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Lost and Found

December 19th, 2016

This morning a colleague handed me two DVDs: The Shining and Blade Runner. He borrowed them from me nine — NINE — years ago. When we worked together at a different company! Thanks R—-! I have digital copies of both that I bought in the interim… but at least the Kubrick boxed set is complete again.

Now, has anyone seen my Criterion Collection copy of Seven Samurai?

A Post Trumpian World 

November 9th, 2016

I am genuinely ashamed at the triumph of bigotry in the US tonight. I am terrified by the effect this will have for the world. In global warming, free trade and liberalism in general and to the US in the long term shift from open to close this most likely signals. To the make up of the Supreme  Court and its impact on the lives of people for a generation to come.  

October 4th, 2016

File under story I will never actually write:
In a not so far off future, an increasingly elderly society is decimated when massive numbers of people over 65 suddenly overdose. After much investigstion to culprit turns out to be a group of young political activists who seek to save their future by eliminating retired people who are cost more and more in public health expenditure and dominate the political process through their numbers. How? By hacking into internet connected automatic pill despensers everyone uses…

Welcome to the aged, connected society.

There is no security

October 2nd, 2016

Recently there have been a number of very interesting security stories out there. Last.fm and Dropbox password hashes and email addresses from hacks in 2012 were offered up – both of which include my email address. (And if you don’t understand the whole password/hashes/email address and why your password sucks, whatcha this: Password Cracking – Computerphile

The most recent story (a few days old now, because I’m slow posting things) is on using hacked IoT devices for DDoS attacks. This harks back to Stuxnet. A bunch of inetrnet connected things that no one ever thought to secure. Because, security is hard and, at least when I was in school, not properly taught to programmers. I hope they have fixed that.

Anyway, if you don’t know the details of Stuxnet, read Countdown to Zero Day. It’s amazing.

With Stuxnet, somebody went through a lot of trouble to attack Uranium Centrifuges. Somebody was willing to spend a lot of time and money on that, that’s for nukes so it makes sense. Spending that kind of money and time for a single high value target makes sense. The newest hack is more mass market, hack a million home security cameras and use them to launch DDoS attacks. The growth of IoT combined with our laziness in updating our devices (phones aside, when was the last time you updates your <insert connect but screenless device here>… your refrigerator may be responsible for the next major website take down. As Matthew Prince says in the Wall Street Journal’s article on the camera hack:

“It’s going to be very difficult to convince consumers to patch their refrigerator,”

Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare, quoted in “Hackers Infect Army of Cameras, DVRs for Massive Internet Attacks” [wsj.com], on The Wall Street Journal

Worth it

July 15th, 2016

Once upon a time a wise person told me “if you are going to commit fraud, make sure it’s worth it.” I don’t remember the news story we were making fun of at the time but I’ve always remembered the rule. 

By worth it I mean a pay off in the tens of millions, relocate to a tropical island in a country with no extradition treaty. 

Over the years I’ve quoted the generalized the rule, “if you are going to do X it make sure it’s worth it”, many times.  Explaining that petty rule breaking is not with it – cheating on that parking meter/coupon is not worth the ticket, how many time do you have to not pay the 50 cents to make up for one ticket?  Cheating on your spouse &mdash; if it’s not with a famous actor/singer/model, what the hell are you doing?

Recently in Singapore there was a perfect example: a guy robbed a bank for $30,000! Seriously? This is Singapore they cane people. They hang people. WTF?!?