Computer Tech Motoring/Biking Security

Security issues invade non-traditional areas

We’re mostly used to malicious attacks being associated with computer, servers, mobiles and other IT-related systems. But more and more, computing is being pushed into areas that aren’t traditional for these attacks yet are fast becoming critical areas.

InternetOfThings (IoT ) devices and automotive applications are starting to appear on hackers’ radars.

Some security researchers recently used a vulnerability in the Jeep’s Uconnect service to gain control of some critical functions of the Cherokee including braking and steering – that is very worrying. Those action sequences in spy movies from only a few years ago where cars are remotely controlled, are suddenly reality.

One has to wonder at the rational ( or stupidity ) behind Jeep’s decision to merge control and infotainment systems – isn’t it obvious that issues with the internet-accessible infotainment system will enable access to the control system?

The problem is set to become much worse because IoT is spreading to every facet of our lives and security is not always on developers’ minds when designing new products. ADSL modems and routers are perfect examples of this – many never receive any updates during their lifetime, others remain full of holes even with updates and considering the home environment these are often used in, end-users don’t patch or don’t know to patch these devices.

The recent installment of Terminator ( genisys ) proposes a reality where everyone will be installing the latest version of the perpetrator’s Operating System – at that point, Skynet takes over. Considering the spread of software and IoT in the last few years ( think fridges, washing machines, children’s toys, cars, mobiles, kiosks, etc. ) this as not as far fetched as you might think.

Malicious parties have been infecting and controlling millions of devices around the planet for a number of years, performing denial of service attacks, enacting financial fraud and generally causing massive mischief.

What can we do? Not a whole lot, except protect the systems that we have control over and make sure they don’t become part of the problem. Everything else? Well it’s a bit of a crap-shoot.


This weekend’s racing

Well well well. Motogp has certainly shaken things up a bit this weekend past. With a little bit of stirring as well. Who knew that the recently revised regulations would throw up such a hornet’s nest …

Lorenzo out before the 1st lap was even over.  Bautista down while in 2nd. Smith out while in 5th. Rossi finishing 2nd and giving Marquez a real go of it. The dusty track conditions didn’t help the fallers much. Very interesting times to say the least.

The factory and open classes still don’t make a huge amount of sense to me especially with Ducati straddling the 2, but let’s wait and see. The Yamahas while initially struggling in practice and qualifying, did show good pace in the main race so hopefully this will be a good even season.

On another note and not quite racing, a big thanks to Mike Hopkins Motorcycles for the track day this Saturday past. Really great fun and the first time I had a chance to really get the R1 moving. She’s a beast!


WSB Aragon/MotoGP Assen

As always, Superbikes on Sunday was fantastic. There was close racing in all classes including the premier class. In WSBK Race 1, Biaggi narrowly beat Melandri to the line. In Race 2, the roles were reversed and Melandri came home 1st, with Davies, Laverty and Biaggi hot on his heels.

In SuperSport, Cluzel wiped out early with a front-end slide after a restart from an accident on the start line ( Scholtz was hit from beihnd by Polzer after stalling ). Sofuoglu then made a bizarre move on Fabian Foret with some sort of head-butt manouvre at top speed on the back straight and was given a 3-place drop which he didn’t take, and was subsequently black-flagged. Sheridan Morais got a well-deserved 3rd place while fellow SA rider Ronan Quarmby came in 6th.

Moto 3 and Moto 2 were as usual, a fight fest of note. Marquez took the Moto2 race with Maverick Vinales winning the Moto3 race. The MotoGP was a bit of a boring affair – Stoner took a dull win.


WSBK Donnington

Wow! Race 2 for the Superbike class at Donnington will go down as probably one of the best I’ve ever seen. I remember Fogarty and Chili at Assen many years ago; add another 3 riders and you’ve got yesterday’s race 2. Haslam, Melandri, Biaggi, Rea and Sykes all jockeying for position over the 2nd half of the race. I can’t remember how many overtakes there were but there were a lot, with passes being made at almost every turn! And while Rea might be seen as the monkey for knocking Haslam into Melandri on the last corner, Melandri needs to take responsibility for going in too hot and leaving the door open for Rea. One also has to mention Checa riding into the back of Laverty at the start of the race and subsequently taking his team-mate Guiliano and Liberty Effenberg’s Smrz out. A DNF for Checa means that things are really hotting up at the sharp end of the points table.

Melandri’s 1st race win ( with Haslam in 2nd ) is also an impressive first for the BMW Italia team. Pity they couldn’t pull it through in the second race as well.

In a slightly calmer SuperSport race, our South African boys mostly did well. Morais finished with a sixth place and Quarmby 7th. Morais had a slow start but a steady race, something he needed to get over his recent spate of DNFs. Quarmby did well to pick up a few positions on his starting place, while Matthew Scholtz unfortunately went down mid-race.

All n all, a fantastic race weekend which puts the misery of Monza well behind us.


