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Ask Slashdot: Linux Security, In Light of NSA Crypto-Subverting Attacks?

Voline Remember this? (472 comments)

Remember this? In December 2010 there was a scandal when a developer who had previously worked on OpenBSD wrote to Theo de Raadt and claimed that the FBI had paid the company he had been working with at the time, NETSEC Inc (since absorbed by Verizon), to insert a backdoor into the OpenBSD IPSEC stack. They particularly pointed to two employees of NETSEC who had worked on OpenBSD's cryptograhpic code, Jason Wright and Angelos Keromytis. In typically open-source fashion, de Raadt published the letter on an OpenBSD mailing list. After the team began a code audit de Raadt wrote,

"After Jason left, Angelos (who had been working on the ipsec stack alreadyfor 4 years or so, for he was the ARCHITECT and primary developer of the IPSEC stack) accepted a contract at NETSEC and (while travelling around the world) wrote the crypto layer that permits our ipsec stack to hand-off requests to the drivers that Jason worked on. That crypto layer contained the half-assed insecure idea of half-IV that the US govt was pushing at that time. Soon after his contract was over this was ripped out. ...

"I believe that NETSEC was probably contracted to write backdoors as alleged."

I'd like to find a more recent report of what they found.

1 year,7 days

Microsoft Developer Explains Why Windows Kernel Development Falls Behind

Voline Re:Long story short... (347 comments)

Great rant, except that over 75% of the Linux code contributed is contributed by paid corporate employees that are simply doing their job.

Supporting evidence for this assertion:

"It is worth noting that, even if one assumes that all of the “unknown” contributors were working on their own time, over 75% of all kernel development is demonstrably done by developers who are being paid for their work."

Corbet, Jonathan, Greg Kroah-Hartman, and Amanda McPherson. Linux Kernel Development: How Fast it is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It . San Francisco: Linux Foundation, March 2012. 9.

about a year ago

Microsoft Developer Explains Why Windows Kernel Development Falls Behind

Voline Re:And the retraction (347 comments)

Your post makes you sound like a censorious, company man. I'm hoping your soul isn't really dead.

about a year ago

Microsoft Developer Explains Why Windows Kernel Development Falls Behind

Voline Re:I'm sure this is on the money, but (347 comments)

Management cares about features they can sell, and stuff that does not immediately translates into new features is considered a waste of time.

What you're saying may be generally true. That's what made Mac OS 10.6 such an amazing release. As John Siracusa wrote in his Ars review:

At WWDC 2009, Bertrand Serlet announced a move that he described as "unprecedented" in the PC industry.

"0 New Features"

Read Bertrand's lips: No New Features! That's right, the next major release of Mac OS X would have no new features. The product name reflected this: "Snow Leopard." Mac OS X 10.6 would merely be a variant of Leopard. Better, faster, more refined, more... uh... snowy.

I think Mac OS X could use another release like that today. Fewer iOS-like "features" more bugs quashed, please. Too bad Serlet left the company.

about a year ago

Spain's Extremadura Starts Move To GNU/Linux, Open Source

Voline Re:sometimes it takes a crisis (182 comments)

This has been in the works long, long before the crisis caused by the financial industry catastrophe of 2008.

about a year ago

The Eternal Mainframe

Voline Re:Rudolf Winestock for President (225 comments)

Slow down. Winestock is not making the "If you're offline you must have something to hide ..." argument, he's anticipating it. He's warning that this is an argument authoritarians will soon be making and so one should be ready to defend the right to even have a general-purpose computer and keep one's data locally.

about a year ago

The Eternal Mainframe

Voline Re:Privacy (225 comments)

I think you're misreading the article. The Winestock is not making the "if you have something to hide ..." argument, he's anticipating it. His argument is that the computer industry, and perhaps computing as a technical endeavor, tends the direction of centralization of computing power and grunt work which then leads to centralization of data. Both governments and business – even cool, supposedly "revolutionary" businesses – like it this way. So, don't look to the high tech companies for help protecting your privacy. As he says in TFA:

Pleading will not help because the interests of those companies and their users are misaligned. One reason why they are misaligned is because one side has all of the crunch; terabytes of data, sitting in the servers, begging to be monetized. Rather than giving idealistic hackers the means to liberate the users from authority, the democratization of computing has only made it easier for idealistic hackers to get into this conflict of interest. That means that more of them will actually do so and in more than one company.

