* Posts by Richard Pennington 1

147 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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Did ROPEMAKER just unravel email security? Nah, it's likely a feature

Richard Pennington 1
Black Helicopters

Now if someone were to try this exploit, say...

... on emails sent or received by a candidate for President of the United States, there might be a story ...

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Sole Equifax security worker at fault for failed patch, says former CEO

Richard Pennington 1
Pirate

Next question

OK, how do I go about cutting all links with any company who sends my data to Equifax?

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A storage giant wants to give you 46,763...

Richard Pennington 1
Facepalm

They are a storage company.

The price list is just drumming up demand for their gigastorage products.

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Revealed: Scammers plaster Google Maps with pins to lure punters from honest traders

Richard Pennington 1
Coat

The Emperor's Clothes icon

There is an Emperor's Clothes icon. You just can't see it.

I'll get my (invisible) coat.

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

Richard Pennington 1
FAIL

Fun and games at the Infosec exhibition

I had some fun at the Infosec exhibition at Olympia this week by going round the stalls, picking out those pushing their pet solutions for "Total Security" and/or "Incident Response" and grillling them about how their pet systems would have protected the system in a BA-type scenario (power outage causing failure of a single server, failed backup, and legacy systems of all ages dating back to the Wright brothers), had such a system been installed.

Not one vendor produced even a plausible reply.

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Going to Mars may give you cancer, warns doc

Richard Pennington 1
Coat

I haven't seen the clinical trial results yet ...

... and it may take a while to get enough subjects together to get a statistically significant result.

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User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC

Richard Pennington 1
Facepalm

It could have been ...

... a game of two halves.

:-)

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Greater Manchester cops fined after victim interview vids lost in post

Richard Pennington 1

And the compensation for the victims was ...

Forgotten?

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Wi-Fi sex toy with built-in camera fails penetration test

Richard Pennington 1
Mushroom

Re: Isotopes

Carbon-18 and Carbon-16? Only if you've REALLY gone nuclear. Natural decay of Carbon-14 to Nitrogen-14 (or Potassium-40 to Argon-40 or Calcium-40) is more plausible.

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AWS's S3 outage was so bad Amazon couldn't get into its own dashboard to warn the world

Richard Pennington 1
Pirate

Your first lesson on Single Points of Failure.

If you must insist on loading up your life with Insecurely Designed Internet of Things (IDIoT) devices, don't be surprised when a single failure in the Cloud wipes out your entire existence.

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BOFH: Don't back up in anger

Richard Pennington 1

As I remember it...

ISO 9000 and its brethren are not intended to prevent the next disaster. They will, however, ensure (if consistently followed) that the next disaster is fully and properly documented.

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Top tech company's IP was looted by China, so it plans to hack back

Richard Pennington 1

Free reign

Yes, but the article's author also thought the PM was the head of state. In this country the head of state is Her Majesty. So ... free reign.

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IBM pays up after 'clearly failing' DDoS protection for Australia's #censusfail

Richard Pennington 1

I was involved in the 2011 UK census

I was involved in the 2011 UK census, which also had (in the UK, for the first time) a facility for the public to complete the forms online.

I do not intend to detail our solution, save that one of our assumptions was that everyone and his/her dog (all over the UK) would attempt to use the system as soon as it went live - thus creating a usage profile *from legitimate users* which closely resembles a DDoS. We therefore had a very heavyweight Internet-facing gateway which filtered out the Internet's usual cybercrud, and which had behind it a traffic management system which, if threatened by overload, would show a "graceful delay" screen along the lines of "Sorry, we're busy right now - please try later".

We also had a plan (to be performed in the event of loss of functionality in our control centre) to move operations to a secondary centre in another part of the country. One of our test exercises, before the system went live, was to perform exactly this transfer of operations.

Sadly, after the 2011 UK census went live, the team was scattered. However, those planning similar exercises in future might do well to recruit the *individual* members of that team. We've been there and done that - and our system worked.

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Trial date set for Brit police 'copter coppers over spying-on-doggers claims

Richard Pennington 1
Black Helicopters

Nothing to see here ...

... that the local drone enthusiasts haven't already put on YouTube.

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Hackers electrocute selves in quest to turn secure doors inside out

Richard Pennington 1

Wouldn't it be easier to use the device to melt its way through the window?

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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger quashes departure rumours

Richard Pennington 1
Coat

Since it's VMware ...

shouldn't they just swap him out for a virtual instance?

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Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

Richard Pennington 1
Coat

If a wasp stopped a plane in the USA...

... would they send in a SWAT team?

