Readings: Silk Road shenanigans, Great Firewall, Marriott backdown, Bitcoin in Britain, Google bug

Ars Technica: Defense bombshell in Silk Road trial: Mt. Gox owner “set up” Ulbricht – “In just over an hour of staccato cross-examination, Dratel’s strategy became clear: he was going to pursue a line of questioning suggesting that the man who really controlled Silk Road wasn’t his young client, but Mark Karpeles, the wealthy former owner of the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange.” – This is some serious tinfoil. I’d love to know the evidence behind it beyond “well, he knows bitcoin.”

Ars Technica: Behind the Great Firewall: using my laptop and phone in China – “I’m doing one of the biggest trips of my life using a four-year-old cell phone and a discontinued laptop that I hate. There’s a technology angle to traveling these days, and going to Shanghai has really complicated that situation.” – Interesting operational suggestions…worth doing in the US now too? Maybe.

Engadget: Marriott no longer wants to block guests’ WiFi devicesGlad to hear it.

Motherboard: The Struggle Between Bitcoin Traders and British Banks – “In each of these cases, the customer identified the buying and selling of Bitcoin as the only change in how they were using their bank accounts.” – Appears to be happening a bit in the US as well: bitcoin traders having their bank accounts abruptly closed. Given that bitcoin isn’t illegal, the question becomes: backdoor government pressure to marginalize bitcoin, or industry decision? Both?

Engadget: Why Google won’t fix a security bug in almost a billion Android phones – “Rafay Baloch, an independent researcher, and Joe Vennix, an engineer at Rapid7 (a security and data analytics firm) found a serious bug in the WebView component of Android 4.3 and below. It’s an older bit of software that lets apps view webpages without launching a separate app, and the bug in question potentially opens up affected phones to malicious hackers. Android 4.4 and 5.0 are unaffected by the bug, but as 60 percent of Android users — that’s close to a billion people — still use Android 4.3 or lower, it still affects a lot of people.” – Troubling.

Readings: Cheap USB Keylogger, Ridiculous Reasons to Call 911, Charlie Hebdo’s Legacy

Ars Technica: Meet KeySweeper, the $10 USB charger that steals MS keyboard strokes – “KeySweeper is the brainchild of Samy Kamkar, a hacker who has a track record of devising clever exploits that are off the beaten path. The namesake of the Samy worm that inadvertently knocked MySpace out of commission in 2005, Kamkar has concocted drones that seek out and hack other drones and devised exploits that use Google Streetview and Google Wi-Fi location data to stalk targets. His hacks underscore the darker side of the connected world that makes it possible for bad guys to monitor our most private communications and everyday comings and goings.”

CBC: Worst 911 calls of 2014, from B.C.’s E-CommAs a former 911 dispatcher of ten years or so, I can sympathize. And as silly as they seem to be I believe them.

From a French leftist and longtime Hebdo reader, via @michaeldweiss:


Readings: Dreams, Dresses, Petraeus, Twitter, North Korea

via Morgan Housel:


Well, I’m glad that’s finally settled.

Verge: Prosecutors recommend felony charges against General Petraeus for email leak – “Today, The New York Times is reporting that the FBI and Justice Department have recommended felony charges against the General for leaking classified information to his mistress, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus hasn’t commented on the charges, but has apparently told the Justice Department that he has no interest in a plea deal.” – This’ll be fascinating to watch, if it happens.

Lifehacker: Falcon Pro Returns to the Play Store with Columns, Multi-Account, More Pretty terrible relaunch. Given that they stopped supporting the original Falcon Pro app, charge for extra features and the app itself doesn’t seem to be working all that well, I’m going to avoid this one. Reviews in the Play store are abysmal. A shame. I loved the original.

Ars Technica: FBI Director says Sony hackers “got sloppy,” exposed North Korea connectionSo an easily engineered false lead is their strongest evidence? Huh. Also – Comey takes the moment to fire shots at device encryption, signaling a renewed war by the government on secure communications.

via Theremina:

Meet the Robotic Spider Dress. Techno Couture from Anouk Wipprecht, a dress with insect-like robotic limbs which react to the proximity of others.