* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

NatWest customer services: We're aware of security glitch

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: password specifications..

"the servers handling authentication are much less likely to have been compromised with malware"

OTOH if your device is compromised you lose control over your own passwords and, frankly, the bank isn't going to care about that. If the authentication server is compromised they lose control over everyone's passwords and. of course, the bank ... Yes, you can see why they're choosing such an insecure option.

Seriously, there are two aspects to risk. One is the probability that something will go wrong, the other is the scale of going wrong.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: password specifications..

"Isn't it time there was a standard for this stuff?"

A standard? There are lots of standards. Just pick one.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Next time, screenshot it and post it on Twitter with a link to the story

"We can't be arsed to do our job properly unless you hang out your dirty laundry in public on Twitter" approach to customer service

AFAICS customer service was doing its job - it even escalated the problem, a step which seems to be unknown to many these days. The tech side -trying without success.. It's PR that needs to be hung out to dry.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

“in order to more thoroughly investigate"

OK, a split infinitive isn't actually reckoned to be ungramatical. Throwing in an adjective as well is just plain ugly.

OTOH I take it that "exceeding authority" is PR-speak for telling the truth.

Alleged dark web drug baron cuffed – after he flew to US for World Beard Championships

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"Interesting they didn't try and get the gendarmes to do this with a bit of help from Interpol?"

No promotions available for that although, to be fair, they might not have expected him to tote all the evidence around on a laptop for the gendarmes to find.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I believe the word we are all struggling to vocalise is ...

"surrender encryption keys at the *French* border on the way in"

He should have surrendered his on the way out.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I believe the word we are all struggling to vocalise is ...

What sort of idiot takes electronic devices themselves to the USA on a visit these days?


Microsoft gives all staff a marked-up 'Employee Edition' of Satya Nadella's new book

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Re: I can reveal the chapter headings...

Surely all the chapters after 8 are numbered 10.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I hate when business try to turn into religions...

"Especially since you can't change a company culture with books or other silly initiatives."

Maybe you can, but not in the way intended. Revulsion isn't a useful addition to company culture.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And at the same time, not so Good

"it's pretty degrading, exposing them to the vacuous thoughts of the PHB in chief."

It was an on-stage version of this sort of rubbish that finally lead to a parting with my last permie employer.

El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

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Re: Want a remote one?

"Can you operate a Teasmaid?"

WHy are you teasing maids?

Dot-Amazon spat latest: Brazil tells ICANN to go fsck itself, only 'govts control the internet'

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Re: I wonder what Brazil's reaction would be if ...

"Libya made a claim for the .amazon TLD?"

Or Lycia? Given that the earliest written sources seem to be Greek maybe Greece should be given the deciding vote.

TalkTalk once told GCHQ: Cyberattack? We'd act fast – to get sport streams back up

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"the TalkTalk Data Controller"


Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"it was important to add that TalkTalk was still a victim."

No. TalkTalk was a negligent custodian. The victims were the customers whose data was taken.

Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

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Re: Pass the popcorn

"Entering a globally highly competitive market with well established multi-national players in an environment where you are about to lose all your global trade deals, ironically due in part to your own lobbying."

He off-shored production some time ago. He doesn't need UK-global trade deals except for those which make imports from his factories cheaper. Brexit increases costs for such manufacturers who remain in the UK. Are you surprised he lobbied for Brexit?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The UK mostly powered by coal?

"Post 2020, what sane car maker will spend £5bn developing a new ICE car for European markets?"

Unless something drastic happens to the range/charge time ration, anyone who wants to sell a car to customers who want to travel more than a few tens of miles at a time.

And if ICEs are totally banned (including ICE/electric hybrids) then the govt will have finally achieved the goal it's had for years: limiting the freedom of movement that the car brought to the masses.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Popcorn

"Look under the bonnet of your car, remove everything and put back a single computer to control a single electric motor, and perhaps some aircon rads and a fan. Of course brakes and steering are still required"

You've left in the entire transmission. You might want to take that out and replace it with a motor at each wheel. You also have to think about regenerative breaking and how to recover power back into the battery, otherwise you're going to have a very short-range car. The aircon rads aren't going to be much use because you've removed the aircon pump which is driven by the engine.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The UK mostly powered by coal?

Yes, we need additional capacity if we have a fully electric transport network, but that’s not going to happen anything like overnight and can could be planned well in advance.


Whether it will be planned well in advance is another matter. The usual HMG response to this has been "Ooh, expensive. Maybe later".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I'd trust the build quality

"after Brexit we'll need to actually build stuff when the banks head to Paris."

Don't look to Dyson for help with that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Popcorn

"Nothing wrong with this"

Unless, of course, you're looking for a job in UK manufacturing.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Popcorn

"It will be interesting to watch Mr Leave Business Poster Child trying to sort out his supply chain to build anything that size and/or complexity. "

Given that he doesn't build his existing products in the UK or elsewhere in the EU I doubt he'll build this one here either. The mess that he leaves for UK manufacturers won't affect him.

