* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Cyber-spying, leaking to meddle in foreign politics is the New Normal

veti Silver badge

Re: "MIght appear to be unprecedented?"

Well, to the best of my knowledge the CIA has never lied about this topic either. Sure they've lied about other things, but then so has Wikileaks - with a much shorter track record to go on - so that's a wash.

Seriously, h4rm0ny, at this point I'm wondering what your agenda is. Why are you so keen to throw doubt on the blatant Russian agenda that even Trump himself now acknowledges?

veti Silver badge


The post you're replying to refers to "DC Leaks", not Wikileaks. Different thing entirely.

And doesn't it strike you as even slightly noteworthy that all the leaks, from both DC and Wikileaks, have been in favour of pro-Russian candidates?

Trump's cartoon comedy approach to running a country: 'One in, two out' rule for regulations

veti Silver badge

@The IT Ghost

I'm fairly sure that "I'm fairly sure that..." is a tell for truthiness rather than actual knowledge.

There's a reason why "turkey ham" is regulated: because people who sell food are unscrupulous bastards who would, left to their own devices, not hesitate to pass off one product as another. Regulations governing those products give consumers the confidence to trust the label.

That's often the case with regulations: they exist for a reason, even if that reason isn't immediately obvious to some Year-Zero zealot in the present day. In the context of software, Joel Spolsky explains it quite eloquently here.

I'm sure there are lots of laws and regulations that can be repealed harmlessly. But I don't know which ones. Neither do you, and neither, I'm 100% confident, does Donald Trump or anyone who works for him. And therefore, I can predict confidently, right now, that what will happen - and what Trump expects and wants to happen - is a frenzy of self-serving deregulation, as people use the mandate as a reason to repeal the rules that they personally (or professionally) find inconvenient.

The problems thus created may take many years to come to light, by which time Trump and all his henchmen will have packed their things and retired to their bunkers, but America will be living with it for decades to come.

Trump's visa plan leaks: American techies first

veti Silver badge

Re: The salary should be in the top 10% of the range for tech in the area

"The most highly qualified, highly educated" - can get in on better terms than an H1-B.

As a non-US tech worker, I say scrap the program. Completely and permanently. None of this "reform" bullshit.

Parliamentary Trump-off? Pro-Donald petition passes 100k signatures

veti Silver badge

Re: nice!

Big John, nice to see you clutching straws here.

One petition has been "waiting for 3 days for a government response". In other words, it passed the 10,000 threshold (and got noticed and publicised) 3 days ago. The other has been "waiting for 2 days for a government response".

One day ago, as reported on this very site, it was at 1 million signatures. Now it's close to 1.8 million.

The other petition is approaching 200,000.

So please, do feel free to tell us all about which one is growing "very rapidly".

Human memory, or the lack of it, is the biggest security bug on the 'net

veti Silver badge

Re: Try blaming the correct people next time.

Fine. If you don't want to revisit the shop and reuse the account, just give it a random string for a password. (Mash some keys into a text editor until it looks suitably gibberish, then copy and paste it into the password and confirmation boxes. Remember to close the text file without saving.)

More importantly, though: always, always make sure to untick the "record my card information for future purchases" option. That way, if anyone does crack your account, they're still no closer to being able to spend your money.

What annoys me more is sites - like El Reg, for instance - that require a password that does need to be reused, and does need to be remembered, for a transaction that has close-to-zero impact if compromised. If someone cracks my El Reg password, about all they can do is make some silly and/or offensive comments in my username. I make those myself already, so I'm willing to accept that risk.

Kylie withdraws from Kylie trademark fight, leaving Kylie to profit from… existing?

veti Silver badge

Re: Oh the irony, missed by the plastic one (although, she is from the US).

Sadly, "Real Kylie" has never been that big in the USofA. It's entirely possible that the Kardashiklan had never heard of her when Kylie Jr was born.

veti Silver badge

"Prior art" is neither here nor there - this is about a trademark, not a patent.

