I found this interesting service at that allows you to spin up a VPS at DigitalOcean, VULTR and Linode.

And pay with multiple cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Ripple
  • Dash
  • Litecoin
  • Monero
  • Ethereum Classic
  • NEO

You only need an email address to sign up.

There is a server limit of two when you start out but as time goes along that limit will increase.

And there is two-factor authentication available.

You do pay a bit of a premium over the normal rate for say DigitalOcean which is $5 for their cheapest VPS but is $8 through Bitlaunch. But again, you only need an email address and you can pay with cryptocurrency. So there is some anonymity here.

It will be interesting to see if the service gets abused and how the operators will control it.

Either way, it’s an interesting solution if you’re looking to spin up a VPS and provide only minimal information.

IoT This Week | Episode 37

This episode includes: NIST and IoT, botnets, RaaS, NASA, the Mavic Air drone and much more…

Listen on: iTunes, Google Play, TuneinStitcher and RSS

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Contact: @craigz28 on twitter or via email at [email protected]

IoT Threat Modeling

I’ve been reading up on threat modeling and specifically on IoT threat modeling and came across a great write-up at Microsoft.

They divide the typical IoT architecture into four zones separated by trust boundaries:

  • Device
  • Field gateway
  • Cloud gateway
  • Services

And then the article goes through a threat identification exercise using STRIDE.

For example, under Tampering an attacker may be able to replace the firmware running on the device so you want to be able to ensure that only authorized firmware is allowed to run on the device.

The documentation is in relation to Microsoft’s Azure IoT services but still relevant for a great many IoT systems.

Have a look.

Mavic Air Drone

Just got myself a legit drone to test out this weekend. I have a wee little Parrot drone but this one is the real deal; 4k camera, GPS, DJIs’ latest bells and whistles.

I’ll be testing it out this weekend after registering it with the FAA of course.

DJI also has an insurance plan that will replace up to two drones if you crash and burn.

Finger crossed I can keep it all in one piece.

2-19-2018 Update

So I took the drone out for a spin this weekend and it’s amazing. Granted it’s the only proper drone I’ve owned to this point because I wanted to let the technology mature a bit.

And I think the wait has been worth it. The drone is super stable even under windy conditions, easy to fly with the remote control and the 4k camera is truly great.

After I did a couple of test flights and got comfortable with it I finally took it out of Beginner mode which allows it to fly higher than 98 feet.

The Sphere panorama I took below is from a little over 150 feet in altitude. Absolutely fantastic.

Why is Siri so bad?

I mentioned in my podcast yesterday about the trouble I had with Siri trying to use it in my car with CarPlay last weekend.

First, I tried to get directions to a breakfast restaurant and was offered a barber and something a hundred miles away.

Second, I tried to ask Siri to play rock music and got multiple “I don’t understands”. I ask for the same thing on Alexa and I get rock music.

I’ve been reading many of the HomePod reviews and they all seem to come to the same conclusion, great sounding speaker that’s not so smart.

I got a chuckle out of one of the questions asked to Siri:

“Who plays Wolverine in Logan?” and Siri replied, “I couldn’t find any movies with Wolverine playing in Logan, Utah.”

I use Alexa all the time for asking questions and controlling many of my IoT devices, if I can’t do that with HomePod, it’s not of much use to me.

The point of a smart speaker is to be um… smart!

I’m sure Apple will eventually get it sorted out, maybe, but I’m not sure they can catch up with Amazon and Google at this point.

And now Amazon may be building AI chips for Echo.

Siri: “How can I help you?”, apparently you can’t.

Update: Seems that as additional reviews come out for HomePod, the deficiencies of Siri are coming to the forefront.