Checking my coat for unwanted insects.

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Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

Richard Pennington 1

Florence Foster Jenkins

There's a new film out (this month) about this diva ... probably the worst singer ever to grace Carnegie Hall.

There are nine surviving recordings of her in action. Any one of them would finish off most callers.

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Miss Brittany dethroned for posting 'nude' Facebook pics

Richard Pennington 1

Queen for a day

... pendant une Journée?

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BOFH: I'm not doing this for the benefit of your health, you know

Richard Pennington 1

One of my previous employers sent round a H&S person to check that desks and chairs were the correct height, and to supply footstools for my more vertically-challenged colleagues.

I am well over 6 feet tall. I was just waiting for them to recommend digging a hole in the floor...

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Poison résumé attack gives ransomware a gig on the desktop

Richard Pennington 1

No, pushing the power button is a job for the second coffee of the morning.

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Cops turn Download Festival into an ORWELLIAN SPY PARADISE

Richard Pennington 1

Re: Supplies for Download festival !!!!

Corpse paint. Especially relevant for RIP visitors.

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Snowden scandal latest: NSA, GCHQ lingo-spies replaced by unstoppable RHINEHART robots

Richard Pennington 1

Do GCHQ / NSA have a program to decipher amanfromMars?

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THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS

Richard Pennington 1

First landing on a comet?

Shouldn't ESA be claiming the credit for the second and third comet landings as well as the first?

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Galileo! Galileo. Galileo! Galileo frigged-LEO: Easy come, easy go. Little high, little low

Richard Pennington 1
Facepalm

Moon flybys?

Can anyone tell me how they might do a Moon flyby from an altitude of 26200 km?

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Think Google Glass is creepy? Wait until it READS YOUR MIND

Richard Pennington 1

The other worry ...

... is when it reads your mind and finds nothing there.

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Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug

Richard Pennington 1

Years and years ago (early 1990s), I was on a project which did static analysis on a safety-critical system. By static analysis, I mean automated code verification using a tool which checked for all sorts of consistency issues (but it could not deal with anything which involved concurrency, e.g. shared memory).

It would easily have picked up both the OpenSSL bug and the recent Apple GotoFail.

The technology exists, and has existed for a while now (the tool was written in Algol and was old even when I was using it). But it is slow and expensive to use (the tool's users need to be experts).

You get what you pay for.

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Money? What money? Lawyer for accused Silk Road boss claims you can't launder Bitcoin

Richard Pennington 1
Headmaster

What's the point?

Given that Bitcoins are untraceable by design, what is the point of laundering them?

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From 0 to ERUPTION in 60 days: You thought that volcano was COLD?

Richard Pennington 1

Basic physics

Paragraph 3: heating the magma *decreases* its viscosity, making it more mobile.

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Richard Pennington 1

TI calculators

Texas Industries may be better known for chips than calculators (at least in the UK), but a quick trip over the Channel shows many TI models on sale in France.

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Richard Pennington 1

Those were the days

I went to university in 1978, using a TI-58 and a TI-59 for everyday work (I had to have two as sometimes I would put a program on one and have it running for literally weeks). You could run either one continuously with its mains adapter (I never bought the printer). Eventually the rechargeable batteries would, die, but I suspect that if I rigged up the right power supply I could have both machines working again. I also had a TI-30 - the early version with LED display. Unfortunately the TI-30 would silently give wrong answers when the battery was low. One reason for the TI-30 was that the TI-58 / TI-59 program modules were banned in University exams.

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'New' nova starts to BLUSH

Richard Pennington 1
Boffin

More info

A quick search of the usual available-to-the public sources reveals the following extra information:

Nova Centauri 2013 = V1369 Centauri, possibly identical to a 15th magnitude star seen before the nova event. There is no reliable distance estimate yet. The rise in brightness of about 12 magnitudes (from pre-event to peak) is a factor of about 10^5, and is fairly typical compared with other classical novae.

The evidence so far suggests that the star is double, with one of the components being a white dwarf accreting mass from its partner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_nova

The primary peak brightness for classical novae is an absolute magnitude of about -8.8; the observed peak brightness of magnitude 3.3 gives a distance/extinction factor of 12.1 magnitudes. In the absence of extinction (absorption by dust clouds etc), this corresponds to a distance of about 8600 light-years.

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Richard Pennington 1

But not too close to the South Pole

Southward of about 67 degrees south, the Sun becomes circumpolar at about this time of year, so the observer could not see the nova at all.

