* Posts by Suricou Raven

1537 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

Microsoft, HURTING after NSA backdooring, vows to now harden its pipe

Suricou Raven

Re: Bullshit

Plus they get to charge for it now.

GCHQ was called in to crack password in Watkins child abuse case

Suricou Raven

Re: Does anyone else think that 'paedophile' is not strong enough to describe this guy?

Using the term in this way does a disservice to those people who feel a sexual attraction to children but do not act on it - but then, the majority has spoken. To deliberately avert a change in definition of any word is a very difficult task. Just look at the futile efforts to save the word 'hacker.'

Suricou Raven

'cracked the password'

So, that means either:

- The files were encrypted, and GCHQ had to either brute force the password or apply some secret super-math or backdoor technique. Brute forcing is quite possible, if it was a weakish password.


- The files were just stored somewhere overseas, and it was easier to call in GCHQ than to go through the paperwork of an international warrant.


- The files were stored somewhere, a simple warrant would probably have sufficed, but someone on the political side wanted to give GCHQ a chance to share in the glory and help improve their reputation by helping convict not just a real criminal, but a pedophile - the most loathed and hated of all criminals.

US puts Assange charge in too-hard basket - report

Suricou Raven

Do they think Assange is stupid?

Why is he going to trust an empty promise? It isn't legally binding. It's probably a ploy to try to coax him into leaving the embassy, and an obvious one at that.

Besides, even if they don't prosecute, there are plenty of other ways the US government could make an example of him. The sexual assault charge for one. A little more political leaning and they can make sure that the extradition ends in conviction. Assange goes behind bars for a good few years, his reputation is tainted by a rape conviction, and with any luck someone will shiv him in jail. Problem solved.

Or they could simply arrange an 'accident.'

Microsoft bans XXXXBOX gamers for CURSING in online combat

Suricou Raven


"To be clear, the Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement team does not monitor"

means: "We are carefully not denying the use of automated filters, which we may or may not use."

Schmidt: Social networks will FREE THE PEOPLE of China

Suricou Raven

Re: Anyone got a spare Irony meter?

Not really. I think he views 'free speech' and 'privacy' as entirely unrelated concepts. That means that while Google may be attacking privacy, they can still be promoting free speech.

Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

Suricou Raven

This job seems familiar...

Is the software called 'Manna' by any chance?

Mystery traffic redirection attack pulls net traffic through Belarus, Iceland

Suricou Raven

Re: Datacentre Question

Assuming it needs friendly. Easy enough to set up a front company without the government knowing. For added points, throw in a couple of badly-forged documents and load the computer with a banking trojan and list of credit cards - that way if you do get caught, it looks like just another criminal gang was behind it.

Hot digital dog: A man’s best friend is still his... K-9

Suricou Raven

Several intelligence agencies are looking happy.

Mobile bugs, that people invite into their own homes? With cameras?

A simple custom firmware update is all it'd take, and if you can talk the manufacturer into signing it that's trivial to pull off. Even better than hacking a PC to get to the webcam - this one can be guided around to learn the layout or follow someone, pick up and open books, and make sure any weapons are hidden before the soldiers are sent in.

Berners-Lee: 'Growing tide of surveillance' is destroying the internet

Suricou Raven

Proposed solution?

So far the best I've seen is a combination of political pressure to buy time with a crypto-anarchist approach in the longer term. Encrypt everything and set up a suitably redundant and decentralized infrastructure, and it becomes prohibitively expensive to monitor or censor.

Native Americans were actually European - BEFORE the Europeans arrived!

Suricou Raven

Awaiting politics.

How does this affect the sillyness of US law?

'You get to have some casino profits because my government gave your tribe a monopoly in apology for my ancestors killing some of your ancestors.'

With the reservations and such, they've effectively got independent legal systems based on ancestry.

Dry, cold and volatile: How to survive Mars, and your fellow crew

Suricou Raven

Re: Terraforming

You couldn't terraform Mars to be perfectly livable. It's just too small and lacks gravity. But you could, with enough super-engineering, get it to the point of 'close enough' - a place where you could nip out for a stroll in a lightweight environment suit and breather, and grow your crops under an inflatable dome.

Venus, on the other hand, is hotter than Hell. And it rains acid. Not going to happen unless you want to try building a gigantic sunshade the size of an entire planet.

Intel pulls up SoCs, reveals 'integrated' memory on CPUs

Suricou Raven

So, cache?

Except bigger, and explicitly managed by the software?

The compiler would need to put it to good use, but Intel are quite good with their optimising compiler.

