Watch and read the full transcript of computer science professor Avi Rubin’s TEDx Talk: All Your Devices Can Be Hacked at TEDxMidAtlantic 2011 Conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Avi Rubin – All Your Devices Can Be Hacked at TEDxMidAtlantic 2011
Thank you, Dave. Good morning everyone. I’m a computer science professor, and my area of expertise is computer and information security. When I was in graduate school, I had the opportunity to overhear my grandmother describing to one of her fellow senior citizens what I did for a living. Apparently, I was in charge of making sure that no one stole the computers from the university. And you know, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing for her to think, because I told her I was working in computer security, and it was interesting to get her perspective.
But that’s not the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about my work. The most ridiculous thing I ever heard is, I was at a dinner party, and a woman heard that I worked in computer security, and she asked me if — she said her computer had been infected by a virus, and she was very concerned that she might get sick from it, that she could get this virus. And I’m not a doctor, but I reassured her that it was very, very unlikely that this would happen, but if she felt more comfortable, she could be free to use latex gloves when she was on the computer, and there would be no harm whatsoever in that.
I’m going to get back to this notion of being able to get a virus from your computer, in a serious way. What I’m going to talk to you about today are some hacks, some real world cyber-attacks that people in my community, the academic research community, have performed, which I don’t think most people know about, and I think they’re very interesting and scary. And this talk is kind of the greatest hits of the academic security community’s hacks. None of the work is my work. It’s all work that my colleagues have done, and actually I asked them for their slides and incorporated them into this talk.