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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

sasparillascott Sad we need to think about this, but we do. (298 comments)

I know that Apple introduced that feature with iOS 7 and the number of robberies of iPhones dropped dramatically thereafter...which was the point of it and a really nice thing to see.

However, this angle on things, which I hadn't thought of, is totally on target - this is totally ripe for abuse by the NSA etc. when the correct number comes up..political or otherwise. Remember we have seen one of these agencies erase information that the Senate was looking at to audit them with, then that agencies leader lies under oath about it - then doesn't get punished in the slightest for it afterwards.

At this point, Joe public wouldn't need to worry about it, but we need to have things set for when stuff gets bad (when the wrong President gets into power and knows how to use all that intelligence offense he has behind a military official whose only oath is to his orders) and things go to a police state for political gain (as it always is)...then this becomes a terrible thing and not worth having.

about a week ago

Cornering the Market On Zero-Day Exploits

sasparillascott The NSA etc. already are buying exploits (118 comments)

I think the point of the speaker was to create a silo-ed verifiable way to do this (so things couldn't be siphoned off to the NSA like they currently are as those costs are a rounding error for the NSA). I like the idea if its implemented properly, currently we have the NSA & foreign intelligence agencies being the big buyers, keepers and exploiters. JMHO...

about three weeks ago

Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

sasparillascott Good to keep in mind when using Skype (267 comments)

Microsoft gave the NSA pre-encryption access to all communication streams via Skype (through the rewrite they did after purchasing Skype). They've never said that access was removed.

It's good to keep it in mind when using Skype (or choosing to continue using Skype) that all messages, pictures, conversations and videos are probably recorded by the NSA for future use. Bummer for the Leopard users on the convenience side of things.

about three weeks ago

Alleged Massive Account and Password Seizure By Russian Group

sasparillascott Re:The fate of the Internet (126 comments)

Far from its nadir at this point, but your post makes excellent points. It definately seems to be getting worse at an accelerating rate.

At what point of security breakdown do online roles/uses become guess is that the credit card folks have seen a significant falloff in use (and collection of fees) due to the constant capture of people's credit card numbers as an example - at some point that will become more pronounced.

What is the point where enough people start clamoring for a "secure" (by the state of course) system to replace the "internet"? It's an interesting question, hopefully we don't get to see the answer to that - but the trajectory for online security is not heading in the right direction.

about three weeks ago

Alleged Massive Account and Password Seizure By Russian Group

sasparillascott Re:Now's a Good Time (126 comments)

The article noted that many of the sites are still vulnerable to attack (and probably still being harvested of UserID/pword data).

The Kee Pass (password manager) recommendation is probably the best - i.e. unique password for each website going forward.

about three weeks ago

The FBI Is Infecting Tor Users With Malware With Drive-By Downloads

sasparillascott The FBI program sounds alot like this one at NSA (182 comments)

I wouldn't be surprised a bit to learn they are related:

Snowden docs, exceptional description of the Turbine program that seeds malware to non-targeted individuals - goal by the NSA (then) was millions of infections.

The logical extension of this is, in the end, to compromise all personal and business computer systems - so anything is available when needed.

about three weeks ago

Leaked Docs Offer Win 8 Tip: FinFisher Spyware Can't Tap Skype's Metro App

sasparillascott Good to remember (74 comments)

Keep in mind just what exactly Microsoft handed the keys to the NSA for:

Microsoft wasn't called out as an "enthusiastic" partner in the NSA's documents for nothing. Definitely consider all versions of Skype to be damaged goods - along with all other Microsoft products - can't imagine how excited the NSA was for the Xbox One and its always on audio monitoring and (originally) required connected video camera.

about three weeks ago

How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil

sasparillascott Important to remember (114 comments)

Advertisers are Facebooks customers, users are the product - and the company (led by its senior executive leadership) has a history of making ethically unsound decisions with "their" product (i.e. users) and there is no reason to expect those poor decisions (with regards to its users) to stop.

I've heard one person remark that Facebook stripmines their users personal details & that seems to be an accurate analogy for how the company operates. JMHO...

about three weeks ago

Intel Launches Self-Encrypting SSD

sasparillascott Re:Self-encryption (91 comments)

Yes, this has technology called the "Clapper Chip" (formerly known as the "Clipper Chip") that allows this massive increase in speed...the NSA says this technology is very secure. /s

about a month ago

Intel Launches Self-Encrypting SSD

sasparillascott Re:Intel has worked with the NSA (91 comments)

The Clipper Chip is probably alive and well. Although maybe we should call it the Clapper chip now...

about a month ago

Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

sasparillascott Anyone left at Nokia afterwards? (383 comments)

With 12,500 gone from the Nokia, is there going to be anyone left at (what was formerly known as Nokia) after this? Or did Microsoft just kill off their phone division?

about a month ago

Senate Budgetmakers Move To End US Participation In ITER

sasparillascott To come this far & then bow out? (225 comments)

Seems a little odd to have gone this far and then bow out. And spread over the decade or more this project goes on, the cost is very minor considering there might be some good takebacks from the project and most importantly the good will it will generate with our European friends who's public has just learned the U.S. is unrepentantly spying on all their citizens all the time (the good will might be worth it alone).

