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NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

niftymitch Re:Yes Google and FB are the ones to protect us? (97 comments)

I happen to know a highly skilled person working as a security analist. He says his main customer for 0days is the NSA.......

Golly someone connected directly to gwolf has now been outed.
Unless you are Kim Kardashian with 23 million followers a zero
level direct connection might well be an individual name.

Further with 23 million followers for Kim; 600,000 for Robert Scoble;
83,000 for /. ; 42 million for B. Obama.... we are all connected within three
or so degrees of K Bacon

4 hours ago

NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

niftymitch Re:Yes Google and FB are the ones to protect us? (97 comments)

He suggests a massive company like Google or Facebook will eventually have to take up the task of making Tor scale up to millions of users.

If one of those guys gets their hands on it you can forget about using it to hide anything from the government.

"Here's some bugs we've fixed for you guys. Trust us."

Oh yeah, because the current debug team we can trust so much...

There are two parts..
      * Here is the bug.
      * Here is a bug fix.

The first has a lot of value in an open source community.
The second if taken with blind faith is a potential disaster.

As a pair the time window for attack can be reduced.

Gifts from the NSA are an interesting thing... Some might be triggered
because they have evidence that others have knowledge of the
flaw and are exploiting it. As the need for human intelligence
grows the need for secure communication increases from individuals
(assets) far afield. In that regard bug disclosures would be self
serving but still be quality fixes the Tor community needs.

One important point to me in terms of global security is that
"actions speak louder than words" and if the TLAs like the NSA
pay attention to global bad actors things might find clarity in contrast
to the thought police reaching out four+ degrees of connectivity
for co-conspirators (almost the entire world today)

Speaking about bad actors... our news media outlets seem to
have abandoned all attempts at quality, completeness and
truth. The web does not have time editorial limitations the way
airtime programming does and unedited content should be available.
It is not obvious how one might edit out the payment for cigars
unless the shop is a source of illegal Cubans for the local big

Decades ago news broadcast (Walter Cronkite time frame) news
was a mandate and effectively a cost center not a profit center.
This has gone to stink with the advent of cable and broadcast
outside of the airwaves. But if the FCC can get in the middle
of net neutrality these magazine format sensation and headline
grabbing outlets could find their finances and marketing vastly different.

5 hours ago

What You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As A Programmer

niftymitch Python in 1968 (2 comments)

I wish I knew about Python, FORTH and Haskell in 1968
when FORTAN, Snowball, Lisp... were the dominant choices.

Implied in this is the dream that students then had access to
tools like a Raspberry Pi and all that implies.

Why... well I am excited by the future and would like to push the
clock ahead 40+ years both hardware and software. I do find the
use of JavaScript to be a step backwards and sadly a bit of the
path of least resistance.


Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

niftymitch Well sure... (572 comments)

Well sure -- I do not know but would assert() that MS gave them a major
sales effort. Full court press perhaps with promises and discounts.

Linux is not free. It does take work and is not monolithic.
The biggest gap is one that customers of Munich must bridge
in terms of document tools, multimedia tools, codecs and
even Adobe Flash tools and development.

Having said this it is clear from the most recent blue screen
of death Tuesday updates that any critical business could find
themselves in a monster tangle with a botched patch, an aggressive
zero day attack and any number of other risks. All of which would
be worse if there was only one OS in the house.

Some might recall the old IBM executive directive that overhead
slide presentations be prepared ONLY with a typewriter and only
in black and white. The flood of artistic efforts and costs to contrive
fancier more marketing rich eye catching song and dance presentations
and production company tail wagging the dog expense was diverting
and distracting from the ability to communicate content.

Decades ago at Silicon Graphics there was a move over MAC program
to focus the company and eat your own cooking in the decision making
levels of the company. If an SGI executive could not communicate with
other parts of SGI with ONLY SGI tools customers would have the same
problem and no mater how worthy the hardware could not get the job done.

