In college I had an exceptional piano teacher that was entirely blind. One day he noticed I had brought in my new-ish laptop, and his unexpected request — “can I look at your laptop?” — temporarily flabbergasted me. Naturally there wasn’t much he could do with it, so he gave it a once over with his fingers to understand the keyboard layout, and that was that. I still think about this experience from time to time, and the most obvious lesson is that my paradigm for using a computer didn’t map well to his abilities and disability.
The folks at Microsoft are thinking about this problem, too, and they’re doing a lot of work to make technology work for more users, like the excellent Xbox Adaptive Controller pictured above. Now, if you have some experience helping folks overcome the challenges of disability, or have a killer idea for an assistive technology solution, Microsoft is looking for projects to fund. Did you rig up a Raspberry Pi and webcam to automatically read text aloud? Maybe you pulled that old Kinect out, and are working on sign-language reader using 3D data points.
Make a pitch of your project or solid idea by the November 4th deadline, and just maybe you can get some help to make it a reality. Just make sure you come back and tell us about it! After all, some of the coolest hacks we’ve ever covered have been adaptive tech projects.
Thanks to [MauroPichiliani] for sending in this tip.
According to researchers at GTSC, there’s an unpatched 0-day being used in-the-wild to exploit fully patched Microsoft Exchange servers. When they found one compromised server, they made the report to Microsoft through ZDI, but upon finding multiple Exchange servers compromised, they’re sounding the alarm for everyone. It looks like it’s an attack similar to ProxyShell, in that it uses the auto-discover endpoint as a starting point. They suspect it’s a Chinese group that’s using the exploit, based on some of the indicators found in the webshell that gets installed.
There is a temporary mitigation, adding a URL-based request block on the string
.*autodiscover\.json.*\@.*Powershell.. The exact details are available in the post. If you’re running Exchange with IIS, this should probably get added to your system right now. Next, use either the automated tool, or run the PowerShell one-liner to detect compromise:
Get-ChildItem -Recurse -Path -Filter "*.log" | Select-String -Pattern 'powershell.*autodiscover\.json.*\@.*200. This one has the potential to be another really nasty problem, and may be wormable. As of the time of writing, this is an outstanding, unpatched problem in Microsoft Exchange. Come back and finish the rest of this article after you’ve safed up your systems.
Continue reading “This Week In Security: Exchange 0-day, Doppelgangers, And Python Gets Bit In The TAR”
Dangerous machines, like ones that can quickly reduce you to a fine red mist or a smoking cinder, tend to have a Big Red Button™ to immediately stop whatever the threat is. Well, if a more dangerous machine than social media has ever been invented, we’re not sure what it would be, which is why we’re glad this social media kill switch exists.
The idea behind [Gunter Froman]’s creation is to provide a physical interface to SocialsDetox, a service that blocks or throttles connectivity to certain apps and websites. SocialDetox blocks access using either DNS over HTTPS (DoH) or, for particularly pesky and addictive apps, a service-specific VPN. The service does require a subscription, the cost of which varies by the number of devices you want to protect, but the charges honestly seem pretty reasonable.
While SocialsDetox can be set up to block access on a regular schedule, say if you want to make the family dinner a social-free time, there may be occasions where killing social access needs to happen right now. This is where the Big Red Button comes into it, which is attached to a Wemos D1 Mini. Pressing the kill switch sends an API request to either enable or disable the service, giving you a likely much-needed break from the swirling vortex of hate and envy that we all can’t seem to live without. Except for Hackaday, of course — it’s totally not like that here.
The irony of using an IoT appliance to restrict access to social media is not lost on us, but you work with the tools you’ve got. And besides, we like the physical interface here, which sort of reminds us this fitting enclosure for a PiHole.
If you’ve ever eyed up a kids laptop and wondered whether it could take an upgrade with a single board computer, you’re not alone. [Labz] have taken a couple of Brazilian Max Steel toy computers from a decade or more ago, and made them into usable if unconventional portable computers (Brazilian Portuguese, but YouTube’s subtitle translation is your friend).
The computers are similar to the ones you may be familiar with from the likes of VTech, a QWERTY keyboard and fairly conventional form factor but with a tiny monochrome LCD and a few built-in games. In the video below the break we see both the laptop and desktop variants butchered with a rotary tool to receive new larger screens, with the laptop getting a Raspberry Pi and the desktop getting a small form factor PC. The laptop needed a 3D printed extension to make extra space, while the desktop received a PCI Express extension cable for a video card. Finally, an Arduino took care of the keyboard.
The cherry on the cake for this video comes at the end, when they find the now-grown-up kid from the original advert. Meanwhile, kids computers have featured here before a few times.
Continue reading “This Computer Is Definitely Not A Toy”