* Posts by John H Woods

2533 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Don't pay up to decrypt – cure found for CryptXXX ransomware, again

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: It's only a matter of time ...

"Wouldn't a variation on Windows UAC achieve that already?" --- Nifty

I think it could. Presumably it would be possible to create a system where UAC prevented some files / folders from being deleted or overwritten regardless of the privilege level of the user, and the only way to do so would be to turn UAC off (am I right in thinking UAC can only be turned off by booting to safe mode?) to do whatever was required before turning it back on and returning to normal operating mode.

0
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

It's only a matter of time ...

... before the cryptoscammers overcome the price sensitivity by using a dutch auction. Big businesses will pay $BIG for immediate decryption, consumers will wait until it drops to under $100 or so.

Restoring from backups is a bit of a chore. Making backups is even more of a chore (because if you aren't restoring them and testing them they aren't backups). What seems really effective against ransomware are snapshots and versioning file systems. For a consumer, wouldn't write-protection of all photos and videos be 80% of the solution?

4
0

Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Oh tomato tohmahto..

viridae is probably the word you were looking for ;-) but come on, it's all a bit of a laugh, isn't it?

1
0

Landmark EU ruling: Legality of UK's Investigatory Powers Act challenged

John H Woods
Silver badge

"Don't forget this legislation is the UK government trying to legalise what it already does"

No. Sure, GCHQ do whatever they do. But the requirement for ISPs to store all history, and the requirement for them to pass it to any number of other bureaucrats (and, given outsourcing, to any number of private companies) without any reasonable form of oversight --- is all absolutely brand new.

6
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Nothing to do with brexit/remaining

"I do wonder where the idea that all of our politicians are self serving idiots, but European ones are trustworthy comes from? The only difference seems to be that we have a notional power to change ours." -- Toltec

MEPs are elected in a proportional manner (the actual method varies slightly) and UK MPs are not (ironically why UKIP had so many MEPs and only 1 MP). In fact fewer than 50% of UK voters live somewhere where their general election vote could reasonably be expected to make a difference.

Once you take the FPTP system and add at least the general perception that we have more of a "revolving door" culture; more powerful lobbyists; print media that is so partisan it must actively be courted by any politicians or party hoping for success, then you have a real "them and us" issue. Not helped by the courts deciding, for instance, that an MP's 50k expenses fraud merely has to be paid back whilst a constituents' 50k benefit fraud results in a custodial sentence.

Perhaps the MEPs are just as bad (Surely we agree that at least one of them is!) but perhaps their misdeeds and their self-serving actions are not so clearly apparent.

7
0

Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: More Magic Technology

Meanwhile the UK's own DaFT is proposing "new technology" that blocks mobile phones in cars.

1
0

View from a Reg reader: My take on the Basic Income

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Universal Credit

"If we are just improving the lot of one portion of the population, and that comes at an overall cost to everyone else, then we need a more refined approach." --- David Dawson.

The statistics are pretty much irrefutable: since the heydays of 60s optimism and social mobility, we have been improving the lot of just one portion of the population: those who need it least.

31
4
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Can't you find a different forum?

"It'd radically change the economics of running low-level tech jobs (helpdesk analysts, technicians etc)."

Agreed, but I don't think we should miss the "other end" either, by freeing up geniuses with a cool idea to subsist on beans on toast whilst they work on what will eventually become a game changing invention.

NB: I'm trying to see it, as the author suggested, from other people's view: I'm neither "low level" tech nor a genius :-)

28
0

National Lottery whacked with £3m fine for suspect ticket win

John H Woods
Silver badge

"no evidence of similar events happening" --- well, not of paying out when they should. But they did have to withdraw their app for a while because it had been telling people "no win" on winning tickets.

5
0

Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo fit to go: Europe's GPS-like network switches on

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: @Lee D

"You pay for a better clock signal to get a better start in terms of GPS positioning. The clock in your handset is also a critical component too." --Ian Michael Gumby

I thought the point of having a four satellite fix when only three would do* is so that the receiver can calculate the single offset factor that would make the intersection perfect, and that this is the discrepancy between the receiver time and the (synchronised) GPS time.

