* Posts by Charles 9

7444 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Why Tim Cook is wrong: A privacy advocate's view

Charles 9
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You can't do a diff against encrypted contents since with proper encryption a change of a single bit will propagate throughout the entire image.

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Charles 9
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Re: Apple is mostly right

"You portray Apple's position as black and white, but it really isn't. Apple is being asked to spend their own money breaking into their own OS. No matter what they do, there'll always be *some* attack that can work against even future phones, even if it requires taking the phone apart atom-by-atom."

Even if there's a self-destruct mechanism? There IS such a thing as a one-way mechanism, meaning one CAN physically render a package impossible to open without destroying the contents first.

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Charles 9
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Re: Authorities have ever right to unlock the phone of a criminal

Not if it causes collateral damage. If the means to unlock the criminal's phone necessarily unlocks everyone else's phones (and the design of it may well make this part and parcel), now you have the Fourth (search and seizure) and Sixth (presumption of innocence) Amendments to contend with.

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Charles 9
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Re: Not Concerned Here

The problem is that ANY means found to get around the lock would be considered worth more than its weight in Bitcoin. Miscreants will be dying to leak this knowledge out and make it work in the general case.

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Charles 9
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Re: An easy way to break encryption?

"If they have the encrypted text and the unencrypted plain text, do they not then have the key to reading all similarly encrypted texts?"

Not necessarily. What you describe is a form of Known Plaintext Attack:

- Given X and X', find Y such that E(X, Y) = X'

A good cipher tries to make that problem difficult to solve.

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Charles 9
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Re: Are there any precedents with other forms of security?

That's why they employ safe crackers. Anyway, the analogy is flawed. More accurately would be to say they're trying to retrieve contents from a booby-trapped safe rigged to blow if it's opened by any way other than the combination. Only problem is the only person who knows the combination is dead and the booby-trap has a fail-deadly vigilance check. If it's not opened within a few days it blows itself up. And yes, if I recall, it IS possible to build a one-way fail-deadly mechanism where the only way it'll resolve is by exploding. One such device was set in a casino a few decades back.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why Trev Pott is wrong - a privacy advocate's view

"Unless they can break into Apple and steal the key used to sign iOS updates. Hopefully Apple restricts access to that to a few people, and keeps it on an air gapped system, but obviously I have no knowledge of their procedures."

If the bad guys want something badly enough, they'll hire insiders. Or find weaknesses. Remember, at least one of Sony's PS3 private keys got compromised and more and more malware is being signed with genuine keys that were likely stolen (so they not only can pass authentication checks but also can't be voided without collateral damage), so it's not outside the realm of reality.

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US DoJ files motion to compel Apple to obey FBI iPhone crack order

Charles 9
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Re: due process

Change the firmware without user intervention? When was that demonstrated on a locked phone?

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Charles 9
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Re: due process

"technically i suppose, if there is a backdoor creatable for one phone, then it could in principal be applied to every iphone (pre the soc encryption) , but i dont think this is the same thing. it can only be applied to another phone if a court decides that it is legal to do so."

The emboldened part is exactly the issue. If Apple is compelled to do it and complies, it opens a can of worms because it becomes a proof of concept. And note that the government cannot really be trusted these days, so once they know it's possible, what's top stop them asking for more cracks, only THIS time using the secret "can't tell anyone you're being investigated as we don't really exist" courts. Not only that, being legally compelled to perform an assertive action (like writing code) provides legal precedent for compelling Apple to lie about any warrant canaries (they could use national security statutes to trump fiduciary duty).

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Charles 9
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Re: No middle ground...

Beloved by the hoi polloi, not by those up top who only see the Constitution as "ink on a page." The biggest lesson of this age will probably be that representative government simply cannot last in the face of instinctive human greed; sooner or later, either SOMEONE will amass the power to usurp or more than one will and destroy everything around them in a winners take small infinite-stakes bid to remove the competition.

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Charles 9
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Re: Latest twist:

Nah, I doubt they'd be going for a Known Plaintext attack. Most encryption algorithms are robust against that as a matter of course.

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Charles 9
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Re: No middle ground...

Aren't we seeing that all the time? Isn't that what espionage is all about?

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Charles 9
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Re: Just give it to Google....

What about a black-project quantum computer and Shor's Algorithm?

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Charles 9
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"The whole point of signed firmware updates is that the existing firmware will trust them implicitly. Putting down a signed update that does what the FBI wants is easy for Apple. They have the source code and signing keys."

Ah, but here's the rub. Last I checked, user intervention is required to actually perform a new firmware installation. You can have the phone download and keep the installation without intervention, but because people USE their phones everyday, every update I've seen requires the user to say OK first, and THAT requires unlocking the phone. So now, to turn something said once by Spike Milligan, the crowbar you need to open the crate is inside the crate.