Google's Schmidt predicts end to global censorship in a DECADE

Suricou Raven

That depends on him.

Google could make censorship a lot harder if they wished to, but that would incur further ire of many governments, and thus reduce potential profits in those countries.

Lavabit founder: Feds ORDERED email providers to stay open

Suricou Raven

Re: For Starters: USENET

Skip the unique identifier. Just decrypt every message posted - the ones not for you will result in a hash fail.

That way an observer can't even extract metadata. All they can tell is how many each person is sending, but not who to nor how many they receive.

3D printing: 'Third industrial revolution' or a load of old cobblers?

Suricou Raven

Re: Right now I can see only specialist application

I'm thinking of the attachments for hoover hoses.

Suricou Raven

Re: Yes, a "solution looking for a problem"

Printers. High-speed optical networking. Making those holographic anti-counterfeiting things on bank cards.

Google, Microsoft to drop child sex abuse from basic web search

Suricou Raven

I am unable to view pages two and three.

The content filter at my workplace blocks them.

Suricou Raven


Directly, no. The concern is what it could eventually lead to. Slippery slope is more then a fallacy - it's a real effect. A warning on google and a little content filtering is all very well, but once google have demonstrated they are willing to block information relating to *one* crime, there will be calls for them to block more.

Also, even if it does no harm, it isn't going to do any good either - which means it is nothing but security theater. A very publicly but utterly ineffective display to reassure the people that Something Is Being Done.

Murdoch stands between your kids and filth with BSkyB network-level SHIELD

Suricou Raven

Re: Ironic

More accurately, he is obeying the threat of a law. Cameron et al have made it apparent that they are prepared to pass a law, and can probably do it too, if the ISPs don't voluntarily filter first. From the ISPs perspective, better to install a filter to their own specification right now than have to install one written to government (ie, technologically-ignorant MP) specification in a year or two.

Microsoft, Cisco: RC4 encryption considered harmful, avoid at all costs

Suricou Raven

Re: Love to be a fly on the wall at NSA.

Not really. RC4 is still the default on a great many browsers, webservers, etc. Even if the decree goes out 'Abandon RC4!' today, it'll be a decade before it filters down. Software endures: Witness XP.

Suricou Raven

2048b is really a minimum for RSA. It's secure for now, but if you want your communications to remain secure in the future 4096b is advisable. Any more is just silly.

Brit ISPs ordered to add more movie-streaming websites to block list

Suricou Raven

They are very big for the 'casual pirates,' especially those who just want music.

POWER SOURCE that might END humanity's PROBLEMS: A step forward

Suricou Raven

Re: Science

Good point. Put aside the cold war, and it was a time of great optimism. Medical science was promising ever longer and healthier lives. Agricultural technology looked to bring a new age of plenty. Mass-manufacturing let everyone live like a king - even the poorest in society could realistically dream of soon owning a car. And there, just over the horizon, what did ever-advancing technology promise? Colonies on the moon and mars. Space travel. Mankind was going to colonise the universe - a vast space, waiting for settlement. A clear manifest destiny: Space, there for the filling.

And what did we get? The manned space program fizzled out, mass-production turns out to screw up the environment, cars trash the climate, and longer lives just meant more people with arthritis and dementia. The stars look further away today than they ever have.

Microsoft FAILS to encrypt data centre links despite NSA snooping

Suricou Raven

Re: PPTP or L2TP

This is datacenter-to-datacenter. Multi-gigabit traffic flows. Encryption isn't a matter of ticking a box, you need to install very expensive appliances at each end. Small change for microsoft, though.

Are you experienced? The Doctor Who assistants that SUFFERED the most

Suricou Raven

I want closure!

What happened to Ace? The series needs to address this.

Mandatory HTTP 2.0 encryption proposal sparks hot debate

Suricou Raven

Re: Caching

The browser can cache as per usual.

I'm not sure how much web proxies can cache these days anyway. Almost all text and HTML is dynamic.

Suricou Raven

Re: TLS needs to be fixed first

Issuing false certificates, if used in a non-targeted manner, would be trivial to detect.

Suricou Raven

Re: I must admit to having wondered

Because Back In The Day people were still using the 386 processor. Encryption costs cycles. Today every desktop is at least a dual core and even most embedded devices can comfortably handle the extra load.

How to relieve Microsoft's Surface RT piles problem

Suricou Raven

Not retarded. Strategic.