Alibaba beats Google for IaaS market share, with IBM out of sight

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"Gartner's first ever attempt at calculating market share in the field."

Remind me again, who do they rank as the world's best security consultants?

Welcome to the future: Bluetooth jackets you can only wash 10 times. Gee, thanks, Google

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Project Jacquard

Back to punched cards.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: you should never wash a pair of jeans

"it is the job of Sir's valet to deal with the washing of Sir's jeans"

Sir's valet is only the middle man. The washing is done by Sir's laundry staff.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "now can someone show me the problem?"

Marketeers don't think they have enough of your money.


Small businesses: GDPR affects you, too

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Re: Backups

These questions have been posed in the comments of just about every GDPR article.

As regards backup, there is wording about technical feasibility (this is an off the top of the head rely so you'll have to go and check it if you want the exact words). The upshot of this would appear to be, no, if it;s not feasible you don't have to go and edit your backups. OTOH, if you were to restore one of those backups you'd need to have a means of re-doing the deletes that happened between the taking and restoring of the backup.

There's also wording about not having to remove data relevant to performance of transactions. So you'd be able to justify holding onto warranty data until the expiry of the warranty.

But as with any legislation, the ultimate way to decide what to do is to read it to find out how it affects yourself.

Deloitte is a sitting duck: Key systems with RDP open, VPN and proxy 'login details leaked'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"consulting companies are not always practicing what they're preaching."

OTOH in such a field the you should expect to be judged by the way you run your own business. If that isn't very good why should you expect anyone else to buy your services. In fact, you're no better than all those would-be SEO specialists who write from gmail addresses and don't seem to have a domain name that should logically appear on first page in Google if one were to search for "first page in Google".

DataCore tech cranks wheezing SQL Servers to ridiculous speeds

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Re: Super fast response times

"agmax works for DataCore"

Thanks, but I'd already worked that out.

Equifax CEO falls on his sword weeks after credit biz admits mega-breach

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Re: Not going to receive his bonus

"How would you feel if low income workers who were fired for incompetence or misconduct had to give back several years of historic pay?"

They're not going to be the ones making company policy or overseeing company policy being carried out. The reason CxOs are paid a lot of money is that they carry responsibility. If they fail to discharge that properly that over a long period why shouldn't some of that money be clawed back?

Docs ran a simulation of what would happen if really nasty malware hit a city's hospitals. RIP :(

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Because we could never do elevators/HVAC/refridgeration without computers?"

And nobody ever put the HVAC on the same network as the business and nobody ever let the maintenance company have access to the HVAC and nobody ever got pwned because of such a set-up. Of course not.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I was buying a new vacuum cleaner last week

If it was made by Microsoft, you can be certain it won't will suck.


Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"having monitoring of the conditions would be useful"

Every freezer I've had monitors itself. If the temperature rises above a limit it sounds an alarm. If a fridge or freezer isn't located where the alarm wouldn't be heard it's not beyond the wit of man to run a bit of twin core to sound the alarm somewhere where it would be. It doesn't need to be connected to the internet; that's just needless - and dangerous - shiny for the sake of shiny.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Take results with a pinch of salt

"Things have to be done RIGHT NOW because hospitals are vulnerable"

Let's look at that a little more carefully.

What has to be done right now?

I'd say the first thing that has to be done is to find out what has to be done (yes I did spend time living in Ireland ;).

The medics have a term for this, it was used in the article: triage.

Some things can be done quickly but everything can't be done at once because you always have a finite number of people to do it and things have to be done in order: if you think the network needs to be rearranged so as to isolate the more vulnerable equipment then that has to be planned, otherwise you may accidentally fail to do so by missing out on some bridge or you may separate a piece of equipment from other systems it needs to work with. Then you may need to buy more kit which has a lead time.

You can start doing things right now (Starting telling TPTB you're going to need to budget time and money is one). You will actually be able to finish doing very little right now.

Above all you need to avoid the politician's syllogism: something needs to be done, this is something therefore it must be done.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The rest makes sense but that's just a bit far fetched."

There was an internet connected dishwasher mentioned here a few months ago: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/26/miele_joins_internetofst_hall_of_shame/ That turned out to have been intended for use by medical services so it doesn't surprise me that they would have actually found internet connected fridges. This sort of exercise should lead to questioning the wisdom of such devices.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Take results with a pinch of salt

"wonder what the lessons learnt are, that a hospital could be put immediately into practice."

Why would the lessons learned have to be put into practice immediately? Some, maybe. But the fact that some or even all may take longer doesn't invalidate the exercise.

Have you ever carried out a DR practice? If you have I'm pretty sure that at least the first time you would have learned a great deal about how to prepare for a real DR event. Given that you don't see the point of this exercise I'd guess you haven't.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: WannaCry and NHS

"Except it forms the basis of the vast majority of the actual servers on the internet"

And all the Android devices. And all Chromebooks.. And what's the score for smart TVs these days?

