back to article What happens when security devices are insecure? Choose the nuclear option

It's important – and responsible – to use adequate protection. My own helmet, for example, is wrapped in tin foil. I have done this on doctor's advice. Well, indirectly anyway. I was feeling a little under the weather and booked to see my GP. Naturally, by the time my appointment came around three weeks later I was feeling …

  1. PM from Hell
    Flame

    government security advice

    Very amusing Mr Dabb's, you've obviously been too busy to watch much TV recently or you would have seen Her Majesties Government's latest advice on cyber security. Keep your systems patched and all apps up to date recommend HMG.

    This advice will royally confuse any non technical users of Android phones which are older than 6 months. If only they had the power to pass some kind of law to enforce manufacturers and network providers to update device software for a reasonable period after purchase. I don't know they could call it a 'law' or 'legislation'.

    they'll be asking us never ever to register our personal details or credit card numbers with pornography suppliers next (oops did I get that the wrong way round).

    I predict the next huge consumer data issue will be from users of 'free' VPN services trying to avoid the smut registration process.

    I could suggest that this was imposed at the network endpoint by the ISP or phone providers, I distinctly remember having to opt in to see adult content a number of years afo, but to be fair I had to opt in to even let my 7 year old daughter research her history homework as some of the sites she needed to look at were classed as adult.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: government security advice

      "Her Majesties Government's latest advice on cyber security. Keep your systems patched and all apps up to date recommend HMG."

      That'll be the HMG all of whose websites appear to be in perpetual beta.

  2. Dr_N Silver badge

    French Government website UIs...

    ... still take their design cues from Minitel.

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Re: French Government website UIs...

      "still take their design cues from Minitel." Not Philippe Starck or H R Geiger?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: French Government website UIs...

      > Indeed, the French government and businesses very effectively keep the populous safe and the enemy at bay with a a wall of incoherent, hideous and thoroughly impenetrable user interfaces that make MySpace look like the Louvre.

      That and they're in French.

      <Ba dum, tish>

      PS: This would have been a better song to end on.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: French Government website UIs...

      ... still take their design cues from Minitel.

      If only. Minitel was sufficiently minimalist to be clean and efficient. French website designers all seem to be people who consider the Citroen approach to dashboard design to be too conservative.

    4. baud

      Re: French Government website UIs...

      The only one I ever used was the one to fill my income tax information, which reproduce the 40 fields of the actual paper forms of old, of which 3 were relevant to me. On one hand, since doing it online is mandatory since a few year, having a design similar to the paper might help those more computer-challenged, but still, they should have enough information to hide some of the fields.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: French Government website UIs...

        Well the form was impenetrable in the first place.

        Up until recently I only had to fill in the box "AJ".

        They do hide boxes, but then you don't know that you have to list all your offshore accounts :(

  3. Andy Non

    Cocking up personal data

    "... personal data, there's absolutely nothing I can do to stop other people who have legitimate access to it from cocking it up."

    A recent trip to Boots opticians proved confusing and amusing. They confirmed my name, date of birth and address and the optician said he'd start my eye test based upon my last prescription. I couldn't even read the first big letter on the top of the chart! Considering I can almost read to the bottom without spectacles it was evident something was amiss. After some considerable time trying to tweak this badly out of focus prescription, it transpired that they had somehow merged my records with those of a random stranger. So back to square one and they needed to create a new record for both me and the other mystery person. They had to take more photos of my retina as the ones they'd taken twenty minutes earlier were held against the now defunct records. Methinks the Boots optician stabbing away at the computer keyboard with one finger should have gone to specsavers.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Cocking up personal data

      My optician is not part of a chain, knows all his customers individually so would never mix them up, and, when he referred me to a consultant, said consultant told me he only needed a very brief look to confirm the very thorough detective work done by the optician.

      tl;dr if you can, avoid chains.

