back to article Schneier warns of 'perfect storm': Tech is becoming autonomous, and security is garbage

With insecure computers in charge, the healthcare and transportation sectors have become a nexus of security problems, infosec veteran Bruce Schneier warned delegates at Israel Cyber Week. Schneier said that confidentiality attacks, such as leaks of personal information, are being replaced by more dangerous integrity and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Security is failing just as technology is becoming autonomous'

    The problem is the "Dumb Fucks" generation is just too indifferent to care... One month after Amazon Alexa secretly recorded a couples conversation and forwarded it to a random entry in their phonebook.... Marriott hotels announces they're installing these devices in guests bedrooms. WTF???

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43747421

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44534597

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/24/alexa_recording_couple/

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: 'Security is failing just as technology is becoming autonomous'

      If you can pull the plug on the thing then there's no issue, if not then accidents happen

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: 'Security is failing just as technology is becoming autonomous'

        I'm sorry the plug is an IoT device. Do you want help with that?

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: 'Security is failing just as technology is becoming autonomous'

        They'll probably embed them into the walls to stop people stealing them. And then charge you if an "accident happens" during your stay. Maybe wrapping it in tinfoil might work? (not a piss take. I wonder if it would block the mic).

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: 'Security is failing just as technology is becoming autonomous'

        "If you can pull the plug on the thing then there's no issue, if not then accidents happen"

        Likelihood is that the plug doesn't get pulled until the accident's happened.

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      It's a logical conclusion to stopping to educate people

      Back in my age, there were mandatory programming lessons at school, and things like data protection were explained on TV even in "Edutainment"-Form.

      Of course the "knowing Excel is a valuable ability"-Generation has no idea how computers work and why we should not engage in some forms of their abuse.

      At least in Germany in the 1980s there was a strong opposition to data abuse. For example there's a TV report on the "car of the future" which details an early nav-aid. It used a central computer and tracked the car via induction loops. It stated that using that data to check for speeders was obviously an abuse of it.

      1. Brian Miller

        Re: It's a logical conclusion to stopping to educate people

        Back in my age, there were mandatory programming lessons at school, and things like data protection were explained on TV even in "Edutainment"-Form.

        Back in my age, the one computer room in one of the math classrooms had two Teletype machines with paper tape units, two Ohio Scientific boxes, and a couple of Ataris. Oh, the days of the acoustic couplers! Yes, and the Sperry-Univac 90/40 was state of the art.

        So what's been learned between then and now? Nothing. A few years ago I interviewed for a position with a new company, and the fellow in charge told be he knew nothing of the what needed to be done. Frightening. When there are idiots in charge, all chaos follows.

        1. oldfartuk

          Re: It's a logical conclusion to stopping to educate people

          I learned FORTRAN on a DEC PBP8, and a teletype. Later we got green screen monitors and it was the SPACE age. Hacking was easy. Everyone's pass word was 'password;' or '012345676'. The Sysop left the operator manual lying around, i took it home and read it, and was intrigued to find out if you wrote a transaction file to the tape drive , it automatically gave you /roots privs. Thus we learned to hack. I made a black block, a device out of a coupel of 74 series TTL logic gate chips and an acoustic coupler, that produced the telephone exchange tone signals, and lo, we became a telephone exchange and could roam freely, exchanging sweet nothings at 2600 Hz with all the lady telephone exchanges.

          Who said romance was dead.

    3. spold Bronze badge

      Re: 'Security is failing just as technology is becoming autonomous'

      Share [your data, grunts, farts etc.] and Enjoy!

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: 'Security is failing just as technology is becoming autonomous'

        It is reasonable to ask if there was any time since the first two computers attached to the ARPANET when security was not failing. Technologically, it seems to have been a losing matter since then, the major difference over time being in the average proclivities of the user population.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: 'Security is failing just as technology is becoming autonomous'

      "Marriott hotels announces they're installing these devices in guests bedrooms. WTF???"

      They are? Well, I guess I won't stay in Marriotts anymore.

  2. wyatt
    Thumb Up

    Only takes someone in a digger to chop a fibre and we're all safe again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      don't you watch Black Mirror?

      Try that, and drones be on you in 2 minutes, they'll erase you and reflash you with a new personality.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: don't you watch Black Mirror?

        "Try that, and drones be on you in 2 minutes, they'll erase you and reflash you with a new personality."

        You think the guys that drive the diggers and backhoes that cut cables have personalities that can be reflashed?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's only a matter of time before they get the digger too.

