back to article Memes, messengers, and missiles: From Twitter to chat apps and weapons, security is ho-ho-hosed this Xmas

We are now firmly into the holiday season, the Christmas parties are kicking off, and folks are swapping their Excel files for eggnog, or something cliched like that. So, let's have a quick look around the world of security this week before everyone puts on the "out of office". On the first day of Christmas my true love gave …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    FBI the Target Market for this? Or local cops?

    Also, it turns out it's possible to defeat facial-recognition in some Android phones and unlock one of those unfortunate devices using a 3D-printed head of the owner, provided you have 50 cameras, top-of-the-line equipment, and about 300 quid to spend on the caper.

    Has to be one of those two they're targeting.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: FBI the Target Market for this? Or local cops?

      There was no "targeting". It was basic research, by an investigative journalist working for Forbes.

      Many people do security research without aiming to sell the results to the police state. Indeed, we're much better off when researchers demonstrate vulnerabilities like this and publish them, so there's some chance non-expert users will take note.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge


    A mall-patrolling robot in Los Angeles has a strange hunger for shoppers' MAC addresses on their devices.

    Why MAC addresses? Article (linked) doesn't explain it.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: ???

      Why MAC addresses? Article (linked) doesn't explain it.

      It's the bastard offspring of a Google car.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: ???

      The manager is also enthusiastic because it records video, so I guess it's also linking photos to MAC addresses. Imagine the advertising opportunities there, because I can't.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: ???

      MAC addresses for portable devices are useful for customer fingerprinting. Keep collecting this information, and eventually you can sell a service to stores in the mall that identifies frequent shoppers, who likely have disposable income. Gather it at the register as well, and you can show clerks a shopping history for each frequent shopper as that person enters the shop.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    BMDS not secure?

    As in: Ballistic Missile Defence System??!!!

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Almost sounds like Bergholt Stuttley Johnson was involved

  4. Alistair Silver badge


    So when the NSA/CIA/FBI/OT(F)LA decide that they need more paranoia and more fear in order to slaughter more rights of citizens, they can point out that some terrrist urganization stole Nukular Secrets!!!! and they can't catch the terrrist urganization because those darn terrrists are using enkrypshun!!! ..... and then there will be two countries with utterly ridiculous encryption laws.

    1. RunawayLoop

      Re: BMDS

      Good to see you pronounced Nukular correctly!

  5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Twitter C&C

    a truly remarkable scheme that malware-infected PCs are using to communicate with their central command-and-control servers

    More like mildly interesting than "truly remarkable". Twitter has been used to control bots since at least 2008 - I have a friend who implemented such a system (for legitimate, non-malicious purposes) then. And using a steganographic channel for C&C isn't new either. Perfectly good research here, but hardly shocking.

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