Disclaimer: I am not by any means a GPS / geolocation expert.

* ok, I realise that the intersection of three spheres is actually two points rather than one, but one of these is way out in space somewhere.

1
0

'Public Wi-Fi' gang fail in cunning plan to hide £10m cigarette tax fraud

John H Woods
Silver badge

"It hardly profits from it. The revenue barely covers the hospital and disability costs that result from smoking: lung cancer, emphysema, and many other disabilities" -- Richard Plinston

I am very far from being a supporter of smoking. But the direct cost to the NHS is somewhere between 25% and 50% of tobacco duty income (which is around 12B pa). The most significant spend on the NHS is the elderly, and smoking is quite an effective cure for that.

6
1
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: I wonder if there's an opportunity

"I wonder how dicey that would be" --- sampler

Your risk assessment seems to be missing something. When helping criminals, you possibly have to be worried about being the target of some other criminals. It may be less likely than being targeted by law enforcement but the consequences could be somewhat worse ...

1
0

Violin Memory shares collapse as it files for chapter 11

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Insert joke

... when you put viola players at the violin desks ... ?

3
0

Murdoch's 21st Century Fox agrees £18.5bn Sky takeover deal

John H Woods
Silver badge

A fit and proper person to own a newspaper ...

Before the Iraq war, Murdoch owned 175 newspapers around the globe. 175 of them came out as explicitly in favour of the Iraq war. I wouldn't care how many newspapers or broadcasters he owned, as long as he didn't treat them as his own personal megaphone, which it seems to me that he does.

16
0

'Emoji translator' sought by translations firm

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Saving space

"As far as I know, emojis are implemented as Unicode multi-byte characters, so the rebus of seven pictures of a woman probably consumes between 14 and 28 bytes." --- Kubla Cant

It's 4 bytes in UTF8, so 28 bytes. But you only need 8 bytes for "7sisters"

1
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: What a load of bollocks...

This is true even of UIs. Why not have words "yes" and "no" instead of ticks and crosses? And why have that weird square shape with a corner missing for "save" ...?

(I'm kidding, I'm 50, but when I dug an old 1.44 out of a cupboard to show my kids they looked at each other and said, simultaneously "OH! So that's why that means save").

4
0

If only our British 4G were as good as, um, Albania's... UK.gov's telco tech report

John H Woods
Silver badge

"The report mixes UK and Britain" --Phil O'Sophical

"Britain" doesn't have a formal meaning, it's quite acceptable, or at least commonplace, to use it to refer to the UK. Great Britain OTOH is the big Island in the UK.

6
1

A single typo may have tipped US election Trump's way

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: @Ivan4

"

'I'd still think it was somewhat troubling that a foreign power had interfered with it.'

Why is that? I would be extremely surprised if any election in any country, EVER, has not had some measure of at least attempted interference/influence from a foreign power. It's BAU for most governments." -- eldakka

Hey, I wasn't born yesterday; I didn't say I'd still think it was somewhat troubling that a foreign power had attempted to interfere with it.

0
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

@Ivan4

"Considering those two points, what are they making all this fuss about?" --- Ivan4

Are you serious? Even if I knew for certain that the interference had no influence on an important election in my country, I'd still think it was somewhat troubling that a foreign power had interfered with it. If I thought it had had an effect, even if it was a win for my party, I would have even more of a problem with it.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned.

11
1

Bill Gates joins $170bn climate change investment club

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Trumpity Trump

Bob: "Do your OWN study"

What if I've done my own study and come to these conclusions

1) we are entering a natural warming period, but we seem to be entering it very fast

2) that seems to be as a result of human activity

3) there are other good reasons for investing in carbon free energy (pollution, air quality, finite fossil fuiel)

4) it seems unlikely that there is a global conspiracy of green scientists, even IF they are mistaken

Does that make me a howler monkey? Does it make me your intellectual inferior? Would you take my views more seriously if I said I had a significant scientific background? Or does that mean I'm just a co-conspirator? Maybe if i just used CAPS LOCK as much as SOME PEOPLE you could take my views SERIOUSLY.

