* Posts by Suricou Raven

1538 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

NSA justifies hacking world's digital communications

Suricou Raven

The NSA is legally not permitted to indiscriminately snoop upon US citizens on US soil communicating with other US citizens also on US soil.

That means all of us here in Europe are fair game.

To be fair, I'm sure our own intelligence organisations are spying on US citizens too. Though probably not as effectively, just because they don't have so much funding.

The NSA has also been using every excuse they can to spy indiscriminately on US citizens anyway by just redefining terms - claiming that 'metadata' doesn't count, or that they are allowed to make as many records as they want so long as no-one actually looks at them without a warrant.

Thirteen alleged Anons named and charged by FBI in antipiracy web war

Suricou Raven

Re: More "non-leader" leaders.

No formal leaders. There's a rough process:

1. Anyone who wishes can call out a target.

2. If people like the proposal, they join in. If not, they ignore.

3. Those who join in will in turn repeat the call, triggering a positive feedback mechanism.

Snowden's email provider gave crypto keys to FBI – on paper printouts

Suricou Raven

Re: Rand Paul

If there is no-one worth voting for, then it is a sign that the lower-level politics via which canidates get onto the ballot are flawed.

Suricou Raven

Re: The federal government ....

The US political system is effectively rigged. Not in the sense of having votes falsified, but just in the way that getting ahead requires a giant pile of money for campaign spending and access to party resources. No matter how good your ideas it is practically impossible to get in without joining one of the big two teams and agreeing to follow their party line. The only people who have managed to even come close are those like Ross Perot who are rich enough to spend millions of dollars of their own money on campaigning.

Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

Suricou Raven

Re: "public static final double π = 3.14159;"

public static final double π = 3.14159;//ish

Oh, shoppin’ HELL: I’m in the supermarket of the DAMNED

Suricou Raven

Re: Where do you shop? "My little pony"

Twilight is best pony.

Beat this, cloud giants! Musk rocket flings 1TB hard drive into SPAAACE

Suricou Raven

Target market.

So, users must have:

1. Lots of data to move.

2. Not care about it being real-time.

3. Either be in the middle of nowhere away from connectivity, or semi-mobile.

I see a few potentials:

- Surveying operations. Hunting for resources, mostly oil. Take the seismo data, and have it back at HQ within the hour so they can run the numbers and say where to go next.

- High-altitude telescopes.

BitTorrent trialling P2P secure messaging

Suricou Raven

Re: But we already have a secure, decentralised NSA-annoying program.

Sort of. SSL isn't a cipher as such. It's a means of negotiating which cipher to use. There is concern that the defaults most software uses may be vulnerable (In particular a lack of forward secrecy), but it's a simple operation to drop those and use better ones if both ends support it.

Suricou Raven

But we already have a secure, decentralised NSA-annoying program.

It's called Retroshare, and it does exactly that this new software claims it will do. Except it does it in a fairly mature manner already. Cross-platform, stable. Encrypted IM with peer authentication, plus mail function, file sharing and even decentralised forums. Why start over from scratch when there is already a piece of software available that does the job fairly well?

Hundreds of hackers sought for new £500m UK cyber-bomber strike force

Suricou Raven

Re: Money for old rope.

But think of the PR - hireing a notorious ex-hacker is going to impress a few people!

Just assign him to some dull task like re-nmapping the entire Chinese IP space over and over to make sure the list of potential targets is up to date.

NSA: Yes, some of our spooks DID snoop on overseas lovers

Suricou Raven


If the reaction to those caught is to allow them to resign and then forget about it, how many more cases are there for which there was never a formal investigation? The NSA is, by its nature, full of people most paranoid - I imagine a lot of the management would perfer to sort things out with an off-the-record telling-off rather then create a paper trail by opening an investigation.

US House Republicans: 'End net neutrality or no debt ceiling deal' – report

Suricou Raven

Re: Is there *any* evil view the GOP doesn't hold?

Somewhat ironic, really: Hitler himself was opposed to abortion. One of the first things he did on taking power was create a new division within the police focused on what he regarded as the two most terrible crimes against morality: Abortion and homosexuality.

His eugenics and genocide policies took priority over his opposition to abortion, though. When they were in conflict, he was happy to make an exception to the abortion ban.

Boffins have constructed a new LIGHT SABRE. Their skills are complete

Suricou Raven

A magnetic field can be shaped with a stream of high-energy charge particles. Think of the way the earth's field is distorted by the solar wind. You'd need a ridiculous amount of energy in the particles to a shape a field that strong, though. It certainly wouldn't be portable.

