* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

ProtonMail still under attack by DDoS bombardment

Alister Silver badge

The chances are this attack is sponsored / carried out by one or other of the five-eyes. End-to-end encryption! not allowed!

Licence to snoop: Ipso facto, crypto embargo? Draft Investigatory Powers bill lands

Alister Silver badge

So, who's going to pay for the ISPs to store all this data then?

To the best of my knowledge they don't, at the moment either log or store http(/s) requests for each subscriber, so to implement this will require some serious outlay in equipment and storage.

Man hires 'court hacker' on Craigslist ... who turned out to be a cop

Alister Silver badge

Landis pleaded guilty to felony counts of computer trespass, tampering with public records, and unlawful use of a computer.


He didn't do any of that, in fact nobody did, he just tried (unsuccessfully) to hire someone else to do it?

He could be convicted of intent, but surely that's a different charge?

Volkswagen: 800,000 of our cars may have cheated in CO2 tests

Alister Silver badge

Re: Hint - time to blame cheap offshore programmers?

Careful, if governments get the idea that beer contributes to global warming, we're all in the shit.

No, no, no! Shit is a proven contributor to global warming, you must not end up with more of that.

Met makes fourth TalkTalk arrest, this time a London teen

Alister Silver badge

Are all these teenagers actually just contributors to the DDOS - maybe they were amateur users of LOIC?

It certainly feels like low-hanging fruit is being plucked.

Spanish town trumpets 'Clitoris Festival' thanks to Google snafu

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Re: What's "cheapskate" in Galician?

Exactly, no-one should be using Google translate for official documents (or websites), it just isn't clever enough yet to deal with the myriad of variations in human language.

And people misuse it without checking what it is the algorithms think they are translating, too.


TalkTalk downplays extent of breach damage, gives extra details

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Re: Luhn Check to Retrieve card details

believe PCI-DSS should be much more restrictive than it currently is and not allow masked details to be included in the same detail as the encrypted card number as you are basically making breaking the encryption easier.

I think you are misunderstanding.

The encryption is applied to the stored data, which is only the first 6 and last 4 digits. There (should be) no circumstance where the full card number is stored in any format.

Whether Talk Talk followed this is, of course, open for discussion.

'Govt will not pass laws to ban encryption' – Baroness Shields

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Re: No one planned to ban encryption

Few people have a legitimate need for encryption so it's a lot of noise over nothing.

A-Huh. So only a few people use credit cards, or have confidential data? So you'd be quite happy for anyone to be able to access all your bank details and personal information?

UK.gov plans to legislate on smut filters after EU net neutrality ruling

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These providers will not be able to block or throttle traffic in their networks or give priority to some particular content or services in exchange for payment.

To be fair, the telling phrase is that one in bold, and shouldn't have any impact on government imposed filtering, which (should) not be driven by commercial interests.

Bacon can kill: Official

Alister Silver badge

Re: @Zog: {Sigh}

Btw rivers and canals are much nicer to cycle along than roads, especially in London.

If a little damper, and more effort due to the drag of the water...

Mystery object re-entering atmosphere may be Apollo booster

Alister Silver badge

Re: @Alister

@ Graham Marsden, Yep, having waited so long for the sequel to appear, I was very disappointed with the eventual release, far too much psychobabble and soap opera. When you think of the classic hard sci-fi that Clarke had previously produced, the follow-up to Rama could have been so good :-(

Alister Silver badge

So, scientists have discovered what appears to be a cylindrical body, which when measured, appears to be hollow, rapidly approaching the Earth from space...

I for one would like to welcome our Raman visitors,

and look forward to the next two...

It's all Me, Me, Me! in Doctor Who's The Woman Who Lived but what of Clara's fate?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Osgood is back !

Osgood got killed off by Missy last season, so why is she back now?

I mean, I always liked Osgood and was disappointed when she was killed, but you can't just blatantly ignore it and shove her back on next time you want to do a UNIT episode.

I'm guessing that they will retcon it so that the Osgood who Missy killed was the Zygon one, and not the human one.

