* Posts by Paul Crawford

3392 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

EU mulls €3bn fine for Google

Paul Crawford
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Re: Bonkers

"Seems like Google are being penalized for making good products and a search engine that people want to use."

No, they are being penalised for promoting their own business above the competitors be deliberately rigging the search results. That is the point, it is no longer simple an algorithm that finds the best match to what you asked for, but one where there is another fudge-factor that promotes their own stuff.

Didn't you ever wonder how paid search promotion worked?

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Sick of storage vendors? Me too. Let's build the darn stuff ourselves

Paul Crawford
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Trollface

Re: Hold on... did you just get released from Salesforce?

Of course you could buy a Oracle storage appliance and pay for a system where the management interface is buggy and locks up during problems (not fixed over 5 years of support), where the documentation is incomplete (and then they move/withdraw Sun blogs that answered some of this), the disks have interface problems (oh dear, yes the SATA ones are like that, no fix provided) and the power supplies and other hardware show phantom faults that are, once again, never really explained or fixed.

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Paul Crawford
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Two reasons for buying

1) It gives you someone else to blame for any TITSUP events

2) You (naively) thought you would get professional support with it

So it kind of comes down to scale, budget and belief in yourself.

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ZFS comes to Debian, thanks to licensing workaround

Paul Crawford
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Point in licensing

To stop others using it commercially without any need to provide worthwhile modifications such as bug-fixes or improvements in return.

To stop anyone else claiming another license on it to your detriment.

There may be other reasons, but in principle you are asking for "support" instead of money in return for your acknowledged work.

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Flash zero day phished phoolish Microsoft Office users

Paul Crawford
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Re: Tempting to say : 'Good'

Flash?

Or the fact you can still embed shit shit in an Office document?

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Paul Crawford
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Re: Viewing habits

"hadn't realized how sensitive the grid was to ad-break synchronized kettle usage!"

Not just that - millions of toilets flushing also pushes up demand for electricity for water supply pumping.

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Work begins on Russian rival to Android

Paul Crawford
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Re: I can see why the Russians would want their own Androidski

The point is you can't trust anything that:

1) has closed components

2) has known data slurping components

3) has limits on how *YOU* grant permissions

4) has enough value for subtle flaws in open parts to be engineered

But people do trust phones, and really should not. Maybe it is best to use the one with the least on-going cooperation with your own government and/or corporate interests as the least likely to screw you over outside of actual espionage?

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Paul Crawford
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Re: "Trusted"

Damn this AC business! Must have been another AC who's mom I was doing last night, she is definitely alive and well.

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Super-slow RAID rebuilds: Gone in a flash?

Paul Crawford
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Re: RAID5 no longer has a role with hard drives

"Add in the fact that Poisson arrival rates are only an assumption, and that clusters of disk drive failures can happen more frequently than the model suggests"

Like when the power goes off and then an hour later you try to power up an array from cold that has been spinning for 4 years?

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Paul backs FBI hack law

Paul Crawford
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Re: Paul?

Well one hopes they might have a moment of revelation on the road to Damascus...

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Aussie wedges spam javelin in ring spanner

Paul Crawford
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Happy

Re: Does my mates missus count?

Not for him, but she does for the rest of us!

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Paul Crawford
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King Dick

The only choice for serious nut-gripping!

http://www.kingdicktools.co.uk/wrenches/product.asp?item=ring-wrenches-21-10

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Americans cutting back on online activity over security and privacy fears

Paul Crawford
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Re: It's not surprising.

Upvote for most points.

I also use Halifax with Firefox & Linux but only occasionally and had no big problems. But sticking to paper statements...

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Motion Picture Ass. of America to guard online henhouse

Paul Crawford
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Pirate

Whack-a-mole

This assumes that any decent pirate is going to use a site under USA control in the first place.

In fact, I am surprised that the pirate bay has not yet got a distributed web site going, sort of a bit torrent of the site as locally accessible web pages, but with some crypto key to allow updates as needed. No central address/registry to get whacked, no need for backups when it is spread over 10M computers...

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Super cool: Arctic data centres aren't just for Facebook

Paul Crawford
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Re: Scotland

Now if was not for the UK's shitty connectivity to so many remote areas...

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Criminals exploit zero day Flash vulnerability

Paul Crawford
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Gimp

Re: @Gray

"Belt & suspenders" has a slightly different meaning this side of the pond!

