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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

Etcetera Re:Sony security: strong or weak? (300 comments)

Something not much discussed, if outsiders were able to liberate "terabytes" of data from Sony Pictures, just how good was the corporation's computer security?

How many bytes of data did Snowden liberate from the CIA? If the CIA couldn't stop it, then this does not inherently say anything bad about Sony's corporate security.

That's Schneider's point -- NO organization can totally prevent data hacks and folks skilled in security know this.

I wish I had mod points... I'd mod you up.

yesterday
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

Etcetera Re:Sony security: strong or weak? (300 comments)

There is also the fact that this isn't Sony's first time on this ride. Shouldn't they have doubled-down on security after PSN got hacked?

You're supposing that "Sony" is a single massive thing -- it's not. It's a conglomerate with many separate units that share relatively little other than a name and some discounts at the Sony Store.

Proof: The hackers have done nothing outside of Sony Pictures. If there'd been interoperability in the layer that they got into, we'd be seeing data from other "Sony"s out there as well.

SOE/SMSS/SNEI learned a lot after what happened in 2011. But a movie studio that deals mainly with corporate accounting to pay actors and production companies, and the occasional internal creative discussion, has a far different calculus to make on what to secure how than an Online Game company, or the one handling end-user billing (read: PCI) data for a storefront (PSN).

You're going to see a giant top down review come out of this, of course, but implementation will probably still be handled by individual corporate units to some extent.

Sony wasn't attacked because they were vulnerable or had particularly lax security, they were attacked for political reasons by a foreign power. I guarantee you that if Viacom has been producing The Interview they would have had a similar attack against them and would probably have fared little better.

yesterday
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Pizza Hut Tests New "Subconscious Menu" That Reads Your Mind

Etcetera Success rate is the interesting bit (186 comments)

One can imagine all sorts of objections to this ("I take too long", "I like staring at onions, but I don't like eating them", etc...), however a self-reported 98% success rate -- or at least, 98% of the time they end up with a pizza with their preferred ingredients and/or that they end up really liking -- would explain why Pizza Hut decided to roll ahead with this -- seemingly weirdly ahead of its time -- tech right away.

98% approval suggests that browsing an appetite are more firmly linked. If the numbers hold up outside of the focus groups and small study areas, I'd expect this technology to spread far and wide. Carls Jr. (a/k/a Hardee's) and Jack in the Box already use the kiosks in several locations here in San Diego; a camera and tracker wouldn't be that much of a step and could provide a quite different experience.

about two weeks ago
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'Endrun' Networks: Help In Danger Zones

Etcetera Everything old is new again (28 comments)

Eventually, we just keep rediscovering old concepts. Store-and-forward is basically Zone Mail Hour, and the first time I read about the Deep Space network concepts, all I could think of was interplanetary FidoNet, or WWIVnet.

about a month ago
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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

Etcetera Re:Systemd (993 comments)

Unfortunately, yes they do. Unless you want to switch to BSD, or roll your own distribution -- which now involves resurrecting old init shell scripts, or writing new one, and maintaining them going forward -- you are very likely to be forced to use systemd by the distro or 3rd party apps that deeply integrate systemd.

This is one of the keys, and why the Lennart-hate is slightly more justified than the usual OSS spats.

Actively pushing to deprecate and then FORCE TO BE REMOVED initscripts from the Fedora RPMs was a way, similar to the integration of udev and GNOME, of forcing adoption and making migration back to other init systems difficult. This is classic embrace-and-extend, anti-competitive behavior except instead of Microsoft leveraging its weight, it's a developer making a power play.

As for how and why Fedora agreed to this... Well, there are a couple of different things at play. To some extent, it's felt like for a few years now the developers in the community have been pushing things and the sysadmins in the community have been busy doing their jobs or otherwise not paying attention. Suddenly Fedora is all about people running on their laptops and their little docker VMs with very little thought to the poor schlub who's dealing with a half-broken system at 3am in the morning. I can't say I blame Fedora specifically -- communities go awry all sorts of ways -- but I do wish RedHat had and has been taking administrator feedback into account with RHEL7.

Suffice to say, there's a lot of concern out there.

about 2 months ago
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SkyOrbiter UAVs Could Fly For Years and Provide Global Internet Access

Etcetera Naming (48 comments)

Please, please, PLEASE can the folks who are setting this up call it "Skynet"? Thanks.

about 3 months ago
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Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

Etcetera Re:It's getting hotter still! (635 comments)

Citation please!

Here, let me Google that for you

Also, from 2008 Davos:

Just how crazy is Al Gore? That was the question that popped, once again, into my brain as I read a January 24 Agence France Press news story out of the Davos meeting of business and political elite. Gore asserted that, “the North Pole ice caps may disappear entirely during summer months within five years”

I was instantly reminded of the story that ran in The New York Times in August 2000 claiming that the Pole was free of ice for the first time in 50 million years. It wasn’t, of course, because people who have actually been to the Arctic quickly noted that, in the summer, some ice actually does melt there. The Times retracted it three weeks later.

