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* Posts by Charles 9

3550 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Wanna sell a phone in New York? Better have a receipt

Charles 9
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Re: I won't hold my breath waiting for a difference.

But then the OTHER store can check. What stores these days don't keep an electronic journal? At the very least, they use it to cut down on returns fraud, plus it helps when police come calling concerning possible CC fraud (the stores will want to cooperate since that helps get them off the hook).

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Charles 9
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Re: Is it really that hard to ID a phone?

The problem with that is government relations. Consider if you think the Chinese would really care so much about a US blacklist.

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Charles 9
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Re: I won't hold my breath waiting for a difference.

You may be able to print fake receipts, but the stores can probably tell it's a fake through their receipt journals.

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Charles 9
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Re: Actually, I have to grit my teeth and admit that this politician's suggestion..........

You'd be surprised. Unless it's a photocopy of a genuine receipt (which is trickier than you think--most stores use thermal paper, and photocopies tend to leave telltale marks), the receipt would likely not match the transaction and/or date/tiime stamp (and most stores with computerized points of sale keep electronic journals that can be searched), meaning it would be pretty easy for the store to spot a fake receipt.

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DRAM whammed, thank you ma'am: Kaminario K2 flash bests sib at SPC-1

Charles 9
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Re: Is this the future?

Tape may not be dead, bit it's been niched. It's now pretty much an enterprise device.

Personally, I wouldn't mind a consumer-grade version of this stuff. Given all the stuff the average user starts accumulating like a magpie, having the ability to take a cassette holding a few TB and putting it elsewhere for a rainy day. The tapes themselves aren't so bad price-wise, but the DRIVES...(shudders).

Yes, I know there are external hard drives, but I always worry about the controller hardware in them, not to mention I've had a few (mostly Seagates) show signs of giving out. But from what I can tell, the demand just isn't there and external drives fit a "good enough" niche.

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Forget Wi-Fi, boffins get 150Mbps Li-Fi connection from a lightbulb

Charles 9
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Re: Potential uses but only in controlled settings.

But in both scenarios, you'd need to place the two ends of the link in ways that may not be so practical.

An office would be in a better position to use physical connections because most have access to a drop ceiling which alleviates the hardest part of the wiring process (a conduit pole can get the wires from ceiling to cubicle). Since a cubicle link would have to be put on the ceiling anyway, it would probably be easier (and perhaps more secure) to wire up.

As for the home, layouts can be more random, making the system less practical than a WiFi. Range is becoming less of an issue with more powerful access points.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sounds familiar

I don't know. There are some security benefits as noted with physical line of sight limitations. Plus IRDA suffered from bandwidth problems IIRC and faded because newer tech was both higher-speed and didn't require aiming. But some things are best done aimed.

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Charles 9
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Potential uses but only in controlled settings.

Given the line of sight limitations, I would have to think this would best be used in two ways: broadcast data (which might be better served with some kind of broadcast radio data band) and point-to-point connections where wires and radio are unsuitable. It could have a use in security applications where a controlled wire-free link across an air gap might be needed for temporary transmission of data. Depending on the receiver sensitivity, it might also be a cheap alternative to laser links that have been used between skyscrapers.

I wonder if the tech could be used as a successor to IRDA, capable of transmitting and receiving more information at a time than Bluetooth and barcodes while still in a confined setting.

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Why a Robin Hood tax on filthy rich City types is the very LAST thing needed

Charles 9
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Re: What does automated trading add?

Two words: Flash Crash.

There was a swing in the market so alarming that anyone who would've noticed it would've set off alarm bells. Funny thing was, it was over so darn fast that no one really noticed it until AFTER THE FACT. Since it happened too fast for humans to even know it happened, that reduces it to algorithmic trading, and the speed of the activity basically leaves only HFTs as the possible reason.

An analysis later confirmed that what happened were a few HFT programs reacting to each other much like sharks in a feeding frenzy: one sells, another sees this and sells, a third sees them and sells, the first sees everyone else and keeps selling, etc. They reacted against each other, creating the "feedback loop" I mentioned, and since they're designed to be very fast, it all cascaded...and then rebounded, too quickly for anyone to notice while it was going on.

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Charles 9
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Re: What does automated trading add?

