Top Hacks of 2007

Dennis Faas's picture

Although it's getting a little late for top 5 lists, Darkreading recently released their five coolest hacks for 2007. The stories were chosen for their ingenuity and ability to surprise an unsuspecting public. I've agreed with them on a few of these hacks, but we also found some other stuff that was just a little bit quirkier or a little more appealing to the average user.

5. Navigation systems: A vulnerability was discovered that let hackers insert fake messages or shut a nav device down. The weakness was found in the primary satellite system for all traffic information. An attack on the device could also shut down a driver's stereo and A/C. What's the solution? Encryption. Unfortunately, that solution is still another five long years away. (Source:

4. John Harvard: No, the namesake of Harvard University was not brought back from the dead. But, a bunch of MIT grads got together the night before the release of Halo 3 and turned John Harvard's statue into the Master Chief (that's the guy with the gold visor on his helmet). It's pretty lo-tech for a hack, but hey it's still fun.

3. iPhone: Zzzzzzzzzz.....yeah, yeah we all know the iPhone is going to top everybody's list. But, wait! We aren't talking about hooking your phone up with T-mobile. Hackers discovered how to make an unsuspecting victim's phone vibrate just for fun, or if they're more malicious they can hijack the phone entirely!

2. NYC Taxis: Last year, NYC taxis started installing interactive screens in the passenger area. These oh-so-annoying interfaces greeted riders with 30-second news bites and annoying advertising. What's worse, if you turn them off you end up with a large 'Touch Screen to Begin' message that burns into the back of your brain. Hacker Billy Chassen reports that one day in 2007 he got into a cab and was greeted with an error message on the screen. After a little bit of effort he was able to open up Internet Explorer, and eventually he was surfing the net on his way downtown. (Source:

1. Second Generation DVDs: Back in January hackers started sticking it to the Hollywood types by breaking down the barriers to Blu-ray and HD DVD content. This caused ecstatic cries of joy from PSP and iPod users everywhere. The studios struck back by patching up the vulnerability, and as of April it was up to the hackers to try again. I haven't seen anything on this lately, but with HD DVD on its last legs Blu-ray may receive more attention than it bargained for in the very near future. (Source:

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