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Comment: Re:Barn doors (Score 1) 101

by rtp (#43942229) Attached to: Why Chinese Hacking Is Only Part of the U.S. Security Problem

Agreed, let's stop blaming the victims.

That Windows XP unpatched PC is "secure" until some knucklehead throws malware at it, just like the jewelry store with bars and an alarm is secure until three thugs show up with crow-bars and perform a smash-and-grab.

As security becomes more problematic for consumers, the market adjusts. In large part, we're already seeing some of this... Unconscious social movement "to the cloud" has a lot to do with putting our heads in the sand. Get the data off the box in front of us where we'd be "forced to deal with tedious cat-and-mouse arms races" and put our digital lives and data in the cloud, where we won't know (care?) it's being stolen on a regular basis. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, these are the new banks of our society.

Computer software and hardware products are what they are, which is useful, but not impregnable.

I can't afford an armored car and a bunker, so I drive a truck and live in a brick house. Same with computers - most people use the machines, we don't have endless hours in a day to pour into trying to make these sand castles more secure. Technology moves fast. Those sand castles will be replaced in a couple years, and we'll have a new set of problems to futz over while continuing to pursue the meaning of life (e.g. build a family, contribute to the tribe).

Comment: Life has risks, deal with it (Score 1) 101

by rtp (#43942015) Attached to: Why Chinese Hacking Is Only Part of the U.S. Security Problem

A thug with a crowbar in meat-space is no different than some hacker on the Internet with a SQL injection.

Automobiles, airplanes, nuclear power plants, bank vaults, and other physical constructions are regularly identified with security flaws or weaknesses.

You know how to hack an armored Humvee full of infantry? With an IED. Life is dangerous. So is the Internet.

Most people don't live in bunkers. We accept the risk that all types of horrible things can happen, and we worry not. Wood and brick houses are regularly leveled by Mother Nature. We could all live underground, but we don't (well, those of us no longer in our parent's basement). People in Florida, Oklahoma, and Kansas could invest in hardened building construction processes and rebuild after a storm with concrete and high tech alloys, but they don't. Wood houses replace the splinters of the last house a tornado shredded, and people move right back in. New Orleans flooded, and people moved back into the below-sea-level bowl.

Stop thinking in abstract, academic terms. Life isn't black & white. We live in shades of gray, where no position, method or object is absolutely secure.

Life is full of imperfections. Humans make mistakes. Entropy. Chaos. Envy. Greed. Hatred. Sh*t happens (aka Acts of God).

Computer security flaws are "surprising" only to the fools who think the world is safe. Given that technology has reduced the distance between tribes, we're all witness to see how friendly humankind really is, err, isn't.

If you've ever been on the wrong side of war, mugging, rape, or other acts of violence - even bullying - then you should know there are those among us that operate with an "eat or be eaten" mentality. Humans are still animals. That lock on your front door isn't going to stop thugs intent on a home invasion, because they're going to break through the window, or crowbar the door-jam, or cut through the vinyl siding, drywall and a few inches of insulation with a machete...

The Internet and air travel has rendered all of us so close, we're holding hands. Americans in close quarters with the Chinese, Russians, and Islamic radicals... Are we all singing Kumbayah? Umm, no. People are doing what people do...we compete, steal, destroy, oppress, deceive, and occasionally rain Hellfires from above.

Just wait until nano, bio, and robotics really take off. Some kid in India may unleash Pandora's Box with a super-flu that wipes out a few billion of us, and this article we're reading is worried about computer documents?

Computer security is a fad, like bank security in the wild west. Give it a few decades, and it's all OBE as we move on to the next thing. A vault by itself doesn't stop the enemy, just as a computer by itself isn't impregnable. At some point, you need force-on-force conflict to effectively defend what's yours from others.

Do you really think there won't be another Alexander, Attila, Genghis, Caesar, Cortez, or Hitler? Humans can be loving, but they can also be ruthless. Terrorists are out there trying to reboot civilization so they can have an easier grab at power. Through dissolution of the family model, worship of the dollar, competition for resources and all sorts of other factors that come with scaling society beyond a village, we're just as likely to collapse under our own weight than to get off this rock and cruise the galaxy.

