* Posts by DougS

3390 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

FCC says cities should be free to run decent ISPs. And Republicans can't stand it

DougS
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They should compromise

Allow governments to run fiber/copper, but not run the ISP. It has to be leased at a standard price to any interested third party, under the proviso that they have to offer the same pricing to everyone on their system (i.e. no charging people in town where cable also compete less than people who live outside cable's reach and have no broadband option)

Wait, what am I thinking, there's no way democrats and republicans will compromise on anything!

I'm sure if some tea partiers had their way, they'd make it illegal for cities to provide water, sewer, trash pickup, or maybe even roads free to the public. "Tax dollars shouldn't be confiscated to provide services that private businesses can provide better!"

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BP: Oil prices crashed, so must our ICT budget

DougS
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Re: Uh huh...

I'm sure if you asked him, he'd say he's 3x more valuable because he's "guiding them through challenging times"

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Paranoid Android Kaymera smartmobe takes on Blackphone

DougS
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Re: $ecure payment$

Apple is already there, if you use Facetime it is encrypted end to end and Apple does not possess the technical means to decrypt it - the two phones use secure key exchange using device keys Apple does not hold to create a session key for the call. The infrastructure already exists for Apple to do this for all iPhone to iPhone calls. I hope they do it with iOS 9, even though (or especially because) it'll really have the government up in arms, a lot more than they were last fall when iOS and Android tightened things up for device encryption!

I'm sure Android has some similar provision for at least those phones using Google's services to do a secure key exchange. It would be a little more difficult to do iPhone -> Android encrypted calling by default, but I'm sure the clever people at Apple, Google and Microsoft could get together on an interoperable standard.

There should be no reason people have to rely on special firmware or special calling apps. Encrypted calling done in a way the phone/OS OEM doesn't possess the means of decryption needs to be built into all phones by default, and not rely solely on the SIM's encryption which we now know has been compromised by the NSA for years.

I know the "paranoid OS" is more than just secure calling, but that seems to be the thing this company is basing their offering on. Without secure calling having a secure OS is like having a high security lock on your house with an open window on the ground floor in the backyard.

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And the buggiest OS provider award goes to ... APPLE?

DougS
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@AC

Only a moron would quote such a link without actually checking it!

Go to 2015, and look at the entries. The first one lists a security hole in Google Chrome. Somehow that's a flaw in the Linux kernel? If you look at their security list for Windows for 2015 and look at the first entry - same flaw in Google Chrome! In fact, a lot of the flaws listed for 2015 are from Chrome. That has nothing do with the Linux kernel, or Windows since Microsoft doesn't ship it with Chrome.

In other words, your link is as stupid as the article.

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DougS
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Only need to read one thing to see this "research" is worthless

They claim the Linux KERNEL has all these vulnerabilities. No, Linux distributions do, but not the kernel. Kernel exploits are extremely rare (for any kernel, not just Linux) OpenSSH may ship with Linux distributions and up Linux's count for vulnerabilities, but that is not part of the Linux kernel.

These idiots don't even know that much - they actually listed "Linux kernel" in the vulnerability listing, that wasn't (as I expected) a Reg journalist error!

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Errant update borks Samsung 850 Pro SSDs

DougS
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Re: Why did they upgrade firmware in the first place?

Its only hindsight if you think I wouldn't have said the same thing the day before. You would be wrong.

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DougS
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Why did they upgrade firmware in the first place?

Was there a serious flaw this was fixing? Or was it just a bunch of idiots who upgraded because something newer became available, or it promised 0.2% more performance? And yes, they are idiots if they upgraded the firmware on a drive (SSD or spinning) that wasn't mirrored, RAIDed or backed up!

NEVER be an early adopter patching storage devices. NEVER. Let fools walk that plank before you, and upgrade only after it has been out a while without being recalled.

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Check out our HOT AIR INTERFACE for 5G – Huawei

DougS
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That's only true if US/Euro carriers buy Huawei chips in their phones or cellular towers. They might still buy them from Qualcomm, except Qualcomm would be working with someone else's designs and the loss of royalties would make them a smaller player than they are today.

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DougS
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Payoff?

