* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

2218 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

French woman gets €800 a month for electromagnetic-field 'disability'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Microwave oven

A common misconception. Microwave ovens would work at any practical frequency (wavelength dictates possible oven sizes) given the amount of power used. Water molecule resonance is not required.

I stand corrected.

The only reason they use 2.45GHz is that it's the most suitable of a number of freely usable bands for ISM (Industrial Scientific & Medical) applications with no licence needed.

It's the other way around, 2.45GHz was added to the ISM list because early experiments in microwave cooking used it.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Microwave oven

Microwave overs and phones are completely different animals, for two main reasons:

- An average oven puts out 800+ Watts, compared to a phone's ~1W on cellular frequences, and less for WiFi

- The frequencies are not "much the same". Microwaves are specifically tuned to a resonant frequency of water molecules, even a small change to that frequency completely loses the effect. WiFi in the 2.4GHz ISM band is on microwave oven frequencies, at very low power, but 2G/3G/4G cellular isn't close enough to be significant.

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Phil O'Sophical
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But it certainly was weird to hear that his fertility (or lack thereof) was not an exception in his team, but the rule ...

If true, I'd be looking for nasty chemicals in the plastic wiring etc. before assuming that EM sensibility was even a remotely likely cause. Then again maybe his team all lives in an area with polluted water?

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Verizon wants to smartify old cars

Phil O'Sophical
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WTF?

Negligent?

They want to connect the diagnostic port of my car to the internet? That's not negligent, it's flaming bonkers!

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Phil O'Sophical
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Smartify?

Really?

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Does Linux need a new file system? Ex-Google engineer thinks so

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: About time there was...

I can remember having to type 'purge' (or something like that) a lot

You could set limits using a command like: set directory /version_limit=n for all files in a directory, or set file /version_limit=n for any single file. IIRC the "set file" command came in a later release, maybe 4.x?

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Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell: El Reg on the hydrogen highway

Phil O'Sophical
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Why use pure hydrogen?

If it were combined with CO2 you'd get alcohol which can be burned in barely-modified petrol-engined cars, and refueling could use the existing liquid fuel infrastructure. Trying to store H2 in transportable form in cars seems inefficient, to say the least.

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LA explosion knocks LogMeIn's British customers offline

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: A remote access company without automatic fail-over...

... amateurs.

Not necessarily. Automatic DR fail-over is a mistake often made by amateurs. It may be viable when your secondary data centre is a few blocks away, where you can have guaranteed redundant links and synchronous replication or mirroring, but that's more a case of High Availability than Disaster Recovery. It's a very bad idea when your DR site is 500+ miles away.

If you've ever experienced a major disaster, like an earthquake or flood, you'll know that it can be hours before you really know what's going on. Having the IT systems start their own recovery while the business continuity staff are rolling out the BC plan to the company, can make things much worse. A switchover to a remote site can take a long time, when it involves things like fsck, database recovery/restart, DNS updates, etc. You don't want to do it unless you have to.

Indeed, that could be what happened here, an over-eager decision (manual or automatic) to switch to the remote site, when if they had simply waited for the backup power to come in they could have had just a 5-minute outage like Shania Twain.

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Enjoy vaping while you still can, warns Public Health England

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Why should they ban them?

Should boiling kettles be banned too?

I'd certainly not be happy if one was boiling beside me in a restaurant, wafting clouds of steam around me and my companions while I was eating, even if it were only steam. Why should I have to put up with exhaled chemical vapours being blown around me, nicotine or not? Have some good manners and indulge at home where you won't bother anyone else.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Let me expand your reference frame a bit..

Keep an eye on the tobacco companies - that's where all of this is coming from.

And I suppose it's Big Oil and Big Pharma that are pushing the vaping agenda?

I hope you have shares in the tinfoil hat industry.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Why should they ban them?

If you are personally offended by then, you can personally piss off.

No. If you want to look like a tit with your plastic steamy toy in your gob, you can do it in your own home or car. Don't force me to breathe your chemicals in a restaurant or public place.

I don't see any reason to ban them outright, but "No Smoking" zones should apply to fake cigarettes just as they do to real ones.