Trademarks aren't meant to be particularly original (or "Hello Kitty" would have been a nonstarter) - they're just meant to differentiate one company's products from its competitors.

Former Mozilla dev joins chorus roasting antivirus, says 'It's poison!'

veti Silver badge

Re: :unsure:

See, I'd feel a lot more convinced by this argument if it had more quotes from genuine infosec specialists criticizing AV software

What, you mean like this, or this, or this?

If you've been paying attention at all, you know the literature is out there. This is just a story about one guy's opinion. Take it for what it's worth, which is not much, but don't dismiss the whole subject just because this story doesn't cover the whole thing. That's like reading an article about Arctic sea ice that mentions global warming, and dismissing "global warming" because the article doesn't go on for 20 pages telling you everything there is to know about it.

Did you know? The FBI investigated Gamergate. Now you can read the agents' thrilling dossier

veti Silver badge

OK. The report is 173 pages, and I'd be lying if I said I'd read it all, but I've glanced through the first 20 pages, and already I've seen more threats than you're describing.

Have you read it? If not, where precisely are you getting your information from?

In my experience, journalists are far from perfect, but they do a way better job than random and/or anonymous trolls on advocate sites and blogs.

Trump signs 'no privacy for non-Americans' order – what does that mean for rest of us?

veti Silver badge

Re: Yet ANOTHER Trump story?

There's a reason why all the media except those directly controlled by Trump and his henchmen are solidly anti-Trump: because the man is, quite clearly, by any plausible objective standard, unspeakably awful.

And more than that: he goes out of his way to goad the press into making these judgments. Any time anyone in the media shows signs of softening towards him, he'll make some announcement or tweet carefully calculated to embarrass the fuck out of them.

That's his strategy, it's how he won. Now he can paint the media as solidly against him, he can convince his faithful that "all truth is relative" and "the media is all lying", and behold! reality really doesn't matter any more. How many people were at his inauguration? Doesn't matter. All that matters is what Trump's own Twitter feed says.

Plump Trump dumps TPP trade pump

veti Silver badge

Re: Good for the average man on the street.

Nobody has ever negotiated anything "in the open". Period.

From your terms of employment, to Donald Trump's campaign finances, to the TPP - everything that could possibly be called a "negotiation" has always been secret. Has to be. Sometimes someone will publish a tell-all account - but only after the fact, and even then you can bet it's polished up to be as self-serving as Trump's own resume.

What's the biggest danger to the power grid? Hackers? Terrorists? Er, squirrels

veti Silver badge

In proportion

Does no-one remember ANYfuckingthing from more than a few weeks ago any more?

Eight deaths? In 35 years? Boo hoo. In 2003, one software bug in the grid system - in America - killed 12 people in 2 days. Reference.

Software engineers - and, by extension, hackers - are way, way more dangerous than any number of rodents.

Google harvests school kids' web histories for ads, claims its Mississippi nemesis

veti Silver badge

Well, now I've had time to read the legal filing (linked in the article), and I've done a complete U-turn. I now suspect the AG is completely right and may well have Google bang to rights.

The key point is, nowhere does he actually allege that Google is sharing the information. That detail is inserted, either by some PR flack who doesn't know what they're doing, or by El Reg, who really should know better 'cuz this is exactly how fake news spreads.

But apparently "sharing" is neither here nor there. Google promised it wouldn't even harvest or "process" the information, even completely internally, for commercial purposes.

veti Silver badge

Have an upvote. This stinks of "A-G wants to get his name in the press".

My guess is, the only evidence he has is that students are seeing individually targeted ads. But of course that's what Google does - that in itself is no evidence that they're sharing squat.

On the face of it, it seems very unlikely that they would. As you say, sharing the data would (a) get them into trouble (as per this story), and (b) cost them money. Seems a very strange business decision.

Stanford boffins find 'correlation between caffeine consumption and longevity'

veti Silver badge

What do you call the person who graduated bottom of their class from medical school? "Doctor".

Doctors say all kinds of things, based on whatever evidence they happen to have been exposed to. In some areas, that evidence will be tantamount to "none at all".