FRAND royalties would hardly begin to compensate them for $600 million in development costs. But that's not the point, or the reason companies spend money like that to develop technology that must be offered on FRAND terms to be allowed into a standard. Huawei would earn a lot of international prestige for themselves and for China, and the value of that is such they'd probably be willing to license it royalty free. They'd also be experts in this technology, and have a jump on everyone else (especially rival Qualcomm) in developing chipsets that implement this.

Assuming it is as good as they say it is, and someone else doesn't come up with something better.

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Nerdgasm as Apple announces 'special event'

DougS
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Re: Could be the...

They previously said they'd bring Watch to market around this time. Do you really think they are timing announcements specifically because of Pebble? Or that they should politely set aside their own plans and wait for Pebble to come through with whatever they are kickstarting, and if Samsung announces something while they're waiting I guess they should stand aside for them as well? I guess you automatically discount the idea that Pebble started the whole kickstarter thing when they did knowing that Apple was going to announce their watch at any time?

If Apple announces something that causes people who were interested in Pebble to drop their plans to buy Pebble, too bad for Pebble. If Apple announces something that causes people who were interested in Apple to drop their plans to buy Apple and switch to Pebble, too bad for Apple. Welcome to the world of business (something you obviously have zero experience in)

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DougS
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Re: Oh, goody. I'm on tenterhooks.

What a stupid comment. If the world required everyone to understand how something worked we'd be permanently stuck somewhere between the wheel and crop irrigation. Do you understand how a field effect transistor, giant magnetoresistance and LEDs work - without referring to any books or online sources, and well enough that if they didn't exist you could describe them to engineers who could build them? If not, STFU with your patronizing comments.

Some people don't care to understand how a product works, they just want it to do what what they ask of it. I don't recall getting a degree in mechanical engineering in driver's ed before I received my license...

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Net neutrality secrecy: No one knows what the FCC approved (but Google has a good idea)

DougS
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Re: Democratic process is heavily democratic

Exactly. This is the same thing the Bush administration did with the Energy Policy Task Force Cheney chaired. Administrations of either party always hide stuff from public debate when they're afraid the public won't like it - usually because it is full of giveaways to corporate interests. I'm sure Google won't be the only big company to get changes made before the public is allowed to see it, but by then it will be too late for us little people to do anything about it.

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Money from apps? It's all about Apple iOS, says survey

DougS
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Pretty much. This is what all analysts need to learn, at least the ones who keep saying the iPhone is doomed if Apple doesn't address the low end market where all the smartphone growth is. Apple doesn't care to address the low end because they don't make money there, and developers don't make money there. Android's market share leadership is irrelevant, Apple has the majority of the high end, and 0% of the low end, and they're fine with that.

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Google deal means game over for mobile payments firm Softcard

DougS
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So what exactly did Google buy that they didn't have before?

For a couple years I kept reading about how Apple is way behind Android because it doesn't support NFC, as they claimed NFC payments was going to be a huge thing - even though almost no one who had NFC phones used it. Apple added NFC to the iPhone, made a big splash about Apple Pay and got some people using it - not a lot, but enough that they were a majority of people using NFC payments in the US within a week after the iPhone 6's release.

So Google buys a struggling company trying without success to push NFC payments, but doesn't get any of their customer data. Google already had a NFC payments infrastructure, so what did they need Softcard for? It looks like what really happened is that Google bought them to shut down them down, so Google Wallet is the only alternative for those who can't/won't use Apple Pay.

Well, until the hundreds of millions of credit/debit cards in the US are replaced with NFC versions that support EMV over the next 18 months or so. Then the question will be: Why use either Google Wallet or Apple Pay? How is it better than just using your card? Google just threw away money as far as I can tell.

As an Apple shareholder, theoretically using Apple Pay benefits me a microscopic amount, as I own about a millionth of the company and get a millionth of Apple's share of 0.15% of my transaction amount. Not quite as good as my cash back credit cards, which give me 10,000,000x more :) If I use Google Wallet I get to give them my purchase info to feed into their ad slinging machine which gets me...more ads? Yeah, not much incentive there!

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MELTDOWN: Samsung, Sony not-so-smart TVs go titsup for TWO days

DougS
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Re: Why would you even fix this?

