> We present an attack on the encryption key negotiation protocol of Bluetooth BR/EDR. The attack allows a third party, without knowledge of any secret material (such as link and encryption keys), to make two (or more) victims agree on an encryption key with only 1 byte (8 bits) of entropy. Such low entropy enables the attacker to easily brute force the negotiated encryption keys, decrypt the eavesdropped ciphertext, and inject valid encrypted messages (in real-time). The attack is stealthy because the encryption key negotiation is transparent to the Bluetooth users. The attack is standard-compliant because all Bluetooth BR/EDR versions require to support encryption keys with entropy between 1 and 16 bytes and do not secure the key negotiation protocol. As a result, the attacker completely breaks Bluetooth BR/EDR security without being detected. We call our attack Key Negotiation Of Bluetooth (KNOB) attack.
Smartphones, Except Landlocked
> Phone lines, while not initially designed to transfer binary data, turned out to be a good enough way to do so—up until the 2000s, at least. From sending faxes to browsing the Internet, people relied on effectively the same copper wires they used with Ma Bell-leased telephones. But while most of the personal tech evolved towards greater connectivity, landline phones mostly got better only at the ergonomics of calling and dialing. Today’s Tedium is dedicated to the few ones which dared to be smarter.
Plus this great anecdote:
> The mild criticism (“not proving the success that Sir Alan Sugar had hoped” was all that was ever written about the phone) pushed Sugar to send a message to all 95,000 service subscribers, asking them to send an email to Charles Arthur, the newspaper’s tech editor.
How to wring power from the night air
> Solar power is all very well, but it is available only during daylight hours. If something similarly environmentally friendly could be drawn on during the hours of darkness, that would be a great convenience. Colin Price, an atmospheric scientist at Tel Aviv University, in Israel, wonders if he might have stumbled across such a thing. As he told a meeting of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, held in Montreal in July, it may be possible to extract electricity directly from damp air—specifically, from air of the sort of dampness (above 60% relative humidity) found after sundown, as the atmosphere cools and its ability to hold water vapour diminishes.
History of VGA cables and DDC and more
The Internet's Old Guard
> So we gathered around a circle of old timers and listened to them reminisce. The man who’d called the gathering guided the conversation. It slowly dawned on me that he was Lee Felsenstein, who’d set up the first public-access computer in Berkeley and helped start the Homebrew Computer Club, which incubated Apple and the personal computer. He was managing this conversation with the skills he’d learned from moderating the HCC meetings for years. I’d read about his story in Steven Levy’s book Hackers. Sometimes you’re reminded that history isn’t something that happened elsewhere, it’s an ongoing story we’re still living in.
Plus some other characters.
Why did we wait so long for the bicycle?
> The bicycle, as we know it today, was not invented until the late 1800s. Yet it was a simple mechanical invention. It would seem to require no brilliant inventive insight, and certainly no scientific background.
Well, not exactly.
Why Nasa’s next Moon mission can’t be an Apollo retread
> There is a familiar question asked of politicians, entrepreneurs and innovators: if you were to do it all again, what would you do differently?
> At Nasa headquarters, they’re fielding almost the opposite inquiry. Why don’t you just do it the same? If you managed to put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon five decades ago, why is it so hard to do it now?
How to Share Your Knowledge
> The Pepper’s Ghost illusion was originally used by charlatans to make people think they were looking at the dead, brought back as ghosts, which don’t exist. Now charlatans use the Pepper’s Ghost illusion to make people think they’re looking at the dead, brought back as 3D holographic projections, WHICH ALSO DON’T EXIST!
Advanced Nuclear Power
> The basic idea of a nuclear reactor is really simple. In fact, you could make a toy to explain it to kids.
Samsung TVs should be regularly virus-checked, the company says
> A how-to video on the Samsung Support USA Twitter account demonstrates the more than a dozen remote-control button presses required to access the sub-menu needed to activate the check. It suggested users should carry out the process “every few weeks” to “prevent malicious software attacks”.
How OS/2 Powered the NYC Subway
> Vintage technology has powered the innards of the NYC subway system for decades—and sometimes, it surfaces in interesting ways. This one’s for you, OS/2 fans.
Vintage TV Test Patterns
> As you might expect, the BBC test card with the girl and clown has both a backstory and a cult following.
507 Mechanical Movements
> This is an online edition of the classic technical reference Five Hundred and Seven Mechanical Movements by Henry T. Brown.
> This site contains the original illustrations and text from the 21st edition of the book, published in 1908. It also includes animated versions of the illustrations, and occasional notes by the webmaster.