Now there's a new study, maybe some of those doctors will change their advice.

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

veti Silver badge

Please at least try to understand

Look: May has a difficult line to walk. Whenever a politician says anything, you need to think: who are they talking to? The answer isn't as simple as "their current audience", because they know their words will be reported and repeated through other channels.

52% (ish) of British voters voted for Brexit. Those 52% can be broadly divided into three groups:

A small number - let's say one-tenth - had actually thought through the issues and arrived at a decision rationally. (It is possible, even if you think their conclusion was wrong.)

A fairly large number - let's say one third - were merely expressing some incoherent dissatisfaction based on misinformation, spread mostly by the tabloids, over the last 30 years.

And the rest were expressing various shades of "get the damn foreigners out of my country".

Of course we don't know the actual breakdown of those numbers. Theresa May's guess may be more accurate than mine, or it may not.

But May's job, right now, is to appease the last of these factions. Nobody really knows how big it is, but thanks to Cameron's folly (compounded by Farage and Corbyn and the rest of those idiots, but the basic idea was Cameron's) - those people now think they are the majority. That makes them dangerous, and they need to be placated.

They are not, on the whole, very highly informed. They are not big on the subtler points of international law or diplomacy. May has to send the signal that she's doing their bidding, while simultaneously not burning Britain's bridges to Europe. (Keep in mind that the European leaders are politicians too - they understand her position better than most of us.) That is why she's playing her cards very, very closed at the moment.

In the technical sense, "hard Brexit" is undefined and therefore meaningless. But in the political sense, it's a bone thrown to the anti-immigrant crowd.

Calls for UK.gov's tax digitisation plans to be put on the back burner

veti Silver badge

Re: Tax really is taxing

And that right there is the problem. "Simplify the tax code" translates directly to "change the project requirements", plus opens a whole can of worms labelled ""how, exactly?". No wonder it's running late.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation is part of the problem, because any real simplification of the tax code would mean the end of their meal ticket.

Brilliant phishing attack probes sent mail, sends fake attachments

veti Silver badge

Re: Sigh. Not again.

If people are so clueless that they're scanning or photographing printed pages, then converting into a PDF that's just a big image file (per page), then yes, they deserve slapping.

But most PDFs aren't created like that: they start out as Word (or similar) documents, and in that case the text can be read from them perfectly cleanly.

I must say, it's a devilish clever attack. I've been thinking for years that the trouble with "security education" is, once it catches on, it's really pretty trivial for the phishers to up their game like this. And now they have.

We need a new protocol, because email has been breaking for a long time now and this looks like the last straw.

Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8

veti Silver badge

Well, actually it would. By mathematical identity, it would double their wealth. Most people would call that a big difference.

"The man who dies rich, dies disgraced" - Andrew Carnegie. I honestly wish the obscenely rich would feel more of an obligation to share their money. I don't know of any sensible way of forcing them to do so, but naming and shaming is perfectly reasonable.

Trump's cyber-guru Giuliani runs ancient 'easily hackable website'

veti Silver badge

Re: The real issue

I fear you've put your finger on Rudy's real qualifications: loyalty to the Dear Leader, and an authoritarian streak as wide as the Hudson. He'll have no qualms about siccing the NSA/other TLAs on anyone who makes waves, and who seems disloyal to the regime.

Donald Trump will take cybersecurity advice from, um, Rudy Giuliani

veti Silver badge

The pick is completely in keeping with Trump's established form for e-security.

But never mind, because Trump is totally gonna put up a firewall. The best firewall, a beautiful firewall. And the Russians are gonna pay for it.

UK can be a 'world leader in 5G', you say? Er, our 4G still takes a beating from Peru

veti Silver badge

The point is, if the UK is the first country to roll out 5G, then lots of UK engineers will be able to put "5G experience" on their CVs.

Then go off and get better jobs in other countries who want to learn from the UK's mistakes.

That's one reason why academics and wannabes are always pushing the next big thing. "Trying to make 4G work properly" is boring. (To be sure, the benefit to actual users would be incomparably greater, but who cares about them?) 5G is sex on a stick, as far as they're concerned.

Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

veti Silver badge

Can we please stop using "fake news"

... as a buzzword for anything from "groundless propaganda" to "spin that we personally disagree with"?

Or in this specific case, "historical revisionism"?

Real stories are complex, and there are many ways of looking at this one. Harford does make a valid point, even if he massively overstates it. To pretend that the iPhone sprang like Athena, perfectly formed from the head of Steve "Zeus" Jobs, is just as wankerly as the BBC's own bollocks.

FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

veti Silver badge

So let's get this straight...

The guy hasn't been tried, much less convicted, but it's OK to publicly identify him as a paedophile? Did he upload anything? Not stated. How was he identified? Also not stated.

And who, specifically, signed off on the FBI running a child porn hub?

TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

veti Silver badge

VoiceLaziness is a stupid idea.

Fixed that for you.

The problem isn't the means of communication, it's the bypassing important steps like "reviewing the results" and "verifying your credit card information".

If your computer is set up so that it can spend your money without you being there, then you have a problem far larger than voice activation.

Bank robber reveals identity – by using his debit card during crime

veti Silver badge

Re: Why don't I just mosey on down and rob the bank

If I go to the bank, present my debit card and ask for $565, that's called "making a withdrawal".

Who was it who, when asked "why do you rob banks?", replied "that's where the money is"? That's just not true any more. You have to be pretty far down the bell curve to even think about robbing a bank nowadays - the payoff-to-risk ratio must be one of the lowest of any type of crime.

Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

veti Silver badge

Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

They're undergraduates. What do you expect?

The whole thing is basically an exercise in demonstrating that they know how to plug numbers into an equation (which was given to them by a lecturer), crank a handle and get an answer. That's all it is.

There's no claim that any of the numbers are even remotely plausible, let alone realistic, and they're not being graded on that. Which is just as well.

Snapchap snaps back: Snapchat Snapbrats' Snapstats are Snapcrap

veti Silver badge

Re: Who to believe?

You mean, you think there's a possibility that a web company isn't inflating its stats?

Now that would be news.

The alarming thing here is that, apparently, there exist people with money who are willing to invest it on the basis of numbers they see in a prospectus from Snapshat. Which they surely must know are bullshit?

Ransomware scum: 'I believe I'm a good fit. See attachments'

veti Silver badge

Re: Macros

Word macros can be really useful. I used to use them to format documents for publication, they saved countless hours of gruntwork there.

But on the other hand, any applicant who wants me to enable macros in a document they sent to me - well, let's just say they're not likely to be a good fit, on the grounds that they're an idiot. Anyone who's sophisticated enough to use macros has no excuse for not knowing why that's a dumb idea.

Russia to convicted criminal hackers: 'Work with us or jail?'

veti Silver badge

Re: How long would it take...

Russia's land border runs to more than 20,000 km, so quite a while. It would also involve strolling around some pretty dangerous places.

And once you've done that, you can swim through half the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Strait.

Send us a postcard, won't you?

Banned! No streaming live democracy from your phones, US Congress orders reps

veti Silver badge

Re: Much Ado about Nothing

I wish the media would respond by simply removing all TV cameras from Congress. See how they like that.

Has adding live TV coverage significantly improved the quality of debate or governance in Congress? Has it made the critters more accountable? Has it improved voter engagement or turnout? Trust in Congress?

If the answer to all of the above is "no", then why not just remove them?

Assange confirmed alive, tells Fox: Prez Obama 'acting like a lawyer'

veti Silver badge

Re: ...unlike his credibility

The way of releasing it, however, was not that of a whistleblower acting in good faith.

He could have dumped the whole lot out at once. He could have sent a routine press release to his media outlets of choice. Instead, he staggered the releases over several weeks, promised ever-rescheduling press conferences (thus catching more news cycles), and clearly colluded with the Russians in writing hack-job stories based on the contents.

I say "clearly colluded with the Russians", because time and again the stories were first published in RT or other Russian government-controlled media, and only then picked up and copied verbatim by US sources.

