Plug-in Module Lies About News At Coffee Shops. Real Or Fake?

[Mike] sent in a tip about Newstweek, and we’re turning to our readers to tell us if this is real or if we’re being trolled. The link he sent us points to a well-written news-ish article about a device that plugs into the wall near an open WiFi hotspot and performs something of a man-in-the-middle attack on devices connected to the access point. The article describes the device above as it observes, then spoofs the ARP table of the wireless network in order to inject fake news stories in pages you are reading. Apparently once it boots, the small box phones home for commands from its maker over a TOR connection.

The box reminds us of the Sheevaplug so it’s not the hardware that makes us question the possibility of the device. But look at the Linux terminal screen readout. It shows a prompt with the word ‘newstweek’ in it. That’s the address of the site the article is hosted on, giving us a strong sense of being trolled.

What do you think, real or fake? Let us know (and why you think that) in the comments.

Chip And Pin Broken And Other Security Threats

Another exploit has been found in the Chip and PIN system.  The exploit is a man-in-the middle attack that wouldn’t take too much know-how to pull off. You can watch the BBC report on the issue or check out the paper (PDF) published by the team that found the vulnerability. A stolen card resides in a reader that connects to a dummy card via a small cable. When the dummy card is inserted into a card reader, any PIN can be used to complete the transaction. The chip on the original card gets confirmation that the sale was completed via signature and the vendor’s card reader gets confirmation that the pin was correct. The UK based Chip and PIN system seems like a great idea, but it has had its share of security loopholes. This makes us wonder how hard it is to roll out security patches to the hardware readers in the system.  Obviously this needs to be patch but does it take a technician visiting each terminal to flash an upgrade?

Switching to the topic of wide-scale attacks, we caught the NPR interview with [James Lewis] on Wednesday when they discussed the growing threat of Cyberterroism. He feels an attack on the US electrical grid is currently the biggest threat and will happen in the next ten years. Obviously taking the grid down would endanger lives and bring things to a standstill; traffic lights, refrigeration, heat, etc. We’re just glad that when asked if he thinks there is already malicious code residing in the control system, he doesn’t think that’s the case.

[Thanks to Whatsisface and Mcinnes]