* Posts by Fazal Majid

308 posts • joined 16 May 2007

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You think your day was bad? OS X malware hackers just swiped a Mac dev's app source

Fazal Majid

Re: Lost ?

Every git checkout is a full backup of the code repository, including his colleagues/employees, so in the worst case they'd lose a few days' work that hadn't been pushed to the Git server and pulled by the other devs.

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DocuSign forged – crooks crack email system and send nasties

Fazal Majid

The perils of outsourcing

Sounds like their email marketing provider was compromised. No doubt marketing selected the said provider based on the color scheme of their website with no input from IT or security audit.

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Yeah, keep buying those SSDs, grins Seagate: Your data will be on our disks eventually, muaha

Fazal Majid

Delusional

Sure, there is an argument to be made for disk replacing tape as the backup and archiving medium of choice, but that is not a path to riches, as can be seen by comparing the market cap of Seagate or WDC and Quantum.

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That apple.com link you clicked on? Yeah, it's actually Russian

Fazal Majid

A simple fix

Would be to block IDN on the .com zone, where the vast majority of attempted impersonation would likely occur.

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BMW chief: Big auto will stay in the driving seat with autonomous cars

Fazal Majid

Unjustified arrogance

I am a BMW driver, and given the horrendous nature of their in-car electronics and software, I have severe doubts about their software chops. They are resisting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto despite clear customer demand for in-car software that doesn't suck, and think they can play the same customer-hostile games with autonomy.

In any case, it's not relevant. Tesla outsells BMW, Audi and Mercedes 2-to-1 in the $50K+ segment, and is now coming to eat their lunch in their bread-and-butter entry-level luxury (3 Series / A4 / C Class) segment with the model 3. Despite having nearly 10 years warning, the luxury brands don't have an even remotely compelling all-electric offer for sale today, just vaporware. They are going to be too busy scrambling to survive to be fighting on the autonomous driving front, where Google et al have hired up all the machine learning PhDs needed to make the required breakthroughs.

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Banking group denied access to iPhones' NFC chips for alt.Apple.Pay

Fazal Majid

Apple's refusal to cooperate can't have been a critical factor—they could only stall, but not block it if they did not prevail in the appeals process, and regulators have limited tolerance for scofflaws.

The deciding factor is clearly that the regulators see mobile wallets as competition for the entrenched banks, and allowing them to coopt the former would reduce competition, quite rightly in my view. The situation might be different if others asked for this, e.g. telcos.

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As ad boycott picks up pace, Google knows it doesn't have to worry

Fazal Majid

Re: Excellent

Toyota and DJI drones certainly enjoy their custom.

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Everspin's new gig: a gig or two of non-volatile RAM on PCIe

Fazal Majid

DDRDrive

DDRDrive introduced a similar product years ago. It held 4GB of DRAM backed by GB of SLC NAND and a supercapacitor, for $2000 list. If the card detects power loss, the supercap has enough juice to write the RAM contents to the flash. It was primarily marketed to ZFS users to accelerate the ZFS intent log (write cache), as DRAM does not suffer from the performance cliff of most SSDs.

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Public IPv4 drought: Verizon Wireless to stop handing out static addys

Fazal Majid

Verizon, not Verizon Wireless

I don't know of any wireless service that hands out static IPs, there is not much call for them unless you are running servers.

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Kodi-pocalypse Now? Actually, it's not quite here yet

Fazal Majid

Shaming

The end credits to X-Men Apocalypse had a message "This movie created 15,000 jobs", presumably to make people feel bad about pirating. I'm not sure how much of an impact this would have in a society rife with narcissism and self-rationalized bad behavior, the example being set from the above.

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Aah, all is well in the world. So peaceful, so– wait, where's the 2FA on IoT apps? Oh my gawd

Fazal Majid

Re: Goolge can't even get their subsidiary use their own 2FA tools

Yes, SMS based 2FA is deprecated by the current drafts of the NIST SP 800-63-3 authentication standard, and due to be banned altogether in the next. SMS relies on the abysmal security of GSM standards and can be spoofed by a DIY Stingray involving about $2000's worth of hardware and GNU Radio.

This is security theater at best.

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Rap for chat app chaps: Snap's shares are a joke – and a crap one at that

Fazal Majid

"went against the underwritten rules of Wall Street"

I think you meant "went against the unwritten rules of Wall Street".

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Shopping for PCs? Ding, dong, the Dock is dead in 2017's new models

Fazal Majid

AMD Naples workstations

What I am looking most forward to is AMD's 32-core/64-thread Naples server CPU, for use in my development workstation. I can exploit the cores doing parallel builds, but Intel's extortionate Xeon pricing means I am currently limited to 4 measly E3-1670v3 cores.

