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Comment: Re:Wrong Focus (Score 1) 123

by cbhacking (#49369049) Attached to: SpaceX's New Combustion Technologies

Even a really low-power fission reactor puts out a few megawatts. A few MW of photovoltaics, even in Earth's orbit (and it only gets worse as you head out to Mars) is huge and fragile. Ion engines (or any other form of electric drive) are extremely energy-hungry; the energy demand goes up as the square of the exhaust velocity (E = 1/2 m v^2) and the whole point of electric drives is that they derive their extreme efficiency in terms of reaction mass by using absurdly high exhaust velocity.

There may be a point where it's practical to run a spacecraft propulsion drive (rather than a satellite's station-keeping thrusters) using electric thrust, and yet the energy demand is low enough that it makes sense to use photovoltaic, but I'm not holding my breath. Developing a drive practical for interplanetary flight would probably require literally orders of magnitude more thrust than currently-flying ion drives produce, so the fact that those can get by on photovoltaics really shouldn't be taken to mean anything useful.

Comment: Re:This could be interesting. (Score 1) 331

by cbhacking (#49358419) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

Many types of sex work, even including outright prostitution, at legal in some if not all of the US. Amazon probably sells pr0n (never checked; who buys that stuff?) but they probably do not sell the services of cam girls. It wouldn't surprise me if they sell stripper poles, but I'm pretty sure you can't order a lapdance from them anywhere.

Comment: Re:I wonder how the Gen Con people would feel (Score 1) 880

by cbhacking (#49340661) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

The (idiotic) way you're attempting to use that phrase demonstrates that you don't have a clue what it actually means. Here's an actual example: a sign saying "service animals allowed". There is no accompanying sign saying that non-service animals are disallowed; it is implied by the fact that you mentioned an exception. The exception (allowing service animals) proves that the rule (animals disallowed) exists otherwise.

What rule is implied by the fact that the ACLU defends freedom of all non-harmful expression?

You don't get to use the magical phrase "exception that proves the rule" as a fully general argument for why counterexamples to your bullshit are actually supporting it. That makes no logical sense and isn't what the phrase means. Go put on the dunce cap and sit in a corner.

Comment: Re:bring it to Toronto Canada (Score 1) 880

by cbhacking (#49340577) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Hey, at least your cops actually go on trial for shooting people. Around these parts, it usually doesn't even make it *to* the prosecutor's office, much lest through it.

That said, while Canada is lovely in many ways and would be a relatively small cultural shift for me, it's several places down on my "where I'd emigrate to" list. The Nordic countries are nearly all more appealing, for example.

Comment: Re:Hmmm .... (Score 1) 880

by cbhacking (#49340415) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Would you mind pointing me to the place that gstoddart implied that anybody thought that?

Nice attempt to derail the comment. Some idiot even modded you up for it. Your post is a blatant attempt to shift the discussion into some red herring topic that, as you yourself point out, nobody is actually advocating for. Piss off.

Comment: Re:You are the problem (Score 1) 224

by cbhacking (#49334277) Attached to: $1B TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed As "Junk Science"

Securing airplane cabin doors is the only rational lesson we (the US, collectively) learned after Sep 11, and it doesn't require anything even vaguely like the "security" apparatus that is the TSA.

It's been a while, but I definitely remember what it was like pre-TSA. The security checkpoints were pretty much as they are now, except the lines were shorter and you went through a metal detector instead of a scanner that third parties aren't allowed to examine. You didn't need a boarding pass until you got to the terminal itself, but you definitely did there; you could not, in theory, just wander out onto the tarmac or down the jetway (the airports I've flown through mostly use jetways, so you can't get into the passenger cabin from the ground anyhow) and onto the plane.

On the other hand, it's hardly as if "some asshole can't walk in straight off of the street and get on the plane without some form of identification and property checks" today, either. Even if he's drunk. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...
OK, he banged on the engine instead of getting on the plane, but he could have done whatever he felt like. The TSA is bloody incompetent. In addition to that news article (which mentions two incidents on the SAME DAY) from just over a year ago, there are plenty of other examples (the first page of search results, alone, also mentions incidents in San Jose, Tampa, Dallas, and New York).

Comment: Re:You are the problem (Score 1) 224

by cbhacking (#49334227) Attached to: $1B TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed As "Junk Science"

OK, I'll buy that... but then why do they miss bottles in my bags if I position them such that my tablet blocks the X-ray emitter (which is easy to figure out, if you ever glanced at the screens after going through the area)? Are you saying the machine can scan through the (thin) metal chassis of the tablet but then is blocked by the battery, and they're OK with that?

Actually, this is not terribly shocking, I guess. In Europe, for example, you have to take *all* electronics - not just the devices themselves, but also their chargers, external HDDs, etc.) out of your bag. Maybe some of that is wasted time and the X-ray could see through the outside and determine that yep, that's a power brick, but it probably couldn't see anything on the other side and some of those bricks are really big.