You see, in the past, the computer industry was dominated by single corporations; first IBM, then Microsoft. Being lone entities, their dominance invited opposition. Anti-trust suits of varying (lack of) effectiveness were filed against them. In the present, we don't even have that thin reed. Thanks to progress, we now have an entire social class of people who have an incentive to be rent-seekers sitting on our data.

Being members of the same social class, they will have interests in common, whatever their rivalries. Those common interests will lead to cooperation in matters that conflict with the interests of their users. For example, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is backed by Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and, yes, Google, too.

As the head of the Software Freedom Law foundation, Eben Moglen says, keep your data locally, at home, where the 4th Amendment still has some effect. As Winestock is saying, you better be ready to defend even the right to do that.

about a year ago

What Is Your Favorite Polearm?

Voline Re:sword vs polearm (469 comments)

It's interesting that, as the middle ages went on, foot soldiers went from bearing a shield and one-handed sword or axe to pole arms like the above, then later, pikes. Also swords went from the one-handed variety used with a shield to the two-handed sort. All this happened after the longbow and crossbow were introduced. Which seems counterintuitive to me because those would make me more inclined to have a shield to hide behind, not less.

about a year and a half ago

What Is Your Favorite Polearm?

Voline Halberd (literally) FTW (469 comments)

The halberd was used by the free cities and cantons of Switzerland to evict invading French and Austrian knights. Clearly the superior aristo-killing tool!

(Also see Barbara Tuchman's excellent Distant Mirror . Highly recommended.)

about a year and a half ago

Open Source Foundations Coming of Age — What Next?

Voline Would there be One Ring? (65 comments)

Cause that would be cool.

about a year and a half ago

Mitt Romney, Robotics, and the Uncanny Valley

Voline Pathetic (501 comments)

So little effort went into this product. It has the same specs as the Gorebot 2000 with just some cosmetic changes to the exterior and a firmware update.

The market for full-size Princeps is moribund these days. Mobile is where all the action is.

more than 2 years ago

India Mobile Handset Backdoor Memo Probably a Fake

Voline Re:Good news. (151 comments)

Good point.

more than 2 years ago

India Mobile Handset Backdoor Memo Probably a Fake

Voline Good news. (151 comments)

As the submitter of the original story, I'll be relieved if the leaked memo is a fake. It gives me an excuse to put off migrating from Mac OS X to Linux, which was going to be a good deal of work.

But the earlier case of RIM agreeing to provide in-country servers to enable government surveillance in the UAE, India and Saudia Arabia shows the leverage that governments can wield over companies that operate within their territory. Vigilance is warranted.

more than 2 years ago

Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

Voline More than just a secular humanist (910 comments)

Sure Hitchens made a name for himself for his efforts against religion. But those pale in comparison to his greater achievement: helping to bring the world the Iraq war.

I will always remember the steadfastly careerist way Hitchens reached across the political divide to join hands with the neocons in the Bush administration to boldly hype up false intelligence to make the war in Iraq a reality. Thanks to Hitchens the Iraqi people no longer live in fear of Saddam Hussein's regime. Now they live in fear of torture and death at the hands of Iraqi government and/or various politico-religious militias. Always better when a government monopoly is replaced by a competitive market, eh?

The war also removed the burden of a functioning electrical grid or sanitation systems – facilities that would be superfluous for the 6% of the population, or 2 million Iraqis, who have been internally displaced by the war.

None of this would have been possible without the efforts of pro-war propagandists like Christopher Hitchens. I hope for his sake, that he's right and there is no god.

about 2 years ago

Zombie Cookies Just Won't Die

Voline Re:It's nothing new (189 comments)

HTML 5 local storage worries the hell out of me.

Me, too. Safari has an "Advanced Preference" for "Database Storage" to allow "none before asking". I always say "no". But so far only Twitter's website wants to store data on my machine.

