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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (404 comments)

Is that one offense total (distributing the driver) or one offense _per bricked chip_ (unauthorized modification of the code in the chip itself that renders it unusuable?)

With the UK proposing life sentences for people who cause economic damage that threatens national security, I suppose it's good (for them) that they pulled this now rather than when or if that proposal is approved and enacted. After all, can they be SURE that this didn't affect some computer used by a security agency?

4 hours ago
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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

Hotawa Hawk-eye Bang for buck (547 comments)

If 500 people each use the "correct horse battery staple" approach to generating pass phrases, then an attacker who wants to compromise 5 of those 500 accounts is going to have to break 5 passwords.

If 500 people each use the same password manager, then an attacker who wants to compromise 5 of those 500 accounts needs to break just one security mechanism -- the password manager itself. In addition, that attacker may have help in doing so, from all the other attackers that want to compromise a different set of 5 accounts from that group of 500.

If the security for that password manager is sufficiently stronger than the security of those pass phrases (think Fort Knox versus your local bank branch) then attacking the individual accounts will be easier. But if the password manager's security has a vulnerability (a back door into Fort Knox, manned by a guard who's just two days away from retirement) then that leaves not just one person vulnerable, but all 500.

about two weeks ago
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Accessing One's Own Metadata

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Request the government to provide it (94 comments)

"The number of law enforcement investigations in which I am one of the parties being investigated" seems like a piece of information about you that the government has a legitimate reason to refuse to provide you. If the government says that there are some such investigations (or delays answering until they have enough information to arrest you) then you're likely to try to reach a country with no extradition agreement with your government before they move. So they're always going to say that there are none or refuse to answer -- and to avoid lying in the case where they ARE investigating you, I'd prefer them to simply refuse to provide that information in all cases, at least until they get into the courtroom.

about two weeks ago
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Accessing One's Own Metadata

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Bull (94 comments)

According to the article, he claims that the law requires them to provide him with the information.

So I asked Telstra to provide me with all of the metadata it had stored about my mobile phone account, informing them that they had a duty to do this under the Privacy Act's National Privacy Principles, which gives Australian citizens a right of access to their "personal information" from a company, and the right to have that information corrected if it is inaccurate, incomplete or out-of-date.

After about a month of back and forth phone calls chasing up a response, Telstra refused me access, saying I needed a subpoena to access the data. A subpoena is a writ usually issued by a court with authority to compel production of evidence under a penalty for failure.

As I didn't have the cash to sue Telstra and get a court to issue a writ, I complained to the federal privacy commissioner, claiming Telstra was in breach of the Privacy Act.

Now it's up to the privacy commissioner to decide who's correct: Telstra or Mr. Grubb.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:The name (204 comments)

The summary gives some information about moofo:

"I also talked to various executives at the company and besides giving me apologies, nothing good is coming my way. It's been more than two years (on a three-year subscription that I can't terminate early)"

How many customers do you think have spoken to multiple executives at the security company? That may narrow down the number of people who could be moofo. [Assuming moofo is telling the truth about that; it could have been a misdirection.] The duration and terms of the contract may narrow that even further. If moofo used that same name in another place, linked in some way to his or her real identity, or if he or she provided more information about him or herself in another Slashdot comment it may not be too difficult to deanonymize him or her given a short list of subjects.

about two weeks ago
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NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Ridiculous (139 comments)

I interpreted Firethorn's first point to be that the shuttle was designed to retrieve and bring back to Earth a large object, but none of the objects it actually did return to Earth were that large. In that case, if the shuttle's payload bay had been smaller in the original design the orbiter itself would have been smaller and lighter and so would not have required quite so complicated a booster system (or a booster system at all.)

I'm not sure why that capability was included in the original design; if it was included in case a bad but still reasonably possible scenario happened then retroactively removing it from the design seems like a bit of 20/20 hindsight. On the other hand, if it was included just in case the worst-case scenario happened, which was very unlikely, then _maybe_ it could have been smaller.

about three weeks ago
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Statistician Creates Mathematical Model To Predict the Future of Game of Thrones

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Prediction... (127 comments)

My prediction is that the last chapter will be two sentences long:

    Snow falls. Everyone dies.

Whether the first word is "snow" or "Snow" is left as an exercise to the reader.

about three weeks ago
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Statistician Creates Mathematical Model To Predict the Future of Game of Thrones

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Books 4 and 5. (127 comments)

He specifically notes this -- see sections 3.1 through 3.3 of the paper.

I think another approach that might be interesting to try would be to model the distance between adjacent POV chapters by a given character given the distribution of their previous POV chapters. For instance, if Arya's POV chapters are 10 chapters apart on average and book 6 will be 70 chapters, you'd probably expect 6 or 7 Arya POV chapters if they're uniformly distributed. On the other hand, Ned's last POV chapter was quite a while ago, and so you would expect that trend to continue. [He could still have a POV chapter via Bran trying to see into Ned's past. That would certainly surprise readers looking at the list of POV characters!]

about three weeks ago
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Once Vehicles Are Connected To the Internet of Things, Who Guards Your Privacy?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Just wait 'til the Insurance Companies get it! (130 comments)

Your insurance company could introduce a clause (if it's not already there) suspending your insurance coverage for a short period of time (say a minute or two) after the telemetry indicates that you violated a motor vehicle law. They could claim it was introduced to prevent a carjacker from getting paid for injuries related to the sudden and violent end of his or her high-speed chase, but it could also apply if you went 0.1 MPH over the speed limit just before an accident (trying to prevent the accident by getting out of the way and failing?)

