The longevity of plastic is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s extremely durable, inexpensive, and easy to work with, but it also doesn’t biodegrade and lasts indefinitely in the environment when not disposed of properly. While this can mean devastating impacts to various ecosystems, it can also be a benefit if you happen to pick this plastic up and also happen to have a laser cutter around.
After cleaning and sorting plastic that they had found from various places, including scraps from a 3D printing facility, the folks at [dinalab] set about turning waste plastic into something that would be usable once more. After sorting it they shredded it and then melted it into sheets. They found that a sandwich press yielded the best results, as it kept the plastic at a low enough temperature to keep it from burning. Once its off of the press and properly cooled, the flat sheets of plastic can be sent to the laser cutter to be made into whatever useful thing they happen to need.
Not only does this process reuse plastic that would otherwise end up in the landfill (or worse, the ocean), it can also reuse plastic from itself since the scraps can be re-melted back into sheets. Plastic does lose some of its favorable material properties with repeated heat cycles, but we’d have to imagine this is negligible for the types of things that [dinalab] is creating. Of course, you can always skip the heat cycles entirely and turn waste plastic directly into 3D printer filament instead.
Code signing is the silver bullet that will save us from malware, right? Not so much, particularly when vendors can be convinced to sign malicious code. Researchers at G DATA got a hit on a Windows kernel driver, indicating it might be malicious. That seemed strange, since the driver was properly signed by Microsoft. Upon further investigation, it became clear that this really was malware. The file was reported to Microsoft, the signature revoked, and the malware added to the Windows Defender definitions.
The official response from Microsoft is odd. They start off by assuring everyone that their driver signing process wasn’t actually compromised, like you would. The next part is weird. Talking about the people behind the malware: “The actor’s goal is to use the driver to spoof their geo-location to cheat the system and play from anywhere. The malware enables them to gain an advantage in games and possibly exploit other players by compromising their accounts through common tools like keyloggers.” This doesn’t seem to really match the observed behavior of the malware — it seemed to be decoding SSL connections and sending the data to the C&C server. We’ll update you if we hear anything more on this one. Continue reading “This Week In Security: Bad Signs From Microsoft, An Epyc VM Escape”→
The convenience of just plugging in your car in the evening and not going into a gas station is great as long as you remember to do the plugging. You really don’t want to get caught with an empty battery while you’re in a rush. [Pat Larson]’s Tesla plugging robot might be a handy insurance policy if you count forgetfulness among your weaknesses.
The robot consists of a standard Tesla charging plug attached to a 2-axis robotic arm mounted on [Pat]’s garage wall. Everything is controlled by a Python script running on Raspberry Pi 4. After taking a picture with a camera module, it uses a Tensor Flow Lite machine learning model to determine the position of a reflector on the charging port cover. The platform moves back and forth to align with the charging port, after which it opens the charging port using the Tesla API. It then extends the arm towards the charging port, using ultrasonic proximity sensors for distance control, and again uses the camera module and Tensor Flow to look for the illuminated Tesla logo adjacent to the charging port. The charge plug is flipped out using a large servo, and after some final position adjustment, it takes the plunge. While robot won’t be winning any interior design contests, it does the job well, and adds a bit of convenience and peace of mind.
[P1kachu] owns a pair of early 1990’s Honda’s with custom tuning on their stock ECUs, and after having to get the ECU repaired on his ’93 civic, he found himself going down the rabbit hole of Honda ECU EPROM chips.
During the repair process, the tuning shop owner, or [Tuner-san] as [P1ikachu] refers to him, made a backup of the custom tuning to another EPROM chip. This was done with an old Advantest R4945A EPROM programmer, which [Tuner-san] supposedly also used to clone Famicom cartridges back in the day. After realizing that [Tuner-san] could only clone the contents, but not view or modify it, he started looking at ways to do that.
EPROMS are programmed using higher voltage (12.5 V – 25 V) but to read them 5 V is used. The memory address is selected by setting each of the 15 address pins high or low, and then reading the status of the 8 data pins to extract one byte of data. Rinse and repeat for each of the 256 memory addresses on the Microchip 27C256 EPROM. One of the previous owners of [Pikachu]’s Civic made some unknown tuning changes, so he is in the process of looking at the dumped data to see what was changed. Once he has completed figuring out the programming table of the EPROM, he plans to do some testing with [Tuner-san] to possible smooth out the rev limited.
An interesting aspect of EPROMs is that they are erased using UV light, which sets all the memory bits to 1. During programming, selected bits can be set to 0, but it’s not possible to set them back to 1 without erasing the entire chip again.
Messing around with the computers in cars is not only for tuning, but can also expose some rather serious security flaws, especially in modern vehicles.