Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Sunday, 26 November 2017

About Those Self-Driving Cars . . . .

Filed under: Politics, Resistance, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 8:38 PM (20:38)

One question for those reading this —

How many of you remember this commercial from OnStar that aired a few years ago?

There’s plenty more where that came from —

YouTube search: onstar stolen vehicle slowdown

YouTube search: onstar stolen vehicle slowdown commercial

I’m sure that when your car gets stolen or jacked away from you, this sort of thing sounds fantastic.

With that in mind, there is a downside to giving law enforcement this sort of access.

What happens when they have a warrant out for you, for whatever reason (drugs, terrorism, securities, unpaid taxes or fines, bench warrant, use your imagination here)?

If your car has one of these tracking systems built into it, they can go to the dealer, show their paperwork to whoever is working at the service desk, and not only demand a location for your vehicle, but real-time tracking information about it, and have the dealer rep shut it down when they need it shut down.

If you happen to be driving down the road when they give that order and your vehicle “loses” power, it will be your problem, not theirs.

There are ways around this sort of thing — white-hat hackers to the rescue here:

How to disable Onstar without losing bluetooth and without setting error codes

  1. Remove Onstar Module from vehicle.
  2. Remove the 6 T10 screws from the bottom of the Onstar Module.
  3. Pull up on the main board to separate it from the antenna board.
  4. Remove the Male/Male connector that connects the main board to the antenna board.
  5. Drop the main board back in without the Male/Male connector and reinstall the screws.
  6. Reinstall the Onstar Module in the vehicle and enjoy!

No error codes and no Onstar connectivity.

So when self-driving cars and trucks are mass-produced and in use by the general population, what can we expect?

I won’t be surprised if Congress mandates that the manufacturers include a backdoor to the cars’ operating system for law enforcement use. That way when the cops have a warrant for you, they don’t need to swarm (“stack”, in SWAT element parlance) up at your front door and conduct a legalized home invasion[1], they can just hack your car to deliver you to the local station, and lock you inside upon arrival.

And of course, the how-to on that will never, ever get out to the criminal element.

Is there a solution to this?

Yes — insist that you have control over who has access to your vehicle’s operating system and connectivity, so that anyone wanting this level of remote control has to have your explicit, knowing sign-off beforehand.

Or disconnect your car’s autonomous mode, unless that becomes impractical or de facto illegal[2].

Are you going to have that level of control with outfits like OnStar?

And then there’s the issue of operating system vulnerabilities. What sorts of holes will be exploitable by third parties, officially-sanctioned or freelancers?

At least with a cell phone, you can block the signal when you want by putting the phone into a plastic bag, then wrapping the bag with aluminum foil (a Faraday cage). I’m not sure how that would work with a car.

In the mean time, I recommend getting friendly with your local hacker space, 2600 meetup[3], or Linux User Group [LUG].


  1. Compare and contrast SWAT “dynamic entry” techniques versus home invasions conducted by the criminal element
  2. I refer to the self-driving cars in Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End
  3. As of September 2017: Meetup pages / sites, Meetup list
  4. Published in The Libertarian EnterpriseNumber 950, 26 November 2017
  5. Approximate reading level – 12
  6. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook / FetLife / Gab / Google Plus / / Liberty Society / Minds / Tea Party Community / Twitter / VK


Thursday, 15 October 2015

My First Run with antiX Linux

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , — mikewb1971 @ 9:58 PM (21:58)

Yesterday, I popped the live DVD that came included with Linux Format #201. Bundled on that disc was antiX 15-V.

First impressions —

  • The desktop GUI looks and feels a bit like KDE, but isn’t KDE. (I’m not a fan of KDE at all.)
  • It shuts down QUICK – with 5 seconds.
  • It’s very easy to customize the general look and feel of the desktop – there’s even a spot on the main menu for this.

Is antiX a keeper as Linux Mint seems to be? I’m not sure, but am willing to pursue further use.


  1. antiX Wikipedia page
  2. Official site of antiX


  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – / Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook page / Facebook profile / FetLife / Google Plus / MeetMe / tsu / Twitter / WordPress

Copyright © 2015 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++ and KWrite.

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Building Desktop 2: Part 2

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 6:14 PM (18:14)

Tonight I disassembled this old-style Western Digital external hard drive I’ve had sitting around for ages (model WD1200B008[1]). It turns out that the only drivers available for this one are for Windows 98 / ME / 2000 / XP – NOTHING for Windows 7. Nor does it connect to my Tosh Satellite C55D with Linux Mint 15[2] installed. Really aggravating.

So after I took it apart, I found that the unit is nothing more than a standard internal-type hard drive with a power port and USB port attached to it, so you can connect it to your desktop or laptop. Which means I can use it as an internal drive for the desktop I’m in the process of rebuilding.

Only one “problem” – there’s some data on the drive that I want to recover before I load an operating system onto it.

Solution – after I put the system together (ETA for that is presently mid-December), I’ll run LM 16 from whatever DVD drive I end up installing in the system as a live DVD[3], extract the data, and then have fun.

The plan is for DT2 to end up with a 16 GB solid-state drive[4] in the “master” drive slot, with this 120 GB drive from the external unit as a “slave” drive (along with another 20 GB drive I have laying around).

Or I could use the 20 GB unit as the “master” drive, and get the job done a little faster.

Using the 20 GB drive in the “master” slot, then all I need is a new motherboard (form factor micro-ATX) with chipset and fan, power supply (about 40) and a DVD drive.


  1. Google search – Western Digital external hard drive WD1200B008
  2. / Linux Mint Wikipedia page
  3. Live CD Wikipedia page
  4. Solid-state drive Wikipedia page


  1. Approximate reading level – 13.3
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Facebook / Google Plus / Twitter
  3. Current mood: content, horny, pensive
  4. Listening – Immortalis by Overkill

Copyright © 2014 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++ and KWrite.

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