What's a terrible idea is buying a TV that insists on resolving the OEM's domain as a "test" that the internet is working, and then assumes the internet is not working if that test fails. YDI.

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Intel, Apple and Cisco crossed off Chinese Gov's kit list

DougS
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This isn't a big deal

Cisco was already going to lose after the US put Huawei on their banned list. Apple is irrelevant because they don't sell enterprise equipment - I doubt the Chinese government was buying a lot of Macs and iPhones so this won't make a dent in their sales.

Intel is even more irrelevant because they only sell CPUs. The Chinese government doesn't buy CPUs, they buy PCs. They aren't going to stop buying Lenovo PCs because they have Intel CPUs in them. Intel makes a lot more per PC sold than Lenovo does.

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$533 MEEELLION – the cost of Apple’s iTunes patent infringement

DougS
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Re: Gotta love Apple.

No, they weren't. Without Apple funding the development of ARMv6, and then buying a bunch for the Newton, it wouldn't be around today. Your claim of 'vastly superior' is neither here nor there. The tech world is littered with superior technology that market forces dictated would lose to inferior technology. Or do you think that x86 was the best CPU architecture, DOS was the best operating system and IDE was the best interface standard for hard drives?

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DougS
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Re: Gotta love Apple.

What does ARM have to do with anything? Apple licenses the ARM architecture, and designs their own CPUs that use that architecture. They don't use the ARM designed cores like A57 etc. and thus pay a different royalty structure than companies that do.

People should learn a little history: Apple was one of the FOUNDERS of ARM (the company that exists today, not the company that built Acorn computers that today's ARM was spun off from) Without their involvement, there would be no ARM architecture today, it would be a footnote in the computing history of the 80s.

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Solidfire offers unlimited SSD wear guarantee, punts software at market

DougS
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Re: ...SSD warranties of up to five years...

The lifetime guarantees against wearout are only offered on enterprise storage, because enterprises won't take advantage of it. It just gives them peace of mind if they are worried about wearout. That was my point. A home user might hold onto stuff much longer, but no company will offer them a lifetime wearout warranty - can you imagine if SSDs had been sold to home users in 1995 and someone tries to claim on a worn out 500MB IDE SSD?

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DougS
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Re: ...SSD warranties of up to five years...

Not to mention that enterprises aren't likely to have heavily used servers/storage that isn't replaced after 5 years, let alone 10. The 10+ year old servers some have kicking around are the ones that do little and are out of sight / out of mind.

To collect on an unlimited wear guarantee the SSD probably still has to be functional, just indicating too many bad blocks. They might pay out with a few customers who really are driving them to the max 24x7x365, but most customers will either be wildly overestimating how much data they write per day or only write at those rates during load peaks.

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Finally, a decent use for big data: Weeding out crooked City traders

DougS
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Re: How are they planning on monitoring use of private communication channels?

The article is titled "Weeding out crooked City traders". Assuming crooked traders will follow the rules is probably not very smart if you actually want to catch them. A bank can make a rule that people can't wear masks inside the bank, but bank robbers might choose not to follow it.

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DougS
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How are they planning on monitoring use of private communication channels?

Help from GCHQ to snoop personal email, bug their cell phones for location and call history and/or content information? You can figure out insider trading is happening if a certain trader is always on the right side of trades in a given company, and his phone's GPS comes within 2 meters of the GPS of the phone of that company's CFO. Because you can, doesn't mean you should.

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Leaky battery attack reveals the paths you walk in life

DougS
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Re: Aside from "victims need only install an attacker's app"

Hold the button on top down and "slide to power off" comes up. I assume Android operates similarly, is that not "off" enough for you?

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DougS
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Re: iOS approximating battery level to nearest 5%

Someone developing iOS added something like (battery / 5) * 5 for a reason. A lazy coder does not add code like that.

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DougS
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iOS approximating battery level to nearest 5%

Do the developer notes mention why this was done? I assume it was this done for security - i.e. limit sharing of information that apps don't need to avoid giving away information they shouldn't have. Can't see any other reason why access to battery level would be quantized like that.

Interesting that Apple shows such advanced security thinking here, but has lagged in other areas like not supporting two factor authentication in iCloud until it caused a PR problem.

