My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: July 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Security Researcher Sammy Kamkar GM OnStar Hack - How OwnStar can make your GM OnStar Vehicle Gone in 60 Seconds

 Car hacking is now an official sport in the United States of America.

This is yet another Security Researcher, Sammy Kamkar, has declared that another type of connected vehicle is hackable.  This time it’s the General Motors’ OnStar telematics System as reported in the article “OnStar hack can remotely unlock cars and start engines, GM claims to have a fix”, published July 31, 2015 By Stephen Edelstein, DigitalTrends.



The researcher, Sammy Kamkar, claims that he built a device that can hack into GM's OnStar telematics System.  It does so by tapping into the communications between the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App and the vehicles OnStar IVE.

Already some 3 million people in the US of A alone have downloaded the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App onto their Apple iPhones and Google Android smartphones as reported in the article “Researcher says he can hack GM’s OnStar app, open vehicle, start engine”, published JULY 30, 2015 by REUTERS, putting them at risk.

Sammy Kamkar finds GM OnStar Vulnerability – 7 Million GM vehicles in USA and China are hackable

He claim to have discovered the vulnerably before the Security Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek had demonstrated in dramatic fashion that they'd hacked a 2014 Jeep Cherokee via the Iinternet as reported in my blog article entitled “Security Researcher hack a 2014 Jeep Cherokee - How to remotely hack an Internet Connected Vehicle as Remote Vehicle Homicide possible”.

Once he's compromised GM's OnStar System, he's able to not only remotely track the vehicle, but also open and close the doors and even shut down the engine as reported in the article “This gadget hacks GM Cars to locate, Unlock and start them (updated)”, published 07.30.15 by Andy Greenberg, Wired!

Like the original Jeep Cherokee researcher pair, he also plans to make a splash at the DefCon Conference and possibly the Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas come August 2015.

Coming a little over a week after the dramatic hacking of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee's Uconnect software, which is a model owned by Fiat Chrysler, this looks a little suspicious.

But it if is as serious a vulnerability as he claims, then GM’s 7 million OnStar subscribers in the US of A and China as reported in the article “New OnStar hack can unlock cars and start engines”, published July 30, 2015 By Russell Brandom, The Verge, are at risk.

So how serious is this vulnerability, really?

GM’s OnStar Hack - Less Dramatic but dangerous like Fiat Chrystler Uconnect hack

First, it'd be good to analyze how Security Researcher Sammy Kamkar hack works.

First, be built a Wireless Data Transceiver, which he calls “OwnStar” that can tap into the BlueTooth or Wi-Fi transmission between the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App on the driver's smartphone and the OnStar System in the IVE (In-Vehicle Entertainment) System.



Unlike the vulnerability in Security Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, this device has to be located close enough to the vehicle in order to tap into the communication to the OnStar System and listen in on instruction being sent to the  CAN (Controller Area Network) Bus. GM has the same vulnerability like the Fiat Chrysler vehicles; the Engine management System, IVE and Communications all share the same common CAN Bus!

So gain access to one and you can gain control of the entire vehicle functionality from the Radio straight down to the Engine, Brakes and Windows! You might reason to yourself that this hack isn't so serious, as you have to be in proximity of the vehicle in order to hack into its CAN Bus.

But in reality this vulnerability is just as bad as the one discovered the week before by Security Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek.

Security Researcher Sammy Kamkar GM OnStar Hack - How OwnStar can make you GM OnStar Vehicle Gone in 60 Seconds

In this case, you only need to install the device on the vehicle and then hide some distance away before the owner returns. The “OwnStar” device ten listens in on the Bluetooth communications between the GM vehicle's OnStar System and the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App.



Because most of this data is unencrypted, the device, most likely attached under the vehicle's undercarriage by magnets, can constantly listen in on each command being sent through the day when the driver opens and closes their car remotely. It records the Bluetooth communications like a keylogger, which can occur as far away as 30 meters.

Once it has recorded enough of these transactions, which are effectively unencrypted access keys, the hacker can then revisit the vehicle at a convenient time and remove the device.

He can then take it home and using his laptop or desktop computer and suitable RS232C or USB interface, dump the memory store unto his laptop. Then using special decryption software, he can take anywhere from days to minutes to crack the keys and the channel used by the victim’s smartphone Bluetooth interface.

Once he has the keys, he can generate fake security certificates for the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App Server, access in the Server as he was the driver. He can then use them to not only remotely track the vehicle, but also open and close the doors and even shut down the engine.

