Weekly News Roundup 15/8/2016

This week, we dissect the cadaver of #censusfail, watch blockers unblock blocker blockers and find out why you key might not be enough to lock your car.

census2016Ok, this should be the last we have to hear about this for a while.

I have been following the mess that is the 2016 Census and a few technical details have come to light. Long story short a bit of high-level bungling has taken place which has caused comedy of errors. Hopefully people are able to log back in and the reputation of the Australian Bureau of Statistics remains intact but I doubt it.

My latest and hopefully last update can be found here.

Adblock Plus is a bit of a hero of the ad-weary.

no_facebookIt makes a free web browser plug in that simply makes advertisements disappear from the webpages you visit. Not only does this mean you don’t have to put up with constant marketing for stuff you might have searched for last week but in some cases it protects your computer from infections that come bundled in with malicious advertisements (look up malvertising).

That is until recently when Facebook possibly the biggest advertising medium on the planet decided to block Adblock and it’s ilk from doing their thing by changing the code that alerts Adblock plus to the presence of sponsored posts and adverts.

Adblock Plus responded by changing the code to cater for the changes and we were back to square one again. Since Facebook can’t order Adblock Plus to stop what they are doing (because it is not illegal nor is it messing with Facebook controlled code) they will simply have to keep modifying code until one of them just gives up.

Other content providers (like Yahoo) simply plead and whine at you when you visit their sites with ad blocking turned on stating that they rely on advertisers to make money.

Welcome guys! We have ringside seats to a shoving match.

Original story here.

Got a VW car made between 1995 and 2016? Chances are thieves can unlock it without your keys.

rolljamKeyless entry systems, the joy of avoiding dealing with cumbersome door locks could mean that your car can be unlocked by a nearby device that costs less than $50.

The device first demonstrated at DefCon 2015 has given rise to a research paper from the University of Birmingham that describes the flaws in the keyless locking system that can be bypassed with a technique called rolljamming.

Rolljamming is a way to defeat rolling codes used in keyless entry systems as well as garage remotes. It works by jamming and intercepting codes emitted by the key fob to then use again later to gain access.

The device jams the signal and captures the first transmission from the fob and then stores it. The user thinking that the fob did not work the first time then presses the fob again. This time, the jammer transmits the first signal it stored previously to open the door but also captures the second transmission which is then stored to be used at a later time to get unauthorised access.

Deviously simple and cheap to employ, this method has been highlighted as a problem for most systems that rely on radio signals to activate remote locking or remote motors you would find in cars and automated garage doors.

Check your owners manuals to find out how to secure your car against this kind of exploit. In most cases it involved using the key in your door to lock which effectively disables the remote central locking.

Article on the research paper here and the original 2015 report from Wired here.