Beware of the Snake Oil

So browsing through my FB feeds this morning I saw this “paid advertisement.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 7.15.30 AM

I all the sudden felt a recon red team exercise coming on. I go head and click on over to the website. There was a lot of snake oil in that page and as someone who understands this crap from a system’s perspective, any time you use wireless there are serious possibilities for remote vulnerabilities or exploits. So when I saw this line, my bull crap meter red lined.

Old wired technology. Traditional alarm companies want to put wires in your walls, because they know that ripping their wires out is hard and expensive.

On that above quote, let me tell you, removing wires is not that difficult. It’s called a pair of dykes, knife, spackle, and paint.  I can “remove” that wire in about 5 minutes for about 15 bucks. Actually I can remove every wire associated to any alarm system.  Hell if it’s actually dropped into an electrical box, just put a blank cover plate on it for like 10 cents.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept and give it two thumbs up from that stand point and for most burglars this will probably be fine, until someone makes an App that turns off, disables, or denies service to any SimpliSafe system. Given the sensors communicate wirelessly with a central base station, this seems not only possible, but very within the realm of possibility.

Further as it’s a wireless system said app can now tell me which homes have something inside that they feel the need to protect using a system that I am now capable of disabling.

As I said above, great concept but if one thing as an engineer has taught me, especially with some time in product development, I have never seen someone come in with an idea and really consider security and take it serious from the start. It’s always an afterthought and treated like a bug. Even more than that, wireless is often thrown around like a buzzword as if it’s somehow better just because.  There are serious benefits to wireless but like everything it’s a trade-off.

If I had extra time now I’d totally pick up a system to beat the crap out of. My advice, it’s probably better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but eventually it will be the equivalent of painting an invisible radiating target on your house. For the most part you’re not protecting your house from people like me which is the one saving grace. That said, this will be a joke to any determined attacker for the reasons outlined above.

If they want to send me a system to evaluate, seriously not asking cause my time is precious right now, I’m more than happy to withdraw my basic observations above should they be proven wrong.

*Again I haven’t actually dug into said product, this is based on a review of their site literature and advertising. I am merely providing this as an educational service and food for thought. If you’re from SimpliSafe and feel epic butt-hurt from the above, contact me and we can chat about it.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Quote of the Day – Lyle (5/12/2014)

To say that gun restrictions fail to reduce crime is a bit like saying that rape and robbery “fail to advance love and charity”.

LyleComment to Quote of the day—Chris and Jeff Knox
May 11th, 2014


[The thing is, many would find this a humorous joke. I can't laugh through because honestly he nailed it.

I did see something else interesting last night on the news.  A man was eager to get people who lost family in the Oso mudslide in front of state legislators to push for more logging regulations. He even stated while we don't have the facts currently, we do have emotional support and hopefully that should be enough for emergency measures.

Excuse me?  I swear people would rather live in a world governed by emotion instead of reason and logic.  They'd rather live by their feelings and intuition even if all facts, logic, and reason proved those things to be false.

Where did everyone go and how the hell can I get off the crazy train? -B]

 

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

SSCC #566: Kern County

The victim reported that two deputies went to her home in the Tehachapi area at about 11:00 p.m., to investigate a burglary involving a man who was at her home. 

While speaking to deputies in her home she was handcuffed and led into a room by one of the deputies to be searched.  While being searched she was sexually assaulted by the deputy, according to reports.

Violated not once but twice.  First by the criminal who stole her property and then by the agent of the state sent there to investigate the crime.  This isn’t the first time something like this has happened either.

Not only that but he returned and assaulted her again.

State Sponsored Criminal #566: Gabriel Lopez

Because when a woman reports a crime you can just commit one against her yourself right?

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Quote of the Day – Michael Bane(4/9/2012)

Yes, the words of victims have special poignancy, but what they don’t have is any special truth. Grief drives us to look toward the heavens and demand an answer from any nearby Deity. Grief drives us to demand a solution to the fundamental insoluble problem, which is that the world is as it is. Bad things happen, often to good people, and grief drives us to…do something.

To me there is no greater sin…and I use the word “sin” specifically…than harnessing grief to serve a crass political agenda.

Michael BaneRIVERDANCE With Blood

April 9th, 2012


[QTFMFT!  The other side of this debate points at us as if we are heartless and have absolutely no empathy with the victims.  That is merely a tactic they use to dehumanize their "enemy".

We know that being a victim doesn't make you magically knowledgeable about a subject.  We know that the only thing it does is give you the perspective of being a victim.  It doesn't mean that because you say "Doing X" will actually make it better.  Other than being a victim, what supporting facts and evidence do they have?

