* Posts by Smooth Newt

92 posts • joined 6 Jul 2009

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Author fined $500k in first US spyware conviction

Smooth Newt
Alert

Re: FBI

I was wondering why the DoJ statement says "He was also ordered to forfeit the source code for StealthGenie to the government" until I read Efros's comment.

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Encryption is the REAL threat – Head Europlod

Smooth Newt
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Re: Sniff, sniff, ahh the heady whiff of bullshit

They only have themselves to blame.

Most people weren't that fussed until they learnt how the intelligence agencies had been spying on everyone. If their surveillance capability was so vital for counter-terrorism maybe they shouldn't have spaffed it all by spying on the likes of Angela Merkel, foreign competitors, employees of of telecoms companies and everyone else.

It's like a kleptomaniac whinging that all his neighbours have all gone out and put locks on their doors.

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David Cameron's Passport number emailed to footy-head

Smooth Newt
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Re: Is it such a big deal?

There is no obligation, at least for UK citizens, to have either a passport or a driving licence, so they cannot assume that everyone has these documents. Plenty of people don't - many elderly people who no longer drive or travel for example. Offer them a copy of your Bingo Club membership card.

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Huawei networking kit gets the green light from Blighty's spooks

Smooth Newt
WTF?

A recommendation of sorts...

Now that GCHQ have given Huawei kit their seal of approval I definitely won't be buying any.

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Voda UK CEO says one thing about not-spots, Minister of Fun says another

Smooth Newt

Re: Its about time 2G was dropped from coverage maps / statistics.

You are only interested in data coverage but other people are interested in voice coverage too, and many only in voice coverage. Lots of people don’t realise that when they make a call on a 3G phone it often actually uses the 2G network.

Sorting out 3G/4G coverage on high speed trains is a different problem to geographic coverage since a train passing through a good coverage area might not have much coverage. In-motion multipath fast fading effects, signal attenuation from metal carriage walls (and maybe metallised windows too), high passenger density - both as 3G/4G service users and as radio wave absorbers, all add problems. These can only really be solved by putting hot spots on trains which would not solve geographical coverage.

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Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS

Smooth Newt
Meh

Re: Lots of misunderstandings about biometrics here...

I hadn't heard superglue and a laser printer described as "high quality lab equipment" before, but I guess that is true since a high quality lab will have them. But then so will the local low life.

I can change my password, but not my fingerprints.

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Would you trust 'spyproof' mobes made in Putin's Russia?

Smooth Newt
Mushroom

Re: Would you trust 'spyproof' mobes made in Putin's Russia?

Trust is either a matter of faith or a matter of verification.

I am not into theology, so wherever it was made I would only consider it trustworthy it if it was open to verification - its schematics published, its components generic, its firmware open sourced, and independent oversight during manufacture and distribution.

Nuclear explosion icon because it's the same issue in nuclear disarmament. You don't see anyone say "you look like an honest government, so we'll trust you" there.

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Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

Smooth Newt
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Re: How long before Smart TVs

Glad I didn't buy one.

A dumb one with a small computer connected to it does me just fine. I choose what it runs, and it doesn't use the Internet except when I say it can.

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Top US privacy bod: EU should STOP appeasing whiny consumers

Smooth Newt

RE: Stalemate

I think the US tourism and airline industries would complain rather loudly to their government if European tourists couldn't fly to the US anymore.

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ISO floats storage security standard

Smooth Newt
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Because The Register isn't about to shell out 198 Swiss Francs

And that's the problem with ISO Standards. How much do RFC's cost again?

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Smooth Newt
Facepalm

Cameron's analogy with letters is broken

Whilst the Government can read postal letters in transit with a warrant, it is just a convenience for the sender and receiver that the content isn't usually encrypted.

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Buffer overflow reported in UEFI EDK1

Smooth Newt

Re: Of course! @Stuart

"That is true, but those Windows RT devices (never seen one) and WPhone products are not commodity hardware (as in generic x86 PC) and are no different from the bootlocked iPhones or Androids."

Because there are 'only' a few million of those devices, or because Apple also uses similar practices, doesn't make it OK for Secure Boot to be used to lock users into a particular operating system.

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Smooth Newt

Re: Of course! @Stuart

@Sandiz, Microsoft's Windows Hardware Certification Requirements says that "Disabling Secure Boot must not be possible on ARM systems" if the manufacturer wants to offer Windows on it. So no, secure boot can't always be disabled.

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Smooth Newt

Re: Of course! @Stuart

>Please explain how Secure Boot is destined to become more of a headache than the problem it tries to solve.

If you just intend running Windows or Mac OS on a new computer - as you may well do - then you will be ok. But as time goes on people who need/want to use Linux, or don't want to buy new hardware when upgrading their operating system will be increasingly screwed.