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Richard Pennington 1

Your article states that "If you're at about 38° S or even closer to the South Pole, you're a chance to see it near the southern cross before dawn.". This figure is incorrect.

The nova's declination is about -59 degrees (i.e. 59 degrees south) so it will just touch the horizon for an observer at about 31 degrees north of the equator (neglecting atmospheric distortions, horizon obstructions, etc.); an observer at the Equator can easily see it. Southward of about 31 degrees south of the equator, the nova becomes circumpolar, so an observer can see it at any time of the night.

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Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

Richard Pennington 1
Coat

Peer review

After the review, he got his peerage.

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KILO-MACH SONIC BOOM probed in fireball embers of 1572AD SUPERNOVA

Richard Pennington 1
Boffin

Re: Mach 1000

Yes, one significant figure becomes 12 significant figures after conversion...

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Richard Pennington 1

Not just the young graduates

The over-50s aren't getting a look in either ... even with a PhD.

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Hackers steal 'FULL credit card details' of 376,000 people from Irish loyalty programme firm

Richard Pennington 1

Given that they apparently held CVV data (a big no-no) and held all the data unencrypted (another big no-no), may I suggest that they should be held liable for any loss sustained by holders of the affected cards?

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Server, server in the rack, when's my disk drive going to crack?

Richard Pennington 1

Resetting the warranty expiry timer

Drives fail shortly after the warranty expires. Vagabondo's drives still had the warranty expiry timer set to 5 years.

I scrapped a laptop last year when its HD failed after 6 years (not replaceable because the design has changed fundamentally in the interim). The spooky thing was that I had cancelled the extended warranty on 18 September, only to have the HD fail totally on 23 September, just 5 days later. How did it know?

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Apple's Oct 22 WORLD-SHAKING San Fran party: New iPads or what?

Richard Pennington 1

Earth-shaking ... or just shaky?

Of course, San Francisco is just the place for an earth-shaking announcement.

How does this one score on the Richter scale?

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Techies with Asperger's? Yes, we are a little different...

Richard Pennington 1

And what about interviews?

As an undiagnosed-but-pretty-certain Aspie, I fully sympathise with most of the Aspie commenters above. I also have problems with sound sensitivity, to the extent that I would stay late at the office so as to get some quiet time to get all the work done.

I, too, went on a course and got some off-scale results on a Myers-Briggs assessment a few years back.

However, having been made redundant a couple of years ago, I ran into another problem. I have a difficulty with job interviews - in normal times I can cope, but in the current economic climate I have been frozen out of the job market for more than two years.

I have about the best possible presentation of Asperger's syndrome (multiple interests, which is unusual, strong mathematical and linguistic performance, and extremely strong academic performance, up to and including a PhD). My IQ is off-scale one way and my EQ off-scale the other way.

My self-assessment is that I am technically very strong but would struggle with either management or sales. Also, I am extremely non-confrontational (so I am prone to being bullied), I do not interview well, and I am prone to near-panic over the telephone.

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Would you hire a hacker to run your security? 'Yes' say Brit IT bosses

Richard Pennington 1

Re: An Experiment for All

Yes, we know. The open WiFi is connected to our honeypot.

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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Richard Pennington 1

Re: per cent

"Big Company X's share price crashed by 300 per cent. last Friday".

So their shares, previously valued at $10 each, now sell for MINUS $20.

I've known companies like that.

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RSA: That NSA crypto-algorithm we put in our products? Stop using that

Richard Pennington 1
Boffin

"Any one who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin."

Thus said John von Neumann ... who died in 1957.

This is hardly news.

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Now we know why UK spooks simply shrugged at SSL encryption

Richard Pennington 1

It just looks like a black helicopter

It's actually an encrypted tinfoil hat.

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Qualcomm reveals 'Toq' smartwatch

Richard Pennington 1

And on the other hand

To go with a Toq, you need a Tiq.

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Boffin snatches control of colleague's BODY with remote control BRAIN HAT

Richard Pennington 1
Black Helicopters

Re: The trigger finger experiment

And who controls what is typed in the history books?

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Philips' smart lights left in the dark by dumb security

Richard Pennington 1

Remind me ....

How many engineers does it take to secure a lightbulb?

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Terror cops swoop on couple who Googled 'backpacks' and 'pressure cooker'

Richard Pennington 1

Ex-employer

I take it he's not going to be asking his ex-employer for a job reference any time soon.

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US town mulls bounty on spy drones, English-speaking gunman only

Richard Pennington 1

500 feet altitude

What's the reference datum here? If the navigational airspace starts at 500 feet above sea level, then that's below the local ground level.

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