      1. Andy Non

        Re: Cocking up personal data

        I certainly won't be going to Boots opticians again. I was in there for two hours while they faffed around having to repeat tests. The optician was in denial initially that their records could be wrong. He suggested that there must be someone else who coincidentally had the same name and date of birth who just happened to live at my previous address. To me it was evident they'd merged my records with someone else's. Oddly I take almost the same medications as the other mystery person. Finally he comparing my current retina scan against "my" previous retina scan before he was finally convinced that they were in fact of two different people due to the different layout of the arteries etc! He ended up analysing my current spectacles to get an accurate starting point for his eye tests.

        1. Jay 2
          Facepalm

          Re: Cocking up personal data

          One of my running jokes about security refers to "palm prints and retina scans" for identification/access.

          Icon: Cover one eye and read from the chart...

      2. Roopee

        Re: Cocking up personal data

        In the interests of fairness, I should tell you that the best optician I have ever had was and still is a Boots employee. She diagnosed the rare genetic condition that manifested itself in my early 40s (map dot fingerprint dystrophy) and referred me to an eye surgeon for confirmation. Since then the only time I have allowed my routine examinations to be by another optician was when she asked me to allow a final year trainee to do it under her supervision, because my condition is usually only seen in textbooks, and she assured me that he was technically excellent - which he was.

        The worst optician I have had was in an Asda concession - he couldn't even tell that I need prism correction, despite using one of my current pairs of glasses as a starting point. Needless to say I binned his prescription. My advice - have 2 or 3 eye tests and compare the results if you're not confident of your current optician/prescription.

    2. Blazde

      Re: Cocking up personal data

      This record merging happened to my mother in Clarks a few years back. An in-store order for shoes got sent out to someone else and chasing them up revealed a mash-up of customer data in their computer and some mild denial from the staff ("are you sure this isn't your address?", "I don't know what to say, we sent the shoes out already").

      Anyway, three months of hassle later she did get a free pair of shoes but some mystery woman somewhere out there now knows my mother's shoe size - including the width - which would presumably be a serious GDPR breach if it happened more recently.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Cocking up personal data

        "are you sure this isn't your address?"

        It's blind assumption that anything coming up on the screen must be right.

        I had something similar with a life insurance company. They must have entered DoBs all numerically, swapped day and month and the numpty on the other end of the phone insisted that I'd survived a couple of decades of marriage not knowing SWMBO's correct birthday.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Cocking up personal data

          It's blind assumption that anything coming up on the screen must be right.

          Working at DEC you get a badge with your employee number, and I was to get a freshly-issued one when I transferred to a different department. The first thing I note is that the employee number is wrong; it has two digits transposed. However, the security bozo handing out those things was adamant it was the right number.

          "Do you really think that the number ABCDEF that I've been assigned, and used for over the past six years is the wrong one, and the number ACBDEF that happens to be on your screen and on this freshly-made badge is correct?".

          "It says ACBDEF on this list, so yes."

          "Well, you can wipe your arse with that list because it is wrong. This <showing well-worn badge> is my badge, and that one <pointing at new one on desk> is not. Go poke HR to send out a new list, and let me know when you have a badge with the number ABCDEF for me to collect. In the meantime I'll be wearing this old one even though it's not for this department. Good morning."

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Cocking up personal data

      I just "love" it when my GP tells me it's time for me to get my eyes checked. I snicker "What for? I'm still blind." He huffs & tells me it's so they can check for diabetes retinopathy. "You don't have to check for that. I'm. Blind. Not merely legally so but completely so. There's no point in checking for eye damage, I can tell you without hesitation They Don't Fekkin' Work!" He insists, makes the optical appointment for me & snorts smugly. I go to the appointment on the arm of my Sighted Helper, Navigation Cane in my other hand, "blind shades" on my eyes, & check in. The lady at the counter asks if this is a joke. "Nope. I am totally blind & my GP refused to THINK about things before he forced me to keep this appointment. Feel free to kick his ass if you like. Give an extra one from me Please." She coughs, laughs, & has me sit in the proper chair. The optical doc comes in, takes one look, & asks dryly "Let me guess. Your GP is a moron?" YES! Yes he is! "Can you see *anything*?" Nope. "I'll make that fact *perfectly* clear in your file, Sir. Thank you for keeping your appointment, now be off & have a nice day." I thank him, leave, & my GP calls me a few days later for a follow up. Evidently the optical doc put in diplomatic terms "Your GP is a fucking moron" into my file & my GP wanted to whinge. I let him say his peace & asked him if he learned anything from this. "Yeah, never send my patients to that quack!"