The important lesson for the world and especially the US to understand
is monoculture is a big risk as any that have looked into the Dutch Elm
disease that killed more trees than Xerox (perhaps an exaggeration).
The attack surface for computers and digital infrastructure and data should
not be in the hands of one company or one QA, or one release test group.

There are a couple of ways to divide and identify the issues and needs.
There are a lot of smart people on /. and we could make some positive
comments --- but hey this is /.


3 days ago

Sniffing Out Billions In US Currency Smuggled Across the Border To Mexico

niftymitch And they could add stuff... (158 comments)

And interesting specific yet easy to detect substances
could be added to money to make it easy to track from
one place to another. Each of the 12 reserve banks could
use a unique easy to detect substance....

One step beyond serial number records... and one step
beyond ultraviolet and edge stack marks.

about a week ago

Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

niftymitch Re:Automated notice not necessary here (364 comments)

Listen with care...

Here my Comcast prerecorded announcement states "This conversation may be recorded
for quality assurance." I hit record and say "Thank you for permission to record this conversation
for quality assurance".

about a week ago

Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

niftymitch Re: Well at least they saved the children! (790 comments)

Replace "Child Porn" with "Subversive Material" and suddenly it doesn't see like such a good thing, does it?

Or, for you folks who like to "share", copyrighted movies, music, etc.

Or replace with any financial instrument bought and sold.

Remember Martha was locked up over a lost post-it note
that implied that the sale/purchase of such and such a stock
was likely profitable...

Given the interconnectivity of the modern world the vast majority
of the technical community are connected to individuals that know
or MIGHT have access to sensitive financial information.

Any recruiter or resume system that sees a bump in traffic from XYZtech
might assume trouble as the rats flee the ship. They do not even
have to mine it... it is visible.

Social issues, financial, sexual (legal), religious, emotional, medical.....
can be fabricated from real and fabricated content....

about two weeks ago

Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

niftymitch Re:Well at least they saved the children! (790 comments)

There is some trouble lurking here:
"The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) [18 U.S.C. Sections 2510-2521, 2701-2710], which was signed into law in 1986, amended the Federal Wiretap Act to account for the increasing amount of communications and data transferred and stored on computer systems. The ECPA protects against the unlawful interceptions of any wire communications--whether it's telephone or cell phone conversations, voicemail, email, and other data sent over the wires. The ECPA also includes protections for messages that are stored--email messages that are archived on servers, for instance. Now, under the law, unauthorized access to computer messages, whether in transit or in storage, is a federal crime."

It is not clear to me that Google has the legal right to look into email beyond the notion of
presenting marketing content that lines up with a user profile and perhaps a blind data
base match against market content and marketing profiles.

Since CP is illegal no profile or other marketing activity can be sold or participated with
by Google. To me nothing in any market driven activity can generate a CP profile
and match.... the implication is that someone was buying or selling Google services
to engage in CP.

It is possible that an image was discovered and a federal warrant caused Google to
search for a match against a very specific image. The sharing of such images outside
of law enforcement may itself be illegal especially if a service to discover such an image
if Google was paid to search for it.

It is possible that an image transfer to a different suspect or legal honey pot
was detected but that should trigger a search warrant.

As others have pointed out anything seen and disliked or disliked and searched
for but not illegal could trigger a witch hunt. I know individuals that have a
visceral dislike for: Rush Limbaugh, CNN, FoX, Kate Gosselin, Jodi Arias,
Joe Arpaio and some would have inclinations to make accusations if they
thought they could get away with it.

The good thing at this moment is that I do not know enough about this
in any detail so others will have to dig into the reality.

about two weeks ago

"Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

niftymitch Re:ROI for drug development (390 comments)

Given that Ebola is currently confined to Africa, and that a relatively small number of people have caught it (less than 4000)...and these outbreaks seem to only come along once every 20 years, where was the incentive for the drug company to create this drug? Was it good timing that it has something ready to go just now.

Will each dose be prohibitively expensive to administer in Africa, or it remains to be seen if WHO will foot the bill to the tune of 10's of millions $$.