"More generally, making trading - acting on the information and opinions - in the market easier is beneficial. Much of the existing regulation is precisely about that. But not all. In particular, taxing transactions makes trading more difficult, just like prohibiting certain means of trading (prohibitions of shorts were common enough in recent years, meaning you were free to provide information to the market by acting on your opinions as long as those opinions were positive...). I think this is what Tim is saying, essentially, though I absolutely do not presume to be his spokesperson or his interpreter."

But at the same time, it's noted that trading should not be TOO easy. This is especially true with high-frequency traders who act so quickly the human mind cannot keep up. The end result is feedback loops leading to chaotic market swings. The market needs to be able to move, yes, but if it moves TOO much it'll overshoot, and this can be trouble. Think of the market swing like a bungee cord. You don't want it too tight that it jerks you hard and early, but you also don't want it too slack that you hit the ground before the rebound kicks in. Everything in moderation.

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Microsoft holds nose, shoves Windows into Android, iOS boxes

Charles 9
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Re: Can't hurt to have available!

While GIMP supports PSD files, it DOESN'T support Photoshop PLUGINS, and there's many a Photoshop workstation that has some plugin they use for special filters or whatnot.

It's the same problem with exchanging LO/OO files with MS Office: in addition to the inevitable formatting gaffes, complicated files will have scripts in them that don't translate well between products.

And since these products are the de facto standards of their respective industries...

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Charles 9
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Remote Desktop is not included in Home releases. it's intended for the Enterprise, so it's only on the Enterprise branch of Windows products: meaning XP Professional, Vista/7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate, and 8 Pro/Enterprise.

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Rorschach test suggested as CAPTCHA replacement

Charles 9
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Re: Doesn't sound very secure

I still don't see how a computer couldn't figure it out. It's just a matter of two levels of pattern recognition, and since the CAPTCHAs normally have to be made by computer in order to get out the desired level of randomness, patterns WILL emerge that a computer can exploit.

"Do these in reverse order" - Should be easy enough for a computer to recognize the word "reverse". Even if you tried a scrambled-number order combined with reverse and the occasional, "DO NOT DO THIS STEP" at the end or directional cues like "under" or "to the right", a system with enough training should be able to pick out all these gotchas. Language isn't a big stumbling block anymore as this is the first step towards decent machine translation (while while not perfect is still improving considerably over some years ago). Same for the pictures. It shouldn't be too difficult to tag a certain image (even if rotated or flipped) with "wet dog" and "happy cat".

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Charles 9
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Re: All that RED???

In this case, color is only used for uniqueness, not as a distinguishing trait. IOW, a colorblind person may something different, but it's still useable to them because the color doesn't HAVE to factor in.

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Charles 9
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Interesting...but...

I don't think this will work. The thing behind CAPTCHAs is defeating bulk access by restricting access to people capable of working their way through something less-than-programmatic, like a distorted picture. The big thing the GOTCHA doesn't do, it seems, is CHECK the initial response against anything reasonable.

So if a machine encounters a GOTCHA for the first time, what's to stop it from putting down a bunch of gibberish like "correct horse battery staple" and simply remembering what it used for the next time it sees the blot (quite easy with the right technique)? Even if the system checks for grammar, you could easily construct a "mad lib" type of system ("I see <NOUN> with <NOUN> and <NOUN>).

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The web needs globally backed, verifiable security standards – says Huawei

Charles 9
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Re: Read the fine print

And if you learn you basically can't change the people because the standard's too high a stake for human nature (and the inherent desire to control) to leave unaltered?

It's like when someone suddenly invents the Next Big Thing and suddenly realizes that it's SO valuable that people will KILL for it, meaning no one can be trusted to do things for the greater good.

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Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware: Whatever you do, don't PAY

Charles 9
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Re: Title is basically incorrect

Plus by hibernating like this, the malware has a chance of getting INTO the backup, tainting it so that trying to restore it could result in immediate re-infection.

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Charles 9
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Re: Im not doubting you Charles but...

I've seen software repositories and media servers keep mirrors that have random-sounding names in the first part of their domain name. I believe these are generated on the fly for certain sessions and then terminated afterward to prevent backdooring.

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Charles 9
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Because if Microsoft tried to do ANYTHING, someone would find a way around it. Think privilege escalation. And there's been a disturbing trend towards making malware capable of surviving even "nuking from orbit", such that even that isn't so sure anymore.