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Who should be responsible for IT security?

Phil O'Sophical
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So many businesses don't give a second thought to the threats the world now presents.

Not new, I'm afraid. 30-odd years ago, when the IRA bombing campaign was happening, I visited a very secure building in London; badges, turnstiles, cases x-rayed, the lot. A minor fire in a kitchen triggered the smoke alarm, and everyone evacuated to the assembly point in a backstreet. When the all clear was given we all filed back in through the emergency exit door. Anyone could have mingled with the crowd.

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Hey, folks. Meet the economics 'genius' behind Jeremy Corbyn

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Expats should pay tax

Unless they kept residency in the UK when they where living abroad, they will not get any NHS when they come back......

Nonsense.

Firstly, 'residency' relates to where you live, if you're living abroad you are by definition not resident in the UK. You may be confusing it with domicile.

Secondly, access to NHS treatment is based purely in being resident. Anyone with a right of residence in the UK (which includes all EU citizens) has access to the NHS. It has nothing to do with domicile.

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Home Office seeks advice on Police Radio omnishambles

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Quite Agree,,,

In France, all over, you see Gendarmerie

The French Gendarmerie are a uniformed military organization, not a civilian one, and come under the joint authority of the ministries of defence and interior, which is very different to the organization of the British police. I don't think people in the UK would be happy to be policed by an armed military group, who are essentially soldiers. The Police Nationale are civil servants.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Phil O'Sophical
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I remember a naïve young new hire trying to connect some hardware together & asking one of the nearby (female) engineers why plugs and sockets were referred to as 'male' or 'female'. He went a very entertaining shade of pink when she explained. Ah, the joys of innocence...

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Boffins nail 2FA with 'ambient sound' login for the lazy

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: This from a security team!!?

The "Sound-Proof" verification process, which occurs without user interaction, can determine that a user and their two factor device are in the same room.

Well, technically doesn't it simply verify that the user's PC and the user's phone are in the same room? The user could be lying in the alley outside with his or her head bashed in.

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Boffins spot a SECOND JUPITER – the gas giant's baby sister

Phil O'Sophical
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So..

formed just 20 million years ago. That's well after the dinosaurs became extinct on grand old Earth

This planet really could have formed the same way Jupiter did; the whole solar system could be a lot like ours,

But with dinosaurs? Bring it on!

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Take redundancy if you want, Capita IS for turning now, after all

Phil O'Sophical
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O2 customers’ increasing need to interact over digital channels, rather than traditional customer service telephone channels

And that wouldn't have anything to do with the ability to get an answer more effectively from a website instead of having to sit through interminable "Press 1 if your call concerns migrating hippopotamuses eating your phone, press 2 if you want to pay more, press 3 if you want to buy more ringtones..." and eventually get put through to someone who can't actually help because your problem isn't on the script.

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Budget UHD TVs arrive – but were the 4Kasts worth listening to?

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: I say go for it

Therefor, people will have their 4K tellies and will not be able to watch 4K content which, of course, they will feel entitled to. That means that the pressure will be enormous to actually deliver on that 55MBPS requirement.

More likely the content providers will auto-adjust the resolution to suit the bandwidth available to the customer, so most people will end up watching in 'ordinary' HD oe less while convinced they're watching UHD "coz it's a 4K TV, innit?"

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Phil O'Sophical
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Unhappy

Sky and UHD

Great, so now they'll start overcompressing the shit out of their HD channels, to make 4K look worth having, just as they did for SD when HD arrived.

Is there anything on TV anywhere in the world where seeing it in UHD in an average living room would actually make a difference to the viewer?

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Exploding Power Bars: EE couldn't even get the CE safety mark right

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: the "China Export" logo exists

Fact is it's not a thing whatsoever, and never has been.

But isn't that the whole point? The suggestion is that unscrupulous Chinese companies intentionally put a fake CE mark (not complying with either the standards or the logotype) on a products to give the impression that it complies with the EU standards. If called on it they can reply "Oh, velly solly, you misunderstand. That isn't an EU 'CE' mark, it's just our way of saying 'China Export'. Nothing to see here, move along". There's certainly no official mark, outside of "Made in China".