Suricou Raven

Re: Finally!

They only generate that much force when immersed in a liquid. Wouldn't work in air.

Could maybe use it for underwater propulsion though. Like those diver-tug thingies, but running off sugar and entirely silent.

Suricou Raven

Re: Exactly

I gave a lot of thought to this myself, but concluded there was no way a sabre effect could be achieved.

I have designed a force field, though. I think it would work. It just has a few minor practical issues, like requiring the entire output of a power station to generate a field big enough to block a corridoor, an a tendency to incinerate anything that touches it. But the theory would work: You could flip marbles at it and they would just bounce off.

One day I will find a way to build it. I think I could run a small-scale prototype off no more than twenty kilowatts or so.

Disk-pushers, get reel: Even GOOGLE relies on tape

Suricou Raven

Fiddling the numbers.

I wish the vendors would stop giving 'compressed' capacity. The bulk of data going on tape now consists of already-compressed multimedia and already-compressed office documents. That 2:1 is hopelessly optimistic.

USB 3.1 demo shows new spec well on its way towards 1.2GB/sec goal

Suricou Raven

Re: The question is...

There are a few reasons.

1. USB3 is already incorporated into some of the standard chipsets that mainboards are built around.

2. Thunderbolt takes one PCIe lane per port. USB3 takes one for the lot.

3. Thunderbolt is very, very electrically delicate - that's why it needs active cables and a lot of screening. It takes great care in board layout and extensive testing to make sure it is reliable.

4. USB3 is established, which means economy of scale in manufacture.

Suricou Raven


Firewire lives on as the interface of choice for AV peripherals, as it can offer reliably low latency and guaranted delivery.

Thunderbolt may just be the new firewire: A bit pricy, but still used for things like external tape drives, video capture, high-speed cameras and scientific equipment where it's important that every frame of data makes it intact without something else on the bus pre-empting.

I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Suricou Raven

Re: Bleak

Can you oppress people forever if you control a huge army of expendable robots?

Suricou Raven

Re: Free time! And then what?

With one difference: In this 'society of plenty,' people would have the choice between making pizzas and spending the day down the pub. No more people enslaved to eight hours a day in a job they loathe just to pay the rent. Perhaps work would give a few extra privileges, but it need not be essential to survive as it is now. That opens up a lot more time for things people enjoy doing.

How many great artists have we not seen because their most productive years were instead spent stacking the shelves at Asda?

Suricou Raven

Re: Just close the loop entirely

Do not insult the birds. We can do the tool use thing too.

Suricou Raven

I see a flaw.

You assume that robotics bring the cost of production down to zero. That isn't going to happen: There are still raw materials to buy and energy costs.

So perhaps food will come down to the equivilent of just a few pounds per week to feed the family, with robots making it from planting to processing. But that's still a few pounds that the newly-unemployed masses won't have. Markets can only function if the consumer actually has some income, even if only a tiny amount, to spend.

It could well lead to a positive feedback loop: The robots take a few jobs, which increases unemployment, which decreases consumption, which leads to a further reduction in jobs.

While a robotic work-free utopia is possible in theory, it's hard to see how the current market-driven economic model could function in such a situation. You can't expect manufacturers to simply give away goods out of altuism.

There are some solutions. The government could issue a basic income, perhaps, though funding it would be a great difficulty. Or abandon market solutions entirely for the most vital goods like food and go full-on communist, nationalising production.

Pizza drones, mad cyclists and Bitcoin-for-arms traders: A vision of LNDN 2023

Suricou Raven

Re: grow their own tomatoes

I expect they'll need some sort of tomato production permit.

Suricou Raven

Re: What a load of Tosh

Steve was on the list: One of the recurring themes predicted was the decline of conventional full-time employment, as employers turn instead to the cheaper and more flexible option of zero-hours contracts and serial temp workers. Several of the hypothetical Londoners were described as squeezing in with family because they can't afford to support themselves on the pitiful and unreliable income they make on the odd-job market.

NSA spooks tooled up with zero-day PC security exploits from the FRENCH

Suricou Raven

Re: Crock of shit

In theory, they answer to Congress. In practice, they have outright lied to congress in the past to conceal just what they are up to.

ISPs set to install network-level smut filters despite Lib Dem opposition

Suricou Raven

It has been known to cause trouble with some sites - advertisers detecting what looks like click-inflating, forms being double-submitted, things like that.

Want to sit in Picard's chair while spying on THE WORLD? We can make it so – ex-NSA man

Suricou Raven

I imagine the NSA trusts only themselves as a certificate signing authority, as they know how easy the others are to bribe/threaten/infiltrate.