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Charles 9
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Until you find out they're clever enough to use IPs ALSO associated with legitimate sites. As for DGAs, they're ALSO used somewhat by some legit software houses, meaning blacklisting them, too.

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Charles 9
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I suspect the next step(s) for crypto malware are:

(1) hibernate first so as to increase the odds of getting INTO the backup, The idea being should one try to use a backup to restore the OS and files, it'll just wake up again.

(2) stick around after the ransom so as to hit the victim again (what business doesn't want a repeat customer).

(3) look for ways to invade the MBR, BIOS, and/or EFI to get around OS safeguards and try to gain nuke-resistant.

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Snowden: 'I have data on EVERY NSA operation against China'

Charles 9
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Re: China is not a problem

But colds and flus are rarely fatal, so it's NOT too late. It's entirely possible to MITIGATE its effects. Sure, you can have an insider in your midst, but there are ways to minimize the damage, just as it's possible to still control the situation after discovering a bomb.

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Charles 9
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Re: America's most important creditor

China is only the US's biggest FOREIGN creditor. The vast bulk of US sovereign debt is held DOMESTICALLY.

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All cool kids' phones run ALTERNATIVE alternative custom Android ROM

Charles 9
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Tell that to all the people who have NFC phones but no Google Wallet support due to carrier lockout. S3 and S4 owners have been crowing for months about the solution around it, and I like it, too.

There's also the matter of custom UIs like Sense and TouchWiz. There are people who find it too clunky, too bloated, or simply not for them. Cyanogen uses the basic AOSP interface, which you can then customize. I personally don't use it because AOSP's NFC support is spotty, but many others like the KISS simplicity. Also, this saves them money since it can buy them time when they don't have to buy a new phone just yet. I did that for my Desire Z and slimmed things down enough that I could still use it satisfactorily for another six months when bloatware kept slowing my phone to a crawl.

As for the XDA Forums, I found their search tools useful for hunting down information. You can search threads, groups, and the whole site if necessary.

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Charles 9
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Re: What's the point?

These two questions made me switch.

"Does your phone have NFC? Does that phone allow the use of Google Wallet?"

For me (A T-Mobile US Galaxy S4), the answers were "yes" and "no" (T-Mobile still doesn't support Google Wallet officially, AFAIK it's only supported for Sprint). The community found a way around that, and I found the feature most useful in my experience.

Another one:

"Do you like the built-in software on your device?"

That was "no" for me, and since they're built-in, you can't uninstall them even as they poll your network and sap your data allowance and battery life. Getting one with the excess baggage or "bloatware" stripped out was a nice plus. In addition, there were assorted niggling details that were both annoying and (until I customized) impossible to address.

In addition, having better control of the phone meant I could take charge should something go wrong. Because of a good routine, even when updates went wrong, I had a means to backtrack.

PS. I understand my experience is not for everyone. I first rooted a phone only a year ago (Desire Z/T-Mobile G2) to give it more freedom when I went abroad, but since then I came to appreciate the additional freedom and flexibility it allowed.

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'Please, steal my phone' TV ads by T-Mobile US slammed by legal eagles

Charles 9
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Joke

Re: I have a question for these morality crusaders.....

Oh? I thought they took that out some time back. I know mine's broken. And since unplugging it can surge the set and break it, they'll find out eventually.

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Charles 9
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I thought the standard practice was to pop the cover and remove the battery. This removes the need for the metallized bag and ALSO prevents the tripping of vigilance control that could still work without a signal (since they can be time-based). In addition, it allows for the swap-in of a new SIM that further distorts the original phone's identity.

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Can you trust 'NSA-proof' TrueCrypt? Cough up some dough and find out

Charles 9
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Re: Almost unsolvable problem.

"I have an easier solution, if you don't want people to know some things, don't tell em, don't write it down, and certainly don't store it on a computer."

And if you have a bad memory or the information's not easy to memorize (like random data--poor fit for Memory Theater), you're basically hosed?