This kind of apocalyptic nonsense has been ratcheting upward ever since the new century began and my theory is that lunatics like Al Gore know that they are running out of time when it comes to imposing draconian restrictions on the use of every form of energy known to mankind. This is the purpose of the global warming hoax.

about 3 months ago
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How Red Hat Can Recapture Developer Interest

Etcetera Trendy != Better (232 comments)

Given that developers are the new kingmakers, Red Hat needs to get out in front of the developer freight train if it wants to remain relevant for the next 20 years, much less the next two.

It's very hard to avoid a snarky response, but I'll try.

* Developers are not kingmakers
* Developers are not system administrators
* Developers don't understand operations
* Developers often don't understand scale engineering unless they can abstract it away by not thinking too hard about anything
* Red Hat Enterprise Linux (and its derivatives) are not intended to be shiny new, but to be reliable
* Use Fedora if you want bleeding edge, or re-package things yourself. RPMs aren't hard.

about 4 months ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Etcetera Re:My opinion on the matter. (826 comments)

What's funny is it actually has the ability, and nobody uses it except for gettys.

This. Actually, in RHEL/CentOS, you can simply run /etc/rc every minute via cron and it'll sync what's running with what's supposed to be, assuming things have been /sbin/service stopped. (And if they haven't been cleanly stopped, you need a specialized tool that understands how to *TEST* the service rather than rely on subsys.)

about 4 months ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Etcetera Mirrors industry schisms... (826 comments)

You can see this in Development vs Operations, Bay Area Startup Hipster Programmers vs System Administrators Who Have To Carry The Pager, Big Data vs Simpler Analysis, and a lot of other places in the industry right now....

There's an influx of talent that doesn't seem to understand the fundamentals of system architecture, or assumes they have all the answers and can/should hard-code them into the design, preventing "the Unix Philosophy" from being applied by the operator who's trying to deal with the crisis at 3 in the morning. "whatcouldpossiblygowrong", ergo I shall design this in C, and if you need more flexibility than I'm offering then You're Doing It Wrong.

What they don't understand is that they don't have all the answers... Nobody does. The only solution is to leave as much flexibility available as far down the stack as possible to allow the folks who have to deal with this (eg, system administrators) the ability to do their jobs. Replacing shell scripts with C code and the unix toolkit with monolithic binary blobs does not help the situation.

systemd does a few things right (cgroup management, for one), and promotes the state of the art in a few areas that probably only could be dealt with at the PID1 level... Also, as the original article admits, there's nothing inherently wrong with working to speed up boot times across the board. All of these things are irrelevant and outweighed by enforcing declarative styles on system configuration, and the sheer philosophical hazard of taking all these disparate functions and putting them into a program.

It makes absolute sense for Android, and perhaps an embedded system that just needs systemd and busybox. For a regular Linux userland, it takes us in the wrong direction.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Personnel As Ostriches?

Etcetera Re:Simple Answers to Simple Questions (246 comments)

Your best bet is to "forget" you read it; never acknowledge that you saw it, and assume the best.

For example, just because someone wrote about supposed "irregularities in the pension fund"; doesn't mean there are irregularities in the pension fund, it may just be some ignorant person spouting out / jumping to wrong conclusions.

Case to case basis. "irregularities in the pension fund" is something that could be ignored, "couldn't dispose of the corpse last night" puts you in a spot where you might be committing a crime by not reporting.

Actually, you'd probably be committing a crime by not reporting there too... In both cases, if it could be proven you were aware of it. What you're talking about is the different levels of moral responsibility between the two cases.

To answer the OP, as someone who's had root at large positions... Assuming you are not intentionally spying on something or doing something at the behest of a security directory, legal, or other internal affairs-ish agency (which probably doesn't exist at your smaller company), you should treat everything as if you were a cop and you didn't have a warrant. You're not going on a fishing expedition, but if something is "in plain view", it is not inappropriate to use common sense and reason to consider that information now available to you and make choices accordingly. If that means calling your CFO/Legal that's one thing, if it's police that's something else.

Overall, it's hard to go wrong with the time-tested advice sudo lectures you with, specifically #1/#3:

        We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:

        #1) Respect the privacy of others.
        #2) Think before you type.
        #3) With great power comes great responsibility.

about 5 months ago
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Firefox 31 Released

Etcetera Re:no thanks (172 comments)

Firefox has gone down the ugly-UI-shuffle-for-the-hell-of-it route, Chrome sends an astounding amount of telemetry back to the hive-mind, and IE's performance is still a total joke even if I can see past the OS implications and numbingly-bad design. Are niche browsers all we have left?