Suricou Raven

Re: "massive protection screen on the forward wall"

I never really saw the point of having a front view of the stars flying past while warping. I just assumed it was a screensaver. Same one we use now, just in higher resolution.

Tape's NOT dead. WHOMP: This 8.5TB Oracle drive proves it

Suricou Raven


Quoting compressed capacity? Hah. Old trick.

- The 3:1 figure was almost true in the 90s. Back when all the bulky files were uncompressed and largely contained ascii text. Now days, no longer true: The big files are mostly compressed media, and even office documents have their own compression.

- The compression on tape rather sucks - even in hardware, you can't compress well while hitting the speed target. 3:1 is optimistic.

Suricou Raven


If you have to ask, you cannot afford it.

Really, tape can beat disk in per-gig costs, but the gap has closed - the break-even point is now so high, you need a truely ridiculous amount of storage before the economics of scale hand tape the price advantage. Something like this.

Suricou Raven

Re: All day and then some for backup

Sometimes you don't need fast restore. Think media libraries for content houses. You don't need ten years worth of accumulated stock footage, old textures, finished projects and various models immediately to hand, but artists draw on those resources often enough that you don't want to just delete them.

Intel reveals 14nm PC, declares Moore's Law 'alive and well'

Suricou Raven

If Google Glass and the imitators take off, augmented reality will inevitably follow. That's going to create a lot of demand for high-performance yet low-power and compact processors to handle the image processing part.

Canadian family gives up modern tech to live like it's 1986

Suricou Raven

BBC did it.

They did a three-part show called 'Electric Dreams,' where they reverted a family home to 70s technology then advanced it at the rate of one decade per week and filmed how the family handled it.

US intelligence: Snowden's latest leaks 'road map' for adversaries

Suricou Raven

Re: Security "mistakes"

WPA is actually a rather weird system. It has to be, because cards at the time had hardware support for WEP encryption, and part of the WPA goals was to be implimentable by firmware or driver update on existing hardware. So WPA essentially uses WEP for the actual encryption, but changes the WEP key constantly according to a pattern determine by the WPA key - thus defeating the statistical attacks to which WEP is vulnerable.

Suricou Raven

Re: Americans safe from... What?

Probably quite a few, but the leaks also show the use of 'parallel construction' in high-profile cases to allow law enforcement to deny the NSA's involvement. As far as the accused knows, the police just had an amazing strike of luck or an anonymous tip-off.

Now we know why UK spooks simply shrugged at SSL encryption

Suricou Raven

Re: The code-ring on the golf course

Not all has a short shelf life.

President: Mr A.Noying has risen to the leadership of this protest group. He could inconvenience me. Got any dirt?

NSA: Decrypting... here we go. The usual kinky porn and such minor embarassments, and... ah, in an email to a friend ten years ago he admitted he once hacked some 'Church of Scientology' as part of an internet protest.

President: I'll leak all the usernames and such for the porn to the popular press, and urge the church to file criminal charges. Thanks! That should get him out of my hair for a while.

Reports: NSA has compromised most internet encryption

Suricou Raven

Re: Disinformation is their secret weapon

I'm surprised no-one has released a OTP VPN. It should be quite practical for the common business usage.

1. HQ fills a portable 2.5" drive with, say, 250GB of randomness. Keeps another copy on their VPN server.

2. Remote worker goes off on their business trip, keeping the drive on their person.

3. VPN using the drive as a OTP. Easiest way would be to have one side of the conversation start XORing at the beginning of the drive and one and the end. Erase the OTP from the drive as it's used up, in case of later confiscation.

4. When worker gets back from the business trip, refill the OTP drive before the next one.

Obviously you could only send as much data as the drive can hold for the OTP, but 250GB is still quite enough to last a business trip - and if you need more, you can always just take a couple of 1TB drives.

If the remote worker's laptop has the capacity and the need for VPN transfer low enough, you could do away with the drive and just store the OTP on the internal drive.

Suricou Raven

Re: Really?

Local customs.

There was an incident years ago where one of the many churches in the US hired a European construction company for their new building - Swedish, I think? In accordance with their ancient custom, they hoisted a tree to the top of the building upon completion. It's an old ritual for good luck, originating in pagan customs many centuries ago, and continued for the sake of tradition. The church owners were not approved: They refused to pay, claiming the pagan ritual had desecrated the church and made it unfit for purpose.

Suricou Raven

Some of them might me genuine paranoid patriots, believing that the NSA's spying ability is essential to preserve the safety of their country.

