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Encryption

Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess 190

Posted by timothy
from the exercise-for-the-reader dept.
HughPickens.com writes Micah Lee writes at The Intercept that coming up with a good passphrase by just thinking of one is incredibly hard, and if your adversary really is capable of one trillion guesses per second, you'll probably do a bad job of it. It turns out humans are a species of patterns, and they are incapable of doing anything in a truly random fashion. But there is a method for generating passphrases that are both impossible for even the most powerful attackers to guess, yet very possible for humans to memorize. First, grab a copy of the Diceware word list, which contains 7,776 English words — 37 pages for those of you printing at home. You'll notice that next to each word is a five-digit number, with each digit being between 1 and 6. Now grab some six-sided dice (yes, actual real physical dice), and roll them several times, writing down the numbers that you get. You'll need a total of five dice rolls to come up with each word in your passphrase. Using Diceware, you end up with passphrases that look like "cap liz donna demon self", "bang vivo thread duct knob train", and "brig alert rope welsh foss rang orb". If you want a stronger passphrase you can use more words; if a weaker passphrase is ok for your purpose you can use less words. If you choose two words for your passphrase, there are 60,466,176 different potential passphrases. A five-word passphrase would be cracked in just under six months and a six-word passphrase would take 3,505 years, on average, at a trillion guesses a second.

After you've generated your passphrase, the next step is to commit it to memory.You should write your new passphrase down on a piece of paper and carry it with you for as long as you need. Each time you need to type it, try typing it from memory first, but look at the paper if you need to. Assuming you type it a couple times a day, it shouldn't take more than two or three days before you no longer need the paper, at which point you should destroy it. "Simple, random passphrases, in other words, are just as good at protecting the next whistleblowing spy as they are at securing your laptop," concludes Lee. "It's a shame that we live in a world where ordinary citizens need that level of protection, but as long as we do, the Diceware system makes it possible to get CIA-level protection without going through black ops training."

Comment: Re:A smart phone is rarely convenient (Score 1) 248

by VanessaE (#49052129) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

You're right that a timer's a bad idea for your use-case, so how about something else? This seems simple enough, if a bit simplistic:

You've always got your smartphone with you, or most people do - certainly just about anyone who would have any interest in the "smart home" market, I would think. In any case, put the phone to work in the *right* way: there are apps that use the radio in the phone to triangulate its position to within a few dozen meters based on cell towers and neighboring wifi hotspots. Make another such app, or hook into an existing one, adding a function to calculate line-of-sight distance from your phone to your house's coordinates on the map.

At home, your smart-home controller would have a live, secure connection to a central server of some kind, waiting for commands.

* Triangulate the phone's position once per minute, in a background task.
* At each interval, if the location resolves to within some "close enough to the house" distance, say 5 miles, send an event the main part of the app.
* That event would cause the app to make a secure connection to the aforementioned server, over which it would send a single "power up the climate control, lights, etc" packet. The triangulation event would then be set to, say, 1 hour.
* The app also could listen for an event from the triangulation routine for "leaving home" also, with a threshold that's a bit more distant than the "coming home" value, say 6 miles. The triangulation interval would reset to 1 minute and a "turn everything off" packet would be sent at this point.

Options to immediately send "power up now" and "power down now" packets (setting appropriate polling intervals in either case) could be offered.

Such an app should show a clear indication of its distance calculation and what the last command was that was sent, and if possible, some status info from the house's controller.

Comment: Re:Action movies are boring. (Score 1) 332

Same reason I never understood the "Gold Pressed Latinum" nonsense. Even if you couldn't replicate it, what would you buy with it? Everything is free.

Because not every culture used replicators to the same extent as Federation cultures did. Remember who were the biggest proponents of latinum-based economics? The Ferengi, who were all about gaining wealth by pretty much any means; their entire culture is built around gaining material wealth. A replicator needs feedstock in addition to energy, and those don't necessarily HAVE to be free.

Voila, there's your money-based economy in the face of replicator technology.

Comment: Re:Revelation 9:1 (Score 2) 129

by VanessaE (#48529111) Attached to: How Astronomers Will Take the "Image of the Century": a Black Hole

Except....that a black home has a bottom. There's nothing infinite about them, except in some formulas (i.e. the _mathematical_ singularity at the center). If the black hole is big enough (around 150 billion solar masses), you could even stand more or less comfortably on its surface, normal earth-like gravity, provided the radiation doesn't kill you.

Comment: Re:What PSY is costing YouTube (Score 2) 164

by VanessaE (#48520013) Attached to: Gangnam Style Surpasses YouTube's 32-bit View Counter

If the values are straight storage, well that's an extra 4 bytes per video for the count. Some quick googling turns up a couple of figures that aren't too terribly old, and which don't actually add up to much:

As of 2008, there were around 83M videos on YouTube, so that's 332 MB for storage for the counters, assuming every video's record were updated and the count data is stored uncompressed. I'd guess double that amount for 2014, but I couldn't find a reliable figure.

Currently, about 4 billion videos are watched per day (!), so allowing for four extra digits on the displayed "watched" count, that would add up to 16 GB of added bandwidth, were every one of those videos to significantly exceed the former 32-bit counter.

Comment: Re:Humans are supposed to be vegan (Score 1) 252

by VanessaE (#48451601) Attached to: Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

Just because YOU say humans are somehow supposed to be vegan does not make it "normal" either; humans don't have razor sharp teeth and claws, but we evolved the intelligence to develop simple weapons and tools to make killing for food and cooking it efficient enough for humanity to thrive.

Your argument is invalid.

Transportation

World War II Tech eLoran Deployed As GPS Backup In the UK 139

Posted by timothy
from the department-of-redundancy-department dept.
hypnosec (2231454) writes General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) has announced that they have deployed a World War II technology called Long Range Navigation system, which they have named eLoran, in seven ports across Britain to serve as a backup for the existing Global Positioning System (GPS). GLA notes that modern ships have a lot of equipment that rely on Global Navigation Satellite Systems for functioning and in case of failure the consequences will be disastrous. For this reason technology that doesn't rely on the GPS was required as a backup. eLoran is a ground-based system rather than satellite-based and is designed to be used in the event of a GPS failure. The system was quite successful and post-WWII era, the system was updated and crowned a new name Loran-C. The navigation system was adopted by mariners across the globe and was used until GPS was deployed. Loran has now been renamed as eLoran because of the upgrades to the technology as well as the infrastructure. The more accurate system generates longwave radio signal, which is 1 million times more powerful than those from positioning satellites, are capable of reaching inside buildings, underground and underwater. According to GLA, eLoran and GPS are quite different from one another and hence there is no common mode of failure.
Science

Researchers At Brown University Shattered a Quantum Wave Function 150

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-step-on-the-pieces dept.
Jason Koebler writes: A team of physicists based at Brown University has succeeded in shattering a quantum wave function. That near-mythical representation of indeterminate reality, in which an unmeasured particle is able to occupy many states simultaneously, can be dissected into many parts. This dissection, which is described this week in the Journal of Low Temperature Physics, has the potential to turn how we view the quantum world on its head. Specifically, they found it's possible to take a wave function and isolate it into different parts. So, if our electron has some probability of being in position (x1,y1,z1) and another probability of being in position (x2,y2,z2), those two probabilities can be isolated from each other, cordoned off like quantum crime scenes.

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