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$310m AWS S3-izure: Why everyone put their eggs in one region

Fazal Majid

US-East is popular

Because half the US population lives in the Eastern Time Zone.

Amazon only recently (4 months ago) opened its US-East-2 region. Many people haven't heard about it yet (I hadn't until just now) and in any case it is based in Ohio, which is nowhere near as big a connectivity hub as Virginia.

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Silicon Valley tech bro's solution for homeless: Getting himself in the news. Again.

Fazal Majid

SF only pays lip service to homelessness

Sure the tech boom has put a lot of strain on an under-supplied housing market (thanks in no small part to NIMBYs stifling any high-density residential construction), but it's also brought in an extra $4+B in tax revenues per year, a truly staggering amount. That windfall would allow the city to purchase housing for every single homeless person in a single year.

SF sees fit to fritter it away instead on things like $500+M for bike lanes over the next 10 years (total cyclist population: 14,000). Of course, homelessness is a complex social problem with mental health and substance abuse implications, but the simple truth is for all it's liberal self-image, San Francisco would rather wring its hand about homelessness than actually put its money where its mouth is.

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Google Chrome 56's crypto tweak 'borked thousands of computers' using Blue Coat security

Fazal Majid

Re: The curse of "Blue" security

Blue is the corporate color par excellence. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, authority,

conservatism, business in Western cultures:

https://www.six-degrees.com/pdf/International-Color-Symbolism-Chart.pdf

https://www.flickr.com/photos/philgyford/56867986/

The headline is wrong, this is clearly Bluecoat's fault for misimplementing TLS 1.3, and not testing it against the browser with 50% market share. If they had not implemented TLS 1.3 at all, the browsers would have fallen back to TLS 1.2.

7
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Engineer who blew lid on Uber's toxic sexist culture now menaced by creepy 'smear campaign'

Fazal Majid

Eric Holder

Would that be the same Eric Holder who managed not to find anyone guilty of fraud in the 2008 depression, other than Madoff (who was unwise enough to steal from the rich)? Sure, he was shielding the banksters at his boss' behest, but that shows just how independent he is not, nor will be in this sham whitewash of an "investigation".

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Uber hires Obama's attorney-general to review its workplaces

Fazal Majid

Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

The fair number should be the same as enrollment in university CS courses. Unfortunately that number has actually been declining:

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/10/17/356944145/episode-576-when-women-stopped-coding

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In colossal shock, Uber alleged to be wretched hive of sexism, craven managerial ass-covering

Fazal Majid

She really should sue

Unfortunately the Ellen Pao fiasco probably has created a chilling effect on sexual harassment cases, but given she seems to have a well-documented evidence trail (as befits a SRE), it would seem like a slam-dunk. Just because a company is well-known to be toxic with a huge sense of impunity doesn't mean they are actually above the law.

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Fazal Majid

Re: Careful there...

How is Uber a monopoly? Every single ride-"sharing" driver I have ever seen is also on Lyft. There are no barriers to entry whatsoever, and as #DeleteUber shows, their user base is much less sticky than they believe.

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Two words, Mozilla: SPEED! NOW! Quit fiddling and get serious

Fazal Majid

Firefox OS is not the problem

What do you expect in an organization where people with technical chops like Brendan Eich are forced out by touchy-feely non-technical mouth-breathers? Vivaldi is clearly the way to go.

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Macs don't get viruses? Hahaha, ha... seriously though, that Word doc could be malware

Fazal Majid

Re: Macs don't get viruses

I asked a colleague whose SO works at Apple what AV they use, the answer was "none".

Quite frankly, AV software is written with terrible coding practices that dramatically increase your attack surface and can be counter-productive. One major product had buffer overflows in its scanner that meant you could be infected simply by receiving an email. At least without AV, you would actually have to double-click the attachment to be infected:

https://twitter.com/taviso/status/654321182338977792

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Explained: Apple iCloud kept 'deleted' browser histories for over a year

Fazal Majid

Vacuum

When you delete data in a SQLite database, as in most databases the data is not actually erased, just marked as logically deleted and available for reuse. It's not actually physically removed until the VACUUM command is called.

11
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Why does it cost 20 times as much to protect Mark Zuckerberg as Tim Cook?

Fazal Majid

Re: The author is wrong - the CEO doesn't decide security

You are probably right. When combined with the said threat assessment team's natural tendency to exaggerate the threat (so as to pad its own budget) and a new parent's hormone-driven paranoia about his child, that could easily explain the difference.

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Apple eats itself as iPhone fatigue spreads

Fazal Majid

It's the headphone jack, stupid

We're well past the point of diminishing returns on smartphones, where they are good enough and combined with the end of carrier subsidies, we are in a replacement market where people will just keep their phone until it breaks, just as they do with PCs or tablets.