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Amazon tries to patent 3D printers on trucks

DougS
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Re: How on Earth is this patentable?

I would tell you what I think, but I'm rushing to patent "3D printer on a drone" before someone beats me to it!

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Google's Softcard hookup: Never mind Apple Pay ... it's about beating the networks

DougS
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Can the banks stop Google from collecting customer purchase data?

I suppose if they put it in the contract, but what is Google's incentive to cooperate with them if that's the case? Maybe they decide they want to cut the banks/payment processors out of the loop entirely and go their own way. Google Wallet starts using "Google Credit" instead of linking to a bank card, and you pay your bill each month just like a credit card.

Google will go to any lengths to get their grubby hands on this data, it is the crown jewel for their ad pushing empire. Imagine how much more advertisers would pay to not only find out what people search, what ads they click on, and what websites they visit, but also which of those searches, clicks and visits TURN INTO PURCHASES!

They can easily get retailers to put payment terminals in that would work with Google's payment system - give them the equipment for free, and waive the interchange fees! Google would make more money mining people's purchase data given that they already have so much other data about what people do leading up to a purchase that they could eat those costs, and deal a crippling blow to banks. Well, in theory, if they get customers to use it - but that's easy, just like they got customers to use Google's payment thing a few years ago - bribe them too! Everyone used Microsoft and Google's payment system for a hot minute 10 years ago because of the freebies, and everyone quit using it the minute the freebies went away. Google can probably afford to keep up with the freebies though given how much purchase data will be worth to them.

Glad I'm watching this one on the sidelines, and won't have to worry about Google finding out what I buy!

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DougS
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Re: Insecurity

People are used to being pelted with ads, but with Google having access to more of people's lives at some point I think the creepiness factor will become a problem for them. If you browse the web and do Google searches on diapers, seeing ads for diapers and baby formula when you visit cnn.com (or whatever site that uses one of Google's ad companies like Doubleclick) is probably not

What happens if you buy diapers and then start seeing ads for them on your computer, even though you never searched for them or visited a baby site? People might not be too comfortable with something like that.

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How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

DougS
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Degree qualifications

I have two graduate degrees, but to my knowledge no employer has ever checked or cared. Especially as an independent consultant, which it sounds like Trevor is now. Does the US actually check whether someone meets those qualifications Trevor mentioned to enter the US for work?

It sounds like he's a bit too honest to try to fudge that (and has permanently shut that door by stating it here for all to see, anyway) but unless there is a bureaucrat somewhere in US Customs & Immigration charged with calling overseas schools and verifying degree status, I'm sure there are some Canadians who are even less educationally qualified than he is who are working here today.

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'Lenovo, Superfish put smut on my system' – class-action lawsuit

DougS
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Is Superfish really showing porn ads?

Too bad for Lenovo, even if it isn't anyone who gets malware on their computer from any source will be blaming them.

Even though this was (supposedly) not installed on their business PC lines, the publicity is going to damage their reputation and cause sales there to decline. The people recommending or making purchase decisions are going to be well aware of the whole Superfish fiasco and not want to have anything to do with Lenovo after this!

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DougS
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As long as you are reinstalling, why not install Windows 7, instead of the cancer that is Windows 8?

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Apple forks out nearly $2bn for two ripe, green data centres

DougS
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Re: Is Data Centre energy requirements <> Apple Manufacturing?

Anytime anyone "goes green" (especially Apple) some spoilsport has to point out there are some non-green elements. Can't you be happy they're doing something positive, instead of whining that they aren't doing enough to suit you?

Even if their subs were 100% renewable you could make the argument about the aluminum they use, or the Gorilla glass, or the chips TSMC/Samsung fabs for them, and so on. NO ONE in the CE industry is anywhere remotely close to green when you consider the entire chain, but even Apple can exert very limited control of that chain.