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Free tool aims to make it easier to find vulns in open source code

Paul Crawford
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Re: Why not build this checking into the compilers?

Lets face it, a large number of recurring vulnerability in software written in C due to buffer overrun and misuse of printf() like format strings are ALREADY flagged by compilers like gcc if you use -Wall.

Problems is your code monkeys have to give a monkey and (a) use those options, and (b) fix them when found.

The lack of data type enforcement in stuff like javascript and python is a whole other area of ease-of-use against properly thought out code, and guess what suffers?

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Walmart sues Visa for being too lax with protecting chip cards

Paul Crawford
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Re: A holdout explains

I noticed that when I visited NY years ago, cashier didn't even look at my signature. I think the most likely reason is the one given by @JBolwer above:

"When a US debit card is run *without* the PIN it is billed as a credit card (for the store) and lots of steel-rice-bowl types (as my Chinese wife would refer to them) get humongous amounts of cut out of this. And the store gets Ripped."

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IE and Graphics head Microsoft's Patch Tuesday critical list

Paul Crawford
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Re: I'm in the process of moving to Linux. What should I do?

1) First step, always, is to fully backup/image your working Windows PC.

2) Second step is to spend a short while going through each bit of software you use (not always what is installed!) and create a list of it, why you use it, and any special catches with that (e.g. you must have V1.1 because V2 broke XYZ...etc). Make sure you can find the installation media/files, and any licence keys, etc.

3) From step 2, consider how critical EXACT compatibility it, and how much you really need any compatibility. From this you can decide if there are Linux versions that are good/better substitutes. Generally for email & web you will find Thunderbird & Firefox are shipped with most distros and work just fine as long as you are not tied to Exchange and/or crappy IE-only Intranet services.

4) Decide if you want to dual-boot, or try creating a Windows VM from your current PC. Both have slight risk, and to be perfectly honest, if you can create a clean VM of windows, patch it, and install only the software you really need, it will be faster and more reliable. Pros & cons:

Dual-boot - gives you Windows native speed for games, etc, but you lose out on disk space and risk some dumb-ass Windows update breaking the grub boot-loader (some shitty old software, like certain Adobe things, would also break grub booting by putting DRM stuff just after the MBR and outside of the Windows file system assuming nobody ever needed that...).

VM allows simultaneous Linux (e.g. web/email safely) and Windows (specialist software) but is more memory-heavy and you lose out on fancy graphics speed.

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This is what a root debug backdoor in a Linux kernel looks like

Paul Crawford
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Also is allows "rootmydeviceyoubunchofuselessfuckers" to match..

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Paul Crawford
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Re: @joeldillon

I don't men the read/write permissions of individual /proc entries, I mean the lack of sand-boxing of all user process to mask such FAIL! cases as reported here.

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Paul Crawford
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How do I delete the /proc/sunxi_debug/sunxi_debug file?

You can't.

It is not a real file, but part of the the device driver's internal memory that is presented as if it were a file.

That is how the UNIX model works, everything is a "file". You can access the keyboard and terminal as stdin and stdout, etc (same as Windows there). Hard disks appear as /dev/sda and the partitions on them as /dev/sda1 and so on, serial ports as /dev/ttyS0, etc, etc.

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Paul Crawford
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Writing to /proc as user?

Why are user processes, presumably in some sort of sandbox for protection against dodgy stuff, allowed to *write* to /proc? Often disabling access to /proc except for your own process ID is one of the standard AppArmor settings.

Just trying to stand back from this massive FAIL and look at the bigger picture of system protection. Oh, and while we are at it, can someone beat the Chrome and Firefox dev teams until they start using and maintaining a tight AppArmor profile as well?

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Malware scan stalled misconfigured med software, mid-procedure

Paul Crawford
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Light reliefe...

Of course in a similar vein:

https://xkcd.com/463/

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Privacy warriors take legal action over UK gov's right to hack

Paul Crawford
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Targeted hacking is much less of a concern to me that the hoovering of EVERYTHING you access via your ISP "just in case".

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Japanese artist fined for virtual vagina files

Paul Crawford
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Should be curtains for the prosecutor

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London NHS trust fined £180,000 after second bcc fail on HIV email list

Paul Crawford
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Re: Mailing list software please

Indeed, people do dumb things, people make mistakes.