By authenticating himself as the user using the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App via cellular Internet or even from a laptop, he can also use it at close range with a Bluetooth enable Smartphone to steal the vehicle, the ultimate prize after all his efforts.

No need to break into the vehicle in real time, as the owner using his or her smartphone repeatedly will basically give you the unencrypted keys over time.......and access to his vehicle at a later date at your choosing.

The OwnStar is thus quite appropriately named. The intent of the OwnStar electronics package is not to cause Remote Vehicular Homicide.

Rather, it's just an aid to stealing a high value connected Vehicle via taking advantage of the unencrypted communication between the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App on the driver's smartphone and the OnStar System in the IVE (In-Vehicle Entertainment) System, which some 7 million GM customers currently use.

 With GM boasting of some 1 billion OnStar customer interactions, 8.8 million of which are done via the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App, expect the next target of hackers to be the Server and the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App itself.

OwnStar means GM OnStar IVE is hackable - How the NSA can remotely control your Vehicle

Remember, too,  that GM has signed up to with Apple Carplay and Android Auto for their 2016 line of Vehicles as reported in my blog article entitled “Apple Carplay and @Android Auto on GM Vehicles – How Smartphone OS Voice Assistant IVE are invading Hands-Free Driving Space”. 

If a device can be used to intercept the communications between the GM Vehicle's IVE and the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App, why not exploit potential vulnerabilities in those Apps as well,  the Smartphone OS or even hack the Server that the App communicates?

After all, it's already possible to install an App on a Smartphone that can remotely allow a hacker to issue commands to the Baseband Processor and shut it down remotely as explained in my blog article entitled “NSA smartphone hack via the Baseband Processor - How NSA can remotely control your smartphone and Defense Against the Dark Arts”.
 
So wouldn’t it be possible for the NSA (National Security Agency), for example, to compromise your vehicle by hacking into the Apps, servers or a potential target's smartphone?

This was the plan that the Five Eyes Alliance had hatched to compromise the servers that hosted the Alibaba’s UC Browser App, based on Edward Snowden's revelations as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “NSA and Five Eyes Alliance in Project Irritant Horn Spying on Arab Spring Jihadists”.

GM issues a fix, Researcher Sammy Kamkar says it’s not fixed – DefCon will reveal OwnStar in great detail

To date, GM claims to have fixed the vulnerability as reported in the article “GM quickly issues fix for OnStar hack, but service still vulnerable”, published July 30, 2015 by Tim Stevens, CNET News to guard their OnStar System against fake security certificates being sent to its servers that control the OnStar RemoteLink remote-access App.

But Security Researcher Sammy Kamkar says it's still not actually resolved as yet based on his communication with GM in the article as reported in the article “The GM OnStar hack still isn't completely fixed”, published July 31st 2015 by Cadie Thompson, Business Insider.

So come August 2015 at the DefCon Conference and possibly the Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Security Researcher Sammy Kamkar's work will be on display, completely revealed for all to use as they see fit.

Hopefully by then, GM and other Car makers with similar known vulnerabilities, would have patched their systems.  Otherwise, they’ll really be Gone in 60 Seconds, Nicholas Cage Style!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

@NASA discovers Kepler-452b in the Constellation Cygnus - Why the Fermi Paradox means To Kepler-452 from Earth with Love a bad idea

At long last, we've found yet another planet that suggests that we're not alone!

Trust me, it's not enough that we're making plans to visit Mars, reality TV style as reported in my blog article entitled “@MIT Study on Mars One - Why Staying Alive for 68 Days Eating Vegetables means Oxygen has a License to Kill”.

Now, NASA (National Aeronautical Space Administration) has announced on Thursday July 23rd 2015 that they’ve found yet another Earth like planet.

This is the planet Kepler-452b, located 1,400 Light Years away in the constellation Cygnus a reported in the article “NASA: This planet is the closest thing to Earth yet”, published July 23, 2015 by Eric Mack, CNET News.  



The discovery was made by NASA scientists as they sifted through the tons of Data that had been retrieved from the Kepler Space Telescope.  In addition to the discovery of Kepler-452b, which is the first planet from the star Kepler-452, they also announced twelve (12) new exoplanets that have almost the same size and consistence as our Earth.