And while we're on the subject, "my source was not the Russian government" - think about what that doesn't mean. Specifically, it doesn't mean "my source was not supplied by the Russian government", or "my source was not working for the Russian government". Nor, for that matter, does it mean "I have personally verified my source's bona fides and confirmed that s/he never had any contact with the Russian government, because I have a foolproof way of doing that".

I for one would love to see Trump pardon Assange. It would remove his number one lame excuse for not going back to Sweden to face trial there.

Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs

veti Silver badge

I bought a brand-new Panasonic TV about two months ago, and I can assure you it's (almost) as dumb as the programmes it receives.

Yes, "smart" is coming. For your next TV, I recommend "not giving it your wifi password". The one after that will have its own dedicated cellular connection, and at that point you're probably screwed, but who knows, they might have fixed their security issues by then...

Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush

veti Silver badge


Here it is at last, what every teenage girl has been waiting for - the hairbrush that doubles as a mic!

Now all you need to do is connect it to the PS or XBone, and open up a whole new hell of bathroom karaoke.

Prez Obama expels 35 Russian spies over election meddling

veti Silver badge

Re: Evidence it was the Russians what dunnit

Was Seth Rich the leaker? Well, I'm not aware of any evidence that he was. But even if he was - what follows from that? Does it mean Russia is innocent?

Hell no.

If Wikileaks had any interest in "full disclosure", then there was absolutely no need for the materials to be released the way they were - staggered across several weeks, with promises of press conferences and 'teasers' released to the media beforehand. That was a well orchestrated campaign, and I don't have the slightest doubt it was the Russians who orchestrated it, in co-operation with the Trump campaign. (Witness the time Trump referenced a story based on a misquote that had, at that time, only ever been published in RT.)

Putin's fingerprints are all over Trump's victory, with or without Seth Rich or any other stooge who may have helped out his little game of kingmaker. I suspect that a thorough investigation would find the same dabs on the Brexit result - at the very least, there's no doubt the trolls of Olgino were very active in the British media this summer.

But the interference in America was blatant. What's more, the CIA recognises it as straight out of their own playbook - it was exactly the kind of campaign that the US ran in Ukraine back in 2004.

Amazon files patent for 'Death Star' flying warehouse

veti Silver badge

Re: Lies and statistics

About the same time as the Hindenberg, the US navy was experimenting with airships (google "Akron class") that carried 60 crew, 8 machine guns, plus five aircraft weighing about a tonne each. And, presumably, it must've also carried fuel, arms and ammo for the aircraft. It's not huge, but it's considerably bigger than any truck I've ever seen.

And there's a possibility that technology may have advanced in the 80-odd years since then, and Amazon's version could be considerably larger still.

A year in infosec: Bears, botnets, breaches ... and elections

veti Silver badge

It's an exaggeration to say that "the information is generally believed accurate".

The leaked emails are generally believed to be genuine. But how many people actually read them? Hands up if you've ever been to Wikileaks and read them for yourself?

What most people read, or watched, or heard, was news stories based on someone else's reading of one or more of the emails, and (very) selectively quoting from them. And those stories were the most misleading things I've seen all year (and seriously, it's been a biiig year for that kind of shit).

US cops seek Amazon Echo data for murder inquiry

veti Silver badge

Re: Police: Your other devices tell us who murdered who and how...

So that's why Amazon is resisting: the cops are asking them to facilitate wholesale copyright infringement. It all makes sense now.

veti Silver badge

Re: Dystopian future on the way?

"If that is what someone wants, they can go live in a prison" - seriously, is that an option? Where I come from it's quite hard to get in to those places, at least not without doing something quite distasteful. Their bouncers are harsh.

2016 just got a tiny bit longer. Gee, thanks, time lords

veti Silver badge

Joke's on you...

Those of us with the presence of mind to be in a GMT+ timezone get our leap-second in 2017.

So nyah.

And yes, I know there's no guarantee 2017 will be better. But "regression to the mean" is still a thing, right? So there's at least a good chance.