The issue here is its the 2nd time its happened, and its a known risk, so someone high up needs a total bollocking for not putting in place technical measures to stop stupid abuse of To/CC fields. Really, having a limit of 5 or so (maybe with an override button with "Are you really sure?" and a list of personal actions that *will* be applied if abused) would make little difference to sane email use, and having other configured options like email lists for any internal or external groups that need large updates would deal with the rest.

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29 years of data shows no mobile phone brain cancer link

Paul Crawford
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Re: Duh.

Indeed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_cancer_in_Australia

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Next, how about a study of low-energy light-bulbs & cancer

I would be more worried by an increase in mercury poisoning from said low-energy bulbs being dumped in landfill and leaching in to the water table over a few decades. But then I don't know the facts so could be talking out of my arse for all anyone knows...

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'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'

Paul Crawford
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Re: Slow checking for updates...

I noticed that as well, Windows 7 VM was "checking for updates" for a couple of hours before I turned it off as not needed.

I used to dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu, but now its Ubuntu with a couple of Windows VMs for stuff that needs it. Much more flexible and works fine with most things, though not much good for games that need top graphics performance or any special hardware that needs hardware drivers for PCI connections (OK for USB, etc).

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Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

Paul Crawford
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Re: Cunning Plan

Or coat the tips with some insect repellent every so often?

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Have Microsoft-hosted email? Love using Live Mail 2012? Bad news

Paul Crawford
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Modern synchronization technologies?

What is actually changing? The MS web page does not say what these "modern synchronization technologies" are that are needed. POP or IMAP, are they really modern?

Or are they the ones being deleted to force poor outlook users in to a web interface to spam you with adverts more effectively?

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Clixta: A copyright-friendly way to share your family photos

Paul Crawford
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Re: Metadata from Clixta

There was talk of making it illegal to strip metadata, which would stop this (or at least give you redress).

I think it should be a bit more complex though as some metadata might be dangerous to share (real name, GPS coords of your kids, etc) but if there is a random copyright ID that can by linked you you should you allow it (i.e. reverse lookup tricky unless you set it so or reply to a request) but otherwise exists as a flag it is copyrighted by someone who has not given that right up, then it would be a good thing.

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'Apple ate my music!' Streaming jukebox wipes 122GB – including muso's original tracks

Paul Crawford
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Oh how my friends laugh at me for still buying music CDs...

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Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt's spy network

Paul Crawford
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Re: Pointless

Exactly, so once per year would leave on average 6 months to do your business over! Pointless...

However, changing shared passwords after someone leaves (say any shared admin accounts on certain boxes that don't support more than one admin user), or following a potential compromise, make a lot of sense.

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Paul Crawford
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There is some sense here, you want users to have long passwords to make them difficult to guess, but easy to remember. So saying "at least 16 characters, like a few words perhaps" and not requiring stupid ratios of punctuation, numbers, and case, is likely to get them using something different to other services, and to remember it instead of putting it on a post-it note.

Also, of course, having a bozo filter to stop "Correct Horse Battery Staple", or even "password" or "12345" and similar being used N times to fit the minimum limit...

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Jobs in Ireland may be vulnerable at post merger Dell Technologies

Paul Crawford
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Re: I wonder if they'll all still use dell.com?

Or Oracle deleting/redirecting the Sun site instead of just changing page logos so hyperlinks still work.

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Daisy-chained research spells malware worm hell for power plants and other utilities

Paul Crawford
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c) PLCs networked together without any firewall rules to enforce communications only with a few designated monitor computers. Or fancier intrusion detection.

Of course, one would hope that the monitoring computers were not unpatched Windows boxes due to the PLC suppliers being unable to support open standards and/or be sure that system updates are not going to break poorly written software...

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How to evade the NSA: OpSec guide for journalists also used by terrorists

Paul Crawford
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Re: a bloke in the pub told me that...

Didn't the Judean Peoples' Front split from the Judean Peoples Front over some dispute about possessions?

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'Toxic' WIPO catches flak as US congressmen call for Gurry's head

Paul Crawford
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Re: My, so little jurisdiction yet so much vitreol

Maybe, maybe. But lets face it, it appears WIPO is almost the thinking man's FIFA in terms of inability to deal with internal corruption. Sadly it took the USA to step in and force action on FIFA.

Almost, as there is always ICANN...

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Iranian cyberspy phishing rod pulled from the waters and exposed

Paul Crawford
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Or the Iranians making it look obvious so you think its an Israeli false flag. Or the Israelis making it look like the Iranians...

