* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Security bods find Android phoning home. Home being China

Alister Silver badge

What fucked up distro do you use? Does it not have ping or traceroute or ssh installed either?

From my own experience, none of the following have the full set of network tools installed by default:

Redhat, Centos, Ubuntu, Debian (and its offshoots, like Mint).

They do have ping, and ssh, but not traceroute, whois, dig etc.

Alister Silver badge


I suggest you check your $PATH for /usr/bin or /sbin because whois is part of the standard unix/linux networking command set and has been for decades.

I suggest you check your information, it hasn't been included in the standard install for many distributions for years.

China gets mad at Donald Trump, threatens to ruin Apple

Alister Silver badge

Re: Trade War

>>Regan was elected in 1980 - he was the 80's version of Trump

>Not even close.

Not even spelled correctly...

Panicked WH Smith kills website to stop sales of how-to terrorism manuals

Alister Silver badge

Re: Streisland ????

I certainly won't be storming the barricades with a pitchfork in one hand, and the Anarchists Cookbook in the other.

Yeah, the Anarchist's Cookbook is no use at all as a shield, you need something with a bit of meat to it, like The Bible, or a Telephone Directory...

Tech Trump: Silicon Valley steps into the valley of unhappiness

Alister Silver badge

I believe the impression most people have of Trump and what he said is so distorted you can't believe anything anyone says about him.

Are you trying to suggest that the live broadcasts of his insane rantings have been manipulated by the media, then?

Alister Silver badge

Re: The Trump name

He rates his branding very highly (the word Trump is apparently supposed to be worth 3bn) and he has a penchant for naming things after himself.

Surely, surely he knows what the word "Trump" is mostly associated with in the UK?

There's no way that he will ever be able to change that.

US citizens crash Canadian immigration site after Trump victory

Alister Silver badge

Re: President Pence scares the shit out of me WAY more than president Trump


...and ideally go back to the pre WW II party of less overseas intervention - and allow us to actually balance the budget when we don't waste so much money on defense spending.

I'm afraid that you won't see your wish come true, as I understand it one of Trump's less controversial ideas was that he wanted to increase defense spending.

Computer glitches force US election poll stations to stay open for longer

Alister Silver badge

an obnoxious, bullying ham robot with one too many authoritarian programs installed

Careful, your editorial bias might be showing there... :)

I find it interesting that Donald has consistently maintained that the election is rigged. Should he win, does that mean that the Democrats can legitimately call the result into question, and if so, what could he say?

Web security still outstandingly mediocre, experts report

Alister Silver badge

By contrast there has been no move away from the ageing TLS 1.0 protocol: 96.1 per cent of web servers still support it, compared with 97 per cent in June 2016. Maintaining compliance with the credit card industry’s PCI DSS standard means those who handle credit card data need to drop support for TLS 1.0 from June 2018.

Very few publicly facing web sites will be prepared to remove TLS 1.0 support whilst a substantial number of visits come from client browsers or operating systems which require it.

We investigated it last month, as a PCI audit highlighted that we still supported it on some of our servers, but an analysis of the client's site traffic showed that nearly 30% of visitors still used browsers which required TLS 1.0 to connect.

I can't see any company whose primary income stream is web based cutting off 30% of their customer base just to be PCI compliant.

Happy ending for Kettering as soapy veteran replaces Mean Girl Lindsay

Alister Silver badge

Re: Why?

What has his got to do with anything technolgy related?

Ok, first, it doesn't have to, the article is in Bootnotes.

Second, the story involves Lindsay Lohan, who has a long history of involvement with El Reg's Special Project Bureau (RIP Lester).

Third, it involves turning on Christmas Lights, which is obviously a technical function, and a post on Twitter, which is an IT angle.

British defence minister refuses to rule out F-35A purchase

Alister Silver badge

So you're saying, instead of relying on the F-35B being VTOL, which means we have S/VTOL only carriers that have to use helicopters for cargo, AWACs etc. we should go back to using the Harrier, which was a S/VTOL aircraft which relied on helicopters for cargo, AWACs etc...

No, I'm saying there are two different issues.

First, that they planned to build the carrier based on using VTOL / STOL aircraft, without considering the requirements for catapults and traps which permit the use of COD and other ancillary aircraft types to support carrier operations.