They might be able to put some pressure on Foxconn, but their "manufacturing" is already pretty green as it is very labor intensive - the primary energy is probably keeping the lights on for all those people to see what they are doing assembling parts by hand! But further down the chain, they certainly can't tell TSMC to build a fab that runs on renewable energy to fab their chips, and insist that TSMC get their wafers from silicon boule suppliers running on renewable energy. Samsung may be a smaller player in the fab world, but again Apple couldn't tell them how to run their fab (anyway no one has ever even tried to build a fab that runs on 100% renewable energy)

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May the fourth be with you: Torvalds names next Linux v 4.0

DougS
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Re: Beat me to it

VMware includes source for what it needs and automatically does the rebuild, has done so for years. That doesn't help when the ABI changes - the rebuild fails and that's when you need the patch.

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DougS
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Beat me to it

Linus' definition of breaking compatibility is different than that used by Unix vendors, or even Microsoft. Linux 3.19 isn't 100% compatible with with 3.18, but maybe he's talking about 3.19.x being compatible with 3.19.0. Not a hard target when 'major' releases are popping out every three months!

Granted this isn't an issue for most users, but it sure makes stuff that has to touch the kernel like VMware a pain - every time I install an updated Fedora and install VMware I have to scan the vmware forums to find a patch some guy has cooked up because Linux's driver ABI changes with every point release.

Not a terrible thing, but Linus is in major denial if he thinks Linux never breaks compatibility!

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Must-have sports tech: No, not an Apple Watch, a TOMATO GOB-STUFF BOT

DougS
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Japan gets weirder every day

I need to visit again before it becomes completely incomprehensible to me. If that hasn't already happened.

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Net neutrality crunch poll: Americans want to know WTF it is

DougS
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It is almost as if the FCC is trying to sabotage this

Chairman Wheeler can make it seem like he's not in the pocket of his former masters (he used to be chief lobbyists for the national cable organization, for those who don't know) by "trying" to pass net neutrality regulations, but doing it in a way that will leave the FCC exposed to lawsuits that can delay it until republicans potentially take over in 2017 and shitcan the whole deal under the guise of "avoiding government regulation".

Gotta admit, that's a more crafty strategy than the lobbyists usually use, so maybe I'm overthinking this a bit. But it is mind bogglingly stupid to withhold details from the public as it just opens the whole thing up to a ton of criticism and potential legal challenges.

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The millionaire former playboy, Hugh Hefner, and a crucial fight over playboy.london

DougS
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This is why extra TLDs were stupid

They only created them so they could extract a bunch more money out of businesses for defensive registrations. Apple worried someone might register apple.london or apple.mobile or apple.someotheruselesstld? Better register those defensively! Basically creating new revenue streams for domains as tens of thousands of companies register millions of domains to prevent potential confusion.

It'll be even worse if companies actually USE these domains, because if Google and Facebook started using google.london and facebook.london for some stuff, people are likely to believe that microsoft.london or ebay.london are real domains associated with those companies, so even those who decide not to play the silly defensive registration game will be forced to become involved to avoid scammers taking advantage of people in their name.

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NO CLASS: Judge chucks out two class-action lawsuits against Google

DougS
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It isn't a matter of making cell phones cost more

At least not in the traditional sense. By bundling Google apps in their Android phones instead of going it alone Android OEMs save money not having to develop their own, which translates into lower prices for the phones. However, customers end up paying more in the form of giving up their data to Google, but the Sherman Act doesn't take stuff like that into account.

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Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'

DougS
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Too late!

While 64 bit Linux is fine, even if everything related to 32 bit Linux was fixed tomorrow there are many embedded Linux systems out there that will still around in 2038. Obviously no one cares if their Android device still functions in 2038, but how many cars have Linux running somewhere in them?

Not to mention all the uses in random "internet of things" type devices monitoring critical infrastructure like power lines, oil pipelines, river gauges and so forth. When the time flips, do their alarms stop getting delivered, because the server taking the inputs sees the year 1901 and decides to throw out the obviously corrupt input? Don't worry, we'll find out about the pipeline overpressure when it ruptures and spills a few thousand barrels of oil in the countryside.

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Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in YOUR phone SIM? It's LIKELY

DougS
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Re: If Apple wants to really piss off the feds

Not saying what Apple did on their own would or should be taken as the future standard, just that having done it at all would grease the rails for a standard to happen. Apple doing it alone wouldn't prevent Google from going their own way, and two non-interoperable standards available soon is better than an interminable wait for an interoperable standard.