But still, nobody uses it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: WannaCry and NHS

"No, but if their are any it'll be blamed on 'computers'"

If there are any such deaths they should to be reported to the coroner and an inquest would look into the matter rather more deeply than you seem to think.

Want to keep in contact with friends and family without having to sell your personal data?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Yes, you can. I can too. But $600 so I don't have to fix it on my mum's computer when it breaks would be the best $600 I have ever spent, BAR NONE."

The point is that the workable solution you knock up on a Pi doesn't cost $600 to produce at scale. You have to ask where the mark-up's going.

The ongoing need for a means of mediating some connections is a real one. We don't need yet another slurping operation.

Perhaps the solution is to accept that such an ongoing service needs to be paid for. There could be a multi-tiered service - say a way of advertising one's current IP address (to provide for ISPs allocating addresses dynamically) for the peer-to-peer. The next tier could be a store and forward facility for passing messages to someone currently off-line and an additional facility for advertising this more permanent address. Add on a means of advertising a public key so that stored and forward data can be encrypted at rest whilst being stored. Another tier could add more encrypted storage, calendar functions etc. Is there anything in this list that seems even faintly novel except for the notion that such services are actually the product in their own right?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Really?

"Granny probably doesn't have internet at all."

How long do we have to put up with this juvenile stupidity?

Of course those of us in the70+ age group have internet. My 90-yo cousin has an iPad (and a robot lawnmower which is an actual thing these days). His wife has a Linux PC (the answer to having been successfully phished with ransomware) which also, via Calibre, acts as a server for her Kindle. Another cousin and her husband have 2 Linux PCs & a laptop on their internet connection; one of those PCs was bought from Time which, for those who know, indicates how long they've been online.

The internet has been available as a commercial proposition since the 1990s, PCs since the 1980s. Many of us have been using computers since the 60s or maybe even earlier. Do you really think the internet, computers & all sprung into existence when you got your first mobile phone (BTW I was working in the mobile industry in the mid '80s)?

The only thing such would-be witty comments show is the depth of the commentards' ignorance.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Sounds tempting...

"for about the same money you can roll your own with a Pi, camera & a touchscreen monitor, but it won't look as nice"

My reaction exactly. And for the price of an HDMI cable you could hook it up to a bigger display. The knob on the side (as opposed to the knob who's selling your data) is presumably presented to the software as a mouse.

Given the number of people selling boxes to house your Pi even the appearance could be a quickly solved problem.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Who handles the video streams and pictures, and how?

" their privacy policy is the first I have seen, ever, that is so one-sided it contains not a single word about protecting YOUR details and data"

OTOH "We take customers' privacy extremely seriously" is so frequently trotted out in the wake of blatant failure to do just that that it has become a de facto admission of guilt so maybe that's why they avoided it.

CBS's Showtime caught mining crypto-coins in viewers' web browsers

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Yet another reason to avoid sites that don't work when Javascript is blocked.

Driverless cars will make more traffic, say transport boffins

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Re: Bah!

"Instead of thinking of them as self-driving cars, try thinking of autonomous vehicles as trains that go where you need them to go."

But not necessarily when you want one for the simple reason that you'll want one at more or less the same time as everyone else and most of the time someone else will have got them before you.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Got rid of mine...

"Bike for short journeys, train for longer ones."

That works for you so it must work for everyone else. Everywhere is reasonably flat. Everywhere has good local train services ("good" because I've had experience with not good) and everyone has a good enough sense of balance and fitness to ride a bike. And, as per Charles 9's comment, everywhere has an agreeable climate.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Am I stupid (be kind)?

"I don't get how car sharing reduces congestion"

The predictions we're usually given are not so much private individuals' cars being shared but commercial autonomous fleets, something Uber-like but without the drivers. According the Beeb's report (but not included in el Reg's coverage) one of TfL's reasons for pulling Uber's licence was that the Uber cars increased congestion.

Brit military wants a small-drone-killer system for £20m

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"shotgun and cartridges"

There's already been a proof of concept experiment.

Shock! Hackers for medieval caliphate are terrible coders

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Re: C'mon, ElReg.

"world's ignorant press has been doing it's level best to devalue the word "hacker" for a couple decades now"

Have an upvote for the sentiment but I think we just have to accept that battle as lost.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Little wonder four of the groups' IT leaders have been killed in the last two years by drone strikes."

Clearly too many creationists in the US decision making chain. They haven't heard of the consequences of natural selection.

NBD: Adobe just dumped its private PGP key on the internet

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Re: User friendly encryption ?

(3)and if the key leaks you're dependent on the provider for a new one.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Adobe has not returned a request for comment on the matter"

Possible reason.

Call from Adobe PR to tech suppert: "We've all been viewing this cat video someone emailed us and now our computers aren't working."

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