Second, having designed the carrier with VTOL / STOL in mind, they then sold off or scrapped our only operational aircraft of that type.

Alister Silver badge

Because they don't operate that way. If you want to prove me wrong please identify the countries that operate aircraft carriers that can handle cargo planes and tankers, along with the names of the ships themselves.


The US Navy uses the Grumman Greyhound in the COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) role, to ferry personnel, mail, supplies, and high-priority cargo from land to aircraft carriers such as USS Nimitz et al. A derivative, the Hawkeye, operates as a carrier based AWACS.

They also use the Lockheed Viking in a number of carrier based roles which include anti-submarine warfare, and in-flight refuelling (tankers).

Er... no. Do a search on "Replenishment at Sea" for some clues about how it is done. For the Royal Navy the role is fulfilled by Royal Fleet Auxiliaries; see the relevant Wikipedia page.

Fleet replenishment by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is fine for long-term planned logistics, where delivery times are in weeks, but of no use at all for short term requirements where COD is used.

Alister Silver badge

We are rapidly becoming an international laughing stock, aren't we.

We once produced the world's best VTOL / STOL fighter aircraft, but we decided to scrap them all instead of investing in upgrades and improvements. Then we built an aircraft carrier designed to only operate VTOL / STOL aircraft, and we have to beg another country to provide some barely capable aircraft to operate from it.

Even if you plan to only operate VTOL / STOL fighters from a carrier deck, why did no-one realise that the carrier would need to operate cargo aircraft and tankers to support the fighters, and they would need cats and traps to be useful?

As it is, the only way to ship cargo, spares, mail, and crew to the vessel is by helicopter, which limits the range it can operate from land based support.

AI boffins turn to StarCraft to train future neural networks

Alister Silver badge

I wonder if it's possible to link up two installations of StarCraft such that the game AIs can play each other, and if you did, would they just get to a stalemate situation?

British firm to build world's first offshore automated ship

Alister Silver badge

Useless Fact of the day...

I had to look it up, as I thought maybe Hrönn meant Heron, but no, it means wave, apparently.

Swiss, geez: Robo-hooker coffee shop to be erected in Geneva

Alister Silver badge

Prostitution is legal in Switzerland, but laws don't allow the, er, services to be offered in any restaurant that also serves food and drink.

Well no, I mean who wants coffee grounds and cake crumbs in their bed, really?

Perfectly sensible, in my view...

What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

Alister Silver badge

Most disappointed that there is no Predator Drone option...

Alister Silver badge


But not as awesome as 9 Concordes in formation doing a vertical roll...

Teen UK hacker pleads guilty after earning $385k from DDoS tool

Alister Silver badge

A 19 year-old Hertfordshire man has pled guilty

It still makes me cringe to see "pled", I know it seems to be accepted nowadays in American English, but to me it's just wrong.

Now git orf my lawn!

Post-Mirai, HackForums kills off white hat DDoS rental service

Alister Silver badge

since banner ads in the section ran to as much as US$200 a week, with a $60 premium to make the ads sticky.

I wonder what percentage of visitors to the HackForums use ad-blockers or script-blockers?

Alleged ISIS member 'wore USB cufflink and trained terrorists in encryption'

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm disgruntled, watch out!

I've got a copy of "Jane's U.S. Military Aircraft Recognition Guide", does that make me a terrist?

Coming to an SSL library near you? AI learns how to craft crude crypto all by itself

Alister Silver badge

It sounds like the neural nets are effectively generating one-time pads based on a pre-shared key, which is an interesting idea, as each message could potentially be encrypted by a different random algorithm, so repeated sampling will get different results every time.

'Hacker' accused of idiotic plan to defraud bank out of $1.5 million

Alister Silver badge

What nobody seems to be noticing is that although he must be one of the most inept hackers in the history of hacking, he was still successful in stealing $134,000 from J P Morgan!

It doesn't say much for their security if an idiot like him can walk off with that much money.

Birmingham sperm bank pulls plug after just a handful of recruits

Alister Silver badge

Re: Missed opportunity

It should have been:

"Birmingham sperm bank tugged after just a handful of recruits"


"Birmingham sperm bank shafted after just a handful of recruits"

Surveillance by consent: Commissioner launches CCTV strategy for England and Wales

Alister Silver badge

Re: Where's that horse?