Of these twelve (12), nine (9) of them orbit stars that are similar to our Sun, NASA is yet to confirm these stars and their exoplanets. So far, Kepler-452b has what it takes to support life:

1.      Right Size planet made of Rock based on its location
2.      Right distance from its Sun, in the “Goldilocks Zone”
3.      Right type of Star putting out the same level of radiation

So what did the NASA scientists find that has them so excited? Potentially Earth 2.0

NASA discovers Kepler-452b in the Constellation Cygnus – Tickets to Kepler-452b, please

Kepler-452b is located 1,400 Light Years away in the Constellation Cygnus.

Already there are tickets available to make the trip on the Chinese website Taobao costing a mere US$0.03 as reported in the article “Tickets to Earth 'cousin' Kepler-452b now on sale”, published  July 30, 2015 by Eric Mack, CNET News.

All this hoopla reminds me of NASA's discovery of the exoplanet Kepler-186f orbiting an M dwarf Star Kepler-186 in the Constellation Cygnus on Thursday April 17th 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “@NASA discovers Earth-like exoplanet Kepler-186f in the Constellation Cygnus - 500 light years is  awfully far distance to buy beachfront property”.



It's been twenty (20) years since the discovery of the first exoplanet 51 Pegasi b. of the 4,660 stars with possible planets found, only 1,029 have been confirmed over this time as having a planet. 

Kepler-452b is the 12th known habitable exoplanet and is special as it’s the most Earth-like discovered so far. Truly, this exoplanet may harbour intelligent life, being as it's a lot like home.



There are many other notables such as Gliese 832 c that orbits the Red Dwarf Star Gliese 832 some 16.1 Light years away in the in the Constellation Grus as reported in my blog article entitled “Dr. Robert Wittenmyer Team discovers Gliese 832 c – Supersize my Exoplanet Please with a Serving of Super-Venus”.


Based on the analysis of the Kepler space Telescope Data, Kepler-452b, being the second planet from its sun Kepler-452, is most likely a rocky planet like out Earth.

Kepler-452b is Earth 2.0 – Home Sweet home but with a Stronger Gravity

It's about 60% bigger than the Earth, making its gravity a little strong then what we're used to on Earth. Its orbit around the sun Kepler-452 is eerily similar to Earth.

It makes a complete orbit every 385 days, just twenty (20) days longer than Earth 365 days as reported in the article “NASA Has Discovered a Planet That Seems a Lot Like Earth”, published July 23, 2015 by Eric Roston, Bloomberg News

It's in the right location from its sun Kepler-452, making it possible that it has liquid water on its surface. Thus life is possible, albeit it might still have active volcanoes like our Earth, but with a slightly thicker atmosphere due to its stronger gravity.



The life on the planet may be very advanced but short and stocky and very muscular, being as they've had a 1.5 billion year head start on Earth under such a strong gravitational force.

It's sun Kepler-452, being 1.5 billion years older than our Sun which is about 6 billion years, puts out the same amount of light and has the same surface temperature and mass based on Infrared spectroscopy.


This suggests it may have a more violent past but mellowed over time, resulting in its first planet having a chance to develope life due to its evolutionary head start.

So how advanced would they be?

And does it make sense contacting them as Professor Stephen Hawking is hell-bent on doing as noted in the article “Stephen Hawking launches $100m search for alien life beyond solar system”, published Tuesday 21 July 2015, by Ian Sample, The UK Guardian?

To Kepler-452 from Earth with Love - Why the Fermi Paradox means contacting isn't a good idea

So why not send a message to them?


Well, it they're very advanced, they might not take kindly to being hailed and that’s even if they can understand our messages. If they do, they may just come and annihilate us, albeit the Fermi Paradox both supports this idea and then rules it out.

Plus at 1,400 Light Years, we just don't have the Technology to even say hello, let alone set up a colony or invade their territory. Heck, they may have even left the planet or died out a long time ago as the light we’re seeing is from the past, with a lag time of 1,400 years.


Worse, they may be a super species, uninterested in contact and exploration and existing in a state of suspended animation powered by a Dyson Sphere.

Still, it helps to know that potentially, we're not alone! Awaiting more News from NASA on the other nine (9) candidates from the Kepler System that might harbour life!

Here’s the link:





How the US$60 Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 manages to Pop - Lower Pricepoint and Great Battery life

The US$60 to US$110 Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 is a diminutive 4” screen device that’s great for your kids as their training-wheels smartphone.



However, it accepts the regular mini-SIM as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to make you own Micro-SIM or Nano-SIM Card” with the second SIM slot working in dual-standby mode.

Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 – The overweight smartphone that does reverse-selfies

The Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 is a little overweight, weighing in at 116 g (4.09 oz) with slightly bulging dimensions of 122 x 64.4 x 12 mm (4.80 x 2.54 x 0.47 in). It only comes with only two (2) colours:

1.      Bluish Black
2.      Pure White


The 4” 480 x 800 pixels resolution TFT capacitive touchscreen has a 233 ppi pixel density and is capable of displaying some, 256,000 Colours. That 4” touchscreen has no supporting front-facing camera.

Instead, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 only has a rear-facing 3.15 Megapixel camera that takes 2048 x 1536 pixels and shoots Standard definition Video (480p) at 30 fps.

Still, selfies don’t require a front-facing camera; you can do selfies with the selfie-ready rear-facing camera!

Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 – Expand with microSD Card and Microsoft OneDrive Cloud

The Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 is powered by a Dual-Core 1.3 GHz Processor. The Google Android 4.3 Jellybean chomps through some 512 MB RAM with 4 GB of space for your Apps and music.

This isn't so bad, especially when most thumb drives can hold just about 4 GB, with 32 GB still the exception in Jamaica and the Caribbean. You can expand using the microSD Card slot to 32 GB.

Not only that, you can get up to 100 GB in the Cloud using Microsoft OneDrive as noted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How Dropbox users and Bing Search users can get Free 100GB Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage”.

Geography Students and Gym Rats best new friend – Pairing with a Fitness Tracker

The reason why the Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 is overweight isn’t clear, but it might have to do with the fact that TCL Corporation stuffed an accelerometer, a GPS and Bluetooth 4.0 into the chassis. 

This means you can pair up with your favourite Fitness Tracker that have been doing so well in the past two (2)  years as reported in my blog article entitled “IDC Stats for Wearables in the First Quarter of 2015 - US$13 Mi Band Fitness Monitor @Xiaomi No. 2 as Apple Watch to dominate Smartwatch segment by Q4 2015”.

Combined with such wonderful Apps such as Google Earth as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “US$399 Google Earth Pro now Free as Profit in Selling Bacon than the Whole Hog”, your Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 doesn’t look so underwhelming anymore! 

Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 – Music and Video goes well with some great headphones

Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 plays MP3, AAC+ and WAV formats and makes MP4 and H.264 Video pop on your screen!


Purchase an AmazonBasics Ultra-Portable Micro Bluetooth Speaker as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “US$25 AmazonBasics Ultra-Portable Micro Bluetooth Speaker is a DIY Party Boombox” and you’ll be taken to a whole level of sound.

The Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 also packs a Stereo FM Radio with a mini-speaker that guarantees that you’ll catch every T-20 Cricket match at Kensington Oval or at Sabina Park.

You can do so discreetly with a great pair of US$119 Marshall Major II on-ear headphones plugged into the 3.5mm jack. as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “US$119 Marshall Major II on-ear headphones provides good sound for your smartphone Music”.

Personally, I’d go with the US$39 Shure SRH144 or SRH145 Headphones that’s a lot cheaper as noted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “US$39 Shure SRH144 and SRH145 Headphones is a Sure bet for Excellent Sound on a budget”.

Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 – Reporter mini Camera and Tape Recorder

The Document viewer makes documents easy to read.

Download the Microsoft Office, Excel and Powerpoint as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “Microsoft Office 365 goes Freemium Model - One Becomes Three as Word, Excel and PowerPoint with US$6.99 monthly to remove Restrictionsand you have a Microsoft Office Editor on the go!

Photo viewer and its limited editing options make posting online a snap and you can record audio with the Voice Recorder! Once on the Internet via 3G Internet or Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, you'll be able to IM (Instant Messaging) via WhatsApp and FB Messenger and post on Twitter via the pre-installed Apps.

You can read SMS Text and email quite comfortably on this device and share Internet with up to five (5) of your friends and even share music files with other devices via the Wi-Fi Direct or Bluetooth 4.0.

Throw in a US$99 TextBlade from WayTools as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “US$99 TextBlade from WayTools is a Bluetooth Keyboard for Bloggers covering Press Events and you've basically graduated to a live-event blogger!

Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 vs Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini – Battery Charger Required

Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 Li-Ion 1300 mAh battery is smaller in capacity than the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini at 1700 mAh.

So a portable battery charger is needed as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to extend your smartphone’s battery Life with a Portable Battery Charger”.

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini bests its older sibling with 510 h of standby time while on the 2G Network and only 400 h standby time on the 3G Network.