      *FacePalm*

      I'd change GP but my insurance reps are even more blind than I am. =-\

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cocking up personal data

        Playing devil's advocate, maybe the eye test was for checking for other things (you mentioned diabeties retinopathy).I remember some years ago reading about an optician watching TV and noticed that one of the actors had something screwy with his eye that was a symptom of a heart condition.

        Playing devil's devil's adovcate - your GP is still an idiot, if that was the case then he should have explained it better

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "my GP refused to THINK about things"

        Follow the money. If the GP or practice gets funded with checkups and has to fill quotas, they would send the dead for an eye examination if they could!

        1. Blazde

          Re: "my GP refused to THINK about things"

          Dead you say? Have you ever considered taking a statin?

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

            Re: "my GP refused to THINK about things"

            And I'm now having Princess Bride flashbacks.

            Must go and watch that again, it's been too long...

    4. CountCadaver

      Re: Cocking up personal data

      Wouldn't go to Specsavers, they cocked up my prescription so badly it gave me double vision. I rejected them right there and then in the shop. I complained, went into see their head optician in the store, whose opening gambit was "we'll take the wrong prescription and tweak it" he then became irate when I made it very clear that wasn't acceptable in anyway shape or form. Ergo I walked out and have never returned.

      I use a local independent who are very good and who unlike every other optician I've ever been to "if you can get by without glasses then do so" and don;t say "if you get a headache from the new glasses, then you just need to get used to them" - something that every other optician including specsavers trotted out.

      Frankly opticians shouldn't be allowed to sell glasses, its as bad as mot testers being able to quote for repairs (and similarly open to abuse and criminal behaviour)

  4. Alister Silver badge

    What to do if the World is going to end

    Thanks DNA

    .

    Bartender: You really think the world's gonna end?

    Ford: Yes.

    Bartender: Shouldn't we lie down? Put paper bags over our heads or something?

    Ford: If you like.

    Bartender: Would it help?

    Ford: Not at all.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: What to do if the World is going to end

      Bartender!!!! Ye Gods. Publican or landlord. Ideally barmaid.

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        Re: What to do if the World is going to end

        If a tavern owner quits for a while to do something else & then returns to his old profession, does that make him a RePublican?

        *Ducks & runs like hell*

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          Re: What to do if the World is going to end

          *Ducks & runs like hell*

          You're not going to eat that donut then? I'll take it. Wouldn't do to have food go to waste.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: What to do if the World is going to end

          *Ducks & runs like hell*

          YOU FORGOT YOUR TOWEL SIR!!!

      2. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Bartender

        Publican or landlord.

        What if the person doesn't own the pub?

        Barman or barmaid are so last century...

  5. Wandering Reader

    populace, not populous

    I'm not sending corrections from my work email...

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: populace, not populous

      Drives me mad too. Have an upvote.

  6. John 110
    Mushroom

    I had one of these at the time

    I understand that these government pamphlets were designed to give people something to do while they waited to die, rather than mill aimlessly in the street or just out and out panic. (also see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_the_Wind_Blows_%281986_film%29)

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I had one of these at the time

      Came here just to mention that - those pamphlets are downright frightening in themselves.

      Also, When the Wind Blows still gives me chills to watch. Excellent film.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: I had one of these at the time

        Obligatory mention of Threads.

        Still gives me nightmares.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: I had one of these at the time

          Me too. And they followed the "Protect and Survive" leaflet: to no avail.