Anyway, it is possible to set up some chain of trust. You just need to hand-assemble something that can process a few bits of assembler code, use that to create a means to do more of it, and build up from there. Or you can hand-disassemble one of the low-level steps, verify it, then use the verified tool. Then you can take on a compiler with assembler code and build on up. And you can do all this from a bare-bones OS or from a setup where direct access is used, bypassing the OS. Just saying there are ways that don't have to take years. Weeks, a month or two, maybe, but not necessarily years.

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Charles 9
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Re: Unnamed qualified professionals vs amateurs?

They haven't said WHO they're hiring because they're still in the process of contacting prospects. IOW, they don't know yet. Once the funding builds up and they get some contracts, then they'll be able to list names.

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Web daddy Tim Berners-Lee: DRMed HTML least of all evils

Charles 9
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Re: No DRM

And Hollywood and the rest see a consumer public that can't figure it out. It may be your device, but it's THEIR content, THEIR rules, THEIR copyright. Either submit to the terms or you don't play, end of.

So if you keep saying "NO NO NO" to DRM, Hollywood will just respond with "NO NO NO" to consumer devices. They've ALREADY demanded that 4K devices must be purpose-built: no PC/phone/fondleslab playback for you.

If you don't like the terms required to watch the latest movie on your fondleslab, then Hollywood DOESN'T NEED YOU If they feel the money isn't there, they'll abandon the streaming market and go back to the box office, where they get most of their money anyway.

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Charles 9
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Re: whip that deceased equine into a metric ton of viscous froth

"1. Copyright and patent law are substantially fair, equitable, beneficial and very much net-positive, with one glaring exception: software patents. Applying patent law to software is a flawed premise, much because the lawyers and judges that argue and decide these disputes are rarely if ever even remotely qualified to do so. If software designers were involved in every step of the patent process it might be marginally workable (though speaking as a software architect, I can't imagine anything I'd rather do less.) Nearly every software patent I've seen was based on fallacy, and virtually every high-visibility case of enforcement, imho, has constituted abuse of civil courts."

The BIG big thing with software patents is that the length of the term is extremely long compared to the speed of the industry (heavy equipment might get turned over every decade or so--software, perhaps 2 years). The simplest and IMO best way to control software patents is to simply shorten their terms to something like 3 or 4 years. That encourages the patent holders to cash in as quickly as possible but in ways that are productive, as any attempt to troll runs them the risk of the clock running out before they win (given the intentinoally-glacial pace of the court system).

"2. At the end point, DRM-protected content must be rendered viewable and/or audible for the consumer by a digital device. When said device happens to be a PC, trying to protect that content at the application or protocol levels is futile, that pesky need to render thing makes it ultimately copyable. DRM would need to be inherent to display/audio device drivers, to offer comprehensive protection, but the pace at which both hardware and operating systems evolve makes that approach way less than practical."

You'll note that some content providers are SPECIFICALLY excluding PCs in general. 4K content will ONLY be rendered on purpose-built devices certified by them to obey only THEIR rules, which will likely include signal monitoring and tamper-proofing (yes there's the analogue gap, but in their eyes that defeats the purpose). Now, for anything where a PC is concerned, yes, that cat is likely to get out of the bag because they lack control; that's one reason many content providers are leery to embrace the Web. Thing is, the Web needs the content, but the content doesn't need the Web. There's a possibility the Web could be relegates as more and more providers demand strict controls on their content that the Web just cannot provide; they're basically going to start demanding DRM as a first prerequisite to providing the content AT ALL.

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Charles 9
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Also, while some people will engage in art for art's sake, they're a considerably minority. Many of our most recognizable works of art were not done for art's sake. Nearly all of them were commissions made by rich clients or institutions. Which goes to show even the greats like Leonardo da Vinci had to make a living.

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Charles 9
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Re: DRM is fundamentally broken

Perhaps, but I think all they really want is to prevent it being captured at the full resolution, and to do that, they can establish a hardware-based chain of trust from end to end. THAT at least is possible, as is seen by a number of chains of trust that have yet to be acceptably broken. The only way around the chain of trust is to employ the analogue gap, and to them that's an acceptable loss as the resulting loss of quality would defeat the purpose (much as they're not too concerned with camcorders in movie theaters--the quality is too low to be of mass appeal barring desperation).

