* Posts by ehoffman

17 posts • joined 23 Jun 2011

The Shock of the New: The Register redesign update 4

ehoffman

Thanks!

The visited links color makes my day! Thanks to have put that back to high contrast. It was difficult to see the difference on a LCD screen (who still own a CRT anyway?) for someone with normal vision. Imagine for someone with even a slight level of vision impairment like daltonism (color blindness) or with lower contrast sensitivity.

Regards

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Cryptolocker flogged on YouTube

ehoffman

Youtube have ads? Since when?? Was I on an island for the last x years? No, I just use an ad blocker...

The thing is that I *DID* really asked myself that above question last year! Just to prove how effective a good ad blocker can be :-)

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Use Tor or 'extremist' Tails Linux? Congrats, you're on an NSA list

ehoffman

So what...

So what? Isn't everybody already a potential "terrorist" to the NSA?

You're on file as soon as you subscribe to an ISP... And you are if you don't because you are then tagged as a suspicious out-of-the-norm person :-)

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One good thing from the Flappy Birds crapp flap: It's a handy 'tech' media rating system

ehoffman

Option D :-)

That made me laugh, because I read that same news on other site (that I won't name) and I would say that in cases like that, you see a lot of sites falling in the D category :-)

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What's the most secure desktop operating system?

ehoffman

Re: It's already been designed... over 30 years ago!

Yes, I know there ways to make a stock C64 have those interfaces, and there's even web pages hosted on C64 as of today! But if you look at stock C64, at the time, they didn't have those. Well, we didn't even have the Internet back then :-) Ahh, the good old days of the SID, they didn't even had decent sound on the PC until the SoundBlaster (bahhh) or the Gravis Ultrasound (Which made my friends jealous when I played DOOM) :-)

For the reset switch, though, I don't think this clears the memory. I remember a few games that hooked the reset indirect jump vector. If I turned off/on the C64 quickly, I would jump right back into that game, with lot of fun glitches. It would need quite a few seconds of power off for the DRAM to clear entirely (to a sequence of AA and 55).

And, I didn't knew that they had a 14.4K modem for it! I left the C64 aside before that time.

I wonder today though if one would try to hack into the C64 addon TCP/IP firmware. I'm sure there's lot of buffer overflows in the C64. I agree that back then the security came from the limited capabilities of the machine more than anything else.

You could always use a computer that has no Internet connection, but even there, it's been demonstrated that you can have virus, and data successfully stolen, even with an always-offline computer. I don't remember which virus it was, but cleverly designed. It infected USB drive of an online computer, which then was inserted in an offline computer. It infected it, gathered data, encrypted it and put it back to the USB drive. When that drive was put back online, it uploaded it's findings back to the originator. All doing this very covertly. So, does a secure PC exists? The simple answer is that the greatest insecurity is believing that a system is secure.

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ehoffman

It's already been designed... over 30 years ago!

It's the Commodore 64!

Well, think about it... You power-cycle it between each application/game, so nothing stay resident in memory to corrupt other programs. And it's also mostly single-application, so no inter-application hijacking. And one big plus, when you insert a disk and run something, usually you turn the computer off, and swap the disk before loading something else. So having independent disks make it very efficient at eliminating virus propagation. That's not to forget that the C64 firmware is all shelf-contained in the C64. No booting of a disk MBR. And yes, apart from old clunky 300/1200 baud modem, there's no network connection, no constant 'always-on' connection, and even less of a TCP/IP stack. Just plain point-to-point connection to those good old BBS!

But last, the best part of all, even with its venerable 6510, 1MHz clock, there is one thing that has NEVER been equaled, let alone even challenged, with all the PC/MAC computers over 3 decades... Even with today's 3 order of magnitudes faster processor, 6 order of magnitude more memory... It's the booting speed, and to a fully operational OS! Now just try to boot anything, from complete power down, under a second. Hell you don't even make it halfway trough POST (power-on self test) in that time.

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Planetary data merge shows three Earth-like planets in close star system

ehoffman

10 times more massive, it may rule out live on the "rock" itself, but is still a good candidate to have life underwater (since it's probably liquid) where gravity is less of a problem.

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New Tosh drive can wipe out 4TB 'near instantaneously'

ehoffman

Backdoor?

The problem with those products is that even if the key is changed (and the data can't be decrypted with the new key, thus, destroyed), there is always a possibility that the previous keys are kept in the chip.

So, let's say that you put some data on it delete it, and Mr. Joe get it.

- Mr. Joe - Hello Manufacturer, I have "accidentally erased my disk". Is there something I can do about it?

- Manufacturer - Ah, this brand of disk... No! It's designed to be non-recoverable...

And now, let's say that you put some really bad data on it, delete it, and NSA get it.

- NSA - Hello Manufacturer, I have this disk that is "erased". Is there something I can do about it?

- Manufacturer - Here's a software. Run it and tell me the disk serial #.

- NSA - Ok. Disk is S/N: SN12345

- Manufacturer - (Punching some numbers...) Ok, here is the backdoor key for this disk. You can use the software to revert to any of the previous encryption keys used in that specific disk.

