* Posts by Robert Helpmann??

2066 posts • joined 31 May 2011

Will this biz be poutine up the cash? Hackers demand dosh to not leak stolen patient records

Robert Helpmann??
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Pint

Re: "poutine up the cash?"

...there is someone at El Reg whose entire job is just to come up with the worst puns ever. That person needs to be taken out behind the pub and slapped...

You do whatever you want, but I'll buy them a round or two for the same reason. Maybe between us we will make that person happy.

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By Jove! Astroboffins spot 12 new spanking moons around Jupiter

Robert Helpmann??
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Headmaster

Re: What is a moon ?

The IAU definition of planet works fine for purposes of of some scientific fields but not for others and that is its weakness. It is of an ad hoc nature and lacks general utility. Much better would be to pare down the definition to something along the lines of "a planet is a non-stellar object orbiting a stellar object" and then work on classification of the different types of planets much in the way that stellar objects have been.

Even more telling, there is no IAU definition of moon.

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‘Elders of the Internet’ apologise for social media, recommend Trump filters to fix it

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: There's something wrong with social media

Maybe 500 words. If you can't put together a well discussed argument then stick to shouting in the road.

With 140 words, give or take, you can put together a sonnet. Then again, the internet has thoroughly disproved the infinite monkey theorem, so that really doesn't offer much hope... Perhaps a platform that forces people to post in verse might be worth a shot just the same.

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Crooks swipe plutonium, cesium from US govt nuke wranglers' car. And yes, it's still missing

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Uh, no.

People who worked on the Manhattan Project back in the 1940, doing things in a hurry without modern Elf and Safety rules got Pu in cuts and grazes, inhaled and ingested Pu particles etc. and they were mostly OK decades later.

The US government has a long history of saying everything is fine concerning health issues (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9314220) and decades later admitting it was slightly less so (https://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/29/us/us-acknowledges-radiation-killed-weapons-workers.html). The examples happen to be pertinent to the subject at hand, but are definitely not isolated.

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What can $10 stretch to these days? Lunch... or access to international airport security systems

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Unfortunately there are only so many pet rabbits one can hunt and eat in Surbiton.

That still leaves a variety of other protein on the hoof or wing (roof rabbit, squab and various other CMOT Dibbler meatonnastick delicacies). You aren't really hungry if you aren't willing to eat it.

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Like my new wheels? All I did was squash a bug, and they gave me $72k

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Important Information

The article left out some arguably important information. How many hackers earned a piece of that $11.7m pie? How many folks are able to make a living from this kind of work? How many are just earning a little extra on the side? It's certainly good news that this bit of the economy is growing, but is it made up of a bunch of part-timers or well-paid workers? We have a good idea of who the customers are but not of the providers.

Which workers were winning welcome wages?

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I see you're trying to leak a file! US military seeks Clippy-like AI to stop future Snowdens

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

What already went wrong?

Usually when you see a story like this, it is in reaction to something having gone wrong. Massive changes were put into place post-Snowden. Similarly, others were implemented after different breaches and attempted breaches occurred. The DoD does not have a great record when it comes to proactively addressing threats of this nature, so it makes me wonder what happened and how much of it will we find out about.

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US taxman wants AI to do the security checks it seemingly can't do itself

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: @ James 51

"Because you think that Apple, Google, Microsoft and Uber are paying their fair share of tax ?"

Actually no, the law says they are.

Seems to me you two are talking past each other. There is a consistent difference between legal and fair and this is just one example among many. But don't be deluded for one moment into thinking that if corporations that currently employ these very well known legal loopholes to dodge taxes were suddenly forced or enticed to pay their "fair share" that the money would go anywhere near school systems. It would go straight to the interests of the politicians who are currently protecting their corporate buddies.

Look how the tobacco settlement played out in the US. It was sold to the public as restitution for past wrongs to be applied to victims past, present and future but most of the money went to the general fund. The on-shoring taxes is not even being played as anything other than a way to bring money into the US as a whole, but it really means it will go to those better connected than others. I lay odds that a significant portion would be returned in one way or another to those being "taxed" in such a fashion.

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An $18m supercomputer to simulate brains of mice in the land of Swiss cheese. How apt, HPE

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Is it legitimate to ask

On the one hand even our modern advances only highlight just how stupendously amazing the natural world is... On the other, one can argue that our endeavours have been going on for just under 100 years...