Comment: Re:Of course it is ... (Score 1) 224

by cbhacking (#49329773) Attached to: $1B TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed As "Junk Science"

"Very few incidents"... I'm not actually aware of *any* scenarios where they stopped something terrorist-related. It feels like there probably ought to be at least one by now - surely some wannabe terrorist somewhere was too stupid to not get caught - but you'd think they would have made a big deal out of it and I don't remember any such thing. The only terror attempts on American flights that I can remember since Sep 11 made it past the TSA and then were stopped by the passengers.

Meanwhile, the TSA generates headlines such as "TSA seizes record number of firearms" but you have to scroll down to find even an implication (never outright stated) that any of those weapons were intended for malicious, much less terrorist, use. "The vast majority of passengers have no nefarious intent but forgot their firearm in their carry-on bag,"

Comment: You are the problem (Score 4, Informative) 224

by cbhacking (#49329591) Attached to: $1B TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed As "Junk Science"

but it does feel a bit nicer when you're in a tin can miles above the earth

Only if you're utterly ignorant or a complete coward. The TSA hasn't actually stopped any terrorist attempts. They haven't even stopped people from making terrorist attempts - there have been a few (leading to the reasons we now have to take off our shoes, for example) - but the TSA missed those.

If you know how, it's utterly trivial to get shit past the TSA. I routinely opt out and go with the pat-down (which is significantly better security than the scanners, though only about half the time does the agent do a decent job of it) and still get prohibited items through the X-ray in my carry-on bags all the time. It's easy. For example, you're allowed to leave tablets in your bag (apparently, the dangerous part of a laptop is its keyboard? That's all that distinguishes it from a tablet these days) and the ones with metal cases do a pretty great job of blocking X-ray. You can get bottles full of liquids and gels through that way, no problem. I haven't actually tried it with anything that could plausibly be considered a weapon, but that's only subset of prohibited stuff anyhow...

If security theater makes you "feel nicer", you're a weak-minded idiot and part of the problem.

Note that I have no problem with the security practices of a lot of the rest of the world. Unlike the USA, India actually has a terrorist problem, and they are way, *way* better about screening people... but it still takes less time than the USA's checkpoints! (At least, that was my experience the two times I've flown through Delhi.)

Comment: Re:Security theater (Score 3) 224

by cbhacking (#49329417) Attached to: $1B TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed As "Junk Science"

The driving one is actually a really important point that deserves its own mention. Driving is a *lot* more dangerous than flying, even including Sep 11 and everything since. It not only wastes more of your life (takes longer), it (on average) shortens it. Keep people pissed off about TSA bullshit enough to drive instead of fly for long enough, and the TSA will (actually, quite possibly already has) be responsible for more American deaths than the Sep 11 terrorists.

One site reporting the story (though not the primary source): http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-...

Comment: Re:Get certified (Score 1) 205

by cbhacking (#49239027) Attached to: Ask Slashdot - Breaking Into Penetration Testing At 30

Past a certain level, certs are a pure waste of time. Relatively few people at my current employer (a large multinational InfoSec consulting firm; most of my work is pentesting) have any security-type certification except for the compliance blokes, and nobody could have gotten the job on the basis of certifications alone. They're probably worth it if you're coming from *no* security background, and they aren't worthless (though they may well be a relative waste of time) at the higher levels of the field, but the idea of some ultra-elite cert that will open every door and command respect from all you meet is a joke.

Comment: Re:Depends (Score 3, Interesting) 205

by cbhacking (#49238979) Attached to: Ask Slashdot - Breaking Into Penetration Testing At 30

Pedantic, but... Writing a vuln is dead easy. Here's one (compile this into a world-executable program with setuid:root):
#include <stdio>
void vulnerable () {
    char buf[8];
    gets(buf);
}
int main () {
    vulnerable();
}

Writing a functional exploit, on the other hand, is a lot trickier, especially with all the exploit mitigation stuff found in modern operating systems (and libraries; some of them won't let you call gets() anymore by default). Fortunately, in my professional experience (4+ years of pentesting, both as part of a company's internal security team and as a security consultant), this is rarely requested. The client may want a PoC on occasion, if they think their stuff can't possibly be vulnerable, but even then it needn't do anything special or be robust across system configurations or anything.

Getting back to the core question: if you're going to be pentesting native code, especially whitebox testing where you are expected to review source code as well, you need to know C/C++, maybe Objective-C, maybe pre-.NET Visual Basic or even things like FORTRAN or COBOL if your client's codebase is old enough. For web apps, you need to know your HTML and JS, but it's also important to know HTTP - yes, the protocol - and browser security features like same-origin policy. For the server side of web stuff, there's a hundred different languages and probably ten times as many frameworks that you might need to know, but for the most part knowing PHP, Java, Ruby, at least one .NET language, and maybe Python is good enough for the vast majority of sites (add perl if you want to go old-school).

Scripting languages like Powershell and Python are actually really useful to a pentester, because you can knock together little utilities to try things out that way. Want to send a carefully crafted sequence of UDP packets, or decrypt all that stuff the client has "protected" with a hardcoded AES key and find their secrets? A few minutes of work will get you a tool that will save you lots of time in the future.

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.

Working...