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Happenings in Geekland

Cartels, lethal hacks, and China ... in spaaaaaaaaccccee!



Anonymous vs. Wall Street, the CIA, Oakland PD, and now … drug cartels?

According to several online videos posted recently, hacktivist group Anonymous has threatened the Zetas cartel to release the names and addresses of members and their supporters in retaliation for the alleged kidnapping of an Anonymous member.

The alleged Anon was supposedly kidnapped in October in the Mexican city of Veracruz. Due to the decentralized nature of Anonymous, and the lack of PR from the cartel, details of the kidnapping remain scarce.

This isn’t the first time the cartels and online groups have clashed; according to online sources, in September the bodies of two online activists were found mutilated and hanging from a bridge. The bodies were a warning to users of social media who denounced cartel activities. Signs left near the bodies stated: “This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet … You better **** pay attention. I’m about to get you.”

To learn more about the cartel activities in Mexico, check out El Blog del Narco—milcincuenta.com (break out Google translate if you don’t speak Spanish), or keep an eye out on YouTube for more Anonymous videos.


Lethal medical device hacking just got easier

Forget the tinfoil hat; now you need a tinfoil insulin pump cover.

The Australian edition of Chief Security Office magazine is reporting the wireless hacking of an insulin pump has gone even further. First demonstrated at the Black Hat 2011 conference in August, an insulin pump was hacked and instructed to deliver a lethal dose.

The good news (such as it was) at the time was that the original hack required knowledge of the pump’s six-digit ID. At the recent focus 11 conference in Las Vegas, a researcher from McAfee demonstrated how the device’s ID could be obtained wirelessly.

What’s worse is that the wireless link insulin pumps use to communicate with blood glucose measuring devices is unencrypted and requires no authentication.

The article reports that within seconds of activating his scanning application, the researcher had obtained the target’s device ID and taken control.


The Chinese are at Gemini: Chinese rocket lifts on orbital docking mission

Chinese state media reported that an unmanned capsule was successfully launched atop a modified “Long March” rocket and is on its way to a rendezvous with the Tiangong-1 or “Heavenly Palace-1” that launched in September.

At that rendezvous, the Chinese plan to attempt their first orbital docking, which, if successful, will represent the first step toward the establishment of a permanent space station around 2020.

If successful, China would become only the third nation, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to orbit a permanent space station. As of press time, the first of the two planned docking operations was successful.

Contributor Nicholas Walter wants his own manned space flight program. And a pony. Contact him via Managing Editor Ashley Schwellenbach at aschwellenbach@newtimesslo.com.


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