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Charles 9
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You know that'll mean they'll leave the PC and digital area altogether. Like I said before, the staked involved mean the movie makers would sooner take their ball and go home. If they can't control their product, they won't provide it at all. That means they'll go back to theaters, airports, and television. No more home movies for you forever (and it's not like they get the bulk of their revenues from the home video market anyway--most of it comes from the box office).

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Charles 9
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Re: DRM does not belong in the standard

The problem is that while DRM will be proprietary, it will more than likely not be LIMITED, meaning DRM content will either EMBRACE the web...or MARGINALIZE it. The Web needs the content, but the content doesn't need the web.

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Charles 9
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Re: He does NOT have a point

"Extrapolate the development of DRM into the future and we might well end up with a compartmentalized system managed via routine ('standard') DRM. There are obvious interest groups that would love this development: big publishers, control-freak security agencies, anybody that hopes to control and monetize your data consumption. It's a slippery slope."

You forget one important detail. Providers don't HAVE to use the Web. Nor do they have to publish their stuff in the ways WE want it. THEIR stuff, THEIR rules, and if you don't like it, the door's right there.

That's the most fundamental thing we have to realize. It's THEIRS, NOT OURS (if it were ours, we'd be communists). Unlike music, movies have large budgets, so they take big risks (a record bomb might be six or seven figures--a movie bomb is at least eight; Heaven's Gate was a $40M bomb 30 years ago). They're MUCH more risk-averse and more likely to take the ball than just let it go.

What Berners-Lee is saying is that if you don't standardize DRM on the Web, the content providers (who won't go without DRM no matter how much we kick and scream--live with it) will go OUTSIDE the Web to other protocols like RTSP, which may not be as open or as well-understood. Or they'll continue to encapsulate their HTTP traffic in proprietary ways. Either way, the Web becomes secondary to them.

So basically, DRM is here to stay, like it or not, and it can exist with or without the WWW. So the choice is yours: embrace DRM or relegate the Web. No middle ground is possible.

As for the whole patent/copyright debate, they both have their uses. They're an alternative to commissions by the rich, which were how the most recognized works of art were typically made before the modern system. Most artists need to make a living, and these give them a possibility without rich clients. We don't need to abolish them, just limit them back to the way they were before: short terms enough to make a living off but not enough to excessively milk. We should also account for the accelerated pace of some industries and make some terms even shorter (ex. make software patents 3-4 years long to account for rapid progress in the tech industry--and no, copyright won't work on a technique since you can weasel around copyright with a clean-room copy--that's how the PC Clone BIOS was made; only patents can cover ALL the bases).

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Oracle says open source has no place in military apps

Charles 9
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The DoD should challenge Oracle with this question.

"Who will support our software if you cease to exist?"

One of the BIG big things about Open Source is that, if all else fails, you still have the documentation of last resort: the source code. Even if all commercial support disappears, someone with the necessity could examine the source code to solve problems. For a military application, that can become a security issue and one closed-source inherently cannot accommodate.

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Tape never died, it was just resting

Charles 9
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Re: Last resort you can always take a tape cartridge apart and recover the tape

But what if it's the controller that fails? That kind of failure can also bite SSDs.

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T-Mobile FREES AMERICANS to roam world sans terrifying charges

Charles 9
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Re: T-Mobile just don't know how to run a mobile network

I had little to complain about with my experience with T-Mobile. I was on a contract with them for two years and the phone was nice and the service quite satisfactory. I rather liked the WiFi Calling feature since I tended to spend plenty of time on WiFi (usually at home), and the subsidized rates weren't too bad, either.

As noted, their unlock policy was quite fair and reasonable. I got my unlock code with little trouble (I asked after 18 months), and the phone worked pretty well aborad, in fact better than I expected given T-Mobile's bands.

I only left because my contract was complete and didn't want to continue paying the subsidized rate. The main drawback is that I lost the WiFi Calling feature as well as Visual Voicemail (now THAT was good as it meant you could navigate it without having to use touch-tones). I'm currently still on the T-Mobile network but with a MVNO, and those two things are really the only things I miss. If a prepaid GSM-based service offered those features (T-Mobile won't offer the service with their prepaid plans), I'd probably jump on it.

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Tape rocks for storage - if you don't need to, um, access your data

Charles 9
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Re: "A simple trawl could send a tape-robot into melt down."