And on the gripping hand, maybe we have been using the wrong tools to go about this. This seems to be a bit like using a claw hammer as a screw driver. While it may eventually get the job done, it's not really intended for that use. I hate to throw out buzzwords, but since the calculations for this sort of work go up exponentially as the simulations become more complex, wouldn't leasing some quantum computing time make sense for this kind of work? Isn't this the sort of scenario quantum computing is being pitched for?

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Astroboffins spy the brightest quasar that lit the universe's dark ages

Robert Helpmann??
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Headmaster

Re: A long, long time ago

Shouldn't that be "shot", past tense?

Possibly both. Language doesn't work well with these time scales. What is being observed today took place long in the past, but at the core of the quasar is a black hole that is still in existence today. If there is any gas around for it to play with, then it probably is still blowing plasma like there's no tomorrow... but maybe it took up knitting instead. It is getting quite up there in age after all.

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Microsoft might not support Windows XP any more, but GandCrab v4.1 ransomware does

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Simply blocking ports 445, 137 and 138 using a firewall would help.

Help, maybe, but that should be done anyway for your network perimeter and doesn't do much good for local network use given what those ports are used for. Once this thing gets past the hard outer shell of a network, it will be able to feast on the soft parts unimpeded. As the implementation allows it to spread to air-gapped systems (per the article), I wouldn't think concentrating on perimeter security is going to do too much good.

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AI bots suck at marking written essays, not too shabby at old Atari games, and more...

Robert Helpmann??
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Headmaster

Re: sorry, but I have to do this . . . .

I -see- have seen this mistake a lot lately.

FTFY

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And in current affairs: Rogue raccoon blacks out city power grid after shocking misstep

Robert Helpmann??
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Coat

Re: Furry Vengence

Raccoons and squirrels covertly working for the Amish Al Qaeda.

You mean Es Fundament?

Mine's the one concealing a live opossum attack squad.

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Uh-oh. Boffins say most Android apps can slurp your screen – and you wouldn't even know it

Robert Helpmann??
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Headmaster

Re: Boffin

Why Boffin? Because it's the Register!

REF: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/30/proper_english_guide/

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US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Book burning Nazis

I think you can only say that if a) you don't know anything about communism and/or b) you don't know anything about the Sermon on the Mount.

Passing familiarity with Anabaptist thinking (e.g. Bruderhof communities) would indicate there are others who would disagree with you on this point.

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IBM wins five-year whole-of-government deal with Australia

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Buzzword Bingo

...all today’s best buzzwords - quantum, blockchain and AI.

What, there's no IoT, digital detox, microservice or serverless architecture, something/everything/anything as a service (XaaS), dark data, self-service analytics? For that much money, I would expect IBM to go really, really big. Three buzzwords is hardly enough to get out of bed for.

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Smash-hit game Fortnite is dangerous... for cheaters: Tools found laced with malware

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Can't feel too upset about this

What is the point, really, of reading a book to improve your chances of winning, when the only thing you get from winning is satisfaction and kudos and money?

This is a serious question. It seems to be rife in gaming, as far as I can tell - people play for a while and as soon as they get stuck, they buy a book or pay for lessons. Call me old-fashioned, but it seems to take the point away from the whole thing.

The oldest books on Chess predate the modern form by several hundred years. Some of the oldest surviving examples of dice are weighted. People have always sought to have a competitive advantage over others. What is perceived as fair depends to a large degree on culture, it would seem, but that it will happen is a given, the motivations are many and how it should be handled is a question as old as human nature.

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New Android P beta is 'very close', 'near-final' but also just 'early'

Robert Helpmann??
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Unhappy

Re: huh... just got Oreo...

Odd for Verizon to update a phone *twice* in it's lifetime.

I know what you mean. In fact, the reason I switched to a Google phone was because Verizon never updated anything other than how much we were charged. Unfortunately, while Google may roll out patches on a regular basis, they have left some arguably serious issues untouched for almost as long as Verizon. I have an old phone or two to play with. I might have to experiment with a roll-your-own solution.

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Budget hotel chain, UK political party, Monzo Bank, Patreon caught in Typeform database hack

Robert Helpmann??
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Big Brother

Re: We take the security of our data seriously...

It's almost impossible to buy goods or services these days without being harried to provide feedback... I'm sure this is just the tip of an iceberg.

Every time you are asked for your information in response to making a purchase or visiting a web site, say "It's just the tip!" to generate an accurate mental image of what is going on.

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IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

This is everything that is wrong with big companies. Treating the CEO like they are a god.