Be happy each morning you read Slashdot you're not in a burning skyscraper hundreds of feet up in the air among people screaming, waiting for everything to collapse...thinking about how insecure a city is to stand up against a couple dozen knuckleheads who were willing to trade their lives for thousands.

Enjoy the days of Chinese farming American secrets in cyber space, breaking into digital vaults. What comes next won't be so fun.

The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

Posted by samzenpus
from the nice-day-for-a-flight dept.
skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."

Comment: Re:Quantity over quality (Score 5, Interesting) 441

by rtp (#42018771) Attached to: It's Hard For Techies Over 40 To Stay Relevant, Says SAP Lab Director

Youth is idealistic, therefore generally willing to commit much longer work hours "for the cause." Older adults understand the value in applying time toward family, raising children, and focusing more on quality solutions versus brute-force/take-the-hill/quantity solutions.

And/or, do we have a generation shift where the 40+ year-old workforce today operates at a different tempo versus the newest generation? Is the next generation that enters the workforce committed more to work for a rapid increase in pay? The 26 year-old knucklehead in his mom's basement suggests otherwise, but perhaps he is the rare exception at the bottom left of the bell curve?

Comment: Here come the Pinkertons (Score 2) 224

by rtp (#42003755) Attached to: Verizon To Throttle Pirates' Bandwidth

The Internet is still very much the wild west.

The equivalent of train robberies, bank heists, Indian raids, and muggings in the mining towns on payday are a common occurrence in today's online environment.

You and I may not think copying electronic bits is a big deal, but many corporations are ruthless enough to pursue a dollar anywhere. Never underestimate greed. The larger the corporation, the further away from reality sit its leadership, the more ruthless the organization becomes.

Big government isn't very effective in the new frontier. The early decades are always chaos.

Thus, corporations turn to their own methods for protection, enforcement, and collection of revenue.

If it's profitable, can you blame them?

History clearly renders our future.

The west was free. The west was lawless. Those who were weak, those who were greedy, complained, and plotted. The west was then tamed.

Freedom suffers at scale.

The more individuals that are granted freedom, the more likely some knot of individuals will coalesce around seizing freedom from others for their own selfish gain, returning humanity to prison. When you're out numbered and out gunned, what happens?

Comment: Re:Well, that's putting it one way (Score 4, Insightful) 161

by rtp (#41864163) Attached to: China's Stealth Fighter Flight Test Successful

"the new prototype appears to have borrowed features from the U.S."

It's very likely that China stole the technology for this fighter via cyber attacks to facilitate data exfiltration activities over the past decade, such as during the Titan Rain era. China is working diligently to position themselves as the next hyper-power on the planet. Stealth technology is critical for force projection where China seeks to dominate other countries, knowing the U.S. may enter a new Cold War and supply the middle-state pawns with surface-to-air missiles.

The real zinger is going to be stealth drones launched from carriers in the near future.

Regarding Titan Rain and Chinese cyber attacks on the USA:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1098961,00.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Rain

Comment: Re:They Know Best (Score 1) 266

by rtp (#40895129) Attached to: Apple Support Allowed Hackers Access To User's iCloud Account

Banks allow you to take your money out, where you have the freedom to operate offline. Banks allow you to move money from one institution to another.

I say again, online tech companies should evolve toward banks. This includes Microsoft, Apple, and all the others, to include Blizzard, Steam, etc.

Comment: Re:They Know Best (Score 1) 266

by rtp (#40890219) Attached to: Apple Support Allowed Hackers Access To User's iCloud Account

Agreed, recovery and escrow present an equal if not larger hole through the backdoor of any online data vault than through your login account.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM, Amazon, Dropbox and other tech companies that operate extensive online services which store user data and provide device synchronization must evolve toward _banks_ and incorporate business practices from Brinks and the Pinkertons to maintain customer trust.