Talk-time is also slightly longer with 13 h 30 min of talk-time while on the 2G Network and 9 h 30 min (3G) talk-time on the 3G Network. Bottom line; just don’t do a lot of talking on this smartphone and walk with a Battery Charger!

Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 – The Price is right despite being overweight

The Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 is a budget smartphone. At US$60 to US$110, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 gets great battery life while playing music and videos, albeit it is a shade heavy, not that you’d notice!

In short, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 manages to pop while remaining Zen!

Here's the link:




How the US$200 Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini will be worshipped by Caribbean people – Why Colours make Budget smartphones sells


If you’re in the market for a budget smartphone, then you might want to consider the smartphones being made by the TCL Corporation.

Their most well-known is the Alcatel OneTouch line has given birth to the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini  as reported in the article “The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini is smaller and prettier (hands-on)”, published February 22, 2014 by Aloysius Low, CNET News.



A high-end smartphone, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini, which costs between US$200 to US$250, is closely related to the bigger Idol 2 smartphone.  It is one of two smartphones, the other being the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini S, which has 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) built in!

So aside from the price, what else does the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini have to its advantage?

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini – Single Handed surfing with Five Fingaz to da face

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini comes with a new charger/adapter, headset and guide, typical packaging for most smartphones.


It weighs in at 110 g (3.88 oz) and has dimensions of 129 x 63.5 x 7.9 mm (5.08 x 2.5 x 0.31 in). 4.5” screen Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini fit nicely in your hand making two-handed gameplay something you’ll relish on your JUTC bus ride to work!

Those games will benefit from five (5) finger multi-touch and can withstand finger and oily face smudges thanks to its Oleophobic coating.



It’s also a Dual-SIM Smartphone, which suggests that the TCL Corporation is trying to push the idea in the Caribbean as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “Trend towards Dual-SIM Smartphones developing in Jamaica as MNP Approaches”.

4.5” screen smartphone is a capacitive qHD IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. That results in a pixel density of 245 ppi pixel density. The screen is made from high strength unscratchble Dragontrail glass ensconced in a nice metallic finish but in a fusion of brighter colour options:

1.      Cloudy
2.      Full White
3.      Hot Pink
4.      Slate

So what powering the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini under the hood?

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini – Gimme a break of that KitKat smartphone

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini has a Quad Core 1.2 GHz CPU that runs on Google Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. This processor also supports the function of the GPS, proximity sensor, accelerometer and magnetometer.

You can upgrade to Google Android 4.4 KitKat, or you can opt to dress it up in your style with custom Android Launcher as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to change your smartphone Home Screen and create a Personal Assistant using Android Launchers”.

Dependent on whether the smartphone is a single SIM or Dual SIM, the Internal memory and RAM configuration differs slightly:

1.      4 GB Internal memory, 1 GB RAM (Single SIM)
2.      8 GB Internal memory, 1 GB RAM (Dual SIM)

So these average memory specs, how well does it take photographs?

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini Camera – Ready for the Videolight

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini’s 8 Megapixel Rear-facing Camera takes 3264 x 2448 pixels images and does 1080p video. HDR (High Dynamic Range), autofocus and a LED flash, guarantee Social Media ready photos of the highest quality.


The 2 Megapixel front-facing Camera can only manage 720p quality video at 30fps is great for taking selfies nonetheless.

You’ll love the panorama function and the touch focus and face detection combined with Geo-tagging allows you to take finely focused and wide angle pictures and know when and where your photos were taken.

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini Camera – Ears are alive with the Sound of Music

MP3 and WAV Music files will need space, hence the convenient microSIM Card that supports 32 GB of External Memory. 



Browsing the Internet via the-HTML Browser 3G Internet or Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n is one o the perks of owning the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini. Sharing is caring and you can share your Internet with up to five (5) persons. It even synchs with DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) or Wi-Fi Direct compatible to allow music and video streaming!  

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini  - Music and Video Player in your ear

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini has an excellent music player that supports MP3, AAC+, WAV, WMA file playback.

This will sound great with a decent pair of Bluetooth and wired headphones such as those listed in my blog article entitled “Five Great Over-the-Ear Headphones - Noise Cancelling, Comfortable, Fashionable Bluetooth Music Streaming”. It also supports great video playback as the default Video player is DivX, MP4 and H.264 compatible.

