Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

'Snow Crash' Comes To Google Glass: Vulnerable To Hijack By QR Code!

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 17, 2013

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Life imitating art – a building in San Francisco's SoMa district.

Liz Ganes at All Things D reports:

Google Glass security vulnerability that allowed an outsider to take control of the wearable computing device via QR code has been fixed…

… since Glass allows users to connect to Wi-Fi by taking a picture of a QR code, it’s possible that someone could trick a Glass wearer to unwittingly join an access point that allowed someone else to remotely control Glass and to stream the display via Bluetooth.

Google Glass Had a Vulnerability for Being Taken Over Via QR Code - Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD

This scenario is reminiscent of Neal Stephenson's seminal 1992 science fiction novel "Snow Crash" in which the protagonist (Hiro Protagonist) battles a drug/virus that infects people's brains. The viral code attacks through the brainstem via linguistics. Hacking the brainstem – a brilliant concept.

Victims look at virtual business cards that contain an image that just seems harmless "static"  as in an untuned TV set and become infected.  QR codes look like static (below) but they contain computer instructions.

Many people have QR codes on their business cards, therefore looking at them via Google Glass creates a point of infection that directly mirrors the novel.

What other vulnerabilities are there via QR codes? Smartphones could potentially be hacked in a similar way, maybe they already are. 

QRCode

 Life imitating art. It's worth reading, or re-reading Snow Crash. Even though it was written in 1992, it is an incredibly astute predictor of the future and its media wars. 

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