Not once in 20. Every two years...
Yes the number of inflicted individuals is too small \ to trigger major financial investment.
Yes the inflicted individuals are mostly too poor to trigger major financial investment!
Yes global risk is so large most research is department of defense funded.

This is so serious and so bad a global risk I dislike thinking about it except that
the world needs to pay attention. Today the context for disease is big $$ pharma
and big $$ agriculture. This has risks so large none with $$ want to touch it
outside of some rarified well funded well secured facilities (a good thing IMO).

about two weeks ago

Cell Phone Unlocking Is Legal -- For Now

niftymitch Re: Funny (135 comments)

Consider how the EPA has extended its mandate to include the CO2 that you exhale and incur simply by eating and making a living and soon will be carbon taxing you... too. [...] Some historic "solutions" came to light January 27, 1945...

That's cute. But parody is better when it's not so exaggerated. Even the US right wing aren't stupid enough, insane enough, to go around saying that the EPA is going to tax breathing, nor invoke Nazi death camps to condemn US environmental regulations. The premise of the joke has to at least be believable.

Yes a bit of exaggeration yet the relentless move to legislate regulatory agencies that then craft regulations with the power of law is astounding.
The terrible part is that to tear down man bad regulations the entire agency must be dismantled which
does not happen for agencies that mostly do the right things.

The EPA is easy to point fingers at yet they do constantly work to extend their charter and reach.

Of interest was a bunch of EPA mandates involving rainwater runoff in Virginia. The state of Virginia
won the first batch of litigation and the EPA was pushed back. However the fact that rain water catchment
basins do not respect state boundaries. Coal does not respect state boundaries. Fumes from coal and other
fuel fired power plants does not.... Then there was the individual in Oregon that put a rain barrel between his
roof and garden. Oregon felt his roof water run off was property of the state of Oregon.

about two weeks ago

Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations

niftymitch Re:Typical (162 comments)

ALso, noise-cancelling technology isn't unique to, or even invented by BOSE. It's, AFAIK, a military patent.. and used in almost every modern headphone and smartphone made.

But what military?

Of interest if a military design was classified and if someone invented
the same thing how could this be litigated. In some cases the disclosure
need only be a public RFP that implies it is possible for another skilled
in the art to go and do it.

Since the secrecy order covers methods and capabilities it could be
that military hardware designs will never be used to show prior art.

FIrst rumor I heard on noise cancellation was for Israel tank communication
systems. Second was old AT&T stuff in the acoustic labs at bell labs for
navy designs.

The patent system is a closed ecosystem and if no one ever filed a patent
on something invented 2000 years ago by a Roman a patent would get issued
and used to extort funds from small players where the cost of litigation
vs. the cost of paying extortion makes the decision.

The other issue is language. Many inventions use alternative language
to isolate their filing from all others. Multiple devices to virtualize large
storage could be used and not trigger a match from a filing involving
redundant array of inexpensive disks etc...

Technical readers could discover some of these but there is no $$ in doing
it. Some large organizations involved in natural language processing might
crack this open as inventions in many nations are stolen and used
in others. This is hard but translation from IEEE publication to PartentOffice to
Chinese, Russian and more might prove to generate matches of interesting
to national security and industry in general (pick your nation... no fixed answer
is correct here).

about three weeks ago

US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

niftymitch What could go wrong... (409 comments)

What could go wrong here....

I would love to see retrofit of cast off steel shipping containers
delivered to foreign soil as emergency hot zone mini hospitals.

In some areas of the US we have piles of long and short shipping
containers. Pant white, seal the inside with a tough liner like folk use for
pick up truck beds. Add a solar powered air vent or redundant two
with LED lighting. Airlift with helicopters or truck in on skid trucks.
Room inside for gowns, antibiotics, bleach and basic sanitation kit too.

These and technology like this will be needed in abundance should
Ebola make it to our shores and run amok.