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Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

Paul Crawford
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Re: It's not just Microsoft.

I am mostly a Linux user, with a few VMs for specialist Windows software. I most certainly don't want Windows to disappear, but I would like its desktop share to drop further, say to 60-70% so that companies are willing to supply device drivers (or supporting documentation) for non-Windows OS.

Quite a few do fairly well in this respect already, offering Mac & Linux support, but its still an issue for some things where they are just not supportable due to a lack of any openness or effort from the company.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Microsoft Windows Mobile and Surface don't have 30% market share!

I think AO is pointing out that in spite of still having ~90% of the desktop PC market due to legacy software investment worldwide, MS now has only ~30% of the total number of internet-connected computers, that means PCs, tablets and smart phones (most of which are not x86 nor Windows in any form but cheap Android devices).

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Logic & Gui

"The only thing stopping you is the fact that the source code belongs to someone else"

No, its the fact that you have built your code to assume a specific API, like win32, and a specific model for GUI, maybe even worse with assumptions of the size of 'int' or similar instead of using int32_t or whatever options were supported. That makes even a small program an absolute PITA to port. That is what most legacy software is like.

The exceptions are stuff that was written to be multi-platform, even if just two variants of "UNIX" (say Linux and later MacOS) as then you have to write your code with some degree of abstraction for GUI and low-level stuff, and that greatly mitigates the pain for porting because you are probably started using two compilers/dev environments and can never be quite sure of what API consistency will be like, so you learn to segregate from the beginning.

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Do you know where your trade secrets are?

Paul Crawford
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@Doctor Syntax

"The user has to log on specifically as that user to do that - no privilege escalation is allowed."

And in that one sentence you have nailed the problem. Privilege escalation is not supposed to happen, short of giving the admin password (a whole set of FAIL! for another day's rant), but it does. And because all software, be it application, OS, or low level hardware driver, has bugs of one form or another it is inevitable that someday someone will find it.

That is why dreaming up ever more complex OS models to try and stop this is never going to be that successful. Sure we can segregate user accounts from admin tasks, and we can use things like SElinux/AppArmor to enforce the expected behaviour of process that have high privileges to reduce what p0wning them can do, but we can never be sure.

And that is why a backup machine has to be physically and administratively separate from any machine that can be taken over from the Internet access or portable media, etc. And it has to assume that files might be trashed, so some point-in-time model for data recovery needs to be implemented.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: There should be no over-ruling this ...

If you use snapshots in ZFS/GPFS or on NetApp boxes, etc, then you have the "copy on write" model so attempts to re-write files puts the data elsewhere on disk, and the original is still accessible via the previous (snapshot) file tables.

Of course you need to be doing snapshots, and to protect the machine doing so from being done over, and also to have long-term backups elsewhere so you can go back as far as you need when you discover it was infested. Some DB randsomware waited 6 months or so before revealing itself so there would be no viable backup to recover from.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Extend this idea of restricting write privileges

The problem is it can't be controlled by "write privileges" on any box that is potentially compromised.

If your cryptolocker is run as an ordinary user then any normal backup is fine because it is done by a privileged account. But if your malware is anything smarter than a small user-mode script then it will exploit either the meatware for a suitable password or use any one of the numerous flaws in *ANY* OS to gain what it needs to attack all. There is always some sort of admin account, and pointing to the all-powerful UNIX root is a distraction that if you have a more compartmentalised model (as Windows should be, but usually is not) you still only need a few more steps to get the account you need.

Really, the only viable option is to reverse the process, so the backup machine comes in and reads what it needs from servers and desktops and where it writes it to, and how versioning/snapshots/etc, are controlled is well separate from the at-risk boxes.

Of course this also assumes you can simply log-in to the backup machine using an account on the others...

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Carl Icahn: Will someone rid my portfolio of this rotten Apple?

Paul Crawford
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Re: "13 per cent drop in turnover to $50.6m"

You mean the proper name for what the Yanks call a "billion"?

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The EU wants you to log into YouTube using your state-issued ID card

Paul Crawford
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Re: Brexit?

"But it's exactly things like this id card nonsense that drive people to want to get out of Europe"

So we can just get it shoved down our orifices by our own Gov instead? Remember Labour's obsession with it, on the current Conservative attempts to get our human rights removed to something they decide upon?

Are you seriously suggesting that the EU is somehow the source of this?

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