It's rather ironic that seamless integration with the OS is much less of a privacy issue than seamless integration with remote servers nowadays....

about 5 months ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

Etcetera Re:High power use doesn't have to be dirty: (710 comments)

Oh, and unless there is an electric car with decent range that does not have software in it (actually, you can have a single ATMEGA MCU, but the source needs to be open), I'm keeping my gasoline powered car (that does not have software in it).

What are you actually scared of? Cars don't seem to be randomly crashing or exploding due to software bugs. Even the Toyota "bugs" turned out to be user error. Considering all the other safety features in a modern car it seems that even if a few percent of accidents were caused by software you would still be much safer in one.

You're asking what he's scared of on Slashdot? Maybe his real name is RMS...

about 5 months ago
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One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

Etcetera Re:HFS reliability (396 comments)

Anyone who owned a Mac since the 80s remembers having to use Norton Disk Doctor and later DiskWarrior at least once per month to repair the filesystem. Entire folders could go randomly missing each time you booted up your Mac, and if you accidentally lost power to your hard drive, the use of one of those was mandatory.

I think you're confusing generic Disk Repair with rebuilding the Desktop File...

Unless your drives were seriously damaged (floppies thrown in a backpack were always a bad idea no matter where you were), missing icons and whatnot were at the disk catalog level (used by Finder), not the HFS level. Command-Option on disk insert would fix it for me.

In the event of a power outage or something similar, it was always advisable to run Disk First Aid (and later versions System 7.5+ or Mac OS 8.1 maybe?) would run it automatically for you in the event of an unsafe shutdown, but that's just morally equivalent to running an fsck.

about 6 months ago
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The Profoundly Weird, Gender-Specific Roots of the Turing Test

Etcetera Re:some weird thoughts (136 comments)

Turing was gay, as such did he have some culturally "feminine" interests or ways of thinking, or was he more a "man-gay"

Not so weird. There may be plenty of sociological reasons one could consider for making this gender (or sex) specific that are probably pretty valid. (Men and women have dramatically different ways of understanding communication, and this was not unknown in the 1950s.)

But if the rest of us are forced to consider Turing's homosexuality as a person indivisible from his work as a visionary (OMG he was a thinker, and he was gay!), it's only fair to consider that trait in the analysis of the work he did...

about 6 months ago
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Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming

Etcetera No, no it's not. (379 comments)

First of all, it's "climate change" now and not "global warming"... some spots are having much cooler temperatures instead.

Secondly, droughts happen. The history of California is the history of water politics mainly because most of SoCal is a semi-arid desert. San Diego in particular has a giant desert separating us from the rest of the country -- even LA.

Thirdly, unless you've just moved to San Diego, you're quite aware of the 2003 and 2007 fires. These were (also) not the result of global warming.

Fourthly, there's good reason to believe that at least some of the ones this week were started by (d-bag) arsonists.

It's over-broad statements like this from "scientists" that give credence to the assertion that climate scientists are thinking with the social policy side of their brains instead of the factual side. /signed
Native San Diegan; MRC/former CERT member; non-scientist.

about 7 months ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

Etcetera Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

Separate but equal was discredited a long time ago.

"Separate but equal" in the concept of RACE was discredited a long time ago (well, presumed illegal unless it survives strict scrutiny).

Sex is judged under intermediate scrutiny, which is between strict and "rational basis" review.

about 8 months ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

Etcetera Re:I don't think you know what discrimination mean (673 comments)

Offering a nuclear-male/female-family-specific incentive is not the same thing as discriminating against non-male/female domestic partnerships.

There... FTFY.

about 8 months ago
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Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

Etcetera Re:systemd Architecture (641 comments)

There does seem to be an aggressive, emotionally manipulative campaign by Red Hat to get it into every major distribution and that seems to unfortunately have succeeded.

It seems like there are quite a few *within* Red Hat that aren't all that pleased with the way things have been progressing, hence the "hey, let's give a voice to sysadmins in the direction of Fedora as well!" initiative.

Systemd has the ability to do pretty neat things, but so do lots of other init systems and process controllers. The only thing that feels really head-and-shoulders above whatever else was available was cgroup integration for services. Is that worth all of the other breakage, the DJB-level asinine-ness of the developers, and the lack of flexibility caused by removing shell scripts from the boot process? Doesn't feel like it.

about 8 months ago

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Beta 2 released

Etcetera Etcetera writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Etcetera writes "Coming off the heels of Beta 1, released back in April, Red Hat has posted the next beta of their upcoming enterrprise release, including "an updated installer, new technologies and resolutions to many issues that were reported earlier in the Beta cycle." Full B2 release notes here, with updated versions of some of their other beta docs here. From their blurb: "The breadth of testing and quality of feedback that we are receiving has been impressive and we are grateful to our user community and our development partners for helping us create a solid enterprise-ready operating system capable of scaling to today's demanding workloads." Start your downloads here."
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