Yeah, the horse has bolted, been found in another county, taken to a new stables, met a nice mare, sired a few foals, died, and got made into glue and 40 Tesco's burgers.

Alister Silver badge

...My position is that anything regarding surveillance has to be shouted from the rooftops.


Internet of S**t things claims another scalp: DNS DDoS smashes StarHub

Alister Silver badge

Re: DDOS can be used as cover for actual attacks.

Yes, but it's still not the DDoS that causes loss of information, in that case, it's the hidden intrusion attack.

A DDoS cannot, by itself, compromise sensitive information, and it's wrong to infer that it can.

Alister Silver badge

Its follow-up message attributed the traffic to an “intentional and likely malicious” DDoS, and while it knocked customers offline, it didn't result in any compromise of customer information.

No, well why would it? It's a DDOS not an intrusion.

Spoiler alert: We'll bet boffins still haven't spotted aliens

Alister Silver badge

Re: why are they all pointing their lasers at us?

'Morning, sir or madam or neuter,' the alien said. 'This your planet, is it?'

'Well, yes. I suppose so.' he said.

The alien stared thoughtfully at the skyline.

'Had it long, have we, sir?' it said.

'Er. Not personally. I mean, as a species, about half a million years. I think.'

The alien exchanged glances with its colleague. 'Been letting the old acid rain build up, haven't we, sir?' it said. 'Been letting ourselves go a bit with the old hydrocarbons, perhaps?'

'I'm sorry.'

'Could you tell me your planet's albedo, sir?' said the the alien, still staring levelly at the horizon as though it was doing something interesting.

'Er. No.'

'Well, I'm sorry to have to tell you, sir, that your polar ice caps are below regulation size for a planet of this category, sir.'

Possible reprieve for the venerable A-10 Warthog

Alister Silver badge

Re: Pint due.

I think it's one of Douglas Adams' originally.

Iceland's Pirate Party tops polls ahead of national elections

Alister Silver badge

The idea of privacy in Iceland is interesting when they have a national genealogical database, the Islendingabok, that allows people to check that they aren't about to marry their cousin.

But that's because of the way they do names in Iceland - there is no family name / surname which gets passed down through generations, like most European countries. Instead, the second name reflects the male parent's first name, so if Bjorn has a son called Ragnar, then his name will be Ragnar Bjornson, and if he subsequently has a daughter called Agnetha, she will be Agnetha Ragnarsdottir. If Agnetha meets and marries a nice bloke called Anders, then their son would be Peter Anderson, and their daughter would be Malia Andersdottir, and so on.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Pirate Party!

So are we to expect hoards of armoured, axe-wielding blonde invaders to our shores again in the not too distant future?

You seem to be confusing Vikings and Pirates?

Pirates are the ones with the floppy hats, frock coats, pistols and cutlasses, who go Ah-Haah a lot.

Uber's robo-truck makes first delivery of ... Budweiser in Colorado

Alister Silver badge

Until the truck can park the trailer in the loading bay at it's destination, you can't say it "delivered" anything, it just transported it from point A to point B.

And for any proper delivery vehicle, like for instance a supermarket truck, it's the driver who unloads the cages at each drop off. Let's see your Uber truck do that!

Aussie trams equivalent to 30 skateboarding rhinos

Alister Silver badge

Re: "120 cycling Boris Johnsons"

How many Trumps is that?

Depends whether Boris had Beans for Breakfast...

Musk outlines plans for Mars

Alister Silver badge

"to make sure we know how to land without adding a crater," Musk said.

Not a reference to the Schiaparelli lander in any way, honest.

DNS devastation: Top websites whacked offline as Dyn dies again

Alister Silver badge

Re: Except...

...with really long TTLs, how do you manage regional or global load balancing? Failovers? Switching records in general? Migrations?

You can do it by not using DNS to switch between sites. Instead you have one or more load balancers with fixed IPs which you point the DNS at, and then redirect the traffic to the sites and servers as you want.

We do DR failover this way, as well as load balancing and migrations between hosting environments.

There is a slightly increased latency, obviously, but not enough to impact normal traffic.

DeepMind boffins are trying to help robots escape The Matrix and learn for themselves in the real world

Alister Silver badge

Re: Where are these projects that scare the Zuck out of Bill Gates & Elon Musk???