Active noise cancellation dedicated microphone, the viewing and editing of photos and Stereo FM radio makes the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini every great reporter tool.

All you need is a US$100 Microsoft Universal Foldable keyboard that’ll connect via Bluetooth and you can type anywhere as explained in my MICO Wars Blog article entitled “Microsoft’s Universal Foldable keyboard is Bluetooth Typing Bliss”.

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini – Battery life adequate for all day Music

The Li-Ion 1700 mAh battery recharges via a micro USB v2.0. Once fully charged, you get up to 450 h of standby on the 2G GSM Network and up to 400 h while using 3G Internet.

Talking lowers drops your battery life to 12 h on the 2G GSM Network which drops further to 5 h (3G) while using 3G Internet.

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini can give you whole day entertainment without a Portable Battery charger as describe in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to extend your smartphone’s battery Life with a Portable Battery Charger”.

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini – Joseph’s coat of Many Colours

At US$200 to US$250 for the dual-SIM version, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini delivers a great experience.

A few good apps, such as the Microsoft Office App as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “Microsoft Office 365 goes Freemium Model - One Becomes Three as Word, Excel and PowerPoint with US$6.99 monthly to remove Restrictions”  will make the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini worth worshipping.

Its handy size and metallic finish, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini is a Budget phone arrayed in Joseph’s Coat of many colours.



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

@NASA Air Traffic Control System – Why @Google, @Amazon and @Verizonwireless want an ATC ahead of FAA's New Guidelines in 2016

“They definitely see it as an economic opportunity and as something that they want to participate in. This is real magic”

President of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Brian Wynne commenting on a NASA-led plan to develop an ATC (Air Traffic Control) system for Commercial drones

Flying Drones is going to be a problem in the US of A, given the amount of aerial traffic. What is need right now are traffic lanes in the skies to makes sure that drones don’t fly into each other and don't collide with commercial aircraft.

That seems to be the thinking behind the alliance between NASA (National Aeronautical Space Administration) and some ten (10) or more Tech giants to create an ATC (Air Traffic Control) and Guidance System for UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) or Drones as reported in the article “Google joins NASA to work on drone traffic control system”, published  July 25, 2015 By Trevor Mogg, Digitaltrends.



Those other companies including the likes of Google, Amazon.com Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Harris Corp. who are a part of NASA initiative also happen to have an interest in building commercial drones themselves as noted in the article “Google Wants a Piece of Air-Traffic Control for Drones”, published July 24, 2015 by Alan Levin, Bloomberg News.    

In addition to an intelligent collision and ATC (Air Traffic Control) System to guided drones along specific corridors in the key, as in the case of aeroplanes, they also want a collision avoidance system to be common among all drone manufactures as reported in the article “Google, Amazon, NASA working on air traffic control for drones”, published 25.07.2015 by David Nield, Techradar

With the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) coming out with new guidelines for drones by July 2016 as reported in the article “FAA expects to clear U.S. commercial drones within a year”, published Wed Jun 17, 2015, Reuters, why is NASA and pals taking it upon themselves to effectively do a study to make suggestions to a US Federal agency responsible for airplane safety within US Airspace?

@NASA Air Traffic Control System – Why @Google, @Amazon and @Verizon want an ATC

It's main because of the more rigid guidelines set by the FAA, one of which stipulates that the UAS cannot be flow outside of the visible range of the Drone operator.

Also, the drone operator must always have control over the drone as noted in the article “Amazon drone delivery plan given hope as NASA progresses with air traffic control system”, published March 13, 2015 By Trevor Mogg, Digitaltrends.


NASA thinks that by pooling their collective resources together, they can not only develope a common air traffic Control and guidance system for UAS but also collision detection systems among all drone developers.

With an ATC system and common collision-avoidance System in place as an organized group of Corporate and Enterprise Interests, it could help push that timeline forward.  Even more interestingly, this alliance could also push the case for autonomous drones that can fly on their own.

As with autonomous cars like Google’s little un-named autonomous buggy  as explained in my blog article entitled “@Google’s Self-Driving All-Electric Vehicles in June 2015 – Autonomous Vehicles reduce Road Accidents, Parking and make Ride Sharing the Norm” it would reduce accidents in the air by slowly taking out the humans out of the loop by fly using this ATC and Guidance System, which would have to be automated to allow it to function 24/7/365.

There is huge money to be made by Drone pilots flying such drones using FPV (First Person Viewing) as explained in my blog article entitled “FAA to allow Commercial Drones in 2015 - US$100,000 per year for 100,000 Drone Pilot jobs for the next five years”. 

