* Posts by Smooth Newt

113 posts • joined 6 Jul 2009

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Home routers co-opted into self-sustaining DDoS botnet

Smooth Newt

Re: Class action?

@ Wim Ton "You need an extra printing station on the assembly line to print it on the case"

It is usually printed on the same sticker as the MAC address and serial number.

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WikiLeaks, er, leaks the Bundestag Inquiry into NSA naughtiness

Smooth Newt

Re: Hmm...

President Truman had a sign on his desk which said "the buck stops here", and with good reason.

There is no excuse for a Western country's leader not to know what his or her government is doing in important areas, or to claim not to know. They have a personal staff whom they can personally choose, and is as many people as they like. A thousand people if they want.

As for being deliberately deceived, they have immensely powerful tools at their fingertips, right up to nuclear options like the ability to replace the head of any government organisation, launch an inquiry into it, abolish it or even, in Europe, pass legislation creating new criminal offences.

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GCHQ puts out open recruitment call for 'white hat' hackers

Smooth Newt
Joke

Re: While the salary is attractive

At £28k the wages of sin do seem rather low these days.

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Why carrier neutrality matters for 'proper hosting'

Smooth Newt
Pint

What a great article!

What an incisive and useful article. Thank you :-)

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EU Commish is rather pleased German BND and NSA thought it worth spying on

Smooth Newt

Re: Ha

No. I really do mean the European Coal and Steel Community, not NATO. See the Wikipedia article on the Schuman Declaration http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schuman_Declaration

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Smooth Newt
Mushroom

Re: Ha

@codejunky I guess they don't teach history in schools any more.

In 1945 most of Europe was lying devastated from war for the second time in a generation. No-one wanted this to happen again. Since copious amounts of steel and energy were essential for building armaments, the idea arose of pooling Franco-German coal and steel production so that it would be impossible for one country ever to become a threat for the other.

The result was the European Coal and Steel Community which grew and grew to become the EU.

So yes, the original precursor to the EU was explicitly created as a political structure to make war between France and Germany impossible.

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Smooth Newt

Re: Ha

"Makes me feel so good about all that money we throw their way. Not"

Personally I think no Franco-German war for the last 70 years is alone worth all that money without even considering all the other stuff they do. For comparison there were three of these conflicts in the previous 70 years, the last two becoming World Wars.

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Ubuntu to shutter year-old clock unlock bug

Smooth Newt

Re: Shortsighted reaction on the side of Canonical

Yes - the consequences of changing the system clock are pretty unpredictable. It is at least going to have an effect on any piece of code that looks at the time and can't handle time going backwards sensibly. How many coders worry about that?

A bit like when buffer overflows emerged as a serious problem - without doing an extensive audit who knows where this might causes vulnerabilities and what they are.

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Your new car will dob you in to the cops if you crash, decrees EU

Smooth Newt
Meh

Re: Gah!

One way of looking at this is as a 100 euro tax being added to the purchase price of a car to improve the safety of the purchaser.

Looking at it that way, is buying an eCall unit with the money the most effective way of doing this.

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The Government Digital Service: The Happiest Place on Earth

Smooth Newt
Pint

Government Digital Strategy: annual report 2014

I just read the annual report for the Government Digital Strategy, published just three months ago, and it says that everything is absolutely spiffing.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-digital-strategy-annual-report-2014/government-digital-strategy-annual-report-2014

It starts "This has been a great year for digital government. It’s been 12 months of getting things done. I’m pleased to report that the hard work of the Government Digital Service is transforming the way that the public interacts with the government" and continues in this vein for hundreds of words.

And then at the bottom of the report, there is a link "Is there anything wrong with this page?"

You mean, apart from being complete bollocks...

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London man arrested over $40 MILLION HFT flash crash allegations

Smooth Newt

Re: Really?

The average asking price of a house in Hounslow is £400,073 so there are probably quite a few people living there worth several million.

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Digital killed the radio star: Norway names FM switchoff date

Smooth Newt

Re: Savings

Yes, I doubt the Norwegian Government has been inundated by letters from angry radio listeners demanding that FM be turned off.

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Smooth Newt

Emergency announcements?

"There will also be benefits for the country's emergency services, since emergency announcements can be simultaneously broadcast on all digital channels."

They do that a lot in Norway?

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US Navy robot war-jet refuels in air: But Mav and Iceman are going down fighting

Smooth Newt

>No quite, drones are not as reliable, nor are they as good at adapting to changing situations.

Why shouldn't they be more reliable, and they can certainly have higher performance - no G-force intolerant pilot with slow human speed reactions and pilot error, no heavy cockpit with its instruments and equipment, pilot, 150 lb ejector seat, etc no compromising the aerodynamics to ensure that the pilot has a good all-round view.

But the most important benefit is that robots don't have grieving relatives. The public care when aircrew are killed. Only accountants care about robots.

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Default admin password, weak Wi-Fi, open USB ports ... no wonder these electronic voting boxes are now BANNED

Smooth Newt

Re: "...lack basic security measures against physical and electronic incursions."

The VITA report says that they could get a remote desktop using RDP, also access the devices via default network shares, and that they use Microsoft Access for storing polling data. That sounds like a lot more than just enough operating system.

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Smooth Newt

Re: "...lack basic security measures against physical and electronic incursions."

It takes hard work and dedication to make something that is functionally so simple so shite. The enemy of security is complexity, and yet is packed with unnecessary features. Why does it need a full-fat operating system, wifi and USB anyway.

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NSA: 'Back doors are a bad idea, give us a FRONT door key'

Smooth Newt

Re: I get it, but

>People working in GCHQ are after terrorists and real bad guys.. .

No they're not. If you obey an order then you are as culpable as the person who gave it.

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Popular crypto app uses single-byte XOR and nowt else, hacker says

Smooth Newt

Re: Get a grip!

No you wouldn't use an F1 car to go to the shops because there would be problems - extremely expensive vehicle, no boot, not road legal, no passenger seats, uncomfortable to drive etc. But there is no downside for the consumer to using proper encryption. It's like having a bog standard normal car that you go shopping in which also happens to be able to win F1 races.

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Smooth Newt

Re: What claims?

http://www.nq.com/vault

"Photos & Videos

They’ll be encrypted and only viewable in Vault when you enter the correct password."

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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
Thumb Up

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
Thumb Up

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
Thumb Up

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
Thumb Down

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
Thumb Down

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
Thumb Up

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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