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November 21st, 2018

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Are We Safe?

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Feb. 7, 2017

Are We Safe?


The security firm Trend Micro disclosed in October its "surprise" to find, in the course of a routine investigation, that firms in several crucial sectors (nuclear power, electric utilities, defense contractors, computer chip makers) send critical alert messages via old-style wireless pagers wholly unsecured against hacking. In fact, Trend Micro said the enormously popular WhatsApp message-exchange app has better security than the alert systems of nuclear power plants. (Infrastructure engineers defended the outdated technology as useful where internet access was unavailable.) [ArsTechnica.com, 10-25-2016]


Life Imitates Art: Security experts hired by the investment firm Muddy Waters (which is being sued for defamation by St. Jude Medical Inc. over claims that St. Jude's cardiac implant device can be hacked) disclosed in an October court filing that they agree the devices are anonymously and maliciously hackable. They found that a popular control device (Merlin@Home) could be remotely turned off, or jiggered to carry a dangerous electrical charge from up to 100 feet away. (A similar incident was part of a plot in Season 2 of the "Homeland" TV series, as the means by which the ailing U.S. vice president was assassinated.) [Bloomberg Markets, 10-24-2016]

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