Operating an online data storage service is akin to operating a vault, but many service providers today aren't thinking in terms of armed robbery and state-or-corporate sponsored, very sophisticated attacks. One hacker social engineers his way into a journalist's iCloud account? Much more is certainly possible. Tie online storage that syncs to your physical devices, and you have a distributed safe deposit box, where its multiple access methods arguably make it weaker, not stronger.

Consider: if it's easy for you to access from anywhere, it's easy for you to lose from anywhere. If it's important, you should keep a copy _offline_.

Comment: Re:It's only stuff (Score 5, Informative) 170

by rtp (#40803509) Attached to: Fighting the iCrime Wave

The most effective deterrent to high-stakes crime is when victims are their own defense. More people should carry handguns, and the laws should be relatively straightforward for any lawful adult to own and concealed-carry a handgun. Muggings for pocket cash, phones, sneakers and logo jackets occur because the risk to thugs is near zero in cities where the government makes it difficult for law-abiding citizens to carry.

This logic - let the thugs take your stuff, "it's only stuff", is a prey mentality. We aren't sheep. nor ants. People must stick up for themselves, defend each other, and protect that which you worked hard to obtain. Simply letting the bullies take your stuff is a slippery slope to freezing in the cold while the grasshoppers party in your house through the winter. Have some self-respect, and draw the line. Don't let yourself be kicked around. Don't stomp on others, but definitely kick back hard if somebody stomps on you.

The government continues to want us to believe that "they" (the government) will protect us. The truth is, the police are more of a clean-up crew than a protective force.

Kill switches on iPads and iPhones may appear to negate the value of the device (while the muggings won't stop, they'll still jack you up for a wallet, watch, or Nike sneakers), but it opens the door to abuse where a cyber attack on the control system could render our legitimate mobile devices useless. Rather than try and reduce the value of our property, let's protect ourselves properly and reduce the overall operating risk of living in cities.

Crime can't be reduced to zero, but the "professional criminal" who has opted to pursue a living in crime (because the risk-reward ratio shows that crime does pay better than a minimum-wage job, especially in cities where victims aren't allowed to defend themselves with guns) will likely reconsider their career choice when the risk-reward ratio includes risking their own death or a murder charge in trade for a few hundred dollars. When it's simply "not worth it", most criminals move on to a different pursuit for sustenance. The sociopaths and mentally warped human monsters that prey upon us are statistically rare, but the common street thug who is stealing an iPad will become less common if you raise the difficulty above that of a legitimate job. These people often follow the path of least resistance. If we're making it too easy to be a criminal, you can't expect anything different than increased crime. If you make it much more dangerous to be a criminal, there will be less criminals.

Comment: Re:Oh look, the pendulum. It swings back. (Score 1) 493

by rtp (#38330852) Attached to: TSA Facing Death By a Thousand Cuts

The whole point of a small federal government is to force the smaller entities to sort these issues out without an omnipotent third party, the federal government, making decisions that are one-size-fits-all. If two states have a disagreement because one pollutes into a river shared by both, better to have those two states work it out than need to mandate rules that apply to all states where the circumstances may be very different.

There are many gray areas, and life is better working to solve those disputes at the lowest level, not escalating immediately to the highest level. That is the problem with a large federal govenrment...it's TOO EASY to attempt solutions at the highest level, which are bound to be unbalanced in application throughout the spectrum of grays in which the people live.

A bit of chaos and disorder promotes a competition rather than attempting to enforce centralized order which extinguishes competition. This is all about complex systems management.

Immigration, national defense, and a few other areas are all that should warrant federal authority, as they are truly nation-level issues. Environment, education, health care, and the vast majority of issues that affect people on a daily basis are better solved at much lower levels...thus they aren't written into the federal government charter, our Constitution.

Comment: Re:congressional scrutiny (Score 2) 41

by rtp (#38286998) Attached to: Lawmaker Proposes Cyberthreat Sharing Group

"take that 15% DHS funding and funnel it directly into the private members"

Mod that comment up.