      I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid I can't let you dig here.

  3. DropBear Silver badge
    Devil

    Which reminds me...

    I'd love to read about the BOFH butting heads with rogue IoT he isn't the puppet-master of...

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Click Here To Kill Everybody

    The anchor tag seems to be missing...

    1. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

      Re: Click Here To Kill Everybody

      I am really tempted to leave the paperback on my desk to see if I get any comments, BOFH style.

  5. commandline
    Megaphone

    ahum, dumb fucks ?

    Calling people "dumb fucks" is exactly the crux of the security problem. An insulting attitude based on assumptions, prejudice and a sense of superiority vested in aggressiveness, not knowledge.

    Since 199x I have failed at promoting professional blue team security as a viable route to affordable and effective security, because "red team" is just so much more I dont really know what.

    Offensive security is something to be done in a lab or as part of the SDLC. Otherwise it is just a costly mess and makes people dependent while keeping them stupid.

    This is the exact reason why there is so much shit poor security in place and society has dwinled down into a spiral of fear, uncertainty, doubt.

    Also, vulnerability patching has proven a great way to market products, never noticed you "dumb fuck" ? When a vulnerability hits the news, it usually means it has already been patched so there is an actual incentive to purchase the product now.

    1. BlartVersenwaldIII
      Devil

      Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

      I believe GP is referring to the facebook-using masses who have no care or understanding of privacy or security, rather than actuall calling people dumb fucks themselves.

      In case you weren't aware, Zuckerberg famously did a Ratner and called facebook users "dumb fucks";

      Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

      Zuck: Just ask

      Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

      [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

      Zuck: People just submitted it.

      Zuck: I don't know why.

      Zuck: They "trust me"

      Zuck: Dumb fucks

    2. Aodhhan Bronze badge

      Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

      Calling an entire generation of individuals, in which a good majority haven't been given the skills to think about and look at 2nd, 3rd and 4th order effects, "dumb fucks" isn't entirely out of line--especially when it comes to information security as a whole (not just a profession).

      So yes, it is a security problem for those who download the latest 'game preview' only to find out it's actually an application spreading malware. Yes, it's a security problem, when the generation doesn't learn from such actions and repeats these insecure acts in a habitual manner--then continues to spread to family devices on their home network or via email attachments.

      Offensive security should NOT be contained to only the lab. Not to mention, offensive security has very little to do with the SDLC. Code review and offensive security is two different things; not to be confused with penetration testing.

      So, before you begin harping at people about what the 'problem with security' is--you should first spend about 7-10 years in the field so you completely understand it.

      Calling people dumb fucks is not the reason for poor security, or responsible for a society in fear and uncertainty. Nor is it responsible for poor patching practices. Good grief. If you really believe this, then you're a snowflake who will never thaw out. Would you like your crayons in a box of 8 or 16?

      1. JimC Silver badge

        Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

        No, calling your user base dumb fucks is diagnostic of an industry that has completely lost the plot. If your products aren't fit for the mass population as it exists then by definition they aren't fit for the mass market.

        An industry which believes that if its too difficult or too expensive to deliver a satisfactory service whilst still making a tiny minority rich then they should be allowed to deliver rubbish, ignore the law or be socially irresponsible.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

          "No, calling your user base dumb fucks is diagnostic of an industry that has completely lost the plot."

          No, calling the user base dumb fucks is diagnostic of a target audience essentially Too Dumb To Live. As Douglas Adams once noted, complete fools can ruin in ways that no one should have to imagine. Why do we have keyboards that have the word "Any" on them? Why do we need to have warning labels like "Caution: HOT" on coffee cups? As a comedian once said, You Can't Fix Stupid, yet stupid is everywhere, outnumbering us.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

            > Why do we need to have warning labels like "Caution: HOT" on coffee cups?

            Because: Americans?

            1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

              We don't have Caution: HOT on coffee cups because of dumb fucks. We have it because of lawyers.

              Any idiot knows - or hopes - their coffee is hot. But if it says so on the cup, there's less chance that when they accidentally spill it on their lap that they'll be able blame the vendor.

              It's not information. It's arse-covering. But yes, Americans.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

                "Any idiot knows - or hopes - their coffee is hot."