Apple was spectacularly clueless to give its customers, most of which are still in a every-other-year replacement schedule, a reason not to upgrade by abandoning the headphone jack.

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Valley techies to protest outside Palantir – Trump adviser's creepy citizen database biz

Fazal Majid

Re: Meh!

Google "Maher Arar" for an example of the horrifying potential of social-network analysis run amok.

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Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Fazal Majid

Dr. North

Dr. North provides something sorely lacking, a pragmatic and detailed roadmap of how Brexit could be made to work. His proposals are flawed, however, because like all British governments since the 70s, and probably much of the British establishment, he keeps on seeing the EU as a mere trade agreement that has grown too big for its britches.

Pro tip: there is reason why it was renamed from European Economic Community to European Union. Continental Europeans see it as a political project, originally to make internecine wars like WWI and WWII inconceivable, but now mainly to unify Europe under a loose federal banner to keep it relevant on the world stage. They do not share Dr. North's curious infatuation with UNECE (inventors of EDIFACT, surely one of the most baroque set of data formats ever).

Dr. North's vision of European countries rebelling against an overbearing EU to switch instead to a panglossian utopia of frictionless free trade brokered by benevolent (and competent!) UN committees is simply risible. The EU is what it is because that's how most of its member countries want it, yes, even Greece. His vision is certainly possible, unlike most Brexiter predictions, just like it is possible that Bill Gates will wake up tomorrow with a burning desire to give me a billion dollars, but it is just as unprobable.

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Happy 20th birthday to the RADIUS RFC

Fazal Majid

Re: 20 years?

Yes, RADIUS was more of a Livingston, then Ascend thing.

RADIUS lives on, most enterprises' WiFi and authenticated Ethernet rely on it, but it's successor DIAMETER (get it?) is the protocol that is replacing SS7 for telephony in the post-circuit era.

2
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Not OK Google: Tree-loving family turns down Page and pals' $7m

Fazal Majid

Re: Condemn?

California law makes illegal Kelo-style land grabs under eminent domain for the benefit of a private party.

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Exclusive: Team Trump's net neutrality guru talks to El Reg

Fazal Majid

Net Neutrality is actually the weaker option

The article makes Net Neutrality sound like an extremist position. It is actually a milquetoast compromise. The real uncompromising position, that I fully endorse, is structural separation, i.e. that network providers are banned from participating in adjacent markets like apps, video services and the like. Network Neutrality violations are hard to prove and police, whereas removing the incentive for them to occur in the first place would be a far more effective.

The biggest invention in telecom, automatic switching, was a consequence of Net Neutrality violations. Almon Brown Strowger was an undertaker, and his local telephone switchboard operator was the wife of his competitor, who would underhandedly direct his calls to her husband instead. Strowger retailiated by inventing the rotary automatic telephone switch, which would put her out of a job and make the network tamper-free (at least until software-based digital switches replaced electromechanical switches like Strowger's).

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HMS Queen Lizzie to carry American jets and sail in support of US foreign policy

Fazal Majid

Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

I think he is referring to the fact the US Marines couldn't believe their luck and purchased all the British Harriers they could get their hands on when the UK MoD unwisely decided to scrap them even though there is still no operational replacement.

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Apple fans using Chrome on alert for Mac malware

Fazal Majid

In the bad old days of System 7 Mac viruses were rife, specially the resource fork ilk. It's moving to the UNIX foundation of OS X that made a big difference, not any difference in demographics.

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Obey Google, web-masters, or it will say you can't be trusted

Fazal Majid

Misleading title

It's the certificate authorities issuing the certificates, e.g. RapidSSL, who have to do the work, not the webmasters.

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How many Internet of S**t devices knocked out Dyn? Fewer than you may expect

Fazal Majid

Mistake #1 - using BIND

http://blog.erratasec.com/2016/10/some-notes-on-todays-dns-ddos.html

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Possible reprieve for the venerable A-10 Warthog

Fazal Majid

Re: On Loitering Aircraft.

"Isn't the Apache a better loiterer"

Helicopters are notoriously vulnerable, even to small-arms fire. The A-10 on the other hand can still fly even when huge chunks of the superstructure have been blown away by cannon fire.

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Bad news, Trump. NASty storage is pretty popular, too

Fazal Majid

The last stand for arrays

The high latency of SAN compared to SSDs means block storage users like databases are slowly but inexorably moving to shared-nothing, direct attach (DAS) architectures like PCIe and NVMe, with the networking being handled at a higher level by the database itself. Aerospike and Spark are good examples of this trend.

NAS is the only way storage vendors can still peddle expensive and increasingly irrelevant storage arrays. The other is acting as a premium backend for virtualization (i.e. vMotion), and that's being eaten up by software as well.