Wireless nanowire lasers absorb infrared, emit blue light
> So, where will these be used? I’ve no idea at this point, and I don’t really care—I just love the physics. More seriously, it takes a very bright light to turn a laser on like this (think ~1TW/cm2), so the applications will certainly be niche.
> Nano Letters, 2019, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b00510
Kelly’s Heroes: Lockheed’s five finest airplanes
> Roughly 110 years ago, one of the world’s greatest aircraft designers—Clarence “Kelly” Johnson—was born in Ishpeming, Michigan. And since we’re gigantic aviation nerds here at Ars Technica, the week of his birthday (February 27) is as good a reason as any to celebrate some of his legendary designs. Johnson spent 44 years working at Lockheed, where he was responsible for world-changing aircraft including the high-flying U-2, the “missile with a man in it” F-104 Starfighter, and the almost-otherworldly Blackbird family of jets.
SensorID Sensor Calibration Fingerprinting for Smartphones
> We have developed a new type of fingerprinting attack, the calibration fingerprinting attack. Our attack uses data gathered from the accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer sensors found in smartphones to construct a globally unique fingerprint.
Raising a Ladder to the Moon, Under the Sea
> It took more than five months for engineers and the crew aboard the CS Dependable to load and lay Marea along the seabed, which in spots plunges to depths of more than 17,000 feet. A daunting feat today, but downright unthinkable 150 years ago when American financier Cyrus Field first set out to connect the New World with the old via an undersea wire. News stories at the time deemed his ambitious attempts “only one degree, in the scale of absurdity, below that of raising a ladder to the moon.”
You’re About to Get Fewer Robocalls. But Maybe Not for Long.
> Major telecom companies, including AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon, have announced that they will voluntarily adopt the dual technologies known as Secure Telephone Identity Revisited and Signature-Based Handling of Asserted Information Using Tokens, known collectively as STIR/Shaken.
> The industrywide use of STIR/Shaken should hamper the prolific robocall industry by making it harder to fake calling from a number belonging to someone else. But will that be enough to end the onslaught of robocalls we all live with today?
Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system
> As Boeing hustled in 2015 to catch up to Airbus and certify its new 737 MAX, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) managers pushed the agency’s safety engineers to delegate safety assessments to Boeing itself, and to speedily approve the resulting analysis.
> But the original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA for a new flight control system on the MAX — a report used to certify the plane as safe to fly — had several crucial flaws.
> That flight control system, called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), is now under scrutiny after two crashes of the jet in less than five months resulted in Wednesday’s FAA order to ground the plane.
Mammalian Near-Infrared Image Vision through Injectable and Self-Powered Retinal Nanoantennae
> Vision is an essential sensory modality for humans. Our visual system detects light between 400 and 700 nm (Dubois, 2009, Wyszecki and Stiles, 1982, Schnapf et al., 1988), so called visible light. In mammalian photoreceptor cells, light absorbing pigments, consisting of opsins and their covalently linked retinals, are known as intrinsic photon detectors. However, the detection of longer wavelength light, such as near-infrared (NIR) light, though a desirable ability, is a formidable challenge for mammals. This is because detecting longer wavelength light, with lower energy photons, requires opsins (e.g., human red cone opsins) to have much lower energy barriers. Consequently, this results in unendurable high thermal noise, thus making NIR visual pigments impractical (Ala-Laurila et al., 2003, Baylor et al., 1980, Luo et al., 2011, St George, 1952). This physical limitation means that no mammalian photoreceptor can effectively detect NIR light that exceeds 700 nm, and mammals are unable to see NIR light and to project a NIR image to the brain.
> To this end, the successful integration of nanoparticles with biological systems has accelerated basic scientific discoveries and their translation into biomedical applications (Desai, 2012, Mitragotri et al., 2015). To develop abilities that do not exist naturally, miniature nanoscale devices and sensors designed to intimately interface with mammals including humans are of growing interest. Here, we report on an ocular injectable, self-powered, built-in NIR light nanoantenna that can extend the mammalian visual spectrum to the NIR range. These retinal photoreceptor-binding upconversion nanoparticles (pbUCNPs) act as miniature energy transducers that can transform mammalian invisible NIR light in vivo into short wavelength visible emissions (Liu et al., 2017, Wu et al., 2009). As sub-retinal injections are a commonly used ophthalmological practice in animals and humans (Hauswirth et al., 2008, Peng et al., 2017), our pbUCNPs were dissolved in PBS and then injected into the sub-retinal space in the eyes of mice. These nanoparticles were then anchored and bound to the photoreceptors in the mouse retina.