I don't know about treating CEOs as if they were gods, but I finally got to watch The Death of Stalin last weekend and for some reason this memo reminded me of that.

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Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: I thought of the child(ren)

The safe option would be to shoot a single warning shot ...at an upward angle. ... [with] no risk of injury to innocent passers by.

This is not true and is bad advice on a number of levels. First, what goes up comes down just as hard. While the bullet might lose a little momentum from hitting the door and also from being deformed from the impact, to say there is no risk of injury is incorrect. Once the gun is discharged, there is risk in any populated area.

Second, there was already a warning, several actually, which the attacker chose to ignore. Wasting ammunition in a situation where it will be needed imminently and endangering other people (see first point) for the equivalent of shouting "I really. really mean it" doesn't sound like a particularly good approach.

Third, don't pull the trigger unless you intend to do the damage. If you are in a situation of this nature, don't play around. Do what is needed and be done with it.

Finally, training is one thing, the real world is something else again. It's not like a video game where you can just keep playing until you get it right. She was facing a literal threat to her life and to her child and at the same time had to know the consequences of discharging her weapon were going to be high. Many, many people who have been put in emergency situations fail spectacularly the first time. She did not.

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Robert Helpmann??
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Joke

Re: Isn't he supposed to be ...

..under the influence of US "immigration" procedures.

Good point! They will probably throw some immigration charges against him too as I am sure there's nothing on the visa forms that involve deranged kidnapping attempt as a reason for visiting the country.

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Not OK Google: Massive outage turns smart home kit utterly dumb

Robert Helpmann??
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Mushroom

Re: Hmmmm

Mañana translates into English as "not today". Google already have that down. When I read the bit about "We’ve identified a fix for the issue ... and it will be automatically rolled out over the next 6 hours," my first thought was how they had identified the fix to an issue that made Pixel 2 XL phones unusable as phones and waited about 6 months before pushing it out (look up Pixel 2 proximity sensor for background). How do you translate "6 hours" into Spanish for similar impact?

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Israel cyber chief's 'pants' analogy for password security deemed, well, 'pants'

Robert Helpmann??
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Boffin

Re: passwords should be treated like underpants

How do you do the 180-degrees word flip?

/ɯoɔ˙ʇxǝʇuʍopǝpᴉsdn˙ʍʍʍ//:dʇʇɥ

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UK Foreign Office offers Assange a doctor if he leaves Ecuador embassy

Robert Helpmann??
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Joke

Re: Er wot?

Sometimes I think El Reg’s commentards are speaking a foreign language.

Yes, there's English, Bad English and whatever it is the English speak.

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Get a grip, literally: Clumsy robots can't nab humans' jobs just yet

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Screw the people this will put out of work then.

I do believe there will be one point where humans will have next to nothing to do anymore, because we will have made robots capable of doing it all.

I think this is the point where human nature pushes us in a different direction. Eventually boredom will trump greed and laziness. Not for everyone, but for many. While I am sure that some bored souls will become destructive (based on plenty of historical data), I am equally sure that the need to find a meaningful existence will push some of us and our descendants to figure something out. By that point, the solution to this might simply be to ask our robot overlords/serfs for a worthwhile activity.

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'Black hat' extortionist thrown back in the clink after Yelp-slamming biz

Robert Helpmann??
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Paris Hilton

Bonehead Award

When someone is locked up, it is normally to protect society from them. In this case, it is arguably to protect the perp from himself. While the sentence is fairly harsh, I think he went out of the way to demonstrate that he was never going to stop and that he was never not going to get caught. Basically, it was as if he had a checklist of how to piss off a judge and he managed to add a few boxes.

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Happy birthday, you lumbering MS-DOS-based mess: Windows 98 turns 20 today

Robert Helpmann??
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Devil

Re: The ONLY things going for it were

ME was like having somebody stamp on your balls, then the jaw, then the hand...

ME is one of the few Windows OSes I never have had to support professionally (from Windows 2 to current iterations). I did get on it once at my in-laws'. They had an issue and since I was handy they asked if I would have a look. I stopped looking when I started to develop an eye twitch.

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So you're doing an IoT project. Cute. Let's start with the basics: Security

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

How do you solve a problem like IoT, eh?

Some vendors solve it by sharing private keys across thousands of devices. That is the wrong answer.

No, I have nothing to add to this, but it bears repeating.

