Toyota’s New Robot runs ROS

ROS is making headway into industrial robotics in a big way.
Toyota’s new human assistance robot runs ROS.


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Breaking Full-Disk Encryption Using FireWire

There have been a number of proof-of-concept hacks using IEEE1394 devices’ DMA to elevate privileges on a host machine.
The most useful application of this technique is breaking into machines that use full-disk encryption. Now there is a tool that will run from any Unix-Like host (Linux, OSX) and can unlock Windows XP,Vista,7,8,OSX 10.6,10.7,10.8, Ubuntu on both x86 and x64 hosts.

Inception is a FireWire physical memory manipulation and hacking tool exploiting IEEE 1394 SBP-2 DMA. The tool can unlock (any password accepted) and escalate privileges to Administrator/root on almost any machine you have physical access to.

It is primarily intended to do its magic against computers that utilize full disk encryption such as BitLocker, FileVault, TrueCrypt or Pointsec. There are plenty of other (and better) ways to hack a machine that doesn’t pack encryption. Inception is also useful for incident response teams and digital forensics experts when faced with live machines.


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Want To Make Your R Charts Look Like The Economist?

Want to make your R charts look like the ones placed in The Economists?

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Android malware designed to build 3-D models of users’ apartments

An interesting article at FastCompany about PlaceRaider, an experimental smartphone trojan designed by Indiana University and the U.S. Navy. It’s Android malware designed to build 3-D models of users’ apartments.

PlaceRaider, which was summarized in a recent arXiv paper, is a piece of “visual malware” which smartphone cameras, accelerometers, and gyroscopes, to reconstruct victims’ rooms and offices. As pictures are uploaded onto the central server, they are knitted together into a 3D model of the indoor location where the pics were taken.

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How an Attitude Indicator Works

The author of X-Plane has posted a stream-of-conciousness piece about their journey towards turning an iPad into an attitude indicator.
Some interesting notes about how a mechanical attitude indicator works, and some troubles trying to determine what direction is ‘up’ in a non-inertial reference frame.
Long story short it is probably close to what you might guess, but a little more complicated once you account for gyro drift.

Worth a read.

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Installing SAS in VMWare Fusion on Mac

Just a quick note to anyone having trouble installing SAS (Base or Enterprise Data Miner) in VMWare Fusion on Mac:

If you run setup.exe and the splash screen for the SAS deployment wizard spins for a while and then mysteriously disappears, the remedy is as follows:

1. Turn off Folder Sharing for your VM (the SAS installer writes to some temporary files and doesn’t like the remapping of the home folder to the mac file system)

2. Run setup.exe as Administrator

Once you have installed SAS you can turn Folder Sharing back on.

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Rise of “forever day” bugs in industrial systems

Arstechnica has an interesting article examining the effect of unpatched vulnerabilities in industrial control systems.
Specific mention is made of an exploit allowing remote code execution on robots using some old ABB software.

According to an advisory (PDF) issued last week by the US Cyber Emergency Response Team, the flaw in ABB WebWare Server won’t be fixed even though it provides the means to remotely execute malicious code on computers that run the application.


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Debugging Code from 60 Million Miles Away

This is a fascinating Google Tech Talk about writing mission critical software for spacecraft.
A really interesting look into something that most of us aren’t often exposed to.

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