Why I use a fake birthday on Facebook

Anonymity, privacy, device fingerprintng

Last month I received a number of fun and friendly birthday wishes on Facebook. Though this was a sweet and kind gesture by each of the well-wishers,  I felt guilty.  That’s because … it was not my birthday! Facebook thinks my birthday is June 22, 1910, but the day, the month, and the year are all wrong.

So you may wonder:  Why  would I intentionally lie about my birthday on Facebook? Continue reading Why I use a fake birthday on Facebook

Women in Automotive (lots of us)

Women who work in automotive technology met at the British Bankers Club in Menlo Park last night for a lively discussion.  The women represented many facets of the industry — research scientists at the major automotive companies, new infotainment and VR startups, regulatory and compliance lawyers, venture capitalists, and, of course, automotive test solution suppliers, like IWL.

See how IWL works with automotive companies at: https://iwl.com/solutions/testing-communications-in-the-connected-car

Why Do Today’s Important News Stories Include Insufficient Technical Content?

Often when we read news stories, we find them lacking any technical substance.  It would seem that the writer aborted the story before asking any interesting questions that would allow us, as technical professionals, to fully understand the story and draw our own conclusions.

For example, over the last two years, Hillary Clinton’s private email server received extensive press coverage, with little technical content.  Network professionals know that an email server can be properly configured and made relatively secure.  This would require provisioning for authentication and privacy, encryption locally and on the wire, two factor authentication, and the whole gamut of security protocols and procedures.  So exactly how was Clinton’s email server configured? Continue reading Why Do Today’s Important News Stories Include Insufficient Technical Content?

Is it Okay to Make IPv4 Act Like IPv6?

Despite what one might read in certain techno-marketing publications, IPv4 is very much alive; it has not by any stretch yet been replaced by IPv6.

So it remains important that vendors of networking products do IPv4 and do it correctly.

But some vendors appear to be getting lazy.

In particular one of the largest vendors seems to be taking a shortcut that could leave users unable to communicate even though those users have otherwise perfectly usable packet service from their network providers. Continue reading Is it Okay to Make IPv4 Act Like IPv6?

Performance Testing of an IOT Application Controlling the ESP8266 Microcomputer Mounted on a Drone

Have you thought about how you will test the performance of IoT apps and drones? Our new video demonstrates performance testing of an IOT application controlling the ESP8266 Microcomputer mounted on a drone! As you might expect, as the drone flies further away from the wireless base station, performance degrades. So how can you emulate that in your test lab?

Watch the video to learn more:

Why did Waze and Google Maps fail?

Waze, the “…world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app” failed its users in the Santa Cruz, California area during the month of February 2017.  These users who depend on Waze to find out traffic conditions and alternate routes were not able to do so.  The same was true for Google Maps.  For example, when traffic stalled for up to three hours, Waze and Google Maps happily reported that conditions were just fine.

What happened?

Many Santa Cruz, CA residents commute from the beach community, and ever farther, to the Silicon Valley. They commute over highway 17, a four-lane twisty thoroughfare (two lanes in each direction), built over a mountain range.   Normal drive times span between 30 and 45 minutes each way.  Once your vehicle enters this highway, you are committed; you cannot turn around until you reach the other side of the mountain.

Continue reading Why did Waze and Google Maps fail?

Confide, a Favorite App of the White House, May Not Be Secure

A New York City based start-up company, Confide, offers a text messaging system “with encrypted messages that self-destruct.”  You can download the app at https://getconfide.com/

Confide lets its users “discuss sensitive topics, brainstorm ideas or give unfiltered opinions without fear of the Internet’s permanent, digital record and with no copies left behind.”  “Messages disappear forever after they are read once, making them as private and secure as the spoken word.”

Continue reading Confide, a Favorite App of the White House, May Not Be Secure

Checking for New SNMP Vulnerabilities

Cisco Systems recently announced a patch for a vulnerability in Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) functions of some Cisco routers.  “This vulnerability could allow an authenticated, remote attacker to cause high CPU usage on an affected device, resulting in a denial of service (DoS) condition. The vulnerability is due to an incorrect initialized variable. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by performing SNMP polling on MIBs and using only Interface Index (ifIndex) values. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to increase CPU usage to 99% on an affected device and cause a DoS condition.” 1

Continue reading Checking for New SNMP Vulnerabilities