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Charles 9
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Re: Security hole?

Its a secret. Doesn't matter how important it is, being forced by the State to divulge secrets against one's will opens up a can of worms. Apple's contending ANY compliance will open up another can of worms due to a snowball effect; if they can be forced to do ONE, they can be forced to do ANY AND ALL.

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FCC clicks off the safety, fires at America's great cable TV box rip-off

Charles 9
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Re: One small step for mankind...

Well, if an ISP can dictate how much rain I get on vacation, then Google and the like can count each individual raindrop. In which case, you're ALREADY under the Panopticon and all you can do is hunker down and bend over...or take the easy way out.

Anyway, you're going to be beholden to an ISP no matter what. The "I" is the key part. Without an ISP, you have no Internet, and these days, being without Internet is like being without a phone or electricity today: you're basically cut off from civilization.

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Charles 9
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Re: le -sigh-

"Presumably the US has no such equivalent, in theory or in practice?"

No. In fact, if a company looks at customers first without considering the investors, the investors can SUE the company for failure of fiduciary duty and be compensated for it. Remember, the investors are the actual owners of the company (it's their money on the line), so property rights kick in, and doing something against an owner's wishes is considered defrauding that owner.

"Obviously nobody ever bothers with this, and the consequences of ignoring it are nil, but this is The Law as it has been in the UK for a few years."

Because it's very, VERY hard to tell an owner what to do with the stuff he/she owns. They can legally argue that laws that limit an owner are a restraint on their property rights and thus an unfair limit on their freedoms. The only reason the UK can get away with it is because, due to the precedent of the superiority of the Crown, property rights aren't as strong, but in just about any country, no owner is forced by law to provide service of any kind. Push come to shove, they can pack up and leave taking everything with them. Economics pretty much foretells this fate if the Supply and Demand curves stop intersecting.

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Charles 9
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Re: le -sigh-

Tell that to the INVESTORS. Fiduciary duty demands investors come first.

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Charles 9
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Re: Meanwhile

Depends. My cable provider provides this service gratis with whatever service is already in use (doesn't even go against the data cap), but not all are like that, and remember that many providers have data caps. Accessing the content you want runs the very real risk of being charged for overage, meaning they get you either way.

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Charles 9
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Re: Cheep....

Yours is NOT a decent-sized market. I'm in a community of around 100,000, the coverage map says I can get 4, maybe 5, but because of the geography it also says I'll need an amplified directional antenna to get most of them.

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Charles 9
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Re: Cheep....

Problem being the reception can be hit or miss plus those "cheap" antennas only work if you're in a good area. If you're nestled in a valley or have things like trees blocking your skyline, you're likely SOL. Trust me, I've tried. Used to be cablecos sent those stations in the clear but won the argument that satellite providers are required to scramble due to technical limitations (namely, due to the wide coverage of satellites, they have to broadcast ALL the local stations at once and limit the stations at the receiver end).

Plus the FCC mandate only applies to local terrestrial broadcast stations: typically no more than a handful of stations at once (usually 3 or 4, maybe 7 or 8 if you're lucky, plus most are beholden to the big networks, including NBC which is owned by Comcast). Your average nonbroadcast TV provider offers about 50 channels on the low end and over 100 with the standard packages.

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Charles 9
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One thing that should be noted in the article is that, until just now, cablecos were still transmitting a baseline of channels in analog that was capable of being picked up by cable-ready TVs without additional equipment.

BUT those analog channels are going away to make room for more broadband and more HD channels (the analog channels can't do due to anachronistic limitation), and the cablecos won't unscramble the baseline digital channels, noting the satellite and fiber companies don't have to.

So no a fair-sized chunk of customers are about to be left in the lurch with old TVs that won't be able to pick up ANY channels without plunking more money down to the cablecos every month. I suspect this is one other big reason for the FCC's decision today.

As for building it into TVs, they tried that with DCAS but given the continual pace of technology it's best to leave the tuner part out of the TV in case standards change again in the future (the original CableCard standard, for example, had to be upgraded because it only worked in one direction--stuff like Video on Demand requires the ability to talk back). Perhaps an alternative would be a standardized way to insert add-on modules to the backs of large-enough TVs so that people only need one remote to handle all their video (perhaps via HDMI-CEC) and don't need to dangle boxes and stuff where there may not be any shelves (wall-mounted TV).

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How long does it take an NHS doctor to turn on a computer?

Charles 9
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Re: In fairness...

"Have you heard of someone else changing another's password?"

Yes. It's called being hacked.

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ADpocalypse NOW: Three raises the stakes

Charles 9
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Re: Hahahahahahaha

What if the ad folks become proxies and insert the ads inline, much like how modern product placement can replace sponsored products between runs of a show? Because the ad people are now between you and the content, you can't block them without blocking the content, too.