This comes right back to the rules for coping with tragedy.

There are those who hate those rules because emotion is the only argument they have. -B]

 

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Quote of the Day – RobertaX (2/25/2013)

Defending yourself is not a matter of “punishment.”  You’re not out to correct your assailant’s behavior, you’re wanting to stop it, as quickly and effectively as possible, with the least collateral damage.  Whatever does that is what you should do.

RobertaXPizza Robber Update
February 25, 2013


[I've never quite understood the method of thinking that ties self-defense into punishment.  Can I not kill someone until after they've killed me?  Is that the new standard now?  When it comes to rape then, can a woman only rape her assailant back after she's been violated?  Why is she not allowed to stop the threat.  Yes some times stopping the threat does involve the assailant's body reaching room temperature but that's the risk of their profession.

You know how the assailant would still be alive?  By not attacking his intended victim.  Why is this so hard for some people to understand?

In the words of Malcolm Reynolds:

“I didn't kill him, he killed himself. I just carried the bullet for a while.”

The criminal made his choice and in the middle of the crime the victim can, and should, do all that he can to protect himself and family.  Someone is threatening force against them and they are not and should not be required to be mind readers to determine if the threat is real or just words.  If you use something that looks like a gun in a threatening manner, it's a gun, and I will not fault the individual who defends himself from you.

The criminal takes a risk that someone might defend himself, and if the criminal continues to fight even when presented with force being applied back from the victim,  the onus for the outcome lies squarely with the aggressor.  Stop blaming victims for the outcome of actions and choices made by criminals. -B]

 

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

A Lesson About Safe Storage Devices

So I have seen this before but I figure it’s a nice refresher.

Note the results, still think those little boxes you see will keep your property safe?  Especially those quick access boxes some end up buying when they’re stuck in one of those states lacking in freedom and pushing tyranny.  Still think the arguments are really about your safety or preventing theft?

If you think curious kids can’t figure out how to pick a lock, you obviously never saw me as a child.  I figured out how to pick locks at first just with paper clips.  Making my own tension fork and rake to pop simple locks.  Eventually I got my hands on a real set.  Yeah, beyond a real safe and educating your children, you’re not going to do much other than increase curiosity.

So consider this a public service announcement and a warning.  If you’re using any of these items, be damn sure of their capabilities and weaknesses.  In so doing, be sure to use them in a manner consistent with their abilities.  I happen to fully agree with the presenters final conclusions.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Why Would You Ever Need a Magazine With More Than 10 Rounds

Lately people have been throwing around the need argument.  It is an argument that honestly doesn’t really matter.  Drunk driving kills how many people every year and does anyone need to drive?  Why not just use public transportation?  Why does anyone need to drive themselves from point A to B?  But again, the argument doesn’t matter, it’s pointless.  Does law enforcement limit themselves to 10 rounds? What about the military?  But they’re different I hear you cry?  Are they?  Do they really need 30 round magazines that turns their guns into mass killing machines?  They should just reload like the rest of us!

1349368116_8392_why30rounders

Image by Oleg Volk.

As I am writing this I am coming down off a serious adrenaline dump.  I had wrapped my knee for the night and was dressed in such a manner as not to rapidly exit my door grabbing my weapon and having nothing more than was on the belt of my pants.

Let me start at the beginning.  My local neighborhood gun shop is a block away.  The owner is quite literally my neighbor.  I wave hi to him and his wife on my way to work every morning, we are literally on the same street.  I am merely an additional 100 yards from his business than he is from his house.  Due to my proximity, my willingness, and the fact I hang out and help because one of his sons is my age and he’s a cool guy I’m basically on the business roster.

Early this month they had to attend their buy show in Vegas along with SHOT show.  The shop owner closed up and he and the regular employees headed down for a “business vacation”.  While gone I was put on the alarm system call list, still am actually.  If any of the sensors goes off, they called the shop followed by my phone.

Tonight the alarm went off.  I missed the call and rolled out after my voicemail buzzed.  The shop owner was ahead of me and I texted his son immediately I heard the voice mail and head out.  They were finishing up clearing the building as I walked in the front door.  I had my side arm and a few other tools but I was brining up the rear so bad I wasn’t too worried.  We met up, did some debugging, notice that some of the sensors use batteries and we replaced all of them.  We reactivated the system and went home.

