We’re starting to think that phone numbers are deprecated; it may be time to integrate how we connect telephones with the new digital millennium. To get a firm grasp on this topic it is important to take a look at the reason we started using phone numbers, why we still use them, and the why’s and how’s of transitioning to a new system.
Continue reading “Hackit: Why we don’t need phone numbers”
Vonage has promised to release an official iPhone app to compete with other providers such as Skype, and it is currently working its way through Apple’s well documented approval process. Unfortunately, this app would most likely come with an initial cost and/or subscription fee, though a way has been figured out to retrieve Vonage’s SIP authentication information, which would allow use of the Vonage network over other iPhone SIP Clients such as Fring. This solution does still contain the Wi-Fi only clause, but we have ways of making you talk, iPhone. This could also possibly be used on other platforms with SIP clients such as Android or WinMo.
Less than a week after American Airlines introduced in-flight internet, hackers have already figured out how to use the system to make VoIP calls in a few easy steps with Phweet, a Twitter application. While the network blocks most VoIP services, Phweet can connect two people using a Flash app. Aircell, the company responsible for the system, is aware of the oversight, but it remains to be seen whether this little loophole will be fixed in a timely manner. Meanwhile, we encourage those of you who do fly on American Airlines to avoid making those phone calls; your neighbor would probably appreciate it.
A team from Johns Hopkins University has discovered a way to eavesdrop on encrypted voice streams. Voice data like the kind used by Skype for its VoIP service sends encrypted packets of varying sizes for different sounds. The team learned that by simply measureing the size of the packets, they could determine what was being said with a high rate of accuracy. VoIP providers often use a variable bit rate to use bandwidth more efficiently, but it is this compression that makes audio streams vulnerable to eavesdropping.
The team’s software is still in its early stages of development, yet incapable of parsing entire conversations. It is capable, though, of finding pre-determined keywords and inferring common phrases bases on the words it detects. It also has a higher rate of accuracy in identifying long complicated words than short ones. The team’s goal was not to eavesdrop, but to expose the vulnerability; team member [Charles Wright] notes, “we hope we have caught this threat before it becomes too serious.”
[via Schneier on Security]
No matter who you suspect is plotting your doom, you’ll need need to know the way wiretapping works in order to learn their plans and shield yourself from their surveillance. Luckily, ITSecurity has posted a comprehensive
article about wiretapping, including information on how to wiretap and how to find out if someone is wiretapping you.
One of the more intriguing methods of wiretapping the articles discusses is a service by a company called FlexiSPY. It works by covertly installing a program onto the target’s cellphone. Once installed, the spying party can listen to anything going on in the room the target is in by calling the phone. It won’t ring, vibrate, or give any indication that it is transmitting audio data.
Some of the more hack-oriented methods involve tapping into a landline, using special software to record VoIP calls, or buying a wiretapping kit. Of course, countermeasures, are also discussed, but some of the links they provide are a little more informative on the topic of defense against wiretapping.
There’s a new iPhone 3G coming out in July. If that statement shocks you, you might want to check your connection. We love new shiny hardware, but what we’re really interested in is the number of “old” iPhones that are going to be hitting the market. Many people will be ditching their 1st generation iPhones just to get GPS and 3G. This abundance plus the new $200 price tag is bound to depress the price for used phones.
A used 1st generation iPhone is actually a pretty attractive device. It’s already been laid wide open by hackers so you can run pretty much anything you want on it instead of waiting for the App Store to tell you what you can and can’t do. You could use it as a WiFi Voip phone, a simple web pad, run an NES emulator, use it as a musical instrument, or build an army of robots.
What will you do when the price of used iPhones bottoms out?