        2. Jay 2

          Re: I had one of these at the time

          I still say that's the scariest film I've ever seen (over and above any proper horror films/video nasties etc). I've got a copy knocking aorund somewhere, but I'm pretty sure I'll never watch it again...

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: I had one of these at the time

      When we got our copy back in 1980 all it did was convince me I should join CND. But being only 16 at the time, I was distracted by a girl carrying a bottle of cider and never quite got round to signing up to save humanity.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I had one of these at the time

        "But being only 16 at the time, I was distracted by a girl carrying a bottle of cider and never quite got round to signing up to save humanity."

        Wise decision. You had a better chance of achieving something.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: I had one of these at the time

          You had a better chance of achieving something.

          A gentleman never tells.

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: I had one of these at the time

          A girl with a bottle of cider? This was the 80s, man. Hadn't you seen the Government Information Campaign about AIDS?

          Jesus, that was a grim time. You were going to die, basically. One way or another.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: I had one of these at the time

            Oh, I saw it. Slab of black rock and everything.

            I learned my lesson. I've always worn two condoms since. Even when not having sex.

          2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: I had one of these at the time

            Jesus, that was a grim time. You were going to die, basically. One way or another.

            Well aside possibly from taxes, that's always been the most certain thing there is...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "I was distracted by a girl carrying a bottle of cider ...

        ... and never quite got round to signing up to save humanity."

        Since an interest in potential mating opportunities is in fact the *traditional* way of ensuring the continuance of humanity, there's no reason to feel bad about not signing up. :-)

    3. MonkeyCee Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: I had one of these at the time

      My nuclear war planning consists of either going to one of the three nearby NATO bases, or not being around due to being wiped out in the blast wave from one of them being nuked.

      At least it will be quick :)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I had one of these at the time

        Three? I thought it was bad enough being in Wycombe sandwiched between two.

      2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At MonkeyCee, re: nuke plans.

        I remember our disaster drills back in the day of "Duck & Cover". I always laughed in derrision & just went along with it to humour the teachers. When asked why I wasn't taking this stuff more seriously I simply pointed out that we were less than a mile from a military base on the Strategic Air Command (SAC) "we'll be one of the first targets" list. We were less than 100 miles from the main SAC airbase that would get *multiple* missile strikes, & that there were enough strategic civilian & military targets of opportunity in the area. "When the dust settles & the survivors scuttle from the rubble, the cockroaches will feast on our corpses. This area will be a glowing crater for the next million years or so. ''Duck & Cover'' won't do a damned thing." They called me a rather cynical little brat. I told them to stop drinking the government KoolAid & thinking a few meters of dirt/stone over your head would do a damn thing to protect you from the number of nuclear tipped weapons sure to fall on us like so many fists of god.

        And people wonder why I distrust my government? I may be physically blind but even I can "see" the problems inherent in what my government tries to make me believe. =-|

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: At MonkeyCee, re: nuke plans.

          That fits in perfectly with my experience "back in the day" including the proximity to SAC bases. My response "you gotta' be shitting me" got me in trouble but my dad had a good laugh over it. One of my mates said "you guys go bury heads, I'm headed outside to watch the fireworks" during the drill. We both ended up sitting outside the principle's office for due punishment. Funny, we had sit there until the drill was over then not a word said except "go back to your classroom".

          1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

            At Mark 85, re: punishment.

            Exactly! I get sent to the office, principal tells me he'll speak to my father, then sends me back to class. Me worried? Not a bit.

            My father was in the AirForce doing a job that had him hopping from one SAC base to another like a frog on a hot plate. His advice if the warning klaxons ever cranked up was "Kiss it goodbye & enjoy the fireworks!" was exactly what he told the school when they called.

            <Whingey beurocrat>But how can you SAY that? Don't you love your child?</whingey bastard>

            My father said (and I loved this) "If you think sticking your head up your ass will protect you one bit then have fun inhaling shit, just don't try convincing my son that joining you will do any fucking good."