The same hold true for "secure" flash memory, "secure" usb thumb drives, etc.

The point is either: You need to trust the manufacturer... Or you don't do anything bad that can get you in the hand of the FBI, NSA, etc with those devices :-) Do the second option, never rely on the first one!

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Boeing zaps PCs using CHAMP missile microwave attacks

ehoffman

Not new...

There have been reports of U.S. military using such missiles a decade ago... There's even a scientific journal (I don't remember which one) that told how such a missile work. It's basically an explosive cylinder surrounded by a big coil with a tiny air gap between the coil and the cylinder. Upon detonation, a big capacitor is discharged in the coil, creating an intense magnetic field. A few milliseconds later, the explosive is detonated at one end of the cylinder. The explosion travel through the cylinder, expanding (exploding) the cylinder in a linear manner. This shorts the coil from one end to the other end rapidly. The magnetic energy then get concentrated up to the tip of the coil where all the energy is then discharged over a very tiny area. This create a massive microwave electromagnetic pulse that is directed with a special shaped cone toward the target.

Of course, this is a one-time use, but it can blast many electronics in a narrow cone. The missile explode in mid-air, causing little or no collateral damage.

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Firefox 14 encrypts Google search, but admen can still strip-search you

ehoffman

Click an advert?

Click an advert? What's that? Hardly haven't seen any in years with AdBlock addon...

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Microsoft develops mood-matching ad engine

ehoffman

Ads? What are those?

Ads? What are those? It's been years since I have ad blocker on my Firefox. I even freaked out a few weeks ago when I saw someone go to Youtube with IE, seeing ads popup and all those. I asked him since when there's ads in Youtube? He said Duhhh, where have you been in the last couple years? That the happy (can't say it's the sad) truth... :-)

I really freak out when I just look at some of the Web sites I regularly go without an Ad blocker, to the point where I ask myself if I would continue to go there without it!

For the record, I also have a DVR, so no more TV ads either. In fact, even when I see/hear ads (you can't avoid all of them!), I would consider myself as one of the worst target for advertisers. I *never* buy anything based on ads I see. When I want/buy something of any value, it's because I spent some time reviewing the different competing products on my own (user reviews, never the vendor's marketing BS).

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Megaupload case near collapse: report

ehoffman

In a year, you won't even remember...

... In a year, the U.S. bullies will have failed. MegaUpload case will be dismissed completely, and they will legally get the right to re-obtain all of their equipments and possessions.

In a year, MegaUpload will have re-setup all of their servers, and it's founder back to his mansion.

In a year, the only thing that will really have changed is that MegaUpload will be up again, and the U.S. will fear trying to dare and go after them again just to lose their faces.

The only losers will be the media industry who will have failed not at stopping piracy and loosing millions in court battles, but they will fail to innovate and pursue new avenues at generating revenues and still sit on an old business model, and continue to harm innocent people in the way, like all those legitimate users who had legitimate content on MegaUpload.

As an example of innovation instead of futile repressions, remember when the VHS tapes came out, along with recorders that you could buy and set-up at home to record your favorite programs. The TV and movie industries were furious at the time, and told that people would start recording programming, and they would lose revenues. But instead of spending millions in legal battle, they changed their business models, and started to capitalize with movie rentals. That's an example of innovation done right.

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Student's Linux daemon 0-day triggers InfoSec Institute outcry

ehoffman

Re: A problem if it's installed I guess.

In fact, it can be installed to the main hard drive, like other popular Linux distros. Moreover, it can be installed directly on a USB stick. So this way, you get the best of both worlds. You get a persistent installation (i.e. where the changes made are persistent, updated on the USB as if it was a regular hard drive), and you do not mess with your existing hard-drive OS installation.

Personally, I think that except for quick and dirty tests, most "serious" users will perform a persistent installation.

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Sony to cut 10,000 jobs in quest for profitability

ehoffman

So, it looks like that the Anonymous attacks and PSN takedown last year did manage to do some harm after all...

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Mega-colossal space raincloud found at moist black hole

ehoffman
Happy

Same thing that is happening here!

Cloud get swallowed by a black hole... this already happened a few time here, according to the IT industry :-) Now we know where the lost data in our (virtual cyber) cloud has gone!

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Bloke ordered to remove offensive numberplate

ehoffman

I don't get it...

Sorry for being stupid, but I don't get it... What does BO11 LUX mean? Boil Lux? Boll lux? Ball lux? What's about it?

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Red Hat: 'Yes, we'll break $1 billion this year'

ehoffman

Good decision after all...

RedHat make money from support, and installing RedHat require to provide a license key.

Sure, the source is available, this is how CentOS and Oracle's Unbreakable Linux (that's the name of their distribution) is based on RedHat source.

However, the decision of RedHat to obfuscate the source code this year seem to have paid off. There's no more CentOS or Oracle Linux based on the new RedHat. The source is still available (since it's GPL), but have all patches pre-applied, making it somewhat very hard to reverse-engineer the changes (must be hard, since there's still no CentOS 6 after half a year).

With no other 'clone' distros around, RedHat is flying solo, taking the money from all the companies that are used to using free clone distributions as CentOS.

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