Others might be in it for the money. Well-paid work is hard to find. Do you want to respect freedoms for all people, or do you want to pay the rent? Choose.

Suricou Raven

Or a simple assumption that if the NSA is resorting to pressuring American manufacturers into the use of backdoors, then it's likely their Chinese counterparts are doing exactly the same.

BT doles out measly 2GB to customers in Dropbox-alike BT Cloud

Suricou Raven

I don't trust any of them.

I made my own 'cloud storage.' It's actually just a bit of perl script and .htaccess trickery on a VM server I rent for IRC bots, website and minecraft.

It doesn't take much to handle simple file uploading, if you're only doing it for one user and don't need to enforce advertising.

Australia's anti-smut internet filter blueprint lasts LESS THAN A DAY

Suricou Raven

Re: Parenting? It's not as simple as that.

The age ratings have some flaws. The US-issued ratings are generally very tough on sex, but almost ignore violence. A few bloody impalings, decapitations and bisections will get you up to a 16 - but glimpse a nipple for a moment and it's instant 18.

Suricou Raven

The NBN is really, really great...

Brit music body BPI lobbies hard for 'UK file-sharers database'

Suricou Raven

Re: Should music be free?

If libraries were just invented today, publishers would be lobbying for them to be banned immediately.

Industries work to protect their business model. That's just what they do.

Boffins follow TOR breadcrumbs to identify users

Suricou Raven

Re: The Irony

I'm sure whoever authorised that project got a solid telling-off from the NSA later for making their job harder.

Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops

Suricou Raven

Alternate theory.

It's possible that the Guardian were so useless they had the password written down. But it's stretching things a little - that's incompetence of comic proportions.

I've a theory to offer: The investigators actually got the password through another channel, one of dubious legality. Perhaps they have phone and email monitoring operations on everyone who works for the Guardian (I would be very surprised if they do not) or even bugs in the offices, or maybe someone on the inside leaking details, or perhaps GCHQ were able to use some advanced cryptoanalytics magic to find the key left behind in the swap file. However they got it, they don't want to admit how - so the 'password on a postit' line is just a lie made up to give a plausible explanation for how the investigators got that password, thus protecting the secrecy of whatever cloak-and-dagger operations they have going on. It even has the added bonus of making the Guardian look like a bunch of idiots.

Or the documents found might just be a plant, and he wasn't really carrying anything at all. At this point I think we've demonstrated that both US and UK governments are more than willing to outright lie to the public and frequently violate their own laws - planting evidence isn't that much of a leap. Being able to threaten Miranda with jail time could be a way to apply pressure to Greenwald. He may already have recieved the deniable communication: 'One way or another your boyfriend is going to jail for a few months - but if you publish any more documents, we'll see to it that he is locked up for five years before he so much as sees a trial, and thirty more after that.'

Wild speculation is quite acceptable here because we now know that government *lies* - even more so than was previously thought.

China confirms plans for first Moon visit later this year

Suricou Raven

Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

Not as easy as you think. Getting the rocks up even that little well would still need launchers and fuel, which means local manufacturing ability, which means extensive facilities for mining and processing material and fabricating parts. That or a magnetic launcher, but that requires lots of bulky materials be sent up first.

An established, self-sustaining moon base would be able to do it - but building that may just be the single most expensive project ever undertaken by mankind.

China might try it though. Just because it would give them something their government craves: Respectability. Just look at how much money they threw at their olympics hosting.

'Kim Jong-un executes nork-baring ex and pals for love polygon skin flick'

Suricou Raven

Re: Propaganda

Because we can classify NK as 'harmless to outsiders.' They can oppress their own people all they want, but they aren't a threat to us.

Behind the candelabra: Power cut sends Britain’s boxes back to the '70s

Suricou Raven

Re: Power Cuts

Lay a trail of glue, then sprinkle salt over it. Snails won't cross it. Obviously no good in areas exposed to water or weather, but a handy way to keep them from crawling into the water-butt hole or up the air vents.

3D printed guns are for wimps. Meet NASA's 3D printed ROCKET ENGINE

Suricou Raven

Re: If they can make components in space

Actually, there is a good use for 3D printing in long-term manned flight - such as Mars missions. In-space manufacture of spare parts. Without 3D printing, you'd need to take several spares for every vital component that could fail during the journey. With 3D printing, you can ditch all the spares for solid-plastic parts (Lots of life support things - impellers, seals, valves, plungers, pipes) and just take a 3D printer and a supply of feed plastic. Potentially that can mean space and weight savings.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019