17
3

TalkTalk hacker gets iPhone taken away by Norwich Youth Court

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Ridiculous

"if I have a frontdoor made of cardboard (not the case) and somebody kicks it and nicks my stuff, it is the burglar who is responsible. Not the victim." --- Aitor

Allow me to fix your analogy:

You have offered to look after other people's stuff for them. You have a cardboard front door. Somebody says, hey, look, Aitor's got a cardboard front door. Somebody kicks it in and nicks not YOUR stuff but the stuff that other people have trusted you to store for them.

Any clearer? I would say that the person who said "Hey, Aitor's got a cardboard door" is probably less guilty not just than the person who kicked it in, but also than you yourself.

8
2

Europe to launch legal action against countries over diesel emissions cheating

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Oh, here we go again!

"The fines will do nothing but take money from where it's needed and the company responsible is unaffected."

I can't see what you're railing against. Would you like a European Commission that had the legal power to tackle corporations? Or would you prefer that after a mutual agreement of their members to address air quality, they took no enforcement action at all when some members lapsed from this agreement?

7
2

CIA: Russia hacked election. Trump: I don't believe it! FAKE NEWS!

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: ...and the proof is...

"No room for the vast majority of mischief makers" --- Dr.Flay

Not saying you're wrong, but what's the evidence? My instinct would be that the majority of hackers are interested in making money, whether through criminality or state sponsorship, that it is a smaller group who are interested in hacktivisim, and perhaps an even smaller group that genuinely just does it for the challenge.

1
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: The Tribble on his head is sucking out his brain.

"Unless you catch "hackers" in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking" --- DJT

Is this true? I'm not a security expert, but off the top of my head I'd have thought determining potential identities of hackers requires painstaking and perhaps computationally intense analysis of collated logs and captured traffic. In that case, wouldn't it be easier to determine who was doing the hacking after the event than in realtime?

0
0

Higher tech prices ARE here to stay. It's Mr Farage's new Britain

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Brexit means brexit.

"We have a definitive answer ... some people who think they're smarter than they are think that invoking article 50 is the job of parliament because it affects people's rights" --- streaky

If we're talking about people "who think they're smarter than they are" could I respectfully suggest that includes those who think their legal understanding exceeds that of the members of the UK Supreme Court?

10
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Brexit means brexit.

"Sovereign nations do trade: they trade as sovereign nations ... You would fail GSCE politics" --- Dr Stephen Jones

When he says "No countries are sovereign" he clearly means in the (incorrect) sense frequently used by the Brexiteers desperate to "reclaim it" --- they seemed very often to use it to mean total independence from, if not absolute domination of, all other nations. Many of them ironically also seemed to think that the idea that T. May could not decide the terms of Brexit all on her own without reference to Parliament was also an affront to UK Parliamentary sovereignty when it was in fact the very opposite.

Obviously we all know that nations are sovereign in the proper sense of the word. But, unlike the vast majority of Brexiteers, we understand that treaties etc are, in a sense, a trade off of some sovereign power for some other advantage. Naturally we never lose the sovereign power itself, but we agree to be bound by certain conditions in exercising it. Because we actually never yield sovereignty, we can rip up those agreements if we choose (e.g. by invoking Article 50). But in the sense the word was mis-used by many Brexiteers ("we want our sovereignty back") he is absolutely correct that there are no sovereign nations.

8
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

if we're doing stats ...

During the campaign I challenged as many strongly expressed pro-Brexit opinions as I could, whenever I spotted them on social media or comments on online news articles. Any that responded, got another response from me. Anyone who then responded again got characterized on the basis of the most charitable reading of their two responses. Not totally objective, but at least quantitative. I got, of 956 2-time responders ...