The standards process in crypto has far too much involvement from the US government. They would do everything they could to delay it and/or weaken the eventual standard, and to think otherwise is to be naive or in denial. We'd continue for years having easily tapped phones while we waited for this process to work, and in the end if we had a standard the US government was happy with would you really feel it is secure or that they're happy because they have built in a way around it?

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DougS
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Re: If Apple wants to really piss off the feds

Starting with a standards process is great, but not if it takes years for it to happen due to the carriers and governments trying to get in the middle of it and derail it. Much better to just to do it yourself in (relative) secrecy and drop it on the world, then it is fait accompli and too late to stop the momentum towards a standard that doesn't give the carriers/government any part of it.

As for the various apps that do secure communication, that's great, but only a tiny fraction of people will use them. It must be the default for every call (even if initially it is just iPhone -> iPhone or Android 5.2 -> Android 5.2) to make a difference.

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DougS
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If Apple wants to really piss off the feds

They should encrypt the traffic between phones in iOS 9, so the GSM encryption is rendered moot. Imagine the howling from the US government about how this aids terrorism like when they made it so they can't decrypt the phone's data. They have no one to blame but themselves, if they followed the law we wouldn't need to protect ourselves from our own government's intrusions!!

Yeah, it would only work between iPhones, and only if they're running iOS 9, but that would make a pretty big statement. Later Apple, Google and Microsoft can come together on a standard to support encrypted communication between all smartphones, and the NSA can hate Snowden even more for spoiling their illegal games.

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Euro broadcast industry still in a fug over that 4K-ing UHD telly

DougS
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“the most significant advance since colour”

What a ridiculous overhyped statement! It is impossible for 4K to be a bigger advance than HD, because as you move up in resolution there are obviously diminishing returns. 8K may be better than 4K, but would be an even smaller jump than HD to 4K....nevertheless, I'm sure this clown will be hyping 8K once 4K TVs are fully commoditized.

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HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

DougS
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He's feeling his mortality

And projecting it onto the human race. I see no reason to believe that we are very likely to have a major nuclear war. In fact, our wars have been regressing and killing fewer people in smaller groups than they did in the past. Sure, we have 50 megaton bombs, but we don't actually use them, or even the smaller tactical nukes. Now we use precision drone strikes and IEDs to kill each other - and some wars have regressed so far they're back to old fashioned beheading.

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Google strongly opposes plans to let ANY US COURT authorise digi-snoops

DougS
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Just because Google does a lot of good things, doesn't mean they don't also do a lot of evil things. This just wasn't one of them.

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DougS
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Re: If it is a foreign machine

It doesn't apply, but if we're allowing this we can't act all horrified when other countries hack the PCs of our citizens and claim it is justified because it was for law enforcement purposes.

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Wi-Fi beam-steering tech could KILL OFF fixed home networks

DougS
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@Tom 38

Surely they still ran cat5 to your bedroom though, so all you need to do is replace the connector on both ends and it is ethernet.

Now if they saved $1.50 by running satin phone cord to your bedroom instead of cat5 then I'd wonder how many other corners your builder cut :)

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This one weird script continually crashes Android email

DougS
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Re: " clock ticking on Google"

Well maybe I'm wrong about WP, which is really stupid of Microsoft if that's the case since Apple showed them how it is supposed to be done.

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Samsung buys LoopPay ... to be better at bonking than Apple

DougS
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This is totally insecure!

Swipe readers read the contents of your mag stripe, which contains UNENCRYPTED credit card info. By sending it at a high enough power to do contactless reading it would be easy for someone with the right equipment to skim your credit card number, name, expiration and other information saved on the stripe. In reality it wouldn't be worth building a reader for this unless it becomes popular. If Samsung is dumb enough to put it in their phones and it actually gets used, that will all change.

Looppay claims it is "Magnetic Secure Technology" but from what their web site says it is "secure" because the app is protected by a password/PIN and the card numbers are encrypted on the phone. They gloss over the huge security issue their technology opens up. I guess rather than follow Apple in using EMV, a secure worldwide standard that will become the default for all credit cards, Samsung is trying to be different and support the insecure cards of the past - and make them even more insecure! Nice job, Samsung.

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