Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Software induced hydraulic lock


Samsung South Africa has now announced that they would be remotely blocking all TVs looted from shops during this period. They will do this using a security feature known as Television Block Function which is found in all modern Samsung Television sets. The block will be activated on all Television sets looted from their warehouses in Durban last month.

Maybe Biden can ask Samsung to turn off all the Korean chips used in US Military equipment in A-stan... Biden is big on asking.

I am mildly curious about the process for software updates in vehicles and aircraft. Is it solely hardware like thumbdrives carried to the device and inserted and thence activated via a key-code (most secure system)? Or can it be done remotely the way Hughes Network turned off hacked unscramblers just before the Super Bowl one year?

It is difficult for me to believe that there is a total absence of "back-doors" that could be used to de-tune captured equipment. Coding changes as simple as tainting data-lookup tables in trajectory calculators or flooding a single cylinder of a diesel engine with fuel as it starts its pre-startup sequence. The "failures" could be randomly assigned to make it look like simple incompetence. 


  1. An even more interesting question is whether China knows about back doors we don't know about.

    1. It is my impression that we sell airframes and country-specific software. Airframes can last for fifty years but the computers and software get updated.

      That means that the software can be enhanced (which Israel does on their own) or "de-tuned".

      There are many ways aircraft can fail. One of the simplest is to not deploy the flaps but have the sensors indicate they were.

      Fly-by-wire is not always your friend.

  2. Samsung's block function is tied to the "smart" features of their sets with built-in networking, the website states "blocking will come into effect when the user of a stolen television connects to the internet"

    So if you disable the Wifi/Ethernet and just use a settop box or other HDMI source, no block.

  3. While I'm sure that some equipment has backdoors, I doubt all has it, especially remote ones. And the more complex, expensive systems like aircraft and radar will need maintenance that they can't give... But the Chinese and Russians will be interested in that stuff, just like the US buys foreign stuff when it can...

  4. One would hope we engineered some ways to disable "lost" or captured equipment remotely.

    Something about how the whole Afghanistan withdrawal is being executed tells me I'm expecting way too much from these people.

  5. There's a whole science and industry in what you're describing, but the majority of it is Classified. However, to give a taste, read this article. It gives a hint of what can be done:
    Also, denial of crypto-keys works...
    Wandering Neurons


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