* Posts by Toska

3 posts • joined 7 Aug 2013

Airbus confirms software brought down A400M transport plane


German here. Proper translation: "During final assembly the engine control software had been installed incorrectly."

It doesn't mention parameters and lacks any specifics about how they managed to install the software "incorrectly". In a German military forum (augengeradeaus.net) there has been some speculation by current and former military personnel that either the incorrect revision of software had been installed, or that (indeed) some parameters were used that were incompatible with whatever software they had been using during the maiden flight. Or a mix of both.

However: Airbus is awfully silent about what did lead to the inability to retract the flaps after take-off, which the doomed crew had reported by radio.

A "software installation problem" during final assembly is awfully convenient for Airbus, too. With that they say: "The software is not the problem. The installation was. (i.e.: human error) All we need is better Q/A.". And also: "The engines themselves aren't the problem."

But fact of the matter is: Airbus has (since long) lost the ability to integrate turboprop engines into airframes. Or to design airframes around turboprops. For the A400M they had to start on a clean sheet for that. It would not be surprising if the engines of the A400M (and their integration into the system as a whole) contain some unaddressed issues that haven't yet been fully ironed out.

The German ministry of defence also doubted the statement of Airbus and said that if the software was glitching, the engines should have continued to operate on their last power setting instead of shutting down.

Bottom line: Airbus is in all out damage control mode and it can be speculated that the entire (sad) truth hasn't come out yet.

Indestructible, badass rootkit BadBIOS: Is this tech world's Loch Ness Monster? VOTE NOW

Black Helicopters

Stuxnet <-> BadBios: There is no such thing as coincidence

I was an electrical engineer before I ended up in IT. All the time that I worked on SCADA systems (primarily Siemens S5 and S7, but also Allen Bradley and others) I knew full well how crap that stuff was from a security point of view. It was also clear that themost basic security necessities were constantly violated by onsite procedures and habbits of those who dealt with the PCs hooked up to mission critical multi million dollar production lines. Some of these PCs were simply hooked up to the internet and the internal network for no good reason at all and without even a basic consumer level firewall or virus scanner.

When the details of Stuxnet filtered through to the public I was only amazed that it had taken that long for something like this to happen. Sure, it requires a lot of interdisciplinary brain grease which is usually hard to come by. But that's also what you get when you got nation state level exploits beeing cooked up by scrupulous governments with infinite funding and infinite blackmail potential at their disposal.

Apply that level of brain grease, funding and scrupulousness to cranking out a sophisticated and highly generic virus like this one and suddenly that scenario is a lot more plausible. Now .... what have these guys that did Stuxnet been doing in between? They probably weren't laid off or are scrubbing toilets these days. Soooo .... that BadBios thingy may sound like science fiction. But think twice: If it's not already out in the wild, then we'll eventually see something like that sooner or later. My money is on sooner.

Tax dodging? It's harder to do - and rarer - than you think


"I moved abroad - no more tax for me. I literally can't pay it where I live now even if I wanted to."

Almost the same here. Left Europe permanently and will not return until the EU is dead and done with. Used to have a Limited in the UK and another company in another Euro country. Taxation madness in both cases. Over here? Flat tax the price of a dozen pizzas a year. No booking and accounting required, no tax audits, no indirect pressure to force you to use tax lawyers to avoid all the pitfalls of just filing your darn tax statement(s).

Think about how many mouths the average EU company has to feed just to be able to file their taxes in a way that it doesn't backfire on them. That's even before tax optimization or evasion and just to get all the ducks lined up *just* to file a correct tax declaration. It's a whole bloody industry at work there, which produces nothing but costs everyone's dime. The average tax laws in most European countries are way too complicated due to the many exceptions for special interest groups or out of protectionism for this or that niche group. It's a system that cannot be fixed with more amendments and more adjustments. It needs to get axed and has to be rewritten from scratch.

Make it as simple as unavoidable to pay our dues. Both for average blue-collar Joe, the Mom-and-Pop Coffee Shop and the global market dominator.

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