            Strangely enough I didn't get any more crap from my school after that. Perhaps they figured this "bad apple" hadn't fallen far from the tree. Oh WOE is ME! XD Hahahaha...

        2. Diodelogic

          Re: At MonkeyCee, re: nuke plans.

          My family lived in Roswell, New Mexico, many years ago, adjacent to the Walker SAC base (long since shut-down). At the local elementary school we were made to practice "duck and cover" by filing into the interior hallways and sitting, facing the walls, hunched over with arms covering the head. For some reason it was thought that we needed to practice this rather often, at least until That Day when, just as everyone was settling into place, a B-58 Hustler (yes, it was that long ago) from the airbase went supersonic over the school. Nobody knew if it was intentional or not--personally I never thought so but you never can tell with Air Force pilots. The school declared a half-day and we all went home.

      3. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I had one of these at the time

        I have to admit I was more concerned about Dorset's co-location of an atomic reactor, the National Tank Museum and Monkey World.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: I had one of these at the time

          Mutant simians driving tanks and turning humanity into voiceless slaves?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: I had one of these at the time

            More that they are all in a big straight line with barely a mile between them... monkeys escape from zoo, steal tank, ram it into Winfrith Magnox reactor.

            1. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: I had one of these at the time

              "... monkeys escape from zoo, steal tank, ram it into Winfrith Magnox reactor."

              I can see you've thought this through in some detail. Can I have your secret volcano base when you're finished with it?

    4. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: I had one of these at the time

      I have always assumed that the advice about bags of earth was to ensure that your corpse was buried sufficiently to prevent it becoming a health hazard.

      1. D@v3

        Re: Blofeld's cat

        It's so that when the radiation turns you into a zombie, you can't get up and walk away

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Blofeld's cat

          It's so that when the radiation turns you into a zombie, you can't get up and walk away

          But wouldn't the radiation give you superhuman (or in this case superzombie) strength?

    5. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I had one of these at the time

      I remember reading through the 'advice' and commenting to a mate that was recommending quite a lot of work to get through in the four minutes between the sirens and the end of the UK as we know it

  7. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Good eating on them thar kittens (just saying')

  8. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Hmmm. I'm not getting the images just placeholders and titles, so I can't see...

    ...'Protect and Survive Ben Gazzara'. Any advice, useful or otherwise?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Hmmm. I'm not getting the images just placeholders and titles, so I can't see...

      Right-click and choose Show Images? Disable Hide Images or whatever in your ad blocker?

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Home security!

    "redesign Aibo to be the size of a pony with huge fucking razor teeth" I'd buy one just to take it on Robot Wars. A pony would have a hard time just turning around in my house. I'll just stick with the Buford Pusser home security device, endorsed by Teddy Roosevelt....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Home security!

      Aibo might actually be a step backward.

      Ever since I watched cctv cameras to pay my way through university I've been arguing the need to include organic dogs in electronic security systems. If the dog spots something and runs off to look at it, bark at it, screw it, eat it or flee in terror from it, the camera ought to at least look and see what it is. Might even get a nature documentary out of it.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Home security!

        If only I could train our dog to use a mobile phone.

        No burglar alarm is so sensitive that it can tell the difference between our cars and the neighbours' cars, and other vehicles stopping in our drive. And bark at the unfamiliar ones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Home security!

          A dog can surely be trained to run to a specific spot if it identifies an unfamiliar car stopping outside.

          And believe me when I tell you that an electronic security system can easily be triggered by a dog standing in a particular place. That can then use an integrated mobile phone if that's what you've set it to do.

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Home security!

        Redrum the Attack Chihuahua would have to be restrained from attempting to kill and eat it, usually by his BBF, Baroness Margaret Hilda the wolf, who is much more sensible and less likely to try to remove body parts. Though more likely to succeed, if you annoy her enough. Redrum thinks that he’s a wolf, and has a serious Napoleon complex. The Baroness knows that she’s a wolf and can eat any hairless monkey who dares to intrude on _her_ territory, if and when she wants to, no need to rush.