MS has a problem: The market isn't growing much any more (at least in the developed world), and it's growing increasingly hard to get people to upgrade software. Just look at the problem they had getting people off of XP - and 7 is set to show the same endurance. It's 'good enough.' No expansion and no upgrades means no money for Microsoft, unless they can fundamentally alter their business model to be less of a 'boxed software' supplier and more of a service supplier. Apple pioneered the model, and MS wants in.

Surface, Metro, the new API, the Windows app store, Windows Phone - these are all parts of the MS plan to do just that. Expand control over the devices their software runs on, and use this control as a means to extract money as a service provider. Just like Apple.

People will hate it, of course. And it'll lose a huge amount of money, at first. But Microsoft can afford to throw money at it for years - it's not waste, it's investment, supporting the unprofitable new ecosystem until it matures into something self-sustaining - and from there, matures further into their next cash-cow.


Suricou Raven

Re: bibles

China not only allows bibles: They have a state-run Christian church.

They do persecute some smaller, independent churches, but not on religious grounds. They just don't like any organisation that tries to badmouth the government, religious or no.

PUNISHMENT gluttons: The Dr Who monsters that come back for more

Suricou Raven

Re: The Master

He was good in the first reappearance. Cartoonish, yes - but also menacing. This was someone who may sing and dance, but through it projected someone ambitious enough to rule, uncaring enough to hurt anyone, sadistic enough to enjoy it - and capable enough to pull it off. His silly exterior concealed a cruel and powerful villain.

The second appearance though, when he started shooting lightning out his fingers? Yeah. Crap.

MPAA, RIAA: Kids need to learn 3 Rs – reading, writing and NO RIPPING

Suricou Raven

Re: Sponsored curriculum

Check the other cereals though - they are all just as bad, with very few exceptions.

Suricou Raven

Actually, Europe decided to establish a duration of seventy years for music. This was justified as 'harmonising' the various copyright terms of member states into one EU-wide term. The UK went along with it, but weren't responsible.

Suricou Raven

An effective new approach?

There have been two major approaches to industry-led copyright education campaigns in the past.

- Guilt. Tell the children that artists deserve to be paid for their work, and downloading is no different from stealing.

- Fear. Tell them of the harsh legal penalties they may suffer if caught.

The problem is that neither work too well. Guilt is undermined by seeing the vast wealth that successful celebrities flaunt at every chance - hard to feel sympathy when downloading music by some rapper who wears more bling than I could afford in a year. Fear doesn't work because a quick look around shows that the number of casual pirates suffering these consequences is negligable.

So this is a third approach.

- Hope. The possibility that, one day, copyright law could make *you* rich. So obey it now, and reap the rewards when you too are a successful artist.

People like hope. That's why lotteries are so successful. There are still weaknesses. Eventually the kids will work out that being an artist is much like being a professional footballer: For every mega-star there are thousands upon thousands of also-runs who need to take a real job to make ends meet, and their chances of being in the former class are rather slim even for the most talented. Which, realistically, few of them are. But even so, that hope can be a powerful thing.

Falkland Islands almost BLITZED from space by plunging European ion-rocket craft

Suricou Raven

Re: When does recycling get to space ?

While we're shooting down ideas, here's mine:

Expanding foam.

1. Launch giant can of expanding foam into either low orbit or eccentric orbit, with the periapsis just skimming the atmosphere. Have to be formulated to work in vacuum, of course.

2. Deploy foam. Now you have an absolutely huge *blob* of foam in orbit. Low density. High volume.

3. Lots of tiny bits of junk - screws, paint flakes, etc - and some of the larger bits like tools collide during the few years the Blob is in service. Thus they either get embedded, or smashed into an eccentric orbit too.

4. With such a huge cross-sectional area, the blob will eventually (months to a decade or more, depending on orbit) be slowed down by friction and reenter along with the payload of collected debris, to burn up harmlessly. As will any small pieces that break off during collisions.

Suricou Raven

Re: Two Questions

On airless bodies, that's easy: A low orbit becomes a suborbital trajectory at the point when the orbital path intersects the surface.

It's vaguer with an atmosphere though, as a low enough orbit will inevitably lose enough velocity to aerobrakeing to turn into an intersect.

Microsoft won't run Skype in China - a new JV partner awaits

Suricou Raven

Trust no-one.

If you want secure communications, the only way you're getting it is encryption - and of a form where only the recipient has the key. There are a lot of programs that try to make this easy. I don't know any that do video-chat, but I'm sure they exist.

Calling all PSYCHICS and ball-gazers: Can YOU predict a Microsoft strategy?