In part we need to find a way do deliver to hot zones world wide
the ability to care for those that need care. This is my current
favorite way to address this need. They can be tied to the earth
with footers and bolted down well enough to endure a hurricane.
Insulation kits (internal or external spray foam) can make them
cold or hot weather tolerant. Screens and doors, mosquito proof
with a simple cutting torch and install kit all inside the box.

about three weeks ago

Cell Phone Unlocking Is Legal -- For Now

niftymitch Re: Funny (135 comments)

I'm really hoping this is a joke. You realize Congress passes the laws that get to Obama's desk?

Less of a joke than one might think.

Too many laws establish a regulatory framework that then writes regulations
with the force of law. The agency established by the law is under the direct
management control of the executive office.

This is not new with Obama but the recalcitrant congress has made this
more and more visible and "necessary". Consider how the EPA has
extended its mandate to include the CO2 that you exhale and incur simply
by eating and making a living and soon will be carbon taxing you... too.

Some of the worlds worst has been delivered by bureaucratic middle management
given a mandate to solve a problem with little oversight as to how. Some
historic "solutions" came to light January 27, 1945...

about three weeks ago

Cell Phone Unlocking Is Legal -- For Now

niftymitch Re: Funny (135 comments)

Thankfully Obama passed this, because our congress is do nothing. Now, off to get my Verizon phone unlocked so I can switch to AT&T!

Hmmm off to get my phone unlocked while I can....

FWIW I unlocked my previous AT&T phones (never give one up) bought some prepaid SIM cards with other carriers
and gave their networks a try. Here in the heart of Silly Valley -- we have the worlds worst cell coverage. Too many phones,
too few towers. My most reliable phone is a 15 year old unlocked Nokia flip phone. One charge lasts a full week -- a
replacement battery costs about $7. I power it down... put it in a zip lock bag in clean pair of socks while hiking...

I have been shopping for a modern dumb phone that is it's equal and am having
little luck. I would buy one... voice+text+GPS(for 911 safety) if it had a full week+ of
standby time.

The dumb thing about smart phones is the battery life.... it stinks.

about three weeks ago

UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

niftymitch Outlawing this fun too? (282 comments)

At a local pizza shop. I placed my order
and paid cash. She asked:

Q: May I have your name sir?

A: Yes

After a while I hear on the speaker.

"Yes, your pizza is ready".

about three weeks ago

Passport database outage leaves thousands stranded.

niftymitch Why /. and not (1 comments)

Why am I reading about this first on /. and not
on CNN, FoX, ABC, NBR, RT and other news and not news outlets.

This is a big deal.

about three weeks ago

35% of (American) Adults Have Debt "In Collections"

niftymitch Time, time, time... (1 comments)

Time, time, time again this type of information needs
a context of time to tell us anything. Without knowing
what has changed it is difficult to know if this is important
or not.

My guess is that this is astoundingly important not because
of employment or finances but because more and more
government agencies and their contracted proxies are
going after peoples deeper pockets with an escalation of
collection fees and a minimization of notification.

So often we hear that a letter has been posted telling
the delinquent payer to pay up. Yet these are non descript
bulk mailings that have no postmark and look like so
much junk mail.

I happen to have a notice for a dog license renewal by an
address in Texas some two time zones away from me.
Now how is it that my local municipality feels free to contract
a collection to a service in another state in a way that gives
that LLC the power to add a tax levy on my home in the form
of a property lean and not tell me.

If these tiny fees that I see from a five dollar bridge toll
to a dog or cat license issued and sent to collection by some
Kafka inspired process that .....

Well if this is what is going on we have trouble right here in river city
my friend.


about three weeks ago

Police placing anti-piracy warning ads on illegal sites

niftymitch instead of paid-for ads? (1 comments)

To my uneducated in UK law this is hacking to a degree that would
get you in trouble in the US.

It is interesting that I suspect a click through page might be
less illegal in the same way that many search engines give
you a warning page for sites with apparently BAD intentions.

The search engine page presents a link to and not an altered
version of the page. It is the alteration that might be illegal.