                That's your problem. You're hoping. Some people really ARE idiotic enough to not realize that coffee can be HOT. Remember, the lawyers wouldn't be suing and companies wouldn't be doing CYA moves if it hadn't actually happened in the past. I once read the story of a woman so absent-minded that she took off her (thick, as she was extremely near-sighted) glasses whenever she started to drive, oblivious to the fact one needs decent vision in order to drive.

                1. Not That Andrew

                  Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

                  The warnings are there because McDonalds was selling takeaway coffee at temperatures well over 70 degrees C closer to 90 degrees C. After being warned multiple times that was dangerous. A woman accidentally spilled a cup on herself, causing 3rd degree burns to her legs and pelvis. Which required reconstructive surgery. Something that a hot cup of coffee generally doesn't do.

                  McDonalds refused to cover her medical costs so she sued for them and won, And was giving several millions in punitive damages as well (which IIRC she hadn't asked for). The punitive damages were reduced (but not eliminated) on appeal, but the case was upheld.

        2. DCFusor Silver badge

          Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

          It IS expensive and it IS difficult to produce anything remotely "idiot proof" - which would be behind the times, feature wise, require redesign of almost everything including the internet and its weak protocols that have too much trust.

          And then the market - consisting of said dumb fucks - would decide, as they have already if you've noticed, that it isn't worth it (even if they are wrong, as I think most of us would agree) Because collectively - dumb fucks isn't a bad description.

          If you think otherwise, you're welcome to try to make the right thing for an extremely diverse user base with extremely varying use cases and see if you can be next one to get rich. Only the existing cronyism by the big boys getting governments to create regulatory moats, provide infrastructure that's hard to change, and your lack of skill and money stand in the way.. Should be easy?

          And the dumb fucks will pick the shiny with the most performance per buck, or the one they think will buy them status anyway (see, for example automobiles, or well, Apple).

          Yes, if we did buildings like we did software, the first woodpecker to come along would be the end of indoors. How old is that saying?

          How about "A person is smart, but people are a dumb herd animal" (MIB)?

          Ranting about how human nature should be different has a long history of virtue signaling followed by failure..

          "You lost this time, kid - but you don't have to like it." (Indiana Jones)

          1. DCFusor Silver badge

            Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

            FWIW, I've been designing hard and software since before most here were born and 4 whole K of core was a big deal (we didn't do bytes yet, twin triodes were being replaced by transistors, and IC's were still a dream).

            I had the above explained to me so many times, I gave up trying to make things perfect, and got stuck with the "good enough", though I didn't have to like it.

            And I learned the hard way that sometimes *I* am the one doing dumb fuck things. There is no cure, and saying you've never been that dummy is just vanity. If you've done any amount of this you know that it's an exercise in humiliation - when you find that bug and see how you messed up...it's always your own fault. And almost always humiliatingly stupid - in hindsight. Which isn't possible to have before; they call that foresight and you should know the old saw about which is more accurate. For everyone.

            It's amazing we don't go around with dents in our foreheads from this ongoing experience - and that's the so-called competent ones. Only the incompetent think they can pull off any sort of perfection. Demanding it of others means you have no idea yourself, have never tried, or have some very lax judgement of your own failings you don't apply to others.

            1. Paul 195

              Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

              @DCFusor - I wish I could upvote your post more than once. Given the number of people on the El Reg forums who are IT professionals in different capacities, we are the people who have collectively built the insecure mess the "dumb fucks" (or otherwise) are stuck with. A little more humility from all of us commentards would be welcome.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. commandline

                Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

                Exactly my point.

                I'm not sure if I should thank you for bringing this across, or not.

                Most people who think technical lack the ambition, motivation (or capacity) to look outside and beyond the technical/logical box they are working in. The world is knows many more parameters so to speak.

                Trying to bring across the perspective of people who actually pay your bills to tech has often proven hard. Not to say impossible. Tech has this semi-religious unidirectional view which is often disconcerting to people who are not at all spending time on technicalities and just want to move on with the work they are doing, despite technology.

                It is troubling to read so few of the commenters manage to actually grasp anything I've written down.

    3. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

      "Dumb fucks" hasn't ever come out of my mouth, no idiot, moron, and any other synonym. I might "think" it, but that's as far as that goes. I started being a teaching assistant at the university at age 13 and along the way learned the different ways people approach things. Once I have it nailed, explanations about what happened, what they expected to happen, and how they should try to do it in the future a real time saver. It's an investment forward. I sure as Hell know that my bosses appreciated that approach. It's in all my evaluations. I like teaching. That "aha!" moment is priceless. Literally.

