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Comment: Re:Good luck with that... (Score 1) 113

by MightyMartian (#48647159) Attached to: US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks

I don't think NK is a satellite state in the usual sense of the word. China certainly shields NK, but its reasoning isn't always clear. NK does act as a major counterbalance to US interests (Japan, South Kore and Taiwan). At the same time, NK seems extremely suspicious of China and some believe that at least part of the reason for the latest purge was to cut out members of the regime with too close a ties to China.

Comment: Re:Great observational skills (Score 3, Interesting) 93

by TapeCutter (#48643195) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

[Animals are] FAR more accurate than any weather forecast I've seen.

You see ants moving eggs, maybe it will rain in the next day or two, but how much rain? How much wind? Any hail, tornados? King tide?

You see humans boarding up windows, sandbagging shops, anchoring boats away from the dock, etc, you know a destructive storm is on it's way.

Weather forecasts are pretty accurate to 5 days out even here in Melbourne which (like NYC) is notoriously fickle, but you don't need doppler radar and a supercomputer to match the forecasting skill of ants. With a bit of practice mentally tracking wind direction, looking at clouds and feeling/smelling the (fresh) air will give you a fair idea of tomorrow's weather.

Natural disasters happen to both species, by all reasonable standards humans are much better at predicting severe weather than animals since (at worst) we have the capacity to simultaneously observe many diverse species to make a statistically combined animal/plant forecast. Having said that, even the humble ants will have buried their dead and rebuilt their city in under a week.

Comment: Re:So the question is... (Score 5, Interesting) 93

by TapeCutter (#48643009) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

so why don't we start listening for it with our warning systems?

That's what I was thinking, also how can a tornado make any type of noise 2 days before it forms? I can understand animals picking up things we can't, deer may hear the rumble of a quake that causes a tsunami, my dog routinely hears thunder 15-20 minutes before I do and looks for a hiding spot, but how the hell does any animal "hear" something that won't exist for another two days?

Having said that the animal kingdom is full of "mysterious knowledge", for example crocodiles in Northern Australia can somehow "calculate" when a king tide will occur, about an hour before the event they gather at a particular ford across a river where the unusually high tide spills over the ford leaving a bonanza of fish stranded on the rocks. Even Attenborough admits he doesn't have a clue how the crocodiles "know" when to gather at the ford.

Comment: Re:Which is why (Score 1) 328

I'm assuming that Sony, being a very large multinational company, has a very large Intranet, which means at various points its going to be traversing the open Internet at various points.

Unless you're advocating Sony lay down its own fiber and then turn off its gateway routers....

Comment: Re:Sony security: strong or weak? (Score 5, Interesting) 328

I'd be interested in knowing the details of the attack. Was it a "social engineering" attack of some kind (ie. a virus-laden email that someone with high privileges opened)? Was it a vulnerability in their networks? I've heard someone with high level admin privileges had their account hacked, but in what way was it done?

The organization I work for is a contractor for the government of a North American jurisdiction, and yesterday morning I started getting reports that some sort of virus-laden emails were flowing out of this government's networks. Sure enough, within a half an hour, I got emails from a contact I have within this particularly agency, with an attached ZIP file with an SCR file inside. That has to be one of the oldest ways that malware has been transmitted in Windows system, I saw my first virus-laden SCR file somewhere around 1997-1998.

Apparently this critter is so new that by the time we checked, only a few AV companies had caught on to it. Even worse in some ways is that it appears that it made its debut on the very government servers in question, making me think this was a targeted attack. So you have a combination of a brand new virus of some kind that won't get caught by the scanners, lax email rules that allow the opening and execution of executable file types (not that blocking EXE variants doesn't mean some bastard won't be firing off a compromised PDF at an unpatched system), and users who through a combination of laziness and ignorance happily take the final step.

With this particular attack, there would have been no problem if Outlook had been configured not to open these kinds of attachments, and in an Active Directory environment, that's pretty trivial, so some of the blame has to go to this government agency's IT team. But still, even with the best safeguards, where users just happily click on any old attachment, it doesn't exactly take a rare alignment of the stars to have malware planted in a network. Sure, it won't have root privileges and won't be able to propagate itself via more sophisticated means, but it appears in this case it didn't need to.

So I do agree to some point that there are finite limits to what any person or organization can do to secure itself against a determined and directed attack. But there are ways to make such attacks much more difficult, and more quickly captured before they wreak too much harm.

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