Thursday, March 21, 2019

Your WiFi Password Hacked from Your Lightbulbs


So you have your WiFi password all secured, right? Now you feel confident enough to set up your smart light bulbs to go on or off or even dim at your command. If you’re really smart enough, you can set them to dim or brighten to match what you’re watching on TV, like reruns of Star Trek or your DVDs of Babylon 5. And everything is secure, right? Think again.






photo by Elgato

Your smart bulbs store your WiFi password. If you casually throw away these bulbs, any enterprising info thief can dumpster dive and derive your password from these innocent bulbs. And it pretty much goes downhill from there. This was pointed out by boingboing, but if you want the profanity-free summary, go to this forum.

This flaw may be a key plot point to one of my future stories. Do you want to sneak into a secure facility? Get one of the discarded lightbulbs (or something that seems just as innocuous), hack into the security system, then make sure the system doesn’t sense you. Just make sure you use your power for good.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Backstreet Like It’s 1999


I’m going to see the Captain Marvel movie for research purposes. It’s set in the 1990s, which they make very clear in the trailer by having her crash-land into a Blockbuster’s video store in the trailer. So . . . what’s the research?

One of my urban fantasy novels, Werewolf in the Fold, is set squarely in 1999. The following scene has James walking through the drab brown cubicles of his office—yes, that’s how they looked before the nicer gray cubicles came in. There are no werewolves in this scene. Or are there?

#

He passed a brown corner that had suddenly sported a bumper sticker that read “I am the Anti-Spice.” What? The Spice Girls had imploded a couple years ago. Now there was the crappy rivalry between The Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, which had led to the festering growth of other boy bands. James wanted to remark about being stuck making fun of an old fad, if only he knew the joker who had placed it there well enough to—

He felt eyes on his back. James looked over his shoulder at some cubicles near Robert’s office. A couple women were talking to each other, heads visible over the cubicle wall that divided their desks. But they were looking at him and grinning, as if they approved of his scent.


I AM THE
ANTI-SPICE




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