Since the ad content is paid for, someone paid for and did not
get what they paid for. This seems to be an open door for
loss of income litigation. It is unclear that these paid ads are
illegal or not but toothpaste advertisements when you see
a big smiling face are not illegal even when the reason for the
big smile is less than responsible.

Time will tell....

about three weeks ago

Smoking Mothers May Alter the DNA of Their Children

niftymitch Tulips.... (155 comments)

Many viruses affect tulips, causing streaked flowers, mottled leaves, distorted plants and stunted growth.
One evil virus is the tobacco mosaic virus and yes it impacts animals too.

For 50 years that I know many greenhouses for cut flowers have prohibited tobacco products
and sterilize their cutting knives.

Of interest a new virus has been found to infect the gut of many humans. It has only recently
been identified and the value it provides to the human gut is the hot new research topic.

The risks to humans from the the tobacco mosaic virus seem to be ignored in much
of the tobacco cancer research.... I think that is a blunder. I also want to make sure the
Colorado grower associations take precautions to keep the tobacco mosaic virus out
of their herb patches.

about three weeks ago

US Department of Homeland Security Providing Online Open Source Code Testing

niftymitch Yes please,,, (1 comments)

Yes please, but with all things free take with a grain of salt.

The DHS does have a vested interest in the internet infrastructure
working. And also an interest in keeping it free of the worst parasitic

It makes a lot of sense to give this service a test drive and look hard at the comments,
terms and conditions....

I can also think of ways to watermark my own code to make sure
it does what and is what I intend and has not been replaced in
some interesting perhaps criminal way.

about three weeks ago



A Polygraph is not private, OH MY....

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a month ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "

"TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – WIAT 42 News has obtained a copy of Justin “Ross” Harris’ personnel file from the time that he was employed as a dispatcher with the Tuscaloosa Police Department. The documents detail Harris’ employment history, some drug use, and the results of a polygraph test that was conducted before his hire. Harris was hired as a tele communicator basic with the police department in June of 2006. He was promoted in his second year with the department, and then in May 2009, he resigned."

This is a tangle of astounding reach. A polygraph is a process to coerce "honesty" from individuals... But there is no US constitutional protection and no privacy as this release demonstrates."
Link to Original Source


SF-fire-chief-bans-helmet-cameras BUT WHY?

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  1 year,2 days

niftymitch (1625721) writes "San Francisco's fire chief has explicitly banned firefighters from using helmet-mounted video cameras, after images from a battalion chief's Asiana Airlines crash recording became public and led to questions about first responders' actions leading up to a fire rig running over a survivor."
Link to Original Source

Like this cannot be hacked...

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a year ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Like this can never be hacked.... One can hope.

"A high-tech startup is wading into the gun control debate with a wireless controller that would allow gun owners to know when their weapon is being moved — and disable it remotely.

"The technology, but not an actual gun, was demonstrated Tuesday at a wireless technology conference in Las Vegas and was shown to The Associated Press in advance. It comes at a time when lawmakers around the U.S. are considering contentious smart gun laws that would require new guns to include high-tech devices that limit who can fire them.""

Link to Original Source

Should health departments relax in emergencies?... radiation did it...

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a year ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "State health officials said several vendors have set up in Moore to help provide food to residents and workers in the area, but some are failing to follow basic health guidelines. Cleveland County Health Department officials say there have been reports of numerous vendors in the area giving away or selling food for people living and working in the area.

The director of the state health department's consumer health service, K.C. Ely, says that while they appreciate that people want to help, they are finding "multiple food safety hazards."

Ely said a check of several vendors found no means for washing hands, water, screening, overhead protection or other basic food safety requirements."

Link to Original Source

Man Jailed in UK 4 fake detectors.

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a year ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes ""A British judge on Thursday sentenced a businessman who sold fake bomb detectors to 10 years in jail, saying the millionaire had shown a cavalier disregard for potentially fatal consequences.