TalkTalk plays 'no legal obligation' card on encryption – fails to think of the children (read: its customers)

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Journalists reporting on this and other recent cases seem to think that the PCI-DSS is a set of strict Regulations, all of which must be met to gain PCI compliance,

This is not actually the case, PCI-DSS is a collection of recommendations for best practice, but they are not "laws", and in fact so long as a valid reason can be given and noted in the risk register, most of these recommendations can be set aside.

The classic case is in the matter of SSL cypher suites. If you follow PCI-DSS to the letter, and turn off all the cypher suites that are considered insecure, then a large percentage of the internet would be unable to browse your website, only those with the newest browsers and operating systems which support the newest cypher suites would be able to make a secure connection.

Curiously, one PCI audit we had, the QA wanted to fail the us because the firewall rules allowed https connections to the load balancer from any IP - this is a public facing website!!

None of this excuses how TalkTalk have handled this, though, just thought it worth setting the record straight.

Fully working U-Boat Enigma machine sells for $365,000

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I hate to disappoint the owner but I think the manufacturer stopped producing patches for the known vulnerabilities long ago.

Wait, what!! They never said anything about vulnerabilities when they sold it??

Alister Silver badge

Purely as an academic exercise, I wonder how long it would take a standard desktop PC running an emulated bombe to crack and decrypt something encoded with this machine.

Would it be a matter of hours, minutes, or seconds?

Bacon as deadly as cigarettes and asbestos

Alister Silver badge

Re: Another balancing article from the 'Fail

On the very same day, the 'Fail runs an article about a consultant gastro-enterologist saying that he recommends the eating of red meat. Which article are we to believe?

Ah, this is what they'd like you to call "balanced journalism"...

How to stop ICANN becoming FIFA of the internet – a plan forms

Alister Silver badge

How to stop ICANN becoming FIFA of the internet

Promise never to employ Sepp Blatter?

UK/China cyber security deal: National security attacks still OK, it seems

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The Register has not received any explanation of what the particular mechanism for the "high-level security dialogue" will be.

64bit RC4 cypher...

or possibly ROT13


Post-pub schnellnosh neckfiller: Currywurst

Alister Silver badge

Sausage jokes are the würst.

Amazon Echo: We put Jeff Bezos' always-on microphone-speaker in a Reg family home

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I want one with Majel Barrett's voice, definitely.

Minicab-hailing app Uber is lawful – UK High Court

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Re: some would say the taxi meter is the device that tells you the cost of the journey

Originally, a "taxi" was an abbreviation of taximeter cab, as in "a cab with a device that measures the charge".

I always thought it was originally a taxidermy cab - as in "a cab in which you get well and truly stuffed"

Wheels come off parents' plan to dub sprog 'Mini Cooper'

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There are various Celebrity parents who should have been blocked from naming their children as they did, the Geldof's for instance have three daughters, Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Pixie...

But surely the worst have to be "Future" or "Royal Reign" as daughters names?

Radio wave gun zaps drones out of the sky – and it's perfectly legal*

Alister Silver badge

Firmware mods + RF Amplifier and high gain antenna.

Yes but that's why the proposed legislation is so stupid, the firmware itself doesn't make much difference, you can strap a hi-gain antenna or an amp to any existing router with stock firmware.

Alister Silver badge


Yes, I understand that, but whether they are licensed or not isn't the point, there's still a contradiction.

The FCC are trying to stop the installation of custom firmware on WiFi routers, their stated reason being the possible interference if the firmware is used to make the router transmit out-of-band.

However no amount of firmware mods can make a WiFi router transmit at the sort of power levels that could cause any widespread disruption - at most you'll get a few milliwatts out the end of it, whereas this "gun" must be transmitting at Kilowatt or even Megawatt levels to achieve the stated result, and yet it's described as "harmless".

Alister Silver badge

The DroneDefender emits a harmless cone of radio waves that interfere with GPS and signals on the industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio bands,

Someone should tell the FCC that the ISM bands are apparently OK to disrupt - but you mustn't do it with a WiFi router's firmware...

UK's Lloyds Banking Group scrambles to patch account-snooping security hole

Alister Silver badge

Re: So a load of customers had their personal details put into the public domain ....


So a load of customers had their personal details put into the public domain

Um no, not into the public domain, just accessible if you were able to set up a matching account.

