Hackers listen to DAB

My washing machine is old and doesn't communicate with other machines. Maybe that's not a bad thing.
My washing machine is old and doesn’t communicate with other machines. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

The FM-signals were turned off in the Norwegian county Nordland a couple of days ago and by next Christmas all FM-radios will be useless in all the 19 counties. This appears to be another case of politicians making a decision that seemed to make sense at the time. Technology is fantastic, but we tend to be quickly seduced and almost instantly use the word progress. The problem is that we can only judge much later whether or not it made our lives better.

I wrote about internet of things (IoT) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) in Putin sneaks through your fridge .IoT is different gadgets you can connect to the internet through an on/off switch. This could be coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lights, smart meters and electric radiators. These can be controlled by downloading an app to your cell phone, and they may seem to be making our lives better, but the expression “there is no such thing as a free lunch” applies here as well. IoT provides many useful services, but there is an exchange. We allow different companies to learn a great deal about us in return for this need we didn’t know we had. The companies that collect data about us have to follow the laws. That means they can only use the information for the reasons given in the contract, it must be stored safely, and only for a limited time. This a minefield where data could pass through several companies and government bodies trying to monitor the traffic. This means that there are many opportunities for security weaknesses.

It hasn’t been a problem yet, but that could be because there hasn’t been much to gain from it. When I went to college many said that they preferred a Mac from a computer with Windows because there were less security issues. Many universities had iMac G3 a the time, but Windows was still the preferred OS among individuals because it was cheaper. I have a feeling that Mac-products have become a lot more common now, and that may make them more interesting as a target. It could be something similar with IoT. When the possibility for gain increases, there will be more players trying to cash in, legally or illegally.

Several media outlets reported on a major security risk in modern cars in 2015. The infotainment system in cars could be hacked through the DAB-signals, and the hacker could control important functions like the brakes. These weaknesses will presumably be dealt with as they are discovered, but this shows us that progress sometimes has a price. I am not against technology, and I am using some of these gadgets myself, but it worries me that no one seems to consider dishonest people.

I won’t be quick to buy a DAB-radio because all the stations are available on the internet, so my computer will suffice.

Read about the DAB-security risk in BBC and The register.

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One thought on “Hackers listen to DAB

  1. It is sad that every human technological advancement/improvement seems to open a new door for dishonest people to sneak through. Or, we inadvertently destroy something that we should have taken careful measures to protect.
    I suppose this will be the case until we return to God’s way of doing things:By that I mean, doing to others as we would want them to do to us.
    I hope you and your family are well.

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