SBK Imola

Great racing yesterday from Imola. Pity though to see Checa run away with it. Sykes needs to get a bit more longevity in his tyres and there are a few others that need to stick with Checa from the start ( eg. Haslam ). I have to say though that Jonathan Green grates my chops – if he mentioned Haslam’s broken leg one more time …

In the SuportSport, our guys were going great guns until Sheridan decided to throw it down the road – what was that all about? But Quarmby was there to pick up the pieces and took a well deserved 3rd.

The SuperStock race showed that the Panagale is immediately competitive off the start of the season. That does not bode well for everyone else although the BMW is hanging on there.

General Motoring/Biking

Traffic, accidents and death in SA

Accident statistics in South Africa are, I think, mostly regarded as fiction – it’s rare to find traffic death rates as high as in this country, so most drivers ( in this country ) appear to ignore the stats/reality and simply go about their daily business, driving without care or regard for law or other road users. ‘It won’t happen to me’ they think. I’m the better driver. There’s a certain aggressiveness about most drivers. They’ll go through a stop street, exceed the speed limit or break some other traffic law; but the fault is never theirs, responsibility abdicated. Herd mentality reigns, if everyone else does it, why shouldn’t I?

I saw the aftermath of an accident earlier this year in which 2 teenagers on a moped were killed because someone in front of them decided to make a u-turn across a solid lane divider. The melted road from the ensuing vehicle fire, at the corner Bosmansdam and Giel Basson, bears a stark reminder that a large percentage of drivers ‘just don’t care’. Until it’s too late of course.

I watch every day as drivers ignore the stop street in front of my house, a number not even bothering to slow down. I watch every day as car after car goes through the red traffic lights on Bosmansdam Bridge. I watch every day as moms ignore the stop streets outside Edgemead Primary and at the corner of Letchworth and Thomas Bowler. I watched yesterday as the Bantam bakkie ignored the stop street on Hendrik Verwoed and almost slammed into the back of the Audi that had just entered the lane ( legally ). I recently saw a father driving with his daughter, who was controlling the steering wheel, on his lap. I watch a family member of mine living with an incredible amount of pain, as a result of injury from an accident.

I watch all this and hope that no one will be in an accident and die. Inevitably, someone will be and will die.

Is it such a common occurrence that we simply are de-sensitised? Or is it that most of us are just plain lazy and couldn’t be bothered to stop at that stop street or driver sober? A combination I think. Friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues, delivery men, truck drivers, taxis, doctors, businessmen, mothers, lawyers, politicians – everyone ignores road law.

Call me cynical. Call me insensitive. Call me whatever you want. But when someone drives through a red light a kills you, will it matter? Will it matter that you didn’t try and make a difference by scolding your brother for speeding? Will it matter that you said nothing when your colleague went through the red light? Will it matter that you yourself were intoxicated and still drove?

It won’t matter at all.

Sensitivity is irrelevant to the person that dies. It’s too late then.

Do your part today – respect human life, drive according to the law and teach others to do the same

  • there are 13,000+ fatal accidents, 40,000 serious injuries and 500,000 accidents per year in SA
  • 70%+ drivers do not stop correctly at stop streets
  • 1 in 10 drivers will go through a red traffic light 3 out of 10 times ( where an orange light has presented an opportunity to stop )
  • 1 in 100 drivers will go through a red traffic light 1 out of 10 times ( where a red light is already present )
  • 90% of accidents in South Africa are due to lawlessness
  • “Human factors” – such as non-adherence to traffic rules and aggressive, reckless, negligent or inconsiderate driver behaviour – are the major contributing factors in accidents, playing a causal role in 70-80% of all accidents
  • “Vehicle factors” such as poor lights, smooth or damaged tyres and poor brakes contribute to a further 10-15% of accidents
  • Poor road conditions only contribute to 5-10% of accidents
  • A full 2 thirds of readers of this article don’t stop at stop streets

The arrivealive website has a large amount of relevant information and the Safe Driving Techniques section is especially important. The car-accidents website shows a grim reminder of the reality of vehicle accidents.


SBK: Donnington

There was mixed fortunes for all classes in this weekend’s WSBK series. The biggest news of course is Haga’s massive high side coming into Coppis in the 2nd SBK heat. It was initially thought that he had fractured T8 and 9 vertebrae but after careful inspection, these were found to be sealed and from an earlier incident. The issues now relate to a fracture ulna and scapula. Screews and paltes were inserted into the forearm but the shoulder will just need to be rested. Even considering the seriousness of the injuries, you can bet Nori will be back at Brno in a month’s time.

The first race saw Biaggi sticking close to Spies for most of the race but it ended that way and Biaggi never really challenged. Biaggi also in second in the 2nd heat made a real hash of Melbourne loop and slid off. He got back on and promptly almost took Lagrive out. Bad boy but typically Biaggi. Haslam took a well fought 2nd place with Byrne and Fabrizio right behind. Thins are really tight at the top of the log with only 14 points separating Spies and Haga.

Cal Crutchlow took honours again in the SuperSport class after Laverty slid of early in the race. Gary McCoy, even though going on antient, took a well deserved 3rd place for Triumph.