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UK fintech firm reaches for Ireland Brexit escape hatch

Fazal Majid

Java and low latency do not mix

Java garbage-collection's random stop-the-world latency spikes are generally anathema to the HFT world. It's possible to work around it by rolling your own memory management, but then you are better off rewriting in C/C++.

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HomeKit is where the dearth is – no one wants Apple's IoT tech

Fazal Majid

No one wants IoT tech period, whether Apple's or otherwise

HomeKit has a good security and privacy story, thanks in part to its dedicated chip ans OS, but that's also why it is rather late to the market.

That said, there is very little consumer appetite for IoT in general due to an underwhelming value proposition, sub-par and buggy user experience, serious security and privacy issues and a bad habit of companies abandoning products and turning them into doorstops long before the end of their reasonable lifetime.

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M.2 SSD drive format is under-rated. So why no enterprise arrays?

Fazal Majid

Re: So why no enterprise arrays

What you are describing is exactly why storage arrays are going to be replaced by DAS - they are just too slow

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Fazal Majid

PCIe hot-swap

As a practical matter PCIe card-format SSDs are not hot-swappable, as taking a server out of the rack to remove the card usually requires powering it off.

This does not apply to other form factors like U2 or Thunderbolt.

0
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'Jet blast' noise KOs ING bank's spinning rust servers

Fazal Majid

Shouting alone has effects

Brendan Gregg showed how shouting had a measurable effect on disk latency while at Sun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDacjrSCeq4

1
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Publishing military officers' names 'creates Islamic State hitlist'

Fazal Majid

“The security of our people is our foremost concern”

I thought the foremost concern was the defense of the realm, and that often entails deliberately putting the said people in harm's way.

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AT&T trash talks Google over Fiber fiasco: Leave ISP stuff to the experts

Fazal Majid

AT&T hasn't even tried

That's pretty rich, considering AT&T hasn't even tried to bring fiber to its customers, despite pocketing tremendous tax breaks to do so since the 90s. They are happy to starve their rotting infrastructure of investment and milk it for profits, investing is for suckers like Verizon FIOS.

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EU verdict: Apple received €13bn in illegal tax benefits from Ireland

Fazal Majid

Re: that I should ever say anything in support of Apple...

Actually it's Ireland that broke the law by granting state aid, and the remedy is for Apple Ireland to disgorge the said aid plus interest. This is not a fine or penalty. All in all, Apple got off lightly (well, when Ireland exhausts appeals, that is).

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Fazal Majid

Re: Of course, Ireland has already protested

The companies in question are Irish subsidiaries of Apple. Apple could reduce its European tax burden by repatriating the money to the US, but then they would have to pay US taxes, which are higher.

Apple and Ireland will appeal, and they will lose eventually. I doubt Apple will move: Ireland will be the only English-speaking country in the EU, and its normal corporate tax rate (not the sweetheart deal) is lower than most.

The same ruling is also applicable to Google and other tech companies whose too-clever-by-half tax avoidance strategies have been laid bare, even though the EC has not even touched the main tax dodge of using arbitrary intra-company payments for "intellectual property" to shift profits to tax havens.

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LTE-U’s window is closing and bigger 5G disputes may be coming

Fazal Majid

Carriers trying a spectrum land grab

Obviously they'd love to enclose the commons for their own benefit. That's why Israel is considering banning the use of unlicensed spectrum by carriers:

http://disruptivewireless.blogspot.com/2013/06/is-israel-about-to-ban-carrier-wifi.html

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'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'

Fazal Majid

Dearth of content

I'd buy a 4K player, but for the fact there is not a single UHD Blu-Ray release I am even remotely interested in. Perhaps when the remastered release of Lawrence of Arabia comes out, whenever that is, or Rogue One next year.

I suspect falling sales of discs are caused as much by the creative bankruptcy of Hollywood and lack of movies worth watching as by competition from streaming.

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What next for the F-35 after Turkey's threats to turn its back on NATO?

Fazal Majid

Erdögan's rhetoric is unseemly at best, but the US *is* harboring the head of a Scientology-meets-Opus-Dei cult that masterminded a failed coup attempt that killed hundreds in Turkey. It's as if the commander of the Provisional IRA were living in Virginia unfettered while organizing a terror spree in London. The Turks' fury is somewhat understandable.

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AdBlock Plus blocked in China: 159m forbidden from stripping adverts

Fazal Majid

UC Browser

What about Alibaba's UC Browser, which has built-in ad-blocking? It is very popular in places where mobile users pay by the byte, claiming over 50% market share in India for instance.

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Ready for the Internet of Things big data firehose?

Fazal Majid

BC Hydro

Vancouver is notorious for the illegal electrical taps that power lamps in its marijuana "grow-ops", as noted by Douglas Coupland in "City of Glass".

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