* Posts by Alister

3263 posts • joined 19 May 2010

♫ Storage falling, all around me... Snowflake, Komprise... Paragon ♬

Alister Silver badge

So many puns,

...so little time...

Oh and love NAND understanding should win a prize.

Lauri Love appeal: 'If he's dead, no victim's going to get anything'

Alister Silver badge

In earlier, more enlightened times,

A prison sentence was meant to protect the public from dangerous criminals, and to deter them from re-offending.

Nowadays, it would appear that any false ideals are stripped away, and the prison sentence is punishment to "make him pay" for what he did.

Fitzgerald added "If he's dead, putting it bluntly, no victims are going to get anything from a trial."

Some would consider his death sufficient punishment, it would appear.

Watchkeeper drones cost taxpayers £1bn

Alister Silver badge

Re: Good value


I did in fact pause before posting it, I was going to Google it to make sure I'd quoted it correctly, but thought that might be a bad idea.

It's a sad state of affairs when you have to wonder whether looking up a bit of poetry on the Internet might mark you as a terrorist.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Good value

"Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! It isn't fit for humans now"

Elon Musk says he's not Satoshi Nakamoto and is pretty rubbish at Bitcoin

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Re: Ok, ok, fine

Thumbs up for having the gall to register just for this story :)

Alister Silver badge

El Reg staff

but our plans to hack society remain secret for now for reasons we cannot divulge.

Yes, it's embarrassing when your secret villainous volcanic lair suddenly goes public and starts spitting LIQUID HOT MAGMA, isn't it?

Accused hacker Lauri Love's extradition appeal begins

Alister Silver badge

Re: I am an Aspie. I don't hack stuff and then cry like a baby.


Personally, I hope he gets told to grow up and gets shipped off to supermax.

I understand your frustration at how having Aspergers is used to justify this sort of hacking, but honestly, you really think 99 years in jail is a fair and just sentence for what he did?

Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project

Alister Silver badge


That's not what they are proposing, the electrical fan will be powered by an onboard gas-turbine generator.

2001: A Stob Odyssey

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Re: I wonder if anyone with a lisp..

"...theveral theditiouth thcribth from Thaetharea,"

Alister Silver badge

Yay, Stob!

"How's your LISP"


Three useless UK.gov 'catapults' put in Last Chance Saloon

Alister Silver badge

Re: I wonder how many

There's a certain irony in that the associated phrase in the nursery rhyme for the Bells of Shoreditch is "When I grow rich"

Don't shame idiots about their idiotically weak passwords

Alister Silver badge

Aha! so your password is SW, D, G, H, S, B, S, D

See if you recognise this one:

P, P, B McG, C, D, G.

Vanity, thy name is: M1SCO company car reg plates for sale

Alister Silver badge

Unless someone's name is (improbably) Misco, or someone is planning to set up a new company with the same name, I'm not sure that the personalised plate is going to attract much interest.

Maybe they should attach it to the "ride-along floor sweeper" as a combined lot?

A certain millennial turned 30 recently: Welcome to middle age, Microsoft Excel v2

Alister Silver badge

Shameful confession

Whilst pouring scorn on everybody else for inappropriate use of Excel (all the usual suspects like writing documents in it, creating databases in it, etc, etc) I must admit that I find it incredibly useful for managing scripts and log files, 'cos if you dump a text file into Excel using spaces as the delimiter you can manipulate stuff by columns, which is great, not just for ordering the data, but doing find / replace on a single column and leaving the rest untouched.

Alister Silver badge

Eh, memories, memories.

I've still got, (mouldering in a corner somewhere) a boxed set of Visicalc floppies (5 1/4, naturally) with instruction manuals, in a very nice blue vinyl covered case, if I remember correctly.

Pokémon GO caused hundreds of deaths, increased crashes

Alister Silver badge

Re: Headline

Okay, mea culpa. Not enough coffee yet this morning, I apologise to El Reg.

Alister Silver badge


I know El Reg is prone to a bit of artistic licence, not to say exaggeration, but how do you get from 2 fatalities to "hundreds of deaths"?

'Water on Mars' re-classified as just 'sand on Mars'

Alister Silver badge

Re: Water on Mars turns out to be damp squib

Damp squid. It's damp squid.

No it bloody isn't, it's damp squib.

Squib n a small firework or explosive device.

A damp squib is therefore one that doesn't go off - more generally, something that doesn't live up to expectations.

Alister Silver badge

I recall at the time, posting on the original story, that whilst the headline, widely reported, was "Liquid Water Found On Mars" the reality was a bit more prosaic: "Strong evidence pointing to the presence of liquid water in the past, found on Mars".

And now, not even that is true.

Mythical broadband speeds to plummet in crackdown on ISP ads

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CAP's sister body, the Advertising Standards Authority, also today ruled that it is not materially misleading to describe broadband services that use fibre-optic cables for only part of the connection as "fibre broadband"

Great, so anything that uses a fibre trunk to the exchange, and copper to the subscriber, can be fibre broadband?


