message to cross the Atlantic from North America.
  • Marconi began to build high-powered stations on both sides of the Atlantic to communicate with ships at sea, in competition with other inventors.
  • Over the years, the Marconi companies gained a reputation for being technically conservative, by continuing to use inefficient spark-transmitter technology.
  • The company did begin significant work with continuous-wave equipment beginning in 1915, after the introduction of the vacuum tubes.
  • In 1922, regular entertainment broadcasts commenced from the Marconi Research Centre at Great Baddow, forming the prelude to the BBC.
  • Marconi joined the Italian Fascist party in 1923.

CIA has been hacking Wifi Routers for years

  • The latest documents posted by WikiLeaks reveal that the CIA has been hacking wireless routers for years.
  • One particular hack, known as CherryBlossom, allowed the agency to monitor all Internet activity of a target, and even redirect their browser to government-created phishing sites …
  • Although the document says that the hack was operational for 25 different models of routers from major manufacturers, it is likely that the real number was much higher.
  • The documents list ten brands whose routers had been compromised: Asus, Belkin, Buffalo, Dell, Dlink, Linksys, Motorola, Netgear, Senao and US Robotics.
  • Apple is not listed, suggesting that its Airport and Time Capsule products may not have been hacked.

Website of the Week: Internet Storm Center

  • Website link: https://isc.sans.edu/
  • The ISC was created in 2001 following the successful detection, analysis, and widespread warning of the Li0n worm. Today, the ISC provides a free analysis and warning service to thousands of Internet users and organizations, and is actively working with Internet Service Providers to fight back against the most malicious attackers.
  • Te Internet Storm Center gathers millions of intrusion detection log entries every day, from sensors covering over 500,000 IP addresses in over 50 countries. The Internet Storm Center is a free service to the Internet community. The work is supported by the SANS Institute from tuition paid by students attending SANS security education programs. The ISC relies on an all-volunteer effort to detect problems, analyze the threat, and disseminate both technical as well as procedural information to the general public.
  • Today the Threat Level is Green.

US-CERT Warns North Korea Has Stepped Up Cyberattacks

  • The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has issued a warning that North Korea has stepped up its efforts to attack media, aerospace, and financial companies in the United States.
  • Critical infrastructure and public utility systems are also thought to be high-priority targets as well.
  • DHS and FBI identified IP addresses associated with a malware variant, known as DeltaCharlie, used to manage North Korea’s distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) botnet infrastructure.
  • The U.S. Government refers to the malicious cyber activity by the North Korean government as HIDDEN COBRA. A downloadable set of IOCs (Indicators of Compromise) are available at the US-CERT webpage.
  • They typically target older versions of Windows running outdated or unpatched versions of the operating system and are known to leverage several different security exploits in third-party plugins.
  • The United States has deployed its own cyber-attack squads to sabotage North Korea’s missile tests. In the three years since our sabotage program went into operation, North Korean missiles have suffered an 88 percent self-destruct rate.
  • Whether the North Koreans have accurately identified and plugged the security flaws in their own operation or not, it makes sense that they would attack the US.

Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

  • Amazon is buying American supermarket chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, the online retail giant announced today.
  • Amazon pick up the supermarket’s net debt and purchase its stock at $42 per share.
  • The brick-and-mortar stores will continue to operate under the Whole Foods brand once the deal is complete.
  • Amazon has opened its own brick-and-mortar locations in recent years, including bookstores and a small, experimental market with no cashiers or checkout lines.
  • In December, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was exploring ways to open up to 2,000 grocery store locations under its own brand.
  • Bezos built the Amazon empire through online shopping and building and stocking warehouses around the world in order to better fulfill those orders through the mail.
  • But Amazon has also recently gone after the rest of the supply chain involved with that process, too.
  • The company owns thousands of tractor trailers, leases aircraft from Boeing, has experimented with drone delivery, and has been working on developing its own

Computer printers have been embed tracking codes

  • For twenty years, color printers have embed in printed documents coded patterns that contain the printer’s serial number, and the date and time the documents were printed.
  • The patterns are made up of dots, less than a millimeter in diameter and a shade of yellow that, when placed on a white background, cannot be detected by the naked eye.
  • The existence of the hidden dots gained renewed interest when they were found embedded in a top-secret report by the US National Security Agency (NSA) that was published by The Intercept on June 5.
  • About an hour after the report was published, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the FBI had arrested a suspected leaker.
  • The 25-year-old NSA contractor, Reality Leigh Winner, was charged “with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.”
  • By analyzing the dots in the top-secret document, researchers were able to conclude it came from a printer with a serial number of 29535218, model number 54, and that it was printed on May 9, 2017, at 6:20 a.m., at least according to the printer’s internal clock.
  • When color printers were first introduced, governments were worried the devices would be used for all sorts of forgery, particularly counterfeiting money.
  • There are no laws or regulations in the US that force printer manufacturers to include the tracking codes.
  • It became standard practice primarily because some countries would have refused to import the products without some assurance that if the printers were used to counterfeit money, they’d be able to track the owners down.
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) noticed that the dots represented a binary code.
  • It allowed them to crack the logic behind them, and to read the information embedded in any document that used yellow-dot steganography. The organization published the results of its work, along with an interactive tool to decode the dots.

Russian Cyberattack on US voting centers

  • A new leaked top secret report reveals that a Russian military intelligence effort was launched just days before the day of the election, and that it targeted the voting process on multiple levels, including a supplier of electronic voting software and even voting officials in many locations.
  • The documents detail the execution of cyber espionage missions in order to “obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions” which were authorized by the Russian military.
  • The bad actors are said to have targeted private companies which play a role in the voting system, including those which provide and maintain the software used to record and voter registrations. Additionally, the attackers launched a “spear-phishing” attack on local government officials in charge of voting in some areas.
  • Attackers sent malware-infected files to email addresses associated with the individuals, potentially risking the infection of computer systems linked to the voting process. It is unclear how many of the targeted officials fell victim to the malicious software, or what sensitive information, if any, was compromised.
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin, for the record, has vehemently denied that the country took place in any cyber warfare against the US voting system, and suggested that independent hackers may have carried out attacks of their own free will and without government authorization or support.

The Bot are Coming: Get Ready for First Robotic Empathy Crisis

  • Science fiction author and astrophysicist David Brin believes humans have a range of options to consider when it comes to preventing artificially intelligent entities from one day ruling over us like monarchs or foreign invaders.
  • Within three to five years we will have entities either in the physical world or online who demand human empathy, who claim to be fully intelligent and claim to be enslaved beings, enslaved artificial intelligences, and who sob and demand their rights.
  • Thousands upon thousands of protesters will be in the streets demanding rights for AI, Brin predicts, and those who aren’t immediately convinced will be analyzed.
  • “If they fool 40 percent of people but 60 percent of people aren’t fooled, all they have to do is use the data on those 60 percent of people and their reactions to find out why they weren’t fooled. It’s going to be a trivial problem to solve and we are going to be extremely vulnerable to it,” Brin said.
  • Brin delivered his advice and predictions alongside AI researchers from companies like Google and Baidu at
  • Brin strongly believes that people should be concerned about disruptive tech developed in secrecy. AI developed in secrecy is where things are most likely to go haywire, and Wall Street does more secretive work in AI than major universities. That should concern people more than Russia or China, Brin said.
  • Perhaps the most important thing humans can do to keep AI in check, according to Brin, is to apply accountability measures and regulation.