Hacking the Iphone for Fun, Profit, and Maybe Espionage

The story of one man who stumbled on a flaw in Apple’s operating system, a way to hack the phone.
Every time there is a big new release of some software, an operating system or a new browser, hackers get to work. There’s money to be made. But it’s not just hackers looking for these glitches. Tips on how to break into phones, computers, and Internet-connected televisions helps C.I.A. too.

Planet Money

The British Hacker’s Fight for His Life

Lauri Love is charged with masterminding a 2013 attack by Anonymous on US government websites. He has not protested his innocence – he only points out that, without seeing the evidence, which the US Department of Justice refuses to reveal until he is on US soil, he cannot say one way or the other. But he had the means, motive and opportunity to carry out the crimes of which he stands accused. Even if Love is guilty, however, there are important legal and moral questions about whether he should be extradited to the US – a nation that has prosecuted hackers with unrivalled severity, and one where Love could be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. Had Love been allowed to stand trial in the UK following his initial arrest, and had he pled guilty to every charge, he would have spent a maximum of 18 months in prison. Four years after his initial arrest, Love has nearly exhausted his legal options. His extradition to the US is now perilously close. In September 2016, a district judge refused to block Love’s deportation.

The Guardian’s Audio Long Reads

From Pussy Riot to Penal Colony

Pussy Riot gained worldwide recognition in 2012 when three of their members, including Maria Alyokhina, were arrested in Moscow for performing a protest song at a cathedral near the Kremlin. Maria, and one other member, were sentenced to live nearly two years in a penal colony in Siberia for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” charges. Today, Maria tells us about her experience in prison, the protests and how she took her prison guards to court and won.

Outlook – BBC Worldwide Service


Angles of a Hack

Photo by dustball / CC BY-NC

Sixty years ago, when hacking meant nosing around the telephone network, it seemed innocent enough. And not all modern hacking has criminal intent. Today, there are biohackers who experiment with implanted electronic devices to improve themselves, and geoengineers who propose to hack the climate. But in our efforts to cool an overheated planet, might we be going down a dangerous path?

Big Picture Science


This summer’s spate of acid attacks in London have caused concern for both the public and authorities. The seemingly random selection of victims by perpetrators, and the suspected use of acid by criminal gangs, seems to be a new twist in a story which has previously seen acid used in more targeted crimes against a specific person. Journalist Ayshea Buksh explores the complexity of acid attacks and the wide range of motivations behind the use of acid as a weapon. From hate crime and domestic violence to a fight that escalates, a mugging or a gang-related attack, the weapon may be the same but the reasoning can be wildly different. It’s a crime that can take just seconds to commit, but acid attacks can have a life-long impact on survivors – not just physically, but mentally. Some survivors speaking to Ayshea are just going through their first surgery after the physical impact of the attack, while others are now living their lives at a distance from their attack but with a constant physical reminder. For some survivors, the question ‘why?’ can play constantly on their minds, while others try not to ask it as they attempt to move on with their lives.

Seriously… BBC Radio 4


Plan of a Hack

Long before cyber criminals were stealing ATM passwords, phone phreaks were tapping into the telephone system. Their motivation was not monetary, but the thrill of defeating a complex, invisible network. Today “hacking” can apply to cyberwarfare, biological tinkering, or even geoengineering. Often it has negative connotations, but the original definition of “hacking” was something else. Today we look at the original practitioners – the teenagers and mavericks who hacked Ma Bell for thrills – and the difference between hacking for fun and for profit.

Big Picture Science

Russian prison visitors – prison boundaries

In this episode we discuss the experiences of wives, mothers, girlfriends and daughters who, as relatives of Russia’s three-quarters of a million prisoners often travel vast distances to visit or live with their exiled male convicts. We also consider how to bridge the boundary that divides prison and society.

Thinking Allowed – BBC Radio 4

The Past, Present, and Future of Violence

“In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to historian Norman Davies, “[T]he spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized.” Today, such sadism would be unthinkable in most of the world. This change in sensibilities is just one example of perhaps the most important and most underappreciated trend in the human saga: Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species’ time on earth.” Written in 2007 by Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, this still holds true.

In the podcast Steven Pinker presents evidence that violence has decreased over time because our peaceable motives have overridden our violent ones, and that media induced illusions fool us into thinking that violence is on the rise.

Origin Stories – The Leakey Foundation


Government Secrets Worth Leaking… or Keeping?

So, the C.I.A. has a back door to your phone. At least, according to the Vault 7 data dump from WikiLeaks. The documents say that if your device is connected to the internet, the American government wants in. And has a few tricky tools to do it. But they’ve had some sneaky tools for a while now. Just ask Daniel Rigmaiden.

Photo: Stencil by Banksy – nolifebeforecoffee / Flickr-creativecommons

Note to Self