Permissionless data slurping: Why Google's latest bombshell matters

Alister Silver badge

Re: So, if I want the benefits of a smartphone, without the (opaque) slurping....

@Jason Hindle:

My Google Nexus 5X is pretty much everything. It''s my plane ticket, train ticket, bus ticket, tram ticket, taxi ride and method of paying for most transactions < £30 (and many other things).

Have you ever heard the phrase "single point of failure"?

It sounds to me as though, if your phone breaks, you're basically screwed.

Royal Bank of Scotland website goes TITSUP*

Alister Silver badge

I reckon they've just implemented HSTS.

It's very secure now - nobody can get in.

See, it works!

It was El Reg wot won it: Bing banishes bogus Brit bank banner ad

Alister Silver badge

Re: ‘Check car tax on’ Google

Interesting how personalised search works.

If I Google "check car tax" I get the top five results all starting with "https://www.gov.uk/"

Alister Silver badge

Re: Follow the money ...

are Microsoft following the money that paid for the ad?

No, why would they?

Microsoft would have to pay it back, then.

Container ship loading plans are 'easily hackable'

Alister Silver badge


I thought it was a comment on my generous posterior...

Yew Bastud!


Alister Silver badge

Container ships don't have rowlocks in their gunwales, me hearty. Shiver me girders.

ICO probes universities accused of using private data to target donation campaigns

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Re: spending millions on poor kids

Everyone pays the fee's through student loans

Greengrocer's University education?

How is 55 Cancri e like a Sisters of Mercy gig? Astroboffins: It has atmosphere

Alister Silver badge

How is 55 Cancri e like a Sisters Of Mercy gig?

'why may a caudled fillhorse be deemed the brother to a hiren candle in the night?'

Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

Alister Silver badge

What they should do is introduce some sort of token that car owners have to display on the vehicle, which proves that they have paid their VED.

You could print the date on it, and perhaps make it different colours every year, so an out of date one would be obvious.

What do you think? would it work?

The Reg parts ways with imagineer and thought pathfinder Steve Bong

Alister Silver badge

America doesn't have a functional extradition treaty with the UK - well not in the USA ->> UK direction, anyway, maybe My Lord Bong could interestify Donald into imagineering a whole new paradigm?

Does UK high street banks' crappy crypto actually matter?

Alister Silver badge


Thank you for the non-downvote. :)

As far as I know, what you propose would have to mean hosting the main site on one server, and the banking site on a different server, as you cannot assign different cipher suites on a per site basis, only at server level.

Now this is not a bad idea at all, but it does mean that again, anyone connecting to the banking site would be required to have a browser and operating system that supported the latest ciphers, or the connection would fail. So really no different in outcome to what we have already.

Alister Silver badge

The problem is that banks force your connection to use weaker encryption than your device is capable of.

No, they don't.

Alister Silver badge

Get some perspective.

A lot of the commentards here seem to be misunderstanding the issues raised in the article, abetted, it has to be said by some editorial misdirection.

Firstly, to describe the HSTS header as "Cryptographic Technology" is a gross exaggeration.

It is an HTTP Header, which when read by a client browser, ensures that the browser only uses HTTPS to connect to the domain it is served from. That's all it is, nothing else, and certainly not cryptographic technology.

Secondly, the article is written in such a way as to suggest that banks have downgraded their cryptographic cyphers to the lowest common denominator, and therefore endanger everybody's security.

I've just reviewed the SSL Labs results for each of the banks tested, and I can unequivocally state that this is not true.

In all the tested cases, the banks offer the latest ECDHE_RSA_AES ciphers, and therefore modern browsers will connect using TLS1.2 using those ciphers.

However, all of the banks tested, even Santander, the highest scoring, also offer, to a greater or lesser extent, older weaker ciphers to allow older browsers and operating systems to connect. Some of them, RBS and Natwest for example, offer really old, weak ciphers, and they should consider removing those.

It is pointed out that none of the tested banks offer PFS (Forward Secrecy). This is probably something which should be done, but relies on the correct ordering of the cipher suites offered, amongst other things, and is easy to get wrong.

So to sum up, none of the banks tested are endangering your security by only allowing weak cryptographic ciphers and HSTS is not some magic security feature.

Alister Silver badge

If people are using outdated browsers, redirect them to a page explaining why you must insist that they upgrade, and explain how

It's not technically possible to do that without providing ciphers that the out of date browsers support, unfortunately. The TLS session must be established before you can carry out any redirection.

Yes you could do this for a while, before turning the ciphers off, and this is often what is done in practice.

Alister Silver badge


Possibly this is the difference between e-banking and e-commerce?