    2. TRT Silver badge
      1. Is It Me

        Re: Home security!

        It had me thinking about these:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mPTVdNny-U

    3. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Home security!

      "redesign Aibo to be the size of a pony with huge fucking razor teeth"

      That, for some reason, conjured up image of AMEE from Red Planet.

  10. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    What Sony needs to do is get someone in from Boston Dynamics to redesign Aibo to be the size of a pony with huge fucking razor teeth.

    Then they could change the name from AIBO to ASBO.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Well, the effectiveness of Aibo as a patrolling guard dog depends upon on how much protection you expect with a $3,000 toy beagle."

    At $3,000 a time I'd expect its main effectiveness to be getting half-inched.

  12. dajames Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Protect and Survive

    I recall that a friend brought a copy to a party, shortly after it was released, and helpfully read out informative passages for our education and amusement. I can still hear him drunkenly declaim:

    Fallout is invisible. If you cannot see anything you may be suffering from fallout!

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Protect and Survive

      Ah! The Good Old Days. Those who remember "Protect and Survive" might also remember the graphic novel "Where the Wind Blows" by Raymond Briggs. There's a Wikipedia article about this but to give you some of the flavor it tells the story of an older couple who grew up in WW2 (remember, this ts the 80s) so were used to Government advice who used it to build their fallout shelter. They follow the advice in "Protect and Survive" and, well, they don't. They escape the direct effects of a nuclear attack but the fallout gets them. It takes a week or two.

      Its quaint now but don't let your guard down -- the Cold Warriors and Strangeloves of this world are forever lurking waiting their chance to arm up (to quote the old song...."there's money to be made supplying the army's tools of trade"). You'll just be 'collateral damage' -- remember the real Civil Defence strategy back then had the government and assorted lackeys lurking under Box Hill with the rest of us bottled up in our cities -- "ducks, for the sitting of".

      1. Trilkhai

        Re: Protect and Survive

        There was also an animated adaptation of Where the Wind Blows made in 1986, which made the story seem even more depressing, impossible as that might seem.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too depressing?

          As depressing as it seems, I often wonder if it is over exaggerated? There are many degrees of survivability, or not, even in events such as the nuclear drops on Japan, and Chernobil.

          1. BlartVersenwaldIII
            Mushroom

            Re: Too depressing?

            The (atomic, not thermonuclear) bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were mere party poppers compared to a cold war MIRV.

            Little Boy: 15kt blast yield

            Fat Man: 21kt blast yield

            A modern Trident 2 SLBM (and thus by no means as big as a cold war era ICBM or one of the huge >5Mt bombs) payload might be 8x475kt MIRV warheads

            Some chap thoughtfully put together a map which'll give you a nice informative overlay of what you could have expected if the cold war were to become hot or if you'd like to plan your own apocalypse

            https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/

            Chernobyl wasn't a nuclear explosion, t'was a steam explosion that ruptured the reactor (no containment vessel), spreading the insides of the reactor far and wide (mostly through fire) so there was no real "blast" but plenty of poisonous crap thrown over the surrounding area (and of a different class of stuff compared to warhead fallout).

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Too depressing?

            And there are certainly other ways the plot could go, but most of them are similarly depressing, just in different ways. Nuclear explosions are not fun, so your options are:

            1. Be vaporized at the center of an explosion

            2. Die in the destruction that is far enough away from the center that you weren't vaporized

            3. Die in the fires spreading from the destruction outward because a lot of stuff burns

            4. Die from fallout which can be blown by winds nearly anywhere

            5. Miraculously find a shelter strong enough to withstand the fallout without poisoning you, and die inside for lack of provisions, extreme heat, etc.