Hence, no surprise many are looking at this coming together of tech heavyweights under the scientific aegis of NASA as a step towards a more unified, professional and organized Drone Industry!

Many of these commercial interests are in interested in using fleets of drones to do delivery as in the case of Amazon as explained in my blog article entitled “Amazon’s Prime Air Patent – How Swarm Intelligence pilots @Amazon Autonomous Drones via White Spaces Network with Call Center Agent Personal Touch” there is also an interest in selling Drone Services to Corporate and Enterprise clients.

Early Drone Companies get the worm –Tech companies jostling for Drone Heaven

A few companies are starting to announce Drone based Services aside from Drone Developer companies who develop and design drones for Retail.

They realize the potential in drones is not in sales of the drones themselves, but in reselling their services to various sectors of the economy that need low-cost aerial services:

1.      Agriculture
2.      Construction
3.      Mining
4.      Oil Exploration
5.      Telecoms
6.      Town Planning

Already Sony has partnered with  Japanese robotics and automation company, ZMP to rent drone services for purposes such as photography and mapping services for such clients as explained in my blog article entitled “Sony and ZMP to sell Drone Services - Why Aerosense makes sense if Sony Smartphone are Drone Processor Boards”.  

Most interestingly, NASA has plans to use pairs of drones they designed to survey the surface of Mars for future manned landings as explained in my blog article entitled “@NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Prandtl-m Drone – Surveying the Red Planet for Human Colony as the More the Merrier with Two Drones”.  

So not only is there commercial interest, but huge scientific interest as well for now and the forseable future!  

The future will be ruled by robots, but not just in the kitchen or fast food restaurants taking away menial Fast food jobs as predicted in my blog article entitled “US$15,000 Moley Robotics Cooking Robot – Cooking Robot seeking Taste for Human Food to take over in 2017”.

Rather, they'll initially displace the Parcel Delivery man and the Postal Delivery Service with literally same-day shipping anywhere in the US of A at the press of a button.

Here’s the link:


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Security Researcher hack a 2014 Jeep Cherokee - How to remotely hack an Internet Connected Vehicle as Remote Vehicle Homicide possible

If you've been hiding under a rock, the secret's out: Car hacking is possible.

Security Researchers Charlie Miller, a Security Researcher at Twitter and Chris Valasek , Director of Vehice Security Research Firm IOActive are now in the limelight.

Working with Wired Magazine's Andy Greenberg, they managed to hack a Jeep Cherokee while the writer at along for the ride as reported in the article “Hackers remotely kill a Jeep on the highway - with me in it”, published 07.21.15 by Andy Greenberg, Wired.

Normally I’d write a lot of stuff at this point. But I think this time, I'll let the video do all the talkin'!


Their research has now resulted in legislation being considered by Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal to improve automotive security and set new Digital Standards for Internet  connected Cars and Trucks as reported in the article “Senate Bill seeks standards for Cars' Defenses from Hackers”, published 07.21.15 by Andy Greenberg, Wired.



The pair plans to publish their research and do the talk circuit rounds at the Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas in August 2015.

Andy Greenberg the Guinea Pig for Security Researchers- 2 Years worth of Research Vindicated

This is the culmination of almost two (2) years of research since, during which time Wired Magazine's Andy Greenberg was their occasional guinea pig as reported in the article “Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks--With Me Behind The Wheel (Video)”, published JUL 24, 2013 by Andy Greenberg, Forbes.

This in a bid to demonstrate to the reporter – and the Automotive Industry - that Car hacking was indeed real. Worse, you didn’t have to be physically in the vehicle; it could be done remotely over the Internet, with deadly results being possible.

From July 1, 2015

They had the clearly nervous Andy Greenberg drive a Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius around a South Bend, Indiana will they remotely controlled almost all aspects of the vehicle functionality via special software on their Laptops. But that was in a parking lot and via Wi-Fi.



But could it be done over a longer distance? After some DARPA (Defense and Research Project Agency) funding, studying vehicle schematics and even tearing down a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape to see how its ECU (Electronic Control Unit) works, the short answer, as this video clearly shows, is yes!

Security Researcher hack a 2014 Jeep Cherokee - How to remotely control an Internet Connected Vehicle

As I said before, Car hacking is real as this video graphically demonstrated!