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Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Charles 9
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Re: Joined up thinking....

Except for one thing. Those wind and solar plants are normally located far from civilization. What good is a fuel station far from all the vehicles?

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Charles 9
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"...so we'll have to buy a second one as well."

If such trips are infrequent, then you can just rent a longer-range vehicle for those times you DO need to go several hundred miles at a time.

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Charles 9
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Re: brake-energy-recovery systems

"The cost of server room cooling equipment which can produce useful heat for the building heating system outweighs the benefit of installing it. It's only worthwhile doing if you're cooling more than 100kW"

Plus it's only practical for areas that are cold for most of the year. Any place that gets a lengthy summer (or is just plain torrid) will have the double whammy of a hot server room and a hot exterior that makes it difficult to exchange heat.

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Charles 9
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Re: hello! wakeup call!

Unless you want the water PERIOD. Frankly, anyone downstream would take the warm water over LESS water. Potable water supply is already becoming something of a concern, especially in warmer areas.

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Charles 9
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Re: "Key to the car's economical performance is the braking system"

"Ultra light weight construction means it will be a death trap in an accident."

Even with very strong lightweight materials?

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Charles 9
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Getting up a hill relies a lot on the drive's torque, as the rotational force applied to friction is what allows it to fight gravity on the incline. We know it can do 0-60 in about 10sec on the flat, and acceleration helps gives us a ballpark for the torque. How does this compare to other cars and how they can handle hill climbs?

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Dan Kaminsky is an expert on DNS security – and he's saying: Patch right God damn now

Charles 9
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Re: Buffer overflows in 2016 are an embarrassment

They can't if high performance or tight memory is a simultaneous and conflicting issue. Bounds checking creates both time and space overhead.

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Terrified robots will take middle class jobs? Look in a mirror

Charles 9
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Re: rejects?

"As always there has to be a happy medium (something nobody seems to have ever managed to achieve sustainably)."

Because no modern parent wants to be told his/her child has basically been rejected by society: particularly if the child is the parent's last or sole child, marking the parent as a failure, too. I mean, no one wants to be told, "You Lose. Game Over. Better Luck Next Life." So how do you deal with hopeless rejects in a society that won't tolerate rejects when it gets personal?

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Charles 9
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Re: America Is Safe

Moonshiners also know they have to keep a low profile. And the best way to keep your still secret is to stay low-tech. No power, minimal fuel, equipment easy to conceal or, as a last resort, rebuild. Anyway, the nature of the beast restricts the level of increased efficiency a moonshiner can squeeze out before something else chokes up the process (usually mash or water supply).

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Charles 9
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"The process is well underway in the US at least. Schools don't teach people to think and even the subjects they do teach are dumbed down because.. well we can't leave anyone behind..."

Well, some of them DO have a point. After all, if you DO leave children behind, what do you do with the rejects? Make the standard too tough and you could the up in a situation like Japan and South Korea, where the intense pressure causes them to have the worst suicide rates in the industrialized world.

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Charles 9
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Re: I'm more worried about stability of society than displacement.

"If you have a big shop, a human operated till is much faster."

Unless the only human-operated tills ALL have lines going halfway to the intimates (and this is the norm these days).

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Google: Our self-driving cars would be tip-top if you meatheads didn’t crash into them

Charles 9
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Re: Curve Projection

"So what's going to happen when those of us out there with the know how start to back engineer the safety limits (raising the bar maybe, rate of acceleration, breaking, etc, etc) in the system and to also add in our own subroutines :) everyone loves to tweak right, every one wants theirs to be that special one, the ones that's just that bit faster than the rest."

Signed firmwares and trusted paths will probably nip that in the bud. Just look at where Android is going now with Marshmallow's dm-verity and Google's move to centralize the core OS.

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Boffins' 5D laser-based storage tech could keep terabytes forever

Charles 9
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Re: Re:1974 film Zardoz

"Unfortunately, I don't think there is even a theoretical material strong enough to make such an elevator."

But given how old the idea is, you would think someone would've put the concept to bed at this point by mathematically proving that a material capable of being the cable for a space elevator cannot physically exist due to exceeding physical limits on material strength or whatever. The fact we haven't seen such a proof indicates it's still possible but we haven't come up with the right combination of materials.

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Charles 9
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Re: Not sure I understrand the number of dimensions.

Perhaps they mean how much of the individual voxel is "occupied" If Length, Width, and Depth indicates the sizes of rooms, Size would be how full is each room while Orientation would indicate which way the furniture is turned.

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Charles 9
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Re: re. voxel

They may be stretching the definition here a little bit, but I can see the point. Each point of data in this design supposedly is a volumetric element, just not of uniform size or orientation (thus the additional two dimensions).