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No cellphones in cells, you slag! UK.gov moots prison mobe zap law

Smooth Newt

Re: How do you identify the phone?

Triangulation or whatever might work where the prison is in the middle of nowhere, but many are located in the middle of built up areas. Reflections of signals from walls etc will make it difficult to correctly determine that the phone is being used just inside, or just outside the prison.

I am sure some people living or working near to a prison will find their phone gets blocked.

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Why the chemistry between Hollywood, physics and maths is so hot right now

Smooth Newt
Facepalm

Just don't think too hard about it

Science fiction is as much written for scientists as ghost stories are written for ghosts.

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Iranian CLEAVER hackers may DRAIN energy and defence firms, warn Feds

Smooth Newt
Black Helicopters

Ably assisted by

The NSA's tireless work at weakening Internet security standards and safeguards and so made American corporations more vulnerable.

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HORRIFIED Amazon retailers fear GOING BUST after 1p pricing cockup

Smooth Newt

Re: Shurely

>wouldn't be able to afford to insure themselves against a situation like this

Strangely enough, most hardware manufacturers have to find this sort of insurance. If the computer you are reading this on caught fire then you would be at liberty to sue your supplier, who in turn would sue the manufacturer, for the damage caused.

Writing reliable and trustworthy software really is no big deal - you have to invest in proper validation and verification. It just seems a big deal to a lot of people because it isn't as much fun as coding, so many people don't do it and don't see why they should have to.

So your small software vendors would have to demonstrate that they had proper processes in place to obtain the insurance at a sensible price. Just like hardware manufacturers, and for that matter plumbers and jobbing electricians, have to do now.

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Firms will have to report OWN diverted profits under 'Google Tax' law

Smooth Newt
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Re: It is only a draft law

>But isn't this draft law designed to be generalised and a catch-all?

No. It's a draft law designed to make the Government look as if they are doing something about tax avoidance by large corporations. Why do you think they are doing it now, rather than several years ago?

They are caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea - they don't actually want to piss off those corporations because that is where their political donations, comfy directorships etc come from, but at the same time they don't want to piss off the great unwashed who get to vote for a new Government in May.

So, some handwaving to appease the peasants before election time, and then back to business as usual.

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Brits to teach Norks hacks about 'multimedia websites'. 5% of DPRK is in for a TREAT

Smooth Newt
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What is the Korean for "Jolly"?

jolly: n., A day out from work, ostensibly on some kind of work-based mission but actually just going for a laugh. (British English)

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ESA and Airbus test LASER data networks IN SPAAACE

Smooth Newt
Joke

Re: Haven't they been doing this sort of thing for years

Certainly faster - 600 Mbps instead of 50 Mbps. Feels like broadband too - they paid for 1.8 Gbps and got 0.6

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Smooth Newt
Holmes

Haven't they been doing this sort of thing for years

"On 30 November 2001 the Silex (Semiconductor-laser Inter-satellite Link Experiment) system made its first real-time transmission of images acquired by SPOT 4's instruments, via Artemis, an ESA relay satellite in geostationary orbit (GEO), down to ground stations. It was the culmination of more than 15 years of experience logged by Airbus Defence and Space in space optical communications."

http://www.space-airbusds.com/en/news2/satellite-laser-link.html

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Pay-by-bonk 'glitch' means cards can go kaching-for-crims

Smooth Newt

Re: Merchant account

They can surely avoid the tedium of having to acquire forged or stolen identity documents by just hijacking someone elses' account.

But I think you will find that banks in many parts of the World really are very lax about the identity proof.

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Verizon Wireless token tracker triggers tech transparency tempest

Smooth Newt

Madness

Risking serious damage to the company's reputation in its core business just to make a few bucks on a sideline.

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In dot we trust: If you keep to this 124-page security rulebook, you can own yourname.trust

Smooth Newt

Re: The rest of the story

I expect banks will sign up in droves.

Many are keen to address the worries that lots of their customers have about online security. $100k a year isn't even small change for them, and you can imagine the hype they will use with it to reinforce their "your security is our priority" message.

It doesn't really matter whether .trust sites are more secure or not, only that the bank customers believe that they are.

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Sophos to offshore American support operations

Smooth Newt
FAIL

"The mission of the Support organization is to delight partners and customers"

They sell computer security software, not floral displays, for Gawd's sake. It is like a flushing lavatory, I am never "delighted" by it now matter how well it works, just annoyed when it doesn't.

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WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?

Smooth Newt

Re: Urrrggghhhh

Slurp has a specific meaning in Perl; to read the entire contents of a file in a single operation into one scalar variable. As the first release of Perl was in 1987 perhaps the 1993 OED definition was already out of date.