And of course, each and every violation would be a point which would, as X!0mbarg suggests, increase your insurance premium. Depending on the precision of the instruments, even something like crossing a double yellow line could be detected.

about a month ago
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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:That's nice and all (364 comments)

If you're driving in stop-and-go traffic, texting using your cell phone isn't quite as bad as if you're barreling down the highway at 70, 80, 90 or more miles per hour while texting.

As for differentiating passengers and drivers ... tethering is one possibility. Not electronic tethering, but literal physical tethers that connect the phone to the car and are short enough and positioned carefully enough (for the front seat, in the far corner of the dashboard from the driver above the glove compartment) where it will allow passengers to bring the phone to their ears but will not allow drivers to do so. Any phone that is physically tethered can make a call via the car's antenna; phones that aren't are blocked.

Now sure, drivers could probably try to attach extender cables to allow them to text while driving. And if a police officer sees an extender, they can pull the driver over, confiscate the cable (and possibly the phone), and fine the offender.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Mixed arithmetic in Matlab (729 comments)

Do you really want this:

    A = ones(10000, 10000, 'int8'); % 10000-by-10000 matrix each entry of which is 1, stored using the 8-bit signed integer type
    B = 1; % double precision
    C = A+B;

to blow C up into a 10000-by-10000 matrix of doubles, requiring eight times as much memory as A?

There's also the question of false precision.

about a month and a half ago
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MetaFilter Founder Says Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To Scotch Review

Hotawa Hawk-eye Screw the Streisand effect (116 comments)

I want to see them subjected to the Hood effect, named for the Attorney General of Mississippi.

As a coincidence, the headline of the current most recent "Latest News" item on the Attorney General's website is "Pontotoc Woman Going to Prison for Forgery."

about 2 months ago
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Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Flip the switch (247 comments)

So would you want to know kung fu, turn on god mode with IDDQD, or simply request "Computer, arch."

about 2 months ago
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Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Agreed (115 comments)

Hmm ... John de Lancie in the next Bond film as the gadgeteer for the CIA, with whom MI6 partners on a mission of importance to both agencies? I'd see that.

about 2 months ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Legislating Technology (233 comments)

I predict that as soon as a phone with the (undoubtedly standard) kill switch is released, someone will write a software program to reverse the locking. For good measure, that software program will probably also users to kill a phone remotely by spoofing the signal to make the kill switch program believe it's coming from the telecom company or law enforcement.

Unless there's a hardware component (say a physical key you need to insert into a slot on the side of the phone) the security WILL be broken quickly because the financial and bragging rights rewards for doing so are huge. If there IS a hardware component, the thief will likely turn mugger and demand the person's keys -- I suspect many people will probably put the key on their key ring.

about 2 months ago
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Securing the US Electrical Grid

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:All electric grid control systems and networks. (117 comments)

What about the havoc an extremely large nuclear device could cause on the power grid? According to this other Wikipedia article, "In June 2013, a joint venture from researchers at Lloyd's of London and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) in the United States used data from the Carrington Event to estimate the current cost of a similar event to the US at $0.6-2.6 trillion." To put that in perspective, the 2005 United States budget request from President Bush was only $2.4 trillion and the 2013 budget request from President Obama was $3.8 trillion.

about 2 months ago
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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Government bricking = bad. Script kiddie = worse. (299 comments)

I would be less concerned about the government doing this (because there are consequences to doing so -- the Streisand effect being one) than random script kiddies exploiting a vulnerability in the kill switch mechanism by sending a signal to every phone passing a certain point on the highway, for example, just because they can. Given that the government is pushing for this, you know it's going to be somewhat standardized (they wouldn't want to have to use a different process for Apple, Samsung, etc. phones) and so that standard code is going to be a prime target for attackers.

If this does happen, I give it a week or less before the system is compromised and someone starts using it for "entertainment" purposes.

about 2 months ago
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Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Basic Rules no longer free (203 comments)

They are still free AFAIK. They also contain only some of the races and classes (dwarf, elf, halfling, and human for races; cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard for classes) and spells that are in the full Player's Handbook. The PHB includes races like dragonborn, half-elf, half-orc, and tiefling and classes like barbarian, bard, druid, paladin, etc. in addition to those from the Basic Rules.

about 2 months ago
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How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:So ... (218 comments)

Make the orbital facility completely unmanned. If you're worried about the delay in sending control signals to robotic manipulators with which researchers can perform experiments, send the researchers to the space station. If the orbital facility becomes contaminated, destroy it and let the heat of reentry sterilize the pieces or send it on a trajectory into the sun (which again will sterilize it.)

If it is just an unmanned experiment station, I wonder how small and how inexpensive we could make it.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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California Senator Yee (Brown v. EMA) indicted on corruption charges

Hotawa Hawk-eye Hotawa Hawk-eye writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) writes "California state Senator Leland Yee, known for sponsoring the law banning the sale of violent video games to minors that was overturned in Brown V. Entertainment Merchants Association, was indicted by the FBI on public corruption charges Wednesday morning. According to the article, targets of the early-morning raids in this case are expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon."
Link to Original Source
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"A Memory of Light" To Be Released January 8, 2013

Hotawa Hawk-eye Hotawa Hawk-eye writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) writes "Tor Books has announced that the release date for the final volume in the Wheel of Time series of books, A Memory Of Light, will be January 8, 2013. [Barring a Mayan apocalypse, of course.] The fantasy series, started by Robert Jordan and continued by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death, will span 15 books and over 10,000 pages."
Link to Original Source

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