America (and others users globally benefiting from the Internet) will be much more secure with a distributed ecosystem with many independent groups each working toward assuring their own independent, autonomous security, rather than attempting to pass the buck to yet another outsourced committee operating as a puppet for the federal government. DHS is moving us toward dystopia with all of the federal intelligence and secret police agencies under one roof, rather than distributed to provide the necessary distrust and competition to keep the organizations healthy.

Federal backing for a clique of "trusted, private-vendor partners" isn't going to raise the bar any better than Darwin's principles will continue to prove out.

FTA, "Congress needs to act to improve our cyber defenses." Congress should focus on getting their job done, such as managing the federal budget, rather than trying to do the job of others.

We all need to act to improve our cyber defenses. Congress isn't going to secure your company's server, nor your home PC, nor your data in the cloud.

Comment: Where are the free source code scrubbers? (Score 1) 136

by rtp (#38240356) Attached to: Researchers Find Big Leaks In Pre-installed Android Apps

We need automated tools to catch obvious security errors in software much like grammer and spelling checks in Word processors.

The use of automated source code review tools should become more popular, especially as a well-linked resource from inside SourceForge and other sites that promote software development. Based on the number of security vulnerabilities so frequently found in software, there's got to be some signature-based checking that could catch the common mistakes, which could be made available by the likes of Google or others who have an interesting in raising the bar for their platforms.

Comment: Re:Priorities (Score 1) 393

by rtp (#38239978) Attached to: Kyoto Protocol Renewal Efforts Struggling

The UN and EU are delaying the inevitable. The intellectuals from the early 20th century got it wrong. We need fierce competition among nations.

It will benefit the human race if the EU breaks apart and we return to many smaller tribes where some win and others lose, rather than all suffering in malaise together.

This is nothing but the ant & grasshopper story played out with millions of people.

Comment: Re:Yes, we're boned (Score -1, Troll) 393

by rtp (#38239800) Attached to: Kyoto Protocol Renewal Efforts Struggling

Climate change is simply a variable that we'll adapt with through technology. Getting pushed out of our comfort zone is a good thing. Without winter and droughts the human race would still be frolicking in jungles with spears and arrows wearing loin cloths. Winter and lack of water has made us stronger, and resulted in technology development.

Peak oil will come and go, just as peak wood did before coal and oil were discovered.

A global government, shared economy, is like California trying to manage forest fires. The more humans tinker with the system to remove the highs and lows, the bigger the inevitable crash that will come, just as California experienced the largest fires in history after years spent tweaking the system, resulting in keeping too much undergrowth, instead of allowing nature to take its course. Wars are no different than forest fires. It's OK to compete. Every species does this, humans are no different.

The much bigger issue is population growth. Through increased population resources are depleted at an increasing rate, potentially faster than technology advances will accommodate. Where technology is unable to solve the challenges presented through population growth, we're likely to experience huge losses through famine, disease, and war.

The best thing for earth is more war. Culling the herd isn't evil. With cheap energy our population will continue to sky rocket, while resources are finite. There's no sense to everybody holding hands singing Kumbaya; somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose. We see that now in Europe. The ants should not be forced to carry the grasshoppers. The UN and EU are delaying the inevitable. The intellectuals from the early 20th century got it wrong. We need fierce competition among nations. The tribes must remain at war to keep the population under control. There are winners and losers, there is no middle ground. Economics is just another approach to war, and the current method of pulling down the strong so the weak can rise up is foolish - we're not all safer as equals, we're better off with highs and lows, rich exploiting poor. America should dominate, our system has proven to be a winner. When we clash with competing interests, war is the natural flow of things. Peace is impossible so long as different tribes are squabbling over the same dirt. Why allow the poor nations to rise up as equals...just so we can compete with stronger opponents? Why wait until the poor attain nuclear, nano, bio, and space technologies that could enable their dominance over America? We're on top of the mountain. It's our right to beat down any who try to climb to the peak. If we don't, we'll simply get thrown off and somebody else will beat down others. We're at least trying to do the beating in a humane fashion...aren't we?

The first version always gets thrown away.

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