FISSURE; Fog Data Science; Two-Minute Mornings
A few years ago, our home fuel provider migrated from combined process of estimating when customer supplies were likely to be low and having humans trek across our fairly large rural area to take tank gauge readings (to help refine said estimates) to using tang gauge sensors hooked up to LoRaWAN (Long-Range Wide Area Network) mesh.
I own a couple software defined radios (SDR) and picked up a cheap LoRaWAN board during the beginning of the Covid debacle, and a lingering TODO item has been to figure out what the invisible bits floating between my tanks and the provider's collection system mean. It's "just enough like work" to still remain on said list, vs actively poke at it. That is, until now.
FISSURE — Frequency Independent SDR-based Signal Understanding and Reverse Engineering — is "an open-source [Radio Frequency] (RF) and reverse engineering framework designed for all skill levels with hooks for signal detection and classification, protocol discovery, attack execution, IQ manipulation, vulnerability analysis, automation, and AI/ML".
The framework was built by Chris Poore to "promote the rapid integration of software modules, radios, protocols, signal data, scripts, flow graphs, reference material, and third-party tools. FISSURE is a workflow enabler that keeps software in one location and allows teams to effortlessly get up to speed while sharing the same proven baseline configuration for specific Linux distributions."
With FISSURE you can:
detect the presence of RF energy
understand the characteristics of a signal
collect and analyze samples
develop transmit and/or injection techniques
craft custom payloads or messages.
It has an ever-increasing library of protocol and signal information to assist in identification, packet crafting, and fuzzing. That's a fancy way of saying "hacking" RF-enabled things, like brute-force opening someone's garage:
FISSURE also lets you archive your work, download shared signal fingerprint files, and build playlists to simulate traffic and test systems.
It's built with galactic programming common (i.e. Python) vs something cool like Rust, and has a pretty accessible user interface, making it very friendly for beginners to quickly learn about popular tools and techniques involving RF and reverse engineering.
If you've ever had the desire to poke at the invisible waves around you, FISSURE will definitely help you realize that goal.
As the days get shorter and colder, I'll be using FISSURE to finally have my own dashboard entry for fuel levels and will report back with how said process went. Meanwhile, check out Chris' intro video on FISSURE:
Fog Data Science
A data broker has been selling raw location data about individual people to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, EFF has learned. This personal data isn’t gathered from cell phone towers or tech giants like Google — it’s obtained by the broker via thousands of different apps on Android and iOS app stores as part of the larger location data marketplace.
The company, Fog Data Science, has claimed in marketing materials that it has “billions” of data points about “over 250 million” devices and that its data can be used to learn about where its subjects work, live, and associate. Fog sells access to this data via a web application, called Fog Reveal, that lets customers point and click to access detailed histories of regular people’s lives. This panoptic surveillance apparatus is offered to state highway patrols, local police departments, and county sheriffs across the country for less than $10,000 per year.
The records received by EFF indicate that Fog has past or ongoing contractual relationships with at least 18 local, state, and federal law enforcement clients; several other agencies took advantage of free trials of Fog’s service. EFF learned about Fog after filing more than 100 public records requests over several months for documents pertaining to government relationships with location data brokers. EFF also shared these records with The Associated Press.
Troublingly, those records show that Fog and some law enforcement did not believe Fog’s surveillance implicated people’s Fourth Amendment rights and required authorities to get a warrant.
This is a multipart investigation, and another installment goes into the inner workings of the service. They didn't hack a login or fake being a law enforcement customer — they did a web mirror of the app and reverse engineered the server-side components to make it possible to see all the features of the app. That's a very painstaking and clever process.
Fog Reveal's scale is frightening. They process:
– 250 million devices each month
15 billion location signals each day
10 million fenced points of interest
1+ million daily events
and their scope just about covers the entire planet (i.e. anywhere a human with a trackable device is).
"Fog Reveal can be used to harm vulnerable people and suppress civil liberties. Fog’s area searches can let police perform dragnet surveillance on attendees of peaceful protests, religious services, or political rallies. Some of Fog’s customers already have a history of doing so by other means: an investigation by ACLU revealed how the California Highway Patrol used helicopters with high-tech surveillance cameras to capture zoomed-in video of attendees at peaceful demonstrations against police violence."
And, as the EFF note in the series, Fog’s service is especially dangerous in the wake of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, given how draconian some State abortion laws are.
You absolutely need to make time, today, to read this series. Do not skip the "How to protect yourself" part, since there are actions you can take to reduce your exposure to this surveillance.
I'm not a big fan of the term "happy", and substitute "content" for it whenever possible. While "content" is part of the official definition of "happy", the modern connotation of the term trends towards the vapid, shallow, materialistic, and is usually focused far too much on the "pleasure"-seeking aspect over that of just being present and content in the moment.
Here's Neil's pitch:
Thanks to the fight-or-flight mechanism in our brains, we’re conditioned to seek out bad news and focus on the negative. This can have deleterious effects on our mental and physical health. It can be tempting to cope with bad news and emotionally challenging life events by overworking, but that only compounds those negative side effects. Instead, take a couple minutes each morning to reflect on and write down three things: what you’ll focus on, what you’re grateful for, and what you’ll let go of. This practice won’t fix everything, but it will prime your brain for positivity and improve the quality of your day.
You can get a deeper dive into how Neil developed this particular method.
It's pretty simple. Take two minutes each morning to jot down what you:
will let go of…
Ditch your regrets or things that may trigger other negative emotions
are grateful for…
Be very specific.
There's some science [direct PDF] that suggests a daily gratitude exercise, carried across multiple weeks, has a measurable impact on well-being.
will focus on…
identify three (small + achievable) items you will tackle/goals you will hit today; carry unmet ones over
Having a pre-defined template will likely help you fill in those sections. Neil's shilling (just calling it what it is) a printed journal book for those who still prefer the pen to a keyboard (it offers little extra introductory exposition beyond the linked HBR article, above, and is literally just the three-item template per-page). It was simple to set up a template in Roam and Notion, but you can go old school and just maintain a directory of text files, too. The medium is not vital, the practice is.
So, what are you letting go of, grateful for, and focusing on today? ☮