On a lighter note, MotoGP …

This past weekend’s MotoGP had some of the best racing since Stoner and Rossi’s duel at Laguna Seca last year. Lorenzo and Rossi tagged each other for most of the race until the 3rd lap to go, when Rossi made his move. From then on, there were a number of lead changes per lap until the last with Lorenzo leaving the door open on the last corner, allowing Rossi through to take his second win of the season. The post-race interviews showed a very miffed-looking Lorenzo – he certainly can’t have any gripes with Rossi as the racing was clean and fair. You leave the door open, you lose …

The 250cc’s saw an easy win for Bautista when Simoncelli slid of the track near the start and Barbera could not stay on the same pace. A deserved win.

The big news in 125cc is that Simoni Corsi has split from Jack&Jones and is moving to Fontana for the rest of the season.


WSBK and MotoGP


The previous weekend’s WSBK races at Assen were the usual bomb, starting with a 3-way battle up front in the premier class, race 1. Haga spent most of the race leading Spies and and fast-riding Leon Haslam until the last lap, when Spies made a last ditch effort in a very fast part of the circuit to move past Haga for the win. Haslam finished 3rd also recording the fastest lap of the race.

The 2nd race went almost in the same direction with Spies sprinting out the blocks to lead the rest of the field on the first lap. Unfortunately he went into lap 2 too hot and slid out on a corner leaving Haga with a good lead which he kept to the end. Haslam, now in second, went on to finish in the same position increasing his tally of points and keeping him in contention for the championship.

The Supersport 600 race was the usual start-to-finish mad dash with Laverty just pipping Cal Crutchlow at the last.  Lascorz came 3rd, even though he led almost to the end but was overtaken by both Laverty and Crutchlow on the last lap.


Rossi put on a splendid display of riding at Jerez this weekend past, chipping away at Danni Pedrosa’s lead initially and then going past to stay out in front. Stoner brought his under-par Ducati home in 3rd after nearly having some attention from a slow starting Lorenzo, who tipped his bike in on a corner and lost the front end. Du Puniet finished in 4th and Melandri brought the non-developed Hayate Kawasaki home in 5th – a great result for the team. This leaves a very tight field at the top of the championship but I think that Rossi’s consistency might take him to another title at the end of this year.

The racing in the 250cc class was as fierce as ever with 4 riders battling at the front for the whole race – Bautista, Aoyama, Simoncelli and Barbera. The lead changed continuously throughout most of the race with Simoncelli and Barbera starting to fall of the pace near the end. Bautista wanted this home win badly but Aoyama moved in front of him on the very last corner to take the victory; just as Bautista had taken the win in Motegi, Aoyama’s home race.

Bradley Smith took his first win in 125cc racing with a huge margin over the rest of the field. Not known for his starts, Smith got away well with Simon in tow but on lap 5 Simon has a nasty high side and Smith spent the rest of the race up front and alone. Iannone, championship leader, fell off on lap 1 so things are very tight at the top of the log.


Twitter/LinkedIn malware

Most social networking and Web 2.0 sites have been victims of malware at some point or another and LinkedIn is no different. The latest threat relates to many phony profile pages which tempt users with pictures of nude celebrities. When the user clicks on one of the links, they are taken to an external site which attempts to launch an iFrame browser exploit and then redirects the user to other potentially harmful sites.

Earlier this week, Twitter itself was the victim of both a large phishing attack as well as the hacking an defacing of an number of celebrity accounts.

Moral of the story, think carefully about clicking on those links.


Balistic Bayliss goes out in style

Troy Bayliss took both heats of yesterday’s end of year meeting to cap a great career in bike racing. Leading from the front in both heats, no one came close to his pace except for Haga who retired with a mech gremlin in the first race and jump started the second. You could see the emotion on his face as he toured around the track with his helmet off after the last race – surely all greats feel the same on their last outing. Including Michael Schumacher who was prowling around the start line at the beginning of the race.

Talking about the track, what a great effort by the Portuguese and this is certainly a meeting to look forward to on the calendar. Kudos to Haslam for taking 3rd in the second race – this certainly bodes well for his participation next year in the premier class. He just has to do something about those failing legs on the entry to corners. Fabrizio had one bad race knocking Biaggi off first time around, and then came second for the last race – hot and cold you might say.

Cal Crutchlow put in 2 good efforts as well with Corser picking up 2nd in the championship with 2 reasonable efforts. It was great to see Brendon Roberts take the Stock 100 championship but you have to say that Xavier Simeon through it away with his front end slide. Sofoglu got back to his winning ways in the Supersport race but I have to say his remonstrations half way through the race were not quite suited.

Anyhow, great season of racing and can’t wait for next year. What with newcomers BMW and Aprilia, and Haga on the Ducati, it’s going to be very interesting.


MotoGP Malaysia

125cc saw Talmasci take his first win of the season and Simoncelli clinched the 250CC World Championship with one more round to go. The heat played a prominent role as the air temp was around 38 deg C for both these races and Simoncelli looked completely done in at the end of the race.

In the premier class, Rossi stalked an injured Pedrosa for the first half of the race and took over until the end winning his 9th race of the year – no mean feat with a 42 deg C air temp taking it out of everyone. Davidiziosa and Hayden had a great dice the whole race through but Hayden couldn’t make any passes stick and came home in 4th. One more to go at Valencia and there’s just pride left to play for.