      I also spent a quarter century as a sysadmin, sysop, and technical adviser on CompuServe in multiple fora. I've no respect for people that treat others poorly. Yes, it seems a Sysiphysian task at times, but again, guiding others is a good reason to do that job. And, quite often, you'd see those people jumping in to help others.

      Lastly, Ive worked in a dozen fields of engineering, half dozen of analysis, and whatever else the Navy required. The only box I notice is the one people assume separates them which doesn't really exist. It's all math, of several types, but relationships between things are what you need to understand. Change the units, use a different constant or three, and poof! You can translate approaches between different fields. It just so happens, once you show someone that trick a time, or three, they "get" it and start using it themselves.

      Finest complement I was ever given was by the Chairwoman of the Department of Statistics and Computer Science. At the beginning of the quarter she pointed at me and said if they have any trouble, see me. Lots of smiles around as if it was a joke. She said next, I could explain things if they didn't quite understand what we just went over.

      So, "dumb fucks" is something you won't here me say.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

        I believe that most people don't care about how their computer works, but rather that it just does work. Part of the problem is that a great many people basically just need and very possibly would like an Internet appliance. Something that's basically immutable from an OS and security standpoint. The fact that to be on the Internet one needed a computer has kept the price of computers down for all of us, hobbyists like me and professionals like many of you. I think if a company creates such a beast the cost of computers will increase dramatically. Would a company start with OpenBSD as the base OS and like Apple limit the hardware that it was licensed for? Maybe put the OS on a microSD card that could be swapped out or refreshed at a licensed computer shop?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

          "The fact that to be on the Internet one needed a computer has kept the price of computers down for all of us, hobbyists like me and professionals like many of you. I think if a company creates such a beast the cost of computers will increase dramatically."

          The 90's called. They want their dial-up Internet appliance back. Remember the Mail Station? The original WebTV and Microsoft Network, which hooked up to the TV?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

            Charles 9

            TBH I don't although as I'm in my 50s I'm old enough to remember those. My apologies for not being more clear about what might appear to be failed Internet appliances. Did those give one the same access as to the Internet as a computer?

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

              The WebTV at least had a web browser (MSN might have as well). That for most people is the Internet right there.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    I will be in my home

    Watching old episode of Bubblegum Crisis.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    We're in for a rough time

    He's absolutely right of course, but the people who should know this were not there, wouldn't listen if they were, and won't do anything that makes the slightest dent in their obscene profits (or those of their friends).

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: We're in for a rough time

      but the people who should know this were not there,

      I suspect the Iranian uranium enrichment lab IT dept weren't invited

  8. Mephistro Silver badge
    Devil

    One day, ...

    ... we'll have regulations for IT products regarding their security, safety and makers and sellers responsibilities. Said regulations wiil be sane, well informed, well enforced and with a potent bite, both in terms of fines and even prison terms.

    Nah, I was jesting.

    We'll have anti-gravity and FTL travel long before that!

    1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: One day, ...

      We'll never have those regulations. We'll probably get populist politicians who want to ban computers long before that.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        We'll probably get populist politicians who want to ban computers long before that.

        No, how could they tweet otherwise?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: We'll probably get populist politicians who want to ban computers long before that.

          By telegeaph, of course. If it worked before the Civil War, it can work now.

      2. find users who cut cat tail

        Re: One day, ...

        The thing that worries me is that I can extrapolate -- without too much effort -- the current technology and society to a state in which ‘ban computers’ would be a reasonable proposition.

        Sure, it would break lots of things. Awful lots of things.. One big problem is the inability to re-create intermediate technologies. We might go back to middle ages, or Renaissance, but 70s technologies are much harder. They require too many resources that need other technologies and too many other things working to be re-created from scratch.

        So, in essence, once we might never [for some value of never] be able to get back to the current technological level after a global disaster/breakdown/war/ban/... And yet, I can imagine banning computers being the lesser evil. Barely, but still.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: One day, ...

          Ok. Now I'm curious. Since I can't think of anything that would get rid of all computers while leaving humans, what type of situation can you think of where computers would be banned? And does your theory also account for the populace to comply with said ban? I'd really like to hear your theories, because I'm not thinking that way at all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One day, ...

            > Since I can't think of anything that would get rid of all computers while leaving humans ...

            Oh that's easy. Creationists and other (similar thinking) nutjobs, if they get well out of hand.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: One day, ...

            Say a computer glitch starts World War III and people actually survive it. As for fiction, read up on the Dune universe and the Butlerian Jihad.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SkyNet is coming!