There should be a control of what information Banks are allowed to collect and store

I rather think banks probably do need to collect and store name, address and account details for their customers, otherwise it would be quite difficult for them to identify the customer's accounts.

Maybe if customers didn't splash their names, dates of birth and addresses all over social media, it would make life a bit more difficult for those with criminal intent.

However, that doesn't excuse the bank's imbecility in linking accounts between the two businesses.

Internet daddy Vint Cerf blasts FCC's plan to ban Wi-Fi router code mods

Alister Silver badge

The regulator is worried that, by allowing people to load their own software on these gadgets, they can reprogram the radio hardware to broadcast on any frequency they like

Is this really a problem at the moment?

Obviously it's not the sort of thing that many will admit to - even if they do it - but I've never heard of anyone re-programming the radio, custom firmware is more about improving the security and in a lot of cases reliability of proprietary hardware.

You can hack a PC just by looking at it, say 3M and HP

Alister Silver badge

the unintended consequence of making it harder to gather around a PC to check out that really funny new thing on YouTube.

...and the further unintended consequence that the number of internal emails suddenly rises, as people send each other the link to the new You Tube Funny, instead of gathering round one notebook...

US Navy grabs old-fashioned sextants amid hacker attack fears

Alister Silver badge

calculations ... handled by computers

Ha, they'll be Chinese I-Ching calculators, so the Lat / Long will always come out as "A Suffusion of Yellow"

Dry those eyes, ad blockers are unlikely to kill the internet

Alister Silver badge

Re: The cognizant user ...

I *know* where to find cheese, tampons, razor blades and lightbulbs. I don't eat fast-"food".

That's a fascinating diet, but don't you find the razor blades get stuck between your teeth?

Google and pals launch Accelerated Mobile Pages project

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Re: Sigh...

The problem, deep down, is that this wretched combo has become an ungodly mess of a hack on a kludge on a workaround on a tech that wasn't meant to do any of it.

On the contrary, I would say that HTML was designed to do exactly what it is doing every day on the web - to present information and media and provide linking between documents. Unfortunately, it's the way it is being implemented, and all the add-on cruft, that is the problem.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Dumb, dumb, DUMB.

I agree with you about web optimisation of graphics, however, I don't agree with this sentence:

Javascript allows a lot of flexibility regarding menu structures and is relatively easy for a noob to pull off. There is the potential here that they could lock people out of web design if they're not careful

To suggest that removing Javascript would lock people out of web design is nonsense, in my view. Like any programming language, If you want to code web sites, you should learn how to do it correctly, not just take easy shortcuts.

There are a lot of badly written websites out there because cutting and pasting chunks of Javascript is easy, instead of taking the time to design and build the functionality properly.

Assange™ offered 'plans for escape by flying fox to Harrods'

Alister Silver badge

Swedish laws and Swedish justice surely?

No, Britain's continued interest is due to Assange jumping bail and fleeing British justice. And there's no shadow of a doubt about his guilt on those charges either. The Swedes can have him when he's served his time for those offences.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "surveilled"

the Oxford English dictionary, sir, does not agree with you.

Pah, what do they know! They're the ones considering allowing "he should of" / "he could of" into the dictionary. Fuckwits!

Alister Silver badge

Like how within a few years they'd forgotten about the USSR wanting to put missiles in Cuba in response to their putting them in Turkey...

You're really asking me to compare anything that Assange has done with the Cuban missile crisis?


Alister Silver badge

Assange Who?

Oh yes, that paranoid idiot who jumped bail, left all his mates out of pocket, and is hiding in a foreign embassy.

I bet even the Merkins have nearly forgotten him by now, he's an irrelevance.

US Treasury: How did ISIS get your trucks? Toyota: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Alister Silver badge

Re: Hmmmm, This Story's Timing ....

Did VW's PR have anything to do with the release of this story...?

No, but the VW story, and this one, have appeared just at the time the US are debating trade agreements and foreign imports. The US car makers lobby must be loving it - or steering it...

White House 'deeply disappointed' by Europe outlawing Silicon Valley

Alister Silver badge

Wonder when EU will be considered soon another terrorist country to pacify and democratize. :)

Well, given that you are spelling democratise with a "z" I would say it's already too late for you...