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UK banks hook themselves up to real-time cop data feed

Smooth Newt

BBA Financial Crime Alerts Service

Is this what people who don't work in marketing call an "electronic mailing list"?

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Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables

Smooth Newt
Pint

Re: NSA couldn't possibly have spliced the undersea cables ...

Many difficult things become a lot easier with an $11 billion annual budget.

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UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares

Smooth Newt

Re: It never usually goes to the SMEs...

Probably wouldn't achieve much even if spent wisely. 4.9 million SMEs. 82p each.

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DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster

Smooth Newt

Re: DARPA has a budget problem: How to spend it fast enough

And when they are not using it, which is the other 99.9% of the time, they will be further bogged down with yet another piece of heavy kit.

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2016: Robo-butlers, flying cars, and Google's internet Terminators hunting SHA-1 SSL certs

Smooth Newt
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About time too

There are just so many organisations out there with bullshit in their T&Cs about how keeping customer data secure is a top priority, and they are using SHA 1 certificates and no forward secrecy.

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China is now 99.8% sure you're you, thanks to world's-best facial recognition wares

Smooth Newt
Trollface

The real test

But how effective is it with people who deliberately, and skillfully, change their appearance to confuse it?

Otherwise it is really just a nice toy, useful for targetted ads and making immigration ministers feel good about themselves, but hardly secure.

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SHIP OF FAIL: How do we right capsized institutions we thought would NEVER go under?

Smooth Newt
Mushroom

Misplaced incentives

In many cases the problem is that the group which chooses to take the risks that eventually leads to the failure is not the same one that suffers the consequences. Hence the downside of failure for them is disproportionately small.

I bet those NASA managers wouldn't have been so relaxed about the reliability of the Shuttle if they were the ones who were going to fly on it.

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What could possibly go wrong? Banks could provide ID assurance for Gov.UK – report

Smooth Newt
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Demonstrable integrity

Given the need for probity here, it would be prudent to exclude any company which has been punished for fraud or dishonesty within the last five years from having any part in the management or oversight of the scheme.

After all if their internal oversight processes are that bad then they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near this.

So which banks does that leave?

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Firefox 32 moves to kill MITM attacks

Smooth Newt
Trollface

New CAs

Amongst the new root certificates added is one from this CA. If I can't even pronounce it then should I trust it?

CN = CA 沃通根证书

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iCloud fiasco: 100 FAMOUS WOMEN exposed NUDE online

Smooth Newt
Facepalm

Doh

If you don't want your personal naked photos on the Internet, DON'T UPLOAD THEM!

Still if you are rich and famous at least you can count on a well-resourced investigation by US authorities.

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Loss of unencrypted back-up disk costs UK prisons ministry £180K

Smooth Newt

Re: Misleading title....

It hasn't cost tax payers anything, except a few thousand pounds in pointless civil servant effort. The money was in the government coffers. It is still in the government coffers.

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Smooth Newt

Re: Cocking up

They have to do something to show they care. Short of actually punishing anyone, or making the MoJ compensate the victims, which they don't have the powers to do.

Maybe they should be able to block any honours for MoJ senior civil servants for the next couple of years. Much more effective.

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Smooth Newt
Meh

Doncha just love it

when one government department fines another. Provides work for civil servants in both departments. Sir Humphrey would be delighted.

The Monetary Penalty Notice pdf says "The data controller has sufficient financial resources to pay a monetary penalty up to the maximum without it causing undue financial hardship".

What is "financial hardship" for a government ministry? Not enough in the tin for rich tea biscuits with the coffee at meetings?

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e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt

Smooth Newt

Re: Tears roll down my cheeks

"Although for 250 million squid, an entire department might find itself collecting P45s"

Since any sackings would be handled with the Government's customary efficiency, those P45 recipients would doubtless reap colossal rewards by suing for unfair dismissal.

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Call girl injected Google exec with heroin, drank wine, left him to die – cops claim

Smooth Newt

Re: Ah.. a scandel in the finest traditions.

Doesn't "innocent until proven guilty" apply? Some commentators here seem to assume that charged = guilty.

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Top Canadian court: Cops need warrant to get names from ISPs

Smooth Newt

Re: Paul Crawford No sympathy.

Why are they "so-called 'civil liberties' groups" and not just civil liberties groups?

What is a real civil liberty group?

Just curious on your take on this.

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MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

Smooth Newt

MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

Nuclear powered ships move around severe weather. I can't see floating nuclear power stations doing that without having to unplug the electricity cable to the cities.

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UK.gov chucks another £260m at MOOC-based cyber security training

Smooth Newt

What's wrong with a National Computer Security Strategy?

What's the difference between "cyber" and "computer", or is it just pointless jargon?

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