    That's the long and short of it.

    1. Paul 195

      Re: SkyNet is coming!

      My phone beeps and tells me when I have an appointment, or have to go and do somethng, and I obey. Are you sure SkyNet isn't already here? It doesn't need to destroy us, it's already in charge.

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: SkyNet is coming!

      You are assuming that our current run of technology kinda working continues. However there's a strong trend towards needless complexity which can eliminate that rather quickly.

      So the future might not be "Terminator", but "The Machine Stops".

  10. David Lewis 2
    Unhappy

    RAID?

    Random Association of Insecure Devices?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    someone once said..

    "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."

    Ok, that someone was Frank Hebert, in Dune. Thinking maybe he was onto something there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: someone once said..

      We are really far away from that.

      Having machines run for office will be the first sign that something is stirring.

      (Lems "Washing Machine Tragedy" ... is it coming? "CHILLINGLY BELIEVABLE" - NYT Book Review. "BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTURE" - The Atlantic)

    2. oldfartuk

      Re: someone once said..

      Oh make no mistake, Cymeks will be appearing on a street near you within 10 years.....

  12. vtcodger Silver badge

    Now you have two problems

    "how to update systems that have an effect on the physical world in near real time"

    Apparently "We" decided at some meeting I somehow missed, that we're terribly clever and all we need to do is fix a few bugs quickly and efficiently in order to achieve digital nirvarna.

    Maybe you folks really are that smart. But that's not my bet. My bet is that the population of bugs is VERY large and that new problems are being created faster than old ones can be eliminated and that you can't patch your way to anything but unending grief.

    I'm guessing that in maybe a couple of decades folks will figure out that traveling the road to digital nirvana requires DRAMATICALLY reducing attack surfaces then exhaustively testing what few attack surfaces you decide to retain.

    Enjoy the flight folks. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Now you have two problems

      "I'm guessing that in maybe a couple of decades folks will figure out that traveling the road to digital nirvana requires DRAMATICALLY reducing attack surfaces then exhaustively testing what few attack surfaces you decide to retain."

      Trouble is, what about HIDDEN surfaces? Or the necessary surfaces being impossible to harden due to their use case? Sort of like a wall with a gate in it; the mere existence of the gate makes it vulnerable under the wrong conditions.

  13. Nolveys Silver badge
    Windows

    Dimming Lights

    I was recently involved in the installation of "light dimmers" that cause the white LEDs in six signs to dim at night.

    Each of the six "dimmers" are boxes with antenna sticking out one end, making them look a lot like access points. That's because they are access points, open access points...no wifi passwords. The passwords are set to protect the web interface only (via http).

    When configuring the first "dimmer" I was told by the manufacturer to set the password to "123456". I decided to set it to something else. It turns out that the web interface that sets the password will accept a long password, but the login dialog won't, thusly I locked myself out.

    Upon opening the thing up to look inside I found a Raspberry Pi connected to a daughter board that did the actual dimming. The antenna sticking out the end were connected directly to USB dongles that attached to the Pi. They were held in place with a plastic plate with strategically cut rectangular holes in it.

    So I removed the micro SSD and connected it to a computer. Only one of the wifi interfaces was actually used, the other was just there for decoration. The really beautiful part was that the web interface was running WordPress. Even memcached was invited to the party. So, yeah, that's how you do embedded programming for a light dimmer, you use WordPress.

    I reset the password and all was well.

    Ha ha, no it wasn't.

    Cycling the power on the things causes the clock to change to we-know-not-what. Not that it's an issue since the procedure by which the things dim works as follows:

    1. Cron runs a WordPress module every minute.

    2. The WordPress module check the dimmer schedule.

    3. The WordPress module mostly ignores the dimmer schedule and decides to what to do based on magic.

    4. The WordPress module runs the "pigs" command via php's system() in order to set the duty cycle on a pulse-width-multiplex pin.

    And then there was the Ford that failed to pair with a bluetooth phone because there were too many text messages. It produced no useful error message, Ford tech support had no clue what was going on.

    Also, the home automation and integrated entertainment system with the insanely simple wifi password.

    Or stock smart phone software that just doesn't effing work in any way, shape or form. "My mail client stopped working for no reason, time for a factory reset because nobody anywhere knows what the hell is going on with the thing."