Little quibble: "According to this story from April, the U.S. share of the ITER budget has jumped to "$3.9 billion — roughly four times as much as originally estimated." (That's a pretty big chunk; compare it, say, to NASA's entire annual budget.) "

$3.9 billion is alot compared to NASA's annual budget (which is ~$17 billion) - but that $3.9 billion would be payed over more than a decade right? So for an apples to apples comparison its what the Administration was going to spend on ITER for this budget ($150 million) compared to NASA's budget (~$17 billion).

about 2 months ago

Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

sasparillascott Good to keep in mind... (216 comments)

The oil industry likes fuel cells (have run advertising showing off their benefits in the past) - i.e. big money wants this to keep fuel cells going and happen.

Unsubsidized hydrogen is more expensive than gasoline (to go an equivalent distance in a fuel cell vehicle) at this point.

Electricity out of the plug, for a battery electric vehicle, in the U.S. averages $1.25 per gallon in gasoline equivalency (sometimes much less at night).

about 2 months ago

Google Forks OpenSSL, Announces BoringSSL

sasparillascott Re:"Can't trust Google cuz they're NSA buds" = sil (128 comments)

Actually this isn't silly. Intel has compromised CPU instruction set due to NSA influence (whether that was via a secret order or just because they bend over when asked is unknown). Just look at what this Google engineer said:

So given the option of getting a back door inserted in the SSL protocol used by a huge chunk of the world - the NSA will try to corrupt it.

If served with a secret order, from a secret court on the desire of the NSA for "national security" reasons with orders to, of course keep it secret, Google would have no choice but to comply. The fact that it'll be open source would allow for the possibility of it getting caught (but only the possibility), and I doubt that would keep the NSA from trying to corrupt all 3 SSL protocols as they are being reworked currently. JMHO...

about 2 months ago

Russia Wants To Replace US Computer Chips With Local Processors

sasparillascott NSA has had Intel compromise chip instruction set (340 comments)

After the Snowden revelations it is now assumed that Intel compromised their CPU's extra instruction sets that are useful for encryption (making things much faster for encrypting things if used). The NSA then has Co's etc. pushed to use this capability via outside experts and "experts" from college's.

Although many are too old to remember, we had this debate in the 90's over the clipper chip (allowed encryption via a chip with a NSA back door) and it was roundly rejected by the American Public - in the end the NSA has put that capability into our chips in Secret and urged industry to use those compromised capabilities of those chips through "experts" the industry depends on for good advice.

Here's a great quote from a discussion on encryption software - "Remember how an intel employee was pressuring Theodore Tso to only use CPU hardware random, but he couldn't explain why entropy mixing was worse? Funny how that happens...."

This is quite reasonable of Russia (and basically any government that doesn't want the U.S. to have access to their secrets), they should consider all current generation Intel and AMD CPU's to be shot through with U.S. Govt/NSA required exploits and weaknesses. But they should also consider that all the supporting chips used are compromised as well (particularly the ones handling IP communication - if designed by U.S. corps or companies friendly to the U.S.). This is a tall order, but one that needs to happen (saying that as a U.S. citizen who doesn't want to live in a total surveillance world in perpetuity) - not that I'd trust the Russian version, either.

about 2 months ago

NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

sasparillascott Change is coming for car dealers (455 comments)

Not specifically Tesla, but electric cars don't have alot of things that car dealers make money with (oil changes, engine work, transmission work and on and on). Alot of dealerships make much of their profits from such things, so what Tesla represents is scary change - of course that change is coming whether driven by Tesla or someone else.

So the dealers have alot of money, alot of friends and will do what they can to gum up the works for (or kill) Tesla and what it represents if they can. JMHO...

about 2 months ago

Judge Orders DOJ To Turn Over FISA Surveillance Documents

sasparillascott Knock, Knock, Knock (184 comments)

I think we're getting someone's attention. (Hopefully the judge makes them public)

about 2 months ago

Despite Project's Demise, Amazon Web Services Continues To Use TrueCrypt

sasparillascott Re:AWS Email (75 comments)

The NSA thinks it makes sense.

about 2 months ago


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