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Meet TLBleed: A crypto-key-leaking CPU attack that Intel reckons we shouldn't worry about

Robert Helpmann??
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Thumb Up

Re: Core issues

I'm assuming you're talking about the Intel Management Engine.

Yes! That is exactly it! I was taking a quick break while doing some unscheduled work on the weekend and didn't have time to dig it up.

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Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Core issues

As the paper notes, exactly how the TLBs work isn't fully documented... This is common: Intel won't tell you...

Security through obscurity is in itself a security concern. I seem to recall Joanna Rutkowska (from the group that created Qubes OS) talking about Intel having a part of their processor design that should be considered untrusted as Intel would not share the details of what exactly it did or how it did it.

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A volt out of the blue: Phone batteries reveal what you typed and read

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: I swear I knew from the headline ...

The first thing I thought of that this could be used for is a supply chain attack on burner phones. This sort of thing isn't easily implemented and there are other easier routes for most purposes. So if it or similar is going to be used, it requires a long setup. Hardware attacks get around most software defenses. Perhaps coupled with a watering hole attack, this might be useful in some cases where malware can't be expected to get the job done.

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India tells its banks to get Windows XP off ATMs – in 2019!

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Question?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

This is exactly the attitude that I encountered with NationsBank and later Bank of America after their merger which involved switching from OS/2 and a Linux variant to Windows. It was... traumatic. Banks are about profit first and stability a very close second. Customers are on the list too, somewhere.

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Why the 'feudal' tech monopolies run rings around competition watchdogs

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Never buy a pig in a poke...

I don't know how my valuable my personal data is today, because Google and Facebook are doing the monetising.

Or in this case, don't sell or be one. This is an excellent but oft-overlooked point. A lot of folks point out that if you are getting it for free, you are the product, but this is more like it. We are selling very valuable information for the digital equivalent of a few glass beads and in some cases we are even persuaded to hand the beads back with interest.

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Hardened Azure logins, softened containers, leaky encrypted images on Macs – and more

Robert Helpmann??
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FAIL

Re: And it seems that something is wrong with that McAfee

My enemies maged [sic] to spike something that i ingested. However, I am more difficult to kill than anyone can possibly imagine.

1) He is his own worst enemy.

2) Just because he lacks imagination does not mean he won't eventually get it right.

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Software engineer fired, shut out of office for three weeks by machine

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Similar but not

I got overpaid by the payroll system.

My experience balances yours, then. I wasn't getting paid as a contractor after having transitioned to a new company when the contract was awarded to them. It was a chaotic transition, so I figured that I could live through a few weeks and they would sort it out and give back pay. I had filled out all the paperwork and been sent offer and confirmation letters. My manager had asked up the chain and everyone said everything was sorted... until the next pay day came and I still didn't get paid.

HR had totally screwed up and not entered me into their system. According to them, I was not legally an employee. They were quite panicked about it too as I was the only person at the time who could perform the role and they did not want to admit to the government they had been allowing someone who was technically not their employee to access government systems.

They eventually gave me back pay and a reasonable-ish bonus, but the damage had been done. I had become convinced that the contracting company was incompetent and had other issues with the position. I found another job somewhere else. A shame, too, as I thoroughly enjoyed the work and the folks I supported.

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Smyte users not smitten with Twitter: APIs killed minutes after biz gobble

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Sounds like the due dilligence failure was before the aquisition.

The way I read that was they realized prior to the acquisition that they would have to cut off the service from existing customers if they went ahead with things. They knew what they were doing well in advance and could have planned for it. They then "made the difficult decision to wind things down right away” which included giving zero shits about the people with whom there were preexisting contracts and obligations and otherwise acting like complete jerks.

To summarize: the plan was to buy the property, throw out everyone else and then let the lawyers sort out the mess. Actually, it doesn't sound such a difficult decision when you put it like that.

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Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally

Robert Helpmann??
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Paris Hilton

The fate of the trainee?

The fate of the trainee? Nobody knows!

It was in a lift that this happened, yes?

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Cops: Autonomous Uber driver may have been streaming The Voice before death crash

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

You had just one job!

The safety driver's job is... well, the clue is in the title isn't it?

To which I reply "autopilot".

All joking aside, simply based on what I have seen and read concerning this very tragic case I think charges should be brought. I am also interested in some of the back-story. Did Uber review tapes after each run and did this or any other driver behave in a similar manner? Uber has a long history of shirking their legal and social obligations, so it seems reasonable to look into their role in this rather than accept their shifting all blame onto the so-called safety driver alone.