            6. Miraculously find a shelter strong enough to withstand the fallout without poisoning you, but open it too soon and die of fallout anyway

            7. Miraculously find a shelter strong enough to withstand the fallout without poisoning you, and have a load of fun finding a safe place to go when you eventually come out

            Let's just agree not to drop any nuclear weapons. Everyone on board with that?

            1. BlartVersenwaldIII
              Alert

              Re: Too depressing?

              5. Miraculously find a shelter strong enough to withstand the fallout without poisoning you, and die inside for lack of provisions, extreme heat, etc.

              6. Miraculously find a shelter strong enough to withstand the fallout without poisoning you, but open it too soon and die of fallout anyway

              7. Miraculously find a shelter strong enough to withstand the fallout without poisoning you, and have a load of fun finding a safe place to go when you eventually come out

              This passage reminded me of a guided tour I took of a nuclear bunker in central Berlin (west IIRC); ingress air-lock with gunports and a "strip naked here" decontamination shower for the cognoscenti lucky enough to know about it, be allowed access and to get there in time; tiny chicken-wire bunk beds stacked floor to ceiling; no doors on the toilets/showers so there'd be nowhere private where people might be tempted to commit suicide; an expectation that people would sleep >20 hours a day because air quality would be so bad that people would be barely capable of functioning; two weeks' worth of food and water for the "lucky" people inside.

              (I can't remember the name of the museum the tour was attached to nor the name of the bunker but if any of you are in Berlin I can't recommend it highly enough)

              1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

                Re: Too depressing?

                Bet she's twinned with the Museum of Torture in Amsterdam.

  13. Simon Ritchie

    When Protect and Survive came out, I organised a demonstration called “How to Build a Nuclear Shelter in Four Minutes” using props such as a door and a kitchen table (which is what the leaflet suggested).

    We made our own entertainment in those days!

    1. ActionBeard

      We were shown the Protect and Survive video at school in the early 80s. Then we were shown some videos of atomic bomb tests. In one, a building which was within about a mile of the blast, was blown away as if it was a small pile of sand. The teacher, being slightly cynical in nature, made the comment: "notice the doors propped up against the tables".

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      I worked on job around that time helping to construct a fallout shelter by burying two 40' containers in a bloody great hole and covering them with about five feet of concrete.

      The client spent a fortune kitting them out, it seemed unsporting to point out that there were two large underground ordnance stores in the vicinity that the Russians were almost certainly aware of, so his shelter was in a probable multiple hit target zone.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        I did some volunteer work in my distant youth, more with the intent of putting something distinctive on my CV than on improving the lot of humanity. I once spent three weeks working nights driving an electric buggy around the warren of tunnels underneath a major hospital, towing carts full of all sorts of medical waste, disassembled beds, broken furniture going for repair, boxes of supplies and tons of laundry, etc, from one drop-off point to another. You could go the entire night and only ever meet three people.

        Naturally I soon got bored and spent some time exploring the place. In one of the less-travelled tunnels I found myself up against a 10' square blast door, the entrance to the nuclear bunker where the local great and good had no doubt schemed and plotted to gain places in a refuge from which they could later emerge and rebuild civilisation in their image. Given the number of RAF bases in the environs, I did wonder if they'd stopped to think how likely it would be that their refuge would become their tomb, buried under ten floors of collapsed hospital.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Oblig. Douglas Adams reference

          HHGG already dealt with what happens when people in vague pen pushing and talking middle class jobs are tasked with rebuilding civilisation.

          I suspect the great and good in the bunker would merely be staving off the inevitable for a few weeks till the tinned food ran out, or till the water pump failed and it turned out none of them knew one end of a screwdriver from the other ("Screwdriver? Isn't that some sort of mixed drink, old boy?")

          1. Ken Shabby

            Re: Oblig. Douglas Adams reference

            Screwdrver?

            Might as well I can't get the hub cap off.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "I did wonder if they'd stopped to think how likely it would be that their refuge would become their tomb, buried under ten floors of collapsed hospital."