After the first adventure, I figured my night was over, went to a Robb life style of “Pants Free” and wrapped up my left knee.  Two hours later, my phone rang again.  I was out of the house in under 2 minutes, with my pants on, rifle, side arm, and knife.  I merely had the immediate possessions I was able to grab.  I went flying out of the house and flew down my road at about 60 mph flew into the parking lot and slid to a stop just before the front door.  I slipped past the front door, unlocked it, and proceeded to clear the building carefully and methodically. Nothing was out-of-place, nothing was wrong other than the alarm had gone off again.

oleg-volk-cop-with-rifle-1

Image by Oleg Volk.

I bring all this up because I want to emphasize a point.  I left the house with merely the equipment I could grab.  I wasn’t tossing on magazine carriers.  I wasn’t tossing on multiple weapons.  I grabbed one weapon that total gave me 61 rounds to put on target.  I grabbed one weapon that could I could accurately and easily manipulate in the variety of conditions seen within the shop.  I had my side arm on my belt which gave me an extra 13+1 should my primary weapon fail.  If I had not left my firearm clipped to my belt, it would have been left at home.

Now some would say, I didn’t need to go down there, or go inside.  Police response where I live is 30-45 minutes if we’re lucky.  Further the cost of a false alarm is expensive and best dealt with.  Yes it could be considered a high risk maneuver, so is letting the criminals inside steal firearms and ammunition.  I’m comfortable entering that environment, I’m familiar with it, I know the layout, I know where I can find cover and concealment, and I know the better ways to get around to avoid kill zones.

Even more than that some would say, it isn’t my business so it isn’t my problem.  To them I would say, stay in suburbia, stay in the city, and leave those of us who like rural life to live among our like-minded neighbors in peace.  I would help my neighbor as he would help me.  Our community as a whole would be shamed by an event like this, and I will be damned if I will let the, “Let someone else deal with it” and “Not my problem” attitude take over.  The owner felt bad it interrupted my night, but in the end I told him I don’t care, doubly so because if anything was happening I don’t care if he’s on site first or I’m on site, the bottom line is the security of the business and the weapons inside.  I would rather them call me so I can give immediate support than have him out numbered in a worse situation waiting for the eventual police arrival.

The whole point of this  though is I was limited to what I could grab and head out the door with.  In this case my AR-15 and my side arm.  In the middle of the night someone is limited to what they can easily grab by their nightstand.  Be it a XDm 9 with a 20 round capacity or an AR-15 with a 30 round magazine. The point is any citizen deserves to be able to take as much fight with them as they possibly can at the drop of a hat.  Criminals do not call ahead or provide advanced notice and they will not give you a chance to go get more ammo.  Why do people like normal capacity magazines, because it’s less you have to worry about when something goes bump in the middle of the night.  It’s less you have to fiddle with.  No one has ever come back from a gun fight and said, “Damn, I wish I hadn’t brought so much ammo.”

*I have two 30 round magazines attached together like this in my rifle.  It was this that allowed me to quickly deploy with 61 rounds in hand.  I have a second set that will be taped up in the near future and relocated to quickly grab.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Quote of the Day – Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson(1/26/2013)

Had this protest been launched somewhere other than in the security-screening area, we would have a much different case. But Tobey’s antics diverted defendants from their passenger-screening duties for a period, a diversion that nefarious actors could have exploited to dangerous effect. Defendants responded as any passenger would hope they would, summoning local law enforcement to remove Tobey—and the distraction he was creating — from the scene.

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson – Aaron Tobey v Terri Jones

January 25, 2013


[First here's the background on the story.

A Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area won a trial Friday in his lawsuit seeking $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

Now let me translate Judge Wilkinson's quote for everyone.

Because our TSA agents and federal government so dislike those who disagree with the government infringing on personal liberties and freedom.  People should no longer have 1st Amendment protections to their ability peacefully protest the behavior of the agents infringing on their 4th Amendment rights.

The fact that our paid government agents would pursue and harass a man for an extra 90 minutes because he was willing to protest is evidence he should not be allowed to voice dissent.  The reason he shouldn't be allowed is because it compounds the ignorance and inability for the TSA to do its job thus making it more likely that an agency who has a track record of catching absolutely no-one to catch even fewer.

Instead the people should just silently undergo their mistreatment and act like good cattle and just get on the cattle car to the slaughter.  That way the TSA can continue stealing peoples private valuables to sell to others while under the protecting folds of working for the US Government.

Still think this whole thing is still really about making us safer?  The government does nothing but destroy and trample the rights and liberties of some to make others somehow feel they are safer.  When in fact the TSA guy just waves terrorists right on through because it's merely an illusion and nothing more.

Just remember, Judge Wilkinson obviously despises the 1st Amendment as much as he despises the 4th Amendment.  Thankfully his opinion was the dissenting one.  -B]

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.