‘Smart’ devices ‘too dumb’ to fend off cyber-attacks, say experts

Internet-connected gadgets vulnerable because they don’t have enough memory for safety software, use generic code and access web by default

“Smart” internet-connected devices such as webcams, kettles and baby monitors are “too dumb” to resist the kind of cyber-attack that brought down some of the world’s most popular websites on Friday, experts have warned.

Richard Sims, a product development consultant at the Technology Partnership, said such devices – commonly referred to as the “internet of things” – often connect to the internet by default and use stock code from open-source software, which makes them easier to hack.

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How did hackers use everyday devices to launch a cyber attack? – video report

On Friday the US and EU were subjected to a far-reaching cyber attack, which widely blocked internet access; some of the world’s most popular websites were shutdown, including Paypal, Twitter and Spotify. The hack was a botnet attack. Usually, botnet attacks use computers, but Friday’s attack was different because it used household items with internet connections to launch a huge denial of service (DDoS) assault. It is believed the attack came from China

Cyber attack: hackers ‘weaponised’ everyday devices with malware to mount assault

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Citroën Cactus car review – ‘Its metier is rugged jaunts across tricky terrain’

Bright red seatbelts look like ceremonial sashes: my kid has become an ambassador

Having a Citroën Cactus is a bit like painting your house pink; it sounds extraordinary and daring; it looks it for a while, but since you’re mostly inside it rather than outside, it’s your neighbours who have to live with it. I’m talking mainly about the side panels: bubbly sheets whose purpose was never plain to begin with. The Rip Curl keeps the panels and adds a number of driving modes (snow, sand, slipperiness), to ensure you’re ready for more than just bumping into things: you can now bump into things that are also driving on sand. It’s not obvious what the point is, for those of us not planning to reinvade Africa. It does have a mud setting, though, so is not totally inappropriate for the British weather.

That is its metier: rugged jaunts across tricky terrain. Round town, it doesn’t get much chance to show off, though it does have a pleasing interior. The driver’s seat is armchair-roomy, like going to a posh cinema. Bright red seatbelts give everyone the look of wearing a ceremonial sash, which can be discombobulating, especially when you catch your kids in the rear-view and try to remember when you made them the Icelandic ambassador. Heavily stylised stitching and natty door pulls make you feel as though you’re sitting inside 1930s luggage. The younger passengers were unimpressed with the pop-out back windows and moaned constantly about not being able to stick their heads out. (It was like being able to hear the internal monologue of a dog.) The satnav was so sluggish that on roundabouts you just had to get used to being told to take the exit you’d just passed.

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SeaFall: is the legacy format heralding a new era of board games?

After the success of Pandemic Legacy, designer Rob Daviau is back with a seafaring adventure. But is everyone ready for board games you throw away at the end?

Rob Daviau thought Cluedo was flawed. It was around the end of 2008, while Daviau was working as a designer at Hasbro, and he was brainstorming ideas which could breathe new life into the murder mystery classic. “At one point I made the comment: ‘I don’t know why they keep inviting these people over for dinner, they’re all mass murderers. Why would you keep inviting them back game after game?’”

Daviau was joking, but his boss thought there was something in his critique. What if there was a way for games to change every time they were played? They discussed ways in which decisions made in one gaming session might carry over into the next. An attempt at Cluedo: The Usual Suspects was swiftly abandoned but Daviau soon found another classic with potential: Risk – the somewhat interminable game of word conquest.

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Cyber attack: hackers ‘weaponised’ everyday devices with malware to mount assault

Hundreds of thousands of devices such as webcams and DVRs were infected with malicious code to create a so-called ‘botnet’ to target leading sites

The huge attack on global internet access, which blocked some of the world’s most popular websites, is believed to have been unleashed by hackers using common devices like webcams and digital recorders.

Among the sites targeted were Twitter, Paypal and Spotify. All were customers of Dyn, an infrastructure company in New Hampshire in the US that acts as a switchboard for internet traffic.

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