Chrome and Firefox don't seem to have a similar preference. I see reference to cache but not local storage or database storage which I think are the relevant terms, here.

about 3 years ago

Hundreds of Bank Account Details Left In London Pub

Voline The English (92 comments)

"We do like our binge drinking" -- Maurice Moss

more than 3 years ago

Security Consultants Warn About PROTECT-IP Act

Voline Hollywood demands (298 comments)

that we break the internet. Get to it!

more than 3 years ago



With 2012 Ends the "Netbook"

Voline Voline writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Voline (207517) writes "Digitimes reports that Asus and Acer will not be producing netbooks in 2013, signaling the end of a product category that Asus began five years ago with it's Eee PC. The Guardian looks at the rise and fall of the netbook and posits some reasons for it's end. These include: manufacturers shifting from Linux to Windows causing an increase in price that brought netbooks into competition with full-on laptops that offered better specs for not much more money, the global recession beginning in 2008, and the introduction of the iPad and Android tablets. Agree? What are they missing?"

Leaked Memo Says Apple Provides Backdoor to Govern

Voline Voline writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Voline (207517) writes "In a tweet early this morning, cybersecurity researcher Christopher Soghoian pointed to an internal memo of India's Military Intelligence that has been liberated by hackers and posted on the Net. The memo suggests that, "in exchange for the Indian market presence" mobile device manufacturers, including RIM, Nokia, and Apple (collectively defined in the document as "RINOA") have agreed to provide backdoor access on their devices.

The Indian government then "utilized backdoors provided by RINOA" to intercept internal emails of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a US government body with a mandate to monitor, investigate and report to Congress on "the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship" between the US and China. Manan Kakkar, an Indian blogger for ZDNet, has also picked up the story and writes that it may be the fruits of an earlier hack of Symantec.

If Apple is providing governments with a backdoor to iOS, can we assume that they have also done so with Mac OS X?"

DoD Study Contradicts Charges Against WikiLeaks

Voline Voline writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Voline (207517) writes "Last Summer, after WikiLeaks released 90,000 leaked internal US military documents in their Afghan War Log, Pentagon officials went on a media offensive against WikiLeaks, accusing it of having the "Blood on It's Hands" of American soldiers and Afghan collaborators who are named in the documents. The charge has echoed through the mainstream media (and internet comment threads) ever since.

Now, CNN is reporting that after a "thorough" Pentagon review, "WikiLeaks did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods, the Department of Defense concluded." And, according to an unnamed NATO official, "there has been no indication" that any Afghan's who have collaborated with the NATO occupation have been harmed as a result of the leaks.

Will the Pentagon's contradiction of the charges against WikiLeaks get as much play in the media as those original accusations did?"

Link to Original Source

IEA Deliberately Underreports World Oil Supply?

Voline Voline writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Voline (207517) writes "The Guardian reports that a whistleblower inside the International Energy Agency claims that the IEA has deliberately underreported World's supply of crude oil, under pressure from the US government. The source also cites fear of inciting a panic on oil futures markets and a resultant upward spike in oil prices. A sudden shock is just what the world economy does not need right now."
Link to Original Source

CRIA Brings Down Demonoid

Voline Voline writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Voline (207517) writes "As of 09:15 GMT the popular, private, Bittorrent-tracking site, Demonoid, is offline. Attempting to load the site results in blank white page with only the following text on it:

"The CRIA [Canadian Recording Industry Association] threatened the company renting the servers to us, and because of this it is not possible to keep the site online. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding."
Demonoid had previously moved it's servers to Canada from the Netherlands to avoid legal threats there."

Voline Voline writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Voline (207517) writes "In the pursuit of technological independence Venezuela has begun shipping the first 'Bolivarian Computers'. Named after the hero of the South American independence struggle against Spain, they are made by VIT (Venezuela de Industria Tecnológica), which is a joint venture of the Chinese company Lang Chao and the Venezuelan government. The four desktop and single laptop models all run Gnu/Linux. VIT hopes to eventually begin distributing the inexpensive computers throughout Latin America."
Link to Original Source


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