By August 2014 these Security Researchers gave CNN Money a long list of vehicle makes and models that were hackable as reported in my blog article entitled “Automotive Security Researchers tell CNN Money Vehicles are hackable - How Vehicle Entertainment Systems are hacked”. 

The models that were listed in that interview were:

1.      2014 Audi A8
2.      2014 Dodge Viper
3.      2014 Jeep Cherokee
4.      2014 Toyota Prius
5.      2015 Cadillac Escalade

And yes, if you check that article and the list above, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee was listed among vehicles that were hackable.

The pair deemed it to be the most hackable in the list simply because the  Engine Management i.e. Brakes, Steering, Tire Pressure Monitor and Engine and on the same Internal Vehicle Network, known as the CAN (Controller Area Network) Bus as the Entertainment System in most of the models.



The 2014 Jeep Cherokee connects via the OnStar Cellular Network, which is really a Baseband Processor for the Sprint Network, which is also connected to the  Engine Management and the Entertainment System.

It thus became the focus of their continue research into remotely hacking via the Internet, as they soon realized that there was no authentication for the remote access; almost any Fiat Chrysler vehicle using the Uconnect Software was trackable and hackable.



A hacker merely need to infect the vehicle's Entertainment System with a Trojan horse that lays in wait for instruction sent via Wi-Fi (if within range!) or via the Sprint Network, accessible via a cellphone connected to that Network.

Using a laptop, a Sprint cellphone and special software, Security Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek can then remotely control the target vehicle.

Vehicle Hacking via a Cellular Network – Vulnerability in the Baseband Processor

But this recent car hacking video demonstration by Security Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek is different. They're apparently exploiting the fact that these three (3) Systems may even be sharing the same Hard-drive and memory.

This makes it very easy for hackers to gain control of the entire System via access to one of the more vulnerable Systems, which in this case is the Baseband Processor for the Sprint Network.

What's worse, they apparently can hack the vehicles WITHOUT installing any special software via the Entertainment System. They can also scan the Sprint Network for other equally vulnerable connected vehicles that they can hack.

If so, then it implies that vehicle manufacturers have been playing fast and loose with the security of passengers in vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler recalls 14 million vehicles – Fix for Security hole in Uconnect System

Now that the video is out, on Friday July 24th 2015, Fiat Chrysler, makers of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, has issued a voluntary recall to upgrade the Entertainment System software in some 14 million vehicles as reported in the article “Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vehicles following remote hack”, published July 24, 2015 by Lance Whitney, CNET News.  

The vehicles included in the recall are the following models that use the Uconnect Software and have the 8.4-inch touchscreens:

1.      2013-2015 MY Dodge Viper specialty vehicles
2.      2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups
3.      2013-2015 Ram 3500, 4500, 5500 Chassis Cabs
4.      2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee SUVs
5.      2014-2015 Dodge Durango SUVs
6.      2015 MY Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans
7.      2015 Dodge Challenger sports coupes

Owners of any of these vehicles can go the Fiat Chrysler Uconnect software update site  and check if they’re on the recall list by typing in their VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). A visit to their local  Fiat Chrysler can get then the update via a USB Drive, which they can then use to upgrade their Uconnect software.

It is this software that the Security Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek exploited to remotely control the vehicles. Ironically, this was the same software that grants the car owner the same level of control over their vehicle, including tracking it location via GPS and was really a security and anti-theft feature.

They plan to release all but the parts of their software that gives hackers the ability to infect the CAN Bus; hacker’s will have to do their homework. But they can demonstrate the remote access to the vehicle, evidence enough that Remote Hacking  of Internet connected vehicles is possible.

Researcher heading to Black Hat Security Conference - Vehicle Hacking makes Remote Vehicle Homicide possible

Albeit their demonstration is benign at best, this vulnerability can potentially be exploited to commit Remote vehicular homicide from hundreds of miles away as reported in my blog article entitled “Mission Secure Inc and Perrone Robotics Inc say Vehicles can be hacked - Apple Carplay and @Android Auto Assassin’s Weapon of Choice in Contract Remote Vehicular Homicide”.

US security firms Mission Secure Inc (MSi) and Perrone Robotics Inc in June 2015 have pointed out that IVE (In-Vehicle Entertainment Systems), the same target identified by the Security Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, is a potential point of attack for hackers.


The veracity of the work of Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek over the past two (2) years has been proven true. As Automakers take steps to make sure their Systems cannot be compromised, the pair will definitely be the talks of the Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas come August 2015!