Suricou Raven

Return on Micro$oft.

During the 90s through early 2000's, Microsoft became infamous for their very aggressive approach to business and the use of all manner of agreements and technical tricks of dubious legality to hurt any perceived competitors. This was when they were commonly nicknamed 'Micro$oft,' and built a sizeable portion of the company based upon a combination of bundling software with windows and deliberate incompatibilities.

Then they relented a bit and - to some extent - begun to embrace open standards and interoperability.

Right now, that decision is coming back to bite them - and if they are sensible, they may well return to the tricks of the bad old days. The tricks that made them strong, an unassailable force of a company. They still hold dominant position on office suites and desktop OS, and will do what it takes to protect that dominance.

So my prediction for the coming years: More underhanded trickery, behind-the-scenes dealing, proprietary technologies, refusal to support properly any standard they don't own in some way and lots of technologies claimed to be for 'security' that just happen to consider anything non-Microsoft a danger, like Secure Boot. Classic Microsoft - a return to the tactics of the past.

Martian MOM LAYS another EGG in SPACE - but it's not big enough

Suricou Raven

Looks familiar.

I run that route in Kerbal Space Program.

Oooh! My NAUGHTY SKIRT keeps riding up! Hello, INTERNET EXPLORER

Suricou Raven

It's not as bad as it was.

The looming issue is audio and video codecs. Microsoft will only support codecs they hold the patents on, not wanting to lend aid to their competitors. While other browsers (Safari excluded) are unable to support the codecs Microsoft does hold patents on, either because they can't afford the license of because the license terms are not compatible with the open-source model.

Right now, if you want to use the new HTML5 video (Which is in every possible way an improvement over the horrors of flash) you need to have two different versions encoded and uploaded, at least: The IE one (mp3 and h264 in an mp4 container) and the everyone-else one (Webm with vorbis, usually). It gets a lot worse if you want to deal with device profiles too - you can mange without, but only by sacrificing either file size or compatibility.

Suricou Raven

Re: Use the proper terminology

Anime: An English word derived from a Japanese word derived from a French word derived from an English word derived from another English word derived from a Latin word.

At this point, I'm surprised there are still two syllables left in common with the starting point.

New wonder slab slurps Wi-Fi, converts it into juice for gadgets, boast boffins

Suricou Raven

Crystal radios have an antenna that can double as a washing line.

Planet hopper: The Earthly destinations of Doctor Who

Suricou Raven

Re: How Much Does It Matter

Planet, no... but there is one episode of the revived series which uses a small amount of footage shot on the moon.

You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

Suricou Raven

So 1. Is the traditional bathtime photo or beach photo in swimsuit, that lurks in photo albums for a decade ready for parents to show it to the boy/girlfriend?

WAIT! What's that sound? It's Intel stomping into the 'Internet of Things'

Suricou Raven

Re: Stop......+1

ARM chips are overkill for a washing machine. That's more a job for something like a PIC.

Tim Cook stands firmly behind pro-LGBT, anti-discrimination law

Suricou Raven

Re: is it 'cause I is black

Obama is in the region where white people consider him black, but black people consider him white.

Bucket? Check. Toilet plunger? Check. El Reg's 50 years of Doctor Who

Suricou Raven

The Eye has been depicted many ways in series old and new. He's even managed to break a piece off (a crystal) somehow, and on another occasion entered it. The fan interpretation is that the Eye isn't simply a physical object, but more of a region of space-time. Like the tardis, it may be bigger on the inside, and being trans-dimensional pieces that appear disconnected in 3-space may still be a part of it.

It's also speculated the Eye in the tardis, the big one on Gallifrey and the ones in all other tardisses are actually one and the same - a many-dimensional structure which just intersects our space at those locations.

Galaxy is CRAMMED with EARTH-LIKE WORLDS – also ALIENS (probably)

Suricou Raven

In 1000 years, political television and opinion columns will have lasted longer in cultural impact than the dull stories of facts. They will remember the 20th century as the time when the mighty and rightous armies of America slew the evil empire of the Nazis, and fought an epic battle with the communist masters of deception and their European puppets, the Un.

Suricou Raven

Re: Cool..but also oddly disturbing

You walk down a path. You see a snail, slowly crawling across the concrete. Lost. Unaware of where it is going. So you pick it up and place it down on the far side.

You are passing a planetary system on a routine survey when you find some strange creatures erecting monuments. Odd things. The monuments are meaningless, but they seem important to the creatures, so you spend a few days out from your travel to help them.

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