I think the "trawling" refers to the fact that Google is in a particular situation where tape is not suitable. Google is in an industry where data essentially has an INFINITE shelf life and NEVER goes stale: someone could request ANYTHING...even data from 15 years ago...on a moment's notice. Plus, due to the way they work, they could end up having to gather data from who knows how many different locations and must do it tootsweet. For Google, everyone REALLY WANTS everything...YESTERDAY. Their business depends on it.

Retrieving 1 entry from a single tape may just be annoying, but (even WITH an index) imagine the stress involved when the robot has to change bunches of tapes just to build up 100 links from nearly as many tapes? Like I said, though, this is particular to Google's line of work.

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Boffins build BEELLION-YEAR storage medium

Charles 9
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Re: A small detail is missing

That's what it sounded like to me. From the way they described things, I kept thinking it would be an optical disc format of some sort.

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Charles 9
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Low Thermal Expansion Coefficient

For the record, the Thermal Expansion Coefficient is the rate at which a substance expands when it's exposed to heat. Like how a ring might expand when doused in hot water and contract again when doused in cold water.

In terms of material longevity, this means a material with a low TEC (like Tungsten and Silicon Nitride) is unlikely to distort when exposed to heat: A Good Thing.

I wonder if anyone here recalls that tungsten's high melting point was one reason it was was the metal of choice in incandescent light bulbs.

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Control panel backdoor found in D-Link home routers

Charles 9
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Many have noted that is IS disabled by default on most of the routers. I know it was disabled on my DIR-615 (since replaced with a new dual-band ac router).

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Charles 9
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Given that most of these devices DO support WPA2, which supports AES as well as TKIP. These have not been compromised and most of the talk about WPA2-PSK cracking has been in the same old problems: weak passwords. As for the WPS button, which IS handy so I don't have to carry wound my standard-limit WPA key around, especially to devices where entering the key is difficult, I just make sure to use it carefully so that the device is most likely to be seen first, and I check my client tables afterwards in case of intruders.

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Charles 9
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Re: None so blind, etc.

"It's pretty much accepted that every piece of embedded kit has some secret sauce to allow the makers to intervene when everything is badly screwed up, although usually it's in the form of some soopersekret login/pass pair."

With something like this, the usuall fallback is the factory reset, which is supposed to reset the firmware back to default settings (which are written in the manual with the caveat that you're supposed to CHANGE it once you're in). Failing that, there's also usually the emergency flashing mode, which should allow for the flashing of ANY firmware in a local setting. If even that fails, then there's likely something fundamentally wrong with it and it will need physical attention in any event.

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Charles 9
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Re: It would be nice to think

It does, usually. Thing is, is that enough or can this be triggered even with remote management turned off?

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Wanna be Zuckerberg's neighbor? Tough luck, he bought the block for $30m

Charles 9
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Re: "market it to buyers who liked the idea of being Zuckerberg's neighbor"

Still makes me wonder what would've happened if some other rich (if not richER) person made a counteroffer over the top of Zuckerberg's and got one of the properties instead. THEN turned out to be the kind of untrusting person who spied on his/her neighbors...

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Easily picked CD-ROM drive locks let Mexican banditos nick ATM cash

Charles 9
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Re: Backwards

No, because booting from a CD-ROM would break a chain of trust., as there's no way to verify the CD-ROM is official from the BIOS. The hard drive can initially be set in the factory and sealed in the box (note the crooks have access to the FACE of the CD-ROM, NOT the internals of the machine; drive housings can be bolted down with one-way screws so they can't be removed) so that any further updates have to be signed before they're accepted.

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Charles 9
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Re: BIOS Password

But then how do you update the machines when security patches are mandated? That's probably why the CD drives are there: to facilitate updating. That being said, the drives should not be bootable. The ATM software should be the one in charge of the updates and should insist on signed code from the CD-ROM before updating.

Based on what I'm hearing, I don't know if these are official offsite bank ATMs being hacked. I suspect these are more second-tier ATMs like those I see in a mom-and-pop store.

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YouTube turns on dormant DRM, permits official downloads

Charles 9
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Re: Don't worry

Nothing. That wasn't the point. Plus the downloaders don't work with protected streams. They have to pass through third-party DRM systems before YouTube can negotiate them. Getting THOSE downloaded is a lot more difficult.

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