Safe Harbour ruled INVALID: Facebook 'n' pals' data slurp at risk

Alister Silver badge

Re: Am I the only one ...

.. that expects business to carry on exactly as usual?

Um... well I think you may be in a minority.

Certainly any ruling which reflects the damning statement transfer of the data of Facebook’s European subscribers to the US should be suspended on the grounds that that country does not afford an adequate level of protection of personal data.” is going to have serious repercussions.

My employers will definitely be looking closely at this, as we deal with a lot of data for local government, and we already have to go through a rigorous assessment of how we handle and transfer that data. This will only make things worse.

Search engine can find the VPN that NUCLEAR PLANT boss DIDN'T KNOW was there - report

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm puzzled as well

My point was not that the failure was when the control systems were originally designed; if something was then "unthinkable" then no - one can sensibly be blamed for not thinking it. The failure was later, when someone decided the connection to a public network was a good idea. They were entering the realm of Donald Rumsfeldt's "unknown unknowns" and should have though long and hard think about some of the possible implications; it was at that stage that any penny - pinching occured.

Ah, right, sorry, I misunderstood your point.

I agree completely, that whoever thought connecting such infrastructure to the internet without very strict safeguards was a fool, or just incompetent, or, as you say, working to an unrealistic budget.

Sadly, it's normally a decree from on high, from someone with no understanding of the ramifications, which causes these things to happen.

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm puzzled as well

I don't want to trigger an argument about public versus private ownership but there has to be a real possibility that simple commercial pressures meant that the connectivity was to the minimum practicable standard (i.e. the cheapest) rather than one that was properly fit for purpose; public ownership might have been less concerned about cost considerations, assuming of course that the risks were understood.

I think you are missing the point made earlier by James Metcalf, and one that has been increasingly forgotten: When the control systems were built, the idea that anyone would be daft enough to connect them to a network where members of the public could access them was unthinkable - in part because such a network didn't exist, and was (at the time) the merest science-fiction.

So it's not a question of being built down to a price, it's simply a (wholly understandable) failure of imagination.

In exactly the same way, the protocols used for the internet such as TCP/IP, DNS, SMTP were never built with security in mind, simply because nobody considered the possibility that these things could be used maliciously.

Alister Silver badge

my company's software had tried to shut down East Anglia.

Would anyone have noticed?


Doctor Who's Under the Lake splits Reg scribes: This Alien homage thing – good or bad?

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Re: Under the Lake?

if you understand that lake, loch and lough are all mispronounciations of the same historic word,

You forgot Llyn.

Alister Silver badge

whats an invalid parent - one in a care home?

He's just trying to say Apple are Bastards, without actually saying "Apple are Bastards"

Sensitive Virgin Media web pages still stuck on weak crypto software

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Re: I cannot believe

Finding the typo in the config 5-100 mins.

That one made me chuckle, have one of these >>

Apple files patent for long-rumoured iRing-type bling

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an annular member defining an aperture therethrough that is sized for receipt therein of a first finger of a user

Wow... That's a great description.

Not sure it's patentable though, I seem to recall seeing something similar before...

The Steve Jobs of supercomputers: We remember Seymour Cray

Alister Silver badge

Unfair comparison

Like two previous posters, I feel it is a disservice to compare Cray to Jobs.

Jobs was a great salesman, but not a designer or builder, whereas Cray was all three.

The Cray legacy is all down to one man, who designed, built, sold and evangelised his products. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to produce, and he himself (with assistance) built, tested and refined the product until it did what he wanted.

The Apple legacy is much more of a dispersed effort, with Jobs as the figurehead. Jobs knew what he wanted the end product to be, but the realisation of that vision was done by other people.

Three mobile data network GOES TITSUP across Blighty

Alister Silver badge

Re: Doesn't seem to be a national problem

Surely the people in the North of the country communicate by carrier pigeon,

Don't be daft, we use pigeons for racing...

MYSTERY PARTICLE BLASTS from Ceres strike NASA probe Dawn

Alister Silver badge

Re: And yet NOBODY has spoken the truth about this new data

what about the telepathic terrorists?

Oh, you mean Scientologists...

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