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Comment: Re:Mikrotik (Score 2) 238

by jeffstar (#47890973) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities?

I have deployed about 30 mikrotiks and I disagree with "feature rich, supported and easy to use"

feature-rich: so many features are half baked. Like openVPN only supports TCP for transport, so you end up running TCP on TCP, which is bad.
supported: the documentation is poor (although getting better now that they have a wiki), working examples are hard to come by since there are so many versions of RouterOS and each introduces different bugs and breaks different bits of functionality. The mikrotik people on the forum are at best surly.
easy to use: I have had to do so much trial and error only to find out the specific piece of functionality I am trying to use is half baked.

I've had good experiences with Watchguard VPN products - which use open VPN under the hood. so any decent openVPN based product is probably what you want.

Comment: Re:too much dependence on the internet (Score 1) 95

by jeffstar (#36487082) Attached to: US Warns of Problems In Chinese SCADA Software

One good reason to connect an industrial control network to a network outside the immediate premise would be that it is a remote site that doesn't merit a human being nearby to mind it or is only economically viable if it doesn't require humans nearby. Thus it makes economic sense to network it, but a private network is too expensive, so it goes on the internet (probably with VPN only access).

Private networks are expensive, getting a satellite/whatever internet connection isn't.

Then you are only as secure as any other organization connected to the internet can be and vulnerable to the same attacks as the rest of the world.

Comment: Re:It;s a concern. (Score 1) 214

by jeffstar (#32939640) Attached to: Malware Targets Shortcut Flaw In Windows, SCADA

unfortunately all the HMI software of the day seems to be for windows: citect, wonderware, etc.

I'm keeping an eye on to see how their product does as it is built from open source libraries.

Additionally, you need windows to program protection relays ( ) or your excitation system or your OPC server. You can't get away from windows in the industrial control and automation world.

I need windows to program the PLCs as well.

What I do is run linux and have a separate VM image for each program I need, one for GE multilin software, one for SEL software, one for each brand of PLC programming software.

Loading all the different shit I need onto a single install of windows means when that install gets fucked, as they all eventually do, I have to spend days reloading all the software and going through licensing bullshit.

Running the software in a VM means I can load it up, make the image read only so it is the same every time I boot, and then I'm set.

I have major issues with the automation and control world and the current state of the software it depends on, I think there is loads of room for a new player who understands software in 2010 and isn't burdened with a legacy product.

and for all the people talking about air gaps, I don't think they are as common as you think and as other commenters suggest are easily bridged by USB sticks.


Your Feces Is a Wonderland of Viruses 211

Posted by timothy
from the and-so-can-you dept.
sciencehabit writes "Thanks to an anlaysis of fecal samples from four sets of Missouri-born female identical twins and their mothers, researchers have concluded that human guts harbor viruses as unique as the people they inhabit; the viral lineup differs even between identical twins. Even more surprising? These viruses may be doing good work inside of us."

Comment: Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (Score 1) 438

by jeffstar (#32895226) Attached to: Electric Cars Won't Strain the Power Grid

Any thermal plant like coal, oil, nuclear has restrictions on how fast the mechanical power into the generator can be changed.

Modern Hydro electric facilities can go from cold star to 100% output in 10 minutes usually, or from the usual minimum of 10% output to 100% on the order of a minute.

natural gas can also change output relatively quickly.

You can't produce power that isn't used, every second of every day every watt of energy that is generated is used somehow.


Sneak Preview For Coming KDE SC 4.5 249

Posted by timothy
from the one-moment-in-time dept.
omlx writes "KDE SC 4.5 is in feature freeze right now. Therefore, I decided to share some early screenshots with you. In general there are no major changes; it's all about polishing and fixing bugs. There are a lot of under-the-hood changes in libs, which as end users we cannot see. KDE SC will be released in August 2010." Note: you can also try out a beta of the release now, if you'd like.

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.