"Soon computers will be routinely inventing, and it may only be a matter of time until computers are responsible for most innovation," Abbott said. "To optimize innovation – and the positive impact this will have on our economies – it is critical that we extend the laws around inventorship to include computers."

Dear God, why would you possibly think that removing responsibility for innovation from humans is a positive thing? Or that innovation is somehow something that needs replacing with a machine analogue?

Tell you what, lets replace all the intellectual professions with computers, and all the professions that require physical labour with machinery, and watch the human race stagnate and die.

DARPA unveils robot co-pilot

Alister Silver badge

Re: Darpa: we have a new autopilot development

Press corps: what is it?

It's a group of journalists or correspondents invited to attend an important event, but that's not important right now.

This speech recognition code is 'just as good' as a pro transcriber

Alister Silver badge

I remember playing with Microsoft's Speech SDK in the early noughties.

SAPI 5.1 I think it was, and it was pretty good at Text-to-Speech, but the Speech Recognition Engine was.. umm... interesting... to work with at that point.

It was however possible to fudge it so that what it heard was recognised - even if it wasn't what you actually said!

No, Russia is not tapping into Syria's undersea internet cables

Alister Silver badge

... assuming you've managed to get through around a metre of armoured sheaths of various materials first.

Where do you get that idea from?

AFAIK, a modern submerged communications cable is about 30mm in diameter including the armour sheathing.

Apple's car is driving nowhere

Alister Silver badge

So all the time, and above all, money that the various governments have been spending on preparing for, and debating the issues surrounding, autonomous vehicles, has been wasted, due to the inflated claims of Google et al.

HPE UK overlord lines up sales generals, gives ra ra speech

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Translation


Thank you!

Would you consider writing an English - BizSpeak Dictionary?

I'm sure it would sell.

Puny human sailors still needed... until drone machine learning tech catches up

Alister Silver badge

Looking at the photo of HMS Forth, I don't know about "Manned" but it's definitely masculine...

Dell to reveal 'micro data centres' for outdoor use

Alister Silver badge

96 compute nodes in a home lab? Surely you jest?

Thankfully yes.

I have an APC 1400KVA UPS, 2 x Dell PE860, 2 x Dell R210, 1 x HP DL360G, a Catalyst 24 port, an ASA 5510, oh, and a KVM switch all in a 42U rack in the cellar.

This may be excessive, but I don't care :)

Alister Silver badge

the temperature alert will appear on the flat-screen in the hall that serves as your house-wide monitoring platform

Hmm... so you've been in my house, then?


Alister Silver badge

At last, a proper shed for server enthusiasts!

No longer will I have to run my 96node compute array in the cellar next to the wine-rack, with all the spiders...

Now I can put a shiny "micro data centre" in the garden, next to the fish pond. I'm sure my neighbours will be impressed.

The wife might not like me digging up the flower beds to lay the power and connectivity, of course, but hey, they needed digging over anyway...

The UK's 'Universal Credit mega cockup was the coalition's NPfIT' - Margaret Hodge

Alister Silver badge

Scary to say, she seems to be talking some sense about civil service accountability, and the unrealistic targets for IT projects.

Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi you, you're fired: Apple sacks staff secretly snapping shoppers

Alister Silver badge

if you hand in a Mac for repair the form you fill in on a tablet they give you asks you to give them your user password.

Well, yeah, otherwise they can't do a lot with it, can they?

There isn't some secret Apple Genius login which gives them access to all Macs, they need your password to get into it.


This isn't just an Apple thing, I've lost count of the number of users who hand me a tablet / phone / laptop to fix and wander off without telling me their PIN / Password. If I can't get into it, I can't fix it!


Euro politicians are hyping the terror threat to steal your privacy

Alister Silver badge

“Privacy is a basic right in European law. It is not in US law. In the US, companies cannot access their customers email addresses. In fact, we find that idea appalling, that you could access your customers' emails. It’s like walking into your bedroom.”

I don't understand the above quote, at all. It seems to be suggesting that Europe has privacy laws, but in the US where there are no privacy laws, customers' email addresses are private, but in Europe they aren't?

GlobalSign screw-up cancels top websites' HTTPS certificates

Alister Silver badge

Not Dropbox, it uses DigiCert CA - unless they are a GlobalSign subsidiary, but it doesn't show in the chain.

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