Daringly Firey Challenge to Maynor and Ellch
If you haven't heard the names "David Maynor" and "Jon Ellch" before, here's the scoop. A few weeks ago, they reportedly demonstrated that it was possible to attack a MacBook via a passive AirPort interface, and gain remote access to the machine. This demonstration was then blogged by someone working for the Washington Post. Unfortunately, the circumstances of the demonstration were extremely sketchy, and the report so vague, that the whole mess has caused much more question-asking than question-answering. There are a couple of Daring Fireball posts that examine the situation in more detail.
Suffice it to say, the shoddy reporting and resulting discussion/flame-war has significantly clouded the issue, and distracted/angered entirely too many people. With an issue this important, with such potentially far-reaching consequences, this is simply not cool at all. We need to focus on the real issue, and we need answers.
John Gruber's idea for getting some of these much needed answers: an open challenge to Mr. Maynor and Mr. Ellch. If they can, in a controlled and documented setting, demonstrate that an out-of-the-box MacBook can be successfully attacked in the way they've described, they'll get said MacBook for free. In his words...
It comes down to this. If I’m wrong, it’d be worth $1099 to know that MacBook users are in fact at risk. And if I’m right, someone needs to call Maynor and Ellch on their bullshit.
See the Open Challenge for specifics and whatnot.