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BOFH: Is everybody ready for the meeting? Grab a crayon – let's get technical

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: obligitory

And on the top rungs of the corporate ladder we find Type A and Type B Users* who have the very best kit but require someone else to operate it for them.

* A/B-Users

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IBM’s McAfee-as-a-service cloudy antivirus wobbled for nearly a day

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Wha' ha' happened was...

Surely the scale of the issue (27 data centres) would be beyond what a single ePO instance...

Just taking a guess that it was a single ePO server that had the issue from this statement:

"...engineers with Compute Infrastructure identified a database issue that necessitated the restoration of a key update repository for McAfee Antivirus services from backup."

I was basing it on the idea that IBM has set things up to use a single ePO server as their main repository. It is possible to do this and has some benefits in terms of restricting outside access and allowing custom modules to be rolled out, but it also creates a single point of failure.

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Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Wha' ha' happened was...

It sounds like one or more ePO management servers went tits-up for a time. That would prevent new policies and tasks from being sent to machines as well as any metrics from being gathered centrally, but it would not prevent the existing software from running client-side. It also would not prevent DAT files (AV or otherwise) from being pulled directly from McAfee, the default last resort repository, unless previously specified by policy in which case they could still be updated manually.

The point of this framework is that it can suffer an outage of this nature and still continue to provide protection.

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Script kiddie goes from 'Bitcoin Baron' to 'Lockup Lodger' after DDoSing 911 systems

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Not quite a master hacker, but still needs a harsh-ish term

All those IOT devices are right out...

Soooo... silver lining?

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Mellanox flushes three directors at behest of activist investor

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

What's in a name?

When I hear the term "activist investor" I expect there to be some social issue at play. Turns out it includes these locusts, too. Who knew?

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Verizon promises to stop selling its subscribers' location data... for now

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: AT&T has no reason to believe......

"AT&T has no reason to believe that there are other instances of unauthorized access to AT&T customer location data"

Oh really?...

They are misleading by way of being technically accurate. It is no longer a belief if it is a confirmed fact and it is not possible to have "unauthorized" anything if you are complicit in everything.

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MSDN unleashes a fresh round of unintentional innuendo bingo

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Inquiring minds wish to know....

Will the designs for such user interfaces be known as Knobby Styles?

More apt to be Knobby McKnobface even if it makes no sense at all... because kids these days!

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Google-free Android kit tipped to sell buckets

Robert Helpmann??
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Alien

Smart watches are a pretty neat idea ..

Pathetic earthlings... who can save you now?

- M.T. Merciless

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Um, excuse me. Do you have clearance to patch that MRI scanner?

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: obvious solution ...

Qubes is a single user system, by design, even if it hosts multi-user VMs. What you propose would better be addressed with a VDI and/or app container setup such as Docker.

For the issue of internet accessibility versus security, the issue is the same as ANY OTHER NETWORK. It requires planning, knowledge and consistent implementation. My experience with medical facilities is that they focus only on the physical aspects of patient care and are often underfunded for that. Tell them their systems may need to be down for patching and they start playing the "it's a matter of life or death" card and straight up ignoring the very real risks they are accepting by kicking the information security can down the proverbial road. It's not that they don't understand IT or have expertise in IT, it's that they don't want to know or to deal with it because it is outside their wheelhouse.

For background, I have worked with several military medical commands. I also have had to spend more time in hospitals than I want, but nurses love to talk shop. From a security perspective, hospitals rate below public schools in my book, both physical and information.

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Donald Trump trumped as US Senate votes to reinstate ZTE ban

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Why would they?

Why would any country not the USA care about American jobs...? You only look after another country if it serves yourself.

Have an upvote for fine rhetorical form. I suppose the rub is in getting countries to agree on what actually serve their own interests, especially from one regime to another. We go through an adjustment every four years in the US while other countries do so on a different schedule and under differing circumstances. Too, it's not like any country is particularly consistent as there are so many competing internal and external interests.

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Not so private eye: Got an Axis network cam? You'll need to patch it, unless you like hackers

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Security...

... I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Another story about an IoT security device that isn't secure. Good to get the word out. What about those IoT devices that have been verified to be secure? At this point, they would be newsworthy if only for the novelty. What does Google have to say on the matter? A search of "verified secure iot devices" yields 4 ads followed by a page full of academic proposals for methods to secure the world of IoT and various companies trying to sell the same. From what I can see, these devices should be considered inherently insecure and managed as such.

IoT: Insecure at any time

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