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Toshiba rolls out PC-busting monster: 1 terabyte TLC flash SSD

Charles 9
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Re: Why SATA

That may explain it since most of the laptops I see come from secondhand stores: either hocked off or given away to make room for new ones. Thing is, I routinely find new life in many of these devices. I routinely use a dual-core AMD x64, for example, that started with 512MB and was pushed up to 4GB for $20, turning it from unworkable to quite the dependable work device. And this is replacing an OLD P4 laptop that I pushed up to 1GB but eventually found too clunky (mainly, it uses USB1 ports and the CD drive on it--the only thing it can boot other than the hard drive--is just about dead; I only keep it because it has a 1600x1200 screen handy for remote work.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why SATA

Fair enough. That's what I do, too. It's a lot cheaper to get the SODIMMS aftermarket. But I'm pointing out that unless it's a late Win7 laptop or later, chances are it's going to be under-provisioned in RAM going forward, especially if the laptops you run into (like mine) are from the XP era.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why SATA

"I upgrade a lot of laptops old and new and the SSD is the best thing period. RAM is secondary....very secondary. Most have come with 4GB for the past 6 years so they are at least functional on that point."

Then we're in different worlds because I'm lucky to find a laptop with 4GB standard (I eventually got one, but as an exception to the rule). Most I run into (and they're about the same age range as yours, about five years) are lucky to have 1GB on board and frequently only have 512MB. And trying to run anything serious on XP+ or even a recent Linux distro on something THAT small is Chug City. No amount of disk speed is going to save you from a thrashfest (not to mention thrashing adds wear and tear to your drives), in which case the RAM takes priority over the disk.

PS. I DO game and do a lot of media work. I'm getting ready to step up to a Core i5 that'll double my throughput but I want to put some extra work into it first.

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Charles 9
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"I bought a 1"TB" drive from Amazon for £142 last month. That's getting to sensible price points and certainly not as much as the PC."

For less, I can buy 5TB from a brick and mortar, WITH all the markup that entails, so from where I sit the gap is still too big.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why SATA

I'm inclined to think maxing out the RAM is the single best thing, as it takes out one of the big issues with too little RAM: thrashing due to paging (and thrashing is not a good thing for SSDs, either). Furthermore, most laptop RAM is pretty cheap, especially for old laptops that don't use cutting-edge SODIMMs (ex. I upgraded a pretty old laptop from 512MB to 4GB for about $20). That said, switching out the hard drive for an SSD is still the second best thing.

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Charles 9
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Re: It needs a serious pair for Toshiba to do this...

Still gonna need a bulk storage medium for the medium term, and the money for that is going to be on this taking over spinning rust in that department, unless that 5D Crystalline tech manages to shake things up.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why SATA

Legacy issues. My computer, for example, is almost nine years old. Back then, PCI Express was primarily for graphics cards (mine's a 1.0 with only one x16 slot and one x1 slot). Solid-state PC drives hadn't even hit the market yet. But it DOES have plenty of SATA ports. There are many old laptops out there that work perfectly fine...but could stand a bit of a boost, and after you max out the memory, switching out the hard drive for a SSD is a solid next step, but many of them are pre-NVMe and of course don't have any spare PCIe slots, so the only option is to use the existing SATA bus.

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Charles 9
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Re: DVD still outsells Blu-Ray

"Broadly speaking, children's movies and "serious" dramas tend to do better on DVD, summer blockbusters do better on Blu-Ray."

Probably due to the target. The stuff trending towards DVDs are probably being targeted for portable players (where resolution is less of a selling point, thus why you don't hear much of portable BluRay players). The blockbusters are normally snatched up for home theaters where you can see and hear the difference.

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Google to snatch control of Android updates from mobe makers – analyst

Charles 9
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Moving core OS to Google's control is, on the balance of things, for the better given they can push updates out faster without the red tape. I'm pretty sure the handset makers will still find ways to customize the UI through Overlays (introduced in Lollipop, I think). If they use overlays, I would prefer if Google allowed us the option to disable them, though I understand this is going to be something of a give and take with the handset makers.

Frankly, this would take care of most of the reasons I root my phone these days. Now if they can just mandate the last one (allow for local Nandroid backups from stock in case of Murphy)...

PS. Any bets Android N will be slow in coming so as to push this new idea?

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Charles 9
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Re: ...absolutely no options for handset makers to make any changes..

No, I think the handset makers will still be able to customize the UI to some degree. Isn't that what Overlays will be all about?

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Charles 9
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Re: Ooh.. ooh! Cant have that!

That excuse went out the door with Stagefright. Now Google's under legal pressure to take control of updates in order to cover its kiester. With more coverage of exploits and increased risk of such a device divulging State secrets, Google will want to prevent a repeat performance lest something slip and put them legally on the hook for allowing it.

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