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Microsoft Foils USB Hack In Latest Windows Update

When a USB stick is connected to a PC the Windows operating system enumerates the device.  In simple terms, this means Windows will check to see what type of device was just connected, a HID device, Mass Storage Devicet etc, it will also check the speed of the device. During the enumeration process some registry entries are made into the Windows registry…this is where a hacker could get into your system and take control.  This is the update Microsoft issues earlier this week to fix the security flaw. Since the vulnerability is triggered during USB enumeration, no user intervention is required. In fact, the vulnerability can be triggered when the workstation is locked or when no user is logged in, making this an unauthenticated elevation of privilege for an attacker with casual physical access to the machine. Other software that enables low-level pass-through of USB device enumeration may open additional avenues of exploitation that do not require direct physical access to the system. So be sure to update your PC with the update notification comes through – it’s in your best interest. Full Microsoft article Continue Reading

Tech Hack: Alesis IO Dock with USB Hub

The Alesis IO Dock is a great product for iPad musicians – this small hack makes it even greater. It overcomes one limitation of the IO Dock: You can’t simply hook it to a USB hub. So I decided to build in an additional hub – which allows me to hook up additional class-compliant interfaces like my M-Audio Axiom master keyboard, and power them via the hub. Yes, it works. No, it hasn’t been thoroughly tested yet. So try at your own risk. Full Tutorial (nice) Continue Reading

DIY: USB Slingshot for Angry Birds

Angry Birds is a great game for the first couple weeks.  New levels, new designs, new challenges.  However, the game gets a little stail for the 30+.  Today, we came across something which might re-kindle the fire for the 30-somethings who got burned out after a couple weeks. How about taking the slingshot in the game and making it real life?  This is exactly what this DIY hacker did. Over at MBed, the DIY tutorial for a USB slingshot gives step by step instructions, source code, design schematics and more for you to successfully remake a USB slingshot. Source:  MBed. Continue Reading

USB Light Back For TV or Monitor

I think we can agree that “USB light back” is not a common tech term among the geeks out there.  What I mean is a LED system powered by USB which provide background lighting to your TV or monitor. USB light back takes your TV one step further by supply complimentary tones and colors to what is currently being displayed on your TV.  Gives you a theater effect. The only way to fully understand, is to watch: A quote from the creator:
The software analyzes the image on your monitor and transfers its data by USB to the Lightpack board. This board lights the surface behind a monitor, TV or laptop by means of RGB LEDs of the corresponding colors. The effect reminds us of the illumination of Phillips Ambilight TVs most of all.
The lightpack is available for all via Google Code download link.  For the more advanced, but an very effective tool to enhance your TV experience. Continue Reading

USB Hack: Control USB Missile Launcher with Microsoft Kinect

Granted I didn’t think of this concept, but looking back, it’s odd this USB hack took as long as it did.  Hacker, Jonas Wagner, was able to rig his Microsoft Kinect to a USB missile launcher.  From what we’ve read, Jonas wanted to control a missile launcher with his Kinect, only problem is that he didn’t have access to missiles.  Next best thing was a USB missile launcher. To give him some feedback about position, the first thing Jonas did was mount a video cam above the USB missile launcher.  Next step was polish up his Python skills and incorporate the libfreenect library for control. Using his hands to position the USB missile launcher, Jonas can rotate the base unit, angle the barrel up or down and fire the launcher – all thorugh his Kinect. Video after the jump of Jonas shooting his brother[?] Continue Reading

USB Hack: USB Traffic Stop Light

Tim from Imagitronics posted a neat little USB hack about taking gadget traffic light and connecting to it via USB. He retrofitted the generic blinking traffic light with a USB module and wrote a simple Mac application to change the status of the red/yellow/green lights. This project was born out of the frustration after being constantly interrupted by people who could not tell that he was already busy. I think it a great idea. What I’d like to see is the traffic light also be used for email notifications.  Say green means you have less then 10 emails, yellow means Continue Reading

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