          Maybe you only one entrance? Nah, that would too forward thinking.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Interestingly enough there was (and still is) an electricity substation just over the road from the hospital car park. It's a squat brick building surrounded by one of those spiky steel fences with an outer hurricane fence around it and the pylons. I did wonder if that would be where an escape exit might emerge, although after all this time I can't remember whether or not the bomb shelter was on that side of the hospital complex.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      So the blanket fort in the bedroom would have just as effective?

      1. Is It Me

        Just remember to stock it with the important things in life, like Gin

  14. David 18

    Bad/Good(?) article timing.

    I wonder if Dabbsy is annoyed at being just to early to make reference to the "Smart" car alarm problems all over the news today, or feeling like a soothsayer by pre-empting the Beeb.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47485731

  15. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Protect and survive

    Did it suggest you keep a cask of amontillado in your designated fallout shelter?

    (I was around in 1980, but never saw that particular nonsense. Maybe I had something better to do?)

  16. Scott 53

    "France is ranked as the safest country for cyber security second only to Japan"

    Er, eh?

  17. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Ben Gazzara? I remember him from The Big Lebowski and Run For Your Life.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Bah!

      I thought it was a city in Libya.

  18. Albie36

    Exquisite - even by your own high standards

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Road

    IMHO the 2009 movie "The Road" gives the most realistic scenario of what it would be like even if you were to somehow survive a worldwide catastrophe or war.

    And to qoute from an unrelated movie: 'Sometimes dead is better'

  20. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    Fallout shelter?

    A makeshift shelter could help protect from a blast and radiation... but by the time you'd built one, it'd be over. If you get a warning with enough time, you need to ask *how* they could give a warning, yet not negotiate a ceasefire. :/

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Fallout shelter?

      "If you get a warning with enough time, you need to ask *how* they could give a warning, yet not negotiate a ceasefire. :/"

      You haven't been following Brexit, have you?

      Government? Rats, meet sack.

  21. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I may have

    mentioned this before....

    During the 'protect and survive" years, I worked for the government, fairly close to a primary target (like about 1/2 mile).

    What we planned to do rather than cower inside the 'safe refuge' was go out onto the concrete slab that was the carpark, and arrange ourselves so that when the bomb went off, it burned our shadows into the concrete in an amusing pattern, so that in 1000 years time, people could come and look, then try to explain to the 4 yr olds that we must have been doing a fertility dance when the bomb exploded in answer to the question "But mommy... why does the man look like he has his arm up the other mans arse?"

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I may have

      Ah, your handle indicates what you think the archeologists will be a thousand years on from Armageddon.

      I suppose intelligent cockroaches in that time will regard humans with gratitude for destroying themselves and leaving the world to mutated radioactive 'roaches.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, mine and Mr Gadds-Allison's, who will be hopping mad when he gets handed his scurvy tablets on Monday

    Missed opportunity there Alistair, could have invented a couple more conditions where dear old Mr Gadds-Allison has an unfortunate appointment with a proctologist and some cold hands, adding to his confusion as to what possible connection there could be to this procedure and his corns.

  23. livin' thing
    Coffee/keyboard

    We shouldn't talk about insecure systems...

    ...as such language is rather negative. Instead, we should marvel at the flexibility of the information boundary in today's systems.

    After all, I think it was Einstein, or possibly Kendall Jenner, who said "information is as motes of dust, dancing upon a ray of sunlight".

  24. GrapeBunch Bronze badge
    Coat

    Do not fret, Dabbsahib. Mr. Gadds-Addison thoroughly enjoyed his scurvy tablet, which arrived in the form of a cask of grog. What's more, the citrus component came from Australia, so all thought of hopping was banished. Or at least inclusive. In fact, when I last saw Mr. G-A, he said: "Mr. Gadds-Addison, that's rather formal for the 21st century don't you think, old chap? You may call me Rear-Admiral Gadds-Addison." I am replete.

    Don't ask. Mine's the one with the cask.

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