"Morons" 905 94.7% People sticking to trivially stupid arguments or incorrect facts

"Feelers" 37 3.9% “I'm just going with my gut,” “everyone's entitled to an opinion” etc.

"Tryers" 14 1.5% Arguments I find unsatisfactory, but might have merit

"Challengers" 9 0.9% Arguments and facts I have to accept as valid

10
1

Kentucky pried chicken: Fried grease chain's loyalty club hacked

John H Woods
Silver badge

I remember ...

In a "what questions could have changed history?" segment on ISIHAC, I remember one contestant saying:

"Colonel Sanders: Look, you guys will tell me if this tastes like crap, won't you?"

5
0

Germany warns Moscow will splash cash on pre-election propaganda and misinformation spree

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: They're under our beds!

" We therefore need a "not these people" box which triggers a re-election with all different candidates" --- Lusty

Agreed --- and compulsory voting. In fact the boxes should have rankings, and the no-vote boxes should have the following flavours:

a) I don't care

b) I care but don't feel I have enough information to make a choice

c) I have enough information but do not want to vote for any of these people

6
0

Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Not just BT

"I'd like to think my PC is being shut down properly before I power it off" --- soulrideruk

Hibernate is power-off safe: the state of the O/S is written to disk (whereas "suspend" states require the maintenance of some power to RAM). The problem here is that starting a hibernated system reads the same broken state back from the disk rather than the O/S setting itself up "from scratch"

5
0

AI brains take a step closer to understanding speech just like humans

John H Woods
Silver badge

"I just thought I was one really weird autistic" --- Jack of Shadows

I heard about it through this BBC article, which contains a short test. I am boringly average, of course.

1
0

HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Arseholes

"The books are not impressed by the TV show" --- AC

That's ridiculous, Ser. The books are wonderful, but this has got to be almost the best adaptation that was actually feasible. Each TV season is about 1000 pages of text boiled down to less than 10 hours of screen time. Given the circumstances it's about as faithful as it could possibly be.

7
0

Stealing, scamming, bluffing: El Reg rides along with pen-testing 'red team hackers'

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: It's a bit disappointing

It's the synergy of posh and utilitarian that forms the ultimate access blogging combo --- standard English, spectacles and a decent suit on the one hand; hi vis; steel toecaps; hard hat; clipboard or ruggedised laptop on the other.

An engineering colleague of mine pointed out the delicious irony that struggling with a ladder (and therefore having both hands occupied) will get you ID-free access to a lot of places where, if anything, the guards should be more suspicious of those so equipped!

12
0

Mirai variant turns TalkTalk routers into zombie botnet agents

John H Woods
Silver badge

Talk talk said ...

... can't these statements be scored for quality? I'll kick off, we can refine the criteria later:

"Along with other ISPs" ---- minus 10 points for trying to say that it isn't mainly your organisation's problem

"in the UK and abroad" --- minus 5 points for making it look like an international issue

"we continue to take steps" --- minus 20 points for meaningless, unquantified cliché

"a small number of customers" --- minus 30 points for calling >2000 small

"we have made good progress" --- minus 10 points for referring to unquantified progress

"we continue to deploy additional network-level controls" --- minus 20 again as per 'continue to take steps" and another 10 for repetition.

"to further protect our customers" --- minus 50 points for pretending that's a priority.

And another -40 for not even hazarding a guess at the date when the issue will be closed.

That's -195 by my count. Improvements to the scoring system welcome, just dashed this off whilst scoffing a sandwich.

35
0

Sigh... 'Hundreds of thousands' of... sigh, web CCTV cams still at risk of... sigh, hijacking

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: OpenCAM?

Some people are already working on this, e.g. https://blog.tho.ms/hacks/2016/08/28/openwrt-on-logilink-wc0030a.html. It seems a promising approach.