    It seems like everything is like the above these days. No one knows how anything works, they just grab a bunch of off-the-shelf garbage, mush it together into a ball of shyte and shove it out the door. These are things that are connected directly to houses, cars, lights, sensitive data stores, you name it.

    Now we are seeing flaky-as-hell AI installed everywhere.

    Consumer technology and even a lot of non-consumer technology is going in a direction that is completely batshit-on-toast-fucked-sideways-from-wednesday insane.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Dimming Lights

      I am at a loss to imagine why anyone would even have the idea of implementing a light switch in WordPress.

      Having had the idea, I can see why you might go ahead and do it, for shits and giggles, but it is the sort of thing that you do in the privacy of your own home, not in a commercial product.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dimming Lights

        WordPress is like antiterror legislation: Good for anything

  14. Biosolid Reviewer
    Big Brother

    overlooking the obvious

    One of the biggest problems that I frequently encounter is usually caused by very clever people who simply overlook the obvious, it is a classic case of not seeing the wood for the trees developers or programmers who are so deeply involved in something that they neglect to mention where the on/off switch is, sensible documentation failure is endemic or very often quite deliberate.

    Autonomous hardware will also suffer from this, the prospect of the likely consequences are truly terrifying.

    There is a lot of good money to be made in keeping some decision making people ignorant, in the IT world in general insecurity and self-protectionism is rife along with an awful lot of very poor management.

    George Orwell was indeed a visionary who simply understated many things, if he were around today, he would probably write about how technology has been used by the ignorant masses to create their own restrictions via social media.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Machines should be put to do the work for us

    not to think for us. When you outsource the brain, there's nothing left form you as a human being.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Machines should be put to do the work for us

      But there are people who don't WANT to think. Who think thinking is too hard.

  16. Lucky2BHere

    Massive Denial

    Of course! You simply cannot disagree. I'm in the security business and the apathy is appaling - and scary. There is a strong foundation in business of self-selected ignorance and denial. We work with banks, transportation companies, government agencies and integrators and most of the execs are simply not informed - and don't want to be!

    When I've brought up very real scenarios where, for example, a rogue fleet manager of connected big rigs decides to redirect a few of his 80,000 pound trailers at high speed into the middle of a city, the blank stares are chilling.

    Keep pounding, Bruce!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Massive Denial

      "When I've brought up very real scenarios where, for example, a rogue fleet manager of connected big rigs decides to redirect a few of his 80,000 pound trailers at high speed into the middle of a city, the blank stares are chilling."

      Then you need to put it in starker terms. Let's see if they ignore that you've just described possibly the scariest terrorist scenario since 9/11. If THAT doesn't get their attention, then they've lost their survival instinct, meaning they're basically not human anymore...

  17. Kev99 Bronze badge

    I love it when a so-called "expert" decries the obvious.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      People are so hopeless that the obvious often looks like information from the future, or alien probing.

  18. oldfartuk
    FAIL

    Security isnt a 'Has been' ,its a 'Never was'. Back in the 90's i went round a certain County Councils Social Services offices installing press button entry locks. I was instructed NOT to change the passcode from the default 12345678, as the Social Workers couldnt cope with different passcodes at different offfices, which ofc entirely defeated the object of installing them all.. Later, when I rolled out laptops to them, so they could access the shiny new database system on the server, 10% of all the Social Workers resigned rather than use the laptops. I observed a similar effect when i delvered laptops to 600 primary School Head Teachers, 60 resigned immediately. IT Dept 3, Dumb Fucks 0.

    1. JimC Silver badge

      RE IT Dept 3, Dumb Fucks 0.

      I think not. The IT, which is supposed to be there to help people do their jobs better, went down so badly with the users that 10% of them resigned? Goodness knows Social services IT systems vary from mediocre to dreadful, but even so that's pretty special. And yes, I am aware that one big issue with Social Services IT systems is that they are all too often designed to help the management do their job with no consideration of the staff at all, but that too is a failure of the overall IT delivery.

  19. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    Not so smart meters

    Eventually, so-called Smart Meters will be hacked, and exploits will include such inconveniences as rapidly switching your house current. Expect burned out items, maybe fires. Lives may be lost. Where I live, you have to pay $32.50 extra, per month, to the electric company to not have a Smart Meter.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Not so smart meters

      Have you thus applied for a discount for your fire insurance on that justification? Otherwise, I would've thought someone would've sued the power company on fire risk grounds and/or higher insurance premiums.

  20. Shart Tank

    Brucey dreams / life's a highway

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