"James McCormick made an estimated 50 million pounds ($77.8 million) from the sales of his non-working detectors — which were based on a novelty golf ball finder — to countries including Iraq, Belgium, Niger and Saudi Arabia."

Now will the purveyors of the of those body scanners to the TSA be next?"

Link to Original Source

CNN anchor Deb Feyerick opened with a rather odd question

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a year and a half ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "The fifth branch of the US gvment needs an education!

On Friday, an asteroid will come within 17,000 miles of the Earth—“a very close shave” by space standards, as my colleague Phil Plait puts it on Bad Astronomy. Recently, Bill Nye the Science Guy went on CNN to discuss the phenomenon—and anchor Deb Feyerick opened with a rather odd question: “Is this an effect of perhaps global warming?”

BTW: The fourth branch is special interest groups."

Link to Original Source

Moo, Tracking School Children With RFID

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates Radio Frequency Identification Device chips to monitor livestock, a Texas school district just begun implanting the devices on student identification cards to monitor pupils’ movements on campus, and to track them as they come and go from school.

Tagging school children with RFID chips is uncommon, but not new.

The risk is in the abuse. Merchants and many many more locations can deploy readers and track these passive ID tags. The result is that it is not only the school that can track the students."

Link to Original Source

The clairvoyant patent.. OMG #7,958,388

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "And I quote from US patent 7,958,388
United States Patent 7,958,388
Bullen , et al. June 7, 2011
"The above description of the preferred embodiments has been given by way of example. From the disclosure given, those skilled in the art shall understand the invention and its advantages, but will also find apparent various changes and modifications that can be made to the methods and structures disclosed. We seek therefore to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined by the appended claims and equivalents thereof. Thus, it is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope and spirit of the invention being indicated by the following claims."

Which I take to claim that anything a workman like programmer discovers as missing is included even if they have not thought of it yet.


It is illegal to talk.

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Apparently it is illegal to talk about the superbowl. .....descriptions are a violation of copyright. Listen closely right before the commercials and you will find yourself being told that not only are unauthorized reproductions a no-no, but so are..."
Link to Original Source

Zappos - zapped

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Zappos tells us.

"First, the bad news:

"We are writing to let you know that there may have been illegal and unauthorized access to some of your customer account information on, including one or more of the following: your name, e-mail address, billing and shipping addresses, phone number, the last four digits of your credit card number (the standard information you find on receipts), and/or your cryptographically scrambled password (but not your actual password).""

Link to Original Source

How to file a friend of court brief?

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "What is unique and novel in Patent number: 7822816 System and method for data management J. David Payne...

This claim sounds like BSD "learn" to me:
      "creating a questionnaire comprising a series of questions" or even the SAT tests. With swizzled bubble .vs. question mechanism to make shoulder surfing near impossibe.

Another sounds like classic bubble test read by a machine and even Myers brigs tests.
  "tokenizing said questionnaire; thereby producing a plurality of tokens representing said questionnaire".

This is hitting the courts in MacroSolve, Inc. v. Whoop, Inc.; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas; Civil Action No. 6:11-cv-00523

The whole thing reads like: "I patent the use of the following things when used in the manner that they were designed for and intended to be used." i.e I patent any method where when you have a hammer and you hammer nails.

The mention of XML is interesting because the design of XML was to address difficult to maintain compact data encoding methods. i.e. compact encoding predates XML.

Another claim reads like the "dragon book" where compact intermediate tokens are designed to be used as input for another program.

Anyhow the captcha for this is :retard: which makes me wonder if /. is a magic eight ball in disguise. Is it the patent or me.."

Obama Tax Plan implemented at ATT

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about 3 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "AT&T announced that it will reduce the data throughput speed of its biggest data users on the unlimited data plan. The company stated it's responding to the explosive growth in data usage and the network congestion that comes with it. ......
Instead, it's targeting the top 5 percent of heaviest data users on the unlimited plan, who use 12 times more data than other users, according to AT&T."

Link to Original Source


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