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Sex app Tinder in public meltdown – because a journo dared suggest it was, well, a sex app

Phil O'Sophical
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Pay as you go?

Be honest, you're on pay as you go for both, aren't you?

I think one might be pay as you come...

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Intel left a fascinating security flaw in its chips for 16 years – here's how to exploit it

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: data treated as code

Can some knowledgeable reg reader explain to me why this cannot be resolved in hardware.

It can to some degree. PDP-11's had separate I & D space, which in those days of 16- or 22-bit addressing also doubled the available memory space. IIRC there was a hardware signal which the processor used to indicate which memory it was accessing, so normal user programs could only read/write data memory, never Instruction memory. I'm fairly sure other microprocessors (some of the M68K family?) had similar options.

I'm not sure it would necessarily solve the problem, though. The processor is still in the loop to get the code off the disk initially and into the I space so that it can be executed, so it has to have a way to write into the I space at some point. That is usually done by switcthing the processor into one of the privileged modes (the inner "rings" as described here) at which point I-space is writable. Since this hack relies on getting the processor into a privileged mode so that memory can be remapped you could probably bypass the protection.

Or, of course, just not design buggy hardware :)

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: NSA controls ring -3 ? Peshaw...

really creepy janitor

The number one super guy?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Why does the government fear private computers?

Why is it such a big deal to governments?

Ministers know how pencil & paper work, they aren't frightening. They haven't a clue how computers work, though, so they're scared shitless that they might be caught out not doing something, and hence lose votes.

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What a shower: METEORS will BLAZE a FIERY TRAIL across our skies

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Other meteor showers are available.

Last Friday I was still seeing Beta Cassiopeids, too

I wouldn't worry, at least not until you start seeing Rosea Elephanti too.

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Tesla still burning cash: each car loses $4,000

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Reg financial writers are talentless hacks

building a global charger network from scratch,

I can't help but wonder when governments around the world are going to decide that they've lost enough tax income, and start adding sufficient tax/fuel duty to the electricity supplied by these "free" chargers to bring the treasury income up to that from petrol/diesel. Tesla won't be able to absorb that.

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Texas senator Ted Cruz serves up sizzling 'machine gun bacon'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: I'd buy one

What calibre is a black pudding?

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Perhaps middle-aged blokes SHOULDN'T try 34-hour-long road trips

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: badge is free

If you've ever travelled les autoroutes on a black weekend (major holiday times),

I avoid those Saturdays like the plague, last weekend they broke records with over 950km of total jams on the network! You don't save any time if you can't get close enough to the toll to get into a badge-only lane!

Agreed it's worth having the badge for convenience, I have two, but it still makes little sense to charge extra to use the badge, given that both users and operators win when the badges are used.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Most tolls have lanes for credit cards, lanes for vehicles with badges, and a few lanes with real people who will take cash.

The really stupid thing is that you have to pay for a badge, despite them reducing the staffing costs. Any sensible country would offer a toll discount for badge users as an incentive, but not France.

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El Reg touches down at the ESA's Spanish outpost, sniffs around

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: I'm confused*

Been a while since I saw that logo.

The Oracle kit that uses the technology from Sun still has it:

http://wikibon.org/w/images/9/9e/OracleSuperClusterV2.jpg

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Buffoon in 999 call: 'Cat ate my bacon and I want to press charges'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Charge 'em

Extra service on the 999 operators desk, a button that adds £100 to the callers bill, and dumps the recoded converstaion into an evidence file?

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UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Like booze

The point is arse-covering.

Tit-covering, Shirley?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: 5 minutes

I don't want to pay for as much Peppa Pig as she'd want to get

Well, I've never heard it called that before.

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Google turns cookie monster on AdSense, DoubleClick clients

Phil O'Sophical
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You have some god-given right to use their website?

Not at all, but the the current message is simply a pointless waste of screen estate. I know of no large website that doesn't use cookies. It's just politicians doing something useless so they can be seen to be doing something, with our money.

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Phil O'Sophical
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“informed, specific, freely given and must constitute a real indication of the individual's wishes.”

