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Security

+ - Analysis of a hardware backdoor->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Remember Reflections on Trusting Trust? We know we can't trust our compilers, or our operating systems, or our userspace software. Now even our hardware might be out to get us. This post describes how to install a backdoor in the "expansion ROM" of a PCI card, which patches the BIOS to patch GRUB to patch the Linux kernel to give the controller remote root access. The upshot is that even if the compromise is detected and the victim reinstalls the operating from CD, the backdoor will still be there. Now you know why the NSA builds all its own hardware!"
Link to Original Source
Wireless Networking

The Many Faces of 3G 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the propaganda-of-the-ether dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Did you ever notice how each new generation of cell-phone tech gets branded '3G,' and the previous thing is retroactively downgraded to some lesser number of Gs? An MIT engineer explains why in this brilliant essay about '3G' over the last 10 years, showing how the cell carriers have kept offering it and swiping it away to sell more stuff. He cites numerous Cingular/AT&T and Sprint press releases showing how the companies have made '3G' into a brand name ideally suited for amnesiac consumers. Meanwhile, no cell carrier is foolish enough to sell you bottom-line throughput like an ISP in 1996 — you could actually hold them to that (PDF)."
Wireless Networking

+ - The many faces of 3G->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Did you ever notice how each new generation of cell-phone tech gets branded "3G", and the previous thing is retroactively downgraded to some lesser number of G's? An MIT engineer explains why in this brilliant essay about "3G" in the last 10 years, showing how the cell carriers have kept offering it and swiping it away to sell more stuff. He cites numerous Cingular/AT&T and Sprint press releases showing how the companies have made "3G" into a brand name ideally suited for amnesiac consumers. Meanwhile, no cell carrier is foolish enough to sell you bottom-line throughput like an ISP in 1996 — you could actually hold them to that."
Link to Original Source

+ - Today is System Administrator Appreciation Day->

Submitted by ArbiterOne
ArbiterOne (715233) writes "The 11th Annual System Administrator Appreciation Day is today. Celebrated worldwide on the last Friday of July, this holiday honors those who fight in the digital trenches to keep the 'Net alive.

OpenDNS offers a way to remind your boss about the holiday, while another blogger shares war stories. The startup Ksplice created an homage to these heroes... in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure.

How are you celebrating Sysadmin Day?"

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Unix

+ - Writing filesystems now as easy as Web apps->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Remember the old days of writing Web apps, when you had to parse the CGI arguments separately, do all the safety checks yourself and implement everything manually? Neither do I, but it looks like all the cool stuff from Web apps is making its way to writing filesystems. This guy shows how to writing an entire Linux filesystem in 50 lines of Python using "dispatch" techniques totally stolen from Ruby on Rails. Are we ready to give up the Web and go back to just using the filesystem for everything, the way Unix intended?"
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Comment: Re:Remember Martin Niemoller (Score 1) 630

by hahafaha (#26287251) Attached to: Sex Offenders Must Hand Over Online Passwords

> Lol. Yeah, I know, those poor pedophiles and terrorists
> (both of which by definition imply a law being broken)
> are so tormented.

"Pedophile" does not imply that a law has been broken. It is not illegal to be a pedophile, it is illegal to engage in a sexual encounter with a minor. You can fantasise about it all you want.

As far as "terrorist" goes, that is one of the most vague and poorly-defined terms in America. People _are_ getting oppressed by having those terms placed on them and then not having any politician dare take a stand for fear of being ostracised.

> They should be "exterminated".

What, so, you should be killed for your own private thoughts? That's a little harsh, isn't it?

Comment: Re:Constitutionality (Score 2, Interesting) 630

by hahafaha (#26276643) Attached to: Sex Offenders Must Hand Over Online Passwords

Right, then.

> That's that other part of the Constitution, you remember the
> one about double jeopardy. If someone got convicted and sentenced
> for lewd behavior, they can't increase the sentence afterward even
> if they discover that the person may have committed several
> rapes 15 years prior.

Are you bloody serious? Do us all a favour and look up terms before using them. Double jeapordy refers to being tried on the _same charge_ more than once. If you rape someone fifteen years ago and then get charged on some unrelated crime, you can still be charged on the original rape. They were never part of the sentence.

> So then the person goes free with little more than a slap on the wrist
> and the public feels they were let down by the Constitution and
> the system in general.

This is a much more nebulous statement, but I will dignify it by pointing out that if "the public feels let down by the constitution", that's no reason to break it, that's, at best, a reason to change it.

> This is why we have vigilante justice and people thinking like the GP,
> and for good reason. Sorry, I know the founding fathers meant well but
> the Constitution doesn't protect us from the real world as it is today.

That's not a reason to ignore it, that's a reason to fix it.

> Currently it serves to protect a criminally insane President and tons of
> his cronies but does nothing to protect us from the government itself
> so long as we continue to think that little piece of paper in D.C. is our
> savior.

Actually, the constitution doesn't protect this "criminally insane President". If anything, it limits his power. Tons of laws passed while he was in office do serve to protect him, but they are unrelated to the constitution and, in some cases, arguably directly infringing on it. And yes, I would like to think of "that little piece of paper in D.C" as my saviour. Or, more accurately, honest judges intelligently interpreting it.

Comment: Re:Constitutionality (Score 4, Insightful) 630

by hahafaha (#26276509) Attached to: Sex Offenders Must Hand Over Online Passwords

I have to say, you missed the grandfather's point completely. I personally agree that comparing rapists and Jews is stretching it more than somewhat (I am ethnically Jewish, for the record, not that that's especially relevant) but that's all it is -- a bit stretching it. His point was that this is still unconstitutional and a slippery slope. Just because something is democratically decided doesn't make it constitutional. This is, IMHO (and IANAL, etc.) a clear violation of fourth amendment privacy rights, and a dangerous one at that.

What's really quite disturbing about all this is that it hardly stops the problem. Think about it -- what are some of the most "questionable" places on the Internet? IRC and 4chan come to mind as the top examples, and neither require passwords (for the most part). Besides, how are you supposed to know _which_ passwords to hand over? The court won't know about that password you set on your handle on Freenode and they're likely not going to know what to do with it if they had it ("There's no form! Oh noes!"). If these people still pose danger to society, then you should imprison them. All this will accomplish is give the government an easier way of oppressing people.

In a truly free country, all have to be protected, even child molesters (note, by the way, that the main discussion concerns "sex offenders" which is hardly the same thing). The problem is that we have a representative democracy and so the senator that's going to stand up for them is going to get his carreer ruined. With something as delicate as this, it might just be some guy who looked a girl the wrong way.

Wireless Networking

+ - Has city-wide Wi-Fi already been achieved?

Submitted by
hahafaha
hahafaha writes "There have been many announcements about plans to institute city-wide, free Wi-Fi. Most of these planned endeavours have failed. However, it seems to me that with the increasing amount of Wi-Fi offered in businesses, as well as the multitudes of unsecured networks in private residences, city-wide Wi-Fi has inadvertently already been achieved. In most densely populated cities, it is possible to find Wi-Fi almost anywhere. If you move into an apartment building, getting your own Internet access is rarely necessary, because there are dozens unsecured ones all around you. Is it possible that city-wide Wi-Fi is here already?"

Please go away.

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