A short summary breakdown of our connections shows:

Windows 7 with IE 8, 9 or 10 requires TLS1.0 by default, the client can turn on TLS1.2 but rarely does

Windows Vista with IE 7 or 8 requires TLS1.0

Windows XP with IE7 or 8 requires TLS1.0 - IE6 protocol mismatch, can't connect.

Windows Mobile 8.0 requires TLS1.0

Android versions older than 4.4 require TLS1.0

OSX 10.8 requires TLS1.0

Safari 6 or older requires TLS1.0

Anything using OPenSSL 0.9 or earlier require TLS1.0

Anything written in Java 7u25 or earlier require TLS1.0

In addition to direct browser connections, we also provide an API to various external web sites, and by far the majority of those sites use software written in older versions of Java which require TLS1.0 to access our services. (Including, I might add, ATOS Worldline, who have so far refused to update their stack).

The running total as of today is 38.7% of all connections to us use TLS1.0

Alister Silver badge

Re: IT security enforcement

It's about time there was an IT security equivalent to environmental health...

There is, it's called PCI-DSS

Alister Silver badge


No, that's not the case, the article is rather disingenuous about the report.

If you run a report yourself on HSBC for instance:


You can see that they do support the latest SSL ciphers (ECDHE_RSA) but that they also support various ciphers which are now considered to be weak.

What Scott Helme is claiming - that they don't implement HSTS headers - is NOT a major issue despite his claims, all that the HSTS header does is to tell the browser to always use HTTPS to connect to the site, but it doesn't specify the ciphers to be used on the connection, and most if not all the bank sites will only accept connections over HTTPS anyway.

Alister Silver badge


Crooks being able to steal MY money from the bank because some clueless user is still using IE6 and the bank want to be compatible is completely unacceptable.

That's a nonsensical strawman.

If you use the latest and greatest browser, then your connection will use the highest available encryption, so is not at risk.

If the bank / business also allows connections using weaker encryption for people with older browsers, that doesn't compromise your connection.

Alister Silver badge

The TLS 1.1 requirement is currently June 2018, however that has been delayed many times.

As it should be, because:

"Customers not being able to access online banking because the bank stubbornly insists on strong crypto is a far bigger concern than the crypto being broken," Grooten said. "And rightly so."

I'm not involved with banking, but do manage various eticketing and retail solutions. If we were to turn off TLS1.1, we would lose up to 40% of our customer base.

That's potentially 40% less revenue.

No sensible business can afford to do that.

Help desk declared code PEBCAK and therefore refused to help!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Memory Issues

We used to have one when I was in the Ambulance service, I've never seen it anywhere else:

PENCIL: Patient Exists, Not Considered Intelligent Life

and the more common one:

NFN: Normal For Norfolk

Yes, I took Putin's roubles to undermine Western democracy. This is my story

Alister Silver badge

Re: I don't get it?

Can anybody explain this "article"?

Google the word "satire"

Alister Silver badge
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Thumbs up for "technology trebuchets"...

Many successful launches...

Slack apologises to Europe for TITSUP* services

Alister Silver badge

and the news room now has all sorts of excuses to go down the pub

Here's a journalistic tip...

Don't print that in a story the Editor is going to see!

Belgian court says Skype must provide interception facilities

Alister Silver badge

Microsoft classified as a telco, so told to cough up. It may gaufre an appeal

Don't know what you are waffling on about...

Pastry in a manger: We're soz, Greggs man said

Alister Silver badge


substituting Baby Jesus for a sausage roll

Does nobody know how to write English anymore? What you wrote above means that you replaced a sausage roll with Baby Jesus.

What you should have said is either:

substituting Baby Jesus with a sausage roll

(which is poor construction in itself)

or: substituting a sausage roll for Baby Jesus.


The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

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The Quantum of Firefox

I see you took solace from that title.

What do Vegas hookers, Colombian government, and 30,000 other sites have in common? Crypto-jacking miners

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Re: So Vegas has a Rugby team?

Nice try MJI but I think for most people that will be a Whoooooooooosh!

Donald Trump's tweets: Are they presidential statements or not?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Obama

Barack Obama is a card-carrying member of ISIS

I didn't know ISIS had membership cards. That should make things easier for law-enforcement, shouldn't it?

Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

Alister Silver badge

Communists saw human society as a "system" that could be perfected if only a small group of very clever people (themselves) could only be given absolute control over it. How did that work out again?

To be fair, the actual root idea of communism (with a small "c") where everybody shares property, and wealth is distributed equally amongst everybody, is a valid utopian ideal.

The way that Communism was actually implemented in those countries that espoused it was as a ruling elite with all the property and all the wealth, and the rest of the population kept in poverty.

Uncle Sam to strap body sensors to hackers in nuke lab security study

Alister Silver badge

It's a Trap!

Hi, Welcome to the Department of Defense Hacking Study.

For your comfort and convenience, please wear the orange jumpsuits provided at all times.

Free transport to our Caribbean paradise testing area is included in the program.

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