Maybe a partial solution to IoT devices is that manufacturers must make the devices user-modifiable the moment they stop supporting them (which in many cases is the moment they leave the factory).

1
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: IoT devices need a universal logo

"Really, I wonder why OpenBSD isn't available in an embedded distro" -- Brian Miller

Isn''t this what tools like flash-rd do, generate OpenBSD images for embedded devices? Personally I don't understand why the IoT manufacturers don't start with something like OpenWRT.

0
0

Brexit means Brexit: What the heck does that mean...

John H Woods
Silver badge

Data means ...

Data

3
0

SHIFT + F10, Linux gets you Windows 10's cleartext BitLocker key

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: This, because we can't overwrite files that are in use.

"But it needs you to have the PC rather than a remote hack." -- AMBxx

The main purpose of whole disk / volume encryption is to protect the contents from people who have gained physical access to the computer.

8
0

Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Here's a story about vaping

"the vapour of an unknown chemical" -- AC

Not really that unknown. The vapour is water, glycerol, polyethylene glycol, nicotine and flavourings. Unless you are getting really dodgy liquid the nicotine will be pure and the PG and flavourings will be food grade. PG has been inhaled for 70+ years in asthma inhalers, so I think a correlation with stomach cancer would have popped up before now. We probably need to wait till 2025-30 to see how safe vaping really is, but it is already easy to see that it is not as dangerous as smoking by a country mile. So much safer that the Dr mentioned may well be increasing the population risk simply by expressing his almost certainly unjustified opinion* in a careless manner.

*if they had really noticed a strong correlation, unless it has only just been observed, they would have published something.

8
0

What's the first emotion you'd give an AI that might kill you? Yes, fear

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: As artificially-intelligent software continues to outperform humans at various tasks

Mage, whilst I agree that "a so called 'Neural Network' doesn't understand anything" I think that

"a special kind of database implemented, in a sense, by data flow programming of identical processes." could well be a description of a brain.

My prediction: we'll have AI that can "understand" things long before we ever (if we ever) understand what understanding really is.

0
0

UK's new Snoopers' Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: It's simple

"There is a very simple backdoor in SSL/TLS based protocols ...

... 3) decode encrypted traffic using server private key (see Wireshark etc)"

Not if the peers use foward secrecy

4
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Don't worry: it won't affect the bad guys

How does Islamist terrorism in the UK stack up against traffic deaths?"

No need to invoke traffic... they have not even been able to keep up with stinging insects since 2000

7
0

Jeremy Hunt: Telcos must block teens from sexting each other

John H Woods
Silver badge

What's worse ...

... that the statement doesn't seem to have been greeted by guffaws, snorts of derision and an absolutely mocking in the media. Is that because his audience are polite or because it's just an echo-chamber of the similarly ignorant?

14
0

Investigatory Powers Act signed into UK law by Queen

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: I'm just curious from a technical point of view

"I'm just curious from a technical point of view "

Well, it would help if there was actually a definition of an Internet Connection Record. But that might limit the scope of the law ...

5
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: What's that high pitched humming noise?

Isn't it William Gibson's "The Difference Engine"

BTW, it's regrettably increasingly common for people to quote things they like without attribution. If you like it, please ... credit the author.

6
0

Vegans furious as Bank of England admits ‘trace’ of animal fat in £5 notes

John H Woods
Silver badge

Attention seeking ...

Citizen1 "Arrgh, my chest, arrrgh!" *keels over*

Citizen2 *runs up* "Help, help is there a doctor here?"

Vegan: "I'm a vegan"

11
3

No spoilers! Norway won't tell Snowden if US will snatch him on a visit

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Another solution ?

"However: I suspect that the USA might just snatch him and point two fingers to normal diplomatic rules." --- alain williams

Surely not. It's not as if their president elect would make a massive and totally unecessary diplomatic faux pas in the early days of his tenure by, for instance, getting so excited about arranging "finalists" for the top jobs that he thinks he can suggest who should take top jobs in other countries?

1
0

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017