Typical bureaucratese, and the EU seems to accept that a popup that says "we use cookies, go away if you don't like it" is OK? That's what they really need to fix.

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Bloke cuffed for blowing low-flying camera drone to bits with shotgun

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: And the drone owners?

It would certainly be worth the shooter's time filing charges against them. Even if he gets fined for shooting it down, a larger fine for them would send the message that their behaviour wasn't acceptable.

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Got an Android phone? SMASH IT with a hammer – and do it NOW

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: How much ?

It's not unpatchable at all, but once the phone companies have made the money out of your contract they haven't the slightest interest in patching it for free when they can get you to "upgrade" instead.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: How much ?

I'd say one million US dollars would not be much compared to the cost of the PR disaster if this weakness had been discovered by malware users and exploited.

PR disaster to whom? Goggle have a nice fix all ready, the blame for any infections will be firmly placed at the door of Vodafone/EE/SFR/Sprint/etc. who never ship upgrades after the first year or so. Agreed $1337 isn't much, but $1m is way over the top. Maybe $10K and a new Nexus phone?

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EU data protection tsar spams lawmakers with his unwanted opinions

Phil O'Sophical
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“Legislation is the art of the possible,”

Only a politician could think so. In the real world Legislation should be the art of the minimal.

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LinkedIn users rebel after personal data siphon crimped

Phil O'Sophical
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Gullible people everywhere

I automatically refuse any linkedin request from anyone I don't personally know, and instantly bin messages from anyone with "500+" connections, since they're clearly only going for the numbers. There's a practical limit to how many acquaintances anyone can manage, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

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EU graciously lets Dutch splurge €33m on 'leccy car charger network

Phil O'Sophical
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Netherlands

electric cars can provide real benefits to society by reducing CO2 emissions, pollution and noise.

Really? In a country where almost 80% of electricity is generated by coal and gas?

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Five data centres you can't live without

Phil O'Sophical
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And people worry about AGW from plane travel?

Clearly social media and conspicuous consumption are the main culprits here. Talk about "first world problems"

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Crazy Chrysler security hole: USB stick fix incoming for 1.4 million cars

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Why is the onboard computer able to control the brakes and steering?

Lots of new cars have "Park Assist", you stop beside a space, put the car in reverse, and press a button. In theory it parks in the space, which requires steering and brake control. Since the hackers noted that they could only control the car when it was in reverse I guess this is the system they used.

I test drove a few new cars with park assist recently. It's impressive in a way, but unnerving, and at least once I had to hit the brake myself to stop the car clipping the one beside it, so the technology is far from perfect anyway.

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It’s DEJA VU: Customer forgets to tell us about essential feature AGAIN

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Soiled underwear

Actually, American chocolate, especially Hershey's, tastes like bitter vomit.

There is an exception, Ghirardelli's chocolate from San Francisco is quite tolerable .

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Thanks!

More euphemisms?

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Jeep breach: Scared? You should be, it could be you next

Phil O'Sophical
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Happy

Budget cuts, there's no money to nuke it from orbit.

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Antitrust this! EU Commish goes after HOLLYWOOD’s big guns

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: BBC?

You can legally watch it, the BBC simply make it technically difficult. If you find a way around it you are breaking no law.

The Beeb of course don't want you to do so, because they make a lot of money selling that content to to other TV companies abroad, and if everyone can stream direct from iPlayer that income will drop.

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Now car hackers can bust in through your motor's DAB RADIO

Phil O'Sophical
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@ AndyS Re: Need to apply basic secure design principles.

Good points. As far as

If you have a compromised node in the powertrain CAN system, I don't think there is any way currently to protect against it.

would the standard allow for a handshake with key exchange, perhaps on each total battery-off power cycle? If so you should be able to ensure that you only ever accept a confirmed device as, say, a transmission controller. Any other device popping up later on the bus with that address but not the agreed key would be ignored.

Not foolproof, if you could make your compromised device get recognised as that valid controller at power-on, but it would then need to fully implement all the functions of the device it was spoofing as well, or you'd not get very far.

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