Did EU ruling invalidate the UK's bonkers Snoopers' Charter?

veti Silver badge

Re: I feel sick

"How can spying on innocent people be legal?" - well, how are the Plod supposed to know who's "innocent" before they've done any investigating?

Seriously, this is the 300 kg gorilla that never seems to get mentioned here: you can't spy on terrorists and kiddie fiddlers without also spying on you and me. It's logically (and very likely legally) impossible. If we don't want that to happen, then the Powers will also need to find (stick to) alternative ways to spy on Bad People.

"If I disagree with government policy and try to look up stuff from an opposing view, then they know all about it. They can visit me in night and silence me." - well sure, but only if they're willing to do that to (quite literally) half the population, and nobody has time for that. Not yet, anyway.

"How is it legal to make laws that only apply to certain people?" - short answer, Parliament can make whatever laws it likes, subject (to a limited degree) to precedent and constitution and international treaties. Longer answer, this is by far the worst aspect of the act, and if you want to point to an aspect that is totally indefensible on any plausible grounds, this is the weak spot.

"I pray we get invaded" - please drop the hyperbole. Being invaded is never pleasant. If you genuinely wish for that, you're an idiot.

Sayonara North America: Insurance guy got your back when Office 365 doesn't?

veti Silver badge

Re: Business Decision

And if you keep it in house, then who are you gonna fire and fine when it all goes TITSUP? Or are you only advocating punishing managers who want to make changes?

A decision not to change is also a decision. If the IT/CFO is answerable for the result, then that needs to apply whichever way they make the decision. And of course failing to make it at all is always wrong.

Chairman/CEO: "I think we need to check it again. We'll get back to you."

veti Silver badge

Re: Blind leading the blind

You can't call it "fake news", because it makes no pretence to be "news" at all.

It's editorial. Or more likely advertorial.

veti Silver badge

Three words:

Kings. College. London.

If you manage your own servers in-house, a serious failure can screw your entire business for much more than just a day.

The "compensation" clause in the service contract isn't about compensating you, it's about aligning your provider's interests with yours. If my cloud service goes down for as long as 24 consecutive hours, the compensation will wipe out the provider's entire year's profit from my business. Ergo, they are strongly motivated to make sure that doesn't happen.

China gives America its underwater drone back – with a warning

veti Silver badge

Re: Erm...

"We left-wingers" laughed at Obama when he talked about 57 states, just like we laughed at Bush's cunning linguistics.

But Trump is in a whole different category. Bush was a dimwit, and Obama weak, but both of them were at least genuinely trying to do their jobs. Trump has no intention of trying to do anything but enrich his own dynasty.

America? Stick a fork in it. It's done.

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

veti Silver badge

Re: This is great news...

Non-existent? As I type, it features prominently on the UK pages of the BBC, Guardian, and The Times. Mainstream enough for you?

Non-existent sex robots already burning holes in men’s pockets

veti Silver badge

Re: A more achievable solution ...

You wouldn't use hydraulics. Electric motors are more than capable of all the movement you need. Hydraulics are expensive, messy, heavy and power-hungry.

Leave them out, and you also solve the power supply problem, because now you just have to find a space for a decent sized battery, which could easily fit inside the ribcage, skull, and/or perhaps inside the thicker "bones".

veti Silver badge

Re: Imagine the potential leaks

Pah, I switched its default password with my TiVo's. So if you used "chunkyLover53" to hack it, all you're going to see is Simpsons reruns.

MPs suggest introducing web blocking to tackle suicide rates in UK

veti Silver badge

Suicide is not particularly prevalent in the UK, its rate is well down in the pack of first-world countries. What would these MPs consider an "acceptable" rate of suicide, exactly?

Serious question. If these bastards are talking about restricting your internet freedom yet further, the least you can do is press them as to what precisely - i.e. what reduction in rates - they hope to achieve by it. And while they're at it, let them define an unambiguous failure condition - if this reduction is not achieved over the next five years, the rule should automatically be removed.

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